Good And Hard

Deb Frisch believes that "there is good reason to allow the market to allocate food and the government to allocate ideas." Responding to Will Wilkinson's extended analogy comparing a monopoly for education to a monopoly for food, Deb writes,

There is a difference between the choice between wheat and rye and the choice between evolution and creationism. In the bread case, there’s no truth of the matter. Different strokes for different folks works just fine. But in the case of evolution vs. creationism, there is a right answer. It is the kiss of death for a democracy to allow parents to send their children to schools that teach what the parents believe.

In general, it’s a good idea if school curricula are determined by educated people. Even if there’s a market for schools that have courses like NASCAR, Nintendo, creation science, Bible literature, etc. do we really want to allow our neighbors to “educate” their children that way? Isn’t teaching children things that are trivial or false a form of child abuse?

This seems eminently sensible. As Deb has said elsewhere, responding to Catholic law prof. Stephen Bainbridge, there are

those who don’t believe there’s a guy in the sky who had a son named Hey Seuss by a virgin named Mary who died for MY sins... Professor, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is no guy who lives in the sky. Jesus was just a person. He wasn’t the “son of god.” He didn’t die for my sins or yours. I know it’s scary, but seeing as you’re a law professor at UCLA, it would be nice if you joined the “reality-based community.”

Again, eminently sensible, from a secular humanist point of view. And since religionists are simply wrong and we are right, we "as a democracy" must not "allow parents to send their children to schools that teach what the parents believe." Because we, as intelligent, highly educated academics, surely know whats better for other people's children than their own parents do. And if the parents don't like it, tough; we have the coercive power of the state on our side. Thank God Rousseau for Democracy!

Deb concludes,

I agree with dubya-squared that the controversy about putting warning labels on biology textbooks is related to the much larger issue of the increasing tension between reality-based Americans and faith-based ones. I disagree that the solution is to agree to disagree. This one needs to be duked out.

When a reader suggests that maybe school choice privatization might be a way out of this mess, Deb responds,

If the issue of evolution vs. creationism was separated from the issue of having there be more competition in K-12 education, I'd tend to agree with you. If we could agree on a core curriculum - maybe have standardized tests - we could really see which schools were doing a better job.

But if part of the deal is that Christians can send their kids to school where they are taught creation science, I'd rather stick with the (admittedly dismal) status quo.

So different strokes for different folks, agreeing to disagree, fostering competition between schools and letting parents send their children to schools that teach what the parents believe is all well and good, (so long as the government still ensures that all private schools teach a core curriculum with standardized tests - who decides what must be included in this curriculum and on these tests is left as an exercise for the reader) except when we are right and they are wrong. In which case. better to duke it out in the political arena. Especially when your side controls both houses of Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and a majority of the popular vote.

Except hers doesn't.

The utter stupidity of some folks is astounding. Wise people know when they have been licked. They know when to cut their losses, pack up their toys and go home. Retreat to fight on another day. Or if they're really wise, they might even realize that war is not the answer -- neither military nor political war-- and perhaps begin thinking about ways to create a permanent peace.

Deb is not one of these people. For some unexplained reason, Deb believes that the status quo favors her side, and that if she can only stand athwart history yelling stop, all will remain well with the world.

Except it won't. The status quo is not on the side of the "reality-based community,” the "brights," or whatever self-serving name secular folks come up with next (and I include myself within these groups, mind you). That's the problem with democracy - its all fun and games until you realize you are in the minority. Then it's time to start appealing to higher principles, like truth, justice, and the American way. Funny how these things are noticeably absent when you're on the winning side.

So as much as I dislike the Creationist agenda, I do take comfort in knowing that, even though we all lose out from a monopolized education system, at least people like Deb get what they have coming to them. As I wiser man than I once said, Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. Deb deserves to get it, good and hard.

[hat tip Sabotta]

Share this

Dearest Lisa: You don't

Dearest Lisa:

You don't happen to remember where that comment was, do you? It was quoteworthy.

