End Not Yet Nigh
Jackets, Posters, Agitprop

Shaping Young Minds

Filthy_capitalismA reader, Wayne Fontes, has steered my belated attention to a Seattle after-school childcare programme, the Hilltop Children’s Centre, the staff of which are keen to ensure that children aged 5 through 9 have the correct kind of play and the correct kind of thoughts. In an article titled Why We Banned Legos, published in the Winter 2006/07 issue of Rethinking Schools magazine, two Hilltop staff recounted the pressing political issues raised by brightly coloured building blocks. The article’s authors, Ann Pelo and Kendra Pelojoaquin, ominously related the details of an investigation sparked by the children’s building of a village made of Lego,

“...and the questions embedded in their play about resource sharing, authority, ownership, and power.” 

As someone who has, recklessly, bought Lego as a gift for children (and played with the stuff himself, both as a child and more recently), I was shamefully oblivious to the distressing potential of this plastic construction toy. Thankfully, the Hilltop teaching staff has paid much closer attention.

“The teachers’ observations of the inequity and unintended unfairness that this play created led them to launch an in-depth study with the children about the meaning of power and ways to organize communities which are equitable and just. This investigation was anchored in… our commitment to social justice, anti-bias teaching and learning.”

Pelo and Pelojoaquin tell us, shockingly, just how focussed and possessive small children can be. 

“A group of about eight children conceived and launched Legotown. Other children were eager to join the project, but as the city grew — and space and raw materials became more precious — the builders began excluding other children.”

The horror continues. 

“The Legotown builders turned their attention to complex negotiations among themselves about what sorts of structures to build, whether these ought to be primarily privately owned or collectively used, and how ‘cool pieces’ would be distributed and protected… Into their coffee shops and houses, the children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive. As we watched the children build, we became increasingly concerned.”

The accidental demolition of “Legotown” presented the Hilltop staff with an opportunity that was eagerly seized upon.

“We saw the decimation of Legotown as an opportunity to launch a critical evaluation of Legotown and the inequities of private ownership and hierarchical authority on which it was founded. Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing… We also discussed our beliefs about our role as teachers in raising political issues with young children. We recognized that children are political beings, actively shaping their social and political understandings of ownership and economic equity — whether we interceded or not. We agreed that we want to take part in shaping the children's understandings from a perspective of social justice.” 

The children, being heavily invested in their creations (and, of course, being children), initially had difficulty conforming to the political preferences of the teaching staff.

“So we decided to take the Legos out of the classroom.”

The removal of this favoured toy was apparently “to help focus students’ attention on issues of fairness.” And thus begins the exertion of ideology, disguised, shamefully, as something dispassionate, exploratory and benign. After the withdrawal of the building blocks, the children were “invited to work in small, collaborative teams… set up… to emphasize negotiated decision-making, collaboration, and collectivity.” After weeks of “collegial debate” and “social justice exploration”, a set of specific proposals was eventually arrived at, supposedly without undue influence of the teaching staff. Those proposals were, oddly enough, that:

“All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures.

Lego people can be saved only by a ‘team’ of kids, not by individuals.

All structures will be standard sizes.” 

A subsequent article, also published in Rethinking Schools, explains the aims of that publication and its readership, and possibly sheds some light on the politics of Hilltop employees:

“We need a curriculum that honours children's potential, rather than the scripted lessons… and correct answers, favoured by so many conservatives.”

What’s remarkable here isn’t the children’s grasp of ownership, territoriality and basic capitalism, or the negotiations that took place among the young builders prior to their “correction”, all of which are pretty much innate to human beings. (And which might, of course, explain how readily their assumptions mirrored those of the society around them, built by preceding generations.) What is extraordinary is that Hilltop’s leftist staff not only felt “concerned” by such things, but also felt entitled, indeed obliged, to “correct” them with their own Socialist preferences, carefully redefined as “eliminating bias” and fostering “social justice.”

The Hilltop Centre claims to be committed to “the principles of anti-bias work” and to an approach that is both “child-centred and inquiry-based.” The centre also aims to “foster each child’s critical thinking about bias.” Whether that critical thinking extends to the injustices of Socialism, the overt political biases of Hilltop staff, or their willingness to impose them on children in their care, remains unclear. Though readers may draw their own conclusions.

