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Re: acid, weed, giggling and fairy tales [On Our Darker Bioweapons Future]

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  • kmlightseeker
    Hi Diana, ... When I used the word Criticisms , I mean t These are *my* criticisms of the mission statement . Sorry about that, I m using shorthand, I
    Message 1 of 137 , May 1, 2005
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      Hi Diana,

      --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, Diana wrote:
      > I meant to reply to this earlier.
      > Keith, you quoted from the PLANS mission statement as follows:
      > The PLANS mission statement:
      > (source: http://www.waldorfcritics.com/active/mission.html )
      > "People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools will:
      > 1. Provide parents, teachers, and school boards with views of Waldorf
      > education from outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner.
      > 2. Expose the illegality of public funding for Waldorf school programs
      > in the US.
      > 3. Litigate against schools violating the Establishment Clause of the
      > First Amendment in the US."
      > >Criticisms: pejorative language; engaging in adversial (read:
      > >self-interest) politics; engaging in litigation - a major scourage of
      > >public life.
      > [Diana:]
      > (It confuses me a little, since you felt the need to paste in a
      > definition of "criticisms," a word that doesn't actually appear in
      > the pLANS mission statement. But since "criticisms" is apparently
      > part of what you think is wrong, I'll address that. It's a highly
      > limited definition of the word "criticism," which has many other
      > implications.)

      When I used the word "Criticisms", I mean't "These are *my* criticisms
      of the mission statement". Sorry about that, I'm using shorthand, I

      As far as the PLANS mission statement implying criticism of it's
      subject, I would say it does. I know that criticism has various
      meanings, which are and/or can imply: critique, critical
      thinking/analysis, criteria, analytical appraisal, value judgement,

      > Keith then commented:
      > >You might think these things are acceptable, but I don't.
      > [Diana:]
      > I'd be interested in what you find that is not "acceptable" there and
      > why it is not acceptable. Are you saying "criticism"
      > isn't "acceptable" (I'm sure you'll realize I beg to differ)? Or are
      > you saying something in the pLANS mission statement is
      > not "acceptable"? In what sense? Legal? Moral, ethical?

      What is not acceptable to me about the PLANS mission statement:

      1. Pejorative language.

      2. Engaging in adversarial (read: self-interest) politics.

      3. Engaging in litigation, a major scourge of public life.

      Why I think this:

      1. Pejorative language can be offensive and cause the opponent to
      retreat into a defensive position, making it difficult to progress
      with the issues at hand. If party politics and social unrest are not
      examples where rhetoric often gets in the way of and exacerbates
      issues, I don't know what are. As long as reason doesn't have a look
      in, serious and necessary discussion

      2. Similar reason to the type of language used. Also, ideology can
      divorce one from reality due to self-interest considerations and

      3. Litigation can be damaging materially, practically, and
      emotionally. It serves the self-interest of the plaintiffs, and
      contributes to the culture of revenge via the legal system. As I see
      it, the legal system operates on the assumption that society is
      adversarial. While the courts themselves may be thinking in terms of
      *resolution* of conflict, combatants will be motivated by a range of
      other considerations, often subjective.

      Some examples of litigation situations:

      Two examples of why legal action can be damaging to factors beyond the

      (i) "Goodyear, Charles

      Goodyear, Charles (1800-1860), American inventor, born in New Haven,
      Connecticut. He had no formal education, and in 1821 went into
      partnership with his father in a hardware business that later failed.
      Goodyear experimented for many years, with no success, to find some
      means of improving the quality of natural rubber so that it would not
      become brittle when cold or soft and sticky when hot. He purchased
      from a rival inventor, Nathaniel Hayward, the patent rights to a
      process for impregnating rubber with sulphur, although this process
      had not been particularly successful. In 1839 Goodyear discovered, by
      accidentally dropping on a hot stove a piece of rubber that had been
      treated with sulphur, that when rubber and sulphur are heated together
      at a high temperature a rubber with the desirable properties results.
      This process, called vulcanization, is still the basis of the
      rubber-manufacturing industry. In the United States and Europe he
      engaged in generally unsuccessful litigation over his patents, which
      brought wealth to others while his own business ventures failed. He
      died in poverty.

      Microsoft ® Encarta ® Encyclopedia 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft
      Corporation. All rights reserved."

      (ii) "Medical Negligence

      To establish a case of medical negligence, a plaintiff (the person who
      brought the action to court) must prove on the balance of
      probabilities that the defendant has acted in breach of a duty of care
      that was owed to the injured plaintiff.

