And Now Teacher Will Take Your Legos and Give Them to Pfizer

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Over at TCS Daily, Maureen Martin relates a private Seattle school's impromptu lesson in property rights:

…The students had been building an elaborate "Legotown," but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore "the inequities of private ownership." According to the teachers, "Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.

The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society—a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive." 

…Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes." The teachers quote the children:

"A house is good because it is a community house."

"We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes."

Whole thing here.

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  1. Tomorrows lesson: everyone gets the same size house whether they do anything or not, 90% of the children decide to play video games instead of building houses.

  2. I’m sure none of the teacher’s lives in a collective house. This doesn’t mean that they are hypocrites. It means that we are blowing the story out of context and proportion. Regardless of analogies to communism, kids don’t like to share and teachers have traditionally taught them how to share. Our capitalist, individualist and democratic society seems safer from the commies now more than ever.

  3. I didn’t know there was a Seattle in North Korea. We have one in the U.S. as well, but we Americans are capitalists, not Stalinist commie bastards like the commissars in that other Seattle.

  4. Lamar, do you really not see how sharing Legos and:

    All structures are public structures.

    All structures will be standard sizes.>/i>

    have nothiing to do with each other?

  5. This is a little silly, but it was a private school, so the content of the education is their own concern. Let the customers deal with it, and remember not to be a customer yourself.

  6. Sorry, italics breakout

  7. Lamar: true, but perhaps the teachers are simply going out of their way to illustrate an essential truth about socialism. The Legos were witheld until the children agreed to accept the “framework” of the authorities that controlled the resources.

    Class: explain how this is different from feudalism. Or slavery, for that matter.

    Perhaps the children should have armed themselves and demanded land reform from those who controlled the resources. That would be an education for all parties, I’m sure.

  8. Exactly the sort of thing you expect from a public school. Next we should replace all the unequal and unjust text books with one little red book.

    ed,
    You’ve never been there have you?

  9. It was a private school. Something tells me this isn’t the only or even the worst forms of leftist propeganda these poor kids are subjected to. Moreover, considering that it is in Seattle, I would imagine most of these children’s parents are guilt stricken western society loathing liberals who wake up every day curse the system that provides them their lavish yuppie lifestyles. So, I would imagine the propeganda these kids are subjected to at school pales in comparison to what they get at home. I feel bad for the kids and hope someday they get a chance to see a little diverse view of the world the same way I feel bad for kids raised fundementalist Amish or Mormons. But, it is a free country and who are we to say they can’t raise their kids like they want?

  10. Over at TCS Daily, Maureen Martin relates a private Seattle school’s impromptu lesson in property rights:

    DOH!

  11. Uh-oh, kids in school being exposed to thoughts that Reasonoids disapprove of!

    They’re promoting fairness, how horrible!

    Next they’ll be teaching kids respect for others and other commie ideas.

  12. Education: the only industry that blames it’s bad products on it’s customers and gets away with it. (George F. Will uses similar words frequently)

    These assumptions “mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.”

    Oddly, I keep hearing that from people who chose careers that do not pay as well as managing a Wal*Mart, they knew that their chosen career did not pay that well and they spend their entire career trying to convince others that it is unfair and they should be paid as well as [insert job in demand that pays well].

    Teachers, poets, artists, professional protest bums and others.

    The real gem is when they try to tell me that if they were paid better they would do better. My response is usually: If your job paid a lot better you would be replaced by someone who does it right from the beginning.

  13. When the students revolt to control the means of production then the classes will crumble.

  14. John,

    Good comment. Take heart! In a few years these kids are going to be teenagers, and they’ll make every effort to disappoint their parents.

  15. Thanks Warren and I have a feeling you are right.

  16. Four legos good, two legos bad.

  17. They’re promoting fairness, how horrible!

    By ‘fair’ you mean ‘everyone is a prisoner of the state’. Sounds pretty horrid to me.

  18. Does anyone remember a book that came out ten or fifteen years ago written by a elementary school teacher who implemented market principles in his classes? I never read the book but I remember reading a review of it in the WSJ. Basically the guy created a market within his classrooms where skills that the kids had got them things they valued like treats at lunch or longer recess and the like. It totally reversed the culture of the classroom. Instead of it being a rule of the jungle where the big kids bullied everyone else, it was a rule of the mind where kids who had valued skills that they could teach other kids were valued. Further, all of the kids worked harder becuase doing so got them things they wanted. I wish I could remember more about it, but it stands as an interesting contrast to this approach.

  19. John,

    I like the one (probably a different person) who suggested donating GPA points from the mouthy socialist students to the slacker students as a way of making everybody equal.

  20. Does anyone remember a book that came out ten or fifteen years ago written by a elementary school teacher who implemented market principles in his classes? I never read the book but I remember reading a review of it in the WSJ. Basically the guy created a market within his classrooms where skills that the kids had got them things they valued like treats at lunch or longer recess and the like. It totally reversed the culture of the classroom. Instead of it being a rule of the jungle where the big kids bullied everyone else, it was a rule of the mind where kids who had valued skills that they could teach other kids were valued. Further, all of the kids worked harder becuase doing so got them things they wanted. I wish I could remember more about it, but it stands as an interesting contrast to this approach.

    It’s also an interesting contrast to reality.

  21. Uh-oh, kids in school being exposed to thoughts that Reasonoids disapprove of!

    They’re promoting fairness, how horrible!

    Next they’ll be teaching kids respect for others and other commie ideas.

    In this entire thread I see no evidence that any “Reasonoid” has claimed that this school can’t teach these things! Ridicule of the opinions and methods used is another matter entirely!

  22. I’m beginning to see a link to the Al Gore 20000 sqft house story.

  23. That is funny Guy.

  24. bigbigslacker,

    Sorry, I am NOT donating my extra carbon credits to make others equal. However, I have plenty for sale if anybody wishes to purchase them.

  25. It’s also an interesting contrast to reality.

    I wonder who Dan’s ISP is that’s able to connect to the internet from an alternate universe.

  26. In this entire thread I see no evidence that any “Reasonoid” has claimed that this school can’t teach these things! Ridicule of the opinions and methods used is another matter entirely!

    But for ideas that you guys find so obviously inferior you sure are scared of them.

  27. Guy Montag: I guess the moral is that when you pay teachers like crap, they turn into didactic commies!!

  28. Good God! Each of these idiot teachers should be tied up and slowly lowered into a pit of ravenous Objectivists.

  29. But for ideas that you guys find so obviously inferior you sure are scared of them.

    You sound like the protestor chick who told me to “Enjoy my fear” when she read my “ACLU Enemy of the State” shirt.

    Fear need not have anything to do with disagreeing with ideas.

  30. Dan T. | February 28, 2007, 2:30pm | #

    In this entire thread I see no evidence that any “Reasonoid” has claimed that this school can’t teach these things! Ridicule of the opinions and methods used is another matter entirely!

    But for ideas that you guys find so obviously inferior you sure are scared of them.

