Santorum: Just Say No To Education

We have previously discussed the rising anti-intellectualism in the GOP race from the rejection of basic science principles to the demonification of academics and higher education. Rick Santorum this week ramped up on the attacks on colleges and universities with a speech that seemed to call for voters to avoid supporting — or even attempting — college. Santorum appears to be proudly embracing the pledge of Will Rogers that “America is becoming so educated that ignorance will be a novelty. I will belong to the select few.”


Santorum explained to an enraptured audience in Naples, Florida how “the left” long ago took over universities to indoctrinate young people for the purpose of “holding and maintaining power.” It was all part of the plan of the liberal overlords, he suggested, and “we’ve lost our higher education, that was the first to go a long time ago.” Now, Obama is pushing college which Santorum portrays as a type of entry drug to liberalism:

“It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college,” said the former Pennsylvania senator. “The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination. If it was the other way around, the ACLU would be out there making sure that there wasn’t one penny of government dollars going to colleges and universities, right? . . . If they taught Judeo-Christian principles in those colleges and universities, they would be stripped of every dollar. If they teach radical secular ideology, they get all the government support that they can possibly give them. Because you know 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it.”

Santorum, therefore, called on true Republicans to stop giving money to colleges:

“I’ll bet you there are people in this room who give money to colleges and universities who are undermining the very principles of our country every single day by indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology. And you continue to give to these colleges and universities. Let me have a suggestion: Stop it.”

It was a truly Palinesque moment of attacking those who would challenge GOP positions with facts or history. Now the race to the bottom is complete with a call to just say no to education and to embrace doctrine as truth. Of course, this is not a new idea. Mao Zedong launched a Cultural Revolution based on the same notions:

Although the bourgeoisie has been overthrown, it is still trying to use the old ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the exploiting classes to corrupt the masses, capture their minds, and endeavour to stage a comeback. The proletariat must do just the opposite: It must meet head-on every challenge of the bourgeoisie in the ideological field and use the new ideas, culture, customs, and habits of the proletariat to change the mental outlook of the whole of society. At present, our objective is to struggle against and crush those persons in authority . . . and repudiate the reactionary bourgeois academic “authorities” and the ideology of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes and to transform education, literature and art, and all other parts of the superstructure  . . .”

Now this is not meant to accuse Santorum of plagiarism: you would only learn about the Cultural Revolution in those colleges that he wants us all to avoid. I can deal with the re-education camps, but I am a bit afraid of what Santorum will select as his Little Red [State] Book. If it is Sarah Palin’s America by Heart : Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag, I will be the first to turn in my colleagues hiding in the attic.

Source: CBS

147 thoughts on “Santorum: Just Say No To Education

  1. Of course you want future voters to be uneducated, Rick!

    Stupid people are easier to control. Easier to manipulate into doing what you want them to do. Like vote for a dim-witted Jesus Nazi such as yourself.

  2. Santo Rum knew his audience in Naples, Florida. It is populated by old farts from the middle west, who were successful and mostly at business or good blue collar union jobs, who, got suckered into sending Johnny and Jennie off to expensive colleges. What good did it do them? The carpenters union which sustained gramps sitting there in the audience was better than the white collar job Johnny got at Union Pacific with little or no benefits or job security. And Jennie could have just relied on the concept of marrying well, but no, she became a librarian at some school that does not appreciate her.
    Ta hell wid college. Keep at em Santo Rum.

  3. This is interesting propaganda. First, saying that Obama wants everyone to go to college misrepresents the facts about Obama’s position in favor of Obama. Secondly, in a weird way Rick somewhat agrees with an actual leftist, Chris Hedges. Hedges points out that elite colleges have been used to consolidate power for elites. The important difference in the criticism is that Hedges shows elites don’t have a “liberal” or “conservative” ideology, they have a ruthless, unthinking desire for power and money. The answer Hedges and Ricky give are also at odds.

    Ricky, like all of the ruling elites, hopes to keep our population as distracted and ignorant as possible. They would not be able to hold onto power with that ignorance and obfuscation.

    Hedges calls on liberals to quit obeying the orders of elites. He calls for young people who have every privilege to work for justice, to start thinking for themselves and to care about others. He calls for more knowledge for all, whether this comes through traditional universities or self learning. He calls for a society which is dedicated to the education of everyone. That is a population who cannot be manipulated. It is the basis of ethical and intellectual integrity. No elite, not Ricky, not Obama is for an ethical, informed population. But that is exactly what we need to be.

  4. I was a fraternity mascot at a midwest college where a dog was treated right. The problem with American college level education is the rule that the prof is always right. If they believe in something then that is how one gets an A grade. The internet will change some of this because now the student has access to information other than the textbooks assigned by the teacher, or the alternative textbooks socked away on the bottom shelf in the library.

  5. Clearly Santorum is nuts, but lets talk about the broader problems at colleges. College isn’t what it claims to be. It claims to be about “providing a liberal education.” Never mind that’s what K-12 claims to do, but colleges can’t even do that very well anymore.

    Students are taught, much as they have been in high school, not to think, but rather to simply repeat formulas and other trivialities. As Woodrow Wilson said, “We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” (Harpers Mag, May 1980) You could argue this is the real purpose of college and school in general.

    The cost of college has increased far faster than the rate of inflation and the quality of even the “half-education” it provides is proving ever increasingly shallow.

    Think I’m overstating it? The average elementary and secondary level student spends about 50 hours a week in school. Then the teachers pile on homework because apparently that’s not enough. The presidents solution to the problem? Longer school days! What a prick.

    I could go on, but I’d just be rambling (more so). We really need to rethink what makes a school truly liberal though. Santorum is right about one thing, you’d have to be out of your mind to send donations to these schools.

  6. If we don’t get rid of this education thingy people might learn:

    Iran’s Jewish community is officially recognized as a religious minority group by the government, and, like the Zoroastrians, they are allocated one seat in the Iranian Parliament … Today Tehran has 11 functioning synagogues, many of them with Hebrew schools. It has two kosher restaurants, an old-age home and a cemetery. There is a Jewish library with 20,000 titles. Iranian Jews have their own newspaper (called “Ofogh-e-Bina”) with Jewish scholars performing Judaic research at Tehran’s “Central Library of Jewish Association”. The “Dr. Sapir Jewish Hospital” is Iran’s largest charity hospital of any religious minority community in the country; however, most of its patients and staff are Muslim … The Constitution of Iran says that Jews are equal to Muslims.

    (Wikipedia). Then those libruls in power would stop us from “bomb bomb bomb … bomb bomb Iran” …

  7. S.M.,

    Hedges is saying something much deeper about higher education than, don’t go to an elite school. He is talking about what happens at those schools, how the power of the elites is consolidated at them, how ideas about social justice and real thinking are shut out. He is asking students who go to those schools to stop playing ball with this ugly, cruel ideology. It’s destroying our social fabric. Some students are doing just that, even at Harvard! Some protest Yoo but others can’t wait to take his class. Just think about that. A man who justifies torture is teaching Constitutional Law. Come to think of it a man who did teach that same subject is actually engaged in torture himself. So we should ask the question, how does this come to be. We should try to understand why students can’t wait to take one man’s class and other people are clamoring to vote for the other guy. What is going on? How did we come to this point as a people, as a nation?

  8. If enough conservatives follow Santorum’s advice and refuse higher education they won’t have any money to contribute to Colleges/Universities anyway. No worries. Stay home folks … after all, home schooling was good enough for Lincoln.

  9. Apparently he is honoring the Nancy R creeds……..Just say No….

    Santorum: Just Say No To Education

    You’ll know nothing and forever be free….

  10. “Note that Hedges went to Colgate and Harvard”

    So he knows, first hand, what those kind of schools are like… He’s spot on, power centers for the Elite.

    And he’s exactly right to say that the Elite care neither for Liberal nor Conservative ideologies. They just pick the “team” they’ll be the most successful with.

  11. How we got from a slave owning white male propertied elite to a black president of modest means is quite remarkable when you think about.

  12. “How we got from a slave owning white male propertied elite to a black president of modest means is quite remarkable when you think about.” (SwM)

    Well, it all began to change after women got the vote … ;)

  13. Jill,

    Must you hijack every thread to get in an Obama screed? We get it, you hate him, but even you can’t believe he is everything wrong with this country, or maybe not.

  14. If education is so bad, will Ricky willingly trade in his credentials? He went to a very good Catholic prep school in the Chicago suburbs, followed by Penn State and Pitt where his education was subsidized by the public.Perhaps he could pay back what the citizens of Pennsylvania wasted on him.

  15. Elaine,

    I’m struck by statements such as, things have always been a certain way. Why does that matter? Elites have always run things but that has never been good for our society. To me, the solution lies in recognizing a problem and taking action to remedy the harm that is being done.

    It’s why we don’t have as much slavery as we did in the past. Slavery has been part of human society for a long time., It still is, both in this and other nations. I agree it’s important to understand the history of slavery. That is what will help us to make things better and we owe other people the truth, both about the past and the present. Is that the way you meant your statement or did I miss something?

  16. For Jill and Gene:

    “Preach, my dear sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people.” – Thomas Jefferson to George Wythe, August 13, 1786

  17. As to the real topic of this thread we owe Little Ricky a debt in overtly acknowledging what has been the aim of the Ultra Conservative movement since the Goldwater defeat. Literally billions have been spent to dumb down the American public. School boards taken over by no-nothings have revised the curriculum to homogenize the teaching of history. Budget cuts mandated by conservative officials have destroyed the concept of teaching Civics, a subject that always included a firm grounding in the background and principles of our Constitution. Geography, which grounds students in the layout of our world gets thrown away. Now fifty+ years later we have an electorate uneducated about how our nation is supposed to be run. Ignorance is indeed bliss for the ruling elites and they want to keep it that way.

  18. Chris Hedges is one of the good guys. I was only trying to point out that he does come from an elite backround.

  19. Mike S.,

    You keep making the mistake that dumbing down is just done for/to conservatives. It’s equal opportunity and it’s been successful on liberals and conservatives alike. I know you and I will never agree on that. To you, this nation is a disaster because of Republicans and to me it’s a disaster because elites (who don’t have a party) are running us into the ground. They are aided in this task by people, left and right, who have all agreed with certain truly awful US policies, like torture and imprisonment of the innocent, along with financial crimes against the people, are acceptable as long as it’s the “good” side engaging in those policies.