      In English law, the duty of care that is expected of a doctor was
      stated in the decision of Bolam (1957) as that of the reasonably
      skilful doctor. In practice, this means that a doctor will not be
      found negligent if the court accepts that the doctor's opinion is
      supported by a reasonable body of expert medical opinion. The court
      must ultimately decide whether a given practice is acceptable, but in
      the vast majority of cases will follow expert advice on standard
      practice. Developments in the United States and Australia have led to
      the rejection of the Bolam test and to a more patient-orientated
      approach to medical negligence in these countries.

      A major hurdle for any medical negligence claim is the requirement of
      proof that the injury was caused by medical negligence, particularly
      in areas where there is considerable uncertainty surrounding the
      nature of a condition or where there may be other possible factors
      that trigger a disease.

      A patient receiving treatment from a health authority employee may
      choose to sue the individual member of staff or more usually the
      health authority. The authority will have a primary responsibility for
      care of its patients and a vicarious liability for the negligence of
      its employees.

      In addition to the difficulties surrounding the cause of action,
      claimants may face considerable practical problems. Legal aid will
      only be available to a small proportion of claimants and the claims
      procedure may be expensive and long. In contrast, defendant
      practitioners will have professional insurance and will be covered by
      an indemnity through working as an employee of the health authority.
      Litigants may experience considerable difficulties in securing expert
      evidence that undermines the respondent's case.

      Various proposals for reform have been put forward in the United
      Kingdom, including the suggestion of a system of no-fault compensation
      that would make awards available irrespective of the requirement of
      proof of fault. No-fault compensation schemes have already been
      established in New Zealand and Sweden. During the 1970s the Pearson
      Commission on Compensation for Personal Injury took the view that at
      that time there were insufficient grounds for introducing no-fault
      compensation in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, during the 1980s
      there was some evidence of an increasing number of claims, bringing
      concerns that this could lead to the practice of "defensive medicine"
      and to a malpractice crisis of the type experienced in the United
      States. It has been argued, however, that comparisons with the United
      States may not be relevant and that fears of a litigation crisis are

      © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved."

      On the other hand, litigation can correct situations:


      Eddie Koiki Mabo spent much of his life effectively exiled from his
      home in the Murray Island group in the Torres Strait, between
      Queensland and Papua New Guinea. Based in Townsville in North
      Queensland, Mabo had become a committed campaigner for the rights of
      indigenous Australians. He had been profoundly shocked to learn that,
      under Australian law, his land was not regarded as his, but as Crown
      land set aside as a reserve. He regarded as totally inadequate
      proposals from the Queensland Government to vest a form of title under
      Queensland law in Island Councils, as distinct from the owners under
      their own, Meriam law. In 1982, he and other plaintiffs sought a High
      Court decision recognizing their land rights in terms of their own law.

      In 1985 the Queensland Government attempted to kill off the action.
      Parliament passed a statute declaring that in 1879, when the islands
      were annexed to Queensland on behalf of the Crown, any prior rights of
      the Meriam people were extinguished. In 1988, the High Court held, in
      Mabo v Queensland (Mabo No. 1) (1988) 166 CLR 186, that the Queensland
      Act was invalid because of inconsistency with the Racial
      Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (the RDA). As Justices Brennan, Toohey,
      and Gaudron put it (at p.96):

      [T]he 1985 Act abrogated the immunity of the Miriam people from
      arbitrary deprivation of their legal rights in and over the Murray
      islands. The act thus impaired their human rights while leaving
      unimpaired the corresponding human rights of those whose rights in and
      over the Murray Islands did not take their origin from the laws and
      customs of the Miriam people.

      The Mabo litigation was, thus, able to proceed to the judgment in Mabo
      (No. 2), handed down on June 3, 1992, which held that the native title
      rights of the Meriam peoples to their lands had survived the assertion
      of sovereignty over the islands. (Mabo himself did not live to learn
      the result of the ten-year saga, as he died earlier in the year.)

      The High Court was able to recognize the possible survival of native
      title, without disturbing two centuries of land grants, by drawing
      substantially on the jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court in the
      "Marshall cases" from the early 19th century. The Court held that
      native title might be lost if the peoples concerned no longer retained
      their connection to the land in terms of their traditional laws and
      customs; native title might be surrendered to the Crown; and, in
      particular, native title might be "extinguished" by action of the
      Crown in granting interests in land to others, or by appropriating the
      land for public purposes, to the extent that such grants and
      appropriations were inconsistent with the continued exercise and
      enjoyment of native title rights and interests.

