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A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is generally much lighter
- G. K. Chesterton

The Politicisation of Home Education

Dr. Jan Fortune-Wood is a freelance writer and home educator to four children aged 8-15. She is a supporter of ‘Taking Children Seriously’ and writes on home education, autonomous education and non-coercive parenting from a libertarian perspective.

All kinds of disparate and quiet groups become politicised when they are attacked by the state, scapegoated and weakened. That’s what Brian Micklethwait pointed out in an article on August 26th on Samizdata. He cites as an example Britain’s gun owners, who were made to take the blame for the actions of evil people and who as a result “suddenly started to care about things like libertarianism also.”

It’s a point well made, but when he goes on to say that another group who may be about to experience a similar process are ‘home schoolers’ (the British term he was struggling to find is actually ‘home educators’ or ‘home based educators’) he is several years behind the movement. Micklethwait is quite right that across the English-speaking world there are various efforts of “professional state educators” trying to erode the rights of home educators on the grounds that it is “a strange and scandalous legal anomaly.” However, what he has not realised is that we home educators have been on to them for some time and politicisation is well and truly underway, even maturing in certain sectors.

The home education movement in Britain is at least twenty five years old in its established form and the last ten years have seen a massive rise in politicisation, much of it associated with the communication benefits afforded by the Internet. One home education support group (Education Otherwise) was instrumental in getting a change in the law so that parents can now automatically de-register their children from school without the old legal loophole of needing to establish and prove their educational provision before de-registration could take place. → Continue reading: The Politicisation of Home Education

Meteor strike in UK

This one has got to be the long shot of the year.

It has happened before. A rather hefty woman was hit by a larger rock that came through her roof some decades ago; a car boot got well dented by another in the last decade; and I think a dog got killed or injured by one.

From the smiling face I assume she had good sensible shoes on and is not now walking with a limp.

Race doesn’t matter much anymore

I’ve been reading a few items on genetics recently and have also run across some assorted blog articles on the topic at Gene Expression. I must admit it’s caused much thoughtful daydreaming on my part: enough, perhaps, for several articles. For now I’ll settle on one item.

Race simply doesn’t matter much any more and is becoming less and less of an issue as each generation goes by. The US Census showed interracial marriage accelerated drastically in the last decade in America; and I have it on the best of anecdotal data from fellow editor Perry de Havilland the same is true in London.

I think I know why.

Let’s look at the generations of the last century. In a personal sense I can “reach back” to 1910 when my grandparents were born. From there I can follow the evolution of attitudes over 20 year generational intervals.

1910-1930: This generation grew up with racism as a philosophically backed reality of every day life. The underpinnings of the Nazi Aryan hypothesis were everywhere and were not just a Nazi invention. Adolph the Paper-Hanger didn’t really invent much. He just dipped into the turn of the century philosophy and ripped the arse out of it. This is not to say the Western World was Nazi or that my grandparents were; only that all existed within the same philosophical milieu.

1930-1950.: This generation was taught racism from the cradle, but grew up with World War II. They saw the horrors of the previous generation’s ideas taken to their most utterly extreme conclusion and had no choice but to reject them. Thereafter they were like church goers who have no faith but attend because mommy and daddy did, and continue to live the values they were taught because it is what they know. Ideas in motion tend to stay in motion.

1950-1970: The generation of Woodstock. They were given a very watered down version of racism from their parents and easily rejected it because there was nothing behind it. Their parents racism was a hollow sham. Even their parents were losing faith as they grew older. The only thing holding back interracial marriage was an unwillingness to face the family nightmare that would ensue from grandparents and parents. This shows up in songs: Janis Ian’s hit “Society’s Child” and the later song by the Stories, “Brother Louie” come easily to mind.

1970-1990: Their parents had lusted after members of other races but didn’t do anything much about it. What little racism they recieved from mom and dad was a pass through of deference to the grandparents. When they came of age in the 90′s they started miscenegating like rabbits – thus the Census results.

We can expect this trend to simply accelerate until there are no “races” in the US, UK, Canada and many other Western nations.

I accept that my generation limits are arbitrary, but almost any cohort blocking you chose will still grow up with the above period-piece home environments. Some regions will be time-shifted one way or the other, so not everyone will “be here now”. I’m discussing trends, not particulars.

Race as a basis for pretty much anything is a dead issue in 2002. The Tranzis’ just won’t let us bury the corpse.

A great moment in capitalism

This development of shopping technology is surely another wonderful example of the benefits of big, vulgar free enterprise. For anyone who ever tried to buy a snack from a late-night store to find the premises shut, this monster gadget could save the day.

