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Ne laissez jamais une crise se perdre

As President Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said in 2008, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. I mean, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

The Daily Mail reports,

French parents are to be BANNED from home-schooling their kids as part of Emmanuel Macron’s fight back against Islamic extremism

Parents who home-school their children could face up to six months in prison under new measures to combat Islamic extremism in France.

The bill, which was unveiled on Wednesday, will make it a crime for children to be taught at home.

It is an attempt to stop children from being influenced by religious radicals, the Times reported.

It comes after the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded last month after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class during a lesson on free speech.

Samuel Paty was murdered by Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, an 18-year-old Muslim Russian refugee of Chechen ethnicity.

Not home schooled then. Certainly not home schooled in France. But what about the perpetrators of other Islamic terrorist attacks in France? The relevant Wikipedia article does not make it easy to tell, since someone has decided to remove the names of the terrorists. But so far as I know none of the perpetrators of the biggest terrorist outrages in France were homeschooled. Like their counterparts in the UK they were typically products of their country’s state education system who first turned to petty crime and then were “redeemed” by Islam.

32 comments to Ne laissez jamais une crise se perdre

  • jmc

    The news story in English tells one story. The actual speech by Macron is more nuanced..

    https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/france-facts/secularism-and-religious-freedom-in-france-63815/article/fight-against-separatism-the-republic-in-action-speech-by-emmanuel-macron

    >>
    But here too we’ve seen shifting and circumventions, and we have our work cut out for us. Right now more than 50,000 children are being home-schooled, and each year the number grows larger. Every week, school principals discover cases of children who are completely outside of the system. Every month, prefects close schools – or so-called schools, because they’re not declared as such, they are illegal, and are often administered by religious extremists. Throughout our country, parents are approaching school principals, saying, “No more music class or he won’t come back. No more swimming with other kids or he won’t come back.” It’s as simple as that. Then certificates are presented for chlorine allergies, then there are repeated absences, and finally the child is pulled out of school. “We’re going to register him in the National Center for Distance Education (CNED),” we hear. “It will work out very well. It’s easier for us.” These children don’t go to the CNED. Sometimes they receive no education at all. Or they go to places that are completely undeclared. Last week, we identified another one in Seine-Saint-Denis. Very simple buildings, walls with practically no windows. The children arrive at 8 each morning and leave at 3, they are greeted by women wearing the niqab. When you ask them, you find out that their education consists of prayers and certain classes. That’s a fact. We must look at it and call it what it is.
    <<

    Basically about 15K/20K actual real home schoolers. The rest are mostly salafi radicals taking their kids out of the state system. I know how the French educational system works. Based on the headlines my first reaction was – More Macron Bluster. After reading the full speech – a genuine attempt to deal with a very real problem. My guess is that genuine home schoolers will be allowed to continue after a while, just with more checks. And the salafis will be shut down and kept under very close supervision.

  • Deep Lurker

    Governments use public education and public ownership of the media to control the information that their citizens receive. More totalitarian governments as well as those with larger wealth transfers make greater investments in publicly controlled information. This finding is borne out from cross-sectional time-series evidence across countries and is confirmed when the recent fall of communism is specifically examined. My results reject the standard public-good view linking education and democracy, and I find evidence that public educational expenditures vary in similar ways to government ownership of television stations. Country-level data on the organization of families as well as data on South African public schools are also examined.

    -John R. Lott
    -Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism
    https://crimeresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Lott-Public-Schooling-JPEv107S.pdf

    The Modern State hates home schooling.

  • So you tell the French Government “Kids are living with grandma in Spain” and teach your kids from home.

    What are they gonna do?

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thank you Deep Lurker for the link.
    I note that the article was published in 1999.
    It was still possible to do serious social research at Yale, back then.

    But jmc also has a point. It should not be dismissed out of hand.

    I might add that, due to recent events, i now trust French teachers more than British teachers; and the French media slightly more than the British media.

