Support This Website! Shop Here!

Monday, October 10, 2005

A Two-Fisted Party System

Adolescence is a virtue, at least when it comes to the economy. This point is not a new one, but it leads to an interesting way of looking at the American two-party system.

Commentators seem divided over how best to think about the Republican and Democrat parties. Some argue that the two parties are irrevocably opposed to each other, locked in mortal combat in much the same way that Eurasia and Oceania were in George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984.

Others disagree. They assert that the two parties have policies that are very similar and are in that sense allied, much as were Eastasia and Oceania in that self-same novel.

Both positions are, of course, correct.

Why Capitalism Succeeds

It has been noted here before that the capitalist system is better than any of the competing systems that have been seriously attempted to date at seeing to the creature comfort of men. However, it suffers from a remarkable flaw: successful capitalism requires the destruction of adults.

The reason is simple. Capitalism is built on the practice of separating men from their money. In order to do this, the persons in question must (a) have money and (b) be easily separated from it.

It is nearly impossible to separate a mature, stable adult from his money. A serious father and husband will store up most of the resources he earns in order to assure his child’s future, a serious mother and wife does the same.

Mature, stable, intelligent adults are not interested in having the newest toy on the block, nor are they typically very selfish about anything. They are generally trained out of whatever selfishness they do possess by their children.

But the frugality of a mature adult is anathema to a capitalist system. As General George Patton once said, “I don’t want you to die for your country. I want you to make that other poor bastard die for his.” If capitalism is a kind of war, then money is the casualty. Business stays in business by making some other poor bastard pay business costs. Products and services are priced with this in mind.

To accomplish the goal, corporations need immature, greedy, whiny people who see every new product as “something to die for.” Since small children don’t have or spend money, since small children interfere with the formation of this attitude, small children should be eliminated, insofar as possible. Indeed, the whole structure of frugal, stable family life should be eliminated, insofar as possible.

This explains a whole host of activities which could not otherwise be explained. For instance, why would a baby food company or a diaper company donate money to Planned Parenthood? Because they are owned by larger conglomerates who understand the big picture. Babies conceive the wrong attitudes in adults.

The Two Capitalist Parties

In this sense, the Republican and Democrat parties complement each other perfectly. The Republicans fight for the rights of business. The Democrats fight for the right to be immature. The Democrats, through their support of contraception, abortion, gay sex, and every other depravity, make selfish personal pleasure into a virtue on the one end while the Republicans make greed a virtue from the other.

Meanwhile, each pretends to fight the other on the opposite planks. The Democrats pretend to fight the inroads of the corporation, but actually milk corporations for every dollar they can squeeze out. The Republicans pretend to be pro-life, but toss only occasional and relatively meaningless slops towards parents with children.

Both parties benefit from having immature citizens and neither is interested in changing the status quo.

Over the last two centuries, America transformed itself from a representative democracy in which corporations were anathema into an oligarchy in which the judicial branch barely bothers to cover its exercise of total authority with the fig leaf of Congressional or Presidential acquiescence. The man in the street votes for Democrats or Republicans, as he chooses, but he always gets the same judges.

No matter who is in the White House, we always get judges who push the boundaries of corporate power ever further into the private sphere. We also get legal opinions which encourage the destruction of the family. But I repeat myself.

The Role of Women

Make no mistake about it: we are not a powerful economic force in spite of the fact that we have so many unwed mothers, we are a powerful economic force because of it.

The system I’ve just described is meant to discourage the production of children because the presence of children might inadvertently create stable, frugal adults. But children still serve an important function. Ater all, the twelve to thirty demographic is the easiest to clip.

Unwed mothers provide the solution. Through them, we get the older children the economy needs while forcing stability upon the fewest adults.

Bastards are children who have no inheritance. Bastards tend to be insecure. Bastards provide capitalist society with the best of both worlds – a society in which there is very little threat of stable families coming into existence or staying in existence, but which still has a demographic whose bank accounts can be easily relocated.