    Not fear! Pity!

  31. Guy Montag: I guess the moral is that when you pay teachers like crap, they turn into didactic commies!!

    You mean they were something else before they chose the “take any courses you like and get back to us when you are done” curriculum?

    Perhaps it is the realization that their ‘education’ is not quite what the Engineers and Accountants get, but they paid the same amount of money for it.

  32. Jebus, Dan T. Try a little harder wouldya? You’re not even being an entertaining troll now.

  33. Fear need not have anything to do with disagreeing with ideas.

    But the point here is not that you disagree with the ideas – it’s that you’re scared that simply asking kids to consider them will turn them into some kind of Marxists, instead of obedient little worker bees.

  34. Dan T.,

    When using the words “instead of” there should be some difference between the items being compared.

  35. “They’re promoting fairness, how horrible!”

    No, they’re promoting socialism.

    Fairness and socialism are ALWAYS mutually exclusive.

  36. ….instead of obedient little worker bees.

    Oh Dan….is this your first time here?!

  37. “Stevo Darkly | February 28, 2007, 2:32pm | #
    Good God! Each of these idiot teachers should be tied up and slowly lowered into a pit of ravenous Objectivists.”

    Are they hot?

  38. Anyone who’s scared, raise your hand.

    Anyhow, the supposed lesson was so blatant, that I’m sure it will backfire in due time.
    The real lesson: teachers exert arbitrary authority.

  39. Dan T: I donbt deign to speak for everyone on this board, but personally, yeah, i’m afraid of these ideas, despite the fact that i believe them to be inferior. Why? Because bad ideas can be dangerous is why, especially when they’re being indoctrinated into young, impressionable kids before their critical thinking faculties have had a chance to develop. Also, a bad idea can be easier to comprehend and latch onto than a good one (see the “four legos good” post above, which made my laugh out loud btw; Orwell explains my point with the sheep in Animal Farm much more eloquently than I can).

    This story is symptomatic of one of my major problems with the way schools are run today. too much emphasis is placed on molding young minds into what you want them to be, rather than molding them into individuals with independent thoughts of their own. Don’t teach kids facts, teach them how to teach themselves facts.

    I’ll echo a point a few others have made and say that I don’t have as much of problem with this private school activity as i would if it had been happening in a public school, simply because parents could pull their kids out if they wanted to. speaking of which, has anyone pointed out the irony that this probably COULDN’T be done in a public, state-funded school, at least not so blatantly? how’s that for the market at work?

    sorry for any typos and the horrible capitalization, i’m writing from my phone.

  40. Education: the only industry that blames it’s bad products on it’s customers and gets away with it.

    I think there’s a flawed premise in there.

    I’ve heard it another way as well. Education: the only realm in which normal advocates of personal responsibility are happy to pawn it off on to others for their failures.

    Anyway, I think Fluffy has it right. Not that it can’t be criticized regardless.

  41. Instead of it being a rule of the jungle where the big kids bullied everyone else, it was a rule of the mind where kids who had valued skills that they could teach other kids were valued. Further, all of the kids worked harder becuase doing so got them things they wanted.

    It’s also an interesting contrast to reality.

    I don’t know what reality you live in, but in mine the more intelligent you work and the harder you work the greater your rewards for doing so.

  42. “ACLU Enemy of the State” shirt.

    I am curious. Does this mean that the ACLU thinks you are the “Enemy of the State” or that you think the ACLU is?

    Either way, on what points do you disagree with the ACLU (aside from their 2nd Amend neutral stance)?

  43. “The Legos were witheld until the children agreed to accept the “framework” of the authorities that controlled the resources.”

    Just like in Atlas Shrugged!

  44. Joe-Fair enough. Generally, it would be hard to find something this absurd outside of an Ayn Rand novel.

  45. So Guy, what’s you proposed solution considering that a) a well educated populace is necessary for an industrialized country and b) this is a private school? If anything, the parents and the school encourage this sort of thinking otherwise, they would get rid of the teachers. There’s no union for them to work at. I’m assuming you were schooled, did you gain your knowledge despite your education?

    Also, do you know anyone, in any industry that does not believe they’re being paid enough? I have a friend that works for a big fancy consulting firm gets paid well over a $100K and makes a valid point on why he is underpaid.

  46. Thankfully we can never be forced to have an equal size intelligence as these idiots.

    The saying, Get A Rope, is coming to my mind more and more.

  47. Just like in Atlas Shrugged!
    OUCH! That stings.

    I guess I’m just the big wussie, but I don’t mind admitting, those teachers scare the crap out of me.

  48. I don’t know what reality you live in, but in mine the more intelligent you work and the harder you work the greater your rewards for doing so.

    In my reality, the ones being truly rewarded are the ones who have the power to get others to work hard for them.

  49. I could see how this thing could backfire. Perhaps when the artistic kids who can acutally build neat stuff legos notice that everyone has the same crappy house even though if they have the ability to build something cool, it will teach them a good lesson about socialism. Also when no one bothers to build anything nice because they can’t enjoy the benifits of it, it might cause a few of them to think. Kind of like the old Onion Article about how the roomates who based the house rules on socialism ended up all moving out because no one would do any work or pick up after themselves and all anyone ever wanted to do was sit around and talk about leftist politics.

  50. “In my reality, the ones being truly rewarded are the ones who have the power to get others to work hard for them.”

    You tell them Dan. The capitalist system is greased by the blood of the workers!!!

  51. Dan T: I donbt deign to speak for everyone on this board, but personally, yeah, i’m afraid of these ideas, despite the fact that i believe them to be inferior. Why? Because bad ideas can be dangerous is why, especially when they’re being indoctrinated into young, impressionable kids before their critical thinking faculties have had a chance to develop.

    But in this example, the teachers are merely exposing the kids to ideas that are very unpopular in our society and thus are unlikely to be presented most anywhere else. That’s how you develop critical thinkers, not by sheltering them and only teaching that ideas that you personally adhere to are the only ones worth considering.

  52. How many who react with horror to this tale would react with disgust if ID were the subject or some sort of fundie topic?

    if you don’t think they’re equal, then would your reaction be proportionate?

    Sam’s words I would apply to fundie religiousity just as much as to blind socialism (indeed, I often have trouble really distinguishing between the end results of heavy-handed forced conformity)

    Thoughts?

  53. You tell them Dan. The capitalist system is greased by the blood of the workers!!!

    That’s right, just like the only critics of capitalism are “guilt stricken western society loathing liberals”.

  54. In my reality, the ones being truly rewarded are the ones who have the power to get others to work hard for them.

    Perhaps somebody isn’t so good at his job.

  55. “but it was accidentally demolished”

    Are we sure it was accidental? Perhaps a wee, socialistic Lego Howard Roark destroyed the Legotown because against his expressed wishes the laddies and lassies were not building communal structures?

    (Also, what Fluffy said.)

