Volatility

November 11, 2011

Globalization, Home Schooling, and Democracy

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Even where it comes to something which sounds benevolent like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, under kleptocracy we can guess the way it’ll really be used. Of course there’s some good things about it, such as bans on child trafficking, which are good where enforced. (Although even those are conceived in a way which avoids dealing with the real cause of things like the sex trade. It’s always the same corporate exploitation which drives people into that kind of desperate poverty.) But that’s not the real purpose of a treaty like this. That’s why I chose to write a post focusing on the malign uses to which even the most seemingly benevolent aspects of corporatism and globalization will inevitably be put. 
 
The basic rule for everything is to relocalize. So even if one granted, just for the sake of argument, good intentions on the part of the drafters and signors, an international treaty is in principle the wrong direction.
 
But we know never to grant these good intentions. In practice all international law is intended to serve the ends of corporate globalization and statism. It will be applied for this purpose, and ignored where it would counteract this purpose.
 
In this case it seems this Convention, since it insists on family rights, ought to support home schooling against corporate-school coercion. But in fact provisions of it are already being invoked by the state against home schoolers in England, Belgium, and elsewhere. Just like with every other aspect of globalization, this “treaty”, really a corporatist contract of adhesion, is a weapon of corporate war on the people. 
 
The basic rule: Never trust such things and never agree that they have authority over the people. My basic rule for all constitutions and treaties and so on is that they’re strictly binding on power structures, loosely or not at all binding on the people. If a national government chooses to dissolve its nominal authority in favor of an international code, then that government has simply abdicated, and we should deal with it as an illegitimate structure. But this does not mean the code has any authority over us. How can an abdicating structure bestow legitimacy upon another? When such a vestigial “government” then wants to use force on behalf of this alien code, that’s nothing but thug tyranny. 
 
As of 2009 this treaty had been ratified by every country except the US and Somalia. It’s not a surprise that Europe is more enthusiastic than the US. As I’ve discussed before, although for the moment I forget in which post, by now corporatism in the US has relegated globalization to a secondary role, in favor of directly using the US government as the preferred thug. This is because “pure” globalization has generated what from the corporate point of view is gratuitous opposition in the US. But the US as an administrative entity is centralized and homogenized enough that it wasn’t really necessary to dissolve US government pseudo-sovereignty in order to impose corporate rule. The government was already powerful and entrenched enough, while the system interpretation of the Constitution already seeks to dissolve all other levels of federalism.
 
But globalization has been more important for the Europeans, who needed to undermine the existing menagerie of polities, cultures, sovereignties, in order to achieve economic centralization. (Of course, they were only ever to partially achieve this. They achieved a monetary union but were had to stick with the dreaded “patchwork quilt” of fiscal policies still in the hands of rump countries. They’re been trying to dissolve fiscal policy independence by force, via “austerity”. But the euro and the EU itself are doomed, and good riddance.) 
 
So we know the context in which to place all internationalism, including even the best-sounding. Something like the Convention sounds good on paper, but no one ever intends to enforce it against economic coercion. Just like with everything else, no one assaults children more systematically and viciously than corporations, yet the few attempts to invoke treaties like this against globalization assaults have been laughed at and ignored. Nor was such a treaty ever intended to be used in such a way. Like with everything else, it’s meant to be used by the global power structure as a weapon against “rogue” countries, but to not exist in any meaningful way where it comes to members of the fraternity or their hired thugs.
 
That’s the common nature of all these things – freedom, government, law, rights, property, constitutions, democracy, public morality – they’re all intended to be used only as weapons on behalf of power. No one among the powerful considers any of these to have any meaning or value in itself. You invoke and apply them where convenient, distort or ignore them where convenient. It’s heads-I-win-tails-you-lose. The FDA’s peculiar notions of “science” and “precautions” are good examples of this double standard.
 
Just as we see with US “food safety” policy, which has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with empowering corporations and assaulting independent farmers, so the Convention on the Rights of the Child does nothing to protect children against their great corporate enemy, but will on the contrary assault them on behalf of those same corporations.
 