  • Jacob

    According to libertarian ideas – parents have an absolute right to educate their children as they see fit, including not educating or not teaching or schooling. They surely have the right to educate them at whatever religious school they prefer. (it goes without saying that they have the right to home-school).

    The totalitarian state (or quasi totalitarian modern state) provides “free” (tax funded) education in state schools – to make sure that every child has education available, without economic limitations. But, a more important purpose of government schooling is to indoctrinate children in the “correct”, state devised, education and ideas. The curriculum and teaching matters in state schools are determined by the government, regardless of parents. Therefore education in state schools is not only available – but compulsory. They insist on it so children will be taught the “right”, state approved, ideas, and not fall prey to unauthorized, wrong ideas (or no schooling at all).

    The justification for this totalitarian feature is the claim that a uniform education will produce a common basis for future citizen interaction and will help reduce conflicts. And – that leaving children ignorant is wrong. (“Educated” meaning what the state says it means).
    So – while libertarians believe in freedom, the modern state believes that the STATE is supreme, it is the new GOD, it has infinite wisdom, infinite goodness and infinite right and ability to coerce it’s children to receive the “right” education.
    There is nothing unusual or surprising or remarkable in Macron’s speech.

  • pst314

    “According to libertarian ideas – parents have an absolute right to educate their children as they see fit, including not educating or not teaching or schooling. They surely have the right to educate them at whatever religious school they prefer.”

    So maybe it’s a serious mistake to allow immigration of followers of a religion that is incompatible with and hostile to your own culture. But that’s a dilemma, as immigration restrictions are contrary to libertarian ideas.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “According to libertarian ideas – parents have an absolute right to educate their children as they see fit, including not educating or not teaching or schooling. They surely have the right to educate them at whatever religious school they prefer.”

    There’s a debate about that. I’d say there was unambiguously a libertarian right for an individual to decide their own education, so long as they are able to make an informed choice. Where people are not able to make an informed choice, as when they are children, we accept that other people who know them best and have their best interests at heart can make the decision on their behalf. This is an important distinction. The guardian is making the decision on behalf of the child, in the best interests of the child, not on behalf of the guardian. Parents are normally seen as the best people to do that – they know them and love them best. But not all parents do, and there are limits. Parents don’t own their children, their rights are not absolute, they act on the child’s behalf.

    “But, a more important purpose of government schooling is to indoctrinate children in the “correct”, state devised, education and ideas.”

    The same may be said of education at home. An authoritarian parent wishes to indoctrinate their child in correct beliefs and behaviour, and prevent them being indoctrinated in any rival beliefs. And sometimes that’s OK and works out, and sometimes the parents are complete bastards with absolute power over every aspect of a child’s entire existence. The same people who set the government curriculum can be parents. The same people who vote for the government to institute those policies can be parents. Most people are not liberatarians, but they can all be parents. And parents teaching at home have no limits, no regulations, no inspectors, or outsiders monitoring what they do. There are no checks and balances to their power. And so what people vote for the state to do, the same people can do to their own children without any limits, or alternative viewpoints taken into account. Democratic governments have to compromise between the different factions, parents don’t. So you don’t get a bland mush of popular beliefs and behaviours among the voting masses, you get every extreme form of them going.

    What chance does the child of Communist SJW parents have? Or the child of a religious bigot? Or a cult? Or a sadistic pervert? Or a conspiracy-theorising nutjob hiding out from the black helicopters? You know what sorts of things people believe – you see what they vote for. Would you let those voters control your own education? Would you let one person control every channel of information you have about the world?

    That’s not to say that the state does it any better. But the question bears thinking on.

  • george m weinberg

    “parents have an absolute right to educate their children as they see fit”. No. Parents do not own their children. Exactly what is and when it comes to raising their children is a question on which libertarians disagree, but virtually nobody says parents’ rights are unlimited.

    OTOH, very few would recommend sending children to government-run schools.

  • Paul Marks

    “Nullius” has done it again – rather than the truth, that Frankfurt School of Marxism “SJW” doctrines (and other vile doctrines) are spread by the education system, with children being turned against their parents (and against everything good) – he pretends that the parents are the source of the evil doctrines and the state education system is open minded and teaches children to value liberty and different points of view.

