Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] Better than thou? Well, yes

From: Ryan Singer <>
Date: Mon Oct 10 14:52:00 2005

On 10/10/05, Kenneth Winchenbach Walden <> wrote:
> Ryan Singer wrote:
> > On 10/10/05, *Kenneth Winchenbach Walden* <
> > <>> wrote:
> >
> > Woty wrote:
> >
> > > To use another imperfect analogy: Most people would advise a woman to
> > > leave an abusive husband, even if it raised extremely difficult
> > > practical problems. What would you think if someone suggested
> > that this
> > > is an elitist position because some women cannot afford, either
> > > geographically or financially, to leave?
> >
> > If none of the many people who advised women this way were able to offer
> > a means by which those women who are unprivileged can realistically
> > leave their abusive husband, then I think it would be fair to say that
> > *the system* is an elitist one, in that it allows freedom and safety for
> > those who are privileged enough to obtain it. Perhaps we should say an
> > unconsciously elitist system. That does not mean that an individual who
> > is working in the field and helping some women to leave their husbands,
> > but not others, is individually an elitist.
> >
> >
> > What system? The system of friendly advise is elitist? The system of
> > romantic relationships? I don't see a system in that example, I see a
> > person who is advising another person who is being abused by a third
> > person. There is no Government there, there is no Market there, there
> > is non system there. Freedom and safety from relationships and not
> > matters of privilege, they are matters of choice.
> This is perhaps veering off-topic, but I was talking about the society
> in which these people live. One that in this example perhaps does not
> provide enough economic and physical safety to allow this woman to make
> a transition out of this situation.

I think exploring the assumptions you use here helps the full conversation,
and is thus on topic. The society in which these people live is by
definition alone no more than it's constituent parts. In the example, these
three people are *all we know* about that society. Societies cannot
*provide* anything, for providence is the province of decision and action,
which can only be done at an individual level. This woman can choose to
leave, which is taking the risk that she cannot provide for herself as well
as the abusive hubby, or she can decide that his providence is worth the
abuse. This has nothing to do with any third member of the "society",
except, perhaps, the advising friend.

To bring this back on topic, a parent is in a similar boat to this woman. An
aware parent knows that the public schools are abusive. There choice is
simple, does the value provided by public schools (environment mostly safe
from physical harm and kidnapping, and access to social peers) exceed the
harm of the abuse? There is no elitist part to that decision, nor is any
other member of "society" necessary to it, although by providing a place
like the SVS, another member(s) can help make the decision easier by
providing the same value without the abuse. Bringing in "society" without
defining which other people matter just confuses the debate in order to back
away from objective criteria.

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Ryan Singer
Received on Mon Oct 10 2005 - 14:51:12 EDT

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