It's actually a good thing to raise especially that there might really be schools who are like that and sometimes just do the usual things that they do in teaching their students.

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It's brain washing. history textbooks are the worst we're tough that the civil war was over slavery not states wrights. We're taught that reconstruction was a good thing. Abe Lincoln,acording to the books is some sort of saint.it makes me sick the complete bullshit thay force apon us.

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they should at middle school have diffrent jr. and high schools for diffrent acupations

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i agree i am in grade 10 and some of the teachers are so currupt i am in canada i don't know if it is diffrent in the US of A

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You know, the above may not look like a high-quality comment, but it's actually not that far off the mark...

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school is bullshit you got to school for 14 fucking years. to work in a factory. unless you are smart enough to get a job fucking other people to get rich.school is just to get you use to getting up every day so when you are done you are ready to get up evey day and go to work. it doesnt take 14 years to learn to read add and subtract and to learn lies about history.what a waste of fucking time.for a small pecentage of people school is necessary doctors lawyers etc. but for the majority its a waste of time.keep the little bastards in school and out of trouble.george washinton chopped down the cherry tree. who gives a shit.they lie to you in school.religion lies to you. the government lies to you. your parents lie .santa clause. easterbunny jesus etc.they should change the name of this planet to bullshit.

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Hey Robin!

I agree with You that there should be more discussion about the "propaganda" we teach our children and perhaps even more private schools. But there is one other thing I would like to draw Your attention to. You say:

"Consider: why do we have public schools? Even if we gained from other kids’ schooling..."

Whereby You seem to imply that we as private individuals should have only those things that are beneficial to ourselves as private individuals. If You really think so, You must be a very immoral person indeed. And if You don't, then why use such a criteria.


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"The mainstream of 100 years ago appears monstrous to us, and the current mainstream will appear barbarous to those of the future. "

This idea itself is a result of relentless progressive indoctrination.

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"The right" includes a lot of people who are neither Puritan nor Protestant. We have a lot of babies, too.

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Richard Kennaway, but three of the historical changes I mentioned do speak against current conformity. Attitudes to homosexuality - currently there is a controversy over same-sex marriage, back 70 years ago and nearly everyone agreed that homosexuality was sick. So we've moved from conformity to diversity. Descriptions I've heard from older economists is that when they were trained government failure was not mentioned, while market failure was. Now market economists are locked in fierce ideological battle with the interventionists who always assume that governments are perfect. Again, an increase in diversity on this topic. In the case of feminism, it used to be generally accepted that women should stay home with kids, now this is generally up for dispute, with more househusbands and long debates about the correct terminology. Increase in diversity.

I brought up the case of racism because as far as I can tell, the people who introduced public schools were often people who thought that racism was perfectly all right, and would have been horrified by a black man being president of the USA. That we now have a black man president of the USA implies that the views of public school founders didn't win out. And when we went from racism-is-fine to racism-is-evil, there was a time where there was a lot more diversity on the view than there is now, which is incompatible with the argument that public schools enforce conformity.

I will note that back in the 1890s there was a lot of diversity about whether heavier-than-air flying machines were possible. Now there's a lot of conformity in rich countries around the belief that they are possible. Is this conformity because people have come to value conformity a lot more, or is it just because most people in rich countries have actually flown in an aeroplane so the evidence is overwhelming? We can't just attribute all conformity in belief to a desire for conformity, we need to look at other reasons like the quality of the evidence and arguments.

This is not to say that all modern views are right, for example I notice, Richard, that you didn't answer my question as to what reason you have to believe that views have become more conformist over time, and this in my experience is typical of people who argue that public schools enforce conformity, they just can't support their claims (which is not to say that the view is wrong, all it implies is that the people holding this view are holding it for reasons other than because they've carefully and open-mindedly considered the evidence for and against).

So I certainly don't presuppose that earlier views were only accepted because of conformism while present views are accepted because they are right. Back before the Wright brothers there was more space for diversity of views about whether aeroplanes were possible, while whatever reason drives the belief that public schools cause conformity appears to be something other than the evidence supporting it. (There are a myraid of other factors driving beliefs which I haven't mentioned here because of space issues).

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[Tracy W] No, I'm just pointing out that the historical changes you mentioned don't speak against current conformity, and one speaks for it. Are you presupposing that earlier views on the subjects you mentioned, being wrong, must have been accepted because of conformism, while present views, being right, are accepted because they are right? I can't make any sense of your bringing up the history otherwise.

How to separate the quality of the arguments from the fact that everyone asserts their conclusion is an interesting question. I suppose it would begin by examining the quality of the arguments made on these matters in public school classes. But I have no contact with the American education system.

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Richard Kennaway - so you are arguing that even though people's views have changed drastically from what many members of the elite would have supported when public schooling was introduced, they might have also become more conformist overall?

Do you have any reason to believe that views have become more conformist overall, as opposed to example for anti-racist views becoming dominant because of the quality of the arguments for it?

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That attitudes have changed over time does not speak to how uniform they are in space.

You even contrasted the generally accepted view of racism today with a diversity of views a century ago. How is this evidence of a lack of conformity in the present?

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This discussion misses an obvious question - are public schools at all successful in passing on the values that the people in power would like?Since the invention of public schools we have seen the civil rights movement and the generally-accepted view that racism is a bad thing, most obviously in the US electing an African-American president - while if you go back to writings in the late 19th century/early 20th many educated white people took it for granted that blacks were inferior (there were many exceptions too amongst educated white people). We have seen a massive revolution in attitudes about homosexuality, again going back to the 1950s and homosexuality was treated as a bad thing just as obviously by authors as the extinction of human life. Another example comes to mind is the second wave of feminism. A fourth example is Milton Friedman's influence and the rise of market-orientated economics in the 1970s/1980s.

I don't see any signs that public schools have created mind-numbing conformity in practice, whatever their founders may have intended. I think it's quite plausible that increasing literacy gave students and ex-students the ability to access the writings of original thinkers by themselves, and this amply offset any intentions to conformity.

So, going back to your original blog post, okay, perhaps schools do intend to encourage conformity, but why should we worry about it, if in practice they have no real effect?

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Oops I'm sorry, I see now I did say "indoctrinate" for one. Although I used "propaganda" for the other, trying to be equal! That is, I wasn't trying to call one kind a bad name and the other a good name.

I fully agree that quality of education of useful things, like science, maths, history etc, is in general very poor. I know of a few sterling exceptions, government and private. I think this is separate from the debate about what side-serving of propaganda is given.

"I very much doubt that non-public schooling is necessarily more narrow in the set of values it teaches. I agree that it will probably be closer to the average values of the country..." (By "it" do you mean state school here?)

Among those who opt out of public schooling for ideological / religious reasons, I would guess that the set of values acquired is more narrow, and certainly further from centre. Perhaps as much from the peer group as from the teachers.

Among those who opt out for quality reasons, probably not.

Which of these groups dominates, again I don't know. I suspect you had in mind the latter and I the former? They don't have all that much in common, and perhaps they should be discussed separately.

-- improbable

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Hey, people on the right have more babies. The left has to fight back somehow!

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