DSM: Re: Slavery, Education, Political Philosophy, Caring, Human Rights, Effecting Change

Alan Klein (Alan@klein.net)
Sun, 6 Feb 2000 02:25:22 -0500


Thank you for an eloquent, thoughtful message. I find myself in a great
internal quandary, however. As someone who has been a staff member and
co-founder of a democratic school I am in total agreement with what you say
in the passage I quote below. I have often used such reasoning myself in
discussing the fundamental nature of the change that needs to take place,
from my point of view.

As a parent of grown and growing people, however, I find myself being
absolutely sure that when they were babies I did (and do) indeed believe
that I "(knew) better for" them than they did. My belief in their absolute
equality as human beings certainly shaped how I interacted with them and I
was usually accused of "letting" them do too much and make too many
decisions for themselves, but at some fundamental level I was in charge. At
some point that balance changes, of course, but it is clear to me that there
is a shift.

If this is so, then are we back to doling out rights, or at least doling out
the age and/or stage at which those rights take force? For me, it's almost
as unanswerable a human conundrum as the "when does life begin" debate.

Thanks again for your (as ever) thoughtful and straightforward addition to
this discussion.

~Alan Klein

----- Original Message -----
From: Scott David Gray <sdavid@tiac.net>

> Is it ever possible to reform things a "piece at a
> time?" I think not, when the fundamental question is such a
> fundamental one. The difference between the educationists and
> those who prefer a Sudbury type approach, is that one group
> thinks that we should debate when/where to DOLE OUT rights to
> children, while the other recognizes rights as INTRINSIC and
> argues that they can only be TAKEN AWAY with cause. Either
> you believe that individuals have certain basic rights, or you
> don't. For as long as people believe that group A (adults)
> know better for group B (children) the minutia of how their
> lives should be run than group B does itself, there will be no
> lasting change to the modern educationist policies.

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