  20. Mike S.,

    Of course…some peoples problem is Just the One in office now…If we had a different president….then everything will be all better…I have said and will say it again….I will probably most likely vote for Obama unless some Other Candidate runs that strikes my fancy….

    As you duly noted….the problems did not just start a few years ago….They go way on back…That is the issue today…Some states are considering emergency manager positions so they can take over a city, town including but not limited to school districts….The Republican’s have created this mess so that they can further the Koch Agenda…also known as ALEC…..It is called the Right to Work issue at this moment….

  21. The Texas State School Board members that favor changing the textbooks to teach creationism and change history itself are conservative republicans. Think that is the case in the other states too.

  22. Jill,

    Your earlier comment seemed to imply–to me–that the elites having control of things is something new. I was responding to that. There is no need to read anything more into my comment. I would hope that you’d know by many of my past comments and posts that I’d like to change the status quo in this country.

  23. “You keep making the mistake that dumbing down is just done for/to conservatives.”

    Jill,

    You keep making the mistake that you understand this more than I do, because of some of the political positions I take. If one looks at the history of my writings for years here, they would see that I’ve excoriated the left as much as I have the right and in the process pointed out the sad similarities between both. My comment to you was on how you keep hijacking every thread to throw in your Obama hatred and that it is not only tiring, boring, but quite uninformed.

    “To you, this nation is a disaster because of Republicans and to me it’s a disaster because elites (who don’t have a party) are running us into the ground.”

    Just look back and see that I’ve out written you by far on how the elites are running and have run this country. That is just in comments alone. I’ve also written about 20 blogs that deal with this issue and they were hardly partisan screeds. So don’t play your silly little characterization games with me, Jill, just because I have stated that I support the man you think is the devil. I’ve given more than adequate expressions of distaste for his policies, but I’ve also given reasons for why I think voting for him is the prudent thing given that our society would tip over the brink into full totalitarian, corporatist feudalism if he loses and Congress too is lost.

    You may disagree, but your solutions are non-existent, given the threat of an overt takeover of this country by the fascist right wing, that is the current Republican Party. Just like the Radicals, Communists and Socialists I knew in the 60’s whose need for “purity” let Richard Nixon get elected and wipe out most of the gains of both the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements, your positions would help destroy our ability to even write what we write here.

    Yet you comfort yourself with the Mantra that I am just an “ObamaBot Democrat” foolishly supporting evil. If I hadn’t left a written trail of evidence
    that gives lie to your attack, perhaps it might stick, but since I have that trail, it just exposes you to the charge that it is you who are the complete partisan of whatever you choose to call your point of view. Another way to put it, based on “The Authoritarians” is that you are a Left Wing Authoritarian, whose beliefs are unquestioningly informed by those you believe to be the true Authorities. I think for myself and my best authority is myself, my experiences and history.

  24. That Chris Hedges guy is very interesting. He appears often on Free Speech Tv. I even interrupt the Animal Planet programs to watch Hedges. If you cannot get Free Speech TV see if you have LinkTV on your cable portolio–Chris Hedges is on there as well. But after awhile Chris hedges towards preaching politics. That can be tedious. Then they pass the plate.
    Thats ok becasue they dont have traditional sponsors.

  25. Mike S.:

    Thanks for your excellent posts on this topic and for pointing out the fact that while both sides have to carry blame, the lions share fall on the side of the Republicans due to their open disparagement of women, minorities, non Christians etc. as well as a willingness to support nonsensical positions like creationism with a general hostility to reason, evidence and science. One just has to look at all the trash that is put out by right wing think tanks where facts are optional. As former Senator Daniel Patrick Mohniyan put it..”You are entitled to your opinions but not your own facts.”

  26. How can we use ‘santorum’ correctly in a sentence. How about “Current republican politics is a santorum of conflicted and conflicting ideas”.

    I still think they should nominate Rick; he’s funny…

  27. Creationism creeps on…..and it’s moving through the Indiana Senate. A Senate committee has just agreed that it be taught in schools. I wonder if Mitch Daniels, one of the few sane Republicans, would veto it?

  28. Elaine,

    I was asking because I didn’t really understand what you meant. I can’t guess what you mean so I was asking a genuine question. You clarified it, now I can respond.

    Although elites running things is nothing new, Hedges argues and I agree that the left has sold out the people. He says that leftist elites no longer work on behalf of the disposed because they have become an integral part of the elites. He argues and I agree, that this is different from earlier times in our nation when left wing intellectuals/activists actually confronted the powerful. He feels and I agree, that their collusion with the elites has created a vacuum of left wing policy, discussion and movement for justice. Our side has largely folded its tent. This has been a disaster.

    Mike S.,

    You are exactly like my very good neighbors who told me over and over again that Bush was a good guy, that they had to vote for him because he was the lesser of two evils, that Bush would use his power wisely so it was O.K., that he was a little misguided but really a nice guy who maybe lost his way a bit. There is no difference in your belief system from theirs. These are good people, not bad people. They believed what they were saying with all their heart. That’s why I can’t call all conservatives evil and hate them!

    I actually think a person who votes for someone who tortures, imprisons the innocent, welcomes felons into his administration, etc. because he’s on your “side” might be the authoritarian, but I will leave that decision up to you. I can’t agree that the best way to do things is to keep doing what we’ve done before and expecting a different result. I can’t agree that Obama is the lessor of two evils. I don’t even agree that elections are the best way to go, let alone that one can and should vote for a major party candidate. Like this authoritarian always says–do what you want, I’m working in a citizen movement for justice!

  29. MIKE
    Why do you attack Jill….instead of attacking what she says.
    Do you think Obama has protected the Constitution?
    I think the contrary, and I’m a supporter of anti-authoritarian activities for many years. Which the scars attest to. Maybe that’s why I risk irritating someone here who stands in high affection and repute—-because I don’t agree with folks who attack people with attributed faults, instead of the argument they propose.

  30. I was having a discussion with one of these types of people & he very seriously told me “American won’t make progress until we put Jesus above Science!”.

    Yes, Little Ricky and Friends want us stupid because they believe that will ensure the rapture.

  31. There is a fundamental problem caused by two conflicting views of college:
    One is that it is a place to learn about yourself and the world, to understand what has come before you. That is, to become a better person.
    The other view is that it is a place to get your ticket punched in order to get a better job, or maybe any job at all – irrespective of whether you learn anything or not.
    There is a third, lesser view of college, that used to be advocated for women: a place to hang out and find an upwardly mobile husband candidate, with good earning potential and “good breeding.”

  32. what is wrong with withholding private funds from a university if you disagree with what they are teaching?

    College is a quick route to a job now days but you can make more being a welder or electrician or machinist. I have seen articles saying welding and tool and die jobs cannot be filled. These are good, well paying jobs.

    Too many people have been sold on the idea that a college education leads to a better financial life. And on top of that only about 25% of people who go get a degree. The 75% who do not graduate are wasting their time and the tax payers money. We should have another track for people who would do well being welders, electricians, machinists and other skilled craftsmen.

    We need to quit denigrating these jobs, a skilled welder is worth his weight in gold and machining has gone into the space age with cad cam and plasma and 3 dimensional machine tools. I know a kid who can weld and is attending a college for a degree in machining, he will one day own a business and put a bunch of people to work. He could give a frog hair about David Hume or Hobbs’s theory of government.

    You dont need a college education to master a skill.

    “Most of these students expect to earn a bachelor’s degree. Yet the sad truth is that six years from now, in 2015, the data suggest that barely half will have an earned a degree–and, out of the vast pool of students who do not attend elite institutions, only four in 10 will do so.”

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/07/college-graduation-rate-opinions-colleges-09-aei.html

  33. JILL
    “….–They are aided in this task by people, left and right, who have all agreed with certain truly awful US policies,—-”

    As to rights I see no difference between Obama and Bush. Obama has only extended timewise, extended with new laws, and extended Executive power to ignore laws.
    So if he is a Democrat, then your elite theory seems to be plausible.

    As I remember the “authoritarian” professor said that elites have no credo; power seeking is the only goal for them.

    I’ll buy that.

  34. Jill:

    “They believed what they were saying with all their heart. That’s why I can’t call all conservatives evil and hate them! ”

    the rank and file of both conservatives and liberals are good people who have been sold a bill of goods by the elites. There are 3 parties in this country; democrats, republicans and elitocrats. The elitocrats are comprised of the elites from the republican and democrat parties. They work for their own agenda to the detriment of the people.

    I bet your conservative friends wouldnt vote for that rat bastard again.

  35. To expand on Jill’s comments at a tangent “It’s not what you know but who you know”. An aspect of college life, especially at the most elite of schools, is the connections you make. The fraternity you get invited to join can set you up for life even if you can’t put a coherent sentence together. Combined with legacy admissions you have a built-in support network and a host of upcoming business and political connections that perpetuate your position and well-being through generations. You get invited to join Skull and Bones.

    Without the contacts George Bush made outside of the classroom but at college he would have never been able to get support for his serially failed business’, let alone end up president. The dynastic 1% take care of their own and an elite college is just another vehicle for establishing/maintaining the support group to do so.

    “The battle of Waterloo was won on the (playing) fields of Eton” is not a metaphor.

  36. People who use their acceptance of any religion as an excuse to stop learning or to be less curious about the mysteries of the world are simply using religion as an excuse for laziness.

    Religion should open the mind for it is the point from which one jumps off into a relationship with the Almighty (whatever name one chooses to use).

    I am always amused by those who think the words in the Bible are the sum total and all they need to know. The words in the Bible describe the experiences of others, the work others have done, the lessons others have learned. They did their work in their time for themselves … not for you. You don’t get a free ride based on their efforts. You must do the work for yourself.

    Beware the false prophets.

  37. Clinton made it into the elite through hard work and a high IQ so did Obama. Romney was born into the elite like Bush. Newt and Santorum did not come from the elite either.

