DSM: self-government, individual v. collective

From: Jesse Fisher (freedomworks@burgoyne.com)
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 02:12:40 EST


> Could you please explain how this is possible? How can a group be
> self-governing, when the *selves* who comprise the group are not?? Who
> exactly is governing what?

Sure, Bruce,
 
  I would deem students who enjoy a healthy level of intellectual freedom as self-governing individuals -- their right to determine their own learning (and not the learning of anyone else) is being respected to a substantial degree. But if the rights of that child and his peers to govern themselves as a group (to collectively resolve disputes and punish the violations of rights) are not protected, then I would say they have no political freedom, thus, they are not politically self-governing. A class of students who are not allowed to choose the subject of their studies, could be granted political freedom -- they could interupt their mandated studies to prosecute a fellow classmate for bullying, for example. Hence, they are not individually self-governing, but they are self-governing as a class (politically). The two are not mutually-dependent.

Jesse

> At 10:12 PM 10/31/01, Jesse Fisher wrote:
> >a class can be self-governing, even if the individuals unfortunately can't
> be.

> Could you please explain how this is possible? How can a group be
> self-governing, when the *selves* who comprise the group are not?? Who
> exactly is governing what?

> Your game represents the same sort of illusion epitomized by so-called
> "student government" in traditional schools. They play at the form of
> democracy, made an empty shell in the absence of actual power. How can you
> justify calling this "a real opportunity to practice self-government"? You
> were closer to the mark when you called it a game. 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

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