Archives for posts with tag: freedom

Referencing this FEE article:

https://fee.org/articles/do-schools-really-need-more-money/

Written by Kerry McDonald. Excellent article. Unassailable point. (And she has other good articles at the link.)

It isn’t the money that matters. It is the parents. The farther the parents in the school district are from median, the more exaggerated the ill effects of poverty or affluence. The best school districts tend to be associated with upper-middle class. The worst, well, you get the point. Money looks like it helps because having extra in the parents’ pockets looks like it helps, and having none in the parents’ pockets looks like it hurts, but control for the factors that affect the family, and I think you see that money isn’t the important part.

In short, real world examples, aggregates, and averages, the honest data, show that more money for the education systems and teachers just doesn’t help. The system is rotting, and money will not freshen rot and decay.

I do not support government tax programs to bolster “school choice.” I see no potential net gains and ever more expansive government overreach.

Honestly, where we need to target is freedom of education exactly the same as freedom of religion. Would to God our schools were in as sad shape as our churches.

Don’t miss my point. Our churches and houses of worship of all faiths are isolated from government aid or backing, and our religious institutions are often even persecuted by government, officials, or common people. Don’t pretend otherwise. You know of examples yourself of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other temples and religious organizations that have drawn the ire of someone or other, often with official backing. That is persecution, and you know good and well that no religious organizations get any government assistance, not even religious schools. (Okay, I bet you can find some extraordinary exceptions, but let’s consider the common, typical situation.) Religious organizations do quite well enough, and proliferate well enough, with no government backing and no legal coercion forcing individuals to support them. (Consider the counterpoint in the UK.) If you want education to do better, let it alone, just like religion.

If you want well-educated kids, do it yourself. If you choose to participate in public schools, it is harder, but still doable. Regardless, if you want well-educated kids, you must do it yourself, even if you try to shift some of the responsibility on the public.

The simple fact is that the overall trend in education will be more expense for less results until we rid our culture and legal systems of coercion and compulsion. We must repeal all truancy laws, or NOTHING will help. Give people freedom without changing anything else, and watch it start working. (Watch out for those who will be obsolesced by the changes and successes. They will fight to retain relevance, even when it obviously harms the children.)

Again, repeal all truancy laws and grant agency to families, or education will remain dismal. Believe me.

I posted the following to Facebook:

Did you know we are spending 250% more on K-12 public education now than we did in 1960? That is in inflation adjusted dollars. http://www.justfactsdaily.com/question-of-the-day/290652/

The problem isn’t money. Money honestly has very little to do with all of it. We could eliminate the federal budget for education and half the state budgets, and it would hurt, but test scores wouldn’t go down much. (Of course, a lot of that is because test scores are a very poor measure of education success.)

There is a fundamental problem with public education, and that is that coercion is evil. Forcing people to do anything, including what is good for them is evil. If you do it, you are an evil tyrant. At the root, Johnny doesn’t want to go to school simply because you hold a gun to his, no, you hold the gun to his momma’s head, and you tell him he has to go. Of course, you accuse me of being hyperbolic. No, I only slightly exaggerate the emotional aspect of the statement. Yes, you are forcing Johnny to go to school, and you are forcing his momma to make sure of it, and if momma fails, or Johnny refuses, you send the guys with the guns. You pretend no one will suffer, no one will get hurt, but you deceive yourself. The extreme can happen, and occasionally has happened. Overall, though, you see the results in ever spiralling costs, with ever flat test scores, and ever more clueless interviewees in the man-on-the-street gotcha reports. It is sad when people don’t know anything about the Constitution, but it is a sign of true cultural cancer, fatal consumption, when so many people can be asked about the fundamentals of Independence Day, and they can’t come up with anything, and they don’t even know that John Wilkes Booth wasn’t even remotely attached to it.