Good to know my words are so

Good to know my words are so memorable :grin:. But I have heard Deb's opinions advanced as a serious argument against homeschooling. Some people live in fear of the horrors that would be visited upon us if everyone were just left alone to teach their kids whatever they want to teach them. I mean, who knows what kind of terrible things could happen. If the crowd around here were just allowed to homeschool their kids without state supervision, who knows what ideas we'd fill their little heads with...they could grow up to be anarchists or something!

Mr Ghertner, On a second

Mr Ghertner,

On a second reading, it is still not entirely clear to this reader that you meant to disagree with that point, in particular. It must be my lesser intellect.

I guess she buys into "The

I guess she buys into "The Wisdom of Crowds"...

Someone else (Lisa, I

Someone else (Lisa, I think?) put it remarkably well. I'll paraphrase:

So the argument is I'm too stupid to know what to teach my kids, but I'm smart enough to vote for people who know what to teach my kids?

Read the rest of the post,

Read the rest of the post, Gil. That was what some of us like to call "sarcasm."

She says: "Isn’t teaching

She says: "Isn’t teaching children things that are trivial or false a form of child abuse?"

He says:"This seems eminently sensible."

I say that doesn't seem sensible at all. The fact that there is a market for many trivial things and even false things means that teaching a child these things may help him to earn a living.

But, even if this argument fails, it is hardly the case that when a parent, thinking himself right, and teaching his own child something that turns out to be false, has thereby committed any form of child abuse. How is this abuse? This is a reckless, unfounded assertion. For instance, would Ms Frisch extend her argument to those parents who teach their children false political beliefs or false history? Surely all of these false teachings exist, but there is a great disagreement regarding which are which.

Now, regarding the remark about "Bible literature" -- this is certainly uninformed. The Bible is full of great stories, and without a knowledge of them, one is not able to recognize a great number of the metaphors in much of the literature of Western civilization.

But, this oversight merely demonstrates that Ms Frisch is not part of the "reality-based" community to which she most desperately wishes for us to cleave.

It is the kiss of death for

It is the kiss of death for a democracy to allow parents to send their children to schools that teach what the parents believe.

Likewise it is to court statism to force them into schools and inculcate them with what the State wants them to believe.

Besides, who really cares how we got here? There isn't anything important in science from this point forward that depends on whether life was created by a supernatural god, designed by crafty aliens, or evolved after a few chemical accidents. Tons of kids who were taught in private and parochial religous schools have become teachers, doctors, programmers, business-people, what have you. It doesn't make any difference what they were taught about the the origins of life.

Go ahead, become a Bright!, it won't make a lick of difference to anything important.

"But if part of the deal is

"But if part of the deal is that Christians can send their kids to school where they are taught creation science, I’d rather stick with the (admittedly dismal) status quo." -- Deb

Heh. I always liked the "better everyone stupid than only just some" argument. Wouldn't this argument also apply to what the Christian parents were allowed to teach their kids at home?

I had always thought about private schools in a competitive fashion -- if all the nutcases send their kids to private schools where they learn that the New Deal saved capitalism and that people don't evolve from monkeys, then my kids would have such a great advantage over them in fields like biology.

Of course, that could be her plan! If everyone goes to a crippled public educational system, she could secretly teach her kids at home, and they'd have a great comparative advantage. :)

Gil, On a second reading, it

Gil,

On a second reading, it is still not entirely clear to this reader that you meant to disagree with that point, in particular. It must be my lesser intellect.

If you cannot see the sarcasm in this,

Again, eminently sensible, from a secular humanist point of view. And since religionists are simply wrong and we are right, we “as a democracy” must not “allow parents to send their children to schools that teach what the parents believe.” Because we, as intelligent, highly educated academics, surely know whats better for other people’s children than their own parents do. And if the parents don’t like it, tough; we have the coercive power of the state on our side. Thank God Rousseau for Democracy!

then there is indeed something wrong with your intellect.

Micha: FWIW, everything

Micha:

FWIW, everything *after* the first sentence was fairly obviously sarcasm, I thought anyway, but the first sentence didn't seem like sarcasm.

[...] an and work out well.

[...] an and work out well. This is despite the fact that he knows exactly what happens when the wrong kind of people get a hold of this power. What explains this triumph of hope [...]