Related, this, this and, er, this

Please fund my Lego research.




Did your tax games explore any of the following ideas:

1. Reducing tax rates can increase total tax yield.
2. Is it better for the state to run inefficient services with little or no choice for the consumer or to allow private citizens to create companies that private greater choice at a lower price.
3. Government takes tax from family. Takes it through tax and welfare bureaucracy and gives back to the family at 30p in the pound. This is real life in the UK.

Your basic premise is that taking tax to redistribute it is an unquestioned public good. In particular, you speak of a shortage of funds for the government to invest yet ignore the opposite side of the equation, that money surrendered to the government in taxes is less money for individuals to invest. You didn't even mention that alternative - isn't that revealing? Did it even occur to you?

You do not question the basic assumption that the government has a right to take my money and spend it for me. You don't address the question of whether people have a right to their own bodies and the fruits of their labour.


I am perhaps diverting from the issue, and yes, I would agree with your point that private ownership tends to enhance both care and productivity of social assets. I would go further and suggest that a study of the Legoland scenario if allowed to continue under the centralised or 'egalitarian' model imposed the teachers, would soon expose a dynamic black market for Lego pieces that had been squirreled away by frustrated students.

I have arrived late to this discussion, and admittedly dropped in for the delicious canapés, so I will avoid commenting on whether such behavior is an innate or learned phenomenon.


Old B. presses on, and continues to misread--for example, where did I say that a toothbrush was "private property?" I said, in fact, the very opposite. It is "personal property," with individual use-value but no exchange-value, to use the jargon that seems to find such favour here.

"The Dene are hunters and gatherers and USE the land within the exclusive rights of different families. That usage is private and exclusive."

This is completely misleading. If O.B. were to read the article that I referenced, written by a senior Canadian anthropologist who has actually worked with the Dene, he would discover, no doubt to his horror, that the Dene have a notion of "wildlife" that is more akin to "domesticate." And the territory is not divided into areas for the exclusive use of each family--that's utter nonsense, and sorry to get waspish, but I've had a bellyful. It's seen as a larder for the entire people. Go read the article.

Nice diversion regarding the Maori, too. I wasn't speaking about their warrior lifestyle, nor about the fact that iwi made war on each other and annexed territory, nor about the fact that slaves were taken and, indeed, captives were on occasion eaten.

I was talking about Maori customary land holdings.

The hapu (sub-tribes) could be equated to "clans"; they're a grouping of families (whanau) with a common ancestor. These are sometimes *huge* groupings--for example, my late partner's hapu, Ngati Hine, is now a full-fledged iwi. (It was formerly a hapu of Nga Puhi.) To regard the collective ownership of land by (in this case) thousands of people as anything but communal has finally exploded O.B.'s definition of "private," even if we ignore the fact that the ariki (or paramount chief) of the iwi outranked the rangatira (chiefs) of the hapu, so that the total collective resources of the iwi would exceed that of an individual hapu. If a nation-state decided upon a communal use of land, O.B. would no doubt argue that this is "private" to the nation-state. This is not, with all due respect, where we came in.

"[W]hen we extend our Self into the Other, we become Owners of that Other - and therefore, we treat it with care and concern."

This is mysticism, not that I mean that necessarily as a criticism. It would seem, in any case, to define a number of relationships ending in divorce. :)



The lesson plan was intended to explain the many important expenditures a government must make. Rates of taxation, and their potential yield are beside the point. If not for taxation, many services - security for instance - could never be achieved. The concept was to demonstrate the value of taxation - yes, including redistribution - to the health and productivity of a society. Now, I'm no fan of taxes and found myself as the resident 'devils advocate' in meetings with the Revenue agency, but I would not go so far as you do and claim that the collective is so innefficient that it can achieve no good works. That the government must sustain itself through taxation, personal or otherwise, is a fact of life.

old blockhead

Dr. Dawg - I'm talking about the normative notion of private property in indigeneous societies prior to western contact - which changed both their population and their economic modes.