By contrast, home schooling and true community schooling are what are what true democracy advocates want. Anarchism means simply to oppose large, alien structures and to restore all power to the people at the natural, relocalized level on a true democratic basis. Although many have an aversion to the term, even many who ought to be friendly toward it, it’s really synonymous with democracy, meaning true participatory democracy, self-rule by natural communities.

33 Comments

  1. Seeing Like A State is reinforcing my view that relocalisation must be undergirded by a conscious program of decreasing state legibility of communities. I believe activities like home schooling, which are direct threats to the power of the corporate state, will be assaulted in proportion to their prevalence, as long as the state retains the coercive power to do so. This power will be much less effective if widespread dissimulation and non-compliance obscure the state’s panoptic vision. Non-registration of children with the state for any purpose, or, failing that, the use of meaningless or non-permanent names (ie state designators) will go some way toward achieving this. Provision of meaningful employment in relocalised communities that is not cash-compensated and therefore does not require participation in registration systems (social security etc) will allow this state of affairs to become self-perpetuating.

    Incidentally, I believe the British case has been resolved favourably, with the worst of the provisions (home visits by state gestapo to interrogate one’s children alone) completely anulled. I would guess that to the extent the state wishes to exert control over homeschoolers, they’re going to have to do so with measures that aren’t so overtly totalitarian..

    Comment by paper mac — November 11, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    • I’ve often thought along those lines as well. Unfortunately, the even the benefits of integration with state systems (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) look to become more and more attenuated until nothing’s left. It may be better to take the plunge and go off the grid as far as the system itself. There’s less and less left to lose anyway.

      It’s just like the argument I’m trying to develop as far as people’s loyalty to things like money, property, etc. – we’re losing these things anyway, and continued loyalty to them only serves the 1%.

      I’m glad to hear the British case has improved.

      Provision of meaningful employment in relocalised communities that is not cash-compensated and therefore does not require participation in registration systems (social security etc) will allow this state of affairs to become self-perpetuating.

      This is important to figure out. In my more speculative thoughts about what time banking might be able to do, I picture it helping to build these kinds of communities.

      I’ve only flipped through Seeing Like A State so far, but it looks good. (I just went and looked up “education” in the index.) I haven’t scheduled reading it yet.

      Comment by Russ — November 11, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

      • I don’t think there’s too much about education in there, unfortunately, but the analysis is applicable. The compulsory state education system we have today in North America is not substantially different from the Prussian one imported by Horace Mann et al. Unsurprisingly, it serves most of the same functions (elite reproduction, generation of servile workers, soldiers, consumer, propagation of standardised state language, patterns of thought, approved ideology, etc)

        Comment by paper mac — November 11, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

      • No wonder Nietzsche’s rant on the German schools in Twilight of the Idols seems so topical.

        Comment by Russ — November 11, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  2. I have observed the generation of Europeans who had some contact with WW2, and feel confident in saying that in many people’s minds, the EU STILL IS SYNONYMOUS with the desire that another world war in western Europe NOT TAKE PLACE.
    The major international, globalized institutions derived their legitimacy from this desire.
    As the memory of the two twentieth century wars continues to dim, the legitimacy for the EU organized around THIS MAJOR REASON is declining seriously.
    I am not crazy about the International Covenant for the Rights of the Child.
    It has the major disadvantage of riveting children into the idealized (and idolized…) place that our civilization currently reserves for them.
    In my experience… ideals/idols ARE DEAD.
    Making our children into them… KILLS OUR CHILDREN, even if it’s with the best intentions.
    It also creates the potential for enormous ENVY AND FRACTURE between generations, as INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE can not live up to ideals/idols.
    The system is much larger than the corporations though.
    The strongest part of the system is STILL.. IN OUR HEADS, unbeknownst to us.
    An old, old story. In one of Bill Bryson’s older books, he recounts the story of a British diplomat friend complaining that the American border police stopped his eight year old daughter, asking her those.. UNBELIEVABLE QUESTIONS, along the lines of “are you a Communist”, or “do you intend to kill the President of the U.S. ?”….
    Those questions really blow my mind. And FROM OUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO AN EIGHT YEAR OLD ??
    No comment…

    Comment by Debra — November 11, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

    • At least they weren’t physical child molesters like the TSA pedophiles.