My favorite anecdote was Jay-walking, where Leno brought in two presumably bright young ladies from our own prestigious Tulsa University, and they couldn’t even ask sound questions in the on-street interviews. They didn’t even suppose Canada has a representative form of government; heck, they couldn’t even fathom Canada had any government. Yeah, our education systems from the youngest to the oldest are broke. One certainly can’t hurt it be trying to make it truly elective.

I’m all for school choice when that choice is not only where to go, but whether to go. Let freedom ring! Abolish all compulsory laws. Let momma decide. Grant her full agency.

We can keep the schools for now. We can keep the government funding for now. Just start by repealing the coercive compulsory laws.

Here in Oklahoma, I would like to see a full constitutional repeal of all truancy laws. Repeal truancy laws from our State Constitution and guarantee the right of every citizen to decide for himself, or each momma to decide for her children under the age of majority. Let freedom ring!

Let freedom ring!

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There will be three candidates on every Presidential ballot in the country. Why on earth would anyone consider not having all three of these candidates in every debate and forum sponsored? Don’t we want the voters informed?

Quoting:

Pluralism holds the key to the vitality of American religiousness as well as to the development of religious civility. One might think that economists long ago would have pointed this out to their colleagues in sociology who were so enamored of the strength of monopolies, since Adam Smith had laid out the whole analysis with such clarity long ago. Trouble is that until very recently, economists were so little interested in religion that the entire chapter on these matters in Smith’s classic The Wealth of Nations was (and is) omitted from most editions. It was not until I began working out the stimulating effects of pluralism on my own that someone suggested I read Smith–and I found this puzzling because initially I could find nothing on the topic in the readily available editions. Today, colleagues in economics find my emphasis on pluralism and competition fairly obvious, while many sociologists of religion continue to believe that I am obviously wrong–that competition harms religion and that I have been misled by inappropriate analogies with capitalism. Of course, the great majority of social scientists pay no attention to such peripheral matters, being secure in their knowledge that religion is doomed and soon must vanish.

Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity, 2011, HarperOne, HarperCollins paperback edition 2012, page 367.

Here is an online source for Smith’s Wealth of Nations:

http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN20.html#V.1.195

It seems to me, Islam is quite capable of working itself out and peacefully meeting the needs of its adherents without conflict against other faiths. However, governments (Kings and tyrants in some cases) meddle. Governments in Islamic communities are pushing and skewing, and even funding and enabling radicals who support the preferred views.

Our nation, our government, needs to get out and leave the people alone.

If our nation can work with the rest of the world to free religion from government completely, at all levels, I’m confident all faiths can fulfill the need we have.

Fundamentally, government is the problem. Ronaldus Maximus was correct.

We need to address the correct problem.

The civil authority and the religious authority need to be completely separate, and the civil authority needs to be limited, strictly limited.

Militant German atheist Karl T. Griesinger complained in 1852 that the separation of church and state in America fueled religious efforts: “Clergymen in America [are] like other businessmen; they must meet competition build up a trade…. Now it is clear…why attendance is more common here than anywhere else in the world.”

That, of course, is Rodney Stark in The Triumph of Christianity.

You want better schools? Separation of school and state!

Write your representatives and request adding “and education” to the first amendment of the Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Petition your government to get out of schools altogether, especially the federal government. We need our states to reduce dependence on federal money and gradually outlaw federal involvement in any aspect of education within the state.

Our churches, as a whole, inclusive of the plurality, are the best and most successful in the world. Religion is one of our fundamental needs, and we are very successful with it precisely because the government is totally hands off. Education will be likewise if we get the government out of it.

Don’t most of us think our neighbor, our coworker, our friend needs a bit more, a bit deeper religion, a bit more lofty goals? Isn’t, “Aim a little higher,” some of the best advice each of us has received from someone we respect when we stooped a bit low; when we chose to be less than our best?

Of course.

How do we help that neighbor, that coworker, that friend? We don’t run to the government, that is for sure.

We do our best, we live our best in the areas where government is least involved.

Let’s get the government out of our schools.

