Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tinkering With Rights And Authority

I sharply disagree with this editorial. The Tinker decision, in which --...the Supreme Court proclaimed that schoolchildren don't “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”-- is a poor one.  Schools (k-12) are dedicated to education. While discussions of current events are critical to fulfilling that function, political protest can be profoundly disruptive.  The learning environment requires  mutual effort and cooperative interactions, while protest is defined as disruptive and conflict oriented.

Furthermore, the authority of the school is undermined by the Tinker decision.  If we insist that free speech rights can not be limited for students, how can the school limit vulgarity or defiance?  Why can a student not wear pornographic images?  Why must a student be silent while the teacher lectures?

Of course students do not lose their rights at the classroom door, but the nature of the educational experience does limit those rights under the special circumstance of attending classes.

The issue of the classic concept of schools acting in loco parentis, that is as a parent in the absence of the actual parents, has been deeply eroded, but surely some level of authority must exist if schools are to function.

Court ruling shows hazy high school freedom

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Come Now, And Let Us Scream Together, Saith The Conservatives...Isaiah 1:18


As the author of the article points out, there are plenty of things to be discussed with conservative friends, just as long as it's not about anything which is actually important. It's not that we don't like to talk about these issues and even desire to have intelligent conversations which include disagreements. It's just that we don't like being screamed at.

What today is labeled a "conservative" is a terrified reactionary, dreaming nightmares of glories past and disasters yet to come.  They live in a state of constant terror and endless rage, because they find these feelings comforting. Having lost the culture wars, they have nothing left with which to define themselves except their sense of abandonment and betrayal.  The past must have been glorious because then they were in power. The future must be a dystopian disaster because they will no longer get their way.

This means that reality and the facts which construct reality are an existential threat to them.  In a spiritual, philosophical, psychological sense, to use facts in a discussion with them is the equivalent of pointing a loaded gun at their body.  I feel great pity for people so trapped by fear, but that does not mean I make excuses for them.