      I don’t know what to say about the crazy Europeans who think that without the EU they’d have no choice but to start butchering one another again. If so, at least that would be better than their continued aggression around the Global South. One predatory imperial superpower is bad enough. We don’t need a second acting in collaboration with it.

      Comment by Russ — November 12, 2011 @ 4:53 am

      • I have a hard time believing in.. “pedophilia”.
        I think that in over a hundred years time, the look back on “pedophilia” will be very… interesting, indeed…

        Comment by Debra — November 12, 2011 @ 6:40 am

  3. Relevant piece over at Automatic Earth today:

    http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/11/november-12-2011-bail-out-or-revitalize.html

    Scroll down to find an essay by Nathan Carey entitled: “The Revitalization of Rural Economies”

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — November 12, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    • Thanks Tao, that looks like a good piece. I’ll check it out.

      I get High Mowing’s catalog.

      Comment by Russ — November 12, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

    • And this: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/14/us/Changing-Face-of-the-Rural-Plains.html

      “Growth in the population of Hispanics in the Great Plains — especially in rural areas, where even small growth can have an outsize impact — is filling some of the void left by a declining white population. The Hispanic population in the seven Great Plains states shown below has increased 75 percent, while the overall population has increased just 7 percent.”

      Comment by Ross — November 15, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  4. The view of the EU as rescuing Europe from going after each other again sort of reminds me of the excuse used to persecute homeschoolers in Germany (the “parallel society” fear). Funny, they are using a Hitler-era law against homeschooling. Oh, and what exactly is a “parallel society”? I hope it’s something short and simple that will not cause my eyes to glaze over while it’s being explained.

    Is Debra trying to say that pedophilia doesn’t exist? Well, you’re right in a way; doesn’t the word “philia” imply love? Thus, pedo+philia=child love, or love of children. I don’t think that’s applicable to a person who views a kid as an object of sexual gratification (Excuse my graphic description-I hope you won’t kick me off, Russ)

    Debra, I hope I’m misunderstanding you. It sounds as though you think children are like adults regarding sexual matters.
    If you look at sex from a purely natural standpoint it’s all about reproduction, of which children are incapable.
    Yes, I know it’s also awesome with the person you love :), but that isn’t its main function; just as eating is a highly enjoyable experience,but most importantly is necessary for the survival of a living creature.
    I probably just didn’t understand your slightly enigmatic quote.:)

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 13, 2011 @ 12:17 am

    • When we look back on the witch hunting episodes of our history, most of us are incredibly condescending and positivist.
      Our society’s fear and outrage about pedophilia smacks a lot of our ancestor’s fear and outrage about witchcraft.
      We NOW have a very different way of looking at witchcraft (which is not necessarily.. TRUTH, by the way, whatever that could be…).
      100 years from now, or 200, it is highly probable that our descendants will have a very different point of view of pedophilia, and our.. OBSESSION with looking for it, and seeing it everywhere. This obsession creates some serious problems.
      One of the biggest problems with the pedophilia definition is that these days… almost EVERYBODY has become an OBJECT of sexual gratification, to the extent that we have all become OBJECTS in a civilization that deifies.. OBJECTIVATION. How to be a subject in such a society ?
      We have been infantilizing our children for too long. (Alexander the Great was leading his armies at 16…) They are NOT INNOCENT, even after birth, no more than we are. Worshipping their “innocence” is tantamount to putting them on a pedestal, and I think that NOBODY on a pedestal can be happy for a long period (and after all, maybe.. PUTTING A CHILD/CHILDREN on pedestals is about the most PERVERSE thing that we could do to them ?? Much worse than adult sex.)
      But then… WHY ARE WE CONSTANTLY OBSESSED with FINDING and assigning GUILT ? (the essence of a (perverted) religious culture).
      If we could just learn TO LIKE AND TO LOVE OURSELVES A LITTLE BETTER, a lot of this pedophilia stuff would peter out, AND OUR CHILDREN WOULD BE MUCH HAPPIER.