  56. VM,

    I made that connection in my first post. I said I feel as bad for these kids as I do for ones that grow up in fundementalist households, but that it is a free country and who are we to tell them how to raise their kids. That said, it is human nature to get upset when one of your sacred cows gets gored and libertarians are no different. See for example Ron Bailey’s bizzare obsession with ID science groups he is convinced should be stopped from conducting research, lest they get published somewhere and legitimize ID.

  57. “That’s right, just like the only critics of capitalism are “guilt stricken western society loathing liberals”.”

    Well Dan T, when you are living the benifits every day of a free capitalist system and you won’t give up those benifits and go live somewhere like say Cuba or North Korea or even Europe where the capitalism is shall we say a little less pure and you continue to bitch and moan about unjust the system is, I would say you are a self loathing western liberal.

  58. I am curious. Does this mean that the ACLU thinks you are the “Enemy of the State” or that you think the ACLU is?

    Actually, the C in ACLU was a hammer and sickle. A subtle way of pointing out what the founder stood for.

    So Guy, what’s you proposed solution considering that a) a well educated populace is necessary for an industrialized country and b) this is a private school? If anything, the parents and the school encourage this sort of thinking otherwise, they would get rid of the teachers. There’s no union for them to work at.

    Interesting string of assumptions that neither of us know is true or false (other than it is a private school), so I will ignore them.

    I’m assuming you were schooled, did you gain your knowledge despite your education?

    Quite a bit of it actually. I am always amazed at folk who have the idea that nothing can be learned outside of school. I can actually build my own computers and restore my own car without ever having attend a single class on either!

    Also, I was reading much more challenging works on my own in the second grade than the “Sam and Ann” reading packages that we were given.

    Also, do you know anyone, in any industry that does not believe they’re being paid enough? I have a friend that works for a big fancy consulting firm gets paid well over a $100K and makes a valid point on why he is underpaid.

    Sounds like you went or teach at this private school that you are defending.

    I know plenty of people who wish that they were paid more, but precious few who think they should be paid more than their current salary, but continue to sit at the same desk without trying to improve their own situation. The latter are called slackers and whiners.

    The rest of us know that we accepted an offer that pay is but one component of.

    I suggest that your whining slacker frined get his resume out to a firm that will pay him more for slacking and whining than what he is paid now, seek more responsibility for more pay, or negotiate better.

    Now, I will say that I am being taxed far too much. My employer might be able to pay more if they were not taxed so much too.

  59. Apologies John that I missed that.

    Good call.

    I apologize for that. You say it perfectly.

    respectfully,
    VM

  60. “And now teacher will take your Legos and give them to Pfizer”

    Has a headline ever won a thread before?

  61. Also, do you know anyone, in any industry that does not believe they’re being paid enough? I have a friend that works for a big fancy consulting firm gets paid well over a $100K and makes a valid point on why he is underpaid.

    I think that I’m paid enough, and I’m not making anywhere near $100k. I’m not saying that I don’t want more, though.

  62. They didn’t actually take the land in the Kelo case to give to Phizer, but that is a hilarious headline.

  63. Frankly, if I could have a job where I didn’t ever work a weekend or a holiday, got a long spring and christmas break and didn’t work all summer and were free to moonlight as a fisherman or soldier or whatever else I felt like doing for fun and profit and still got paid enough to live on from said job and only had to have a BA to get said job, I don’t really think I would consider myself underpaid, especially if I liked the job.

  64. Dan:

    You missed my point, I think, or perhaps i didn’t express myself clearly enough. I don’t have a problem with this stuff being taught, i have a problem with it being taught a) as fact and b) to very young children. Kids can learn logic and philosophy when they’ve been around the block a few times (which, usually, is enough to pick up a thing or two about communism anyway). To say it’s now or never is a false dichotomy. Plus, does it sound to you as though these kids are being taught to question what they’re told by this teacher? I like the idea of alternatives being presented, even ones i happen to disagree with (which is why i like having contrarians like yourself around), but to teach them as the right alternative to children seems off to me.

  65. Dan said:

    “But in this example, the teachers are merely exposing the kids to ideas that are very unpopular in our society and thus are unlikely to be presented most anywhere else. That’s how you develop critical thinkers, not by sheltering them and only teaching that ideas that you personally adhere to are the only ones worth considering.”

    While I’ll reiterate that since it’s a private school they can do whatever they want, I have to disagree with this characterization of the events.

    Even looking at the teachers’ statements on the matter, it appears that the children were spontaneously playing in one way, and the teachers punished them for doing so. They informed the students that their organic play was immoral, and then instructed the students on the moral way to play. That doesn’t sound much like it’s encouraging critical thinking or exposing students to unusual ideas. It sounds more like direct moral instruction of an almost Jesuitical kind.

    Luckily, Jesuit instruction often produced freethinkers – so maybe this instruction will produce “reasonoids”.

  66. “Either way, on what points do you disagree with the ACLU (aside from their 2nd Amend neutral stance)?”

    I’ll answer this one with a litte copy pasta from their website.
    ACLU, NAACP File Lawsuit to Allow University of Michigan Admissions Programs to Continue (12/19/2006)
    DETROIT – Filing a lawsuit today on behalf of 19 students, faculty and applicants to the University of Michigan, a coalition of civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, are asking a federal court to declare that the newly passed Proposal 2 has not changed the Supreme Court’s view, stated as recently as 2003, that it is constitutionally permissible for universities to consider race and gender as one factor among many in university admissions.

    ACLU Files Racial Profiling Lawsuit Against Rhode Island State Police (1/8/2007)
    PROVIDENCE, RI – In a federal lawsuit filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island charged that state police engaged in racial profiling and acted unconstitutionally when they detained 14 people on Interstate 95 and transferred them to immigration officials. The individuals, all Guatemalans, were stopped in a van after the driver changed lanes without using a turn signal.

    There is plenty more to object to. Attempting forced removal of a cross from a veterans cemetery.Using federal courts to dictate school curiculum. Go to there site and take a look around.

  67. Dan also said:

    “In my reality, the ones being truly rewarded are the ones who have the power to get others to work hard for them.”

    It may well be that the majority of the value created in production arises as a result of the proper organization of capital and labor in response to a market demand.

    That would mean that your reality is functioning in a perfectly just way.

  68. Well Dan T, when you are living the benifits every day of a free capitalist system and you won’t give up those benifits and go live somewhere like say Cuba or North Korea or even Europe where the capitalism is shall we say a little less pure and you continue to bitch and moan about unjust the system is, I would say you are a self loathing western liberal.

    Of course, every one of you guys are enjoying the benefits of having a strong government that provides social services to people who can’t afford them and despite all your whining I don’t see you moving to countries that don’t.

    So two can play at the “love it or leave it” game, John.

    And don’t think I haven’t noticed that Reason is headquartered in the People’s Republic of California!

  69. Fluffy,

    Even so, that would mean it was functioning in an efficient way. Efficient is not a synonymn for just.