More for the Naval historians

I actually can’t blame the whole two nights on Pearl Harbour. I must admit that the following had a bit to do with the lack of sleep as well:

  1. The excavation of the interior of the first submarine to sink an enemy ship (the second was a German boat in WWI), the Confederate CNS Hunley has been completed and conservation is in progress.
  2. The entire turret of the Union ironclad USS Monitor has been raised and is undergoing excavation. It is the very first such turret in naval history.
  3. A salvor company with rights to the Titanic is carefully recovering and conserving items for public display – but is under legal attack from statist minded sorts who are destroying its’ financial viability to do with private funds what would cost far more with public funds.
  4. The sinking of the Battleship Hiei at Guadalcanal in one of the more violent classical naval engagements of the war. This bit of historical writing uses logs and reports from both sides.
  5. The Scapa flow wrecks from the massive German fleet scuttling after Jutland; diving on the Prinz Eugen in the Pacific and information on many other wrecks is to be found here

With little effort you can find a lot more information on the many warship wrecks around the world. ones that can be dived on; ones that are being conserved for historical value and ones that are off limits war graves like HMS Royal Oak at Scapa Flow.

Go forth and lose thy sleep!

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A pox on the RIAA

Teddy Sherrill over on The American Kaiser has an article lambasting the RIAA for attempting to gain the legal right to hack your computer in order to protect a flawed and obsolete business model.

If anything Sherrill’s article actually understates the horrendous civil liberties implications of this power grab.

Remember Pearl Harbour

I’m in a serious state of sleep deprivation and it is all the fault of the Internet for supplying such incredible information. I’ve been on the net since the 70′s and I still have a sense of wonder at it all. I sometimes feel I am living in the Science Fiction novels of my youth.

This item on the history, archaeology and conservation at Pearl Harbour is absolutely guaranteed to keep any naval history buff up for the night.

There is a more serious side as well. This quote, found in the above referenced document, is something for our enemies to consider well and long as we approach a solemn day of remembrance:

“. . . viewed the United States as an essentially pacifistic nation, one that inevitably would sustain the first blow in any war. Once aroused by that shock, the nation could overcome virtually any obstacle to victory. Because of that characteristic, it was unavoidable — even necessary, in Preis’ view — that this nation suffer the initial defeat at Pearl Harbor. He meant his design for the memorial to be a reminder to Americans of the inevitability of sustaining the initial defeat, of the potential for victory, and the sacrifices necessary to make the painful journey from defeat to victory” – Michael Slackman

We will never forget. There will be wreaths laid on a Pennsylvania field for centuries if not millennia into the future.

In a thousand years there will be those among the stars who trace their ancestry to America as Americans do to England. As the history of England is an inseparable part of American history, so too will the terrible events of last year – and of December 7th, 1941 – be part of the soul of those who come after us.

Support for Boston Tea Party grows

The Boston Globe printed new poll results on Thursday, August 29th which show support for the repeal of the state income tax has grown from 30% to 40%. The poll was conducted by KRC Communications Research (Democratic pollsters). It was based on a survey of 801 likely voters. What is even more exciting about these results is the poll occurred before the Massachusetts LP’s full page supporting ad appeared in the Globe.

This is getting very interesting!

For more information try the Small Government web site, Carla Howell for Governor or Michael Cloud for US Senate

Samizdata slogan of the day

The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.
- G. K. Chesterton

With friends like these…

Some of the more perceptive anti-war bloggers like Jim Henley must despair when certain opponents of possible U.S. action against Iraq turn out to be little better than odious apologists for Saddam’s regime. An example of this breed is former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who has been touring Iraq warning that a strike against Iraq would constitute a huge violation of international law.

Watching Britain’s Channel Four television news show last night, we were treated to an interview with this gentleman, and it had the effect of hardening my conviction that Saddam’s regime has to go. How come? Well, when asked about the reported use of chemical weapons against Kurdish villagers in the 1980s, Clark dismissed it out of hand. When asked if he thought weapons inspectors should be let into Iraq to verify whether weapons of mass destruction were being stockpiled and manufactured, he dismissed the notion, saying such inspections could never work. He claimed – without citing hard evidence – that WMDs hardly exist in Iraq and that Saddam has no desire to build them. And of course he repeated the line that economic sanctions against Iraq have led to the deaths of millions, though he declined to cite clear evidence or reflect on the fact that if Iraq is so poor, it is odd that it can afford to offer financial rewards to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

There are perfectly honorable reasons for opposing war with Iraq, such as concerns about the aftermath of such a war, the possibility of igniting further trouble down the line, and the fact that Iraq, may not be the prime mover behind the 9/11 attacks. But when supposedly eminent folk seek to portray Saddam as some kind of misunderstood old gent who simply is the victim of hostile forces and events, then one has to smell a rat. With friends like Ramsey Clark, Saddam hardly needs enemies.