The Greater Good
January 16, 2008
Further to this comment on the obligation to “mingle”, and via the Devil’s Kitchen, here’s Madsen Pirie on bright children as collective property.
“It is wrong to allow bright children to go to special schools. This deprives the ordinary schools of their beneficial influence.”
If you regard children as the property of the state, existing to serve it, then it is explicable why the bright ones should be regarded as a scarce commodity, and rationed accordingly. The idea of allocating their “beneficial influence” equally through society follows from the same twisted logic. It is a pity that this is only applied to intelligence. Why should not the good-looking children be shared out equally, so their peer group has equal access to the pleasant sight of them? Perhaps the kind ones should be spread so that all may benefit equally from their sweet disposition?
The vicious notion is that children, whether bright or not, should be regarded as the instruments of the ends of others, instead of ends in themselves. Children do not exist to serve the purposes of the state; it is the other way round. The concern should be with what is of benefit to the individuals concerned, rather than with how they can be made to serve some ideological view of society. Behind the idea often lurks the doctrine of egalitarianism, and the feeling that children really ought not to be brighter than each other. With this comes the determination that nothing should be done to encourage it.