Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Private Education

"I agree about the challenges you all face but would you for a moment consider the fact that private education is getting quite a bit of momentum - that bother you?"

Private Ed is getting traction, because those in circles of power and wealth, and those who wish to climb to that, no longer value inclusiveness and equality. We will go back to Ed of 100 years ago where only the wealthy will have good schools for their kids to go to. The voucher system has done just that in the U.S. More institutions will be needed for the disadvantaged kids, parents will pay more to get them even a basic education. What we have in society, a gross inequality of wealth, will be mirrored in our education system. The point of compulsory public education was to create an equal basis for all kids and creating a less combative public space based on merit rather than wealth upon their graduation. This effort had inefficiencies and costs, it was known, anticipated and accepted. This has all been supplanted by the reawakening of classical liberal ideology. What was once accepted to make a better society, equality, has now been made to seem unacceptable and that inequality and the struggle to achieve more is what makes people stronger. This struggle between modern liberal collectivism, with public education seemingly its last bastion, and classical liberal individualism is now at play in our schools. Does the move to private education bother me? Not at all. A few generations of privileged wealthy cutthroat graduates getting into the economy creating an even greater class division in society will bring about a convulsion that Karl predicted in 1850, not ending the way he thought, but the event will occur. If anything I wouldn't mind private education, I don't have kids so my taxes will fall by 50% and who wouldn't want that!

What's wrong with philanthropy?

Having often thought there was something wrong with philanthropy, I couldn't ever put my finger on exactly why. I think I have it now. Capitalists use the notion of philanthropy as a justification for capitalism in the first place, 'see how wonderful the wealthy are as they donate huge sums to the poor, education and the arts - no government does that without raising taxes', or so goes the mantra of the haves. I stumbled on something that began to open that door, 'people should stop being good in the way they distribute their money, they should try being good in the way they're making it'. Carnagie, Gates, Haskayne, Werklund have all 'given back', but why? Was their 'share' too big to begin with? Are they feeling guilt at their success at the expense of others? If they are to give back, why not to the workers who actually made their fortunes? Why not give each employee their share rather than donating it to 'cultural' edifices and organizations that cater to the wealthy, such as grand music halls or whole faculty wings of universities. Having expropriated the surplus labour from the workers in the first place and amassed it, why not give it back to them? Why? Because of the basic need for inequality in the capitalism sandbox, labour simply should not get its fair share. But if that notion is true it is interesting the idea of sharing should still surface. There is something innate in us that looks askance at the outrageous accumulation of things, money included, and this seemingly rings throughout human history and regardless of culture. Somehow we know it's not morally correct. It's as though in the core of our being we are more sharers than hoarders. In the end philanthropy is to alleviate the embarrassment of riches, to forestall negative sentiment and to outwardly look good to the general public. I found this vid http://youtu.be/mTAE5m3ZO2E

Monday, November 30, 2015

Dogmatic Repression

Repression comes in many guises, but none so vehement as that from dogmas. The struggle between the great religions and New Atheism claiming its base on logical science is a case in point. Both, now, use practically the same arguments for and against each other. New Atheism is being hailed as 'the' answer in much the same way as religion has. In their extremes they are equally wrong, both can be considered religions as both rely on the same principles, that is belief and faith. Both are constructs of the human mind and as such open to the same degree of critical analysis. The response to this critical analysis is the curse of dogma, blindness to itself as it uses any and all tactics to disprove the other. The more entrenched the other the more extreme the attacks of the first. The near delusional self belief, the self righteous indignation and the scoffing between the dogmas is ridiculous.



