Schools and Market Choices

Dear visionaries,

I tried to go away, but a few more questions have arisen. I will try to keep my answers brief so that no more of my “hate-filled” stuff spills out.

In response to Ben’s question about market forces: I am not a market absolutist. Adam’s Smith’s invisible hand directs the marketing flow of child pornography and cocaine just as much as it does SUVs and floor wax. So I do not think that “the market” can save us, or provide any kind of ultimate direction for us. But I do think, within the context of a society that has its basic moral bearings, the market is a good way to sort out many goods and services, including education.

With regard to my “inconsistency” in disparaging natural selection when I favor market forces in education, two comments. First, I don’t think the market is an ultimate answer for anything. Secondly, even if I did, the market rests upon intelligence — information. I do not believe there is any naturalistic way to account for the formation of the first information required for genetic encoding and subsequent reproduction. The jump between inorganic and organic matter had to occur when there was no reproductive competition at all, and hence natural selection could have done no selecting.

For Melinda: Yes, I debated the gentleman you referred a few years ago. Glad you enjoyed it. I am only Rev. on my good days, and am happy to be called Douglas, or, if you prefer, the Hate-monger.

Just a few brief responses to your questions:

1. Children should not be denied an education just because they cannot afford it. I agree. So why are countless thousands in our nation being denied an education while sitting in the government schools?

2. Parents do not necessarily know what is best for their child’s education. Again, this is true in some particular instances — there are poor parents. But in our circumstance, here in our town, the parents whose children are getting the best education are those parents who are most directly involved. Across the nation, I believe this is generally true.

3. The green hair issue. No one is maintaining that a clean cut kid cannot be a blockhead or that an alternatively decked out person cannot be a good academic student. What I do maintain (as a generalization) is that cultural discipline is part of the process of educational discipline. And while debating this, let us not forget that many involved parents agree with this correlation and put their kids in private schools where there is cultural discipline. This, in its turn, accelerates the performance decline in the government schools. Government school advocates have to recognize that all of this has moved from a pedagogical debate to a pedagogical competition. Attending a debate, you can leave with the opinion “what brung ya.” But in a competition, real things happen in a real world. And what is happening here is that government schools are experiencing an exodus. If you want to know why, then perhaps it would be a good idea to ask the hundreds of people who are leaving. You may not like their reasons. But they still have them.

4. The religious nature of education: It is quite true that Marx said that religion is the opium of the people. But of course we now know that Marxism is the crack cocaine of the people.

The Chinese have a wise proverb that says if you want to know what water is, do not ask a fish. In the same way, if you want to know the nature of Enlightenment categories, it would be hard to learn them from anyone born in the last 250 years. The neutral “facts” that are supposedly at the foundation of all “secular” education have done a superb job in hiding their fundamentally religious nature, and they now constitute an invisible and authoritative orthodoxy. It has taken a while but this secular “orthodoxy” is now having to deal with a few Christian “heretics.”

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