  38. Lloyd Blankfein grew up in the projects and made into Harvard when there quotas were placed on jews. Being a legacy definitely gives one advantages but there are determined people that break through the barriers. Justice Sotomayor is another example of growing up poor and breaking into the ivy league.

  39. Jill and Mike S.
    Thanks for going from sniping to full attack. Now we know where you stand but not much on why——-but after so many years it may be tough to repeat it all. How does one search for old stuff by a named poster?

    Jill,
    as for: “—-I’m working in a citizen movement for justice!”

    Good luck. By the time you get anywhere (define it yourself), they’ll have you under surveillance. infiltrated, tapped, GPS’d, bombarded by psyops, besmirched by planted publications, doubted by the MSM……..the list is long.
    The only way seems to be the unorganized way, and even that needs communication which is surveilled completely. Occupations, attending meetings and “mike-checks”, flash mobs……any other ideas.

    The heroes we were taught in hisrory class have all fascistic writings.
    And your “reds” were quickly eliminated. So is Chomsky a shill? No. He is my last hope. Who shall replace that truthsayer?

  40. Bernanke taught himself calculus because he went to school in a small South Carolina town where it was not available. He got a perfect score in math and went to Harvard. If you want to elect the true blue blood elite, vote for Romney.

  41. Michele Obama was not invited to join the eating clubs at Princeton but my daughter’s classmate with mediocre grades and a very lengthy legacy was.

  42. SwM,

    “If you want to elect the true blue blood elite, vote for Romney.”

    Sush … you’re messing up the talking points

  43. blouise, It is just a shame that a woman from the south side of Chicago that is descended from slaves could become first lady. These terrible elitists………… Car is in the shop so have been on the computer too much today. lol.

  44. Jill,

    “Although elites running things is nothing new, Hedges argues and I agree that the left has sold out the people. He says that leftist elites no longer work on behalf of the disposed because they have become an integral part of the elites. He argues and I agree, that this is different from earlier times in our nation when left wing intellectuals/activists actually confronted the powerful. He feels and I agree, that their collusion with the elites has created a vacuum of left wing policy, discussion and movement for justice. Our side has largely folded its tent. This has been a disaster.”

    *****

    I’m not sure which “left” has sold out the people. Who are the “leftist elites” of which Hedges speaks? Are they truly leftists or liberals or progressives? I believe there are still a number of true liberals and progressives who have not sold out. What about the individuals who write for The Nation? Democracy Now? What about economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman? What about Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren…Cornell West and Ben Jealous?

    Let’s criticize the “liberals in name only” who we believe have sold out. Let’s get specific about who they are and not paint all members of the left with the same broad brush.

  45. Of course these people are allowed to “join” the elite:
    Bernanke, Clinton, Obama, …….make your own list.
    They are amusing, and useful tools. They may climb, but are still not in the core club. Entrusted, but still can be busted. Not like the legacites.

    The one who interests me most is Harriman’s old mistress, who gave the nod to Bill. What’s her name. Was it through Harriman she had her pull?

  46. I wonder how many poor but excellent students managed to break into the finest schools before 1955? If they did their numbers were tightly controlled by scholarships as I suspect they still are. That’s not to take away from those that have or will, just observing that it’s not the norm and won’t keep elite schools from being a method for the political and economic elites from perpetuating and fostering their dynasties. I’m not a ‘leave no two stones standing’ advocate when it comes to schools.

    ******************

    Jill: “They believed what they were saying with all their heart. That’s why I can’t call all conservatives evil and hate them! ”
    ———–

    Depends on how conservative, and to be harsh about it, the ‘good German’ defense was shot down some time ago. If everything they believe is wrong and destructive why let them of the hook because they’re sincere? If I were omnipotent (ala “It’s A Good Life” by Bixby) they would be the first ones on my list. The hypocrites and panderers you can always deal with, it’s those sincere ones that are the greatest danger. Example? Abortion rights. They’re so sincere they kill people. Yea, the truly sincere ones would top my list.

    I would love to have a non-mainstream candidate that had a chance of winning to vote for. That’s not the way it is though. That’s particularly important this year because we have the choice of Obama (insert whatever pejoratives you like here) and a clown car being driven by candidates that all appear to be The Joker as portrayed by Heath Ledger; a character that would consider kidnapping the nation and driving that car off a cliff ala Thelma and Louise, (laughing maniacally all the way down) a good days work. Can’t do it. Can’t even consider it.

  47. idealist707,

    If you want to see the blogs I have written, type “Mike Spindell” into the search box on the upper right. You will see the “why” of my thinking. If you want to know my arguments re: voting for Obama I’m not sure how you could find them, but every critique you’ve made of the elites, I’ve made and more. My vote this year is more or less a holding strategy, until the gains of OWS can be expanded on and a good shot at changing the system can be made. My reasons are hardly simplistic, whether after reading them you agree or not. As to why I attack Jill, let me use your own words:

    “Jill,
    “as for: “—-I’m working in a citizen movement for justice!”
    Good luck. By the time you get anywhere (define it yourself), they’ll have you under surveillance. infiltrated, tapped, GPS’d, bombarded by psyops, besmirched by planted publications, doubted by the MSM……..the list is long.”

    You may think me alarmist but I think a Republican victory this year, capturing Congress in its’ wake, will end whatever semblances of freedom we have and will force upon us a Theocratic State, with a theocratic educational system. I see Obama’s election, with all the negatives, as buying us time.

    As for Chomsky and Zinn for that matter, neither are shills. However, their analysis of the Movement of the 60’s (of which I was a part) is rife with sentimentality and their own need for self-justification. We of the “Movement” and I was part of the problem, were arrogant and stupid in our strategies. It led us directly to Nixon and he then destroyed most of what we fought for. I’m older and wiser now, but no less radical, the difference is that I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes and am honest about my own failures to see the way.
    Yes this country is run by a corporate elite, but the saving grace is that it is not homogenous, or else our goose would be cooked. We can use those who are more moderate in their treatment of the people, by pushing them further to the left. Do you realize that today Nixon would be seen as a Republican Centrist? Part of real change is moving the discussion back further towards the left, where it was in the 30’s. This is not accomplished by missing the subtlety of difference and proclaiming in unison “They’re All The Same!”, when in fact though none of them are that good, some are much better as a temporary alternative leaving us space for a log term solution.

    I see an analogy to 1968 today, only any of the alternatives to Obama are far worse than Nixon, in his most delusional state. It took the extreme, radical right
    12 years to go from Nixon to Reagan and another 20 years to go from Reagan to the insanity of the Bush/Cheney crime family. Along the way they spent billions in propaganda. This is a long fight, which we can win by using our advantage of intelligence, but a movement must stay alive in order to win.

  48. Elaine,
    I agree that there is a need for specificity in Jill’s comments.
    Mike S.,
    Today Nixon would be a moderate Democrat when compared to the radicals controlling the Republican party. A guy who agreed that there was a need for a strong EPA just wouldn’t be crazy enough for this crowd.

  49. Jill, I must be the exception that proves the rule, or whatever that saying is. I went to a very “elite” college and I still haven’t figured out how to consolidate any power.

  50. Different points…….
    Well, money is not all, there is caché which kept Wallis Simpson and her ex-Prince invited the rest of their life.
    As for Clintons it was cash even back in Arkansas.
    Yes, Pamela, fabulous woman. Google her, an amazingly long “career”, described somewhere.
    Nixon was described last Spring by Chomsky as a “liberal”, the listening students at OWS demos in Boston (Youtube) laughed.
    As for Chomsky, he fascinates me with his encyclopedic eidetic recall of our sins around the world, when spontaneously answering student questions.
    And he points so well to the spin, illusions, etc. used to delude us…..repeatedly.
    Mike, I have drawn the same conclusion from my limited knowledge.
    I have no credentials other than a late awakening to the delusional scene which they paint, and repaint, etc. I’ve always needed guidance of other malcontents with sharper eyes to confirm my doubts.
    With Obama (there is no real other choice) it is fascism after four more years; not tomorrow. And he might let us keep Medicare, etc., which is unlikely with the Republicans. As for the OWS, no one is prepared to die for freedom here; BUT the elite are quite prepared to kill us.
    I don’t think there’s a need to recite the list of the last decades’s preparations.

    I

  51. Forgive me if I haven’t read every post, but why does education need to be a federal matter? If was a state matter the schools would be dramatically less subsidized and prices would drop accordingly. The federal govt couldn’t mandate what every school was teaching so in a sense states could compete to have the best schools which would raise the standards for all schools otherwise they would not attract as many students. Obama’s idea of forcing children to go to school, is great on paper and makes a great sound byte, but let’s face reality, the US is virtually bankrupt, and as the “petro dollar” continues its steady demise, where does he think te funding will come from? More trillion dollar deficits? It’s simply ludicrous that people take this man seriously, education is a noble and just cause but theres no ones size fits all solution for everything, let the states compete, get the fed out of it. Secondly if my point isn’t clear enough as to why they shouldn’t be in education? Look at tuitions and grades since the almighty fed took over. “Socialism only works till you run out of other peoples money” M.T

  52. Santorum’s critique, like pretty much everything else he says, doesn’t even make enough sense that I care to argue it. I’ll just say you can avoid most of the PC BS if you just pick the right major and choose your courses wisely in my experience.

    However, being a PhD student and surrounded by academics there is something important that people are missing about the whole “everyone should go to/attempt college” idea that I’d like to put out there:

    Half of all the children are below average.

    If you want EVERYONE (or even say the top 90%) of high school grads to go to college, you have to REALLY alter what college is and how it is taught to deal with the, bluntly put, decreased raw intelligence of the students. You only have two real choices to do this:

    The brute force way requires universal dumbing down of standards across the colleges, which in turn only further enhancing the growing reality that college is mostly an extremely expensive degree mill.

    The second option is an intellectually graded college, which results in the “smart people” college programs/degrees/classes and the ones for “dumb people.” Colleges are already bloated and extremely overpriced, and this will only exacerbate it by making them accomodate people who really won’t get anything out of being there.

