Archive for the 'Education' Category
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 4th April 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
In Barak Obama’s resume was a statement that he taught constitutional law as an “adjunct professor” at U of Chicago Law School. I have never considered this to be a major achievement since adjunct professors are not paid and the subject he taught was more related to his other interests. Constitutional law was not one of them.
At the school, Mr. Obama taught three courses, ascending to senior lecturer, a title otherwise carried only by a few federal judges. His most traditional course was in the due process and equal protection areas of constitutional law. His voting rights class traced the evolution of election law, from the disenfranchisement of blacks to contemporary debates over districting and campaign finance. Mr. Obama was so interested in the subject that he helped Richard Pildes, a professor at New York University, develop a leading casebook in the field.
His most original course, a historical and political seminar as much as a legal one, was on racism and law. Mr. Obama improvised his own textbook, including classic cases like Brown v. Board of Education, and essays by Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Dubois, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, as well as conservative thinkers like Robert H. Bork.
Mr. Obama was especially eager for his charges to understand the horrors of the past, students say. He assigned a 1919 catalog of lynching victims, including some who were first raped or stripped of their ears and fingers, others who were pregnant or lynched with their children, and some whose charred bodies were sold off, bone fragment by bone fragment, to gawkers…
Should we be surprised at his knowledge, or lack of it, on the basics of constitutional law ? Even his attempt to correct his clueless comments about judicial review are incoherent
Apparently unaware of the most basic principles of constitutional law, going back to Marbury v. Madison in 1803, he said:
I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.
And I — I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint; that, uhhh, an unelected, uhhh, group of — of people would somehow overturn, uhhh, a duly constituted and — and passed, uh, law. Uh, well, uh, uh, is a good example. Uhh, and I’m pretty confident that this, — this court will recognize that, uh, and not take that step.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals responded
Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented — since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional. The three-judge appellate court appears to be asking the administration to admit that basic premise — despite the president’s remarks that implied the contrary. The panel ordered the Justice Department to submit a three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday addressing whether the Executive Branch believes courts have such power, the lawyer said.
Marbury vs Madison is one of the oldest and most basic cases that would be studied by a law student interested in Constitutional Law. The fact that our president does not know this ranks with his comments on speaking “Austrian” in Austria and his estimation of the number of US states.
Is he really this dim ? Did Harvard turn out this affirmative action dullard and inflict him on the country ?
Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Education, Law, Leftism, Politics, Predictions | 18 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 28th March 2012 (All posts by Jonathan)
From an interview of Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former head of the Romanian intelligence service under Ceausescu, by Madeleine Simon:
14. Since coming to America, what most positively surprised you about the country, and what has most negatively surprised you?
What most negatively surprised me? A 2008 Rasmussen poll showing that only 53% of Americans preferred capitalism to socialism. There seems to be a new generation of American young people who have no longer been taught real history in school, who know little if anything about the destructive power of Marxism — a sinister plague that dispossessed a third of the world’s population and killed some 94 million people — and who believe that a socialist utopia would solve everything in the world.
Posted in Education, Leftism, Quotations | 8 Comments »
Posted by Ginny on 12th March 2012 (All posts by Ginny)
Brief Note: So, I’m grading intro to lit papers. I don’t mind so much because the class is unusually good this semester and the books they chose are ones that interest me – as well as interest them. One of my students has been, in my opinion, led astray by the famous Achebe essay that simplifies Conrad. He is eating it up – in fact, his conclusion is that the Bible’s message (and I guess Achebe’s and what Conrad’s should have been) is that we should never judge anyone else. But in the midst of the paper is this interesting observation: “As most people would agree, he who has the gold makes the rules, and so wealthier nations are looking at having the correct ideas of culture because they are thriving more than other cultures. I think the line is drawn between people that are in pursuit of money, power, and sex versus people in pursuit of survival.”
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Posted in Academia, Christianity, Civil Society, Education, Personal Narrative | 10 Comments »
Posted by TM Lutas on 7th March 2012 (All posts by TM Lutas)
As if we needed something more to raise our concerns about our children’s education comes a blog post from the belly of the beast of math textbook creation.
Be afraid, be very afraid. It’s like reading reports about Big 3 auto operations right as the Japanese started cleaning their clocks.