In this way, the inheritance that would otherwise have gone to the child is spent by the parents who have abandoned her. That is, the child’s money is inherited by the corporation. It takes a village to bilk a child.

So, as the Democrats hand out condoms, encouraging adults to immediately pursue pleasure and eternally postpone responsibility, the Republicans beef up the power of the corporation to grab the bank accounts left behind. Like the two fists of a boxer, like the allies in Orwell’s novel, each pushes its own half of a single agenda upon the larger world.

Capitalism always seeks new markets. Those markets have to be laboriously created. It takes time and effort to break into a country and unhinge a stable culture, to convince adults to act like children their whole lives. But, with careful attention to detail and lots of money, it can be done.

Wherever capitalist democracy is planted, this system will take root. And it’s a wonderful system. After all, look what it’s done for us.

28 comments:

ben said...

"It takes a village to bilk a child."

A perfect line.

Thanks for your clarity of thought.

If you develop this further, you may want to look at how the women's lib movement was also a necessary development of capitalism (it comes as a shock to them I know). Encouraging women to leave the home for the workplace had the disasterous effect of lowering wages as the labor pool increased too quickly and delaying marriage and childbearing so that a career might be pursued instead. This lead to a protracted adolescence for both men and women that commonly lasts well into the 30's now and is in some cases carried on indefinitely. The success of womens liberation has functionally expanded the age bracket that is most easily marketed to.

My expectation is that as the birth rate goes down, the protracted adolescence of the 20s and 30s will expand into the 40s and 50s to compensate. Having an lack of actual teenagers will encourage older people to act like them. Sombody has to buy MTV.

Jordan Potter said...

This from Frederica Mathewes-Green seems pretty relevant:

http://catholiceducation.org/articles/civilization/cc0183.html

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Thanks, Ben and Jordan, for your insightful remarks.

I was unaware of the First Things article. Hmmm... Maybe I should have submitted this one to Fr. Neuhaus. :)

salvage said...

This is a joke right? You're trying for some sort of Swiftian satire yeah? Because what you're saying makes no sense at all. For example:

“It is nearly impossible to separate a mature, stable adult from his money.”

This simply isn't true unless nearly impossible means "happens every second of every day". Stable = mortgage, household, taxes, groceries and a zillion other expenses that get paid, why? Because they’re stable.

"since small children interfere with the formation of this attitude"

Uh this is exactly wrong; anyone who knows anything about marketing knows that children drive parents to all sorts of stupid spending. An hour in any cereal aisle in any supermarket will confirm this. While parents have different and more practical spending patterns they end up spending far more than childless folks. Kids are the priciest toy anyone could buy.

Oh and the Patton quote is "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." and in your context it makes not a lick of sense.

Please tell me that you know all this and this whole thing is a gag otherwise, dude, get some schooling before you write anything else.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Salvage, you need to think things through a bit. Yes, people who are physically adult are separated from their money every second of the day, but that doesn't mean these physical adults are emotionally stable, mature adults. Indeed, the evidence before our eyes is precisely that most American adults are neither stable nor mature.

I have three children, with a fourth on the way. They do not drive us to make extraneous purchases largely because we limit their access to the immaturity machine which is the modern advertising culture. Insofar as they have access (watching "The Incredibles" or "Buzz Lightyear"), they ask us for stuff. Insofar as they don't (I don't think any of them could identify Mickey Mouse, for instance), they don't.

I walk with my children in perfect equanimity down the cereal aisle every week because the children have never seen a television commercial. They don't know or care what is in the boxes.

They haven't been taught to enhance their natural greed by slick advertisers, while we have worked hard to stamp down the natural greed they do display.

In short, advertisers attempts to use children to pressure parents only work if the parents are already immature themselves.

But advertisers understand that children are a double-edged sword. It's easier to get a single person to impulse buy than it is to get a parent to impulse buy.

All you've done is bring forward evidence proving what I've said: the culture is built to create needy, whiny children in adult bodies.

salvage said...