      The High Court also held, by a 4:3 majority, that extinguishment of
      native title, as such, would not give rise to any entitlement to

      Native title, on these terms, was a highly vulnerable form of title.
      State and Territory governments could have proceeded (as they had in
      the past) to grant interests in land, and to appropriate land to
      public purposes, without any need even to enquire whether native title
      rights might have survived.

      But, as Mabo (No. 1) had shown, the effect of the RDA was to compel
      States and Territories to treat native title property rights with the
      same respect that they would be required to show towards other forms
      of property rights. It was considered that interests granted over land
      since the RDA commenced in 1975 might be invalid. This possibility led
      to demands for Commonwealth legislation to validate such titles.

      © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved."

      > [Diana:]
      > I think I have gathered that you are perhaps in Australia, and the
      > laws in the US are different, I believe, on the issues the PLANS
      > lawsuit pertains to. The US constitution establishes separation of
      > church and state, and the PLANS lawsuit is about violations of that
      > clause. It has long been interpreted to mean, in this country, that
      > public funding of religious schools is impermissible. The PLANS
      > lawsuit is based on the claim that Waldorf schools are religious
      > (even when the public charters claim to have "removed" the
      > anthroposophy from the curriculum and teacher training materials).

      Yep, I think you're right; Australia's Federal Government provides
      certain subsidies to religious schools, and I think to schools classed
      as "Independent Schools" eg. private schools. That said, there is
      still a lot of debate about the appropriateness of the Federal
      Government providing financial assistance to non-government schools.
      The government defends this by saying, for example, that it wants to
      ensure maximum educational outcomes for all students by assisting all
      schools - equality; another defence made is that government education
      is freely available to all, and that parents sending their children to
      private schools invest in the economy by doing so - their doing the
      country a favour.

      Apparently Steiner indicated that anthroposophy should NOT be taught
      in Waldorf Schools, but that teachers should use Anthroposophy to
      guide their work.

      > But I am not sure if the lawsuit is what you find "unacceptable,"
      > criticism of Steiner per se, ???? using the word "cult"? I'm just
      > guessing, but it'd help if you'd clarify. Surely you think exposing
      > illegalities is a good thing.

      Apart from the philosophical concerns I've mentioned above, the use of
      the word "cult" I do think is inappropriate, now that you mention it,
      yes. I mean, "cult" has a pejorative meaning in society, a form of
      scapegoating; and what about the countless formal and informal cults
      around the world, such as all the religions and political ideologies,
      not to mention sports and other followings? Aren't they guilty of
      causing some damage to society? Think about it.

      Also, the legal system is governed by the requirements of the law, and
      the laws have been instituted by the legislature; which in turn is
      occupied by elected representatives of government who debate and
      decide what should be the laws; and these representatives in turn
      represent the population at large. So, in effect we are all
      responsible for what transpires in the law. To what extent can we both
      control the legal process *and* act responsibly, all of us being
      individuals with different needs and wants or priorities?

      So, what then is justice? It should be about fair play. For this to
      work, we have to be fair minded, objective and rational.

      > [Keith:]
      > >I also don't believe the statement elsewhere that PLANs respects the
      > >right of it's opponents to practise it's beliefs.
      > [Diana:]
      > Could you explain why you don't believe it? In my mind, you'd need to
      > show that you've seen PLANS somewhere demonstrating that they do
      > *not* respect the rights of other people to practice their beliefs.
      > You'd need to explain what they do or did to somehow hamper anyone's
      > rights to practice their beliefs, or where they are perhaps
      > suggesting someone else, in some way, hamper this right?
      > Where or when has this happened?

      Isn't Dan Dugan, the administrator of PLANS, a "Secular Humanist"?
      This is what I've read. If this is true, doesn't this make him biased
      towards the issues? I have no reason to believe, beyond conforming
      with the laws on religious freedom, that politics informed by SH is
      anything but opposed to religious groups in philosopical terms:

      "Secularism, in philosophy and politics, rejection of religious and
      sacred forms and practices in favour of rational assessment and
      decision-making, and civil institutions of government.

      © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved."


