Re: SOC: Social Contract Education (Was: More Green Party)

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Sat Jul 08 2000 - 09:10:54 MDT

Well I would have to say that yes I am becoming a bit cynical. It comes
from a difference in viewpoints between the "people in general are going
to take the path of least resistance" school of thought and the "people
are basically good, and in general will 'do their part' for the greater
good" school of thought espoused by various philosophies: communism,
socialism, and in general anyone rationalizing why people shouldn't be
forced to be 100% responsible for their lives. I am falling more and more
into the first viewpoint.

>From that viewpoint, I don't know if talking about these issues is going
to have much of an effect. It's kind of like those war on drugs commercials-
you can tell people how bad (supposedly) drugs are for them, educate them
all you want. The effect? People are still going to do it. And I think of
things like welfare and medicaid like those drugs- as long as they exist
no amount of education is going to help; the only people really buying into
the education/ads are those at the other end of the Bell curve who are
already believers in self-responsibility. wrote:
> In a message dated 7/3/00 11:08:15 AM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
> > The problem here, which I haven't seen mentioned is that most of these
> > latter things are expected to be taught to people by their families
> > as they grow up. The fact that we have to now consider moving them
> > into schooling shows just how bad our "home education" system has
> > gotten in many cases. If you do try to move many of these subjects
> > into schools you are going to have a real debate on your hands as to
> > "what is the best diet?", "what are the best economic theories?",
> > "what is the best philosophy?".. you see where I am going. There would
> > be a huge flamewar in every school district. If the schools were
> > private though, it might work since each school could specialize in
> > a certain way of looking at the world and teach/brainwash that to
> > their students. Of course this viewpoint would be exactly the same as
> > the parents who are paying the fees- essentially getting the same effect
> > I think as if these subjects had simply been taught at home as they
> > are now. Am I cynical?
> >
> > I think the most important underlying point is: just because a lot of
> > people happen to live in the USA doesn't mean they are well suited to
> > it. As has been noted, some people are in fact not even able to deal
> > with it. And some people like many on this list find it too restricting.
> > The education system is not going to totally fix this even if you were
> > able to agree on (good luck) a social contract curriculum. It's a deeper
> > problem I think- a one size fits all government applied to a bell curve
> > of people and lifestyles.
> I agree with you Brian, that a person's family should teach them the basic
> terms of the social contract of the society in which a person will live. But
> many things have happened that have made this ineffective in the US in the
> current age. First, there ARE a lot of immigrants here, which means that
> much of the "social education" people got in childhood doesn't "fit" the
> society they've come to live in. Second, people are much more mobile now
> than they were 100 or even 50 years ago, and the IMPLICIT social contract
> that comes with living all of one's life among the same people just doesn't
> work for a society of people that grows up in one (or more) communities, goes
> to college in another, and works in three or four more.
> I also agree that making education in the "basic deal" of our society part of
> a uniform public school curriculum isn't the ideal and certainly not the
> final answer; and also that it would ignite a lot of public debate. But
> that's sort of the idea behind what I was lamenting: We NEED to talk more
> about the fact that we expect people to take care of themselves as the
> default assumption. The fact that so few people actually annunciate this as
> a basic principle is symptomatic of a kind of "civic blindness" that won't
> get better by ignoring it (which I don't think you were advocating)
> .
> Greg Burch <>----<>
> Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide
> -or-
> ICQ # 61112550
> "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
> enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
> question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
> -- Desmond Morris

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