Your anecdotal example of your partner's modern system is not what I'm talking about - which is that there is a strong economic and legal notion of private property and the rights to that property in indigeneous societies.

The hapu/clans could consist of only a hundred people - and again, their economic activities on their land area were confined to that clan.

You are changing the definition of private ownership, again. Now, you are saying that if a thousand people own that land, then, it's not private but communal. I disagree. The concept we've been discussing is private ownership - and I've maintained that this can be via an individual, family or clan - but, it's private, ie, it belongs to that individual, family, clan - and not to another individual, family, clan.

The concept of psychological extension of the Self to the Other is not mysticism. It's basic psychological bonding, as a mother to her child. This extension of the self to the other, bringing the other into the 'domain of the self' is what holds families together. And, it can be seen in the care of farmers for their animals and their produce. In the care of people for their pets, for their gardens, for their homes. Nothing 'mystic' about it at all. Just basic psychology.

brendan - I don't think the issue is so much about taxes, but about whether a private service, that operates with the care and agenda of an individual, competing with other private services - is operationally better than a public service whose services are not within the care and agenda of the individual.

Again, I think it has to do with the psychological bonding of the individual to his extensions - and private services enable such bonds, while public services don't.



I see you've backed off on the Dene. Back to the general point, stated thus by you: "Now, you are saying that if a thousand people own that land, then, it's not private but communal. I disagree. The concept we've been discussing is private ownership - and I've maintained that this can be via an individual, family or clan - but, it's private, ie, it belongs to that individual, family, clan - and not to another individual, family, clan."

Surely you can see the fallacy in this. If "ownership" by a thousand people, none of whom as individuals can exercise unilateral control over the resource, counts as "private ownership," then so does a Maoist commune. I mean, why stop at the clan level? What about the tribal level? The national level? Everything is "private." There is a glaringly obvious tautology here.

On what looks like the Sartrean concept of "having," you are on stronger ground, although your formulation is open to a number of questions. For example, does it apply to the Other when the Other is a human being? Does it apply to the purely economic notion of private property in the Marxist sense, that is, property from which one generates exchange-values? If so, what of the current late capitalist mode, in which, typically, the capital of an enterprise is distributed through shares to a plethora of shareholders (as a mutual funds holder, I guess I'm one of those top-hatted rascals), while the CEO, a manager, not necessarily an owner, rakes in amounts even larger than the robber-barons of yore, even when the stock prices are falling? How am I in communion with the Other, even though I quite clearly own private property?

old blockhead

No, Dr. Dawg, I haven't 'backed off the Dene'. I claim that you don't understand the Dene; you state that they don't own the land within clans or subsections; I say that they do. A family or clan will have exclusive rights to the use of a certain land area; that's private property.

No, a Maoist commune isn't private ownership, but a clan, family rights to use is private ownership. The difference, that you fail to consider, is the notion of kinship and personal responsibility. A group, related by kinship, owns the land and its resources. This kin group has the exclusive rights to the land and its resources. As a kin group, they have the right to those resources - and can sell them off, or make a land treaty. Joe Nobody, who is not a kin, has no say in the use of the resources.

A corporation can be made up of a thousand individuals, none of whom are related as kin, but all of whom are related as economic 'kin'. They own the resources, privately. It is not a communal or public ownership - ie, which is essentially non-ownership where any and all can come in and use the resources. The corporation stockholders, who each have a clearly defined percentage of the private resources, can elect to sell off the resources. Joe Nobody, not a member of that group, has no say in the matter. It's a private ownership.

A maoist commune is not a filation of kin but an ideological group of non-kin and non-owners. I repeat -non-owners.

Your example of the mutual funds is, quite frankly, unintelligible.I read Sartre 1,000 years ago and have no desire to remember or reread him. What does the CEO of a corporation - and I'm very sure he earns his salary even though you disagree - have to do with my outline of psychological bonding to an Other?

Of course Otherness applies to a human being; I referred to a mother and her child, or to families. Of course Otherness bonding includes land, animals, the farm, etc. I presume you are involved with and interested in YOUR mutual funds? I presume you want to protect them? So- that's bonding.