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

——————————

Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

An acquaintance, Ken, posted on Facebook (his page) a question that struck me as tending to incite. The question provided three formulas related to salvation, in the Christian sense, and the formulas seemed to me likely to offend all, each of them. In other words, I thought the question would get lots of comments with more heat than light; sometimes such are referred to as flame wars.

There were several comments of various leanings, more polite than I expected, but some of it was just nonsense. Apparently the author intended to discuss points honestly, and no nonsense was intended. It is often easy to be nonsensical on the internet, especially when trying to be brief.

I made a few comments, to the author and to other commenters, and I composed this rather long statement, at least quite long for Facebook.

As to the universalism you hint at in your comment to Summer, well, it has all been argued before, perhaps since the very beginning of Christianity. There is obvious lack of depth in the thinking that allows for universalism to a soul.

I have always adamantly argued that Christ redemption was for all of creation. All. I have come to accept that includes all life, all. So, not only will Spot be in the New Creation, but so will the dinosaurs, et al. The scriptures seem to clearly indicate that all creation will be made new. All of it. The infinite, immortal God died for it. How could one suppose otherwise? All means all.

Thus, the extension to every individual soul, every person, seems natural, but that is the key. It is only natural. It does not allow for the divine aspect of free will, that absolute truth, “that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”

Fundamentally, we cannot grasp it. We are dealing with God and eternity. There is always farther up and further in. There is more than can be imagined, as the scriptures clearly state.

There is perspective in time and in the vastness of it and the spacial universe. Note that the vastness of time is only vast because of our short time here on earth. We think of billions of years as long, but we often find that a few billion years is not long at all.

Think of the time of humanity. Think of the Paul’s statement to Timothy, “God our Savior, 4who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Consider the eons before Christ. Consider the millennia since Christ. How long? How many?

During this protracted time, before Christ and since, God, who does not change, desires all to be saved and to know truth. Yet, how many have? Before Moses, essentially no one called upon the name of YHWH. Given what archaeology tells us now, it is hard to take the Moses story as more than an allegory, but still, it is clear that very few knew of the God, the object of our faith, before the time of the Jewish kings, and the Jews made no efforts at evangelisation. With Jesus, he sent out a few to tell the good news, and he instructed them to baptize and disciple.

We have scripture indicating all will hear the good news before the end will come, but in the general sense, that happened some generations ago, yet in the specific sense, it is unreasonable to suppose it could ever happen, and in the absolute sense, it cannot be at all, since so many died without opportunity to hear.

Perspective.

What is God up to?

I assert God because I believe in reason. I think it unreasonable to assert there is no reason for it all, there there is no reason for me to base my reason on. I find atheism to be irrational on its face. Thus, I assert reason, yet I cannot comprehend the reason, at least not in the ultimate sense.

Thus, what is the reason?

Coequally, what is God up to?

I assert there is no “problem of pain” because life is good. Suffering, pain, death, et al., are just parts of life, and life is good. That opens me up to all kinds of objections, but I’ll take them. Kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. I assert that is part of the good of life.

If Christianity can be accepted at all, though, I must acknowledge that life is not good enough as it is, or Jesus would not have come to bring us life, and life more abundant. So, why does God seem so content with the slow pace? Why don’t we see more success in evangelisation? Why do we see so much corruption in all aspects of what we recognize as churches?

Again, I don’t see clear answers. I don’t even see possible answers. With Job, I realize there are things beyond me.

These things do give us perspective. We can begin to understand some.

Further, I mentioned the vastness of space when mentioning the eons of time. Time, is not, in fact, very vast. Space is.

Space is vast not only beyond comprehension, it is vast beyond all possibility of comprehension. If faster-than-light travel proves impossible, as all available evidence leads us to believe, then we will never venture beyond the Milky Way. Never. Even if we assume humanity continues and continues to recognize itself as humanity, even if we develop power and propulsion systems beyond our imaginations, we cannot go to the next galaxy. It is too far. It is an intractable engineering problem. Its cost will always exceed any reasonably expected value.

