David Thompson
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May 04, 2015

Comments

sk60

Funny how these 'caring' intellectuals always want to level down.

DH

The next time my four-year-old nephew demands that I read him a story, I'll refuse. Instead, I will tell him that by simply listening to me reading The Tale of Jeremy Fisher, he will be condemning another child to a life of untold misery and deprivation. In can really see this catching on.

Nikw211

On the bright side, the article is now followed by this comment from a 'Nathan B.':

    I think it is unfair that some people are addicted to heroin but others aren't. To even the playing field we should make sure children are given their first mandatory shot of heroin when they graduate so that they don't have an unfair advantage over everyone else.

    Honestly I sometimes think philosophers some times have to come up with absurd ideas like this one just for the sake of justifying their existence by coming up with something new.

Ten
Once he got thinking, [political philosopher Adam] Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs.

His thinking having somehow missed the entire premise of good by forced leveling.

That's what galls me the most: That the act of such intense aggression against others can be enabled, typically without recourse until the host system collapses through misery and poverty, by an assumption that hasn't a shred of decency in it to begin with.

Go find any lengthy definition of religion, say, the wiki. Replace all instances of religion with the word political progressivism. Make a few other edits for continuity.

Political progressivism is without any question whatsoever a religion. Of envy, covetousness, intolerance, aggression, bad faith, and ultimately force and decay, all of it enabled by malice.

R. Sherman

Of course, the Leftists wish to destroy the family. Families stand as a bulwark against unfettered state power. As for private schools, in the U.S. they provide better outcomes for less money per student than public schools. All success must be eliminated to provide an egalitarianism of misery.

Joan

One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family.

Or we could solve "the social justice problem" by abolishing Marxist philosophers.

The original Mr. X

Why stop at outlawing private education? Let's just cut babies' throats the moment they exit the womb. All men are equal in death, after all.

JL

I read this this morning. It's tempting just to say these people are nuts, but it might be more sinister. Someone wrote recently that the left is attempting to start a movement to nationalise the family.

David

I’m still marvelling at the implication that functional parents have something to atone and apologise for, having done the best they can for their children, and therefore having sinned against “social justice.”

R. Sherman

Related U.S. development.

Glenfilthie

And y'all thought McCarthy was a nutty witch hunter, didntchya?

And today, queers and pedophiles jostle one another to teach your elementary kids 'sex education'. Those same individuals are attacking the church and enforcing censorship. Now those deviants degenerates (who only a few short years ago just wanted 'the privacy of their own bedrooms') - want to come into YOUR bedrooms and living rooms and run your family.

40 years ago people would have laughed at us and McCarthy if we had told them that this is where we would end up...

Joan

@Glenfilthie,

Um, you do know our host is one o' them thar 'queers'...?

David

Funny how these ‘caring’ intellectuals always want to level down.

It’s generally easier. And more gratifying for people with vindictive urges.

As noted before, the odds of state education ever being uniformly satisfactory, or even mostly satisfactory, seem somewhat remote. This is because the shortcomings of state education aren’t simply or chiefly a matter of funding. It’s also an issue of intake and ethos. Money won’t change the bell curves of ability and aptitude, and it won’t shift egalitarian ideology, which in my experience was one of the major problems. If, for instance, the prevailing thinking in a school is like this example here, in which children are treated as vehicles for propagating an egalitarian worldview, then the biggest problem facing those kids, especially bright kids, is the thinking itself. And if pupils aren’t being taught grammar and spelling on ideological grounds, then not teaching grammar and spelling in a slightly nicer classroom won’t make much of a difference.

See also this.

Millie Woods

Senator David Leyonjhelm said it best, "go fuck yourself you communist turd".

DH

Someone wrote recently that the left is attempting to start a movement to nationalise the family.

Already underway....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11221902/Legal-fight-starts-over-SNP-state-guardian-for-every-child.html

I sneeze in threes

I can't see what the problem is with Mr Swift's modest proposal.

Lancastrian Oik

So many disputes in our liberal democratic society hinge on the tension between inequality and fairness: between groups, between sexes, between individuals, and increasingly between families.

That should read "... hinge on the perceived tension...", because the whole article, and Swift's theory, hinges on this egregious example of question-begging.

—and it’s for this reason that a theory of familial goods needs to be established if the family is to be defended against cries of unfairness

It's Swift and his ilk who are doing the crying in the first place....

‘It’s true that in the societies in which we live, biological origins do tend to form an important part of people’s identities, but that is largely a social and cultural construction....