    Turning aside from the despicable liar (indeed inverter of the truth) “Nullius” – of course parents should have the right to home school their children. Certainly there will be bad parents – but the possibility of bad parents is small compared to possibility (indeed the near certainty) of a bad “education system”.

    President Macron may not have the evil intentions that the National Socialist government of Germany had when it banned Home Schooling in the 1930s, but his edict will do any harm, not good.

    “But Paul the French education system could teach how Muhammed did evil things and that the doctrines he taught were nonsense”. What chances are there of that? I submit that the chance is so close to zero that it cam be ignored.

  • Paul Marks

    The Western response to Islamic terrorism is based on the theory that the terrorists have either misunderstood or deliberately distorted the life of Muhammed and his teachings.

    What is the evidence for this theory?

    Until the evidence is presented and shows the theory likely to be correct, then such things as the Afghan War (now over 19 years old) do not make sense. As these wars are based on the idea that one goes in and overthrows a few evil men who do NOT represent the real doctrines of Islam as believed by the general population.

    A few men misunderstanding or deliberately the life and the teachings of Muhammed – that is a THEORY, not an established fact. To base policy, foreign and domestic, on a theory without presenting compelling evidence for this theory, is unwise.

  • llamas

    jmc wrote:

    “My guess is that genuine home schoolers will be allowed to continue after a while, just with more checks. And the salafis will be shut down and kept under very close supervision.”

    My prediction (not guess) based upon 2 decades of responses by various French governments to Islamist pressures, is that the outcome will be exactly the opposite of your guess. ‘Genuine’ homeschoolers will be pursued and punished with the peculiar vigour that is the hallmark of the petty bureaucrat when dealing with persons who are merely resisting the prevailing orthodoxy and not actually doing any harm to anyone. Meanwhile, Islamist parents who take their children out of school in order to ‘educate’ them according to their beliefs will be pursued only infrequently, punished only occasionally, and generally left free to do just as they please. The French state will investigate and prosecute one or two such cases, every now and then, just so they can claim to be ‘doing something’ – but every indigene that chooses to educate their children outside the state system, no matter how effectively they do so, will be rigourously and continually prevented form doing so.

    A bottle of Elijah Craig single-barrel says I’m right.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Nullius in Verba

    “he pretends that the parents are the source of the evil doctrines and the state education system is open minded and teaches children to value liberty and different points of view.”

    Where in my comment did I say anything to imply “the state education system is open minded and teaches children to value liberty and different points of view”? Point it out to me.

    Oh, wait, you can’t. Because I didn’t say that. Because you’re a liar. And not for the first time.

    The government is made up of ordinary people. The government is voted in by ordinary people. The government is the way it is because that’s what ordinary people are like. We have a Libertarian Party in the UK, you know how many votes they got at the last election? Vote them in, if you think people are so wise and sensible.

  • Paul Marks

    In the 19th century a fashionable theory was as follows…..

    “If we do not set up a state education system, or at least a system of state inspectors, some children will grow up UNABLE TO EVEN READ AND WRITE!”.

    Of course today we can all smile at the fallacy in the theory (it is based on the idea that if such a system is created children will NOT grow up unable to read and write – a theory we now know to be FALSE), but the theory seemed quite plausible at the time.

    When, for example, Horace Mann argued before 1852 that if the system he proposed in Massachusetts was not enacted some children would grow up “even unable to read and write” it would NOT be fair to laugh at him – ditto with Governor John Jay in New York.

    However, if one took (for example) Governor John Jay to the horrors modern New York City government schools – and he STILL came out with such “arguments” it would be time to hit over the head with a brick.

    The same is true of the prison system that Governor Jay set up (rather than hanging for severe offenses and a flogging for less serious offenses) – which he sincerely believed would “reform” criminals.

    Well Governor Jay how much “reforming” is going on in your prisons? And how much “enlightening” is going on in the government schools of New York City?