Power and Freedom of Speech

It's ridiculous to believe people ever had freedom of speech and privacy. Power never allows this and pays nothing but devious lip service to these ideas to placate the masses. Freedom of speech and privacy are direct threats to established power, even democratically elected power. Power fears the loss of power and so will do anything to preserve itself, particularly in the name of 'the people', especially the 'chosen' people. Living, sharing, thinking and doing collectively can not be tolerated and must be stopped at all costs. The definition of community has become so narrow in our individualistic world that it's left us insular even where we live, alone in a crowd of homes not knowing our neighbors other than only in a very superficial way. The silly notion of 'rugged individualism' has crushed our natural sense of small group community and its sense of safety and security in being able to depend on one another. If that ever develops too strongly, power comes along to either crush it or ostracize it.

Conservatives, in general, have a negative view of humanity. It's in their history. Progressivism includes an ongoing and developing belief that people, in the main, will make the right choices if given the opportunity. For Conservatives that's too much freedom for if given the chance people will choose to help each other, the unfortunate or the disadvantaged none of which Conservatives care for, there's no profit in it. So, in their eyes to be more 'individually free' people must be controlled by authoritarianism and kept individual so that the outcome will be more predictable and in the favor of those in power. Simple divide and conquer.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

More isn't necessarily better

Sept. 20, 2015.  It's exhausting living in this 'more is better' society of ours. Both economically and socially this attitude is ultimately unsustainable. Again, as Alberta Education, and subsequently school boards, seeks to change, it does so by piling on more stuff rather than thinning it out and making what remains better. More and more is being asked of both students and teachers, more and more is being said about a competitive environment, more and more about being ahead of the curve. This philosophy, or attitude, will do nothing to increase our success rates, keep kids in school or make us smarter. The more intense the competition, the more losers there will be - simple. Just look at any competition in any activity. If all we desire is the 'best of the best' then be prepared for more of the 'worst of the worst' as well, it's as thunder following lightning. Our efforts at increasing the number of winners and decreasing the losers has failed for the past 30 years, if anything it has consistently worsened. More isn't the answer and neither is competition.

Drill and skill

English pupil's maths scores improve under east Asian approach
Study shows ‘maths mastery’ experiment improved children’s scores in English schools after just one year

So, here we go again in the race to the top for some and a race to the bottom for most - as all competition is about. Are these kids better citizens, more moral and ethical in character, are they happier? The whole essence and rational for this PISA 'competition' was revealed in one paragraph buried in the article...

"Researchers also analysed the programme’s potential economic benefits. Using data from the British Cohort Study, which follows the lives of 17,000 people born in a single week in 1970, researchers predicted that an additional month’s progress in maths at the age of 10 would increase average wages by £100-£200 per year."

Ahhh, they are richer by a mere pittance per year...what are we doing with education, especially in this post-industrial world? Creating more well educated unemployed?

Sad money

What's sad is everything is equated to dollars and this silliness called money. We can easily feed every last soul on this planet, no problem. We can give medicine to every last person on this planet and eradicate many diseases once and for all. We can house, give fresh water and clothing to every last person on earth, no problem. We could easily divert resources to run this earth on solar energy. We could easily explore earth and beyond earth. There is only one impediment, this stupid notion of exchange through money and this totally obnoxious culture of profit, loss, efficiency, shareholder, MBA and such. It's time we tried to create other means and methods that would free us to do rather than bind us to not do.

 The current means of exchange has had its day in my view. Nothing can be improved, it can only get worse as we move through competition to its climax, one winner take all. So, it's time to change before the cataclysm comes. I don't think it's in our nature to be selfish, we are so deeply imbedded in this liberal individualistic culture that it has been made to appear that it is in our nature. I've seen enough children over the years to know unselfishness is quickly forced out of them in favour of competitiveness, mainly through the vehicle called 'schooling'.

Modern mercantilism

Now on evidence that national governments subsidize oil corporations...

