L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 215, March 17, 2003
IT'S DOWN TO ME
WHAT IS THIS DOING HERE?
Are you LOOKING for trouble? This puff piece for Carla and Michael (which BTW utterly ignores both (a) the activism of the LPM(A) BEFORE either of them came "on board" ... 1972-1988; and (b) the utter SHAMBLES in which the non-Howell/Cloud forces are in up there (cf. Ilana Freedman & her husband who just left; George Phillies and his own little frogpond; etc.).
It virtually CANONIZES those two as the twin saviors of the LP. You are obviously looking to provoke some letters ...
If I ever get time to do so, I will certainly oblige you with my rebuttals. For now, all I can do is point people to some different viewpoints, beginning with my own:
Steve Trinward [email@example.com]
This refers to William Stone's letter in TLE 214 . He cites http://www.minaret.org as proof that not all Muslims are "out to kill us all". Of course there are good, considerate and tolerant Muslims; it's [also] a fact that one can find [a site to support either opinion]. So one, or two, or any number of examples should not be taken as proof of this or that view of Muslims, or of Islam. The terrorist phenomenon needs to be dealt with -- that is the issue!
In the spirit of letting TLE readers know about wonderful links in the universe, I humbly offer up the best Flash animation about the present Unconstitutional use of military force that I've ever seen.
Another one on that Web site is Ashcroft Online.
For that matter, the whole site is rather terrific.
William Stone III [firstname.lastname@example.org]
THOUGHT THE READERS WOULD GET A KICK OUT OF THIS ...
Not quite right, but still funny ...
Jeffrey Schwartz [email@example.com]
[Patrick MArtin wrote:] "Forced to stand in sub-zero weather to smoke? The Foundation will assist you in suing your employer for endangering your health."
No, I wasn't forced. I stepped out of my own accord because I wanted to.
Let's try to remember the difference between government abridging our fundamental liberties, and the owners of private property exercising THEIR rights to control their own, as well as, perhaps, THEIR freedom of association.
I don't wish to sue Intelledex or Hilton or Ngu Departure because they might have cut a deal with their respective bookies about workplace conditions. That's their right to negotiate the best insurance deal they can. America has gotten far too trivially litigious lately, and I'd rather be no party to additional frivolities.
Lehr Duquesne [firstname.lastname@example.org]
IF EVERY DEMOCRACY WOULD BE SO EFFICIENT ...
Loved that note from your "mother". Could go double for some hot shot S-F writers I know. Sheesh, I don't even know if he reads my mail, since it's usually not acknowledged. Ah, fame.
Just wanted to send a shout out to that great bunch of social engineers, the United Nations, where for once in its life its acting like a perfect L.N.S. democracy, and it can't get anything done!! No resolution to go to war, no time limits to take action, no nothing. This gives me some small satisfaction in that, being unable to decide whether or not to wage war, American freedoms are forever safe from the plotting of "one world" types like the U.N.!
Now if we could stop our leaders from doing the heavy lifting for the U.N., life would be great. It seems that, like ol' Pogo said, "We have seen the enemy, and he am us!". It's more of the same old crap from my word processor, with a slight twist. The way George the Second is going, he'll be a one termer (it still escapes me how he screwed that one up) putting the Dems back in 4 years early, and having only a partial battle plan.
After all, Ms. Clinton won't be ready for her run at the oval office for 3 years, and the jackasses will be bound to throw a sacrificial lamb on the tracks. Probably Edwards, the poor sap. The world seems to be moving too fast for both "major" parties, AND the U.N.
I think that's very good for freedom.
Confusion to the enemy,
Jack Jerome [email@example.com]
LATEST ONLINE REVIEW "BALLAD OF CARL DREGA"
Hi, guys --
Vin Suprynowicz [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In responding to Mr Smith's invitation to write about public schools, I would like to address a couple of the points of Mr Barnett's piece also.
I'm certainly no fan of the public education system, but I would like to put a few things into perspective.
I have had several experiences within the education system, and I for one hope to homeschool my children (if I have any) one day.
My own education (nine years of it at least) was in the private sector. My parents worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices to send their two children to private schools, and this was helped by the fact that I received an academic scholarship which reduced the fees.