By the way, there is a recent article in the journal Science, Vol 316, June 29/07, on 'the freedom to withdraw from the common enterprise leads to enforcement of social norms. Joint enterprises that are compulsory rather than voluntary are less likely to lead to cooperation". The role of the individual intentionality and freedom - is important.

Kevin Donnelly

Dr Dawg: what of the current late capitalist mode,

Better late than the late, as my mum would say.

Yes, alright, this discussion is well outside my capitalist running dog expertise, but still very interesting nonetheless.



Not the best of locutions. Despite anything I might not-so-secretly wish for, I was referring to "late capitalism," not "the late capitalism." :)


"A group, related by kinship, owns the land and its resources. This kin group has the exclusive rights to the land and its resources. As a kin group, they have the right to those resources - and can sell them off, or make a land treaty. Joe Nobody, who is not a kin, has no say in the use of the resources. A corporation can be made up of a thousand individuals, none of whom are related as kin, but all of whom are related as economic 'kin'. They own the resources, privately."

So my point is made. The same argument can be made about an iwi, composed of hapu and related through affinity and economics. And ditto for a nation. You are in deep water, but keep treading.

If you can come up with a reference to support your dubious claims about the Dene, of whom you had likely never heard until I brought them up, please do so. Otherwise you are simply making assertions without evidence.

Incidentally, and to be fair, it might be seriously argued that the chiefly families in the iwi had effective control of the disposition of the land resource, and hence could be (at one time, but not now) "owners" of the land in question. In the history of Aotearoa/NZ, such chiefs did alienate land to the Crown, and I doubt that they took a vote on it--mana conquers all.

My point about mutual funds should have been obvious, given the discussion. I own shares through mutual funds. I can buy or sell them. But my "bond" to the companies in question is nonexistent.

I raised Sartre because of his definition of having as the synthesis of the self and not-self. Sounded a bit like your self extending into the Other. I have some difficulties with both his and your formulation, but that is well beyond the scope of this thread. Let me simply note that to place in one category my interest in weathering the current stock correction and my personal relationships with other human beings is insupportable. There are bonds and there are bonds, as Cordelia might have uttered upon being cast out.


"I would not go so far as you do and claim that the collective is so inefficient that it can achieve no good works."

And nor would I. However, I would expect the base line assumption to be that a case needs to be made for each intervention by the state to show that it is (a) necessary, (b) something that would not be available if left to the private sector, and (c) it's intervention left the net good better than if it had not acted.

old blockhead

Oh, for heaven's sake, Dr. Dawg, don't keep slithering.

Your 'bond' to your 'bonds' is quite real and existent. That's why you can sell them; they are yours to keep or sell. Sheesh.

It might surprise you, but I actually don't need you with your quite arrogant claim of superiority, to inform me of the Dene. They are hunters; that means that they lived within a kin based migratory pattern - and had the rights as a band to hunt in certain areas, and share the resources within that band or hunting unit. "This reciprocity was generally not shared between the various bands of Denesuliné but rather between members within a band" (A. Mease, History of the Dene/Denesuline in Northern Saskatchewan).scaa.usask.ca

So, resources were owned by the band or hunting unit. Not the whole tribe. And other tribes, i.e., the Cree, the Inuit, were not welcome. It wasn't 'communal' and open to all.

And I stand by my point - private ownership exists, strongly, in indigeneous societies. Your reduction of the definition of private ownership to 'only the individual' and 'only if he can sell it' is invalid. The kin group is a 'family' and has exclusive rights to that land; another family doesn't have rights to that land and its resources. That's private ownership.



Why do you keep evading the main points? Talk about "slithering." You have been claiming for a clan the notion of "private ownership," even if the clan has thousands of members who have no individual rights over the disposition of the property, and who hold it in common. But you will not make the obvious extrapolation to the tribe or indeed to the nation. There is a tautology in your reasoning: any group that exercises ownership must do so as a species of "private" ownership by virtue of the fact that ownership is invested in a group. Kinship by blood or lineage is irrelevant. (The ontological connection between blood/family and "private" ownership, never explained, is later cast aside by you--even corporate stockholders turn out to be economic "kin." Slither one.)