  70. Of course, every one of you guys are enjoying the benefits of having a strong government that provides social services

    Every one of us is benefiting from welfare?

  71. Single Issue Voter,

    I had a prof in college in the late 80s who was a real old time liberal. He was actually one of the freedom riders who went down and got his head kicked in during Jim Crow. He was a real Pete Seager, Woody Guthurie, free land for all kind of socialist. Despite his socialist views he was a decent man with a lot of integrity. He left the ACLU, where he was no small potatoes, in the mid 1980s. He said they had become just an arm of the Democratic Party only interested in the priciples of civil rights in free speech where those interests intersected with the Democratic Party. The more time goes by, the more the ACLU proves him correct.

  72. Also, do you know anyone, in any industry that does not believe they’re being paid enough?

    What is ‘enough’?

    Am I meeting my needs and saving for emergencies? Yes.

    Am I being paid comparably to others in this position in other companies in the same industry? Not by a mile. (nor do I worry about it )

    Am I wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice? Nope. (don’t need or particularly want to be)

    Am I happy. Pretty much yah.

    Is that ‘enough’?

    I dunno, but I can tell you that they’ll pry my legos from my

    COLD

    DEAD

    HAAAAAAANDS!!!!!

  73. As a teacher, I find the worst part of this story the fact that the teachers have effectively placed limits on these kids’ imagination!

    “Don’t build bigger than that, Tommy. Keep to the standard size.”

    BTW, that last quote from the kids in the article chilled my spine.

  74. “BTW, that last quote from the kids in the article chilled my spine.”

    Who did the leftist lunatics in China and Cambodia get to do their dirty work? Children. Children were the foot soldiers of the killing fields and the cultural revolution. Their minds are easily maliable and they want to please adults and they like things absolute.

  75. Dan:

    If the majority of the value is created by organizing the disparate inputs [and by anticipating and/or inspiring market demand] then it would be reasonable to think that it’s just for a large part of the exchange value realized by a sale to end up going to the system participants who brought the organization into being, or their successors.

    Or, at least, you’d need a pretty compelling theory of justice to prove otherwise.

    Or you’d need to have a way to demonstrate that the mechanism being used was itself somehow unjust. [After all, even if the majority of the value created by a cotton plantation in 1855 arose because of the organizational work done by the owners, that doesn’t necessarily mean that their ownership was just. But I don’t see any convincing analogue to slavery out there in the US right now. But hey, maybe you do.]

  76. All in all it’s just another Lego brick in the wall…

  77. I’m sure somebody already said this but don’t we libertarians continually agitate for private schools?

    My experience with private schools has been that some are better than public, but few have any regard for liberty. At my son’s school they were not allowed to use the term squirt gun. Not even on the day the kids were allowed to bring their water toys to school and squirt each other.

  78. What a bunch of weaklings! Selling out yourself is one thing, but selling out your children, too? Fear-filled loathing amounting to nothing but scared little people afraid of losing their grip on priveledge, prestige, and preferential class-bias. What we really need to be criticizing is the inability to see that when children attend US public schools, they usually teach that as long as you do what you are told, stay in line and parrot the capitalist party line, and strive to accumulate more “stuff” by being a patsy to the establishment, then you will be in a position to look down your sheep nose and scorn anyone who can still find contentment in life on a leveled playing field. Keep on goose-steppin’ in the suburbs, don’t bother appreciating the merits of actually having a spine. Clutch tightly to your possessions and money, ’cause that’s all you are/ever will be. C’mon let’s hear some lies: ” I did everything I ever dreamed of as a kid, and never once compromised my inner feelings to be part of society’s limited scope of opportunity and “success”. “

  79. Even so, that would mean it was functioning in an efficient way. Efficient is not a synonymn for just.

    So what is “just” joe? Compensation based by value produced; i.e. capitalism? Or compensation based upon need; i.e. socialism?

  80. My experience with private schools has been that some are better than public, but few have any regard for liberty. At my son’s school they were not allowed to use the term squirt gun. Not even on the day the kids were allowed to bring their water toys to school and squirt each other.

    Uh-oh, now you’ve done it – suggesting that something besides the government can suppress liberty is heresy around here.

  81. Dan T:

    If you know of a place, please let me know. AFAIK, the US is the closest to what I want.

  82. Of course, every one of you guys are enjoying the benefits of having a strong government that provides social services to people who can’t afford them and despite all your whining I don’t see you moving to countries that don’t.

    I might be moving to one if I accept a different job that “doesn’t pay enough”. It is called Iraq. Hope to see you and David Weigel there putting up or see you here shutting up.

  83. The capitalist system is greased by the blood of the workers!!!

    I think that needs to be updated. The poor oppressed working class is getting so obese these days that I think we can upgrade from worker blood to actual worker grease now.

  84. true, but perhaps the teachers are simply going out of their way to illustrate an essential truth about socialism.

    Or perhaps another universal truth, that is, on the way up you will pass many on their slow rise to mediocrity (almost there Dan) … or, when given time to reflect, invariably those that seemed powerful and wise when you were a child were a collective of shit throwing retarded apes.

  85. I might be moving to one if I accept a different job that “doesn’t pay enough”. It is called Iraq. Hope to see you and David Weigel there putting up or see you here shutting up.

    Isn’t Iraq undergoing one of the biggest socialist projects in world history right now?

  86. I think I’ll get my buddies together, bribe some Seattle politicians, and use eminent domain to take the teacher’s houses for my own use, since in my opinion my intended use will generate more tax revenue for the community.

    After all, I do know what’s best for the masses and can therefore claim to speak for them, right?

  87. Timothy, lol!!

    Anyway, its friggin legos. These kids are just as likely to pelt their classmates with the colorful blocks or eat them as they are to try and construct buildings of varying size. I think the teachers are a bit commielike, but does it really matter? Its a private school, so parents can deal with this or not, but at least its their choice to teach their kids this. But if one of the kids grows up to try and share MY house, I’ll share my size 12 boot up his ass.

  88. Isn’t Iraq undergoing one of the biggest socialist projects in world history right now?

    How wouls I know? I am just an oppressed worker pulling fiber and plugging stuff in.

  89. “We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes.”

    Somebody should really introduce these teachers to Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut.

    “The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal.”

  90. The teachers here seem to be trying to prevent the students from acquiring more than eachother. What do you think they would do if a student decided to take the bricks from a standard sized house and build a smaller, more interesting house? Would this be unfair? After all, this simplistic idea of fairness doesn’t allow for people to make these sorts of tradeoffs. Everyone should be equal in every way, even if you’d be happier with less of one thing in exchange for more of another.

  91. man…did I kill the thread?

  92. “According to the article, the students had been building an elaborate “Legotown,” but it was accidentally demolished. The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore “the inequities of private ownership.” According to the teachers, “Our intention was to promote a contrasting set of values: collectivity, collaboration, resource-sharing, and full democratic participation.”

    So, instead of working together, collectively, to build an “elaborate Legotown” the teachers want them to work together, collectively, to build a uniformly bland public housing project.