You can bet your progressive arse that that those biological origins are important. And whilst we're at it , how about some hard evidence of a successful, thriving society that eschewed those biological origin things in favour of some other way of bringing up kids? Nope, thought not.

"Swift".

What a very apt name for a person who came up with this crock of culturally-Marxist horseshit.

Ofay Cat

I try to avoid reading articles such as this one .... when I read what twats like Joe Gelonesi and the Dr. Swift have to say about our way of life I do not want to debate them for that is futile. What I would like to do (for the sake of assholes policing the internet, I am an old senior and could not do what I would state here even though I would love to) is beat them both to death with a copy of Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World". ... or a lead pipe.

Reagan said it and I think Churchill did too ... We are only one generation away from losing our freedom. I cannot live in an unfree society. Neither could the millions who died killing those who would enslave us.

it will all happen again because human nature is constant.

Gene

Like all such people he is a coward, no doubt believing that some sort of legislation must be passed to achieve his aims, to be enforced by the state. Ultimately, if needed, such enforcement will of course be done by men with weapons.

Instead I suggest he preserve his self-respect by adopting a more courageous plan of action. Build an organization of like-minded people and send them into our towns and cities, knocking on doors and personally attempting to force families to reduce the emotional and educational support given to the children. That would make an entertaining reality TV show.

Jonathan

I demand that the government should divest itself from funding these fuckwits.

Daniel Ream

I can't see what the problem is with Mr Swift's modest proposal

Poe's Law is tricky. Given the way he snakes around to his final conclusion, I have a sneaking suspicion this is really about abolishing private schools and Mr. Swift doesn't give a toss about bedtime stories one way or t'other. It's just the tired old technique of proposing something outrageous so that the slightly less outrageous thing you really want sounds so reasonable by comparison.

He could also just be a fuckwit. Like, I said, tricky.

Mags

Gelonesi says this authoritarian bullshit is "a novel accommodation for a weathered institution ever more in need of a rationale for existing."

Er, the family needs a rationale for existing? Really? Just try doing without them, mate. See how long your utopia lasts.

David

Given the way he snakes around to his final conclusion,

Yes, it’s sly and evasive. As such things often are.

Er, the family needs a rationale for existing? Really?

Oddly, Mr Gelonesi is much less interested in testing the assumed (but never clearly stated) rationale for the authoritarian intrusion he and Dr Swift find so fascinating. Nor does he see a need to test the claim that doing one’s best for one’s own children - in contravention of “social justice” - is merely a “cultural construction,” and therefore, presumably, ripe for deconstruction.

Myron James

Contents include:

1) rope

1) tree

Some assembly required. Intellectual not included.

David Gillies

A popular expression of the Laws of Thermodynamics is as follows:-
Zeroth: You must play the game.
First: You can't win.
Second: You can't break even.
Third: You can't quit the game.

As an egalitarian philosophy of forced acquiescence to the State these laws would no doubt highly recommend themselves to Swift and his ilk.

By the way, how do post-modernists get round the problem that if all truth is socially constructed and therefore arbitrary, then the idea that truth is socially constructed and therefore arbitrary is socially constructed and therefore arbitrary? It's worse than the chicken/egg problem; at least with that people agree there actually are chickens and eggs.

Min

It's just the tired old technique of proposing something outrageous so that the slightly less outrageous thing you really want sounds so reasonable by comparison.

That.

wtp

By the way, how do post-modernists get round the problem that if all truth is socially constructed and therefore arbitrary, then the idea that truth is socially constructed and therefore arbitrary is socially constructed and therefore arbitrary?

The same way they get around the problem that if all ideas are equally valid, then if all ideas are equally valid, what about the idea that all ideas are not equally valid? Which is to say, shut up.

Same goes for "perception is reality". Disagree? Hahahahaha, shut up.

Theophrastus

SJWs and egalitarians never seem able grasp that some solutions to some social problems would be worse than the original problems. And they also seem to want to believe that all social problems are in principle soluble - with "investment", of course. Never mind the inevitable trade-offs, the unintended consequences, the fragility of the connections between long-established institutions, the dimunition of liberty andersonal resonsibility. Everything must be subordinated to social justice and the religion of equalidee.

DG: yes, po-mo is self-refuting. I imagine, though, that some of these charlatans have tried to argue that the principle, 'All truth is socially constructed and so arbitrary', is of a 'higher order' than other more mundane truths.