Slither two: from "family" or "clan" we now shift ever-so-subtly to "band," a grouping of Native people that is not based upon kinship at all, but upon geography. Don't go combing through Google to make your points--it's not helping in the slightest. Read Michael Asch on the subject of the lands and the lakes as storehouses for the Dene, or, more accurately, the Dene elders who say so for themselves in the paper I cited.

Slither three: "Communal" doesn't mean "open to all comers from wherever." It means (at least until the workers of the world get around to uniting) *within a group*, however that group is conceived. So the fact that Dene don't share their resources with Inuit (not surprising, given that they live in different parts of the country) doesn't speak to any intelligible notion of "private property," but to relations within a group and with other groups.

Keep treading.


"...storehouses for the Dene, or, more accurately, the Dene elders who say so for themselves in the paper I cited."

Sorry, very unclear. The elders are quoted in the Asch article. They are not the owners of the storehouses!


Aw, shoot. I let O.B. get to me. The comment about Google was uncalled for. Since s/he's interested in psychology, this article might be of interest:

F.W. Rudmin. "Cross-cultural psycholinguistic field research: verbs of ownership and possession" Journal of cross-cultural psychology. 1994, 25:1 pp.114-132.

The author comes down between our two positions: the notion of ownership among the Cree sample is as salient as among the English-Canadian sample. But the differences make me wonder about the usefulness of putting so many disparate notions into one category. For example, for the Cree, property may in some sense be "private," and here we are not generally dealing with land but with possessions, but if anyone else needs it, they have a right to it simply because of that need. They can also borrow it without permission, although asking permission is polite. People can walk through your yard without asking or announcing themselves.

It's a good read.

old blockhead

No, Dr. Dawg, you brought up the Dene. And, since you insist you know all about them, then, you'll know that as hunters, they are not organized in clans, but into bands. A clan is the term for a kin based group - found in larger population societies and more complex economies. But you know that already, don't you?

A 'band' is both a family and a social group - and membership in the band or hunting group is defined as 'social inclusion' rather than hereditary inclusion. But you are either a member or not a member. It has absolutely nothing to do with geography but with a socially accepted inclusion into that band. And - you can be kicked out.

I'll note that each time I come up with some rebuttal, you slither out by saying that you weren't talking about that - eg, the Maori warfare. But why do you think they went to war, other than over resource allocation?

The Dene most certainly did confront the Inuit and Cree.

A clan, in pre-contact days, most certainly did not have thousands of members, but a few hundred. If it became larger, it would split into smaller subclans. A whole tribe could be made up of many of these clans and subclans -and further divided into 'moieties'.

The point about economies based around small groups such as bands or clans, was both the resource availability and the work load. A hunting economy operates in an area with shifting resources and works best within groups of about 30.

Where cultivation is limited and requires attention, you'll find it based around the family - who will of course own the resources.

A group of 1,000 people can subsist only within a settled cultivation - where the land cannot be worked piecemeal but by large scale production. In such a case, you'll have it worked in sections by clans - and each clan owns the results of their work.

No, I don't extend private ownership from the kin group to the tribe or nation, because that's not how it works. Private ownership of land rights and resources was, in all indigeneous societies, based around the kin group and usually, the kin group of the clan.

If I want to google, I certainly will, and find your objection strange. I repeat - resources were not held by kin groups - and that group could be the nuclear and extended family, the clan. The whole tribe did not consider that all the land base was communal; each subgroup had 'user rights'.

These user rights are important, because success in accessing resources is based on experience and knowledge in hunting economies, and in addition, to long term care in subsistence farming. You can explore Netting's works on Cultural Ecology. Again, indigeneous peoples have a clear idea of rights of resource allocation.

Now, you are changing your definition of ownership. First, it was individual, and referred to the rights to buy and sell. Now, it is communal within a group!?? Heck - that's what I've been saying - the ownership is held by the economic group- the band or the clan.

I'm glad you agree with me. Cheers.


"A 'band' is both a family and a social group - and membership in the band or hunting group is defined as 'social inclusion' rather than hereditary inclusion. But you are either a member or not a member. It has absolutely nothing to do with geography but with a socially accepted inclusion into that band. And - you can be kicked out."