Oh.

So it wasn't a clever satire, your thesis is based on your experience as a parent.

I see. That’s uh quite the research for such broad sweeping generalizations.

Here’s the thing, your kids and home situation do no necessarily reflect the rest of the cultures’. Your arrogance; “I walk with my children in perfect equanimity down the cereal aisle” (I can practically hear the sniff in your voice) is cute and as someone who despises unruly kids and the parents that are numb to their rotten spawn’s movie theatre / restaurant / mall screeching and scurrying I appreciate your von Trapp style parenting. Continue to keep them in lockstep please, I do value that and wish more parents would approach raising kids with the Skinner mentality. And if anyone tells you that there’s a good chance it’s all going to blow up in your face when one of them hits the teens and starts to rebel you just ignore them and tighten those reins. Raising kids and training dogs, the only difference is the food quality. Make sure they’re as isolated from the rest of the herd as possible. When they come out into the light, blinking and confused their purity will be all the social skills and knowledge they’ll need.

However in the real world your theories are ludicrous. While our culture has needy, whiny children in adult bodies they are certainly not the norm. There are plenty of stable single types who are not Madison Avenue slaves. You are simply trying to present your lifestyle as the correct one while disparaging others with logic so pretzeled and thinking so spurious that the only correct response is to point and laugh.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Salvage, you amuse me. :)

Most people insist we must have animal sanctuaries, places where animals can live and grow undisturbed by the ravages of man. Yet any parent who tries to create a child sanctuary - a place where a child might grow strong before venturing into the ravenous world - is Skinnerian and soft-headed.

"Protect the spotted owl, but offer the tender flesh of your child up to us!"

The public school was created using the argument that it would protect children from the ravages of the factory. Now immature people get upset when parents decide to protect their children from the public schools.

"It was good enough for us," they shout. "This is the real world! Me! I'm the real world!"

They seem upset when mature adults point out that entire lives are lived by most of the people on the planet without their ever coming into contact with "the real world." There's more to life than MTV.

chris_tkd said...

Wow, have you ever noticed that people who excoriate others' child rearing skills are usually those who have never met said offender? Hell, the anonymity of the computer screen makes the tirade all the easier. Frankly, I have met Steve and Veronica's children and they are rather well behaved despite not watching TV every day. That being said, they travel in anything but "lock step"! ;)

Also, they're not as great as my own daughter, but hey, who is?

Pax,

Chris

ben said...

Salvage said:

"You are simply trying to present your lifestyle as the correct one..."

Yep, I'd say we ought to try and be more like Steve. But that's because he is trying to be like Christ.

That is what Christianity is all about you know. It is a plan for living in eternity. Take up your cross and follow.

I'll also second the recomendation on the Matthewes-Green article. It is the best thing I'e ever seen from her.

salvage said...

>>Salvage, you amuse me. :)

It’s what I do.

>>Most people insist we must have animal sanctuaries…

>>"Protect the spotted owl, but offer the tender flesh of your child up to us!"

Um are you suggesting that children are animals? No problem if you are, I think 90% of them are beasts myself, it’s just a little surprising to hear you say is all. Otherwise that makes as much sense as your mangled Patton quote.

>>The public school was created using the argument that it would protect children from the ravages of the factory.

It’s not a good argument? It didn’t protect the children and improve society both in the short and long term?

>Now immature people get upset when parents decide to protect their children from the public schools.

Upset? Oh heck no, I love the whole home schooling thing, partly because it frees up some PS resources but mostly because it’s really funny that parents think they can teach everything that the two dozen teachers, hundreds of classmates and 6-10 years of vital life experience do for regular children. I am also looking forward to the books and studies that will be coming out on the subject twenty years from now. I know it’s screwing the kids up but in what way and how badly is what I want to know.

>They seem upset when mature adults point out that entire lives are lived by most of the people on the planet without their ever coming into contact with "the real world." There's more to life than MTV.