At the end of it, I came out with a decent education (in hindsight, I can see its good and bad points), but almost all that I consider valuable I learnt after I left both high school and university (or at least parallel to them). I certainly achieved pretty high grades, as did most of the people at my school. Indeed, about 70-80% of us went on to university. When I got to the University of Melbourne (supposedly vying for top position in Australia), I found that almost everyone there was from a background similar to mine. Very few people came from public schools (actually, somewhere around 30% of children in the state of Victoria don't attend public schools).
It's all very well to talk of the hidden curriculum within the socialist government system, but I'm not exactly sure if such people stop to think of the hidden curriculum within private schools.
Of course, the difference between the public and private is that people within the private sector can usually change schools pretty easily. Even that's not as simple as it seems though. In my day, they were almost all cut from the same arch-conservative mould and my parents didn't know about such things as alternative schooling.
Whilst my parents were concerned by some of the bizarre things that went on at my school (think Monty Python), I don't think they were aware of just what was going on. Even up until a couple of years ago, I could shock them with bizarre stories of psychotic canings, mass victimisation on cadet camps, and having to sit through week after week of the headmaster playing us Winston Churchill's wartime speeches.
There were plenty of emotionally disturbed kids at my school (I was probably one of them), but we were just told to grin and bear it like men on the sporting field or cadet parade field. (Our headmaster used to all call us men and we'd get up and sing the school song. It was all character building you understand.)
I think I managed to pull through it okay eventually. I wonder now what became of a lot of those kids.
Actually, I know what happened to a lot of those kids. I met them at university and kept in touch with a few. Because of their family connections and their "superior" grades, they went on to the University of Melbourne and then went into the top ranks of business, law, politics and so on. They're the movers and shakers of society. They're as caught up in a statist ideology as any of the kids who went to public schools.
There really was only one difference between my school and a state school (aside from the grades, and so on). Whereas those down the road at the state schools were taught they should become good little producers and consumers and accept their places as daft morons, at my school (and those like it), we were taught to accept without question the morals of the state and that we were the rightful heirs of the keys of control. We were the rightful masters of our neighbours.
All that we are seeing now is the result of this social divide (since even the supposedly "left wing" politicians in the west usually attended private schools and certainly send their kids there—Tony Blair is a prime example), but the divide is still part of the same system.
Mr Barnett talks about not churning out a first-rate global workforce, but I think he's missing the point. The crux of the matter is that the education system, whether public or private (in all but a few cases) is not about creating intelligent, free thinking individuals. It is concerned with creating a social hierarchy. Parents don't send their kids to private schools (except all those places like Steiner, Montessori, etc.) to think. They send them there to get a leg up on the competition and move into a different social circle. That's what my parents did. That's what almost everyone does, quite innocently.
In this essay, I wasn't trying to justify the public system at all. What I was trying to say is that the system is the system. It's not two systems, it's two sides of the same coin. At the end of the day, a lab rat that can push a more complex system of levers to get more food is still a lab rat.
It's something that I think is a far deeper problem within the collective psyche of our western societies.
Caleb Paul [email@example.com]
- - -
This is why I homeschool our 15 year old son (since birth, I might add). He is also learning to enjoy the benefits and challenges of living without a "social security number."
I'm also teaching a class on the US Constitution to about a dozen homeschooled kids (and their parents) on Chicago's South Side once a week.
The textbook I use? The Citizen's Rule Book, of course! Each child was required to buy a copy and carry it with him or her.
Last fall I stuck with "the basics", with emphasis on the War for Independence, the Second Amendment and jury rights. I gave two written exams, which were really geared for high school age students, but the even the youngest one in the class, a nine year old girl, passed it with a little bit of encouragement.
This winter, since most of the kids in the class had already taken and passed the previous course, I tried to make it more fun (read: participatory).
For example, I brought a roll of US silver dollars to the class, appointed one girl as US Treasurer, and let her buy needed items from other kids who took on the roles of farmers, ranchers, ironworkers, etc. The dollars circulated around the room as everyone had the opportunity to negotiate among themselves the "best" price for wool, beef, firearms, and so on. We kept track of prices on little cards.