  93. jake,

    “So what is “just” joe? Compensation based by value produced; i.e. capitalism? Or compensation based upon need; i.e. socialism?”

    Both are likely to produce unjust outcomes. Is it just to allow a firefighter to starve because he’s in a coma and not producing? I don’t think the definition of distributional justice can be pinned down so easily.

  94. I hope not, I was having fun.

    By the by, Harrison Bergeron was the story that started me down the path to libertarianism. Great story, and if i’m not mistaken, freely available on the internet.

  95. madpad: remember “Sirens of Titan?” He proposed a religion that required its adherents to handicap themselves so everyone would be equal. My favorite was the fellow in the crowd who was so handsome, so appealing, that the only way to make himself equal was to marry a woman who was nauseated by sex.

  96. Single Issue Voter,
    Copy Pasta but no link-fu I see.

    Your first example is a lawsuit by the ACLU to prevent legislation from determining the admissions requirements of a University. Whether or not you feel that race or gender is a valid metric for University admission I think I would rather the University make that decision than the legislature of the state. Wouldn’t you?

    Your second example was a driver who was pulled over for changing lanes without a turn signal. The police officer then demanded documentation from the passengers of the van, not just the driver, without probable cause of wrong doing and told the driver that if anybody attempted to leave the scene, they would be shot. I don’t know about you, but I don’t relish a State that a)demands I carry paperwork with me at all times and b)claims that if I don’t have it and try to leave I will be shot. Can you say “papers please”?

    As for the racial profiling portion of the lawsuit according to the 2000 census, RI contained a population of 1.05m people, of which 91k were Hispanic/Latino. Since illegals typically don’t answer the doors for census takers, what are the chances that these van passengers were one of the 8.7% of the state residents who are are both Hispanic and legal residents? I’d say pretty damn good, and if they had been legal would this lawsuit be valid, of course it would since the passengers would not have committed any offense worthy of showing an ID Card / Driver’s license as they were just riding in the back of a van. If the passengers in the van had all been Russian or Czech or Canadian the police officer wouldn’t have even bothered asking.

  97. Yes, but what about the lego people? Will they take up arms in order to seize the means of production?

    (Ok, I admit that was a stretch, but I thought the link was cute.)

  98. Sam McManus | February 28, 2007, 4:33pm | #
    I hope not, I was having fun.

    By the by, Harrison Bergeron was the story that started me down the path to libertarianism. Great story, and if i’m not mistaken, freely available on the internet.

    Funny enough, mine too. Read it when I was in 6th grade and could never shake the imagery. Here is a link to the story for those who have not read it.

  99. Yeah…me too, though I’m actually an independent with libertarian leanings as I have niether joined the LP nor to I completely agree with some positions.

    But I’m close enough for rock & roll to not piss off anyone other than the hardcores. And I owe at least some of my evolution to that story.

  100. “Both are likely to produce unjust outcomes. Is it just to allow a firefighter to starve because he’s in a coma and not producing?”

    Joe, I suppose that depends on whether or not you agree with the Republicans trying to amen the law to keep him/her “alive.”

  101. amen = amend

  102. James, I’ve read lot’s of Vonnegut but I’ve never read “Sirens of Titan.” Based on your post, I’ll be checking that out.

  103. I suppose that depends on whether or not you agree with the Republicans trying to amen the law to keep him/her “alive.”

    I suppose this would be a good time to point out the basic differences between being in a coma and being brain dead.

  104. Actually, I went to public school from grades 1 – 12. I’m about the last person you need to preach to about outside learning. I still acknowledge the value of the education I received. I also learned a lot of useful things that I likely would not have sought out (you don’t know what you don’t know).

    My assumptions regarding education are far less speculative than the ones you make of my friend. There are many other possibilities (such as value of remaining for an extra year, pension qualification, etc. and private schools generally do have at will employment and do not have teachers’ unions).

    And believing one deserves more when asked by someone who was thinking to join hardly makes them a whiney slacker. If you go to Iraq, you’ll find many a soldier complain about the pay and the food, that hardly makes them whiny slackers.

  105. Two final comments on this thread:

    First, I don’t think that “equality” in the human sense is synonymous with “sameness”. People can be different and yet still be equal in the sense that one is not able to rule over the other.

    Second, I don’t see why libertarians are so much against equality – isn’t inequality the biggest threat to individual liberty? If another person or group is more powerful than you are, they can (and history shows often will) use that power to force you into some degree of enslavement.

  106. “If another person or group is more powerful than you are, they can (and history shows often will) use that power to force you into some degree of enslavement.”

    Often times under the banner of creating equality for all.

  107. madpad,

    “I suppose this would be a good time to point out the basic differences between being in a coma and being brain dead.”

    I know you want to believe, but mediageek’s eyes aren’t actually following your movements.

    “…the Republicans trying to amen the law…”

    Best. Typo. Ever.

  108. I remember way back in the first Clinton Administration, must have been in the mid-early 90’s how a story came out about how Chelsea Clinton had to write a paper about how she hated herself for being white or something. This was at the Sidwell Friends School, I believe it was called. Boy Rush Limbaugh had some fun with that one. Course he’s just a right-wing hack, not like the independent, non-corporate-sponsored journalists at Tech Central Station.

  109. “Often times under the banner of creating equality for all.”

    But far more commonly under the banner of enforcing and expanding their own privilege.

  110. Second, I don’t see why libertarians are so much against equality

    Dan T, there is a dramatic difference between equal-rights/equal-opportunity vs “equality”. Which of course the story about Harrison Bergeron was trying to point out.

  111. Is it just to allow a firefighter to starve because he’s in a coma and not producing?

    You know i have to say i am having a hard time distinguishing between the republican congress of yesteryears (a la Terry Shivo) and comments being made by Joe.

  112. Repeat after me . .

    equal opportunity is NOT a guarentee of equal outcome

  113. But in this example, the teachers are merely exposing the kids to ideas that are very unpopular in our society and thus are unlikely to be presented most anywhere else. That’s how you develop critical thinkers, not by sheltering them and only teaching that ideas that you personally adhere to are the only ones worth considering.

    Uh, they’re playing with Legos. Maybe they should learn to read before they crack open Das Kapital. I’m sure there’s plenty of time in third grade to get to Foucault.

  114. “Four legos good, two legos bad.”

    And Timothy wins the thread…

  115. Dan T, there is a dramatic difference between equal-rights/equal-opportunity vs “equality”. Which of course the story about Harrison Bergeron was trying to point out.

    I agree, I’m just pointing out that inequality of outcome leads to the supression of individual liberty, unless you trust that your superiors will leave you be.

    That might be the libertarian catch-22: on one hand, you need government to not be very powerful so it isn’t able to enslave you; on the other hand it must be powerful enough to keep others from enslaving you.