      While, historically, humanism in its broadest sense was not
      specifically anti-religious, modern, secular humanism is much more
      overtly so. In particular, it is against any form of supernaturalism
      of religious belief, that is to say, it rejects anything that is
      outside the natural universe. Thus, secular humanists are generally
      atheist, having no belief in God, although some are agnostic,
      accepting that proof for the existence of God or of gods, is beyond
      human knowledge. Humanism is particularly outspoken against any form
      of theism, the belief in a personal deity or deities. The idea of an
      omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God—a deity that rewards or
      punishes people after death—is rejected. There is no God, no heaven,
      no hell, no life beyond death, no angels, no miracles. So there is
      nothing beyond the natural world that can intervene and affect the
      lives of individuals. Human beings, themselves, have to solve the
      problems and challenges of life. Morality is also grounded in human
      values and interaction. It is not dependent on a religious ethic or
      scriptural material, and it is subject to change in the light of new
      challenges and reassessment of past ideas. Since life continues to
      evolve, so must the principles and values by which humans interact
      with each other. Humanists actively work for the separation of
      religious influence from State concerns, and have developed secular
      ceremonies for life-cycle rites such as birth, marriage, and death.

      © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved."

      As PLANS is a lobby group against religion in public schools, would
      not follow suit in this?

      > [Diana:]
      > Also, I think we have somewhat different laws regarding free speech
      > in this country. *Criticizing* a movement, religion, school system
      > etc. does not hamper anyone's right to practice their beliefs or be
      > part of that movement. This is a very, very serious distinction.
      > Critical speech is considered to be healthy and beneficial and has an
      > overall effect of bolstering people's enthusiasm about their personal
      > belief system, in my experience. (This is show 10 times a day on this
      > list; the main effect critics have over here is egging you people
      > on.) If PLANS somehow tried to STOP other people enrolling in Waldorf
      > schools or studying anthroposophy or participating in
      > anthroposophical projects, that would be different. The lawsuit in no
      > way seeks to prevent people from choosing a Waldorf education for
      > their children. I realize that to some Waldorf supporters, people
      > expressing critical views of Waldorf, sharing negative experiences
      > they have had in the schools, or stating strong disagreement or
      > dislike for anthroposophy, amounts to the same thing . . . but as I
      > suspect you are figuring out, I would very strongly disagree. The
      > expressions of those who disagree or are critical in fact HELP other
      > people practice their beliefs, increase their options, expand their
      > knowledge and commitment. Those who still like or agree with Waldorf
      > after hearing strongly held critical opinions or information running
      > countering to their image of Waldorf or anthroposophy are greatly
      > strengthened in their commitment to Waldorf or anthroposophy – as we
      > see time and again on these lists.
      > (Those who don't like it, then disengage themselves. Also an
      > appropriate outcome.)
      > (In short, we aren't doing you a smidgeon of damage; probably the
      > opposite. You're *supposed* to be willing, ready and eager to defend
      > your belief system; this is a *good* thing to do.)

      Yes, good points.

      > You're also *supposed* to recognize that those who do not like your
      > belief system not only have a right to say so, and as loudly as they
      > please, but also have a right not to find themselves enmeshed in it
      > without their prior consent or knowledge. That protects *our* right
      > to practice our own beliefs; anthroposophists aren't the only ones
      > around with beliefs to protect, you know.

      True. But there is a problem if people think that what they believe is
      commonsense and this view is not shared by everyone. Where exactly is
      the common ground? Where and how does human discourse advance? As
      individuals we can certainly choose what we want for ourselves, but
      what about matters that affect all of us and need community-based or
      social answers? What if an indivdual or group believes it has some
      answers or can contribute to the general community, but the
      information which it wishes to impart is not received by the general
      community? What if they present evidence for their views, even if
      these are just ideas, and these are opposed because they do not fit
      the assumptions of the society, rather than the professed reason being
      that the information lacks objectivity or practicality or clarity?

      > >Really, what is "calling to account" based on?
      > [Diane:]
      > "Calling to account" is based on the opinion among many critics that
      > the schools are not honest about the philosophical and religious
      > foundations of the schools. "Calling to account" asks that the
      > schools publicize honest information about anthroposophy and
      > Steiner's doctrines and their roles in the school before parents
      > enroll their children.

      I'm sure that accountability is valued by all sincere people. The
      Waldorf idea seems to me to embrace that idea. The schools need to
      reflect that principle in it's work.

      > [Keith:]
      > >I'm not convinced that a political lobby group can solve the
      > >problems at Waldorf, but I agree the problems need to be dealt with
      > >and properly.
      > [Diane:]
      > Good. What do you propose should be done?