There may be a reason you can’t figure out some of those math problems in your son or daughter’s math text and it might have nothing at all to do with you. That math homework you’re trying to help your child muddle through might include problems with no possible solution. It could be that key information or steps are missing, that the problem involves a concept your child hasn’t yet been introduced to, or that the math problem is structurally unsound for a host of other reasons.
It’s enough to make you a bit ill about what we’re subjecting our kids to.
Posted in Big Government, Education | 9 Comments »
Posted by Bruno Behrend on 22nd February 2012 (All posts by Bruno Behrend)
Last Sunday’s New York Times had an article highlighting the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system being put in place in Tennessee. The system is part of the Race-to-the-Top attempt to drive education reform in the states by dangling federal cash for reforms.
As you read the article, you should begin to realize why “reform” fails and why many people in both the Government Education Complex and Education Transformation* movement find these rules so absurd.
There simply is no way that a federal bureaucracy (or any bureaucracy, for that matter) can devise a unified system of teacher evaluation. There are too many variables, and teachers are correct to be skeptical of this top-down approach to their craft.
For example, the first few paragraphs of the article expose the unworkable nature of the evaluation process.
Steve Ball, executive principal at the East Literature Magnet School in Nashville, arrived at an English class unannounced one day this month and spent 60 minutes taking copious notes as he watched the teacher introduce and explain the concept of irony. “It was a good lesson,” Mr. Ball said.
But under Tennessee’s new teacher-evaluation system, which is similar to systems being adopted around the country, Mr. Ball said he had to give the teacher a one — the lowest rating on a five-point scale — in one of 12 categories: breaking students into groups.** Even though Mr. Ball had seen the same teacher, a successful veteran he declined to identify, group students effectively on other occasions, he felt that he had no choice but to follow the strict guidelines of the state’s complicated rubric.
“It’s not an accurate reflection of her as a teacher,” Mr. Ball said.
What a shock. A principal knows his teachers better than the federalized check list. Wonders never cease.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Education, Unions | 18 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 21st February 2012 (All posts by David Foster)
Nothing is so unsettling to a social order as the presence of a mass of scribes without suitable employment and an acknowledged status…The explosive component in the contemporary scene is not the clamor of the masses but the self-righteous claims of a multitude of graduates from schools and universities. This army of scribes is clamoring for a society in which planning, regulation, and supervision are paramount and the prerogative of the educated. They hanker for the scribe’s golden age, for a return to something like the scribe-dominated societies of ancient Egypt, China, and the Europe of the Middle Ages. There is little doubt that the present trend in the new and renovated countries toward social regimentation stems partly from the need to create adequate employment for a large number of scribes…Obviously, a high ratio between the supervisory and the productive force spells economic inefficiency. Yet where social stability is an overriding need the economic waste involved in providing suitable positions for the educated might be an element of social efficiency.
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Posted in Academia, Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Education, Political Philosophy | 3 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 10th February 2012 (All posts by Jonathan)
Most of the time, the farther Left I look on the continuum of political opinions, the more I see people who do not reason well or are ignorant about history. Maybe I am overgeneralizing from my own experience. Most of the conservatives and libertarians I meet seem to have coherent worldviews even if I don’t always agree with them. A much larger fraction of the leftists I meet seem to have incoherent worldviews in which issues that I see as related exist as unconnected islands, or in which events that I see as consistent with spontaneous order and feedback mechanisms are seen as manifestations of conspiracy.
Perhaps the “Screwed Generation” would have benefited from better education. Perhaps they will learn from experience.
Posted in Education, Leftism, Personal Narrative, Political Philosophy | 8 Comments »
Posted by onparkstreet on 8th February 2012 (All posts by onparkstreet)
-from SHOTS, NPR’s Health Care Blog:
Health care reform is no laughing matter, but MIT economist Jonathan Gruber’s new comic book on the subject aims to communicate some pretty complicated policy details in a way that, if not exactly side-splitting, is at least engaging.
In Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It’s Necessary, How It Works, Gruber steps into the pages of a comic book to guide readers through many of the major elements of the law, including the individual mandate to buy insurance, the health insurance exchanges where people will be able to buy coverage starting in 2014 and how the law tackles controlling health care costs.
I draw your attention to another graphic novel: The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation.