No, not upset, I don’t give a tinker’s dam what you or others do with their kids, home school, sell them to Gypsies, make them Young Republicans, whatever. Don’t care. One of the many reasons I plan to never have children is that I have no idea how to raise them well, considering how many jerkfaces I run into each day I doubt many people do.

My main point is that your essay is silly; you are talking about your own personal experiences and extrapolating them into some sort of generalization with thinking so Voodoo it should be trying to kill James Bond.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Salvage, I've taught in both the public and the private schools. I took the time to get a teaching certificate after my four-year degree in computer science and before my two graduate degrees.

Did you know that education majors have the lowest SAT and ACT scores of all college graduates across the board? Likewise, graduate students in education have the lowest GRE scores.

I have four degrees in four different subjects (medical lab technology, computer science, history and theology) and can attest that the education courses I took for certification were the most useless of all the courses I ever took.

I personally knew a person who got a Ph.D. in education for work that was nearly identical to what I did when I was an undergraduate computer science student (it was a really weak piece of statistical analysis).

In short, the best thing you can do for your child is to keep them away from the hacks in public school.

So far, all you've done is prove the accuracy of the essay.

Jordan Potter said...

"Salvage" strikes me as nothing other than a living, breathing illustration of just what Steve was talking about in his essay. He or she seem no more aware of the pernicious elements of the current culture than a fish is of water. Case in point: the way "Salvage" seems to think that depriving children of television and commercials is almost a form of child abuse. (Not that "Salvage" is necessarily concerned for the welfare of children, who are "the priciest toy anyone can buy" and not something "Salvage" ever intends to have. And somehow I doubt he or she is entering religion and soon to profess vows of celibacy either. . .)

Anyway, I know Steve and his wife and kids too, and they're anything but tyrants or control freaks with their little ones. Steve and Veronica are very warm, loving, and fun parents -- affectionate, yes, but they are their children's parents, not their buddies or merely their playmates. I have no doubt that they'll adequately prepare their children to cope with the harsh and ugly realities of our unbalanced, unhealthy anti-child/anti-family culture.

salvage said...

>> (medical lab technology, computer science, history and theology

Yes and that’s all your kids will ever have to know! They are so set for life! Hmm I wonder how much theology they get. (And tell me; is it evolution or Intelligent Design?) And those lessons that kids learn in the school yard and hallways, they’ll be fine without ‘em. Like how to deal with bullies, how to build up the ego shields, how to spot the liars and scammers, how to interact with strange authority figures, hone instincts, throw / catch a football etc. those are all highly overrated. When your kids get out from under your safe warm wing and into university, offices or whatever they’ll be able to suss all that stuff out from your lessons on medical lab technology. Well the world needs victims as well as ditch diggers I suppose.

Um have you noticed you’re deeply arrogant?

We live in a wildly prosperous society (the most in history, we make the Romans look like ditch digging mongoloids) because of our focus on education and folks like you want to stunt it. And you think you can do better because you have knowledge of a few facets of an infinite world of experiences? Now that takes ego on the Trump scale.

>>In short, the best thing you can do for your child is to keep them away from the hacks in public school.

Yeah, hacks who have taught kids who went on to the moon, Microsoft and all the other failures of the last 80 years or so. Oh Public School when will you learn? You can’t replace two parents in a garage.

>>So far, all you've done is prove the accuracy of the essay.

Um no, not really, it would take a warping of reality akin to a plot device in a Star Trek episode to do that. I hope your wife teaches the cognitive thinking lesson to the tykes.

But please tell me how I’ve done that.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

"Like how to deal with bullies, how to build up the ego shields, how to spot the liars and scammers, how to interact with strange authority figures, hone instincts, throw / catch a football etc."

Dealing with bullies and ego shields? They deal with their siblings every day. That more than suffices.

Liars, scammers and strange authority figures are easily introduced via studying MSM.

Homeschooled children engage in more social activities than their mass schooled counterparts because they have more time.