      Comment by Debra — November 13, 2011 @ 3:44 am

      • I probably shouldn’t respond right now because I’m in a hurry, but I’ll try not to write anything too bad.
        On the one hand, you sound a bit on the fundamentalist side when you say children are not innocent (I know you aren’t a fundamentalist really). You then proceed to attack the religious culture as perverted, so it’s a bit confusing.
        I’m not trying to say young people aren’t capable of amazing contributions to society. On the contrary, they have been terribly handicapped from doing so while paradoxically they have been introduced to sex at a ridiculously early age when they are physically incapable of reproduction, WHICH IS BASICALLY ITS PURPOSE. I don’t care how much fun you think it is, or the various things people indulge in-it is procreative in its basic form. My unprofessional opinion is that a good deal of this early and impersonal introduction is helping to perpetuate obsessive sexual behavior, much of it detached and self-centered . There are undoubtedly many other causes contributing to this problem, including a lack of familial love and involvement in children’s lives,etc.
        Protecting children from experiences for which they are not YET ready (but someday will be), is hardly putting them on pedestals. Children wouldn’t have parents if they
        were not intended as guides through immaturity and a shield from harm.
        I don’t care if 15-year-olds get married, have children, engage in work, adventure and the like. That’s behaving like an adult. If they’re physically and mentally developed, they’re old enough.
        I hope all this makes sense 🙂

        Comment by DualPersonality — November 13, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

      • @DualPersonality,

        Don’t take Debra too seriously. To her, words mean nothing, so she tends to imbue them with her own, unexplained (and bizarre) meaning and presents her ideas in the most challenging way possible.

        Some places might view her as a troll. I view her as a “shock commenter” (like a shock jock). I like having her around.

        Comment by Tao Jonesing — November 13, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

      • I agree that there should be distinctions made between adult and infantile sexuality, but…
        while, on the one hand, we seem to be obsessed about the possible threat of abuse from caretakers of all sorts, children have ready access to many forms of adult sexuality through publicity, television shows, the Web, whatever, under the guise of freedom of expression.
        So… are we REALLY serious about protecting our children, if they are constantly exposed in this way ?
        Labeling our children “innocent”, as I stated, enables US to identify with THEIR “innocence”. It allows us to go back and play… IN THAT BIG GARDEN which we got kicked out of, in that BIG BOOK which still has a tremendous influence on our civilization, even on those who would like to kill and bury it. (I have already touched on this subject elsewhere.) What would happen if… we decided that we DID NOT get kicked out of that big garden ? I like to dream about that one.
        I definitely feel that we have seriously underestimated the effect of constantly indocrinating EVERYONE (and not just children…) on the necessity of mistrusting your neighbor.
        Undermining trust is serious business. Your society cannot function without trust, and its center can not hold. (Certainly ITS MONEY AND CREDIT can’t hold…)
        To those people who think that I am just throwing words around, I should say that I carefully reread every post I stick down here, and spend a fair amount of time writing them, BECAUSE I KNOW THAT THE WORDS ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE, and that their fuzzy “meaning” will always be… fuzzy. Mea culpa, like so many EVERYWHERE, I perhaps do not devote enough time and concentration reading…

        Comment by Debra — November 15, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  5. A lot of the.. RANT here indulges in some very gratifying BINARY thinking, I fear. (Us vs them is BINARY THINKING, in my book.)
    Yesterday, I talked with one of my mommy friends.
    Her son and mine were good friends in school. My son… the head of the class (I take NO credit, because I never supervised his homework, the total extent of my intervention was to tell him at 10 that if he wanted to keep his head above water in French society, and NOT be smashed down constantly, he had better buckle down, and succeed in the school system, which he did. He did NOT work his little butt off, he got by, to the fury of his teachers, who would have liked him to SHINE in all of their subjects, but, enough), and HER SON, M., the bottom of the class…
    M. , the son of upper middle class parents who DID EVERYTHING to help him fit into the Procrustian school system, scrimped by until he got shuttled off into a “technical” program, at which he did ok, and where he was very happy.
    After much searching, he is now HIGHLY APPRECIATED in the business where he is training. He has his own office, he is even ABOVE other hired employees.
    HE IS NO FLUNKIE. HE IS NOT CANNONFODDER, and he definitely is no yeah saying idiot.
    (Y’all have some rather CONDESCENDING IDEAS ABOUT THE MASSES, THERE… and there is a lot of YEAH SAYING ON THIS BLOG, TOO.)
    He says… that a lot of the young people working under him ARE WAITING TO BE TOLD WHAT TO DO, rather than taking any initiatives, to try to find what they should/could be doing.
    This is, as I say again… VOLUNTARY SERVITUDE which has been inculcated (with the best intentions…) by a system that believes that institutional solutions to the human problems of education, health, care of the elderly, are THE ONLY SOLUTIONS that we have (and, obviously, the best…).
    My son… the one who is well advanced in medical school, and M. STILL SEE EACH OTHER, and appreciate each other, by the way.
    I ALWAYS encouraged M. in his search for HIS VALUE, what he could be outside of the formating of the public school system (worse here than in the U.S., by the way, maybe.).