      There needs to be one or more conferences of all concerned people
      where open communication can occur. It needs to have representatives
      from Waldorf Schools across the US and the rest of the world, and
      representatives from parents, and from all concerned parties. Also,
      experts in education must be invited to offer their views. The issues
      need to be discussed in depth, completely honestly, and brainstorming
      on solutions need to be done. The objective of finding solutions is so
      that Waldorf can improve where actual problems are found.

      The Switzerland experience in Waldorf needs to be studied in detail,
      and those Waldorf people from Switzerland should be encouraged to be
      directly involved in these conferences. Apparently, they have been
      very successful with Waldorf - why is that the case? Is it Swiss
      culture; is it because they are near HQ, etc? There may be policies
      and practices transferrable to the US that could be the source or
      impetus for improvement.

      Another possibility is to dissolve the Waldorf organisation
      completely, and rebuild from the base up to bring a fresh approach
      to everything. I don't know if that would be a drastic step or not,
      but if it invigorates things and people and brings a uniformly
      positive atmosphere, maybe it would be a good idea. As I'm not
      connected to Waldorf, I can't say for sure that any of these ideas
      would work, but certainly in a general sense I think they make sense.

      > [Keith:]
      > >I don't belief in ideological politics as a solution.
      > [Diane:]
      > I'm not sure what you mean by that. What does it mean not to "believe
      > in" ideological politics? Narrow that down a little for me, if you
      > would.

      Ideology can be any belief system that applies to a group, but
      particularly one in a political, business or cultural sense. When I
      say "ideological politics", I mean the approach to politics which has
      a very partisan flavour, and one which seeks to characterise issues
      according to a limited set of values. Constantly in the world you have
      Republican versus Democrat, Tory versus Labour, Coalition versu
      Labor, Corporate versus small business, Catholic versus Protestant,
      Pro-Life versus Pro-abortionist, science versus religion, motorist
      versus bicycle rider, smoker versus non-smoker, etc. You'll notice
      with these examples and other for/against struggles that there is
      limited if any headway made between them regarding the issues. Take a
      look at this definition of ideology for more:

      "Ideology: A generalized blueprint by which a given social life world
      is created. That which given meaning and purpose to life. Art, music,
      poetry, prose, science, myths, jokes, and song. Religion is an
      especially important part of an ideology. Sometimes ideology becomes
      reified into dogma and comes to be more than a general guide to the
      construction of social reality but rather a superorganic thing beyond
      the control of humans.

      As a term, it is used to put down any social philosophy with which one
      disagrees. The term began as 'the study of ideas' by Destutt de Tracy
      (1775-1836) in opposition to the ideological hegemony of Napoleon. All
      social life requires a set of fairly comprehensive [but not
      necessarily compatible] ideas as the beginning point for the
      'self-fulfilling prophecy' in the construction of a social life world.
      The only interesting questions are: which set of ideas, how are they
      to be transmitted to young people and how much criticism is to be
      allowed? Marx held 1) ideology varies with the kind of political
      economy at hand, 2) it varies with position with class, race, gender
      and ethnicity, 3) it is necessary for solidarity purposes, and 4) it
      can be progressive or oppressive depending on which ideas are valued
      most highly."

      (from: "The Red Feather Dictionary of Critical Social Science." <
      http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/RED_FEATHER/Dictionary/shortdict.html >)

      Now look at what John Ralston Saul has to say about modern social
      conditions and how beliefs shape them:

      (i) Synopsis of "Philosophy of History":


      (ii) "Friends, Corporatists, Countrymen...." (from an interview with
      John Ralston Saul):


      ""The acceptance of corporatism causes us to deny and undermine the
      legitimacy of the individual as a citizen in a democracy. The result
      of such a denial is a growing imbalance which leads to our adoration
      of self interest and our denial of the public good. Corporatism is an
      ideology which claims rationality as its central quality. The overall
      effect on the individual are passivity and conformity in those areas
      which matter and non-conformist in those which don't." The Unconscious

      In The Unconscious Civilization, John Ralston Saul argues that western
      society has torn from its humanist roots in favour of a corporatist
      culture. The concept of democracy and individualism have been
      bastardized by this culture that has come to dominate much of society
      today. The individual citizen's role has been severely undermined by
      conformist forces such as interest groups and large corporations.
      Increasingly government policy is being shaped by negotiations between
      these groups, side lining any from of individualism. He says "if the
      enlightenment people were around today, they'd look around and say
      exactly what they said about the church, the absolute monarch and the
      courtiers in the 18th century. They'd say, "This is a load of garbage.
      This is very sophisticated garbage".