You are clearly not acquainted with either the mass school environment or the home school environment.

And the beautiful thing about being a mature adult is this: if I want to learn how to teach my child about a subject, I just read a book on it. Or we read a book together - that's all education is, after all.

You honestly don't comprehend self-directed education, but there really isn't any other kind.

Jordan Potter said...

"is it evolution or Intelligent Design?"

Ah, yet another ignorant, misinformed soul who thinks Intellignet Design and evolutionary biology are incompatible. . . .

Jordan Potter said...

Or "Intelligent" Design. Whichever spelling your fingers prefer . . .

madjoey said...

You honestly don't comprehend self-directed education, but there really isn't any other kind.

Yes, there is -- it's called the Socratic method. It means you go out into the world, find some people who know more about the topic than you do, and you participate in an inquiry with them. Through their mastery you see where your gaps are, and you learn. There are two problems with your educational method, Steve:

1) You assume that you know enough about any topic to be a master to your children, and

2) When you go find that book from which you and your kids will learn, your biases will direct you towards a source that reinforces what you think you already know, rather than the most authoritative sources -- or those you would consider controversial or even "wrong."

But then, you don't have biases, do you? You have access to The Truth, so the Socratic method wouldn't yield any fruit.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Madjoey,

The very fact that someone is seeking a Socratic teacher means they are self-directed. Socrates didn't take attendance, didn't grade at all (much less on a curve) and didn't use textbooks.

You assume that the teachers in the classrooms are masters at their subjects. That's grossly inaccurate at the grade school and middle school level and generally inaccurate at the high school level. There are even cases where it is inaccurate at the college level.

People write books. Insofar as anyone is taught by a person, whether via book or lecture, they will be exposed to bias. So?

Look, I have written a book on education which is coming out in the next couple of weeks (it finally made it to the proof stage at the printer's). The mass school system that we are all acquainted with has only been around about a century. It has a lousy track record. Almost none of the great thinkers of recorded history ever attended a mass school - most were homeschooled.

You have no sense of the past, so you labor under the tyranny of the present.

madjoey said...

People write books. Insofar as anyone is taught by a person, whether via book or lecture, they will be exposed to bias. So?

So, it's a heck of a lot easier to gloss over bias (or, more accurately, to be blind to bias because it's validation of your current belief) if your source is a book selected from your Renew America book-of-the-month club than if that source is a human being, standing in front of you and pressing in on your rarely-challenged assumptions.

Look, I have written a book on education which is coming out in the next couple of weeks... The mass school system that we are all acquainted with has only been around about a century. It has a lousy track record.

Agreed. If you're allowing us a peek, what does your book offer as a solution?

Almost none of the great thinkers of recorded history ever attended a mass school - most were homeschooled.

I went through Wikipedia's list of polymaths and randomly selected 15 Renaissance and Enlightenment geniuses. I counted 5 who were "homeschooled". And I counted zero whose genius flowered in solitude; all expanded significantly once they entered the market of free ideas. So: No pass on your assertion. (Heck, even Jesus Christ sharpened his skills arguing with the rabbis and Pharisees!)

You have no sense of the past, so you labor under the tyranny of the present.

Sorry, I left my decoder ring at home today; can you tell me what the "tyranny of the present" is?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Commentators such as Neil Postman would argue exactly the opposite - it is more difficult to gloss over the problems in a book's presentation precisely because the written word can be studied at leisure, while the spoken word is ephemeral and easily inflames emotion, not logic.

Indeed, Plato records Socrates as disparaging rhetoricians for precisely this reason.

As for the rest of your response:
1) If you count Wikipedia as a reputable source, that tells me something about your level of scholarship.
2) Since mass compulsory schooling didn't exist in the West prior to 1850, your argument that anyone from Middle Ages' Western Europe being subject to its vagaries is absurd.

This is particularly true when one remembers that men and women were adults by age 12 or 14 for all intents and purposes in pre-industrial societies. Thus, you are pointing to examples of adults learning from other adults, you are not pointing to examples of children being schooled (as opposed to being educated).

salvage said...