Hal

40 years ago people would have laughed at us and McCarthy if we had told them that this is where we would end up...

Well, actually Murrow just let the loony rave away, and let 'im destroy himself as they all did laugh at him then, and we still shudder, and laugh at him now.

Now, of course McCarthy and related idjits were and are merely the right wing liberals that scream for their agenda and demand that the the rest of us get screwed . . . just as David is noting the left wing liberals that scream for their agenda and demand that the the rest of us get screwed . . . leaving us conservatives bookended by the right and left extremes . . .

Hal

I can't see what the problem is with Mr Swift's modest proposal

Hear Hear!!!!!!

Oh.

Hang on, I sneeze in threes has reminded me of Jonathan . . . not some ditz named Dr. Adam . . .

NielsR

"Once he got thinking,.." no, I'm pretty sure we're all still waiting for that one.

These arseholes won't stop until we are all living in caves bashing equally-sized rocks together, will they?

Hal

What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children.

What “we” will allow parents to do. For their own children.

Weellll . . . clearly as this comes from The Best Source, y'all need to accept that Joe and Adam know exactly what they're talking about, where at least as far as them being The Best Source, Joe and Adam will be commanded to demonstrate this certainty for us all . . . by telling us all the details while located between a newborn grizzly cub, and the newborn cub's mother, and while preventing lack of access to the cub by that mother.

---It's a bit more efficient and informative than the rope and tree idea, all and sundry can just point at the bears in question . . . .

David

Funny how these ‘caring’ intellectuals always want to level down.

An update by Tim Blair:

Contacted by The Daily Telegraph, Gelonesi said the bedtime stories angle was highlighted by the ABC “as a way of getting attention.” Asked if it might be just as easy to level the playing field by encouraging other parents to read bedtime stories, Gelonesi said: “We didn’t discuss that.”

ac1

Harrison Bergeron was not a guide book...

1432FPCHERO

Weellll . . . clearly as this comes from The Best Source, y'all need to accept that Joe and Adam know exactly what they're talking about, where at least as far as them being The Best Source, Joe and Adam will be commanded to demonstrate this certainty for us all . . . by telling us all the details while located between a newborn grizzly cub, and the newborn cub's mother, and while preventing lack of access to the cub by that mother.

---It's a bit more efficient and informative than the rope and tree idea, all and sundry can just point at the bears in question . . . .

stick to the rope and the tree...PETA will be pissed otherwise...screw that, who cares about Peta

PiperPaul

I am reminded of the phrase, "Swift kick in the ass", but with a comma.

The revolting truth

There is comment above that these idiots won't stop until they are living in caves. That is incorrect. They won't stop until WE are living in caves. They will continue to live in their gilded mansions, while we are forced to fet them as our intellectual and physical superiors. Don't like that? Off to the reeducation camp for you.

dicentra

SJWs and egalitarians never seem able grasp that some solutions to some social problems would be worse than the original problems.

Your definition of "worse" is 180° out of phase with theirs. They're just hoping to get their stuff implemented before anyone else figures that out.

I've also noticed that not everyone is confined to a wheelchair. God help us if one of them manages to obtain financial interest in a medical supply company.

ACTOldFart

reading stories at bedtime ... bestows advantage [and] might skew the family game ...

ACTOldFart

Sorry, hit "Post" instead of "Edit". Try again:

reading stories at bedtime ... bestows advantage [and] might skew the family game

A few more of Dr Swift's thought steps from that proposition, add a change of dialect and, surprise surprise, we arrive at: "Boko Haram". The sad thing is that Dr Swift would probably approve.

Tell Sackett

SJWs and egalitarians never seem able grasp that some solutions to some social problems would be worse than the original problems.

Yes, but not worse for them, or for anyone they care about.

Bill

I submit that the educational broadcaster is fostering inequality with the metabolically-challenged (i.e. dead people) by continuing to live. I invite him to eschew this unfair advantage this is giving him and pro-actively join the ranks of the deceased so that he can be on a level playing ground (well, six feet under) with the expired. I further invite that he fornicate in a distant direction prior to this passing on.

Rich Rostrom
"One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family."

The kibbutzniks in Israel tried that. It didn't work for them, despite their being some of the smartest, best-educated, and benevolent-minded people in the world.