If we go ahead and throw caution and reason to the wind and assume faster-than-light travel possibilities, such as Star Gates, or quantum-entanglement type displacement, something like an electron tunneling, then we may be able to get to many galaxies, but if we assume the universe is actually finite, as seems certain, it is extremely improbable that we could explore the entire universe in even trillions of years.

Now, that is vast. What was God thinking? Why make so much?

Again, I have no answers, but these are the sorts of facts in evidence that I try to include, try to comprehend while contemplating the vastness of God, infinity, and eternity.

The calculus tells us much of infinity. Still, it is bigger than we can comprehend, even though we can deal with it effectively mathematically.

God is bigger than that. Free will is divinely bestowed by God. It is unwise to suppose any limits on it, at least not any spiritual or ultimate limits. As with my quote of the stylized William Wallace, there are physical limits to our free will. Those who would enslave us might force us into slavery, might even take our lives, but our freedom, innately, remains. That is why coercion, all coercion, is evil.

Your comments seem to be questioning the existence, the possibility, of hell. Well, the concept of hell was unknown to the ancient Hebrews, and it was not thorough in Jesus’ time, but He talked of it. We could argue the point forever. We could even argue of the nature of the adversary, the devil. A real being, something we generally think of as a person? Most would argue yes, many will argue no. I don’t much think it matters. That which is against us is unquestionable. We are opposed, physically and spiritually. Splitting hairs will not change the fact.

I assert that not all souls will accept God. It is not a matter of unbelief. It is a matter of freedom. God allows me to refuse Him today. God changes not. (I don’t think it matters what one labels wherever not-with-God is.)

God is sovereign, and at some point, my will falls under His sovereignty, but He will not violate my will. At some point, my will becomes finalized in that I am the center of all things in my universe, and exclude God, or I accept that I am not the center, and I am subject.

The great prophet of the 60s said it simply, “You’re still gonna have to serve somebody.”

God chose. We see the results.

Now, for we only have the moment, we choose. We will see the result. “We’ll all know soon enough.”

Ken, I cannot suppose I’ve answered your question. In fact, I really am only guessing at what your question is, but I have tried. My aim was simply to state my view and support it with basic thinking. I’m willing to pursue it further, but I’ll ask you to be specific, and to not assume motives. We cannot be sure of one another’s motives even if stated. We certainly err if we assume or ascribe motives.

Thus concluded my comments on that Facebook post.

I add, Calvinism = Universalism = atheism for practical purposes.

Each leads logically and inevitably to moral abuses because each ultimately asserts that no judgement, by the standards of human understanding, befall the perpetrator.

An atheist cannot assert that there is no meaning, no ultimate, while asserting that his actions, his assertions, have meaning. It is irrational. Asserting no ultimate, no divine, ultimately means there is no such thing as punishment.

Likewise the universalist must admit that ultimately there is no punishment at all.

Finally, while the Calvinist asserts ultimate punishment, it is all up to God. The Calvinist asserts that if I’m elect I cannot be damned. Factually, historically, there are far too many Calvinists who acted damnably to allow that assertion to have significance. That is, while the Calvinist avers punishment, judgement, it is not something we humans can understand, at least not until God shows His glory in full finality. And, for practical purposes, that means nothing we do matters, just like the universalist and atheist assert.

I found an article at the Libertarian Christian Institute web page, titled:

Conservatism, liberalism, or non-aggression?

It was a guest post from Randy Peters, who writes at TheGutDoc.com.

http://libertarianchristians.com/2016/01/20/conservatism-liberalism-non-aggression/

He opens by noting that many people attribute their politics to their faith. Hmm…

I’ve always had trouble understanding how people I know have strong and sound faith can have such differing views from my own, particularly in politics.

Part of it is I can never loose sight of the fact that coercion is evil. God never coerces.

I really do not understand why that is hard to see. I don’t get how other people don’t get that.