    As he was a sincere and well meaning man, it would be cruel to ask Governor Jay such questions – cruel, but necessary.

  • Fraser Orr

    I think what the right thing to do here depends on an understanding of the relationship of parents, children and the state. And people have some pretty blurred lines on this. To me, as a libertarian, it goes like this: children are not competent to make informed choices and exercise their rights consequently some guardian must do so on their behalf. Usually the first to volunteer, and nature demands the ones with the first dibs, are the parents. However, it is a bargain. Parents get to exercise the rights of their children but must do so in a manner that is for the benefit of the child, and not for themselves. If they fail to do so then their forfeit the right to exercise the rights of the child, and someone else must take over. The state being the ultimate, ugly, last resort.

    The question as to what is to the benefit of the child is a hard one. If, for example, I make my kid mow the lawn, am I doing it for my benefit or for their benefit? A bit of both I guess. However, if I send him up the chimneys it is hard to find a justification. And so, since the state has very poor alternatives to offer, then the bar really must be set quite low so to what “benefit of the child” means, since if the state takes them then the child will be greatly disadvantaged.

    So there are some basic things a child definitely needs — food and adequate clothing, shelter, freedom from violence and oppression, and in the modern world, an education. So on this last point, much as parent might have a “right to raise their child as they see fit” they do not have a right to deprive them of an education. It is a breach of the very “contract” underlying guardianship.

    So it seems to me the approach is fairly simple: children can be tested on a regular basis to determine if they are learning enough, and if not, it is reasonable to ask if the parents are in breach of their duties. So, it seems to me that regular (maybe twice a year) testing, is in order. However, the state doesn’t want to do that for three reasons:

    1. Their schools are so poor in places they would fail many of the kids in their charge.
    2. They want the schools to be a means to snoop on parents.
    3. Schools are a big source of power for governments.

    However, schools, if it be so in France, that only teach their children prayers, are not meeting their most basic obligations as parents, and so force is appropriate in a “defense of others” manner.

  • bobby b

    “So it seems to me the approach is fairly simple: children can be tested on a regular basis to determine if they are learning enough, and if not, it is reasonable to ask if the parents are in breach of their duties.”

    Sounds great, if I get to be the one who designs the tests and writes the questions.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Sounds great, if I get to be the one who designs the tests and writes the questions.

    Sure, I hope your calculus is up to snuff 😉

  • bobby b

    “Sure, I hope your calculus is up to snuff”

    But that’s my point. I might test on the knowledge of The Prophet’s life and words, the proper use of pronouns when addressing gay non-lesbian women, or Biblical treatments of Antifa liberation theology.

    People are taking their kids out of schools precisely because they think the schools are teaching – and thus testing – the wrong things.

    You exhibit all of the signs of OWG technocrat bias – you think that STEM subjects ought to be taught. So do I. But many parents think there are other more important subjects, while still others think that those STEM subjects are being given short shrift in our system.

    Everyone wants to design their own test. So, saying that kids need to be tested begs the original question.

    (“Calculus” is just the plural of “calculator”, right?)

  • Fraser Orr

    bobby b
    But that’s my point. I might test on the knowledge of The Prophet’s life and words, the proper use of pronouns when addressing gay non-lesbian women, or Biblical treatments of Antifa liberation theology.

    I understood your point and it is a good one. But one thing about school boards or counties is that you can move your kid fairly easily. I certainly am not advocating a national standard — I don’t advocate a national standard for anything. Great sucking up of all decisions to the central government is why the country is very soon going to collapse. FWIW, we do have standard tests, things like SAT and ACT which don’t really suffer from these problems (not much at least.) Both, I might add, produced commercially and (god help us) for profit.

    People are taking their kids out of schools precisely because they think the schools are teaching – and thus testing – the wrong things.

    Like I said, such tests really have to be a very low bar. And there is a difference between believing something and knowing it. If you want to teach your kids that the earth is 6,000 years old, then that is fine, as long as they also know what the scientific answer is to that question.

