Education

Who Owns You

The kids have been coming home from elementary school talking about politics, mostly about how awful Donald Trump is. Apparently kids are picking this up from parents and taking the thoughts to school. We’ve had some discussions as a result, mostly involving them and their mother, but it has made me think more about how to introduce them to political philosphy. I’ve been disturbed to see young relatives turn out to be commies/fascists, or at least muddled and confused, when I might have expected them to learn better. The trouble is, that is what is taught at school, and especially at college.

This is not new knowledge or a new conclusion for me, but what it comes down to, and where I’d start with an explanation, is that all politics and related philosophy comes down to the question of who owns you. Who owns your life?

That makes everything one might agree to as an aspect of giving up rights to their life a matter of degree and kind, but to believe that any should be given up puts you on one side, and believing you own yourself and in not giving it up puts you on the other. The rest is shades of greater or lesser evil, at its lightest not apparently evil in the least.

This is a good way to explain property, since it’s an extension of yourself. It’s a good way to explain self-defense, since it’s inherent to being alive. It even gives a basis for explaining how governments arose and were assigned to do certain things for us as a group, and how that could easily lead to a government being “in charge, with force” rather than “charged with force.” Not helped by individuals not always being rational or acting in their own best interests. Not to mention there always being those who see their best interest in a place of power and disregard for the interests of others.

I believe it’s a bad idea to leave kids to pick up on things themselves, especially with those out there whose goal it is to instill wrong. Educational systems run by those who believe you don’t own yourself have been part of a long game to mold people to the desires of those who enjoy power. If you know better, you counteract that.

Yes Means Yes

When I started seeing “yes means yes” laws mentioned, it seemed funny to me. Why? Because my interpretation of a law of that name was “if someone says yes to sex, it means yes and you can’t go changing your mind later and accusing them of rape.” Because that would be false, whether you are a mattress dragging stunt hound or merely misguided.

Thus I was greatly surprised that it is affirmative consent. That is, absolutely unambiguous yes required each step of the way or it doesn’t count.

None of which changes the problem of his word versus hers, and his word doesn’t really count unless there is concrete evidence. So it really means you need to get consent on paper and/or tape, or to avoid the whole thing entirely, or to stick to partners who are rational humans.

Which would be the case without a law, these days. Especially on college campuses, where the Constitution need not apply.

Gloucester Girls

By now, you’ve probably heard about the 17 pregnancies at the high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where apparently a bunch of girls decided it would be cool to get pregnant together and raise their babies concurrently.

My thoughts are perhaps a bit different from some expressed out there. I do agree that it’s nuts to maintain an “if only they had easy access to birth control” refrain in the face of intent. Also, they clearly knew how pregnancy happens, so it’s not a problem of education.

It is, frankly, nuts to expect sexually mature beings not to want to exercise that imperative. Just because we lock away young people who might once have been productive, even married, at least learning how it is to be adults, as if they are icky, that doesn’t make them any less old than people the same age would have been 5000 years ago.

Since birth control exists, it’s stupid to make any effort to keep it from them, tell them they shouldn’t use it, and so forth. So far, so good.

The desire to become pregnant is a powerful thing. It makes any desire to have sex even more powerful, but might strip away selectivity. Why not a 24 year old homeless guy? Sperm without the attachment, and who could blame the dude? Just because there’s an arbitrary norm turned law that says a 24 year old shalt not fuck a 16 year old no matter how persuasive, willing, and equipped for the task, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen or they’re not going to consider him a better option than high school boys. That part simply doesn’t bother me.

What bothers me is that the girls had no clear idea of the reality of what they were getting into. Yes, people should help each other when it comes to the raising of and providing for children, as necessary. There’s some question as to whether the support should be so strong and obvious as to encourage profligate parentage in the face of alternatives.

The same locking away of youth who were once members of adult society has too often gone hand in hand with insulating young people from knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be responsible, to function as an adult. It’s as if earning of money and raising of children happens by magic. We shouldn’t deliver kids to their 18th birthday and then expect they have a grasp on how to make and handle money, how it might change their lives to have kids at the wrong time, and so forth.

That is basically what happened to me. The monetary lessons I picked up were unintended and not necessarily good, but mostly it was all opaque.

As far as sex, I was obsessed by it from my earliest memories, even if I didn’t know what exactly I was obsessed with, apart from girls and the fact they were different. I had two deterrents. One was an overwhelming sense of guilt and secrecy instilled by family, and we weren’t even Baptists. Another was being stricken by shyness and being convinced, not without help, that no girl could possibly be interested in me, or in sex, no matter how much evidence existed to the contrary.

I’d have been a good donor for the Gloucester Girls, in my day, as I am obviously as fertile as it gets. I was joking about how well my kids turned out and being a donor with friends of mine recently, when one of them, getting divorced, talked about wanting more kids.

It’s probably a Really Good Thing that I got scared and depressed and obtused out of sex as a teen, because otherwise I’d easily have grandchildren by now. But then, I was born when my grandmother was 45, around the middle of the slew of grandkids she would acquire.

I just wish the dissuading had been done another way. Like not letting me learn about money and economics and stuff entirely on my own, and not making it look like kids just sort of raise themselves. There was the example of my brother, and that did have an impact, but even so.

This probably didn’t come out as coherent as I’d like, or clearly make the point that seems so obvious in my mind. I fully expect my kids to do as they will when they are teenagers, but I fully expect them to know the risks and responsibilities and let that guide them into taking it more slowly and cautiously than might be in an informational and parental vacuum.

We Don’t No Same Old Edumacation

CEH Wiedel discusses this Arnold Kling article as it applies to her own family and concerns about education and IQ.

I have long and increasingly been of the opinion that things have to change. There are multiple problems or angles.

First, not everything suits the “box” of a traditional college education, and worse, a bachelors degree has become the new high school diploma. Which is a whole other issue – the need to, you know, teach things (and reasoning, though I think in many if not all people the ability exists and it’s the job of the education establishment to break it) in the earlier years of education. Nor does everyone fit the mold of the more purely academic.

Second, government encouragement of higher education has led to a runup in prices beyond all reason, at least as much as government encouragement of home ownership and free lending for same, and at other levels, things like zoning regulations, pushed along the housing market bubble. Something has to give.

Third, and related to the first, some things move too fast, are too specialized, are too modest in scope, or would be better of freed from keeping the educational establishment in power, and increasingly lend themselves to new methods of delivery. The trick will be in the marketing and wide recognition of the worth of alternatives, from remote learning with internet college course delivery on down to whatever else arises.

Fourth, was there a fourth? I forget. This was supposed to be a quick link without a lot of comment, as part of my catching up project.