“This is about giving money away,” he said of his support for the standards. “This is philanthropy. This is trying to make sure students have the kind of opportunity I had . . . and it’s almost outrageous to say otherwise, in my view.
Sure this is about giving money away - and getting an agenda promoted in return
Gates gets a couple things out of his philanthropy:
He gets to call the shots on a whole host of issues - from education policy to global warming response to disease eradication policy.
Gates claimed in today's Post article that he wants "competition" in the R and D efforts around education policy - but it's pretty clear from his past at Microsoft and the present at the Gates Foundation that what Gates likes most is stifling competition and making sure he's the only one strong enough to have any affect on either the computer business or philanthropic efforts.
Which is the second thing Gates gets out of his philanthropy - ego aggrandizement.
This guy's got a messianic complex and he truly believes he's got the answers to the world's problems if people would just let him provide the funding for the R & D to figure out how to make public education better, to mitigate environmental problems, to tackle disease and pestilence around the world.
It never occurs to him that maybe he's wrong about things, never occurs to him that maybe somebody other than him (or one of his funded shill groups) might have a better way to go about things.
In a lot of ways, Gates is like a Bond villain from the 60's - certain of his own brilliance and genius, hell bent on controlling the world and proving his genius and brilliance to us all.
I'll say this for him:
Gates is a genius at one thing - he's a genius at ruthlessly pushing for what he wants, either in the computer software business or the philanthropic world and convincing enough of the public that he's not just another egoist trying to have his way on everything.
But that's been changing, as people on both the right and left start to view Gates's philanthropic monopoly in education policy, environmental causes, disease eradication and other areas with either suspicion or outright hostility because that monopoly pushes out any other solution other than a Gates-funded one.
Jay Greene noted this problem in the Washington Post piece:
Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, says the Gates Foundation’s overall dominance in education policy has subtly muffled dissent.
“Really rich guys can come up with ideas that they think are great, but there is a danger that everyone will tell them they’re great, even if they’re not,” Greene said.
Let's assume that Gates is being honest with us, that he's really not trying to make more dough off the CCSS and its ancillary reforms (a dubious assumption, as he seems to be worth more every year even as he claims he wants to give away all his money before he dies.)
Even if it's true that Gates is spending billions on education policy out of the goodness of his heart and his desire to do some good, the other two things that Gates gets out of his philanthropy - assuaging his own ego and getting to call the shots on nearly everything - are quite problematic.
It is beyond the time to start questioning the so-called "good" that philanthropy does - Gates obviously still thinks it's a decent enough defense because he runs to use it when he's pressed over the CCSS.
But as men like Gates and Michael Bloomberg run around the world using their billions to buy the policies they want in their pet issues, it is becoming clearer and clearer that "philanthropy" is no longer a public good.
There's no difference than a Bond villain wanting to own the world and run it his way or Bill Gates wanting to fund solutions to every problem and make sure that whatever gets tried is a Gates-promoted solution.
Behind both the Bond villain and Bill Gates is a fevered ego in need of control - and it's time to dump some water on that fevered ego and cool it just a bit.