Has there ever been a quarrel between two people in which one of them was entirely in the right?
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A math poem that is resisting effectiveness (so far!): the sun times wonder, rhyming stairs up to a blazing need to be heroed over equals Zeus. Ah, I will replace the word, “sun,” with color. And “wonder” with “wUnder?”
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Now for a news story I read a little while ago that is most certainly worth a rant. Actually, now that I think of it, I’ve recently read two stories–no, three(!) that are worth rants.
One I read over a week ago. It was about the local schools’ recent decision to increase the school day by fifteen minutes. Since I believe the school day should be reduced to zero minutes, except for the parents who want it forced on their unfortunate children, because such parents are unlikely to have children bright enough to be made too miserable by it, I am opposed to this. On the other hand, I’d not be so against it if those running the show would dare let some random number of kids have a school day shortened by fifteen minutes, with a comparison made between how much they learned and how much the others kids learned at the end of a full years of shortened and lengthened school days. If there were an intelligent way of measuring how much each kid learned (as opposed to how much each kinds’ ability to do well on tests about moronically small portion of the significant kinds of knowledge their are), I would bet actually money that the kids with the short days would score pretty much the same as the kids with the long days, bit be a lot more happy (or less unhappy) about their time in school.
Note: yes, I’m biased: I have more than once asked myself if there was one day when I was going to school (k-12, I mean) that I looked forward to an upcoming school day. Of course, my old memory isn’t too accurate, so it may be wrong that there were none whatever. But there could not possibly have been more than a few. Oh, actually, I did look forward to all the last days of the school years, and the ones before Christmas and spring breaks.
Note #2: I believe educators, not just locally but throughout the United States, have no idea whatever as to how to determine how much learning the victims of formal education get directly from what they are taught in school. Otherwise, an interesting research project for sociologists would be to interview a large number of different adults and carry out background checks on them in depth with the goal of determining how much what they genuinely learned from school they used in their vocations.
Needless to say, such a project is ridiculously unfeasible. It also has the disadvantage of lacking enough adults with little or no formal education to compare with the ones with it. I claim that, except for those vocations making it against the law for anyone lacking the right formal schooling to practice it, those without the formal education our laws require would be found to be as effective at their vocation as those with it.
A bit of real-life support for this is the number of persons practicing medicine who don’t get caught because of incompetence but because someone disliking them checks up on where they said they got their degrees from and finds out they never went to college.
Before considering me entirely crazy, remember that I am speaking of formal education. In order to be effective at any vocation, a person has to learn a great deal. I merely contend that most people can do this better by something Americans like Edison and Franklin used to be quite good at: self-education. That means, among other things, finding the right teachers, and getting a lot of on-the-job training, and–even more–off-the-job osmotic absorption of the knowledge the person learns well because he was looking for it, unconsciously or consciously–looking for it because he believed he would find it wonderful, not because his search for it had been assigned.
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I didn’t expect to write so much on the first of the stories I read. The other two, like the first, had to do with the rapidly expanding power of rigidniks in the world. One concerns a group of scientists who want to “improve” the spelling English words, the way George Bernard Shaw (among others, I’m sure) wanted to. The other has to do with a local government’s decision to stop subsidizing a visul art gallery. I’m against all government subsidies, BUT will argue for this one because, not being a moron, I do not believe that I am compelled never to take advantage of some government law because I am opposed in principle to the law. Why? Because there is a hierarchy of principles for me, and at the top is the principle of doing what in the circum-stances seems best for me. In this case, if I were living in a free country whose government wanted to use tax money to subsidize poet, I would be against it. If the government succeeded in passing a law allowing it to subsidize poets and I were offered a subsidy, I would accept it, because I would no longer be living in a free country, and getting money would seem best to me in those circumstances.
A better argument, I now see, is that my principle would actually be of being for government which would not subsidize anything except the few things I believe a government is justified in subsidizing such as a military establishment (and, perhaps, regulation to curb a very few economic practices who probable short term effect would occur too quickly for the sluggish correction of the market to take effect such as pollution of the environment and over-population because of the limited long-term intelligence of the masses, and many who are superior to the masses but unable to say no to a quick profit). I do not see that my second principle of being also, given a government that grants subsidies, for such a government’s giving subsidies to artists of any kind.
Another example: I was against the draft, which was in effect when I was a young man, but when (in effect) drafted, I served in the military. My principle of avoiding hassle or possible imprisonment, trumped my principle of opposition to the draft.
I am in favor of the death penalty for murderers. Nevertheless, if the government passed a law requiring murderers free room and board in prisons instead of execution, and I murdered someone and were caught, I would not beg to be executed.
If the government decreed that a bridge be built over a river a mile away from a bridge already crossing the river, and I had voted against the construction of the second bridge, I would use it rather than the first bridge when it seemed more convenient to do so. And so forth.
I’m not sure I made my case that well. It’s a difficult one to make although I am completely sure I’m right. I would be extremely grateful to anyone who pointed out in a comment where I went wrong, if I did. I’ll even promise not to call him a moron.
I think those for the kind of ersatz consistency I’m against would probably tell me I ought not favor making the school days fifteen-minutes than they now are, I should not be for anything other than reduction in the school day’s length to zero.
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Tomorrow, my response to the rigidnikry of regimented spelling of English words, then one one in favor of the subsidy of the visual art gallery.