    (“Calculus” is just the plural of “calculator”, right?)

    No I think it is the junk that is left if you don’t brush your teeth.

  • The problem with “Edumacation” full stop is that your choice ends up being

    “Which shit sandwich do you want to take a nice juicy bite out of?”

    Do you want the “Citizenship and State Propaganda” choice (essentially what Macron is demanding) and comparing that to the alternate of “Mo the Pedo’s Islamic Indoctrination program” as defined by the local Imam in the hidden backstreet madrassa?

    The alternative not offered, nor even mentioned is the “Independent free thinking” program (aka “No shit sandwich for me thanks!”).

    Quite a few parents (myself included) have wrestled with this dilemma, but given that we are too busy acting as wage slaves to educate our children the way we would want to have been educated ourselves, we mostly end up making compromises along the lines of putting our kids through the state system and then “un-indoctrinating” them about the worst parts of it. The joke about conspiracy theories is that you end up in a mini-conspiracy with your own kids because you tell them the truth and then tell them “Don’t repeat that in school. Use the school approved propaganda”.

    The other aspect of the mini-conspiracy is making your kid understand that nothing which happens outside the school (home, social and holidays) should ever be repeated in school. Indeed if ever asked about home life they are to play dumb and tell us about it when they get home.

    For libertarian parents schools and their attended thugs, quacks and narks from social services are a minefield and a parents worst nightmare…especially when they essentially force themselves into your home as happened with my wife and I when Samantha had just started school. That was a terrifying and enlightening experience of the state at work.

    If I was raising a child here in Perth, Scotland I would be far more paranoid than I was back then… and justifiably so!

  • Stonyground

    I would have voted for them if they had fielded a candidate. The only choices were liblabcon non of whom represent my views in the slightest. I spoilt the ballot and since then my decision has been vindicated in spades.

  • John Galt’s response (November 20, 2020 at 7:15 am) + 1. State schools are a way the state may discover from your children that you do not cringe to their propaganda. It can be attempted by top-down organisation, as in Scotland’s ‘Named Person’, or more by incentive – just have most teachers be of a certain opinion and rely on their dislike of kids coming back next day and arguing with them.

    My guess is that genuine home schoolers will be allowed to continue after a while

    That is a bad guess – contrary to how politics works. If they started with identifying and oppressing only explicitly Islamic schools it would be possible to imagine they might stop there. If they start by shutting down everyone they will of course hit the less radical “teach my kids better than the school” people more than the law-breakers, just as gun bans take the guns of the law-abiding more than the criminals.

    When a politician announce that what they always wanted to do looks to them like the solution to a crisis their political thought said would not arise, you should examine the proposal “not only with the most cautious but the most suspicious attention” (Adam Smith).

    just with more checks.

    ‘just’ 🙂 ( 😡 )

    And the salafis will be shut down and kept under very close supervision. (jmc, November 19, 2020 at 12:36 pm)

    You seriously imagine the state that unequally enforces the lockdown will even equally enforce this. Macron attacks parents equally (in theory) to pretend there is no discrimination. In practice there will be much discrimination – against the group from which the teacher-killer did not come.

    maybe it’s a serious mistake to allow immigration of followers of a religion that is incompatible with and hostile to your own culture. (pst314, November 19, 2020 at 4:44 pm)

    It certainly is if a power in your own land wants to use them to take your freedom. Blair promised to “rub the British people’s noses in diversity” – by which he meant to reduce our freedom on the plea that our freedom was incompatible with their presence. He broke laws and lied to Parliament to do this. Importing so many so fast of a group for which the plea had more content than most – and so who needed the assimilating effect of not arriving all at once in a balkanising crowd – was always a sinister idea.

    I understood your point and it is a good one. But one thing about school boards or counties is that you can move your kid fairly easily. (Fraser Orr, November 20, 2020 at 4:04 am)

    Not true where I live. And even if you have a genuinely wide choice of different school boards or counties, why should not you yourself be included? It is basic statistics that the average parent is more concerned and more knowledgeable about the welfare of their own children than even each of a choice of school teachers and board administrators are about each of the many children in their charge.

