|A "New Model School" Opens in London||On Derridology|
by Christopher Chantrill
October 09, 2004 at 8:00 pm
LONDONS Economist published a handy chart this week to help eager parents game the British education system. The objective: to place your child in a top university. To get there youll have to pony up lots of cash: to pay for private schooling, to pay the premium of up to 20 percent on housing in the catchment area of a good school, or to pay for private tutoring. Prime Minister Tony Blair has done as well as anyone in gaming the system. His children attend a highly desired Catholic school and are topped up with private tutors from one of Britains most prestigious private schools.
The British government-run school system has been designed by left-wing egalitarians to prevent middle-class parents from privileging their children by giving them an education that other parents cant afford. In short, they want to make it hard for professional parents to get their children into top universities.
At least the parents and the egalitarians agree on one point, the Vince Lombardian idea that getting into a top university is the only thing that matters. Theres only one question. What if they are wrong? Or for the conspiracy minded, what if they are deliberately misdirecting us? What if they are concentrating the minds of the reading public upon getting into a top university merely as a diversion?
After all, its no secret that many of the most remarkable people in the modern era never went close to a top university. John D. Rockefeller went to bookkeeping school. And Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard so he could start a business. Of course, that didnt stop them later on from hiring the best and the brightest to staff and run their evil corporate monopolies.
Its also no secret that boys are turning away from universities, and indeed, from schooling in general. Women already represent the majority of university graduates, and are expected to account for up to 60 percent of college graduates by the end of the decade. Conservative policy analysts have been warning for years that the liberal fixation on improving girls access to education is blind to the facts: girls thrive on the sit-down receptive school system, but boys hate it.
What do boys want? Its a good question. Our western society has spent the last century pondering Freuds worry about what women wanted. But it has always known never to ask that question of boys. We know what they want. They want to gang up with other boys and go around breaking things. Human society has understood since the dawn of time that the one thing needful is to put a stop to gangs of boys roaming around breaking things. But how?
Its easy. Instead of leaving them to their natural gang-up instincts, we raise them to join teams and go around building things. As a sweetener, we have ordained that the first task in every building job is called: Excavation and Demolition.
Now that the sit-down education system has admitted defeat on the boy front and started tranquilizing the most boyish boys with drugs, its time to return to the good old ways. We must raise boys to join teams.
Theres a simple difference between a gang and a team. A gang is led by an adolescent. A team is led by an adult. That is what Robert Baden-Powell understood when he founded the Boy Scouts movement. He wanted to get at weedy cigarette-smoking ten-year-old punks before the gang did, and raise them to the culture of the team.
Notice how the left admires the culture of the gang: the revolutionary adolescent like Ernesto Che Guevara, the perpetually adolescent rock musician, the transgressive artist intent upon challenging society. On the other hand the right admires the culture of the team: Boy Scouts, athletic teams, armies, and corporations. Lee Harris in Civilization and Its Enemies has contrasted these two cultures. The signal success of the West, he wrote, has been its development of the culture of the team to fight the eternal gang of ruthless men.
A change in the culture of education from girly seats-on-chairs to manly adventurous teams couldnt come too soon. While society has been wondering what women want, boys have found a new gang culture. It is called Halo, the major game available on Microsofts X-box video game console. In Halo II, available in stores this fall, a boy can create a virtual gang with any on-line boy in the world and then head out for a bit of shoot-em-up mayhem.
While our political masters busy themselves with controlling who gets into the top universities and counting how many historically marginalized students can fit on the head of a pin, we may be losing a whole generation of boys to virtual gangs. Its up to us to figure out what to do. The Schoolmen are otherwise engaged.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America