      The concept of democracy and economics have become confused to the
      extent that they have almost merged. Economics has begun to take over
      as the base of western democracies. He quotes George Bush putting the
      priorities of western democracies in order of preference, "free
      markets, free speech and free elections". He challenges the dominant
      discourse that democracy was born of economics. Saul reminds us, "Both
      democracy and individualism have been based on financial sacrifice,
      not gain....You can have poor democracies. And you can have prosperous

      In his argument, Saul grounds language back to its roots in clarity
      and reality. He refuses to get caught up in abstract theories where
      the means and end become confused. He hacks into issues most consider
      incomprehensible and lays bare the simplicity of their structure. Saul
      scoffs at the near superstition of the belief in concepts such as "the
      invisible hand of the market" and the acceptance of inevitability. He
      argues the belief in inevitability is instilled to induce a sense of
      powerlessness in the individual citizen to prevent them from
      contributing to the process of democracy. He points out that these
      concepts are an ideological stance; just as they have been created
      they can be taken apart.

      Language, he argues, has been hijacked by specialist groups and
      removed from the hands of the citizens. In a society where knowledge
      is power, information is currency. Many are systematically being
      denied access to this currency. He notes "...one of the signs of a
      healthy civilization is the existence of a relatively clear language
      in which everyone can participate in their own way. The sign of a sick
      civilization is the growth of an obscure, closed language that seeks
      to prevent communication". Specialist language today, he argues,
      display all these syntoms of sickness. This segregation has made it
      impossible for individuals in society to make use of the greatest pool
      of knowledge in human history. Knowledge, now splintered and people
      segregated, the citizen is cornered and looses sight of the big
      picture. "This is knowledge reduced to ignorance. The more knowledge
      is limited to a single corner, the more ignorant the expert".

      Saul wants philosophy to be returned to the market place where once
      again it will become inclusive, practical and accessible to the
      citizenry. "I believe either philosophy exists as a key element of
      public debate or it doesn't exist. Either philosophy exists as an
      applied element of reality or it doesn't exist". He constantly reminds
      us of the lively street discussions of classical greats like Socrates,
      Douriot (I'm not sure how to spell this guy's name) and Voltaire.

      One of the reasons for Saul's ability to view the big picture is
      because he operates outside the conventions of any fixed ideologies.
      During an interview he pointed out that initially a number of critics
      tried hopelessly to pin the source of his views to opposing camps:
      "there were lots of people who weren¹t ready to understand or even
      entertain the ideas. They were still caught up in that, 'He's
      attacking reason. He must be an irrationalist, part of the right wing'
      or something like that. They were still stuck in that old mode of
      thinking. But the people who caught on quickest were people who didn't
      have that kind of training because they sensed what was wrong with
      society. They were able to pick up very quickly on the fact that that
      the arguments were outside the classic right wing left wing
      divisions." By drawing parallels between the running of the Department
      of Defense, Ford motors and the Catholic Church he shows, the sickness
      is universal. All have promised a utopia, none have delivered.

      Saul says it's time for the citizen to assert his position in the
      process of democracy instead of being undermined and side lined by
      corporatism. He underlines that, "the problems we face is not one of
      incomprehensible complexity...Nothing in our current crisis is
      untouchable because of the great mystic forces of inevitability." He
      encourages the individual citizen to reject the constraints of
      ideology and get into the business of refusing to mind their own
      business because big business has now become everyone's business."

      Now here is Saul on education in this corportised society:

      (from "Democracy and Globalisation" address):


      "Education and Democracy

      The crisis that we're in is very real. The technocratic corporate
      community is responding to this crisis with some very interesting
      solutions - slip into commodities, concentrate on speculation, work on
      mergers and then as in the 1930s. Go back and look at what they said
      in the 1930s: cut red tape and cut taxes, those were their two main
      policies during the Great Depression.

      Now in all of that there's nothing positive, there's nothing creative,
      there's nothing new, there's no policies, a total lack of imagination,
      there's mediocrity, and of course there is an attempt to ignore the
      fact that when you cut taxes you do automatically cut public policy.

      They say governments can no longer act because everything's
      inevitable. They say that it's no longer possible to have governments
      like the government that you had here with Don Dunstan - Bob Ellis
      called it I think "a wistful Athenian administration". It's not longer
      possible to have governments that actually have ideas and do things, a
      government like Gough Whitlams' which I understand marked the way the
      society would move for two decades.