God always allows us freedom. God does uphold consequence. Accordingly, wisdom is encouraged. Of course, I always say that pain is the only true persuader of error. Experience is a harsh teacher, but often effective.

I like his thought experiments, both the right and left.

I’ll repeat this:

I submit that when any one of us – with civil authority or without it – takes upon himself the presumption to coerce others to do as we think God would have them do, we are no longer walking humbly with God. We have become the Pharisees, enjoying our long robes and places of honor, thanking God that we are not like other men and imposing upon them grievous burdens for which we will not offer the help of our little finger. There are many human behaviors condemned in the Holy Scripture; haughtiness may be one of the most condemned.

Make no mistake: when one argues that government is to be the arbiter of compassion or righteousness, one is arguing that violence is to be the tool by which those goals are achieved; for how else does government achieve its purpose? Taxes, fines, regulations, laws boundaries all rest on the discretion of the government to use violence to enforce them. When one maintains that the state should force his neighbors to do something, he is saying that violence should be used ultimately to accomplish that directive. Note that there are areas wherein there is unanimous agreement that communities or governments are justified in using force: to defend themselves from violence, to protect the lives of their members, to stop other crimes against persons or their property. But can one say that government has a legitimate and justifiable role to use its police powers – its exclusive claim on the use of violence – to force charity? To force acts of service? To force men and women to comply with “moral laws” with which they do not agree and which may not enjoy wide-spread acceptance in a community? Furthermore, may a disciple of Christ take upon himself the authority under God to say to his neighbors, “I speak in the name of God, and I order you to do thus under pain of imprisonment or death.”

Note there are no exceptions. If there is a law, it is using the power of the state, the threat of violence, imprisonment, even death, to enforce it. “Oh, but the penalty is only $50.” Of course, that is how it starts. You know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie.

Sure, we try to keep punishment consistent with the crime, but we also make too many crimes. We let one drink alcohol, but we imprison the one who smokes weed. We feel sorry for the mother driving with her quarrelling toddlers in the back, and though there is nothing more distracting than that, we bother to stop, fine, even take the driving license of the mother who was texting a quick instruction while driving.

We call the 19-year-old driver negligent and criminal for texting, but we give the late commuter a pass for shaving or donning makeup while careening through rush-hour traffic.

Some claim it is justified, but carry it to the end. The 19-year-old has some reason, rational or not, that makes him (or her) bolt when the lights come on the patrol cruiser. The teen is now truly jeopardizing lives, including his own. Perhaps he crashes, perhaps the officer successfully pulls over the car, but perhaps the teen is now too far committed, perhaps even irrational, and violence ensues, arrest, or worse.

Is it worth it?

No!

We have far too many laws. We criminalize far too many behaviors.

We justify too much in the name of safety. We rationalize too much in the name of morality and civic responsibility.

It is a sad world we live in not because of unfairness, lack of opportunity, scarcity, and want. No, it is so sad because so many soft tyrants have sufficient power to coerce.

I used a couple of widely debated examples in criminalizing drug use and texting while driving, but how about school?

Nobody talks about how absurd it is to coerce persons to education. We need not even consider the failures of the education system. We need look no farther than the simple coercion, compulsion of education and truancy laws.

Again, we pretend our punishments are evenhanded and proportional, but they are not. Seldom do those with power us it only for good, and perhaps it is even impossible to do good when the power is being used to enforce the evil of coercion from the start point.

People, persons, individuals, children of God. Yes, that is what we all are from our beginning, from even before our first breath. I bring up hard issues, and people ignore. We need to discuss. We need to look hard and freely at the facts. We need to stand and openly defend our views, and we need to examine closely our own and all others presented. We manage to live together in most instances.

We tend to fight here and there, but it is mostly about who has the power, and how it is used, especially about how it is abused.

Let’s limit the power more and more. Let us be free.

Let us live free.

Referencing this article, http://www.conventionofstates.com/feds_take_4_5_billion_worth_of_private_property, from the Convention of the States effort, which referenced the Washington Free Beacon as source.