  116. I hate to quote such a long comment, but

    What a bunch of weaklings! Selling out yourself is one thing, but selling out your children, too? Fear-filled loathing amounting to nothing but scared little people afraid of losing their grip on priveledge, prestige, and preferential class-bias. What we really need to be criticizing is the inability to see that when children attend US public schools, they usually teach that as long as you do what you are told, stay in line and parrot the capitalist party line, and strive to accumulate more “stuff” by being a patsy to the establishment, then you will be in a position to look down your sheep nose and scorn anyone who can still find contentment in life on a leveled playing field. Keep on goose-steppin’ in the suburbs, don’t bother appreciating the merits of actually having a spine. Clutch tightly to your possessions and money, ’cause that’s all you are/ever will be. C’mon let’s hear some lies: ” I did everything I ever dreamed of as a kid, and never once compromised my inner feelings to be part of society’s limited scope of opportunity and “success”. ”

    Does anybody here speak “rant”? Please translate into coherent English.

  117. The picture on TCS Daily reminds me of a lego version of the poster of Soylent Green.

  118. Libertarians believe in equality of rights…moral equality.
    As opposed to the leftist belief in equality of outcome.

  119. That might be the libertarian catch-22: on one hand, you need government to not be very powerful so it isn’t able to enslave you; on the other hand it must be powerful enough to keep others from enslaving you.

    No Dan, that’s not the catch-22; that’s the actual desired outcome. Except for our anarchist cousins, most liberatarians strive for the smallest government necessary to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.

  120. that is fucking scary.

  121. Good ideas make people rich.

    Bad ideas make people poor.

  122. You need more than ideas…

  123. Actualy there is no such thing as a “right” to an equal opportunity any more than there is a “right” to an equal outcome.

    That would be an affirmative right and there is no such thing as an affirmative right as those create affirmative obligations on other people.

    The only right you have is the right to be left alone by the government unless you have actively done something to harm someone else and are being held accountable for that via due process of law.

  124. “But far more commonly under the banner of enforcing and expanding their own privilege.”

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    -C.S. Lewis

  125. Here is the solution to the catch-22, Dan. In order to enslave, one needs the power of the state. Therefore, limiting state power limits the power to enslave.

    That is not to suggest that people lacking the power of the state can’t make your life miserable; they can. But that’s still a lesser threat than the power governments hold.

    Also remember that only a government can impose the sort of equality these teachers apparently favor.

  126. joshua corning,

    “You know i have to say i am having a hard time distinguishing between the republican congress of yesteryears (a la Terry Shivo) and comments being made by Joe.” I don’t know if you’re actually dim enough to need that one explained to you, or if you’re just being unpleasant. Seriously, I’m curious – do you think you have a point here?

    uncle sam,

    “Libertarians believe in equality of rights…moral equality.” Well, sort of. They believe in equality of legal rights. When in comes to rights afforded to people through private structures of power, they are quite vehement in their defense of inequality.

    Gilbert sums it up quite nicely – some people are going have much greater opportunity than others, and as long as the inequality doesn’t flow from the government, that’s just fine.

  127. Number 6,

    “n order to enslave, one needs the power of the state. Therefore, limiting state power limits the power to enslave.”

    State power won’t stay limited in an unequal society. There will come some reason for the more powerful group to wield it for their own interests, and if there is too much of a power imbalance, the less powerful will be unable to stop the state from being expanded right down their throats.

    When the Dungeon Master gives me a +3 Ring of State Power Restraining, I’ll trust that the most powerful in society will be unable to expand a weak state for their own purposes. Until then, inequality is going to mean the cops kicking in the doors of the less-than-equal. If you want there to be a meaningful chance for the less powerful to avoid being preyed upon, you need to make them more powerful.

  128. You need more than ideas…
    ====================================

    “I’m going to have to work hard if I intend to survive” is an idea.

  129. If you don’t see what’s weird about the teachers’ behavior, then put the shoe on the other foot. Suppose some students were doing some sort of game which involved fairness and sharing and giving more to those in need, and then some misguided Randian teacher forced them to stop playing that game, and changed it so that it fit Randian ideology.

    Wouldn’t you think that teacher was way too far into his or her ideology? Like, alarmingly so?

  130. “You know i have to say i am having a hard time distinguishing between the republican congress of yesteryears (a la Terry Shivo) and comments being made by Joe.” I don’t know if you’re actually dim enough to need that one explained to you, or if you’re just being unpleasant. Seriously, I’m curious – do you think you have a point here?

    I think it would be the obvious one of: you have the same knee jerk sensibilities of controlling people’s lives as the worst examples of republican’s trying to control peoples lives…pretty obvious joe…everyone else got it.

  131. Your first example is a lawsuit by the ACLU to prevent legislation from determining the admissions requirements of a University. Whether or not you feel that race or gender is a valid metric for University admission I think I would rather the University make that decision than the legislature of the state. Wouldn’t you? –

    kwix, if the legislation in question was being imposed on Hillsdale College or Detroit Mercy, I’d agree with you. The University of Michigan is a state university. Those who think we ought to have such beasts are always going on about how “The People” own them. Well, the people of Michigan passed this law by initiative. They voted on how their collective property should be organized. Are you seriously suggesting that the bureaucrats who run a state institution, with massive tax subsidies, ought to be able to set its rules in direct defiance of the legally expressed will of its owners?

    I think Michiganders would have been better off privatizing their public universities, myself. Then Ann Arbor and E. Lansing could continue their privately-funded affirmative action programs.

    As for those “progressive” teachers, haven’t they ever listened to Malvina Reynolds’ Little Boxes? I thought that was pinko folk song canon.

    Kevin

  132. “When in comes to rights afforded to people through private structures of power, they are quite vehement in their defense of inequality…some people are going have much greater opportunity than others, and as long as the inequality doesn’t flow from the government, that’s just fine.”

    That’s their political view. But there’s more to life than politics. That’s the main point of libertarianism–making fewer aspects of life politically controlled. It’s no contradiction, for example, to be pro-choice and anti-abortion. Nor, in fact, does supporting the right of private parties to treat people unequally preclude pressuring, by other means, private parties to treat people equally. Therefore, any given libertarian may not be “just fine” with private unequal treatment.

  133. joshua,

    “you have the same knee jerk sensibilities of controlling people’s lives as the worst examples of republican’s trying to control peoples lives”

    Yes, I can see how wanting to provide medical care in that case demonstrates a desire to control people’s lives.

    Oh, wait, no I don’t. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

  134. For once I actually kind of agree with joe. Maybe I fall at a different point along the equality/freedom spectrum than most libertarians. It is true, as he says, that in an unequal society those with more tend to end up with the reins of power. But how do you combat that? Trying to make everyone equal would involve creating a gross power disparity in the first place…

  135. If the teachers really wanted to make it like the USSR, they would have taken 75% of the legos to build weapons to conquer other classrooms while all the children got drunk and a few stole the rest of the legos and sold them on the black market.

  136. Here is the solution to the catch-22, Dan. In order to enslave, one needs the power of the state. Therefore, limiting state power limits the power to enslave.