  • After my long comment on what others have said, a comment of my own.

    Is Macron genuinely concerned, experiencing a sudden wake-up (as e.g. the Kavanaugh hearings were said to have caused in senator Lindsey Graham)? Or is he just reading the polls and seeing that the chances of the Front Nationale are experiencing a bit of a wake-up?

    Very deep down, the same war is raging as we’ve seen in the UK and the US, but history means it can threaten to take forms which the superior political culture of the anglosphere easily evaded.

    – At the start of 2020, British Brexit-supporting commenters warned Irish Brexit-hating commenters to worry about their own electorate. The spring victories of Sinn Fein demonstrated that the ugliness the Irish commenters had claimed to see in the UK was rather to be sought in the direction their history had given their own land’s different expression of the issue.

    – Le Pen’s daughters have improved the Front Nationale party from what it was under their father, but there remain, as estate agents say, ‘opportunities for development’ 🙂 ( 🙁 ). Here in the UK, with the Tories and the reforming-its-name Brexit party to consider, we hardly know we are born. Despite all our moanings (mine too), we don’t really know what a difficult political choice is!

    We also don’t know what really concerns Macron. He may not be that consciously clear about it himself. And unless he dares defy both political correctness and the EU, he is boxed in over what he can actually do.

  • @Niall – Macron (or Jupiter as he prefers) is so far up his own arse he can smell the roses. However, even he can read the polls and his popularity is drifting to the point where there is not much in it between himself and Marine Le Pen with Macron having a 26% voting intention and Marine Le Pen having 25%

    [LINK] France — 2022 presidential election voting intention (Politico)

    Macron can’t “Lurch to the right” to try and make up ground as he’d loose far more on the left than he would gain, so he’s trying to win the undecideds by putting a “National Secularist” spin on the whole problem of the resident immigrants refusal to fully sign up to French values, preferring their imported Islamic totalitarianism.

    He can’t easily point the finger and say “It’s the Muslims”, so he has to translate it into a more amorphous argument about French character and values.

    He doesn’t mean a word of it though, he just needs something to edge himself away from Marine Le Pen. Once he has the re-election in the bag he won’t give a toss any more. It’s little more than virtue signalling for votes.

    Living with a French guy who hates Macron with a passion has been surprisingly enlightening…

  • jmc

    @llamas

    Not quite how it works in my experience. When the state decides that one group is a threat to the foundation of the state (in this case laicite) then just watch the people in Place Beauvau very carefully deal with the problem using all the powers available to it, which are immense, and slowly grind down the problem to dust. You are probably not aware unless you closely follow the French media and have family there just how complete the supervision of all mosques etc is now in France. The authorities not happy with what you are teaching then its deportation. Born in France but still have a Magreb citizenship through parents, still deportation. Same with Fiche S. If the choice is between close supervision, locking up and deportation, out they go

    Never ever underestimate the brutality of the French state and its organs. The outward appearance may have changed somewhat over the last two or three generation but the DNA of power is still exactly the same. The reflexes of defense of that power are still the same. It is still the state of Maurice Papon. If they need to dump a couple of hundred margebs in the Seine to drown they would do it. It push came to shove.

    So I stick by my original prediction. This is not so much about Macron, it is all about the state and the defense of its foundations of power. The facts on the ground of how this power is expressed have changed little since the days of the Second Empire.

  • Jacob

    Nullius: “That’s not to say that the state does it any better. But the question bears thinking on.”
    That is of course the dilema.
    The world is not perfect. There are many bad things happening, bad people, bad ideas, wars, poverty, ignorance, tragedy.
    The difference between libertarians and statists (fascists, communists, SWJs, etc.) is – that libertarians believe that people should be free and allowed to work on their own to improve their lot as best as they can. That will not result in paradise on earth or a perfect society, but is the best that can be done.
    Statists, on the other hand, believe there is a divine and supreme entity – the STATE – which should have absolute power over individuals and use this power to create the improved society.