Regarding civil asset forfeiture:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

First, keep in mind that the men who wrote these rights were worried that they would restrict our rights. Most felt it important to trust to logic and our better nature when it came to rights, the law, and the courts. The founders were trying to ensure as much rights to the people as possible, while not restricting the rights of the people. Our founders believed we were free in deed.

Note the key is security. Our constitution, our founding document, confirms our right to our own stuff, including our life, our person. Search and seizure requires sworn warrant.

Seldom do we hear of civil asset forfeiture that occurred with a duly issued warrant. That is simply un-American and obviously illegal per the Constitution.

Next, consider:

Amendment XIV, Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Civil asset forfeiture laws abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States as protected by the Fourth Amendment. The civil asset forfeiture laws are un-American and obviously illegal per the Constitution.

Note that there can be no deprivation without due process of law. No deprivation!

It is un-American and obviously illegal per the Constitution to deprive anyone of anything until after due process has been completed.

This article indicates that in just 2014, in just that one year, the Fed, not to mention the states and municipal police forces, raked in $4.5 billion. Only 13% of that was attributed to criminal penalty. That is only 13% of the $4.5 deprived from citizens of the United States of America was taken after due process.

There is simply no excuse for civil asset forfeiture laws to exist at all.

There I no need to discuss the abuses, for obviously there are many, there is no need to discuss the conflict of interest, for the entire concept is un-American and obviously illegal per the Constitution.

Any sheriff or DA who supports civil asset forfeiture laws is simply un-American and antipatriotic.

The referent article appeared last year on First Things. It is worth rereading.

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/09/the-princess-bride-syndrome

I pretty much agree with the breadth of the article, but I cannot accept a role of the state, nor any interest of the state, in marriage. The state’s only legitimate role in anything is fair, even application of the law. We have messed up making marriage law. Commitment, contract, other obligation factors weigh, and the state has a role there, but the actual marriage, especially with its generational and religious connotations, is out-of-bounds for law and the state.

“The state rightly takes a particular interest in this type of relationship.” No! I strongly disagree. There can be no rationale for imposing the power and violence of the state on marriage. While the relationship may be far-reaching and generational, it may even be foundational to society, it is not justifiable to hang the sanctioned violence of the state over the relationship.

Society may have standing and interest, but it must necessarily be limited to normative influence. Society, institutions, religion, et al., must be nonviolent and noncoercive.

I suppose I am becoming convinced that the traditional view of marriage and family is foundational to what society has become. Marriage is certainly key to what our cultures are in Western countries. However, for better or for worse, we the people, as well as our government, must not impose upon individuals and partners any of our corporate ideals, even if our ideals are perfectly right. (And, of course, such is impossible, given that we are also fallible humans.)

We must allow for freedom and individuality. We must.

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force … it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have authority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

Six Books on the Priesthood  |  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08452b.htm

I suppose that a good translation. I have doubts about persuasion. It is, for the most part, an illusion.

We must live the best we can. We must set the best example we can. We must argue as reasonably as we can. Only God, however, can change a heart; even only God can change a mind.

Keep both open to God and continuously change for the better.

Also,
“For it is not possible for anyone to cure a man by compulsion against his will.”

My sons are into robots. They are working with a robot club for competitions.

Mom suggested we take the icy day to go see the movie about the robot team, Spare Parts.

It was done very well. I highly recommend it.

The movie tracks four high school boys as they try to start achieving the American dream in their own small Arizona town, in their own beleaguered high school, with almost no money, almost no support, and a half-willing temporary substitute science teacher. (Who isn’t a teacher, but an engineer, fallen on hard times.) Their sponsor works through issues, but being a good engineer, he can help them effectively. They keep overcoming obstacles.

One of their big obstacles is that all are from immigrant families, families who came into the USA from Mexico, without going through proper channels. Thus, I.C.E. is after them, well, one of them. Still, they are all in danger of deportation.