    Already, about 40% of people get NO measurable increase in critical thinking and other general intellectual capabilities after 4 years at college (see Academically Adrift, a very large long term study), and for this they are incurring gigantic amounts of debt. It is even worse if they pick a lousy degree that doesn’t give them any directly applicable job market skills or specializations (e.g. any humanities degree of the form **X tribe** studies). My own experiences teaching undergrads as a TA at one of the top public engineering schools in the country has illustrated to me vividly that as currently stands about 20% of students that survive to junior year in aerospace engineering are so bad at math and critical thinking that to give them a degree for grinding it out is an intellectual travesty. Yet they still do…

    That much touted salary benefit for having an undergraduate degree isn’t because it actually imparts so much value to the students that attain it; it has simply become modern practice that businesses use a college degree as a prerequisite filter to show you can trudge on through such things and come out the other side – i.e. a way to do lazy screening. It would be far better to reverse THIS practice of meaningless credentialing, and fix the cluster#*$@ that is modern academia with its soaring costs and administrative bloat than to try to shove everyone into a broken system…that will only make the problems harder to fix.

  53. Personally, I think the problem with education is that it is so important! :-)

    Because it is important, everybody wants to control it, and nobody wants to accept that their kid is sub-average in anything, so the entire educational system ends up thwarted, there are so many people making decisions that teachers cannot really do anything except teach to the bottom 10% of the class, and that bottom has less to work with every year.

    The result is runaway grade inflation, and definite degree inflation, and definite skill deflation. The schools have become baby sitters, the kids have become bored, and the nation is poorer for it.

    The fact is that it is impossible to preserve teaching standards without standing up for them, and standing up for them would mean grading absolutely, not relatively, and letting a lot of kids flunk. But for a lot of teachers that would mean literally risking their career. I do not blame them for not doing that, it is our fault (society’s) for putting them in that situation; they should have absolute protection against punitive actions by principals, school board members, politicians or others in power.

    Complaints against teachers do need to be judged, but if it is not a matter for the real civil court system, then they should be judged by a randomly selected jury of their peers, meaning other active teachers, not unilaterally by principals or other superiors that may be cowed by political, social or financial pressures.

    The problem with our education system is that everybody wants to force the outcome, that their kids “passed with good grades,” regardless of whether that attribution continues to mean anything or not.

  54. Mike S.

    Also thanks for the JBS-Ron Paul information and video. I did not know that he had given a speech to that organization as recently as 2008!! And people still rationalize that away in the hope that he will be a savior to this Republic. I am now fully convinced where this man is coming from. The evidence is now overwhelming.

  55. All this talk about elites is a bit confusing. As far as the money thing, which is the defining feature of American/Calvinist elect, it a pretty shallow measure by most intelligent persons lights. No? I mean, “making it” in terms of power and money is really a definition of materialism, so I understand why some here may worship that god.

    Regarding “intellectual” elite, that’s on virtually nobody’s radar, except in academic circles.

    What’s the big deal about “making it” into a good school from a ‘lowly’ background. Are people here so naive as to believe socioeconmic and geographic distribution doesn’t play a part in reserving slots as prestigious school for those NOT YET in the elite. This may be one of the elite’s way of preserving the myth that the US is really a class transparent society, which it’s not.

    I would like to see someone make a convincing argument that when it comes to the political elite — which is really about anyone who get’s elected — that the present money-infused system either promotes a progressive democracy or reflects the surfacing of some demonstrable superiority and virtue.

    Re Hedges, where much of this discussion started, he seems to be doing about everything he can to disavow and play down the path and perks of one who at least should be a mainstreamer, judged by education and professional journalistic accomplishment, at least if one judges his world view is anathema to mainstream elites.

    Finally, it’s not hard to note that politicians who some revere, some detest, like Bill “stain on the blue dress” Clinton, or Tom “shakedown” Delay, really strain the argument that the term “elite” has much common sense meaning. I think really the whole elite business revolves around envy of one sort or another because, except in social morphology terms, it’s pretty senseless.

  56. Tony C:

    Your post at 5:40 pm on grade inflation etc. is a good one. I face that in my research when dealing with technicians who have an undergraduate degree to boot! It is as though they have gone through courses mechanically and obtained a piece of paper called a degree.

  57. “Let’s criticize the “liberals in name only” who we believe have sold out. Let’s get specific about who they are and not paint all members of the left with the same broad brush.” (Elaine)

    Very well said.

    “The Power Elite ” (1957) by Charles W Mills gives an excellent breakdown of the elites and one should be careful how the word is tossed around especially as the host of this blog fits into several of the various “elite” categories.

  58. Idealist707: “With Obama (there is no real other choice) it is fascism after four more years; not tomorrow. And he might let us keep Medicare, etc., which is unlikely with the Republicans.”
    ——-

    The President in the SotU address again called for a grand bargain. He is such a weasel.

  59. Dr. Michio Kaku weighs in on American education with some pretty horrifying stats, horrifying if they’re anywhere near correct:

  60. As Blousie cues, C. Wright Mills was explicitly talking about the political-military-celebrity nexus of “elites”, the POWER elites of his time (and ours?).

    I think our host’s elite status can be gracefully acknowledged with the confidence that it has not gone to his head : )

    There seems a disconnect between the common sense meaning of the term, and the sociologically puffed up version.

  61. “There seems a disconnect between the common sense meaning of the term, and the sociologically puffed up version.” (DonS)

    … and the “political” buzz word.

  62. Blouise, Elizabeth Warren was born into a working class family in Oklahoma. She now teaches at Harvard. It is hard to get a position there if you did not attend the ivy league which she did not. She is very bright, and she works hard. I hope Warren runs in 2016 after having served a few years in the Senate.

  63. SwM,

    I have to admit that I hadn’t thought that far ahead but what a marvelous idea.

    By the way … did you read Mike Appleton’s analysis of Newt’s motives on today’s Gingrich thread? Insightful.

  64. “Blouise, That is provided Obama wins this time.
    I think after all the blood letting and the establishment Republican contortions on the nominee he will win.

    Then to repeat a phrase from a R&B song”Now we got it,what are we going to do with it ?”

  65. “As for the OWS, no one is prepared to die for freedom here; BUT the elite are quite prepared to kill us.”

    idealist 707,

    Bingo! We’re on the same wavelength I think. In the 60’s I marched and marched, organized and organized, exhorted and exhorted. The Movement
    leaders all talked tough and as Dylan wrote “There was Revolution in the Air”. 1968 came with us denouncing the “fascist pigs”, convinced that our Revolution was victoriously coming. First MLK, then RFK got shot, but onward we marched to the Chicago Convention. Lo and behold those Fascists really were Fascists and treated as one would expect Fascists to treat people. We of course used selective memory and denial to ignore the fact that our purpose there was exactly to cause the beatings and brutality we decried. The belief was magical thinking. Especially that the pain of the pawns would rally the country to our cause, it did the opposite. Then came Nixon, then came Ohio State, there the Movement died.

    How easy it is to talk tough and espouse revolution, having the unspoken expectation that our epithets of Fascism aren’t really true and the “people”
    will rally to our cause. It never works like that. The only violent revolution possible today will be led by the Aryan Nation, KKK, JBS and others of that ilk. They’ve got the guns and the insane belief in their own inevitability. God,
    or some other cosmic force, forbid they win. On the other hand the revolution of the fascists may come in peacefully, in the wake of an election.

    I personally didn’t go to Chicago, but I marched in DC on many occasions and led many labor protests.. By 1968, as an activist in the most radical CS union in the country, I had learned that sometimes radical leaders were as loathsome as the “fascists” they were trying to replace. Maoists, Trotskyites, Communist Party, Black Nationalists, Anarchists were all around me, trying to entice me to their cause. I looked in their eyes, heard the humorless harangues and realized I would’t want to even “get high” with these people, who mainly only were “high” on their particular Party Line. They were mean and they were deceitful and they were as much “Authoritarian’s” as the Right Wingers I loathed. By the time Chicago came around I understood these people and had realized it was all show, no substance.

    I didn’t go to Chicago to risk my limbs in a pointless exercise of egotism. Yet in my way I spent my career upholding the principles I believed in. As far afield as this thread has run my Masters is from an Ivy League School, on full tuition scholarship no less, but unlike those “radical leaders” I knew, I never sold out my ideals, nor leveraged my education into position and wealth. That whole argument as to who is elite is a false trail. Elite isn’t about money or social status, it is about people who have those things and want to trade it in for power, the ultimate aphrodisiac.

    I want change. I want equality for all. I want society nurtured, not plundered.
    I’m willing to openly state my beliefs, under my own name and to work peacefully towards changing this country back again to the ideals of the 30’s and the New Deal. We must remember though, that even then things were touch and go. Roosevelt had a similar SCOTUS limiting him, as we have now. The change I want is by today’s standards radical change, but it can be summed up as societal fairness for all. The problem is that we have to really be smart to pick our way around the propaganda barrage eloquently alluded to by Dredd in his blog. In the end, after this screed has tired me out, I leave you with other words from Bob Dylan, whose true meaning I urge you to ponder.

    “Don’t follow leaders, Watch your parking meters”

  66. “(Elaine) Very well said. “The Power Elite ” (1957) by Charles W Mills gives an excellent breakdown of the elites and one should be careful how the word is tossed around especially as the host of this blog fits into several of the various “elite” categories.”

    Blouise,

    He wrote that 55 years ago and it still describes today.

  67. Lottakatz,

    There are lots of smart kids in this country and lots of good school systems too. One of the things not touched on in the Michio Kaku video is that some capable American students don’t get accepted to prestigious universities like MIT because they have less money than many of the wealthy foreign students who don’t need scholarships and who don’t need tuition assitance. That’s what one scientist/professor told my husband.

  68. “Then to repeat a phrase from a R&B song ‘Now we got it,what are we going to do with it ?'” (eniobob)

    lol … that was great

  69. Mike S.,

    “Blouise,

    He wrote that 55 years ago and it still describes today.”

    =======================================

    Lordy, lordy it does indeed. I was rereading my copy last week and so much of the the truth in it is true today. In fact, I have a better appreciation and understanding today than when I first read the book twenty years ago.

  70. Elaine M.,

    That is very true and I have been told the same thing by several University administrators including ones from good state schools.