Lancastrian Oik

Oh, but they hate the kibbutzniks, just as they adore Hamas and Hezbollah.

brilton

Philosophers Zone on RN has always been a very interesting program. I usually listen, but I missed this one. Sadly, it seems to have gone downhill since Alan Saunders (who was intelligent and well-respected) passed away. And I just just posted this observation on RN's online forum. Stay tuned to find out whether it gets moderated or not.

Paco

Given the way he snakes around to his final conclusion, I have a sneaking suspicion this is really about abolishing private schools

That was my immediate reaction when I read the article. It was just a way of introducing the notion that private schools are wrong.
What is left unsatated that is the conceit that education can only, in fact must only, be performed by the state.
Whilst he suggests it is, gruddingly, OK for parents to read to their children he never mentions parents teaching their children to read, before they reach the school system. I suspect this would also be an unfair advantage confered on your children to the disadvantage of all others and therefore should also be banned.
So should parents be allowed to home school their children, again I suspect a big no, unless of course it is in RightThought as decided by Mr Swift. Only the state can teach children parents may inculcate them with inappropriate ideas not approved by the state.

Swift couches his ideas around inequality and unfair advantages conferred by parents. But it does not seem to occur to him where his train of thought leads. It is stated:

This doesn’t exactly parry the criticism that families exacerbate social inequality. For this, Swift and Brighouse needed to sort out those activities that contribute to unnecessary inequality from those that don't.

If being a child of a good parent is an advantage over that of a bad parent and creates "unnecessary inequality". Then being a child even of a bad parent surely means they have an unfair advantage over a child not born at all. Does this mean contraception and abortion should also be banned? Somehow I don't think he would be advocating that.

Finally he suggests that it doesn't matter who raises the child just so long as they are good.

‘When we talk about parents’ rights, we’re talking about the person who is parenting the child. How you got to be parenting the child is another issue. One implication of our theory is that it’s not one’s biological relation that does much work in justifying your rights with respect to how the child is parented.’

For Swift and Brighouse, our society is curiously stuck in a time warp of proprietorial rights: if you biologically produce a child you own it.

‘We think that although in practice it makes sense to parent your biological offspring, that is not the same as saying that in virtue of having produced the child the biological parent has the right to parent.’

Then, does the child have a right to be parented by her biological parents? Swift has a ready answer.

‘It’s true that in the societies in which we live, biological origins do tend to form an important part of people’s identities, but that is largely a social and cultural construction. So you could imagine societies in which the parent-child relationship could go really well even without there being this biological link.’

This line of argument is brought in to justify "non-traditional families".

It’s here that the traditional notions of what constitutes the family come apart. A necessary product of the Swift and Brighouse analytical defence is the calling into question of some rigid definitions.

‘Politicians love to talk about family values, but meanwhile the family is in flux and so we wanted to go back to philosophical basics to work out what are families for and what’s so great about them and then we can start to figure out whether it matters whether you have two parents or three or one, or whether they’re heterosexual etcetera.’

But once again he fails to see where his argument leads. If biological origins are "largely a social and cultural construction" then surely cultural and racial origins would be the same.
In Australia a child of Aboriginal heritage who is removed from their biological parents must be raised within the Aboriginal culture and community regardless of the outcome. If a parents "proprietorial rights" can't be justified how do those of a culture or race.
Likewise all our cultural warriors who worry about mexican themed parties and the appropriation of ponchos by peoples of pallour can simply have their concerns dismissed as being "largely a social and cultural construction".
But then as you always say David consistency isn't their strong suit.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

Ugh, I couldn't stand it in school when teachers "had" to gear down to the dumbest student. And I realize more and more that my public school (as opposed to England's type of public school) education back in the '60s and '70s was so far superior to ANY education found today in American public schools. Of course, there were standards of reading and spelling and grammar, and real history, and civics (!) and intensive drilling of facts, not social justice politics. And I, fortunately, also qualified for Honors and Gifted programs.
Still, having to listen to, "But soft, whut light true yonner winnow breaks, It is duh eas', an' Juliette is duh sun. Ay-rise, fair sun, an' kill duh en-vee-is moon, Who's already sick an' pale wit' grief...I don't geddit, Mrs. Showalter, why's Juliette sick an' pale?" was pretty painful. Not to mention the thugs in the halls and bathrooms.

The plan seems to be to make each generation stupider and more feral in succession, so that society will revert to the noble actors/academics/politicals living large in their gated castles, flying from luxurious vacay to TED talks, whilst the peasants toil and hope for a bus to be available to take them to their temperature-controlled hovels, and the ferals foam up whenever the nobility needs them to crush the peasants back down.