Well. Hardly a surprise, sadly. But then the way the world has developed within modern capitalism it is in reality a new form of the old mercantilism, a 'modern mercantilism' now exists where states and corporations are in league with each other for resources and global market share based on old national interests. Much like old colonialism, the new imperialism is market imperialism for control of resources and markets largely foreign. Trade organizations are these new market empires, EU, NAFTA and now the TPP attempt, among others. Much of the strife in the world is the effect of this. True capitalists should be dismayed, but by the sounds of it there aren't very many out there. So, the same old struggle remains collusion of government and corporations against the best interests of the people, both domestic and foreign. That's how the rich ensure they get richer, nothing has really changed since 1750. So, in a way, it has ever been thus.

This was posted on FB "Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. It's life, get over it."

Many people agreed...

I posted, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain

After a little research I then posted selected pieces from a quote by Hitler regarding Germany's youth...“My program for educating youth is hard … weakness must be hammered away...I want a brutal, domineering, fearless and cruel youth. Youth must be all that. It must bear pain. There must be nothing weak and gentle about it. The free, splendid beast of prey must once again flash from its eyes..."

In a personal message I said, "I can't send this for general consumption...regarding the idea of coachable kids making good employees. It's a bit of a jumble of thoughts and ideas...
This is all based on the "survival of the fittest" notion of liberal social Darwinism as laid out by Herbert Spencer. This says that bullying is good, as are plenty of poor people and very few wealthy, as it is impossible for many to 'win'. As for 'how the world really works'...it is a construct of people and people can make it any way we want. The fact I see this 'world' generally supported tells me we are still the only animal that hunts, chases and kills itself. Modern capitalism loves this stuff, it self justifies its existence as a way to separate the 'wheat from the chaff', all good if you are the wheat. It turns our kids from tolerant, sharing, caring beings to exclusionary, racist, intolerant, I am the only thing that matters, uncaring of the other kind of people, sheep, that we 'generally' say we don't want them to be. It's no wonder kids are confused by the mixed messages we give them, don't bully, but crush your classmates on the exam to get ahead. Play nice together and share your ideas, but remember to pick a good leader who can muster the forces to his/her bidding, we all work for somebody. In sports, okay, maybe. In life, no. And I'm sick and tired of the 'sport is life' idea that justifies horrible things we do to others because it's like that in football or golf. Sport is not life, it may be a narrow part of life, but it is not life. Those who say it is, well, it explains much about how f'd up our world is. Having a kid 'kicked to the curb' is our fault not the kids' because we have created this harsh and abusive life into which we toss them. It is NOT a natural thing, this 'life' is socially engineered by us. Life in nature is easier as we have seen by the ease with which indigenous people exist within it. We can't tolerate that, or off the grid hippies, as it denigrates 'our' system of constructed life and nature. We then want our cute kids to become ferocious, driven, self reliant, compliant to authority, self indulgent, self motivated individuals. Hmmmm...not sure that's what I want."

This is making the rounds...

"We're churning out a generation of poorly educated people with no skill, no ambition, no guidance, and no realistic expectations of what it means to go to work." Mike Rowe "Dirty Jobs"

No skill, because none are required and those jobs that do the prerequisites are too high for most people. Most skilled jobs have been sent offshore and those left over go to machines/computers/robots and the few that need skilled people have too many people chasing too few jobs. No ambition, because the new generation has seen that only a few truly make it and most people's dreams are crashed on the rocks of life, to what end? At the end of the game the pawn and the king go in the same box. We have worked hard only to die taking nothing with us and leaving everything behind. No guidance, because they're not stupid. Cheating parents, lying politicians and cutthroat fat cats, lawyers everywhere, journalism dead, religious zealots, constant war and the threat of wars, a dying used up world, who in their right mind would want guidance from us? 'No realistic expectations of what it means to go to work?' The 'Protestant work ethic' is just another means of 'legal' indentured servitude created by business and their government servants to keep us bound to the bank and the 9 to 5 economy. Mortgage means 'death-pledge' and it is no different being chattel to a feudalistic lord as it is to owe to a credit institution. The rich get richer and richer and richer. This generation is taking a hard look at our world and perhaps is just saying "thanks, but no thanks, there is nothing in it for me." If so, good on them.