    Certain limited student number advanced programs, such as physical therapy, are closed to American students who, even though they have the academic standing to gain admittance, need scholarship or other financial aid and the equally bright foreign students do not.

  71. My child went to one of those really liberal colleges. Yeah, she’s quite a liberal. That school taught her to make a difference. She’s now an oncologist/researcher and perhaps will cure the cancer of someone close to Santorum.

  72. Santorum Trashes Public Colleges, Then Stumps at One
    —By Adam Weinstein| Thu Jan. 26, 2012
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/santorum-florida-state-university

    Excerpt:
    Between a morning prayer breakfast with state Republican leaders in Tallahassee and tonight’s primary debate in Jacksonville, dark-horse presidential candidate Rick Santorum stopped at a half-full auditorium at Florida State University to deliver his anti-Obama message to young conservatives. But at this hard-hit public college in a capital racked with budget woes, Santorum sidestepped the biggest issues facing the school’s students.

    A small grouping of sign-carrying protesters gathered outside the student union, while even more students circulated unawares through the nearby campus Chili’s, as Santorum told the crowd of aboout 200 that the “foundational premise of America” is “the belief in God.”

    After a brief exposition on the differences between France, with its guillotines, and the United States, with its freedom and vest-pocket-sized copies of the Constitution (one of which he brandished), Santorum knocked Newt Gingrich’s latest space-colonization plan and said the former House speaker “wants to spend money like Obama.” He added: “The idea that anybody’s going out and talking about grand new very expensive schemes to spend more money at a time when we do not have our fiscal house in order, in my opinion, is plain crass politics.”

    Advertise on MotherJones.com

    Speaking at one of the state’s premier public universities—rocked by fiscal shortfalls and a Republican-dominated state government that’s gutted the humanities—Santorum’s message on education was notably different than just one day prior. “It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college,” he said at a Baptist church downstate in Naples on Wednesday. “The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. And it is indoctrination.” He added:

    I’ll bet you there are people in this room who give money to colleges and universities who are undermining the very principles of our country every single day by indoctrinating kids with left-wing ideology. And you continue to give to these colleges and universities. Let me have a suggestion: Stop it.

    There was none of that talk Thursday at Florida State. Perhaps Santorum hadn’t heard about about the tradition of conservative giving at FSU, where the cash-strapped trustees have endowed two professorships with Koch brothers money, built a career center with cash from corporate raider Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap, and named at least two buildings after DeVoe Moore, a legendary local tea party millionaire and antique American car collector.

  73. Ego.

    If I ever build a building for my alma mater, I kind of like the ring of “Anonymous Donor Hall” or “That Guy Gallery”, maybe “Who’s That? Auditorium”.

  74. lottakatz:

    Dr. Michio Kaku is only partially correct. There are plenty of smart people in this country but they do not go into engineering because the pay is not commensurate with the time and effort it takes to become an engineer. When starting salaries go up people will go into engineering. Engineering has become a commodity in this country. A friend of mine who is a retired engineer said billing rates in the 60’s for an engineer were around $60/hour today it is somewhere between $75 and $125 for an engineer. It is hard to make money because a good many of those immigrants stay and start businesses of their own. The competition has brought the price way down which is good for the client but not so good for enticing young engineers into the profession. Smart people will go where the money is for the most part, they want to be adequately compensated for their work.

  75. Raff,
    I meant Kent State which unfortunately is in Ohio & simultaneously thinking of the CS&N line “Four dead in Ohio”. The old circuitry sometimes gets crossed.

  76. It is not the time of culture, as we knew it, because culture is inclusive, knowledge requires a lot of foundation to build upon> Willful ignorance, induced by the falsehood of easy profit, is the problem and all the wrong idols youth look up to…for questions, not for answers. In ignorance we are not protected by our democracy, and Rick knows it! If you look for change, trace your steps back and troubleshoot: radical changes, especially ideological in nature will bring unexpected, and unlikable changes.

    Wonderful post, thank You!

  77. DonS re: C. Wright Mills
    Thanks. And in the hope it helps other, I cite Wikipedia about his book.

    Quote
    The Power Elite (1956) describes the relationship between the political, military, and economic elite (people at the pinnacles of these three institutions), noting that these people share a common world view:

    the military metaphysic
    a military definition of reality;
    possess class identity
    recognizing themselves separate and superior to the rest of society;
    have interchangeability
    they move within and between the three institutional structures and hold interlocking directorates; cooptation / socialization socialization of prospective new members is done based on how well they “clone” themselves socially after such elites.

    These elites in the “big three” institutional orders have an “uneasy” alliance based upon their “community of interests” driven by the “military metaphysic,” which has transformed the economy into a ‘permanent war economy’.
    Unquote

  78. There was a rather strange music group in the 70’s whose song was :

    We dont need no education…
    We dont need not thought control….

    All in all, its another dip in the road…
    All in all, its another dip in the road…

    ***
    They were pictured on the tube and were robotic.

    Education for humanoids is somewhat like dog training school. Repetitive, reward for doing it right, chastised for doing it wrong, validation, castigation, punishment. Sit Fido, Sit!

    Owners who insist on Sit Fido, Sit, are the same way with their kids. Catholic Nuns who employ the ruler to whack you when you can not spell right are not the brightest humanoids on the block.

    Those who can, Do.
    Those who can’t, teach.
    Those who can’t teach, teach teachers.

    The word Principal is not the same as a person who has principles. The word “pal” on the end is an oxymoron. A principal is never the kid’s pal. He/she is the most self centered soul on earth. Think about the totem pole. The cant do anything themselves so they try teaching. They cant teach so they try to teach teachers. They dont teach teachers they boss them around and beat up on the students. When the Revolution comes they will be the first to go.

    University or college level schooling is dramatically different than High School. The student is elevated to a next tier of adulthood. One can be 18 or 81 or anywhere in between. There is a phrase at the kennel where I used to get locked up on weekends by my humanoids. “Hire A Teenager–While They Still Know Everything” In other words a teenager is not the best candidate for learning, listening, or having an open mind. College is more effective on someone over 22. Ex Army types can be more attentive in class. A subsidized kid is less attentive than one who has paid his/her own way.

    The Penn State situation has not been discussed in this comment blog today. The football thing is quite odd. Here we have a state which as a matter of policy puts a sport institution on a pedestal which is higher than the goal of higher knowlege. Vast amounts of money are dedicated to the football and sports culture. We are competing with the likes of Ohio State. Why not compete with China in math and science? Why not compete with Ohio in math and science? The song might provide the answer:
    We Dont Need No Education,
    We Dont Need No Thought Control….

    The Penn State (it is becoming State Penn) culture puts so much prominence on the “program” that they are quite willing to overlook a child rapist in the center of it. The parallels with the Catholic Church are astounding. Football is a faith. When something is “Faith Based” one must say that with a Southern accent between bites of fried chicken. When something is Faith Based then there is no questioning of the content of the stated proposition or Belief. The value of a so called college education is premised on this kind of Faith Based premise. People who graduate from Penn State are “Educated”. Even if they can not read or write very well and their math and science ain’t so good. They can Talk The Talk better than the plumber or electrician. Mommy and Daddy work hard to pay for college so that they can Talk The Talk.
    Daddy was an electrician and made a good living but sonny boy is gonna be a Teacher. Then he can teach other kids to Talk The Talk. Mommy and Daddy have come up in the world by virtue of the family having joined the ranks of the Talk The Talkers. At Daddy’s memorial service at grave site it will be mentioned that he put his kids through college.

    Whether you are a dog or a humanoid, its the same thing. Good boy Fido.

    Thats just me a dog talking so you can disregard this if you are not a dog.
    Someday I will let you in on how it is that I can type on this computer or talk into the thing that makes the type on the screen. Kinda like Dolphins who talk. Funded by the NSA. Dogalog is what they call it.

  79. Whoops, I just got my water bowl kicked over and my dog biscuits taken away. I got yelled at for disclosing the Dogalog program. I may not be back on this Blog. Then you will have to Blogalog on your own.

  80. I was lucky, I was only a child during WWII. But when Joseph McCarthy spoke from his hearings; I heard the voice of Hitler again.
    Roy Cohn played the prosecutor to McCarthy’s screaming judgements.
    But the sweet voice of reason, in the form of Welch, the defense attorney for the Army, who spoke in his gentlemanly Southern-accented tones.
    Guess who won?

    I had heard enough of the voices of authority since the second grade, standing in front of the principal, Myrtle B. Underwood, as my kindly teacher Mrs. Ward presented the bill of indictment. There weren’t any years when those scenes weren’t repeated and those accusations heard by a pair of unruly, disruptive, defensive ears.

    In SOTUS Obama said (roughly): There is no one in this chamber who does not remember a teacher who has made a guiding……..etc.
    Yes, there were two,. And in spite of the thunder of other teachers’ voices, the few words of encouragement were heard. Most important of all: they were not words of wisdom chosen for my ears. Rather simple encouragements to follow my own interests and talents.

    What Michio Kaku says is self-evident in its nature: the world is 6 billion; we are 350 million. So if the premier minds of the world are drawn here; and some remain, then they will dominate at least in numbers. And so has it been for over fifty years.

  81. Perhaps we should not be teaching either one!

    My favorite classes have always been with teachers that recapitulate discovery, and that works in mathematics, chemistry, geometry and trigonometry, biology, physics, geology, paleontology, evolution, and even to some extent art, history and other disciplines. Even language: The most effective language learning programs recapitulate how toddlers pick up language.

    We can do the same thing for particle physics: You do not have to just TELL kids that light has a speed limit, you can present the mystery, and guide them to the solution. We already know where the missteps occurred, the dead ends, so we can skip them or gloss over them, and even the kids that might suggest them can be applauded: They are saying the same thing as the world experts of the late 1800s!

    Kids (and people) learn when they have to make decisions, and can be wrong. Memorization teaches them nothing, recapitulation teaches them by making them the discoverer.

    That is what we do for evolution, as well. We don’t have to tell them and demand they remember: Darwin started out religious, categorizing God’s animals, and the evidence convinced him otherwise. We may not be as clever as Darwin, who blazed a trail into the unknown, but the trail he left is there, paved, and with signposts, it can be compressed to just the relevant stepping stones.