Good grief, stop squirming. First it was family, now it's a social grouping. You're so far at sea by this point that you'll never get back. "Come up with some rebuttal?" You mean like starting with "private property" as enjoyed by a kinship group, segueing to a corporation, and now to a socio-geographic grouping that has nothing to do with kinship at all?

Then you raised the Maori lifestyle when I was talking about customary land, and now you have the face to claim that Maori warfare over resource allocation is relevant to how Maori traditionally held land? And you accuse *me* of slithering? Now it's about "resource allocation," is it? So was World War I. All those nation-states, I suppose, could be said to "own" their geographies. Your tautology holds yet again! Quelle surprise.

And now, from Dene not "sharing resources" with the Cree and Imuit, you eel over to "confront." Well, sure, Inuit and Dene were traditional enemies. So what? That tends to make sharing resources unlikely, but it says nothing of how the Dene organize resources within their group. Poland and Germany have been traditional enemies too, and Turkey and Greece. What on earth are you trying to demonstrate? You're all tied up in knots.

And don't play with terms like "moieties," please. That wasn't typical of all societies, not even most. Incidentally, even without Ngati Hine, Nga Puhi has more than 70,000 members.

"A group of 1,000 people can subsist only within a settled cultivation - where the land cannot be worked piecemeal but by large scale production."

LOL! So much for Anglo-Saxon strip-farming.

"Private ownership of land rights and resources was, in all indigeneous societies, based around the kin group and usually, the kin group of the clan."

I know you keep *saying* that, despite the evidence I have shown to the contrary, and your own introduction of the Dene "band." It was the Ariki,as I said, who gave or sold large tracts of Maori land to the British Crown--not the rangatira. But you simply ignore anything that doesn't fit in with your idées fixes.

"I repeat - resources were not held by kin groups - and that group could be the nuclear and extended family, the clan."

Well, as I said.

And of course resource allocation was carefully regulated. Check out the New Guinea higlanders for sophisticated resource allocation, or the Tikopians But what bearing that has on "private property" has not been made clear. Hint: repetition is not evidence.



Sorry. Couldn’t resist.


My dawn reflections tell me that the following was irrelevant:

"And don't play with terms like "moieties," please. That wasn't typical of all societies, not even most. Incidentally, even without Ngati Hine, Nga Puhi has more than 70,000 members."

As to the first sentence, O.B. didn't argue the contrary--merely paraded irrelevant and common-or-garden comments about the formation of tribes. Incidentally, it was tribes, not clans, that were divided into moieties.

As to the second, since O.B. does not agree for some reason that tribes can own, just families, clans, bands and corporations, my comment about Nga Puhi is irrelevant.

Other than that, thank you as always, David, for the music. That's some impressive library you've got.

Horace Dunn

I don't think that I can add anything to that, except that this made me laugh until I cried:




I forgot to thank you earlier for your graciousness. In any event, I remember seeing this when it originally aired, I think on the Ed Sullivan Show. Borges was a cracked genius. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.



Did you hear this one?


Horace Dunn

Dr Dawg

Yes, I had seen the inflation vid, but thanks for offering it anyway.

There was me thinking that you were a humourless Marxist and all along you were a Victor Borge fan. Golly, make you think...

Off to bed now for legoland dreams...


Lego turned 75 today. Happy birthday Lego! Congratulations Ol Kirk Christiansen; now look at the ideological conundrum you have afflicted our children with.


You may find some further information about the collected wisdom of Ann Pelo of interest:

Ellsworth Toohey is alive and well and living in Seattle


Hmm, anti-bias teaching? Interesting. Reminds me of a Koan:


Uncarved block

In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
"What are you doing?", asked Minsky.
"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe", Sussman replied.
"Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky.
"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play", Sussman said.

Minsky then shut his eyes.
"Why do you close your eyes?" Sussman asked his teacher.
"So that the room will be empty."
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.

Anti-bias teaching is a stupid principle; it assumes there is no transcendent truth. Bias means that you are skewed one way or another from what is true. Statistical bias, for instance, is obviously when the results are skewed somewhat reliably to one side AWAY from the true results.

