DSM: Re: Civil rights vs Education


Alan Klein (Alan@klein.net)
Fri, 10 Nov 2000 22:15:01 -0500


Dawn,

What a great post. I couldn't have said it better! The only quibble I have
is that it is only in the Declaration of Independence that the phrase "life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" shows up. It is unfortunate that that
is the only one of the two documents (The Constitution as amended and the
Declaration) that is not legally binding.

Thanks,
~Alan Klein

----- Original Message -----
From: Dawn Harkness <kristin@harkness.net>

> The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights
> guarantee that adult citizens are free and entitled to Life, Liberty, and
> the Pursuit of Happiness, among many other wonderful legal protections,
> which I will loosely refer to as civil rights. If this were more formal
> than an email on a discussion board I could give a thoughtful legal
analysis
> of what that has come to mean, but let it suffice to say that it all boils
> down to the concept that "The State can't mess with your Liberty unless
you
> are found guilty of breaking the law." This revolutionary ideal is so
> important that people have died in the pursuit and defense of it.
>
> I, too, believe in this noble concept and I count on it every day of my
> adult life. I believe it is something worth fighting for. However, I
was
> not one of the citizens the founding fathers had in mind when they
conceived
> of and fought for this notion. In fact the majority of people were
excluded
> because originally these protections from intrusions of the State over the
> People only extended to white land-owning adult male citizens. Not
tenants.
> Not people of color. Not females. Not children. To extend these rights
to
> those disenfranchised folks was considered absurd, ill-advised, not in
their
> best interests, politically inexpedient and financially disastrous.
>
> Historically, the lack of basic civil rights protections has been the
basis
> of the subjugation of less wealthy folks, people of color, women and
> children to the advantage and profit of the rich white guys. Many people
> fought all kinds of battles, legal and otherwise, for the extension of
these
> civil rights. Disenfranchised people, and their supporters and advocates,
> have had to fight for these rights because the people in power, who were
> advantaged by this system, wouldn't reform it or give it up just because
it
> was the right thing to do.

> <<snip>>
>
> If it's wrong to do that to us as free adults, it ought to be wrong to do
it
> to our children.
>
> I think this is EVIL, and I believe that children should be emancipated
from
> this archaic, and patriarchal system of social engineering. When there is
> as much money and power involved as there is in the traditional
educational
> system, you better believe it is going to take a fight to establish these
> rights on the behalf of children. Each person has to decide which side
they
> want to be on, because like most other civil rights struggles there is no
> middle ground on which to seek refuge.
>
> On a final note, to those who believe that chaos would break out if the
> country just adopted this concept: Balderdash. Traditionally, we do it
> every spring when kids are let out of their obligation to attend school
for
> the summer. My dream is that childhood would be an endless summer, and we
> would just never force them to go back.



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