Re: Strategic Intolerance

Dejan Vucinic (
Tue, 01 Oct 1996 13:57:26 -0500

>I get a funny feeling participating in this discussion. Is there anyone on
>this list who could reasonably be accused of being servile? Thought not.
>Why are we discussing this? Reilly, if you want to crush the servility
>meme, you are preaching to the choir here. I'm with Hagbard Celine: "Non
>serviam, baby."

You can certainly *accuse* anyone of being servile. Being servile
doesn't necessarily have to be bad for the accused, though. We're in
the values arena again: who's to say what's good for you? Yourself,
of course. But what if you're brought up in such a way as to sincerely
believe that serving other people is the right way? Again, you can
*accuse* your parents/guardians/state/whatever of brainwashing you, but
that's just stating that your set of values is different from their set
of values. I have figured out quite some time ago that individual
happiness is not correlated with the social structure at all. I'd
rather concentrate on fostering those virtues of people that let them
accomplish more in terms of what I think of as magnificent, but that
statement *implies* my desire for some servility from the subjects.
Language is such.

>> And individuals can never learn to obey themselves - that is, develop
>> self-control - unless they have learned to obey someone above them.

>I vigorously disagree. People learn to govern themselves by being expected
>to govern themselves, preferably by their parents, from earliest

Hmm, I smell a semantic snag here. How is governing oneself according
to someone else's expectations different from obedience? Or to rephrase
the question: how many kids do you have, Eric? I don't think I fully
understand both claims, but I tend to side with Reilly. An unquestionable
authority is absolutely crucial for a child's early development. Kids'
brains undergo several phase transitions, as I have witnessed with
fascination. The problem begins where that authority stays unquestionable
beyond formative years, and where it extends beyond home. But I'm no
expert on child psychology, and furthermore, it's just a personal view
of how *I* think people should be brought up nowadays (guiding by example).
It's beyond doubt that many magnificent accomplishments of human race were
the fruit of slave labor.

>We disagree about the sorts of cultural conditions that produce
>self-governing individuals. I say people who are consistently expected to
>govern themselves learn how to do so and usually do a pretty good job.
>People who are consistently expected to submit to authority can never
>learn how to govern themselves except through luck and canniness.

But the two are the same! All people govern themselves to the extent
they perceive they have to in order to maximize their goals in life.
The other crucial ingredient is to teach them when to lead and when to
follow, and this simply doesn't make any sense unless they know authority.
You are only stating "they should all have my set of values" in different
words. Most of us act so (those who don't are poor specimens in
evolutionary terms), and some of us are self-conscious enough to realize
this and discuss it via mailing lists.

>> For the last five years, the operating
>> principle of the public schools has been that no one will be more
>> educated than the least educated.

>This is one reason why I'm more concerned about getting the government out
>of the education business than I am about changing the lifestyles of my
>hippie neighbors.

Two questions:
Eric, who do you think should be in charge then, and what's to stop
the market from simply bankrupting education?
Reilly, where should concerned parents send their five years olds in
order to evade their imminent metamorphosis into tabula rasae?