I suppose I need to write some about immigration. I don’t have it worked out. What I know for sure is that we must trust people.

I know not everyone is trustworthy, but we must trust people first. We must give the freedom and room for people to be what God has created them to be.

I seem to keep finding more and more that I am libertarian to the bone, just as I am Wesleyan. God made us free. We err when we make people less free than God has.

The movie is fun, informative, and well made. It deals well with some of the issues involved. Sure, it is a bit shallow, but it deals with hardships of public schools and hardships of being an illegal alien, and with some of the joys of family and triumphs of accomplishment.

It is worth taking your family to see.

We need programs for gifted children at least as much as we need programs for the challenged. We need specialized accommodation for all with specialized needs outside the first standard deviation.

If we, as a society, owe something specialized to those below average, we owe just as much to those above average.

We need to start by acknowledging that gifted does not mean special, and we need to make sure we don’t use “special” with a special meaning.

We must keep in mind that gifted is only a reasonable label. It helps us identify a group with exceptional characteristics. Further, exceptional does not necessarily mean above average. It can sometimes mean weird, or perhaps simply unusual, out of the ordinary.

The Calgary Herald carried an article written by Marcello Di Cintio about gifted children and some programs and teachers.

http://calgaryherald.com/life/swerve/gifted-children-are-frequently-misunderstood

They need teachers and programs that focus not on the magnificence of their brains, but on the fragility of their hearts. “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” Aldred says. She quotes from Galway Kinnell’s “Saint Francis and the Sow,” a poem she teaches her literature students:

…sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

“I can’t teach them anything,” Aldred says. “But I can reteach them their loveliness.”

My eldest teaches third-grade. She pointed me to this article. I always remind her the most important thing she can do is to love the children in her class. She knows. She does. It is frustrating because she isn’t rated on her love. She is rated on tests, and checklists, and various quantifications that may or may not apply to anything except some reformer’s criteria for something measurable, even if it measures nothing relevant to the real world. In public education, children are just numbers, just test results; their teachers are variously derived subsets of the aggregated numbers. Shameful.

The article is about the gifted. My daughter told me about it for that reason, and she expressed thanks for ensuring she had what she needed as gifted.

I’m tying this to everyone.

Everyone needs the same thing. We all need to be recognized as unique and individual. Not one of us actually fits into groups and categories. Sure, we have and need our tribes, our like minds and kindred spirits. We need them desperately. But, at the individual level, we are all exactly that–individual.

Gifted kids, unique kids, need unique things, extra things, and specialized understanding.

We can blame our schools, but I don’t.

I hold myself responsible. Two of my five gifted children were well suited to public school (our local system). The first, only barely. She thanks me, but we could have done better. We should have had her at home. We first noticed when it was almost too late for another. We started homeschooling. It has made a tremendous difference. I cannot say I have regrets, but it would have been better for all had we homeschooled from the start with the eldest. The one who thrived in school would likely still have been even better off had we homeschooled her.

I really want every child homeschooled. It is best. Mother knows best, even if she isn’t technically qualified. We need institutions to help parents educate their own children.

Having said it, reality steps in, and reality generally bites.

We must have alternatives for families that simply cannot homeschool. We need schools. We also need the Federal Government entirely out of it. The Fed should have no say, no funds, not departments, no standards, no goals, no say at all. The standard we hold for state and religion should be exactly the same for state and education.

We also need freedom for every individual. No compulsion. No coercion. No truancy laws.

Children are citizens, not property of the state. Not property at all. Children are to be protected by the law, not used or coerced by the body politic.

While Di Cintio writes well and describes well, it is impractical to explain giftedness and the needs of the gifted. In short, it takes one to know one. (Of course, nearly everyone can tell when he is being taken. While the truly gifted, with exceptional IQ, are difficult to understand, there is no justification for granting them extraordinary rights or power. Plato was wrong if he thought the philosopher-kings could be lifted above corruption by training. Power corrupts. It is an absolute.)