>Dealing with bullies and ego shields? They deal with their siblings every day. That more than suffices.
Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh yes, an older brother’s noogie at home is like being slammed into a locker while defending your lunch from some held-back pituitary gland mutant or handling a sarcastic teacher’s shredding of your homework in front of the whole class. They are harsh lessons but ones that forge an inner strength and resilience that get you through the real tough times that life can fling your way. That’s the beauty of the crucible that public school really is, the school yard is where you learn so many important lessons, stuff that only a hate and anger filled moronic scumbag can teach (but it’s so sweet getting them to pump your gas ten years down the road, “Remember me? Clean the tires, I just drove over a cow herd.”). Loving parents couldn’t even begin to offer those types of lessons. And they’re like measles and mumps, so much healthier to get them when you’re young, learning them when your older can be crippling.

>Liars, scammers and strange authority figures are easily introduced via studying MSM.
Oh dear, so you have your kids watch Fox? Pray to your sky god for their souls.

>Homeschooled children engage in more social activities than their mass schooled counterparts because they have more time.
Uh huh, I’m sure the dance in the basement is the social event of the season, me I’m glad I par-tayed out of the house. More time doesn’t help when you have fewer friends and opportunities to make ‘em. And let me guess, they hang with other home schooled spawn? Wouldn’t want any cross pollination corruption with the masses?

>And the beautiful thing about being a mature adult is this: if I want to learn how to teach my child about a subject, I just read a book on it. Or we read a book together - that's all education is, after all.
Uh huh. So your reading one book = a teacher who has taught that subject for ten-twenty years? Remarkable the depth of your ego, don’t teach them economics, outsource that one please your observations on capitalism are.. er novel.

And you didn’t answer the question; I’ll try again, when teaching your kids Earth science you tell them the planet is:
6,000 - 8,000 years old because that’s what the Bible math says
Or
Millions of years because that’s what those silly public schooled scientists say?
I’m not going to turn this into a tired debate about science v. religion, I’d sooner argue the tusks off a walrus, I’m just curious about your curriculum.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Salvage, the point of being a Christian parent is not to teach your children how sweet life's revenges can be, but to avoid wanting revenge at all.

Handling getting slammed into a locker is a fairly unique life skill. Most teenagers don't experience it, and even those who do only live through it for four to six years, maximum. There is no point in training a child to handle something that makes up such a small part of life if you can simply avoid the experience altogether.

Now, I'm sure it can contribute to growth, just as having both hands amputated could do so. But I wouldn't cut my children's hands off simply to teach them how to handle adversity, so why expose them to this?

We don't have a television set. Again, why get involved with something which makes up such a small part of a well-lived life?

Homeschooled children make friends with other children the same way anyone does - you meet people you like, you interact with them. It's kind of a grown-up thing.

When I said "read a book", I assumed you understood this meant a range of books touching on the subject would be read and considered. I'm sorry to hear this has to be spelled out.

I am not a proponent of a six-day creation or a 6000 year old earth. Scripture describes our relationship with God, not our relationship with rocks.

salvage said...

>Salvage, the point of being a Christian parent is not to teach your children how sweet life's revenges can be, but to avoid wanting revenge at all.

Oh avoiding the want is good, I practice the same philosophy myself however when it lands in your lap from happenstance, well gift horses and mouths and all that. (I didn’t drive through cows, I just laughed quietly to myself as the terror of my high school brought me my change and free Snicker’s bar. He was also balding, good living is really the best revenge.)

>Handling getting slammed into a locker is a fairly unique life skill. Most teenagers don't experience it, and even those who do only live through it for four to six years, maximum. There is no point in training a child to handle something that makes up such a small part of life if you can simply avoid the experience altogether.