    We do not have to teach them received knowledge, what we should be teaching is not the theory of evolution handed down by Darwin, but the evolution of the theory of evolution, the real-world observations Darwin made, and the puzzles that Darwin solved, in order to get there. If you show them the trip, the children can understand the destination.

    If all you ask them to do is memorize trivia and regurgitate dogma, they do not believe anything, because none of it is really supported by anything but authoritarian assertion. Then because their rationality is going to develop anyway, encouraged or not, they will think (rightly) that their time is being wasted and they are prisoners waiting out their sentence, doing as little as possible to prevent getting set back. Then the compliant will go to college, but with the same attitude of serving time.

    I’d honestly prefer to teach a third as much in any topic and have them know it, from first principles to grand conclusion, than continue this empty charade of “education” that is really just memorization and regurgitation.

  82. Tony,

    There are many teachers whose idea of education is not just memorization and regurgitation. I know that from experience–having worked with dozens of them. My daughter also had a number of outstanding teachers who helped impart knowledge–but also gave students plenty of opportunities to create, to explore, and to discover things for themselves.

    That said, I do think public school teachers are being increasingly pressured to teach to state-mandated tests by the “powers that be.” Some of our politicians and harshest critics of the public educational system in this country would love to see it privatized.

  83. I think privatization would be a disaster, but an overhaul of goals and means would be welcome.

    I do believe in standards of achievement or skill. If that means teaching to a test, then so be it, but the test content should vary every time, so that it is impossible to teach the answers, and only possible to teach the skill.

    I do not even think varying the tests is that hard to do: Just have teachers chosen by lottery to contribute questions, and other teachers chosen by lottery to rank the difficulty of those questions, and perhaps the importance of those questions to that topic whether they are difficult or not, and put together a test of questions that can grade the skill of the student, and the skill of their teachers, and take actions based on that. Perhaps even once a month, for three reasons:
    1) If something is wrong we can catch it in time to fix it,
    2) Frequent testing reduces the stakes of the testing, so there are no high-stakes tests at the end of the year that can hold a student back,
    3) The kids will get used to it from an early age and won’t be intimidated by it.

    So I believe in giving teachers the freedom to choose their style and presentation, but it has to produce results. If their fellow third grade history teachers think they suck (based on the testing they approved) then we can look at the tests for that class and see what is going wrong, we can investigate the problem and prevent those kids from being educationally deprived.

    I do not want to mandate style or lesson plans, but the same tests would show us who is outstanding, and we could film them and provide their fellow teachers with examples of what works, so the system can be improved.

    Finally, various forms of comparative analysis on the same tests will help us identify which teachers are cheating; it leaves signatures in the variational analysis of the distribution of grades and correlations of answers, so those teachers can be investigated.

    For the same reason, the proctor for the monthly exams in each class should be randomly assigned from the pool of teachers, except no teacher can proctor their own class (or subject, if teachers are specialized). That will not eliminate cheating by collusion but it will reduce cheating.

    So because of that I do not think the state should determine the content of the curricula, I think the teachers teaching the subject should determine the standard in this kind of lottery-selected panel or jury, but I do think the testing should be mandatory and teachers and schools held accountable for the results.

  84. I just love utopias. It is unfortunate that we can’t produce them.

    As Elaine points out, there are people who control; and that includes parents who have demands which must be met. Teaching students in this way* is fine, but there are external content-oriented tests which must be passed also.
    And demand for “good grades” will not cease, regardless. So the teachers in conflict avoidance mode will be forced to adapt to keep their jobs.

    Show me I’m wrong, please.

    * The most enjoyable learniing experiences for me are just this type of situations. Figuring it out for yourself, instead of just cramming it by rote on the pile.

  85. Tony,

    Teachers in the early elementary grades are rarely subject specific. I taught all academic subjects.

    There are many things that cannot be discerned about a child’s academic progress and growth from a paper and pencil test–or just one kind of test. We’ve become a nation so focused on testing children and trying to compare them–as well as one teacher to another and one school system to another that we’ve lost sight of what a well-rounded education should be for our children.

    Children are individuals with their own personalities, aptitudes, interests. They are not little automatons. Many come from happy homes where there is a lot of enrichment; some are not so fortunate. Some arrive at school scarred by their life experiences. It should be the mission of educators to look at these children as individuals and to do their best to meet their needs and to help them progress–academically, socially, and emotionally…and to open their minds and help spark their imagination and their interest in learning.

    BTW, you have to look at the students a teacher is assigned. Where were they academically when they entered her room? How much progress did they make in the course of the year? One has to consider the teachers who get more than their share of children with discipline and learning problems and emotional issues. Not all classrooms of children are created equal. Why should the teachers who are willing to work with the most challenging students be castigated if those students don’t test as well as others?

  86. @Elaine: You have to look at the students a teacher is assigned. Where were they academically when they entered her room? How much progress did they make in the course of the year?

    No argument from me, except that progress must be defined.

    Why should the teachers who are willing to work with the most challenging students be castigated if those students don’t test as well as others?

    They shouldn’t.

    I am not completely ignorant in this field either; I see my sister every week, she taught the GT program at a local public elementary school for 15 years, and we discussed the problem with schools frequently.

    I do not accept the idea that kids should not be tested or teachers should be protected from objective measures of performance. If they are, it creates a free rider problem: It is relatively easy for a teacher to make kids feel good without teaching them anything, because kids are kids.

    Teaching is not parenting, and although teachers (and judgers) do have to make allowances for emotional and cognitive deficits, and most really care about their kids, the job is not daycare, nanny, psychologist or life coach, and those aspects cannot take over the job: They are done in service TO the job, which is teaching them academic skills, not social skills or repairing them emotionally.

    I am not sure what you mean by a “well-rounded” education, that seems too fuzzy to define to me, I prefer to focus on the core that can be tested, and has to be part of whatever you think is well-rounded. Learning has consequences, it produces ability or skill or understanding. If it is all amorphous self-understanding and getting along with others, the job has not been done: The job is to teach arithmetic, not self-confidence.

    I am not judging kids, I am judging teachers: If their kids cannot pass the core, objective tests, then something is wrong, the teacher is not teaching. She cannot choose to become a social worker instead of a teacher, and when the “social worker” role overwhelms the teacher role for some kid, the kid should be removed from school and turned over to a professional, until such time as they are emotionally competent to return.

    You are right, kids are not automatons, that is why we need a human to teach them.

  87. Spindell said; “Literally billions have been spent to dumb down the American public. School boards taken over by no-nothings have revised the curriculum to homogenize the teaching of history. Budget cuts mandated by conservative officials have destroyed the concept of teaching Civics, a subject that always included a firm grounding in the background and principles of our Constitution. Geography, which grounds students in the layout of our world gets thrown away. Now fifty+ years later we have an electorate uneducated about how our nation is supposed to be run. Ignorance is indeed bliss for the ruling elites and they want to keep it that way.” Com’on man, this generation of parenting or lack thereof, has done enough to “dumb down” the majority of today’s kids, without the help of government. I do agree, that we have an uneducated electorate. It goes back to the lack of parenting. Our schools aren’t suppose to be the begin-all and end-all of our kid’s education. I do half way agree with Santorum. We should stop giving taxpayer dollars to the elitest colleges and ramp up the programs at secondary and community colleges. There is an agenda towards education of our youth and it comes from both sides. Which one is worse is anybody’s guess. Oh yea, Gene H, WTF are you supposed to be in charge of; calling Rick or anyone for that matter, a Jesus Nazi. Now dimwitted, he may be.

  88. Michael,

    You seem to think I meant my statement as a broad generalization. It was actually a statement of the facts as I know them. There has been a determined campaign to dumb down America, led by the Koch Brothers, John Birch Society and some Fundamentalist Christian Groups. As for “bad” parenting it is always easier to blame the victims.

  89. Tony,

    I’m not suggesting that children should never be tested. I see the problem being that prepping children to take tests is becoming the focus of our educational system–to the detriment of truly educating children. It’s the belief that a paper-and-pencil test can tell you everything you need to know academically about a child and his educational progress that troubles me.

    A well-rounded education includes exposure to art and music and literature and field trips–as well as science and history and writing and reading and spelling and geography. We must teach to the “whole brain”–not just teach the subjects that can be objectively tested by multiple choice questions.

    As an elementary teacher, I dealt with the whole child. I didn’t consider myself a social worker. If you know a child has a parent who is terminally ill…if you know the child has severe learning problems…if you know a child’s parents are going through a bitter divorce… if you sense a child may have problems at home, you need to understand what impact such things may have on a child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom and achieve academically. Children learn best in an environment where they feel safe and valued–not in an environment where they feel they will be constantly evaluated on what they can and cannot do/what they know/do not know. They learn best when they feel their teachers have confidence that they CAN learn. Educators who have an understanding of human nature, a love of children, and who “know their stuff” are by far the best teachers. Children do not learn in a vacuum. There are many intangibles that have an impact on how and what children learn.

    I never assumed a child could not learn because he/she scored well below grade level on standardized tests. My students knew I cared about them and had high expectations for ALL of them. Most strove to meet my expectations.

  90. Michael,

    I’ll call anyone anything I please, including a Jesus Nazi. Santorum’s position on abortion is founded entirely in his religious beliefs no matter his weak protestations to the contrary. His rationale for wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade? He told Piers Morgan that “[L]ife begins at conception and persons are covered by the constitution, and because human life is the same as a person, to me it was a pretty simple deduction to make that that’s what the Constitution clearly intended to protect.” That’s facile and specious legal logic. At the time the Constitution was written, and indeed throughout most of human history, a person wasn’t alive until they could survive outside their mother’s womb. Oddly enough, that’s the same standard applied in Roe v. Wade. The Constitution applies to living viable people, not speculative people. The Jesus Nazi went on to say, “I believe and I think that the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you.” Also an expression of his religious belief. An abhorrent and vile expression that totally disregards the life and dignity of women I might add. Rape is not a “gift from God” simply because an egg is fertilized. It’s a crime of violence and no woman should be forced to carry to term in that circumstance just so Ricky can feel alright with Jesus. The Constitution also says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. His attempting to force his religious beliefs on others via the mechanisms of law is unconstitutional on its face. If he has a problem with abortion? He shouldn’t get one. Otherwise, he should shut his festering pie hole and stay out of what is essentially a woman’s matter of faith, conscience and right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

    He’s also blatantly hypocritical in being allegedly pro-life yet for the death penalty. That or he simply wants to play God himself. Given the egomania that drives most politicians, both options – hypocrite and delusions of Godhood – are not out of the question.