We really owe it to ourselves to figure it out. The story of young-Albert the misfit is widely know. Where would humanity be with Einstein? Some of our greatest minds were problem children.

We need our problem children. Many of them are the great minds that we need to help us move forward and better ourselves. All of them are worthwhile, with their own unique loveliness. All of them.

Our potentially great minds often have particularly fragile hearts.

We need to mind these hearts, but the statement, “Unless their heart is intact, no learning can happen,” is a statement true in all circumstances. It is also true that there are some other deeper needs that must be met before learning can happen, like sated hunger and basic security at home.

Schools deal with hunger, but inadequately. School is a poor and inadequate means for addressing hunger. Even more so, schools simply cannot address the needs of the home. There is no hope for improved test-performance in grade schools were most children are from broken homes. And, there is no easy answer to this problem. It must start small, and it will be long, very long relative to the needs of a child today. There is no simple nor grand solution. It is a battle that must be won with love, one heart at a time. I’ll add that I think it is mostly a problem we must address with men, and a boy is the only thing from which God can make a man. One at a time.

My writing here is about giftedness and the worth of every child, not daddies, or the lack of daddies, nor about radicalized feminism and the ill-advised war on masculinity that seems to pervade our society.

We fight for progress at the expense of tradition. That doesn’t work. Progressivism fails every time. Conservatism fails if taken to extreme. So, we must find balance. We must embrace the new while cherishing the old. We must build new institutions while respecting tradition. We must esteem heritage while learning our world as it is today. We must acknowledge that we are all different, and we all have different abilities and different needs. Of course, as I’ve tried to emphasize above, we all have the same basic needs. We are all the same before God. We must accept that one-size does not fit all. We actually need segregation (well, groupings) by innate, self-defining characteristics, such as ability, interest, and temperament. (We must never let ourselves regress to defining anything by externals.)

I know this, solutions do not lie in politics. The government cannot fix any of this. We must have more freedom, not more government. More autonomy, not more regulation. More local solutions, not more standardization.

I noticed an article in American Thinker today. Lengthy, but more than worth the time. It was republished from July 2014. It seems it was carried in multiple other online publications in November.

Danusha V. Goska explains some of what converted her from leftist/progressivist thinking.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/07/ten_reasons_i_am_no_longer_a_leftist.html

I have a lot running through my head to write down, but she says it all well. Not much point in gilding lilies.

It seems rather obvious to me that leftists simply refuse to consider counter arguments, at least beyond formulating rebuttals.

Arguments from the right typically rely on facts and rational, logical argument. Emphasis on results. Arguments from the left start and end with emotionalism, and throw in outrage between. Emphasis on intentions.

It has occurred to me that maybe the Calvinists are right. Maybe God only grants a few of us actual free will and true ability to reason. Perhaps God blinds many into thinking they are the Elect, the Chosen, the Worthy. (Calvinists will object to that last. So be it.)

I don’t accept the notion in the slightest. No, God grants us all free will. (Prevenient grace, God makes able.) God grants us all the mind of Christ if we will meditate there in. God grants us the spirit of power, love, and mental soundness. His perfect love casts out fear, and Jesus promised that anyone who is determined to do God’s will shall know the difference between God’s teaching and man’s. (John 7:17)

Micah stated it best. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. (I think I don’t say that enough. I must remind myself continuously.)

Part of it all is we must accept pain, long-suffering, and death as simply part of the good creation. When we accept that life is hard, while remembering every breath is a gift, we tend to lose utopian ideals. Progressivism is seen for the hollow shell of waste that it is. When we understand that the gods of copybook headings with terror and slaughter return, we pay no heed to the dismissiveness of the leftists. We remember that the wages of sin is death, and if you don’t work you die.

So, pull on your grown-up pants, and wrap your mind around the reality that one cannot solve the problem of power with centralized (state) power. Decentralize. Free. Never coerce. Persuade with a life well lived. Free.

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