stat counnnter

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

There's injustice on both sides of NFL kneeling.

In my view Colin Kaepernick chose the wrong venue at which to display his political views. He was wrong to appropriate the property of the NFL owners' stadiums and the medias' cameras to display his protests. Mr Kaepernick is a famous football star. He would have been welcomed on an abundance of TV and radio talk shows and print media to express his views. No need to use the property of others without their consent.

On the other hand, some NFL owners went to local governments to get taxpayer money to help pay for their stadiums. This makes those stadiums a quasi or pseudo public entity at which, of course, free speech is protected. What's happening here is the NFL owners who use tax dollars are trying to have their private property cake and eat it too. Irrational.

But this kind of mess, where each side has a seemingly legitimate complaint, will always happen when government is allowed to meddle in the marketplace for some alleged public good. There is no way to justly adjudicate an unjust system. If however, a team's stadium is completely privately owned, the owners would have the right to terminate a player for breach of contract. But such clear thinking is not the case today. That's why all government subsidies to private entities should stop.

As to whether Kaepernick's main problem with police racism is real or imagined ( I think it is some of each), that will have to wait for another post.

I will say this though, he took it upon himself to kneel in front of an entire nation to make his views known and to do it alone. I have to give him credit for courage.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

So very true.

 Teacher Discovers that Young Students Really Can Be Taught to Think for Themselves

By now it’s old news that many Americans can no longer think for themselves. True, they have strong opinions, but often those opinions are influenced by prominent leaders and can turn around as quickly as the winds of political favor.

Unfortunately, such a state is likely driven by the education system. Although schools purport to be fans of “critical thinking,” many schools no longer teach the philosophy or logic classes which were once a prominent part of high school education. 

But one college professor is seeking to change this. Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Leonard Cassuto tells the story of Marcello Fiocco, a professor at the University of California at Irvine. Fiocco is taking his graduate students and heading to elementary schools to introduce young children to philosophy:

“Fiocco’s project is called TH!NK. It’s a simple design: A philosopher visits the same group of grade-school students weekly for four weeks, for an hour or so each time. The philosopher reads a short piece aloud — usually a story — and then leads a philosophical discussion with the children based on the story. A typical question, Fiocco told me, might be, ‘Can we have shape without color?’ Or, following from an excerpt from The Little Prince, the discussion leader might ask, ‘Could you own the moon?’

The children respond eagerly to these challenges. ‘They all seem so excited to provide answers or get to the bottom of debates, and it is a joy to see,’ Kourosh Alizadeh, a graduate student in philosophy, wrote in an email. ‘We keep pushing them,’ said Fiocco. ‘We keep asking them, “Why?”’ Fiocco recalled one fifth grader exclaim, ‘I’m thinking so much my brain hurts!’”

According to those who have watched the program grow, these early flights in philosophy help students “to make better and more rational decisions about how to live their lives.” In other words, such classes are teaching students not what to think but how.

In 1947, academic Dorothy Sayers sounded a warning about modern education, noting that schools were doing the complete opposite. Her famous essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, describes it in the following way:

“Is not the great defect of our education today--a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble that I have mentioned--that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning.”

She goes on to say:

“[M]odern education concentrates on ‘teaching subjects,’ leaving the method of thinking, arguing, and expressing one's conclusions to be picked up by the scholar as he goes along; mediaeval education concentrated on first forging and learning to handle the tools of learning, using whatever subject came handy as a piece of material on which to doodle until the use of the tool became second nature.”

If we want to turn our students into independent, responsible adults, then is it time we moved away from simply cramming their heads with material to pass the test, and instead taught them how to think in a creative, logical fashion?

This post Teacher Discovers that Young Students Really Can Be Taught to Think for Themselves was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Edward Cline: Elite’s Globalist Manifesto of Rules

 What's happening in Europe is about to come to the USA. Here are the plans.

Edward Cline: Elite’s Globalist Manifesto of Rules: Here is the unofficial, malign preamble to the globalist takeover of the world. It could just as well suffice as a warning of Islamic con...

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Democracy vs constitutional republic and gun control

The Sunday 11/12/17 Detroit Free Press editorial by staff writer Nancy Kaffer "Dueling views on gun control" is an example of trying to solve a problem in the context of a democracy instead of a constitutional republic. A democracy always becomes tyranny of the majority where it can vote away the rights of minorities. In a constitutional republic the rights of minorities are protected by constitutional law and may not be voted away.

Ms Kaffer champions the democracy context when she cites several polls that claim most citizens don't want more guns in schools, bars and churches but that Michigan's legislature is promoting laws to expand gun carry in those places. She is saying that the majority should rule the minority. That's democracy.