David Gillies

Paco: "Whilst he suggests it is, gruddingly, OK for parents to read to their children he never mentions parents teaching their children to read, before they reach the school system. I suspect this would also be an unfair advantage confered on your children to the disadvantage of all others and therefore should also be banned."

Well that, at least, is nothing new. My mother taught me to read when I was 3. By the time I got to primary school I was a fluent and voracious reader. The teacher roundly castigated my mother for usurping her role. I was given a Ladybird book first day I was there. I read the whole thing in about five minutes, including the copyright page, the colophon and the notes to teachers and then asked for another. Nope. I was supposed to read two pages and then stop, as otherwise I would get too far ahead of the other children. That would have been 1975.

David

That was my immediate reaction when I read the article. It was just a way of introducing the notion that private schools are wrong.

And yet the practical and moral consequences of banning private education aren’t examined at all in the article, even briefly. No-one even registers the sheer arrogance of the idea. It’s simply assumed by both parties that doing so would be good and could have no downsides worth noting. Because – magic words - “social justice.” There’s apparently no expectation that the presenter and his guest might pause to consider the fallout for the people who would be the victims of their fantasy.

But this fits a wider pattern in discussions on this subject. The people who presume to confine the rest of us to state education are very often people with little or no first-hand experience of it. Certainly no experience of less glamorous state schools, where the scenarios above were, and are, commonplace. (See, for instance, Zoe Williams, George Monbiot, Polly Toynbee, Kevin McKenna, Arabella Weir, etc.)

A few months ago I checked the Ofsted report for my old state school – now a ‘community arts college’ – and it made for grim reading. “Attainment in key subjects” – English, maths and science - is rated “low” and “well below average.” Absenteeism is a major issue. And it’s worth pointing out that during my stay the school was pretty typical of others in the area. In local terms, it wasn’t regarded as a failed school; it wasn’t remarkable at all. It was how many state schools in the area were.

But wishing to prevent children from escaping such schools is pretty much a default attitude among our leftist intelligentsia. It’s a standard social marker of the Guardianista class. And the witlessness of that attitude was expressed rather neatly in a Normblog Q&A profile of the novelist Meg Rosoff:

What do you consider the most important personal quality?

Compassion.

What personal fault do you most dislike?

Mediocrity.

And,

If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be?

Outlaw private education.

Yes, a professed dislike of mediocrity can apparently coexist with a desire to restrict the educational opportunities of children and thus impose substandard uniformity. Private education would no doubt be outlawed for reasons of compassion, by people who care.

Andy

Readers may also wish to ponder the oddness of the idea that caring, functional parents, parents who make sacrifices for their children, have something to atone and apologise for. That, having done the best they can for their children and having given them opportunities, they have sinned against “social justice.”

Bravo.

*hits tip jar*

GC

"And the witlessness of that attitude was expressed rather neatly in a Normblog Q&A profile of the novelist Meg Rosoff"

Rosoff's a Marxist?! Well that would explain a lot. I should have guessed that worthless hack could only have been given the accolades she had through having the right political beliefs. It certainly wasn't though literary talent, as anyone unfortunate enough to have read the godawful "How I Live Now" will readily attest. It makes the Hunger Games look like Shakespeare.

Watcher In The Dark

Any parent, if they can read, can read a bedtime story to their child. To do so requires only a little time and effort. But as no state interference, no grants, no edicts, no dire penalties, no equality counselling, no authoritarian diktat, no establishment of licensing and the required training, no diversity and equality officers, no check ups by social workers (who may be absent while doing this from, say, Rotherham) and no arrogant pronouncements from marxist small minds, it follows that any fair-minded person must be against reading to their children.

The warning signs must say: 'Do not care for your children. They belong to us, the state.' By obeying, a form of happiness in measured amounts will be doled out to all minions.

E

Great blog. Tip jar hit.

David

Great blog. Tip jar hit.

Coinage and buttering always welcome.

rjmadden

parents reading their children bedtime stories… are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children

That's one of the most perverse things I've ever read. It's deranged.

David

That’s one of the most perverse things I’ve ever read. It’s deranged.