So when they say anti-bias teaching it is merely a euphemism for 'teaching the truth we want'. When we talk about objectivity, we often say 'lack of bias'. What we really mean is 'in accordance with fact or truth.'

It is clear that what they think the truth is, is not in accordance with reality.

As for the jibe about spelling and math, convention is solidly important because without it no man can be taught. If we want to ensure education (which is important for freedom) we must have standard methods that teach techniques and not ways of thinking. The reason for this, as best as I can tell, is that when each person does math (for instance) they use the same method but a different style of thinking. You can't shortcut the process of actually learning to do long division by getting kids to either 'think in a particular way' or 'figure it out for themselves'. Few will figure it out for themselves at all and not end up learning it. They're frickin' kids, man.

Spelling is vital because it allows us to understand one another and more effectively convey our meaning. Precise use of words, whether they are made up (which they all are) or are just convention ('just' is a coward's word) is as important as critical thinking. Without the precise words you don't have the precise communication which makes any level of advanced critical thinking useless.

This is an example of lazy, sloppy pedagogy.

Oh, and social justice? The tenth commandment applies to the poor, too. Sorry, teachers.


So I wonder when the report on how the kids either get bored with their crappy Socialist town and bailed on it or trashed it comes out? Or when they rebel and start reverting back to their wicked capitalist bourgeois ways?

Oh, right, that'll never come out of it happens, it'll just go down the memory hole, like anything that's contrary to what their Marxist overlords want.

Kathleen Mary

Why I don't visit Seattle (which is a barn of a city, anyway !) THOUGH I live less than 25 miles from it. I despise & hate the place and would not buy a loaf of bread in that city. It is also an expensive city to live near, a ridiculous city that allows bums to urinate on the sidewalks right in front pedestrians because it would unkind to ask them not to do so. They can spout all the collectivist, communist nonsense they want to but I will bet you one of my cheese cakes that the kids are planning a lego uprising as we speak! They will never forget the great lego horror. My teachers tried to make me a good little Roman Catholic, failed horribly. Punishment just makes me more rebellious. Both socialism & communism belong in the garbage can of history - both made the 20th century the ugliest & most violent of human history.


"I raised several examples of other cultures in which territoriality, "basic capitalism" and property don't exist per se."

About which you plainly know nothing. Plenty of Bedouin have settled down and become rich Saudi landlords, and Irish travellers are as territorial as they can be with other people's land. Hard to shift, if truth be told. In fact, I would argue that the settled community is more sympathethic to the idea of a park as a commons, owned by all, than the travellers who take it over as temporary private property for whatever length of time they choose.

Find the essentialist view of human nature as "quaint" as you want -but clearly these kids have ( like all animals) an inate tendancy ( and it is to private property) and the indoctrination was all from the leftwing teachers.

"But not to worry--that's only a few hours a week, compared to many more hours of telly, parents, the newspapers and in general the social values in which they are immersed on a daily basis."

and the reason why telly, parents, and newspapers and general social values are that way is because ( as this experiment unwittingly shows) it is inate. TV also shows people eating. Newspapers talk about food. Parents feed kids. Is this why people eat? mere indoctrination?

I can think we can rule out any ideology which claims that A is wrong just because B says so ( Where B is "conservatives, or the "ruling classes"; a ruling class which seems to exclude - in a fashion hilarious to those of us whose power is limited to blogs or commentary on blogs - the tenured academic provided he is Marxist enough ) because in real logic you also have to prove that A is wrong on its own (de)merits. The ruling classes suggest , for instance, that the sky is blue. I cannot prove the sky not blue by pointing out that the ruling classes - and their lick spittle scientists - say it. That is not logic enough. I ahve to actually prove scientifically that the sky is not blue.

See what I did there? 90% of Marxist and "cultural critique" demolished with simple little words.

As for real humans - China. The people indoctrinated in the cultural revolution, people who had nothing, and were told from childhood that property was a venal sin - were let a little bit free by the communists in 1978 - and off they went to produce an economic miracle. Based on free enterprise.

How much more proof do you need of the essentialist position. That is not all but I presume that you will read as little of evolutionary psychology, or neuro-science as the typical Marxist professor reads of economics.

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