    So, after “thinking on this question” – though parental control over children’s education is not flawless, it is much better than Government control. The natural custodians of children are the parents. The society (government) should intervene only in cases of extreme and obvious neglect or malice in child care. That is not what happens or is advocated routinely now. The prevailing doctrine is that education is a state responsibility, to be exercised regardless of parents. This is plainly wrong. It violates the natural rights of parents and children.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    NIV makes this good point: What chance does the child of Communist SJW parents have? Or the child of a religious bigot? Or a cult? Or a sadistic pervert? Or a conspiracy-theorising nutjob hiding out from the black helicopters? You know what sorts of things people believe – you see what they vote for. Would you let those voters control your own education? Would you let one person control every channel of information you have about the world?

    This is why it is essential that there should be external checks on the quality of what a child who is homeschooled is learning, so as to avoid the problem of abusive/controlling parents indoctrinating their kids with nonsense and failing to let them learning important things. Hence the need for examinations, etc.

    The issue, however, is that groupthink and indoctrination in some ways is far harder to budge when it is sanctioned via a State claiming to be “enlightened” and the cure can be worse the the disease.

    As aside, one way to mitigate harms is to reduce the school-leaving age to 16.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “But that’s my point. I might test on the knowledge of The Prophet’s life and words, the proper use of pronouns when addressing gay non-lesbian women, or Biblical treatments of Antifa liberation theology. People are taking their kids out of schools precisely because they think the schools are teaching – and thus testing – the wrong things.”

    Yes. And people disagree over what “the wrong things” are. But I’d suggest that it’s not really the particular selection of things being taught that is the problem, but the attitude that there is only one right way to think, and children must only be allowed to think that one way. The details don’t matter. It’s the lack of choice that is the problem.

    So to take your examples – when I started at school, Christian religious education was compulsory in school. Religious education lessons taught about other religions, but every day at school assembly we said the Lord’s Prayer, and got told Biblical stories. The school play was often religious – we did Noah and the Flood one year, Joseph and the Coat of Many Colurs another. I think, technically, if you made a fuss you could get out of it. But hardly anybody did, it was just the unthinking default.

    Although not as all-pervasive, I do recall we were taught in history class about the proper address for feudal aristocratic and ecclesiastical titles. What’s the proper form of address for a king or queen, a prince or princess, a duke, marquess, earl, count, viscount, baron, knight, or an archbishob, bishop, dean, archdeacon, prebendary, canon, priest, or deacon. There are titles for MPs, judges, professors, and doctors. It was useful to know how to be polite. It did nothing to stop you being rude, of course.

    And of course a lot of the moral teaching had political implications. With the religious teaching, there was of course a lot on being charitable and kind to the poor, on helping others less fortunate than yourself. And on holding yourself to high standards of honesty, generosity, honour, kindness, and avoiding vices of all kinds – drunkenness, gambling, criminality, and sexual sin. By that time they had stopped inveighing openly against homosexuality and masturbation, but their attitude to it still showed, and pornography was still heavily restricted. You were required to behave a certain way, and taught that it was right and good and proper. It’s all part of the process of civilising our savage nature to create citizens to be able to live in society.

    Society has rules, and always did. Children need to know about them, to live in society. And they need to know about the different rules in other societies, because they’re going to meet them in our global world. But the difference between a free society and a controlled society is not that they’re teaching the wrong things, but that they’re not giving you a choice.

    You can tell a child about all the options, and the likely social consequences of each, and let them make their own informed choice. Or you can only teach them one way to be, so they have no choice. Or you can teach them of all the options, but tell them that only one of them is acceptable in society, the others are not tolerated, so again they have no choice.

    Learning about Muhammad’s history, or gender pronouns, or that some interpret Christian charity for the poor in Communist terms is not a problem. You need to know the options to make a choice. You need to know how other people believe and behave to live and work with them. The problem is only when they are not taught that there is any other acceptable way to be, when the choice and freedom is taken away.

