Re: re[2]: DSM: democratic classroom

From: Scott David Gray (
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 01:30:18 EST

Hi William,

     Could you clarify this post?

On Thu, 1 Nov 2001, william van horn wrote:

> . All I see it preparing
> > students for is a life of believing that democracy itself is a shallow
> game
> > controlled by a few powerful people.
> >
> > Bruce Smith
> > Alpine Valley School
> Sorta like it usually works in the United States, right? How much do you
> feel that your vote counts?

     It is very hard for me to understand the point that you
are making with this statement. I don't know whether you
are speaking sincerely or ironically, nor do I have any
sense to what extent you think most people feel their votes

     Of course, I'm presuming that your question is
rhetorical. Maybe it isn't? In which case my answer is:
"No less and no more than any other citizen's; my vote has
more weight at the town level than it does at the county
level, my vote has more weight at the county level than it
does at the state level, my vote has more weight at the
state level than it does nationally; and my voice usually
has more weight than my vote in any instance when I have
invested some energy to understand the issues and to discuss
my thoughts with other citizens."

     When I was in elementary Public school, I had a
"liberal" teacher who regularly asked people what they
wanted to do; who tried to "make learning fun."
     In fact, I never felt _more_ powerless than when I was
asked what I wanted to do, and _knew_ in my heart that there
was a "wrong" answer. And I repeatedly _gave_ that wrong
answer (e.g. "I want to go home now" "I want you to give me
my comics back" "I want you to admit that you are a
slave-driving witch").
     Giving the wrong answer was the only thing that kept me
sane. It prevented me from falling for the "we're partners
in your education" brainwashing that is the hallmark of
so-called progressive teachers, who try to "guide" children
into making the "right" choices.

     A choice is not a vote, unless some power of
enforcement (e.g. contract, money/property, police/troops,
broad public support in the wider community) is put at the
disposal of the body or its elected officials.
     A choice made in a body that has no power of
enforcement, is a "poll" or "survey." Choosing an
"official" that in fact has no power (e.g. class president)
is not an election, but a popularity contest.

> William M. Van Horn

--Scott David Gray
reply to:
... Another writer again agreed with all my generalities,
but said that as an inveterate skeptic I have closed my
mind to the truth.  Most notably I have ignored the
evidence for an Earth that is six thousand years old.  
Well, I haven't ignored it; I considered the purported
evidence and *then* rejected it.  There is a difference,
and this is a difference, we might say, between prejudice
and postjudice.  Prejudice is making a judgment before you
have looked at the facts.  Postjudice is making a judgment
afterwards.  Prejudice is terrible, in the sense that you
commit injustices and you make serious mistakes. Postjudice
is not terrible.  You can't be perfect of course; you may
make mistakes also.  But it is permissible to make a
judgment after you have examined the evidence.  In some
circles it is even encouraged.

-- Carl Sagan ============================================================


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