While I was buying a copy of Persepolis from a real-life book store a few years ago, a young woman at the sales counter mentioned that there was a “great” graphic novel about North Korea that I might like. I’m not a graphic novel reader and I think Persepolis is it for me unless I decide to review the health care book, but it interested me that she seemed so enthusiastic about the topic of North Korea and graphic novels. I guess it makes sense given our “information overload” society. I don’t know. Why not look for clarity?
PS: Linking is not endorsement and all that.
PPS: What’s the “all that” about? Eh, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for the past week or so and my blogging has been pretty terrible because of it. I linked the health care graphic novel because it amused me, not because I am simpatico with the message. I think you all knew that already….
Posted in Arts & Letters, Big Government, Bioethics, Book Notes, Business, Economics & Finance, Education, Media, Medicine, Military Affairs, Miscellaneous, National Security, Politics, Science, Society | Comments Off
Posted by David Foster on 6th February 2012 (All posts by David Foster)
The IRS has a proposed new regulation which would prohibit charter-school teachers from participating in state retirement plans. (At present, all of the states which authorize charter schools permit, and in some cases require, the charter-school teachers to participate in these plans.) Furthermore, the new regulation would apparently apply retroactively and would cause the teachers to lose the state contributions to their accounts which have been accrued, and on which they were no doubt relying, unless they give up their employment. More here.
Today, February 6, is the last day for public comments on this issue under IRS procedures.
Posted in Education, Politics, Taxes | 16 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 5th January 2012 (All posts by David Foster)
A 16-year-old girl in Florida parked in the wrong space, had her car keyed, suspected another girl, and posted on her own Facebook page the following:
oh so you keyed my car? well your karmas gonna be a wholeee lot worse that that
The next day, school officials suspended her for three days–and a criminal charge of “stalking” was brought against her by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department
As Scott Greenfield says:
To call the arrest of Allie Scott crazy is to state the obvious. That both a school district and a sheriff’s office would nonetheless indulge in such insanity is the piece that would make a good subject for Kafka.
Other incidents of Kafkaesque abuse of authority by public school officials and local police departments are easy to find.
For most of history, in most places in the world, people have lived in fear of The Authorities. For a couple of centuries, that fear was largely lifted (with certain obvious exceptions) in the territory of The United States of America. Now, as a result of the endless expansion of governmental powers and the political and administrative arrogance which have inevitably followed, it is returning. The American populace is being collectively cowed.
See my related posts zero tolerance-zero judgment-zero compassion and Philip Queeg Public High School.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Education, USA | 15 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 3rd December 2011 (All posts by Lexington Green)
The Mens Leadership Forum of Chicago will present Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Josiah Bunting III (Also here.) on December 9, 2011. He will be speaking on the topic of American Leadership, which in this context will mean leadership as personally exemplified by individual Americans over our history. He will address the question: how did certain earlier American generations produced cohorts of enormously capable leaders at the national level, and why we do not. One of the generations he will talk about is the generation that led the so-called Greatest Generation: Truman, FDR, Mac Arthur, Marshall, and Eisenhower. The meeting commences at 7:30 a.m., at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe. The breakfast is always good there. Register here. I have read his book An Education for Our Time, which was interesting. (See this review of the book). I hope many of you will attend.
Posted in Announcements, Arts & Letters, Biography, Book Notes, Education, USA | 9 Comments »
Posted by Shannon Love on 30th November 2011 (All posts by Shannon Love)
So, Bill Ayers himself admits that Obama began his political career in Ayers’s living room.
Some people owe me an apology.
Ayers, you may recall, is the leftist intellectual’s Timothy McVeigh (without McVeigh’s murderous competence). The comparison to McVeigh is not hyperbole. The psychology of political terrorists has been well studied by many people in many different countries. All studies conclude that such terrorists are megalomaniacal sociopaths who latch on to the most visible political movement of their time and location and then use that movement’s ideology to justify their crimes. They don’t actually care about the good the ideology purports to accomplish.
Instead, they care about exploiting the ideology to advance their own interest. The ideology merely justifies their sociopathic vainglory. The strategy behind both Ayers’s and McVeigh’s terrorism was to trigger a broad-based political upheaval that would leave individuals such as Ayers and McVeigh on top of society. They rationalized that by killing they could make themselves the pebble that starts the political avalanche. They desperately convinced themselves that they could murder their way to the top like Lenin or Mao.