      They can't exist anymore because everything is inevitable, you can't
      come to power and think about what you're going to do, you have to
      come to power and administrate the details. Governments of ideas are
      finished. What matters is efficiency.

      In other words democracy no longer matters. And what's worse is in
      saying all of this they're saying that government equals bureaucracy
      in the negative sense of the word. When in reality government can and
      should equal the expression, the practical expression of the common good.

      There's a very important revelation in all of this, a revelation that
      which means that those who are arguing for globalisation actually
      don't believe in it. And you can find this in the fact in their
      suggestions for the reforms of education.

      They keep saying that what we have to do is get jobs for the kids,
      right, and the way to get jobs for the kids is to do away with all
      this abstract stuff, airy fairy stuff, and bring in some solid
      vocational training. And even at the higher levels it's all moving
      more and more towards training.

      Now that's very interesting because if you actually believe in
      globalisation which is to say the opening up of the market place, that
      would be good because after all vocational training means you're
      teaching people in the middle of a technological revolution. It means
      you're teaching people to work things which will be obsolete within
      about five years, about the time they're ready to go on the
      unemployment list.

      This educational reform happening all around the world is in fact made
      unconsciously, I think, because they can't be that stupid, made
      expressly in order to produce long-term unemployment. They can't be
      that stupid. If they believed in globalisation, well then, what they
      would want would be students who are coming out of schools and
      universities who spoke two or three or four languages, had intimate
      knowledge of the history, philosophy, language etc, religions of
      China, Germany and so on so that they could into meeting rooms and
      negotiate things and make money without making fools of themselves and
      losing the contract.

      What would that mean? Well that would mean you can no longer have
      these kind of lazy big classes we used to have, you'd have to get the
      classes down under about 20 students in the public school system,
      you'd have to reinforce the public school system, you'd have to hire a
      lot more teachers, and you'd have to put taxes up.

      So in other words if you are an economic rationalist and you believe
      in globalisation, the only possible policy you can stand for in terms
      of education is hiring teachers and raising taxes, which doesn't seem
      to be their policy.

      They argue that people who would disagree with them or simply the
      left, you'll notice there's a lot of "it's the left" as a way of now
      having to confront their own fears and failures when they're faced by
      the real global engagement. Is it in confidence, is it weakness, is it
      technocratic fasibidy(?), is it conscious ideology aimed at undoing
      the democratic victories of a hundred years?

      I don't know frankly, I don't know what it is. But one thing is clear
      to me, democracy of this sort - I don't know Australia well but I've
      been here now twice, thank god for me, maybe there'll be a third time
      later this year - democracies of this sort, middle-class democracies,
      were built on the basis that the citizens would right away give
      themselves an egalitarian based public education system of the highest
      possible quality. Why? Because it was the only way that they would be
      able to educate themselves in order to be able to engage in the
      difficult job, the most difficult job in the world of being a citizen.

      And so I really believe very strongly that the willful undermining of
      universal public education by our governments and the direct or
      indirect encouragement of private education is the most flagrant
      betrayal of the basic principles of middle-class representative
      democracy in the last 50 years."

      And an address he gave more recently:

      "In defence of public education":


      So, the corporate world impacts on all of us. We must be sure the
      school provide people with the best possible education that equips
      them with both technical skills and critical skills to question
      things. Public schools need this, as do all schools. Philosophy isn't
      so irrelevant when we understand it's necessity.

      > Thanks to you too, Keith.
      > Diana


    • winters_diana
      Deborah/Nana (I guess there really *are* two Deborah s – why my ... While I certainly don t think the topic is a waste of time, I agree there is probably not
      Message 137 of 137 , May 9, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Deborah/Nana (I guess there really *are* two Deborah's – why my
        requests that one of them clarify this are ignored, I don't know):

        >Okay Diana, thanks for your many posts. I'm afraid I'm not going to
        >try to respond to all the different posts and points. I don't have
        >that much time to spend and I hope you've got better ways to spend
        >your time, too.

        While I certainly don't think the topic is a waste of time, I agree
        there is probably not a lot to be gained from our debating it here.
        Presumably, you are mostly preaching to the choir here, and I'd be
        arguing with little chance of changing anyone's mind where it might
        count (i.e, a parent with a vaccine decision to make). No, I don't
        know a lot, personally, about either the hepatitis or chicken pox
        vaccines. Now, the disclaimer that is apparently necessary here:
        Nothing in this post says a parent should get their child a chicken
        pox vaccine, and that's not a point I am qualified to advise anyone
        on. I am aware that anti-vaccination rhetoric is often full of
        errors, excesses, and in some cases deliberate misrepresentations,
        and spreads misunderstandings and paranoia about science, and I
        think – as a very general summary – that people need to take a much
        closer look at the religious fanaticism and other fears and
        superstitions that underlie the anti-vaccine crusade historically.