A constitutional republic requires the government to protect everyone's right to self defense. Whether we should have that right can never be put up to a vote. The proper context is how do we go about properly exercising our right of self defense while protecting the rights of other citizens? This can be put up to a vote but only within the context of protecting rights. For example:

Waving a gun around in public is an objective threat. Our laws call it 'brandishing.' The government can forbid this not because it has any power to restrict rights, but because it is protecting the rights of other citizens. Carrying a gun on your person or even open carrying is not brandishing and should not be outlawed. On the other hand, property rights provides citizens the right to forbid guns on their own property.

How best to exercise our rights to keep and bear arms should always be debated in the context of how to protect rights instead of restricting them. The reason this context must be maintained is based on the logical fact that the right to violate or threaten to violate other's rights with a gun is a right that does not exist. Therefore government cannot restrict something that doesn't exist. So what does exist? The rights of other citizens. Protecting them is the right context.

 I think banning guns in schools, bars and churches makes those people sitting ducks for any murderous psychopath. But that has to be left up to the decisions of the property owners and patrons. Unfortunately, if government owns the schools then it can turn all those students into defenseless victims, a power it should not have. The purpose of government is to protect rights, not ignore them.

Lastly, Most politicians want to get reelected and will be cognizant  of voters' wants. If those polls are right about "most people" not wanting more guns, why didn't they tell their politicians about what they wanted? Politicians watch polls like a hawk. So I view those polls with a lot of suspicion.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

More racist Trump bashing.

Tuesday's 10/24 Macomb Daily carries an oped by Leonard Pitts, a writer for the Miami Herald. (Click on 'opinion'). It's an anti-Trump screed titled "Donald Trump, poster boy for white privilege." Here we go with the white privilege meme so popular in progressive circles today.

First Mr Pitts sets up the target he wants to attack, the lack or patriotism allleged of former president Barack Obama.
"It was that some people said he didn't have any. The claim was based on the flimsiest of evidence: his failure to wear an American flag pin on his lapel and a picture, widely circulated online, that purported to show him with hands clasped instead of over his heart, refusing to cite the Pledge of Allegiance."
Then here comes the excuse making:
"Of course, most men don't wear flag pins. And the picture was taken during the singing of the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance."
Well, let me say that most men are not president of the USA and sworn to uphold it's Constitution. The leader of any nation is always supposed to advance some positive aspects of the nation he represents. A pin or badge or banner or garment or salute or some such is usually in order. Evidently, not for Obama. As for the picture? Come on! So Obama's target of disrespect was the Anthem and not the Pledge? Talk about flimsy!

Pitts then quotes several prominent people who questioned Obama's patriotism and then followed it up with:
"Donald Trump has faced no sustained questions about his patriotism, though the evidence of his lack thereof is far more substantial than an empty lapel and a photograph. Indeed, in just the last few days, we've learned that he failed for almost two weeks to contact the families of four America soldiers killed in Niger. He did, however, manage to squeeze in multiple Twitter feuds and lots of golf in that time."
The reason Trump 'faced no sustained questions about his patriotism' is because the evidence for that patriotism is overwhelming. As for not calling the families for almost two weeks, I can't see how that has anything to do with lack of patriotism. Waiting a short while for the families to do initial grieving seems very respectful and, I must add, presidential of Mr Trump.

But most disappointing for me is Mr Pitts willingness to play the race card for the political purpose of bashing Trump by claiming 'double standards imposed by race':
"The black guy fails to wear a lapel pin and endures months of questions about whether he belongs. The white guy canoodles with Russia, insults the intelligence community, undermines the judiciary and makes a Gold Star widow cry, dismissing her husband's sacrifice as, apparently, just one of those things."

That, my readers, is a completely racist paragraph. President Obama did not refuse to wear a lapel pin or endure months of questions about his patriotism because he was black. He did it because of his ideas, his obvious contempt for America and its founding principles, his stated desire to 'fundamentally transform the United States of America" and prancing around the world apologizing to tyrants, dictators and assorted butchers of human life for America's existence.

I don't have to defend Trump here but I will say some in the intelligence community needed insulting for doing nothing about Hillary's 'canoodling' with the Russians and our uranium supply. Whatever Trump did he didn't do it because he was white. He did it because of his ideas, his stated desire to make America great again.

Mr Pitts is not alone. Because they have not defined precisely what racism is and are thus unable to mount an attack on it, lots of black and white intellectuals are left to fight white racism against blacks with black racism against whites, an exercise in futility.

In closing I will say that the only way to defeat racism is to stop focusing on all our differences like skin color and nationalities through policies like multiculturalism, egalitarianism, diversity etc. and start focusing on the things we do have in common like equal individual rights, and how to adjudicate them.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Europe's Next World War Begins in France

 Here is an excellent article on the suicidal nature of clinging to a moral principle while ignoring the purpose of a moral principle, to show men how to live a life proper to a reasoning animal.