Hmm conflict is a small part of life? You must live in a very nice world, I’m guessing gumdrops grow on trees and fluffy bunnies deliver pizza?
However your ‘tude reminds me of a bit from “Saving Nemo”:

Marlin : I promised I'd never let anything happen to him.
Dory : Hmm. That's a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory : Well you can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.

You can’t avoid the bully any more than you can dodge bad weather or taxes. The older you get the more subtle the bully’s technique but the overall effect remains. Sometimes he ends up pumping your gas, sometimes he moves in next door and sometimes he’s the CEO. The schoolyard is a microcosm of the adult world, it’s the testing ground for life later challenges when the stakes are much higher.

>Now, I'm sure it can contribute to growth, just as having both hands amputated could do so. But I wouldn't cut my children's hands off simply to teach them how to handle adversity, so why expose them to this?

You really need to think your metaphors out a bit more. Getting one’s limbs loped off in this day and age is a rare event (well outside Saudi Arabia that is) but adversity both physical and mental is daily. How we react and deal with it is what makes us good and or bad. Such important lessons need to be taught early I think and they can’t be explained, they must be experienced. But then again you seem to live on the same street as the Brady Bunch so maybe not for everyone.

>We don't have a television set. Again, why get involved with something which makes up such a small part of a well-lived life?

That’s a good idea, if I had kids I’d do the same, my parents limited TV (four channels, three if it was a cloudy day) but went overboard with books (I was reading at a university level by grade three, when I hit high school I was explaining Animal Farm and 1984 to the teacher who didn’t get the historical allegories oddly I still flunked out by grade 10… yes around the time I discovered drugs, a coinkydink I assure you).

>Homeschooled children make friends with other children the same way anyone does - you meet people you like, you interact with them. It's kind of a grown-up thing.

Yeah, and that’d be who? The mailman? The unemployed philosophy major next door? The caged feral children from across the way?

>When I said "read a book", I assumed you understood this meant a range of books touching on the subject would be read and considered. I'm sorry to hear this has to be spelled out.

Ah, so you read what? Three? Four? Six? And you still think that’s equal to forty to fifty teachers also reading those books and more for ten to twenty years? Not to mention the interaction of other students and the views they bring to the overall study? Are you a brain in a jar attached to a keyboard? Cuz I’m thinking that’s pretty much what you’d have to be to equal some 200 years of teaching experience.

>I am not a proponent of a six-day creation or a 6000 year old earth. Scripture describes our relationship with God, not our relationship with rocks.

That is a relief.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

"The schoolyard is a microcosm of the adult world, it’s the testing ground for life later challenges when the stakes are much higher."

Thank you for proving my point. In a world where everyone is adolescent, the schoolyard might arguably be a microcosm of the adult world. Your argument is actually quite strong, given our current situation. But you forget a few simple facts.

For most of human history, there was no schoolyard. Oddly enough, people still grew up knowing about bullies and how to handle them. The schoolyard is not necessary to learning adult lifeskills.

You likewise seem completely unacquainted with most grade school and high school teachers. By and large, they don't read books in their field and haven't since they graduated. For heaven's sake, grade school teachers don't even *HAVE* a field of knowledge. They teach a child how to read and do simple math, and that's pretty much it. I know. I've taught in a grade school. I worked with these people.

High school teachers spend most of their day grading papers and dealing with life - they have as much time to read books as anyone working 60 hours a week. I know. I've taught in a high school. I worked with these people too. They have their lecture outlines and their favorite textbooks, they teach the same thing every year; they don't need to read outside so they don't.

College teachers are the only ones who read in their field, but what of it? I don't know any homeschoolers who try to teach college at home. 80% of homeschoolers only bother with it up through about 8th grade, everybody opts out of homeschooling by the time the kids reach college age.

You keep pretending that college professors and middle school teachers are equally intellectual heavyweights. They aren't. Grade school and high school consists mostly of basic skills that anyone can learn and anyone can teach. This isn't rocket science.

madjoey said...

1) If you count Wikipedia as a reputable source, that tells me something about your level of scholarship.

