Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Tell My Children Your Stupid Thoughts
Some people have pointed out that this kind of policy drives ALL teachers to suppress and conceal their beliefs for fear of reprisal. I agree that is a terrible consequence, but I am not here tonight to expound on it.
Some people have argued that the school is legally able to fire the teacher. I do not contest that. Dred Scott was legally a slave and legally prevented from having rights. Legal does not mean right. And I am talking here about right-wrong, not legal-illegal. So please, retire this argument.
However, the most common argument that came up is that we should keep bigots away from children. I disagree. Children don't need protection from bigots. The biggest problem facing children today is actually those people trying to protect them.
Protect them from anything possibly negative. Protect them from bad things; fire, accidents, pedophiles, pornography, other religious beliefs, "bad" parents, sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. Our society and our institutions are trying so hard to protect children from any negative outcomes whatsoever, that they both protect them from the danger, but also prevent them from experiencing ... life.
Only you can't actually protect children from life, you can merely delay life until they are no longer children, and then they are woefully unable to actually engage in it. We have a generation of people now in their late 20s with no real life skills. I was told a story by my boss about his son's roommate in college. His mother checked up on him every day. Had access to his school e-mail account and used it to keep tabs on the boy's assignments.
It sure is hard to hear with all these helicopters around.
The job of a parent is not to protect their child from any possible harm. It is to prepare them to live on their own, procreate, and continue the species. We make this same illogical leap when we think the President of the United States is responsible for protecting the citizens of the United States. He isn't. He is charged with protecting the Constitution. And that is a relevant distinction in both cases.
There is something more important than absolute prevention of harm; Freedom. The problem in our schools today isn't lack of money, time, effort, teachers, love, understanding, or sympathy. It is a lack of freedom.
There are good reasons for protecting children from harm at the expense of freedom. Direct physical harm is a good one. Disrupting other students is another one. Possible future potential harm if something happens and something else happens and the kid is too stupid to know what to do.... is not.
We have nerfed our schools and our kids suffer for it.
Schools exist to teach kids basic skills, such as how to do algebra and write a coherent paragraph. They are not there to teach children what to think. They are not there to teach them to love each other, to believe that everyone is a special snowflake, and to teach any form of values; secular or religious. I'm just as much opposed to prayer in school as any liberal, but I am also opposed to teaching them other values instead.
Values are for teaching your kid at home. If you teach values in schools, someone has to decide on the values. And I would prefer not to be subject to the majority opinion. This is for the same reason I support freedom of speech, religion, and the press in the adult world. The elevation of one belief over others is a recipe for disaster.
No, values are for teaching your kid at home. The world is full of stupid and your job is to teach the kid how to see the stupid, how to avoid the stupid, and how to fight back against the stupid. When the kid is young, the school is like a cesspool of stupid bacteria. You have to expose them to it so that their immune system grows. So they can develop antibodies to it and they can go on to fight bullshit as adults.
You can't teach your kid the fine art of bullshit detection in a world without bullshit. That bullshit needs to be front and center, easily viewed so that you can point at it and laugh. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Just as true in politics as in education policy.
So I want my child to be exposed to your stupidity. I want them to come home and tell me about it. And we can sit at the dinner table and discuss how Mr. Buell is an idiot for thinking that. See I am not going to tell my child that all adults are brilliant. Some are dumb. The hard thing is to figure out who is smart and who is dumb. This is a valuable life skill. And idiots like this character in Florida are just the kind of people I like to use as test cases.
Children's brains are not empty sacks. Ninjas can't sneak up and dump crazy shit in them. They are living beings and they can think and reason. Maybe not as well as a smart adult, but certainly at the same level as a lot of the dumb ones I have encountered in my life so far.
Beethoven and Mozart composed music at very young ages. Napoleon Bonaparte was a commissioned officer at the age of 16. At the same age, Alexander the Great became regent of Macedonia in his father's absence and ruled a country (even going so far as to crush a rebellion). Don't try to feed me a line about how young people have fragile underdeveloped minds.
You have to treat children with respect and take deliberative steps to cultivate them, not try to protect them from any view that you don't like or pass off your parenting duties to a school. You can't grow a tree by blocking the sun.
My mother is fond of saying, "everyone is an example, even if it is an example of what not to do".
So let the bad examples talk, so that I can identify them easier.