    Comment by Debra — November 13, 2011 @ 4:00 am

  6. Thanks for the advice, Tao. Maybe if I start sniffing cleaning products or something her comments might make more sense to me:-)

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 14, 2011 @ 2:30 am

  7. That was a smiley-face 🙂

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 14, 2011 @ 2:31 am

  8. The Battles of Occupy Portland

    from the article: “For those who were there, November 13th will be a day long remembered in Portland, Oregon. Occupy Portland again proved why it remains the 2nd strongest Occupy movement in the U.S. when it mobilized against police eviction….”

    After the community festival drew only a couple hundred people, most activists — including myself — thought the camp was lost. At the last hour, seemingly out of nowhere, thousands of people came streaming into the streets. They came not because the organizers of Occupy Portland had reached out to them effectively in the preceding weeks, but because they understood the basic issues that the movement represented, that of working people versus the wealthy and corporations….”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/14/the-battles-of-occupy-portland/

    Comment by Frank Lavarre — November 14, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  9. Thanks, Tao. 😉

    Comment by Debra — November 15, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  10. At this point in time, I feel that the major danger and challenge facing our civilization is instrumentalism.
    That means that EVERYTHING has to be FOR something.
    “What’s it GOOD FOR ?” thinking.
    Why is this such a danger ? Because carried to the extremes to which the human animal carries things, it becomes.. “what am I good for ?”, or even worse “What is HE good for ?”, or “what are THEY good for ?”.
    Then we are just a hair’s breadth away from the unspeakable, I fear…

    Comment by Debra — November 15, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  11. comtedartagnan reblogged this on evilwestlinnian.

    Comment by comtedartagnan — November 16, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  12. Yay, I think I joined the “banned from NC” club. Whenever I post my comments are awaiting moderation, which didn’t used to be the case. It feels like I earned a merit badge, not that I view my driveby snarkasms as anything on the level of Russ or downsouth. They’re more like pellets of disgruntled rage.

    I was homeschooled from fourth grade on, but I don’t think it helped much in terms of independent thinking. I’d already been brainwashed for four years and by nature I’m the type to knuckle under to authority. Our curriculum was based on what the local school district taught, and so, in retrospect, I was spoonfed knowledge that I otherwise could have gobbled up much faster. I think homeschooling made the most difference in removing me from the hormone- and bully- saturated pressure cooker of American middle school. So I probably evaded a lot of the appearance based self-hatred that most girls endure. I say probably because, of course, I can’t really know.

    Academically speaking homeschool provided me by far the best education possible. We may have been using the state approved dumbed-down textbooks but I learned them chapter and verse. When the school district challenged the scores I achieved on their yearly standardized tests, my parents invited them to pay for a proctor. Which they did, and learned their lesson. Yes, one-on-one personalized instruction without distractions or obedience infractions really does make a difference. And my parents weren’t poster kids for homeschooling: Neither had college degrees or formal experience in education.

    As far as anti-homeschooling legislation, it appeals to fascists who can’t stand anyone doing anything outside the system, and it appeals to liberals who want to do what’s best for people against their will. Which for liberals includes radical religionists who teach their kids nonsense and myth instead of actually educating them. On the pro-homeschooling side are libertarians, a tiny fraction of anarchists, a few people interested in giving their kids a better education than the local school district can provide, and lots and lots of radical religionists who want to teach their kids stories about Noah and dinosaurs. So like a grasshopper height contest it’s a close fought thing. I’d say, though, that with fundamentalist Christians on their side the homeschoolers will be able to hold on longer than the local food movement. There’s a clear path for coopting locavores: Whole Foods and “farmers’ markets” that stock Chiquita bananas. You can’t really scheme and lie your way out of parents directly teaching their kids. I don’t even know how you’d coopt that, it’s practically binary.