Ayers never cared about all the things that contemporary leftists care about, and he never will. He doesn’t care about anybody or anything other than himself (although, like all sociopaths, he is very good at convincing people he does). Ayers isn’t a basically good person who went too far in advancing a good cause, he’s just evil. In another era, he would have killed for right-wing causes just as readily.
This makes the contemporary Left’s continuing embrace of Ayers, Dorn and other Weatherman sociopaths even more disturbing. They simply don’t care what these sociopaths did nor what they continue to profess. (Ayers has never recanted his terrorism and even let himself be photographed trampling an American flag in a grimy alley for a NY Times story published on 9/11.) Neither are leftists concerned in the least that such an individual moved in the same small political circle and continually interacted with the person who is currently the President of the United States. Neither are they concerned that Ayers et al all heartily approve of Obama.
Worst of all, they are utterly unconcerned that Ayers is a prominent national educator with significant influence on the K-12 education of America’s children. In the video where he makes his admission, he is speaking to a group of teachers unionists and urging them to corruptly use their positions of trust as educators of children to advance Ayers’s political agenda. The audience has no problem with doing just that.
I really think that someone in the Chicago area needs to crowd source the tracking of Ayers and to publicly link him to every group or policy he adopts. The hardcore Left doesn’t care about Ayers’s sociopathy and murderous megalomania but I imagine others will.
Posted in Academia, Anti-Americanism, Education, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics | 9 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 20th November 2011 (All posts by David Foster)
About a week ago Instapundit linked this Wikipedia article about the higher-education bubble, noting especially the point that William Bennett predicted the bubble back in 1987. The post reminded me of some interesting and rather prescient comments that Peter Drucker made about education in his 1969 book The Age of Discontinuity. A few excerpts:
Resources and expectations:
Education has become by far the largest community expenditure in the American economy…Teachers of all kinds, now the largest single occupational group in the American labor force, outnumber by a good margin steelworkers, teamsters and salespeople, indeed even farmers…Education has become the key to opportunity and advancement all over the modern world, replacing birth, wealth, and perhaps even talent. Education has become the first value choice of modern man.
This is success such as no schoolmaster through the ages would have dared dream of…Signs abound that all is not well with education. While expenditures have been skyrocketing–and will keep on going up–the taxpayers are getting visibly restless.
Credentials and social mobility:
The most serious impact of the long years of schooling is, however, the “diploma curtain” between those with degrees and those without. It threatens to cut society in two for the first time in American history…By denying opportunity to those without higher education, we are denying access to contribution and performance to a large number of people of superior ability, intelligence, and capacity to achieve…I expect, within ten years or so, to see a proposal before one of our state legislatures or up for referendum to ban, on applications for employment, all questions related to educational status…I, for one, shall vote for this proposal if I can.
Dangers of “elite” universities:
One thing it (modern society) cannot afford in education is the “elite institution” which has a monopoly on social standing, on prestige, and on the command positions in society and economy. Oxford and Cambridge are important reasons for the English brain drain. A main reason for the technology gap is the Grande Ecole such as the Ecole Polytechnique or the Ecole Normale. These elite institutions may do a magnificent job of education, but only their graduates normally get into the command positions. Only their faculties “matter.” This restricts and impoverishes the whole society…The Harvard Law School might like to be a Grande Ecole and to claim for its graduates a preferential position. But American society has never been willing to accept this claim…
It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the strength of American higher education lies in this absence of schools for leaders and schools for followers. It is almost impossible to explain to a European that the engineer with a degree from North Idaho A. and M. is an engineer and not a draftsman. Yet this is the flexibility Europe needs in order to overcome the brain drain and to close the technology gap.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Academia, Book Notes, Britain, China, Education, Europe, France, Science, Society, USA | 29 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 13th November 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
That is the sarcastic answer to an ancient question lately revised in the matter of the Penn State University athletic department having enabled a coach to serially molest young boys for decades – the question being, ‘How you separate the men from the boys at ____?’ Understandably, a large portion of the public is upset to furious about this, and those who are Penn grads and/or college football fans, and/or Joe Paterno fans are particularly distressed and/or seriously disillusioned.
The very saddest outcome from this appalling state of matters is something that I had meditated upon five years ago, when it was the matter of the Capitol Hill pages and a one Representative Mark Foley, who was forced to resign once his apparent inability to keep his hands, metaphorically speaking, off the junior staff became public knowledge outside Washington.