    Yes, state schools do that. So do home schools, and parents, and society generally. It always has. Things are very very slowly getting better, but we have a long way to go yet.

    “The difference between libertarians and statists (fascists, communists, SWJs, etc.) is – that libertarians believe that people should be free and allowed to work on their own to improve their lot as best as they can. That will not result in paradise on earth or a perfect society, but is the best that can be done.
    Statists, on the other hand, believe there is a divine and supreme entity – the STATE – which should have absolute power over individuals and use this power to create the improved society.”

    There are two issues I think are being confused here.

    The difference between libertarians and authoritarians is that libertarians believe people should be free to make their own choices about how to live, as much as is possible without impinging on anybody else’s freedom. Authoritarians believe there is only one right way to live, and that people should be made to live that way for their own good and for the good of society.

    Statists believe that the right way to make people live the right way is to gather all power of coercion into the hands of an elected government, with the proper checks and balances to ensure everybody follows the same rules and nobody can change them without society’s collective approval.

    Another form of statist is a revolutionary – someone who believes the government is imposing the *wrong* rules, and to get them to impose the *right* rules wants to replace it with a government more to their liking.

    But being anarchist – the opposite of statist – doesn’t mean that you’re a libertarian though. You might just want to do away with government interference so you can impose your own rules on your immediate social group unchallenged. Cults don’t like government interference and government rules either, but they are more totalitarian than most governments could dream.

    The important distinction for freedom is whether you are free to make a choice, or whether you are only given one option. Whether the imposition of that one option is implemented through a controlling state or religion or cult leader or gang leader or by parents and teachers is irrelevant.

  • Jacob

    “Whether the imposition of that one option is implemented through a controlling state or religion or cult leader or gang leader or by parents and teachers is irrelevant.”

    That is absolutely wrong.
    The controlling state has absolute power, or – at least – great power. Great power over a great number of people – all the inhabitants of it’s territory.
    The other groups are different – religion. cult leader, parents, teachers – there are many of them, with diverse attitudes and ideas and doctrines. They don’t wield absolute power over their members or adherents.
    A system where many different structures and ideologies (some anti libertarian) compete within a framework of freedom is much better than one totalitarian, leviathan state.
    In short – comparing the power of the state to that of religions, cults, gangs or parents (or other voluntary organizations or bodies) is absurd – they are not in the same category.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “They don’t wield absolute power over their members or adherents.”

    Authoritarian parents wield absolute power over their children. Authoritarian cult-leaders wield absolute power over their followers. The strong wield absolute power over the weak. I agree that there are diverse attitudes and ideas and doctrines involved, but every such child’s situation is perfectly alike in the lack of control.

    A child cannot choose what to eat, where to live, what time to go to bed. They get no vote. They cannot say “I don’t like these parents, I want those ones over there.” They can get beaten if they disobey, or run away. A child has no choice about anything, except with the permission of their parents.

    A multitude of different species of authoritarianism is not libertarian. It takes more than mere diversity of ideology – it takes free choice between them.

  • Alan Peakall

    Fraser, I think the junk left when when you don’t brush your teeth is the Calculus of Residues; complex analysis gets covered in Part 1B;-)

  • Snorri Godhi

    Niall:

    If they started with identifying and oppressing only explicitly Islamic schools it would be possible to imagine they might stop there.

    But if you look at jmc’s link in his/her/xer first comment, Macron did say:

    What we must tackle is Islamist separatism.

    He did sweeten the pill by saying in the preceding paragraph:

    let’s not fall into the trap of conflating issues, set by polemicists and extremists, which consists in denouncing all Muslims.

    Even so: has any Anglosphere leader ever said that what “we” must tackle is Islamist separatism? I thought all what they said, theological scholars that they are, is that we must tackle misunderstanders of Islam.

  • Snorri Godhi

    A possible compromise is to require home schoolers to send their children to a state-approved school at least one day/week. That leaves the parents plenty of time to reverse the brainwashing from the school, exposes the children to a different point of view, and gives the teachers an opportunity to discover serious abuse.

    But I am just brainstorming.

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