    Comment by reslez — November 17, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

    • I’m glad your homeschooling experience was on the whole good. That seems to be the most common experience.

      it appeals to fascists who can’t stand anyone doing anything outside the system, and it appeals to liberals who want to do what’s best for people against their will.

      Redundant. 🙂

      Which for liberals includes radical religionists who teach their kids nonsense and myth instead of actually educating them.

      Sure, such mythmongers exist, but they’re as nothing compared to the liberal nonsense, myth, and Big Lie of “good government” taught in the schools. Just in the last few days I’ve seen multiple discussions on the issue of the government wanting to dismantle the post office (because the goal is to gut all government which serves neither corporate bagman nor thug roles). Each time otherwise intelligent people were confused: “Why do they want to do that?” They fundamentally misunderstand what the government is.

      Here’s a post on the same subject.

      http://charliedavis.blogspot.com/2011/11/declaring-what-occupy-dc-stands-for.html#more

      On the pro-homeschooling side are libertarians, a tiny fraction of anarchists, a few people interested in giving their kids a better education than the local school district can provide, and lots and lots of radical religionists who want to teach their kids stories about Noah and dinosaurs. So like a grasshopper height contest it’s a close fought thing.

      I haven’t specifically researched it, but I assume that all anarchists must be for home schooling in principle, even if they dislike some particular manifestations of it. No version of it could be more authoritarian and statist than the corporate schools themselves.

      I’d say, though, that with fundamentalist Christians on their side the homeschoolers will be able to hold on longer than the local food movement. There’s a clear path for coopting locavores: Whole Foods and “farmers’ markets” that stock Chiquita bananas. You can’t really scheme and lie your way out of parents directly teaching their kids. I don’t even know how you’d coopt that, it’s practically binary.

      That’s pretty pessimistic. I regard the ultimate victory of the food movement as inevitable, although you’re right that the evolution toward victory can be more or less tortuous and protracted.

      Meanwhile, home schooling can be co-opted, or have corporatization imposed upon it, as well. Lots of things can be imposed upon parents directly teaching their kids. Requirements for textbooks, exams, physicals, etc. that extract rent payments. Not to mention whatever kind of Leadership might try to glom on, or even arise from within.

      I do agree that fundamentalists are fighters, unlike e.g. “progressives”. But I think anyone who commits to homeschooling is almost by definition an anti-system fighter, and is less likely to roll over in the face of attacks. The kind of person prone to cave in probably would’ve caved in at the start and just stuck her kids in the system school.

      Comment by Russ — November 18, 2011 @ 1:58 am

    • Yay, I think I joined the “banned from NC” club. Whenever I post my comments are awaiting moderation, which didn’t used to be the case. It feels like I earned a merit badge, not that I view my driveby snarkasms as anything on the level of Russ or downsouth. They’re more like pellets of disgruntled rage.

      Yup, creeping moderation is how it started for me, although for awhile I believed Smith when she said it was a glitch.

      It’s an honor, if a small one. NC is simply trying to assist in the death of the blogosphere itself. In which case in the long run no one will remember that NC ever existed. It’s a bizarre way of going about things – why would a well-known independent blogger want to help with the blogosphere’s co-optation? It’s not like Smith’s a newly-minted pro-Democrat cadre just out of school and looking to serve the Party structure out of careerism. She merely wants the extinction of her own species.