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Posted in Academia, Crime and Punishment, Education, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, North America, The Press | 7 Comments »
Posted by Shannon Love on 8th November 2011 (All posts by Shannon Love)
Following on my previous post on the “We are the 99%” people who seem to view education as more ritual than the acquisition of practical skills or knowledge, it occurred to me that many of these young people may not understand that they aren’t really, despite the time and money spent, actually educated.
The liberal arts of today are those fields with little or no empiricism. In other words, if the field doesn’t have a lot of math, the information it deals with is subjective and untestable. Even supposed “soft” sciences in the liberal arts like sociology or psychology lack true scientific rigor. Given that, how do liberal-arts graduates know that they’ve really been taught something worthwhile? How do they know they haven’t been loaded up with gibberish?
For example, I don’t know much about music, so someday I want to take some courses about music. How would I know whether any particular instructor was teaching me anything valid? Since I have no real knowledge about music, how would I know if I was paying someone to fill my head with nonsense?
Some music education would teach concrete skills, e.g., reading music or learning to play an instrument, so I could evaluate whether I had been educated by my ability to read music or play an instrument.
However, what if I spend $50,000 being taught “Music Theory” or “The Sociology of Music“.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Academia, Education, Leftism | 27 Comments »
Posted by Shannon Love on 8th November 2011 (All posts by Shannon Love)
I’ve been reading through the “We Are the 99 Percent” and other related web sites. A constant refrain is that young adults went tens of thousands of dollars into debt for degrees and now they can’t find even minimum wage jobs. I don’t think they really understand the purpose of education.
This one complains that, “I have a Magna Cum Laude BA, and not even the grocery store will hire me.” This one says, “I’m over $100k in student loan debt and my career isn’t even in the field I went into copious amounts of debt over.” This one says, ‘My husband and I both went to college like we were “supposed” to do.’ This one says, “I am 25 yrs old and months away from a master’s degree. My bachelor’s is in literature/9-12 education…Well over $30K in student loan debt.”
Carefully missing from most of the complaints is the type of degree they got, but I think it’s fairly clear that most of these people got liberal-arts degrees. Moreover, there is no evidence that they pursued these degrees with any eye towards practical economic returns for their considerable financial investment.
I really get the sense that many of these people simply don’t understand that an education is supposed to equip you with skills that make you valuable to other people. Instead, I think these kids have somehow got the idea that college is more of a ritual you have to go through, a kind of right of passage, that entitles you to a middle-class or better life-style while pursuing a job you find interesting and emotionally fulfilling.
They’re just shocked and amazed that they’ve gone through all the rituals, got the degrees and the accolades of their professors and nobody out in the real world gives a damn.
We need to think long and hard how so many young people simply don’t understand the purpose of education. Where did they get the idea that a liberal-arts degree automatically entitled them to a middle-class income that could easily pay off tens of thousands in student loans?
I don’t think it was Wall Street.
Posted in Academia, Education, Leftism | 27 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 2nd November 2011 (All posts by David Foster)
A thoughtful piece by Kenneth Anderson.
(Via Maggie’s Farm, from whom the title of this post is lifted)
Posted in Academia, Civil Society, Education, USA | 11 Comments »
Posted by Sgt. Mom on 21st October 2011 (All posts by Sgt. Mom)
Well, following upon da Blogfadda’s tireless coverage of the various implications of the currently about-to-implode higher education bubble, I suppose that I might weigh in on the various merits/demerits of the so-called bubble, and the efficacy of even bothering to attend an institution of so-called higher education, with respect to my current career as a producer of readable genre fiction – which is not as highly-paid as the casual reader is likely to expect, but still . . . that career is underwritten by a pension earned for military service. It’s not the generous pension that I might have earned as a public servant in California as a prison guard or lifeguard, or municipal employee in certain urban sinks . . . but it suffices to pay the mortgage and a little over, since I had the good sense to retire and buy a residence in Texas, fifteen years ago. So, anyway – college education, value of, personal development . . . et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Academia, Arts & Letters, Education | 12 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 15th October 2011 (All posts by Lexington Green)
(This is an update to my previous post on this topic.)
Walter Russell Mead had a typically incisive post about the Occupy movement.