        I would respectfully suggest there is little point in my searching
        around for credible information on the hepatitis or chickenpox
        vaccines for you (for instance), when you've shown you don't have the
        judgment, at least on this topic, to discern what is credible
        information and what is not. I'm sure if you go to Pub Med (or try
        WebMD; that's a credible site), you could, with an hour or two of
        reading, winnow down a few articles that give some useful statistics.
        I'm not going to do 2 hours of research, put it up here, and watch it
        go into the paranoia mill and come out the other end in ribbons;
        rebutting the misconceptions would not be worthwhile. You show a
        dangerous gullibility with the "HIV doesn't cause AIDS" stuff – on
        which I also won't comment further, except to note that the site you
        link to later, if you check the references on the article you
        highlighted, you'll find, with a couple of unimportant exceptions,
        there are few recent references from the leading AIDS journals –
        that, if you're interested, Deborah, is one way to tell if it is
        credible. (There are a few recent epidemiological papers, but I am
        guessing AIDS specialists interpret these data differently.)
        Generally, there is a reason these people are not getting their
        research published in the leading AIDS journals, and the reason is
        *not* conspiracy, or as I think Linda put it, they are being punished
        for stepping off the reservation . . . if you really think it is, we
        must agree to disagree, as there is little I could say to convince
        you otherwise, I'm sure.

        The Mercola site is another example – reading the first 3 or 4
        paragraphs, where he repeats the leading fallacy of the anti-
        vaccination arguments, shows that it is not a credible site, but
        conspiracy mongering. By "leading fallacy of anti-vaccination
        arguments" I refer to the notion that because a certain adverse
        event, problem, apparent bad reaction, etc., occurred in an infant's
        life "soon" (a few hours, a few days, a few weeks) after they
        received a vaccination, that it is likely to be an "effect" of the
        vaccination. I understand that to people convinced that their child
        has been damaged by vaccines, this appears obvious – first this
        happened, then this happened, so there must be a connection - and
        it's a belief that, no matter how simple it is to show the illogic,
        dies very hard. People understandably simply *want* an answer as to
        why a child gets sick. I have debunked this fallacy for you
        previously, Deborah (I don't recall your replying). *Everything* that
        happens in an infant's life happens "soon after" a vaccination, if
        they are getting any. Everything. And then, the fact that many if not
        most of these discrete events are not reported as "bad vaccine
        reactions" confirms in anti-vaccinators' minds that there is a
        conspiracy to suppress the information. (Many of the sites say things
        like "Most vaccine reactions aren't reported.") They simply don't
        understand what criteria would suggest whether something IS a
        possible reaction or not. The pediatricians could as well be
        reporting the child growing and getting stronger as a vaccine
        reaction – that, also, happens in close proximity timewise to all
        vaccinations, in fact, at a far, far greater rate!

        Do you understand the reasoning there, Deborah? Do you see that if we
        are going to call any cold, fever, flu, fussy period, periods of
        turning red or screaming or crying, etc. – the types of things
        parents think may be a "vaccine reaction" because they happened 3
        hours or 3 days days after a shot - or far worse events like signs of
        autism manifesting, we logically need to consider all the POSITIVE
        things that happen in the infants' lives as also possible "vaccine
        reactions"? The reasoning is the same. And that once we do so, it
        becomes baldly evident that MOST babies have wonderful, positive
        reactions to vaccines. Heck we ought to be giving more of them!!
        Babies thrive on vaccination! (Neither is true, probably; the timing
        is a coincidence. Babies haven't been alive long.) But I fear this,
        to you, probably indicates I am on the wrong side, not sympathetic to
        people who have seen something bad happen to their child, and not
        understanding that doctors really don't care if babies get sick (or
        maybe even actually want them to?)

        In short I agree with you we have little to gain from a prolonged
        discussion of vaccination - especially here, with people like Mike T.
        announcing that non-anthroposophists will face Satan for their lack
        of belief, or if they won't say the Bible is a spiritual document,

        I'm realizing after a couple days off that it is really pleasant to
        avoid the hostility and lunacy here, especially the really scary
        people like Mike T., so I'm signing off for awhile. I'm sure I'll
        check back in again eventually.
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