      Comment by Russ — November 18, 2011 @ 2:26 am

  13. Debra, I’m actually finding myself in agreement with much of what you say. I guess I just need to get used to your style (although the whole-er, male anatomy issue leaves me cold).
    The “What’s it good for?” attitude is a dangerous one. When my unschooled children astound me with their self-aquired knowledge, I can just hear an “education professional” saying “What’s it good for?”. People look at nature and wildlife with disdain and say the same thing. They’re beginning to look at the elderly and say it of them.
    I also agree that we need to re-learn trusting our neighbors. It’s my experience, however, that rather than being obsessed with possible predation from caretakers, “parents” in our society are only too ready to thrust their babies and children into the arms of complete strangers so they can get on with their mindless consumerist lifestyle. I personally trust very few people ALONE with my kids, as it takes only a few minutes to shatter a life. Yes, it does destroy people- I’ve known them, and I myself have been betrayed. You don’t just dust yourself off and walk away.
    The entertainment media is disgusting and stupid, which is why we keep only a DVD/VCR set-up and have no TV reception. The computer can be dangerous as we found out for certain when my son learned the F-word from what appeared to be a Sesame Street skit; at the same time, he has learned alot of interesting things, so I just try to keep an eye on the activity.

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 18, 2011 @ 12:22 am

    • “parents” in our society are only too ready to thrust their babies and children into the arms of complete strangers so they can get on with their mindless consumerist lifestyle.

      In every area of life (or I should say “life”), the goal under capitalism is to slave at some “job”, soul-crushing and often evil, in order to make money. And then what are you supposed to do with that money? Pay to relinquish whatever’s left of your humanity, for example paying someone else to raise your children. In general we’re supposed to get cash in order to pay not to be human, to relinquish all our human and citizen rights and responsibilities.

      And that’s supposed to free you up for what? Evidently for nothing but to slave even more, and perhaps to be even more of a consumer. It’s sick.

      Comment by Russ — November 18, 2011 @ 2:18 am

    • “parents” in our society are only too ready to thrust their babies and children into the arms of complete strangers so they can get on with their mindless consumerist lifestyle

      Hmmmm. You don’t have children, do you?

      Get some, and then talk about “parents.”

      I’m not saying you can’t comment about parenting without being a parent, I’m just saying that the forces in play are more overwhelming than you can imagine if you are not a parent.

      I say this as somebody who has been fortunate enough to have a partner who has been able to be at home with the kids for 14 years. My children are much better people than they could have been without their mother’s constant attention, but the fact is that most families cannot afford to make the choice we made. The two income trap ain’t a choice for most folks. They must succumb and cannibalize their humanity.

      The behavior you describe, while true in many ways, bears no relation to the reality that most people face. There are a lot of bad parents out there, but the vast majority of them don’t even realize it. And I can’t blame them for being dupes of the system they unwittingly support.

      Comment by Tao Jonesing — November 18, 2011 @ 2:36 am

      • Tao, I don’t think anyone’s trying to criticize what people are economically forced to do. On the other hand, there are many who have options but choose what then has to be called abdication of parental responsibility.

        But the main issue is how many people are forced into it yet let themselves be brainwashed into supporting it, and into believing this way of doing things is right, is natural, is even desirable. As you say, they’re dupes. But how are we supposed to overcome this brainwashing if no one’s to be allowed to criticize the system and its brainwashing? You might find such criticism to be tantamount to blaming the victim, but isn’t that a risk with any kind of criticism? To attack capitalism itself is an implied censure of anyone among the 99 who still believes in it. That’s just something which goes with the terrain. The best we can do is try to keep the attack focused specifically on the 1%.

        BTW, DP is a homeschooling parent. She’s said so in several comments including this one.

        Comment by Russ — November 18, 2011 @ 2:53 am

  14. HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA I have 4 kids, Tao. We live an extremely frugal existence with carefully chosen indulgences in, for example, classes outside our home. I garbage pick, shop at thrift stores, Freecycle, take other people’s hand-me-downs, etc. I also started using cloth diapers most of the time. What fun sticking your hand into poopy toilet water! Ever try it, Tao? We eat nearly all of our meals at home and they are generally cooked by yours truly. Vacation? What is that? Oh, that’s when we visit some relatives every summer. If we had bought a house with a wood-burning stove, we wouldn’t be using heat this winter.
    Nature generally endows creatures with a fiercely protective attitude towards protecting their young. If you really feel strongly about parenting, you will make it work somehow. Plus, daycare is a huge money hole in the end!
    I am not referring to people with both spouses working outside the home to keep their family off the streets. I’m talking about people who groan to me about how expensive it is to have children as they dutifully buy all the latest junk. Tao, we all make choices in life. Right now I’m living with choices I made years ago and it’s not easy, but I realize I made the choice and I won’t blame society or the system, etc. We do eventually have to take responsibility for our actions. If it comes down to a choice between our kids and our house or second car, it will be goodbye to those luxuries.