    Actually, you don’t need the power of the state to enslave, you just need more power than the person whom you plan on enslaving.

    But the reason I can’t go and take my next door neighbor by force to be my slave is because the state will stop me.

    If the state was less powerful than I was, then they couldn’t stop me – and in effect I become “the state”.

    What this all means is that libertarianism is a nice ideal, but impossible in reality. Unless you can somehow trust that whomever has the most power won’t use it to curtail the liberty of others. But libertarians distrust the state, who is the most powerful entity.

    So it really is a Catch-22

  137. Is it just to allow a firefighter to starve because he’s in a coma and not producing?

    Wait. Is joe saying that somewhere there’s some slacker fireman out there getting paid to coma-it-up on our dime? Fuckin’ socialism.

  138. That might be the libertarian catch-22

    Not really a Catch 22. Like all interesting real-life problems, building a society that provides all the good stuff like freedom, fairness, prosperity, etc, requires hard work, courage, inventiveness, tolerance, etc.

    Extremists of all stripes (libertarians, socialists, religious fanatics, whatever) want to shortcut all that with a tidy set of absolute rules they can follow.

  139. When in comes to rights afforded to people through private structures of power, they are quite vehement in their defense of inequality.

    Rights aren’t afforded to people through any structure of power. Rights are inherent in individuals based upon their nature as human beings. I think you are confusing the power to do something with the right to do something.

    Those who wish to address inequalities among humans through state power must necessarily ignore the political problem, which, in the end, destroys inequality AND everything of value.

  140. What this all means is that libertarianism is a nice ideal, but impossible in reality.

    That’s not a Catch 22. You’r just describing the difference between ideals and real life. A society that is very libertarian, but not perfectly libertarian, is something we could actually have, in the real world.

  141. What this all means is that libertarianism is a nice ideal, but impossible in reality.

    The ideals of democracy, or even a republic, are equally elusive.

    The political problem makes sure of that.

  142. “Accidentally demolished”, ya right.

  143. What struck me about this story was the lesson in NOT being creative. Don’t envision your own buildings kids and make them real; creativity matters not, sameness is the ideal. I pulled my kids of a Montessori program because there was way too much of this sort of crap.

  144. >Sam McManus | February 28, 2007, 4:33pm | #
    >I hope not, I was having fun.

    >By the by, Harrison Bergeron was the story that started me down the path to libertarianism.
    >Great story, and if i’m not mistaken, freely available on the internet.

    I read it once, and once was enough – almost too much. Scary, nightmare story.

  145. Wow…100+ comments and no one’s pointed out that Hilltop is primarily a pre-school. These are 2.5 to 5 year old children being indoctrinated into communism. They’re too young for this to be “critical thinking” or “exposure to unpopular ideas.” I suppose they might have been in the 5-10 year old before- or after-school programs, but that seems unlikely if the teachers are plotting out months of curricula (and the kids still wouldn’t be an appropriate age to think through property rights issues.)

    It’s even more hypocritical when you look into Hilltop’s organization–see my post at Hawken Blog

  146. VM | February 28, 2007, 2:42pm | #

    “Stevo Darkly | February 28, 2007, 2:32pm | #
    Good God! Each of these idiot teachers should be tied up and slowly lowered into a pit of ravenous Objectivists.”

    Are they hot?

    The teachers? Yes. Yes, they are. The Objectivist are merely muscle-ridged, weather-tanned Ubermenschen with a hard look to them … but the teachers are very, very hot nubile idiots with full, soft, abundant commie curves. And as the supple, hot, hot teachers wriggle, squirm, struggle and gasp for breath as they are lowered into the pit, their sexy clothing tugs, stretches, strains, gaps and rides up in very interesting ways.

  147. “But in this example, the teachers are merely exposing the kids to ideas that are very unpopular in our society and thus are unlikely to be presented most anywhere else. That’s how you develop critical thinkers, not by sheltering them and only teaching that ideas that you personally adhere to are the only ones worth considering.”

    This reminds me of the shit I’m facing in sending my kids to “elite” private schools in NY. That comment was almost verbatim what I heard from one of my son’s teachers as his justification for why he was teaching a blatantly Marxist version of history. He said that he assumed that they were getting the “capitalist version” from their families. My jaw dropped.

    I said, “You mean families from Manhattan’s Upper West Side–a place where the most common bumper sticker reads ‘Impeach Bush?'”

    “Yeah,” he said, as if I somehow proved his point.

    As it turns out, my kids have a college professor for a dad. I wasn’t sure that teenage boys were subject to any sort of indoctrination by their parents, but mine somehow picked up economic logic. Here was, I swear to god, a conversation they had at the dinner table the other night.

    Younger brother: It seems criminal that our history department gets away with teaching this communist bullshit. It’s like they’re ripping us off.

    Older brother: I’m not worried about it.

    YB: Why not. I know you don’t believe any of it.

    OB: Of course not. I just figure it gives us a competitive advantage.

    YB: You mean because our peers minds are being poisoned?

    OB: Yeah.

    YB: And you’re figuring that these are the kids we’ll be competing with when we’re older.

    OB: Competing with them? I expect to be hiring them before they even figure out what competition is.

    YB: Except the one’s that inherit daddy’s business. (Note: my kids are among the non-chauffered set who have little chance of inheriting anything more than used furniture.)

    OB: As long as they can keep them. Those who can’t compete, I’ll eventually own them, too.

    YB: Except that the losers will outnumber you. What if they just vote away your gains to themselves, their friends, and the people who vote for them?

    OB: I guess I’ll have to get rich enough to buy them off, too.

    YB: That sounds pretty…mafia.

    OB: Well, if it gets bad enough, that’s what our other passports are for.

    I’m thinking of sending that dialogue to my kid’s history teacher and saying, “Damn it, you were so right.”

  148. this is yet another stupid thread.

  149. What struck me about this story was the lesson in NOT being creative. Don’t envision your own buildings kids and make them real; creativity matters not, sameness is the ideal. I pulled my kids of a Montessori program because there was way too much of this sort of crap.

    I thought this was the best comment on the thread. I used to love to play with Legos when I was a kid, and creativity and creating new designs was such a big part of that experience. I’m actually a little saddened to see such a wonderful toy perverted into a tool of social engineering like this.

  150. A price of collectivist thinking is the relegation of individual humans to the means of policy ends.

    Thus humans in other countries are made into “enemies” and fellow citizens must be interfered with to prevent them from engaging in voluntary exchange with other humans.

    Thus we see the whole purpose of political government is to manipulate and constrain the market (the behavior of individuals) so that some may be benefitted at the expense of others and peaceful behaviors must be restricted or prohibited.

    There is no moral justification for such interference, as no one owns the market or any portion thereof outside of each individuals own participation.

  151. STEVO!

    What happens if the Objectivists and Teachers breed?

    Do you get Donna Rice?

    (or Ed Koch?)

  152. h-dawg, that’s one of the funniest, most hopeful things I’ve read in awhile. Congrats.

