Re: acid, weed, giggling and fairy tales [On Our Darker Bioweapons Future]
- Hi Diana,
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
> (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
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.
> 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
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:
"THE MABO CASE
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."
> 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.
> >I also don't believe the statement elsewhere that PLANs respects the
> >right of it's opponents to practise it's beliefs.
> 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."
"THE REJECTION OF RELIGION
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 Goda deity that rewards or
punishes people after deathis 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?
> 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?
> "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.
> >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.
> 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.
> >I don't belief in ideological politics as a solution.
> 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
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
(from: "The Red Feather Dictionary of Critical Social Science." <
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
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.
- 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 toWhile I certainly don't think the topic is a waste of time, I agree
>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.
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.