These comments are cruel but accurate:
Occupy Wall Street [looks like] the usual suspects, the kind of people who have been demonstrating for various causes for the last fifty years. Change the signs and to many people these demonstrations could be anti-Iraq war and anti-Bush demonstrations, or any of the other leftie causes going back many years.
From a news point of view this is dog bites man: the usual people are doing the usual things. They are doing it in an unusual place — and over time they may be doing it in unusual numbers. But leftie protests that go nowhere are part of the background noise of modern American life. Drums and granola in the park is not news. Until OWS breaks that mold, expect public interest to remain tepid.
Nonetheless, I left this comment in response:
I disagree in part with Mr. Mead. The Occupy Movement appears to be composed of two main groups. First, there is a very amorphous group of young people, to me they are kids, who are smart and well intentioned but very poorly educated. Second there is a smaller but more vocal group of the same old Lefty protesters. I had a post up about my visit to the Occupy Chicago General Assembly a few nights ago. Odds are the Boomers will take over and ruin this movement as they have done with so many other things. But, maybe not. The degree of diversity, really confusion, which is evident in this movement is shown by the posts and comments on their website. Television and newspaper coverage does not accurately capture the flavor of the thing. You need to walk over and talk to the people, especially the twenty-somethings. I am pessimistic, but I hope something good eventually emerges from this effort.
(I just noticed the comment did not show up, for some reason.)
Rich Lowry picks up on the divergence between the media image of the protests and the actual and painful tales of hardships which can be found on the WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT webpage. There is a lot of misery out there. The higher education bubble has hurt a lot of people. Loss of work and loss or lack of health insurance has hurt a lot of people. Mortgage foreclosures are hurting a lot of people.
Republicans often don’t even bother to try to connect their program to the troubles of workers down the income scale. The leading establishment Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, wants to cut their capital-gains taxes. The leading Tea Party presidential candidate, Herman Cain, wants to raise their taxes.
If nothing else, “We Are the 99 Percent” is a reminder that the suffering is real.
This misery will inevitably give rise to a political response, as it should. The response of most people on the right of the spectrum has been derision directed at the lack of articulateness of the public protesters, and mockery at “losers” who apparently cannot take care of themselves. Also, the whole Lefty ambience and style of the thing is off-putting. But if the analysis stops there, then most of the story is lost. Most of the people who are suffering in the current economy are not “losers” but people how tried to play the game honestly and did not succeed. If all of that suffering is captured by the political Left and turned into political activity, then there will be a further round of bad and destructive policy choices. If the needs of these many people are not addressed by the GOP, then their votes will be forfeited in the next election, among other bad consequences. That would be very bad indeed. However, this movement, so far, does not appear to be getting a ton of traction from the mass of suffering people in the USA.
I walked over to the Occupy folks in front of the Federal Reserve Bank last night around 11 p.m. to see how many people were there and what was up. It was a very nice night for a walk. There won’t be many more like it before the hard cold sets in. There were maybe 50 people out. I talked to a few of them and gave away a couple of my precious dwindling supply of Lexington Green business cards. There was a cluster of younger kids and one older guy. I asked them if they would be open to having discussions with people from the Tea Party, since I think there is some common ground between the Tea Party principles and Occupy’s current grievance list — not a lot, but some. They seemed to be fine with that idea. Maybe I will try to do something along those lines.
This article had a nice diagram that captures the common ground:
That captures my own long-standing view of the problem pretty well.
UPDATE: Looking some more at the WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT site is painful. This is a tiny fraction of the misery out there. A true New Deal style works project would have been a much better use of Obama’s roughly Trillion Dollar Stimulus. But my question is, what could be done to quickly get job creation going, other than a massive expenditure on make-work government employment? The political consequences of a lot more misery afflicting a lot more people could be very, very serious, and very, very bad — to say nothing of alleviating that suffering if possible.
UPDATE II: This post attributes the non-violence of the Occupy movement to conflict resolution techniques used in public schools over the last twenty years. This seems plausible, based on my observation.
UPDATE III: Thanks to Joseph Fouche for his excellent post in response.
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Education, Health Care, Leftism, Personal Narrative, Politics, Society, Tea Party, USA | 51 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 12th October 2011 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Some of them who are complaining sound like conservatives, it’s sort of surprising. They’re complaining about some of the things conservatives, tea-party people, are complaining about.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) , referring to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
It is not surprising. Or, it should not be.