Then I brought in a Monopoly set and told Autumn (the treasurer) to use the paper money since she had "spent" all of her silver dollars.
Guess what? Prices of the same goods increased by a factor of five to ten, and the silver dollars were quickly forgotten! The kids were so engrossed in running around the room spending all this new "wealth" that they didn't realize the class had run a half hour overtime.
They learned firsthand about inflation, Gresham's Law, and especially WHY the Founding Fathers put that forgotten little clause in there (Article 1, Section 10: "No state shall make anything but gold and silver a legal tender in PAYMENT of debt.")
Oh, yes, one other little thing that may not be of any significance to this discussion. Most of the children in the class were African American, like myself.
Autumn's mother later told me (with a big smile) that if these kids were at all "aware," what I was teaching would be considered "dangerous."
Music to my ears.
Try to get feedback like that in a public school!
Hey, if I don't teach them how their rights are going to disappear in a puff of smoke (and what to do about it), who will?
If anyone would like copies of the exams I gave (for your own use, especially if you are a teacher), email me offlist.
William "Bill" Goosby [firstname.lastname@example.org]
INCARCERATED FOR THE CRIME OF BEING YOUNG
As per the call in TLE#214 for papers on personal abuses in the public schools, I guess I'll tell my own story. For many years I have referred to the time prior to turning 18 as having been "imprisoned for the crime of being young."
Starting in the middle of the 2nd grade, I simply ceased to do their homework or complete their group assignments. Various psychologists were called upon, each of which reported (I was later told) that "He's fine, he'll do the work when he decides to." I was fortunate that the Ritalin/Prozac fad had not yet occurred to the bureaucrats, or I would have been a textbook candidate for forced drugging.
Rather than do the stupid make-work during the endless boredom of sitting still, I read the textbooks, dictionaries and encyclopedias that grew dusty on the classroom shelves. This also made it possible to pass every test given, so I was never "held back" to repeat a grade.
Schoolyard bullies and teachers who lost their tempers were commonplace and never ending, so I was a regular in the "office", waiting on the guidance counselor or principle I was sent to see "this time", always questioned about what I had done "this time" that required this extreme level of action on their part.
After a few years of this, I learned to question their authority. When I finally asked why I should bother to show up, I was told that if I didn't attend my mother would be put in jail, I would be put into foster care, and I'd be in reform school anyway. This did wonders for my motivation to cooperate, instilling a passive-aggressive capability and instinctive resistance to arbitrary rules. It also completely removed the velvet glove of "education" that cloaks their gauntlets of iron and lead.
At 12, I passed the highschool graduation tests. Again I asked why I should bother to continue to attend, and was told that I would not be allowed to get my diploma or GED until after "my" class graduated. Until then, the same laws applied. Another veil of illusion lifted, I was in prison for no other reason than that I was young.
Two very good things happened about that same time: I moved out of suburbia into the Catskill Mountains of New York State, and I met three teachers who neither gave out nor accepted B.S. The forests gave me the time to be alone, these marvelous educators gave me honesty that I had never before found in an "adult".
They, too, sometimes chafed at the restrictions put on them by the bureaucrats, and the bureaucrats treated them with a respect unique in my experience. No one could argue with their results. Mr. Boltie, "earth" science and math. Mr. McGuire, "shop". Mr. Graham, history.
Looking back on it, however, the scope of their instruction was far more than these titles might suggest. Mr. Boltie was teaching physics. The "shop" classroom material was in-depth mechanical, chemical and civil engineering. "History" became a living, breathing subject full of individuals in all their glory and folly.
In a true market for education, these men would have been teaching because that is what they did so very well. They would have been paid far better, and had classes full of students who actively wanted to learn.
I graduated, barely, but with A grades in three subjects. I'm sure you can guess which subjects those were.
By hook or by crook, I'm homeschooling.
Curt Howland [Howland@Priss.com]
OK, OK, you wanna hear from me. You're hearing from me.
In reference to "Mockery":
Yeah, get your licks in now before PATRIOT II becomes the new Sedition Act.
Frank Ney [email@example.com]