  153. h-dawg, that was a very uplifting story. I’m proud of your parenting that your older son has caught on to the facts that A) life isn’t fair, B) no one, not even a “benevolent” government, should try to make it fair, and C) that means we have to work that much harder and make that many more better decisions to get what we want out of life. Awesome stuff!

    Dan-T is going to get sand in his vagina when he reads your post. It’s going to take the People’s Douche to set him straight again.

    (Sorry, Lamar, I had to use it on someone who was equally as vaginal as you are.)

  154. Loundry:

    I had two surprises when I woke this morning. There was a pearl in my vagina. That’s both surprises.

  155. Note to Self: Decline any dinner invitation from Lamar involving oysters…

  156. I had two surprises when I woke this morning.

    You wrote “surprise” but you actually meant “specific surprise”, right?

  157. Make no mistake: the only sure-fire way to make life fair and make everyone equal is to kill every single person on the planet. In death, everyone is equal and has the exact same opportunity. All other solutions are imperfect in comparsion to this Final Solution.

    This is why I oppose “progressivism” in all of its heinous, hydra-like forms: its vague and always-frightening committment to “fairness” and “equality”.

  158. So it really is a Catch-22

    Not really. Example…

    I’m your neighbor in question.

    You try to enslave me.

    I get my Very Large Gun and blow your head clean off, assuming that the threat of said violence isn’t enough to make you stop.

    No problem any more and no ‘more powerful’ state needed.

  159. Though I didn’t read every post, I don’t think anyone’s addressed the root of the problem here — the problem situation for the kids, that is. It’s the problem of the commons. The legos are owned by the school, not the kids, and there are a limited number of them, causing the play to be inherently problematic. The rhetoric and message of the teachers aside, it is, certainly, a opportune time to teach the kids something about property and its relationship to society. Given the nature of the problem (with the seeming impossibility of ‘privatizing’ the legos) a socialist approach makes sense.

    So, how would any of you approach this problem if you were the teacher? How would you divide up the limited legos, get the kids to play together fairly, promote the construction of a Legoland and avoid the natural impulse in this situation to destroy (and cannabilize) other’s buildings?

  160. A key sentence in the article.

    “The teachers then explored with the students concepts of fairness, equity, power, and other issues over a period of several months.”

    Seems like you are working with a very incomplete picture of what occurred in this classroom from this clealry slanted article.

    It is like a Stossel story. Full of broad strokes lacking the content to even mount a reasonable counter argument. You just can’t argue against fluff.

  161. Loundry:

    I didn’t say “specific surprise” because I was, in fact, specific.

    This is a fabulous place to look at the idea that some communication is broad and some very specific. Where these teachers selling socialism to the kids, or using a quick mock-up to teach them about scarce resources and sharing? The teachers said that all structures would be public structures. Does that mean that you and I can go visit their little play world?

  162. Some of you need to pay closer atention. these teacher arent’ just exposing the kids to other ideas. The agenda is revealed in this”

    The children were allegedly incorporating into Legotown “their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys.” These assumptions “mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.

  163. That’s it folks. uncle sam bolded all the stuff you need to know. The teachers are commies and they are teaching our children to do away with their capitalist oppressors.

    You’ll have to pardon me, but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard complete idiots say that lessons in sharing are actually lessons in communism. The problem isn’t only that it is an absurd theory. The problem is that it isn’t even a new meme.

    Oh wait, now that I read the article, and see what people put in bold or italics, I see the light. Nevermind my years in the classroom. Uncle Sam cleared it all up by proving that the teachers think our system is oppressive and unjust. Well, you know what Uncle Sam? So do I. And if you don’t think our system is unjust, then you should never again in your life say “tough shit, life ain’t fair”, because you apparently think it is.

    I have never advocated for communism, and yet I still believe that our system can be very oppressive and life isn’t fair. So please, drone on. Advertising is very expensive, yet y’all are advertising your ignorance for free.

  164. Uncle Sam cleared it all up by proving that the teachers think our system is oppressive and unjust.

    I believe that aspects of our system our oppressive and unjust as well, you presumptive mrn. It’s just that I think those aspects are the political aspects rather than the market aspects.

    The point is that the teachers aren’t teaching or exampling critical thinking, or even merely exposing the children to different ideas (as one post stated), but indoctrinating the children to believe a certain way, based on the erroneous Marxist analysis of U.S. society, that is, that government subsidies, favoritism to, and protections of, business represents capitalism rather than mercantilism.

  165. Or to put it another way, life in the U.S. may be unfair and oppressive in ways to many people, but life in Cuba or North Korea, where there is no private property (as per the tachings of these educators), is much more so for almost everyone who must endure them.

  166. “The point is that the teachers aren’t teaching or exampling critical thinking.”

    Legos are generally used to enhance motor skills, not critical thinking skills. These are very young kids, but you are projecting onto them your grown up ideas about communism. And if there were no critical thinking involved, why did one child stand up to the teacher and say “If I bought it, I own it”?

    Funny, but our government does subsidize industries, it does play favorites (Halliburton, Bechtel – I’m sure Clinton played favorites as well), and protects certain businesses (S&L bailout).

    We’ll certainly agree that, as bad as we can make our system out to be, it is one of the best in the world (if not the best).

  167. These are very young kids, but you are projecting onto them your grown up ideas about communism.

    I’m not projecting anything onto the kids. I’m referring to the teachers. The statements attributed to the teachers indicate a Marxist perspective.

    The teachers decided its destruction was an opportunity to explore “the inequities of private ownership.

    I think that speaks for itsself.

  168. (1) So now it isn’t communism? It’s merely a Marxist perspective? Exploring the very well documented inequities of private property makes them in favor of Marxism? Like I said, that’s a giant stretch. When you’re teaching kids….ah never mind.

    (2) Inequities of private ownership speaks for itself? Is that because it exists?

    I think y’all are just way too sensitive about this story. Like I said, it isn’t new, it’s old as dirt. Everytime a newspaper brings it up, cranks get all bent out of shape, but then when anybody looks into “doing something about it”, they conclude that there’s nothing to the story.

  169. And here it is, the last time I had to deal with the idea that teaching kids to share is communism. Inequities in private property indisputably exist, and discussing them isn’t the worse thing in the world. There’s always homeschool.

  170. I never said anything about communism. My point is about indoctrination of children. The statements indicate the type of indoctrination.
    I also am bothered about religious indoctrination, of any kind, of children.

    What is inherently inequitous about private property? There are inequities in any aspect of life. The premise of Marxism is that private property is INHERENTLY inequitous.

    We do homeschool.

  171. Exploring the very well documented inequities of private property makes them in favor of Marxism?

    Yes.

    the very well documented inequities of private property

    Such a supposition is a matter of interpretation. An interpretation common among economic collectivists. Without regard to circumstance.

    Many well off (rich) people rent in certain areas because rent control makes it cheaper than buying property. Who’s exploiting who?

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