Scholarship? I'm engaging in some light banter with a homeschooling enthusiast! Wikipedia is convenient, and I happen to believe in its design principle (that a thousand authors will come up with the "authoritative" story far more effectively than one "expert") -- cf Surowiecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds." Wikipedia isn't appropriate for subjective topics like "What's the best way to educate children?"

2) Since mass compulsory schooling didn't exist in the West prior to 1850, your argument that anyone from Middle Ages' Western Europe being subject to its vagaries is absurd.

So educate me. If I'm a burgher in Leipzig in 1820 and I send my 8-year-old to the village school, what will my son learn? How qualified will his teachers be? How will his being bullied in the playground differ? What corrupting influences will he be exposed to? How are the "vagaries" of little Hans' non-compulsory 19th century education differ from what you're trying to protect your own children from?

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Wikipedia doesn't have a thousand authors, it has about seven. Those are the editors who control what goes on a page. Those seven have a particular viewpoint and they push it through the Wikipedia articles.

Anyone who disagrees will find his changes eliminated and himself banned, if he persists. Substantiation of viewpoint via articles, books, etc. is not accepted unless it agrees with the editors' pre-existing views.

For instance, look at the article on pregnancy. Wikipedia insists it begins at implantation and you won't be able to convince them otherwise, despite the fact that every embryology textbook speaks of it beginning at conception, or the fact that the definition was only changed in the last twenty years so as to allow embryonic stem cell research.

My book isn't about education in Leipzig, it's about education in America.

In 1820 America, the school year was roughly six weeks long; those six weeks were not consecutive. Children came to school already knowing how to read and write - they were taught that at home.

A fifth-grader would be reading Shakespeare, Milton, and similar lights. Children attended school for perhaps two years almost never more than four. All ages were taught in the same class with the older ones helping the younger ones. Most of the classmates were related - cousins, brothers, sisters, etc., and they all knew each other before they entered the classroom.

Teachers were men, the school board was composed of local parents. Attendance at school was not compulsory.

Steve Kellmeyer said...

Oh, but I should point something else out. In the Middle Ages, there were no textbooks - no printing press, you see, so no one could afford books or literacy. It was as expensive a hobby as airplane piloting is today.

1820 Leipzig is not the Middle Ages. Leipzig is an interesting case because it is in Saxony. The whole idea of compulsory schooling and the need for advanced degrees comes out of Prussia and is consolidated in Saxony, Brandenburg and surrounding areas during the 1800's.

So addressing the issue of 1820's Saxony schools is a completely different ball of wax than either medieval schools or American schools of the same period.

chris_tkd said...

Salvage said:
"Um have you noticed you’re deeply arrogant?"

To which I reply:
"Nosce te ipsum."

You seem to think that public schools are somehow indispensible to the rearing of well adjusted children. Good luck with all of that. The very environment of mass schooling is artificial and seems to work against a child's maturing into adulthood. Who rreally thnks that by surround an 8 year old with 30 other 8 year olds and one adult the children will be magically transformed into mature adults? Or having to defend themselves from being physically attacked, just like they will be at their jobs? It's laughable. Being surroundeed by people of various ages, including a good number of adults, like homeschoolers are, seems like it would foster maturity much better than being surrounded by peers of one's own age.

Additionally, learning how to deal with bullies is something that a child's father has traditionally been involved in, whether the child is in a public school or not. Parents, being the primary educators of children, have a responsibility to teach them how to deal with life's challenges. But that doesn't mean putting your child in a position where they are more likely to happen is a good thing, especially if they're in physical danger because of it.

BTW, several comments you've made, both about your view of children and just people in general illustrates beautifully the culture of death that John Paul II talked about. Whether or not you accept his belief in God his insight that viewing people as means to ends or simply less than human leads to devastating effects in society is inarguable. It is also an attitude you have demonstrated in your posts. If you're the product of a public school education that's all the more reason to avoid sending my child to one.

Pax,

Chris