Europe's Next World War Begins in France

Friday, October 20, 2017

The missing cause of poor academic results

The Thursday Oct 20 Detroit News has a series of editorials on why Michigan students in particular and U.S. students in general are falling behind other nations in educational achievement.

I have been reading such editorials on public education's failures for many decades. Such attempts at solving the problem range from 1.lack of money (this is a perennial), 2. no supplies, 3. lack of access to this or that or some other thing. Even circular arguments like 'poor academic results are due to lack of access to a quality education' have been used!!!  I can't count the times I've seen articles claiming we need better standards, new standards, a stronger or newer commitment to better results and so on.

But if one wants to really make progress in finding a cure for the never ending poor academic results, one needs to examine the one concept almost never mentioned, curriculum. The questions that need to be asked are what is the reading curriculum, the math curriculum and the history and science curricula?

But first in my view we must ask what is a curriculum? According to this blog:

"In the most general sense, curriculum is a course of study. But as Great Schools Partnership notes, in practice it typically refers to objectives, lessons and assessments:
“...curriculum typically refers to the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn, which includes the learning standards or learning objectives they are expected to meet; the units and lessons that teachers teach; the assignments and projects given to students; the books, materials, videos, presentations, and readings used in a course; and the tests, assessments, and other methods used to evaluate student learning. An individual teacher’s curriculum, for example, would be the specific learning standards, lessons, assignments, and materials used to organize and teach a particular course.”"
I agree with this description. So a curriculum is a method of teaching a given subject, a lesson plan so to speak which would include all relevant materials. For example, Spanish and English just to name two, are phonetic languages thus the most efficient way to teach them would be phonetically. Sounding out vowels and consonants into syllables followed with rules of grammar and so on. That would be a reading method or curriculum.

Chinese however, employs a pictorial method usually called sight recognition where the phonetic method could not work. There are of course other attributes of these two methods of learning. But I think that if an elementary school system is turning out students that can't read at the end of grade three then it should compel us to examine with a fine toothed comb the reading curriculum, the lesson plans and even teacher's aides used in class. The same approach should be taken to all other subjects.

Nowhere in the above linked-to editorials is there a demand to examine the curricula of our elementary and secondary schools. We need to make that demand now. Since most of our schools are run by the government I will further recommend looking for political candidates that will demand a microscopic look at curriculum, lesson plans and the like. Next year is an election year so now is a good time to let candidates know your vote depends on their stand on this issue.

Monday, October 09, 2017

About gun control

Since the Las Vegas shooting the Democrat Party, media and academia have been barn-storming for more government restrictions on guns. Yet we already have laws against fully automatic rifles, against killing other humans and the hotel I'm told, was a gun free zone. None of these laws prevented the shooter from murdering 59 people.

Criminals by definition don't obey laws. The notion expressed by Senator Charles Schumer and the power lusting Democrats that more laws will magically result in criminals obeying them which will then make us safer is beyond the pall of sloppy thinking or any other seemingly innocent rush to judgement. There is nothing innocent about it.

The leftists (progressives) that now dominate the Democrat Party care only about power, the power of force over the masses. You can't reason with them. If you try to talk to them in terms of principles like for example you point out that the method of killing-guns-is not the problem but rather the act of killing is the crime, you may as well talk to a wall. They are not open to reason.

A truck was used in Paris to kill 85 people. Should we call for a ban on "assault trucks"? The notion that a weapon can have a designation of 'assault' is to impart free will to inanimate matter, it is to believe  that guns run around jumping into the hands of people compelling them to pull the trigger. To designate assault as the only purpose is to deny its ability to be used in self defense, a major but required evasion for progressives.

But, you might ask, Democrats don't really believe that do they? Yes they do. Democrats have a long history defending robbers, murderers, rapists, (Hillary defended successfully the raper of a 12 year old girl) various psychopaths and other maniacs claiming "It's not your fault. Society made you this way."

And so it is with Mr Paddock. The availability of guns made him do it. He is only partially responsible I presume, for not understanding the evil intent of the guns. You see, he is the victim of an irrational society flooding him with these evil guns. But I say to put any blame on the guns at all is to remove some blame from the shooter and there is nothing morally good about that though it is standard MO for progressives.

Many Democrats are claiming that guns are out of control. But the question to be asked is "Whose control?" Every gun owner I know is in control of his guns. Mr Paddock was in control of his guns. They weren't out of control. Obviously the only control acceptable to Democrats is governmental control and that--a disarmed citizenry, is the real goal of the Democrats.

The claim that Democrats are only concerned about public safety is a real stretch. All statistics show that where guns are plentiful, murders by guns are way down and where guns are heavily restricted murder rates skyrocket. Yet you can't even communicate these facts to them. Whatever their motives, a concern for public safety is not one of them.

More articles on gun control can be found here.