It is the sound of people trying to break through the accumulated crud of a lifetime of ideological programming.
Hope and change.
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Education, Leftism, Politics, Quotations, Tea Party, USA | 10 Comments »
Posted by Lexington Green on 10th October 2011 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Maybe the Tea Party should do this. Which Tea Party? Is there a Manhattan Tea Party? Somebody.
Student loans should not get special treatment. It is unjust and should be changed.
Posted in Big Government, Civil Society, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, Education, Politics, Tea Party, USA | 19 Comments »
Posted by Jonathan on 6th October 2011 (All posts by Jonathan)
Kevin Williamson in National Review:
I was down at the Occupy Wall Street protest today, and never has the divide between the iPhone world and the politics world been so clear: I saw a bunch of people very well-served by their computers and telephones (very often Apple products) but undeniably shortchanged by our government-run cartel education system. And the tragedy for them — and for us — is that they will spend their energy trying to expand the sphere of the ineffective, hidebound, rent-seeking, unproductive political world, giving the Barney Franks and Tom DeLays an even stronger whip hand over the Steve Jobses and Henry Fords. And they — and we — will be poorer for it.
The low quality of our government-run system of primary and secondary education is the biggest problem in our society. With the right tax and regulatory incentives, squandered investment capital and ruined plant and equipment can be replaced quickly if necessary, albeit at often high cost. However, damaged human capital in the form of inadequately educated and miseducated people can never be replaced. At best, lost human capital can be supplanted only with many years of effort by improving the education of succeeding generations. The long-term compounded aggregate costs in lost productivity for poorly educated individuals, not to mention disastrous unintended consequences at the societal level from the adoption of bad ideas by a voting population largely ignorant of basic economics and history, are staggering.
Posted in Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Education, Politics, Quotations, USA | 6 Comments »
Posted by Charles Cameron on 6th October 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ Steve Jobs obit -- cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
– from Steve Jobs‘ Commencement Address at Stanford University, June 2005
I have removed an image from this post on request — I do however believe it complements the sentiments expressed here, and it can be found here should you wish to see it.
Posted in Business, Education, Obits | 8 Comments »
Posted by David Foster on 3rd October 2011 (All posts by David Foster)
(…at least, women in Weimar in 1828….possibly with broader applicability.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Anglosphere, Book Notes, Britain, Civil Society, Education, Germany, History, Human Behavior | 37 Comments »
Posted by Helen on 14th September 2011 (All posts by Helen)
This is on my Conservative History site where I am beginning to publish other people’s articles. First up was one by David Linden who is a Ph.D. student of history at King’s College, London with special interest in the modern Conservative Party. He had done an M.A. thesis on the Black Papers on education and extracted an article from that.
As if to prove that we have problems with our education system, his article had an incredible number of grammatical and punctuation errors. In fact, it was not till I started editing the Conservative History Journal that I realized how many doctoral students and young academics could not write clear, coherent, correct English.
The Black Papers on Education were a series of publications in the late sixties and early seventies that tried to battle with the prevalent political idea that large comprehensive schools were better for children from a social and educational point of view. Mr Linden over-rates their influence. The sad truth is that, though everything those papers predicted came true (and then some), the warnings and arguments were ignored and, subsequently, forgotten. While it is good to revive interest in them, especially now that some attempts are being made to sort out the mess, this only highlights the tragic developments in our state education system. (Declaration of interest: the Tibor Szamuely, mentioned in the article, who was one of the star contributors to the most widely read Black Paper, the second one, was my father. I am, as I proudly announce, a hereditary trouble-maker.)
The other article that might interest people is a review I wrote of a delightful and elegantly written little tome by Alistair Cooke (now Lord Lexden), the official historian of the Conservative Party and author of several publications related to that subject, on the Primrose League. The League was the largest popular political organization in British history; it was the first organization that had members from all sections of society, getting enormous support from working class participants; it was the first organization in which many women, again from all sections of society, played an important part; it had special sections for children and young people; it had a highly developed welfare support system. All the things the left claim to have started were, in actual fact, begun by the Primrose League.
It gives me no pleasure to say that the Conservative Party seems to have forgotten about the Primrose League and about the Black Papers on education in its rush to “modernize”.
Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Conservatism, Education | 2 Comments »