    So if you got a problem with me calling him a Jesus Nazi for wanting to force his religion upon others using the mechanism of government? That’s entirely your problem. It’s my 1st Amendment right to be able to call ’em like I see ’em. That’s what I’m in charge of, slick. And what I see in Santorum is a religious zealot campaigning on a desire to breach the Doctrine of Separation of Church and State by forcing his beliefs upon others. Just because he chooses to live by a code dictated by iron age superstition doesn’t give him the right to force those beliefs upon others.

  91. Gene, a minor correction. I think that would be “bronze age” superstition, not “iron age.” Goes back a few years before the start of the iron age which began about 400 BC or so. The bronze age ran between about 1,300 BC to 400 BC, which is the time frame of the old testament, which the fundies seem to love so much, especially Leviticus.

    That Iron Age guy, Jesus, was far too progressive for the fundies like Santorum. He talked about healing the sick, helping the poor, and feeding people who had no food. Can’t have all that socialized religion, y’know. And oh yeah, that Jesus fellow was a carpenter, and in those days that meant he would have had a set of muscles on him–he would not have been the effeminate man pictured in the old masters paintings. He tossed the bankers out of the Temple, on their collective asses. We could use a few like him now.

  92. Raff & Gene,

    A friend of mine who is an Episcopal priest and also a clinical psychologist, has a picture of Jesus on his office wall. Not just any old picture. It was taken from a Playboy magazine article written by the liberal Baptist scholar, Dr. Harvey Cox.

    The picture is a highly detailed pen and ink drawing of Jesus at the wedding party, where he had just performed his first miracle. Here is this bearded guy with his head thrown back, mouth wide open in a belly laugh. A sinewy, heavily muscled hairy arm is extended toward the viewer, holding a wine cup. Definitely not the guy depicted in the old paintings. It is this Jesus devout “Christian” fundamentalists would not like to have show up on the doorstep of their mega-churches.

    My friend says that illustration has actually caused some of his patients to get up and walk out of his office. Those folks who call themselves “God fearing” should have some reason to be afraid. That illustration is of the real Jewish Carpenter, not the one they think they “know.”

  93. Gene H., I totaly agree on the Jesus/banker/carpenter comments. Also you do have the right to say what you want, but that doesn’t make it fact. Personally I don’t agree with ole Rick’s tactics; however, the fact that life begins at conception is real and there are prime examples stated by your creator in the KJV. Deny it all you want, but the fact and truth remains. Hey thanks for the “slick” compliment. One of my old nicknames from my wilder days.

  94. “Also you do have the right to say what you want, but that doesn’t make it fact.”

    No. When what I say is a fact, that makes it a fact. Beliefs are not facts. Facts are discerned though the application of the Scientific Method and the empirical interrogation of evidence by repeatable experimentation.

    Facts are information that have the quality of being actual, that have actual quantifiable and physical existence; pieces of information having objective reality.

    Belief is nothing more than an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists; something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction. No evidence required. Belief is not a fact by definition.

    You believe God is King. I know for a fact evidence is king. Because I can measure it and test it and verify it.

    It is a fact of Constitutional Law and his own assertions that Rick Santorum would force his religious views on others unconstitutionally by using the force of law. That makes him a theocratic tyrant in the making. Jesus Nazi is a perfectly accurate label. That you don’t like it is irrelevant.

    “Personally I don’t agree with ole Rick’s tactics; however, the fact that life begins at conception is real and there are prime examples stated by your creator in the KJV.”

    1) He’s not my creator. You are presumptuous in the extreme to say so as well. I’m not a Christian. I think Jesus was a wise teacher, but I do not worship Him or your Christian God. I do not think the Bible (in any version) is the literal “word of God” and I know this because I know the history of the Bible. You may believe He’s my creator, but that a) doesn’t make it so nor b) is it required that I share your belief that He is and c) the Constitution guarantees me that you cannot try to force me adopt your beliefs. If (IF!) I believe in any sort of “God”, it’s God as an Aristotelian prime mover, not some bearded sky god who watches my every move and allegedly loves me with infinite compassion yet will sentence me to an eternity of suffering if I break some rules written down by men to control other men by claiming that they somehow spoke for an omniscient and omnipresent being that was able to create an entire universe from scratch, but yet is somehow unable to speak for Himself (or apparently manage his own checkbook according to televangelists and organized religion).

    As an aside, were I to be a Christian, I wouldn’t be using the Bible as re-written by a monarch as a political tool to lend credence to his assertion of power by divine right. Of all the versions of the Bible, the KJV is clearly, plainly and historically the most revised version and such revisions were done for blatantly propagandistic purposes by the crown. So instead of taking your “knowledge” of your beliefs from a piece of propaganda, you should consider reading the Bible in Greek or Latin and expand the scope of your study beyond the selection of gospels approved by the Council of Nicea to include the Gnostic gospels and other gospels not included in the “officially approved by humans for use on other humans” version of what Jesus was teaching. Then maybe you’d get over this delusion Jesus or God was talking about potential people, but I doubt it.

    2) The Bible isn’t a science text. As a matter of science and simple logic, your assertions about when life starts are superstitious nonsense. Are stillborns alive? Are miscarriages alive? Are they people? No. They are dead tissue because they cannot survive outside the mother’s womb; the same standard for when life begins when your beloved KJV was written, the same standard of when life begins when the Constitution was written, it’s the same standard of when life begins as defined by medical science and technology and it’s the same standard of when life begins applied by SCOTUS in Roe v. Wade. But by your illogical beliefs these differentiated cells and unformed or malformed foetues are people with Constitutional protections simply because an egg got fertilized. That’s not how nature as factually understood by science or how the law as defined by the Constitution and jurisprudence operates.

    If you want to make abortions illegal, then you’re just as big a theocrat as the Jesus Nazi and I invite you to keep your religion out of our government. Why? Because according to the Constitution, you don’t have a choice when it comes to using the mechanisms of government to force your religion on others. The idea that life begins at conception? Is a religious idea. Not a scientific idea. Not a legal idea. Not a good idea. Not a true idea. It’s a belief and it’s a delusional belief. As a factual scientific matter and as a matter of legal standards based upon verifiable proofs, life beings at viability. Live your life by belief all you like, but when it comes to using the force of law to make others accept you making their religious choices for them? You need to keep your religion to yourself. Not because I say so. Because the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution says you must and that’s a fact. If you want to think life begins at fertilization for your religious reasons, then you don’t have to get an abortion. Just because abortion is made legally and safely available to others does not in any way, shape or form mean that you have to have one. You are free to follow a course of action that your conscience dictates and the Free Exercise Clause guarantees this legal fact. However, you don’t get to make that choice for others based on your beliefs and enforce your choice with the power of law and the Establishment Clause guarantees this legal fact.

  95. Gene H. and Michael,

    Scientific studies (facts) show that in a population, 25 per cent of implanted eggs (fertilized) are later spontaneously aborted through natural causes.

    So I ask Michael, why did God abort those lives? And was God also involved in all the trillions of other implanted eggs in all species in this world and all other worlds? Believing that, you must also believe that sickness is punishment for sins. And wealth is reward for your faithfulness.

    BTW, that’s the reason behind most expressions of faith: ie give a little oil, mumble some words, sacrifice a dove (or a first born son), and all will go well for you. Hindu kings used to employ hundreds of priests to do ceremonies where 500 bulls were sacrificed. A single mistake in the day long ceremony rendered it void, and it would be repeated. Such was the price there and then.

    Life is great, but God did not create it. Read about abiogenesis for facts.

  96. idealist,

    In my case, you are certainly preaching to the choir about abiogenesis. In fact, I was pleased to see the new news this week about chemist uncovering a mechanism by which amino acids can make threose and erythrose that explains the right handed/left handing symmetry.

  97. Hindu kings used to employ hundreds of priests to do ceremonies where 500 bulls were sacrificed. A single mistake in the day long ceremony rendered it void, and it would be repeated. Such was the price there and then…..

    Idealist: Even they stopped sacrifices a couple of thousand years ago when faced with secular criticism from agnostics, atheists etc. which led to a reformation. Why is it then that in an ostensibly “educated” country as ours, this is such an issue? I was in India on a pleasure trip recently and for a majority, real world secular issues dominate the conversation.

    Does education do nothing in the USA? Canada and Europe does not go through these convulsions.

  98. @Elaine: I think field trips can be insanely educational, almost anywhere. If it were possible, I’d schedule a field trip every few weeks. Darwin’s entire theory of evolution was basically formed on a field trip, because he took notes and samples.

    Geologists and paleontologists and archaeologists and even field biologists can spend their careers planning field trips, executing field trips, and studying what they found on field trips. In one of my undergraduate classes we were assigned field trips, to find different examples of architectural principles (with hints from the professor). It was fun.

    Kids can learn a lot studying a local river or lake or beach, or park or native forest or empty field, for that matter. Here’s a fun experiment, two field trips, a few months apart. Get permission from a local wild field owner, and have your kids put up a removable fence around a square of land about five feet on each side. Wait three months and then see what is growing different inside the fenced area (it is protected from grazers and other large animals). Of course it might get knocked down or penetrated, that is something to learn too. Take a vote on who thinks it is still standing.

    I would take kids on field trips to just about any place safe. I am sort of science obsessed, but I can teach kids science at a car mechanics shop, the grocery store, the furniture factory, the beauty salon. Find a home construction site, those are fascinating from the ground up. Heck I once spent an opportune hour with my daughter (while we had to wait for something else) visiting a road construction site and figuring out what they were doing. I imagine similar things could be said for art, or culture.