Yes, it’s gloriously wrong-headed. Like so much Marxoid “theorising,” once you strip away the pseudo-intellectual veneer and state the thing clearly, it sounds a tad bonkers. And disagreeable.

ac1

http://cmcforum.com/opinion/04302015-why-yes-can-mean-no

Massively above the Poe Limit (the density of contradiction needed to detect parody).

wtp

ac1, you do realize there's a link on that page to an article titled " Flirting Is Not Consent...(Un)Chained: Finding Liberation In a Sex Dungeon"...Which itself does have a trigger warning. Here's the titillating intro:

One of my favorite childhood books taught me: If you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask for a straw… and so on and so forth until the mouse is basically running your house.

A recent experience taught me: If you give a domme permission to use nipple clamps, she’s going to ask to use zip ties as well. If you say yes to the zip ties, she’ll probably propose some paddling… and so on and so forth until you find yourself chained to a stool for two hours being flogged, spanked, and caned.

...I thought I had something to say about this but, what's the point?

Numeromancer

‘We could prevent elite private schooling without any real hit to healthy family relationships, whereas if we say that you can’t read bedtime stories to your kids because it’s not fair that some kids get them and others don’t, then that would be too big a hit at the core of family life.’

IOW: “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but let's do this one step at a time.”

or

“All in good time, my pretty, all in good time. These things must be done delicately, or you ruin the spell.”

Joe

It's plain to see that their mindset is evil in the serious and classical usage of the word.

Theophrastus

"Your definition of "worse" is 180° out of phase with theirs. They're just hoping to get their stuff implemented before anyone else figures that out."

"Yes, but not worse for them, or for anyone they care about."

Both partly and often true; but its more complicated. SJWs can be vicious ideologues with a belief that they and theirs will have privileges as members of the enlightened vanguard. Or they may genuinely believe in equality of misery for all. Or they may simply be very vague, believing that revolution will replace capitalism with something nicer - a more inclusive, equal, generous, trigger-free, safe-space society, but one in which such alleged improvements will not have any costs or disadvantages (eg remorseless tyranny) and where they still have their ipads, internet, foreign holidays, lattes and craft beers. Oh, and a decent merlot.

The last group is large compared to the other two, and they just don’t get that the cure they prescribe would be worse than the ills they diagnose.

ac1

TBH It might be one better than the Fabians deciding who to sterilise and thus preventing any "inferior children" needing education.

tkdkerry

dicentra @ 4/4 22:39: Your definition of "worse" is 180° out of phase with theirs.

Which is why historically they have no problems with mass graves.

Matt

File under "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT THE GUARDIAN!" Also, this is nice, " bedeviled by totalitarian fantasies and insatiable spite"

abacab

If he's well into this zero-sum-of-education view, isn't Mr. Swift's supposed brain the size of a planet depriving someone ...err... less "privileged" of knowledge?

Isn't he thus disadvantaging someone else?

David

IOW: “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but let’s do this one step at a time.”

Setting aside the contrived unobviousness of it all – unobviousness being currency in academia’s Clown Quarter and often mistaken for profundity - I suppose the underlying idea is to displace responsibility (and an exploitable sense of guilt) from those who might deserve it – neglectful parents, say – and then pin it onto the left’s Designated Oppressor Group - i.e., just about anyone who’s functional and remotely bourgeois. We’re told that, “Parents reading their children bedtime stories… are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children.” But functional parents don’t “unfairly disadvantage” the children of bad parents. Bad parents do that.

And then there’s the rhetorical trick noted earlier, in which a nakedly totalitarian idea is pitched then shied away from, in the hope of making a less scandalous idea, but one that’s still reprehensible, seem almost reasonable. They, our Marxoid betters, won’t abolish the family outright; that they will allow. But only because of those “love-based relationships.” And they won’t even take away our children’s books, despite the “disadvantage” they cause. See how accommodating they are? But banning educational choice is such a little thing to ask, given what could be taken from us. And, you see, something must be done about the family, which is an obstacle to “social justice” and therefore “ever more in need of a rationale for existing.”

Though I guess the effectiveness of the gambit depends on whether anyone is sufficiently credulous to listen to Marxoid academics. Which, all things considered, doesn’t seem terribly wise.

jones

My son has always gone to an excellent private school who are clearly developing the young fruit of my vigorous loins into a very well-rounded human being indeed.

The costs to me are not inconsiderable.

I also pay a six figure sum in income tax (true) and I suspect a portion of that also goes to pay for the state oiks. Now before anyone get aerated about my last comment I actually have no problem whatsoever with this as I have friends and many members of my family who cannot afford what I am fortunate enough to be able to afford.

He also has far more of what are considered "material goods" than were even beyond my own vast imagination when I was his age.