    ‘Scuse me for my opinion, but someone who dumps a 6 week old in a strangers care is not a real parent. That is why I used quotation marks.

    You sure got my dander up, buddy. I’m not a parent! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH How many kids do YOU have?
    Sorry, Russ for my explosion 🙂

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 18, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  15. To me, many of the above comments about parenting, particularly their tone, if you read through them carefully, show what a BIG BIG problem the Internet is, under the guise of “bringing us all together”. We are too quick in our assumptions, and judgments with the Internet. It encourages us to sound off, to not think, and to attack other people (I have noticed that the Internet encourages this in me, too. As my best Internet friend ( 😉 ) told me once, it is because we do not have access to all the visual cues, and others, that come with face to face contact. So, Internet is really a reductionist medium which has been idealized.
    Four years ago, in the U.S., my 48 year old brother and I got into a fight about child raising.
    His kids were 11 ? 12 ? at the time, and one day when they were playing with video games, I asked them if they knew where the video games came from, and who invented them. The oldest boy was vocalizing “kill, kill”, with an extremely inexpressive voice…
    Some people could get all worked up about the fact the kid was vocalizing “kill, kill”.
    Not me.. I get worked up at the idea that the kid is vocalizing WITH NO EXPRESSION. Because that is more of an indication that he is reacting like.. A LITTLE ROBOT, or a machine. (I have shrink credentials, but I “work” now for free, not for filthy lucre.) Better FOR HIM that he be screaming “kill” than muttering it like a little zombie.
    So, I told the kids that the Pentagon was HIGHLY INSTRUMENTAL in developing those video games, and they looked at me very seriously…
    And their Daddy was FURIOUS AT ME because they understood that I was telling them not to play with the games… (not true)
    My point in relating this incident is that I feel that too many people (and probably me too…) now treat their children like THEIR MOST PRECIOUS POSSESSION.
    How about a little provocation here… ISN’T THAT MAKING A SLAVE OF YOUR CHILD, treating him like your most precious possession ?
    When I gave a presentation about the International Covenant for Children’s Rights in France, it went over like a lead balloon, and excited the same passions that I am hearing in these comments.
    These passions are the sign that we are heavily idealizing our children, and to me, this is NOT GOOD FOR OUR CHILDREN.
    In France this morning, I had a discussion with a woman friend who is a caretaker in families. And we noticed that in the POPULAR CLASSES, there was much less distance between children and their parents than in the bourgeoisie. This has been true since Rousseau pointed it out BEFORE THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. In the popular classes, children were raised in close quarters by their parents. The bourgeoisie farmed their children out to wet nurses, and nannies, while systematically discouraging their children from adopting their caretakers. That is what I call an EXCELLENT RECIPE FOR NEUROSIS…And now that EVERYBODY’S salvation is supposed to be outside of the home, well… there’s lots of room for budding neurosis there. Neurosis or something worse, even…

    Comment by Debra — November 18, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  16. Hi Reslez- I haven’t found Creationist homeschoolers to automatically be ignorant. As a matter of fact, Joel Salatin is a born-again Christian and he’s anything but stupid. Neither is Daniel Salatin, as far as I can tell.
    I have socialized with homeschoolers of all stripes and feel most comfortable in a diverse group, but I never found the Fundamentalist homeschoolers to be poorly educated. In fact, I think often they tend to be more academically intense, albeit a bit rigid for my taste.HSLDA’s magazine is another source for observing Christian homeschooling styles.
    Gotta hand it to HSLDA and those crazy Christians: They seem to be the only strong, organized force for us. Anybody know of any similar but non-religious legal defense groups? I would be mighty interested to hear about them.
    I’m not a Fundamentalist, incidentally. I’m in religious confusion-is there a sect for that 🙂 ?

    Comment by DualPersonality — November 19, 2011 @ 12:47 am


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