    At least in my experience, kids have far greater success learning in the field than they do in the classroom. There is something about reality that engages them far more than pictures or videos. And at least in my childhood, even though both of my parents worked all day, there did not seem to be a shortage of parents willing to help herd the kids.

    Hooray for field trips. If they can learn something, send them. Grade their notes and observations. Have them plan the trip, take the trip, and present their findings, they can work together (like scientists) to figure out what they saw and what it meant. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering science, it can be age appropriate.

    I know this sounds a little crazed, but I think you could successfully teach grade schoolers with about 2/3 of their time organized around one field trip after another. Show them the world and how it works. Learning to read, arithmetic, and other memorization or pencil and paper subjects require class time, I know, but field trips can combine physical exercise with exploration, observation, planning and interpretation, it is literally what our brains and bodies are built to do, especially children. Not sitting behind a desk. Their playground should be the world, not a paved lot.

  99. Tony C.,

    “I think field trips can be insanely educational, almost anywhere. If it were possible, I’d schedule a field trip every few weeks. Darwin’s entire theory of evolution was basically formed on a field trip, because he took notes and samples.”

    I think field trips can be very educational too. They are especially valuable for poor children who don’t have the advantages and enrichment that middle and upper class children enjoy.

    Unfortunately, by the time I left the classroom, our school committee and administration was trying to severely limit the number of field trips teachers could take their students on in the course of a school year. The powers that be felt it was time away from classroom instruction. I think they worried that it was time away from prepping kids for the state-mandated tests.

  100. Elaine,
    I rate those No Child Left Behind mandated tests right up there with herpes, jock itch, fire ants and oil spills on the list of things I dislike intensely.

  101. Otteray,

    I left teaching in an elementary classroom and became a school librarian because I saw the handwriting on the wall. Education was becoming less about truly educating children–and more about prepping them to pass the state-mandated tests. I chose to leave the classroom before I started to hate my job. I’m happy that I did because I absolutely LOVED being a teaching librarian in an elementary school. I had the opportunity to work with children of many ages–PreK through fourth grade.

  102. Idealist, in my case, I understand your secular way of thinking. However; we must accept we are all from an original creation and with that creation came the natural and the freewill. We can accept that things happen in life as a result of the two, or just say we don’t believe in a Creator and live a secular life. As a, born from above, Christian I believe in God as the sole Creator. Along with that belief, I choose to believe in natural occurances and that some souls are just “too” good for this world. Sometimes those natural occurances lead to “freaks” of nature. As with the flora and fauna, humans are born, or “unborn” (aborted naturally) as something occuring naturally,without being influenced directly by God. Hence, Hermaphrodites,males with more feminine genes than normal an vice versa,Siamese twins, etc.,etc. Sometimes abnormalities are a direct result of our environment or things humans have brought upon ourselves via “freewill”, such as toxins in our environment that cause birth defects. I would never blame God for anything negative that we experience, since that way of thinking could lead to many “unwanted” things in our life. Anyways, I support the idea, (not necessarily the person), that comes from any candidate; that life is sacred and should be left up to the individual to make a decision reguarding that. It is not the responsibility of any government to say it is right or wrong and definetly, should “not” be the taxpayer’s burden to pay for or subsidize the act of killing life, no matter what stage it is in.

  103. @Michael: we must accept we are all from an original creation I do not have to accept that at all, in fact I call it complete bullshit. Your belief system is incoherent; you have been suckered into a scam to take your money and your time and your free will by subjugating you to the self-claimed representatives of an imaginary monster.

    You are correct in saying it is not our government’s responsibility to say whether it is right or wrong, it is OUR responsibility to say that, and it is the government’s job to implement our decision. If the majority of us believe something is RIGHT, the government needs to ensure it is not prohibited and people can engage in it freely by our rules. If we say something is WRONG, they need to enforce the prohibition to the limit of the resources we provide them for enforcement. They do not decide: We decide. They enforce. That is how it should be.

    definetly, should “not” be the taxpayer’s burden to pay for or subsidize the act of killing life, no matter what stage it is in.

    What if it is in the stage of trained soldier invading our country?
    What if it is in the stage of serial killer raping and murdering nine year olds?
    What if it is in the stage of bank robber holding your spouse hostage?
    What if it is in the stage of brain tumor invading your autonomic systems?

    We subsidize the act of killing people all the time, even your incoherent Bible endorses THAT, even for innocents, even for innocent children. Even our own children! Read the Old Testament. Or was that just God in a bad mood?

    The taxpayer’s burden is to support common cause with their fellow citizens. One of those common causes is health care, everybody needs it. But not everybody needs it in the same way, some people contract tuberculosis, or cancer, or are born with cystic fibrosis. Some people get infections, or catch pneumonia, or get poisoned by toxic mold in a salad. Some people break their arms and legs playing idiotic games.

    We do not just let people die because they were too dumb to wash their celery, we save them. We preserve people, even people that have made mistakes, acted recklessly or irresponsibly.

    Some people get pregnant, and know they should not be parents, because they cannot afford to keep themselves fed or in good health, much less an infant.

    It is the children raised by such parents that are malnourished and under-developed, both physically and cognitively, because they are in the poorest schools. But they are people and grow up, and get desperate to escape grinding poverty, and they raise the crime rate, commit murders, use drugs to escape, commit crimes to pay for the drugs, run drugs and kill law enforcement officers. On top of all that, they trap their mothers into a life of poverty she cannot escape either, because caring for the child severely restricts her educational and work opportunities. (All of this is academically documented and published by Steven D. Levitt.)

    The woman that knows she cannot raise a child does society a favor by choosing to end her pregnancy early, before the fetus develops into a person. Taxpayers get a bargain by paying for that choice, they pay a small amount now and in all probability prevent a clump of cells from turning into a far larger burden on society. They also prevent the woman from being trapped by circumstance into a life of poverty, so she has at least a chance of making a better life for herself.

    Not only should we taxpayers fund abortions, we should fund birth control for any men and women of reproductive age that want it, which is even more cost-effective than abortion for preventing unwanted pregnancy.

  104. I respond to you Tony C. in one way. Their will come a day, when every knee will bow down to the Saviour Jesus Christ. You will have plenty of company when the separation unfolds. I can guarantee you one thing for sure, I won’t be with your side, unless you have a change of heart. When it unfolds, you will remember my words, that it will happen! Have a good trip!

  105. Michael,
    Guess what, Revelations has nothing to do with Jesus. If you really want to be a good Christian lead your life as the Gospels Taught, not as some mad writer 200 years past Jesus wrote. If there is an afterlife I’ll be fine because I live my life by what you call the “Golden Rule”, not hurling anathema’s at those that won’t follow false teachings.

  106. Don’t forget that there was quite a debate at the Council of Nicea about whether to include the Revelations of St. John in the New Testament at all. The reason? Many felt that it was too counter to the teachings of Jesus found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (as well as other gospels).

  107. Revelations was scribed about 96 AD. It was fully authorized by The Heavenly Father and St. John had no choice in the matter, neither did Council of Nicea. When God wants something done, we don’t have a say; or better said, God has the final say…… Anyways, sorry to get things off topic, but good discussions for another place and time. I;m out….. Wait, Spindell, sounds like you are taking up for Tony, but just so you know, I’m not saying he is “accursed” or “hurling” any judgement towards him. That is not my place. I am stating the facts as I read and believe. Just because Tony says he is atheist doesn’t make me feel like I am somehow better than he. I don’t know him personally. I do know a few atheist and they are more predictable and probably more dependable than my Christian friends. If Tony hasn’t had a chance to learn the truth, then He will get that chance during the millienal reign.

  108. Michael,
    Add about 100 years and you might have the correct date that revelations was written. As father as how you put it The Heavenly Father” endorsed it how? How did Paul endorse it. The Council of Nicest was set in the backdrop of a Pagan Emperor assuring that he could use Christianity to cement his reign and assert his authority via the RCC. It was far more political than spiritual.

    As for being on Tony’s side he is an atheist, I am not. However, being 67, I have spent a good deal of my life delving into religion and I have come to the conclusion that Revelations I a text meant to frighten people and control them, rather than to help them know God. I consider it quite frankly a blasphemy in that it demeans, rather than glorifies God. If God’s message is about Love, then this book is one that portrays the Deity as a bloodthirsty sadistic avenger. Far worse though is that it ultimately makes God a puppeteer amusing itself by playing with his creatures.

  109. @Michael: I have had plenty of time to learn the truth, I have made a career of learning the truth, and I am certain I do know the truth: The truth is you are deluded, and possibly a danger to yourself and others.

    This is always so when people believe a lie, lies endanger people because they operate with expectations that will not be met. That is the difference between fiction and a lie, there is no rational reason to risk your life or fortune on something you know is fiction, but many people risk their lives and fortunes on lies, and in particular on the most pervasive of lies, religion.

    If it makes you feel better to think that someday I will burn in hell while you sail to paradise, you are a sadistic bastard. If it makes you feel better to think that someday I will be forced to kneel before a brutal dictator, you are just an asshole.

    This is just one of the problems with religion, it turns people into monsters like you that take comfort in imagining horrible tortures not just for criminals and psychopaths that might deserve pain and punishment, but for completely innocent people that refuse to believe in your stupidly illogical, hypocritical, homophobic, misogynistic, racist delusion.

    You equate disbelief with mass murder, rape, torture, pedophilia and enslavement, because you threaten the same punishment for all; the most brutal and painful existence you can muster in your limited imagination.

    The message of your religion is “submit or I will inflict unimaginable pain on you forever,” it is identical to the message of Saddam Hussein to his people, a promise of physical brutality and endless torture for disobedience. And you are a danger to others, because when you take that message to heart, and get confused when God isn’t doing the work you think he promised, you decide to take that message into your own hands and convince yourself you ARE the “hand of God,” and must inflict pain on the infidels. This is precisely how the suicide bombers are indoctrinated, as numerous interviews with thwarted suiciders in Israel have shown: Every day they are told they are the special children that have been chosen by God to be his Hand on Earth to punish the sinners and oppressors. They are not dying for money or virgins, they are dying because they are convinced your God has commanded them, the God of the Old Testament.

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