re[2]: DSM: self-government, individual v. collective

From: Jesse Fisher (freedomworks@burgoyne.com)
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 09:59:00 EST


Bruce, I'm with you, I wouldn't want one without the other, either. But the harsh reality of the world we live in is that very few ever get to enjoy maximum freedom. I think it noble to give children as much as possible within the existing boundaries -- all the while, working behind the scenes to expand those very boundaries.

Your comment also gave me another idea (thanks!) regarding perhaps an ultimate indicator of the presence of democracy, unfortunately I need to rush off to work (to work to pay the bank to which I am in bondage). Quickly though, can we agree that if the ultimate authority is the rule of will instead of the rule of law, then one is not truly free? Sudbury clearly operates on a rule of law basis -- the law is king. My classroom experiment was ultimately an illusion because someone had arbitrary control over the experiment. Perhaps this is what many on the list sense but haven't verbalized (lately).

Jesse

> Thanks for the reply, Jesse. Yet I still don't buy the argument that
> freedom can be fragmented as you describe and still be meaningful. If I
> have intellectual freedom but not control over my movement/time, then how
> much good does that do me? ("You can think whatever you like, but you must
> remain within these four walls until I say otherwise.") Likewise, if I'm
> granted a "break" from the usual mind control to do what should be my
> unilateral right, should I be grateful? In either case someone else retains
> ultimate control, and my "freedom" extends only as far as their whim. You
> can argue that individual and collective self-government aren't mutually
> dependent, but I certainly wouldn't want one without the other.

> Bruce

> At 12:12 AM 11/6/01, Jesse Fisher wrote:
> > > 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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