He is also I am sure very secure within his familial environment and has the keenest sense that he is supported (to the death if necessary) in all his endeavours. I sense this is only strengthening his ego structures and will serve him very well in his fully integrated and peacefully productive adulthood.

His modeling behaviours also suggest that he will be a completely law-abiding citizen and will probably be a likeable human being.

What am I doing wrong David?

I am wracked with guilt.

Should I start beating him?

David

I am wracked with guilt. Should I start beating him?

I’m afraid we’ll have to purge you of that WrongThought™ humour. [ Wheels in correction booth. Fires up generator. ]

David

People like Dr Swift and any number of pious Guardianistas present themselves as the saviours of education, of standards, and of clever kids from modest backgrounds. But the more closely state education matches the typical Guardianista worldview, as expressed, for instance, here, the more likely it is to fail clever children and indeed be hostile to them. Apparently, the idea is to distribute brighter kids among the dullards and ruffians, who are deemed “disadvantaged,” thereby making state schooling more fragrant and civilised. As Arabella Weir put it, “They will learn to make room for people of different abilities… They will learn street sense, who to be wary of, who to avoid, how to keep their heads down.” Lovely things like that.

Though Ms Weir shied from elaborating on how these things might be learned.

And that’s the thing. The cost to the children being distributed in this way seems of little interest to those who feel entitled to position them fairly, as defined by socialists, as if the children’s own needs and preferences, and those of their parents, were immaterial. I have little doubt that people like Weir, Toynbee, Monbiot, Williams, et al imagine themselves to be a good and caring people, compassionate warriors for “social justice.” At least they tell us so often enough. But shutting down escape routes, locking people in and robbing them of freedom, which is what such people advocate, doesn’t suggest altruism or compassion. It suggests arrogance and sadism.

R. Sherman

The cost to the children being distributed in this way seems of little interest to those who feel entitled to position them fairly. . .

The idea of providing a leavening of decency and achievement in the "dough of dysfunction" sounds superficially appealing until you realize it's all about punishing the designated "oppressor" class. The Arabella Weirs of the world cannot nor will not create anything of real value. Rather they must destroy. If it were otherwise, Ms. Weir would resign her current position and taking a teaching job at one of the comprehensive schools she wishes to foist on the rest us.

David

a leavening of decency and achievement in the “dough of dysfunction” sounds superficially appealing

Provided, of course, that you regard other people’s children as little more than components in a social engineering experiment.

And needless to say, it doesn’t seem to work. The beneficial effect for non-academic kids is somewhere between negligible and zero. The effect on bright kids, however - those being sacrificed for the socialist ideal - can be terrible. Some clever kids have a really bad time and many learn to give up, leaving school with grades well out of step with their intelligence, or dropping out altogether. There are several examples of academically able kids who quickly grew to resent the fact that their well-heeled lefty parents had sent them to an ideologically correct comprehensive, in effect using them as a political experiment. Or a socialist credential.

In my case it was mostly tedious and demoralising, occasionally enlivened by a bit of physical danger. I didn’t see any evidence that my presence there was elevating any of the less able kids or inspiring the thugs to more gentlemanly conduct. If anything, it seemed to provoke the opposite. Hence the chair throwing.

ac1

>Now before anyone get aerated about my last comment I actually have no problem whatsoever with this

Maybe you should have a problem. You pay for their kids AND yours!

People should pay for their own kids. Anything else is just fertility redistribution.

Hal

In my case it was mostly tedious and demoralising, occasionally enlivened by a bit of physical danger. I didn’t see any evidence that my presence there was elevating any of the less able kids or inspiring the thugs to more gentlemanly conduct. If anything, it seemed to provoke the opposite. Hence the chair throwing.

. . . and add in a pair of emphatic psychopaths that breed for the sole purpose of collecting the social benefits of being parents, while clearly and consistently refusing to actually bother with being parents, and the mix gets even more toxic . . .

jones

ac1,

Thank you for that. Yes, I do see your point I really do but I have retained a sense of what is called collective responsibility and believe there is such a thing as "society" and so accept a degree of culpability for the outcome of the "rest". Possibly a quaint and old fashioned notion but there we go.

I have a distaste for the notion of completely pulling up the ladder behind me and then go and live in a gated community in a secure, clean bubble. I don't know of any such model that looks attractive...to my eyes anyway.....Elysium come to mind....Just a film, I know.

I think a point I was trying to make was that it is a truism that not everyone can possibly all have the goodies and I have, in truth, chosen to raise my child the way I do without actually being denied the chance for my son to have an education...However, unattractive the option....

I find myself wondering though just how good the state system would become if private schooling was abolished and the elites were forced to utilise the same set-up as the proles?!

Oh I dunno...I'm sure there are many angles to this one.

james

"One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family."

The family will not be abolished.

It will however largely disappear.

The definition of family has become so stretched as to be almost meaningless- "It is what you find behind your front door" is a definition which was en vogue a few years ago.

To state that the ideal family would comprise a married mother and father and their biological children is to invite the accusation that you are disparaging any family that does not match the ideal.

The State, through its schools and otherwise, increasing intrudes on the rights of parents to bring up their children as they see fit- with, it appears, teachers, police, social workers (of course) all trained in the mindset of the State as all-knowing and superceding the rights of the family.

A lefty friend of my wife likes to use the expression "It takes a village to raise a child". Behind that folksy faux-wisdom lies the totalitarian mindset.

harry b

Unfortunately, the book is not that interesting! Or at least not for the reasons suggested here. We don't argue for the abolition of private schools, or even argue that people who send their kids to private schools are always doing something wrong. And the book is a sustained argument AGAINST abolishing the family. Of course, reading bedtime stories to your kids is great, because it teaches them to read and listen, both considerable virtues.

David

[In the book] we don’t argue for the abolition of private schools, or even argue that people who send their kids to private schools are always doing something wrong. And the book is a sustained argument AGAINST abolishing the family.

And yet the interview quoted above.

TDK

Oh, but they hate the kibbutzniks, just as they adore Hamas and Hezbollah.

You've got to recall that prior to 1967 the left adored Israel. It was perceived as left wing and in need of support by progressives. Kibbutz were a big part of that dream. Remember too that the left has tried on many occasions to create small scale utopian communities, over several hundred years. Google 'New Harmony' for one example amongst many. So of course they loved Kibbutz then. All left wing reference points follow the same arc: Initiation and celebration; Decline and excuses; Disaster and distancing. After 1967 the left moved away from Israel but it took a generation to move to full blooded Hamas support. In 1979 the SWP was pretty supportive of PLF but there were sufficient older members who were not on board with demonising Israel. Of course another ten years would see the stirrings of Rushdie hatred and the hard left forgot they ever backed those nasty Zionists.

Sam

and where the teaching of basic grammar was thought inegalitarian and therefore superfluous.

"One of our faculty who teaches Composition I and II will not grade on grammar. She thinks that's immoral. You see, correctly written and spoken English is the language of the rich and powerful… How are any of these students supposed to be upwardly mobile if they're not fluent in the "language of the rich and powerful?""

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/417986/how-civilizations-die-ongoing-series-jonah-goldberg

David

One of our faculty who teaches Composition I and II will not grade on grammar. She thinks that’s immoral. You see, correctly written and spoken English is the language of the rich and powerful…

I’m tempted to laugh, but it may not be funny for the victims of such colossal self-indulgence. I’ve mentioned before how, thanks to left-leaning teachers who didn’t want to share the secrets of basic grammar, learning a second language was rather tricky. It generally helps if you already know what various bits of the language are called and what their relationships usually are. My long-suffering German teacher couldn’t quite believe that his ‘A’ stream students had so little formal knowledge of their national language. As a result, he had to spend a sizeable chunk of his lessons providing remedial English tuition to some of the brightest kids in school.

David

Kevin Williamson has some thoughts on this:

Occasionally, a progressive makes the political mistake of being too open about where [their] assumptions lead, as was the case this week with the philosopher Adam Swift, who noted, correctly, that being read to by one’s parents is correlated with a greater degree of subsequent economic success than is attending an elite school. The inevitable conclusion is that loving, engaged families are an important source of inequality, that good families are a good that is distributed unequally with no regard for fairness, etc.

Swift... then performed the essential function of the modern philosopher, i.e., retrofitting a flimsy moral argument to pre-existing progressive political preferences; in this case, that meant constructing a category of privileges — “familial relationship goods” — that can be finely subdivided between the legitimate and the illegitimate as political realities necessitate. He did not make much of a plausible case that the state should be prohibited from interfering with bedtime stories or other acts of parental investment, arguing instead only that he believes that the state should forgo doing so. On the other hand, he argues, widely resented benefits provided by supportive families, such as private schooling, should be prohibited, which just happens to coincide with the preferences of the Left at the moment.

Oh, there’s more.

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