RayK

Texas leads the way

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This thread http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?s...ic=7341&hl= along with the news that I heard this morning motivated me to start this thread. Texas has become the first state to make a law requiring school children to "exercise" at least 30 minutes a day. That is right the great "free state" of Texas has discarded freedom and is now forcing their young citizens to exercise. Maybe Texas is not the last bastion of freedom like some believe it to be.

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Please provide some context Ray.

Does this law apply to children everywhere, as in the government is going to come to everyone's door to make sure their kids exercise regularly? Or does this law apply to Public Schools, where they are going to require kids to exercise regularly? If it does, then I would be motivated to say that it is a great law (I would, but then again I don't like Public Education!).

Either way I don't exactly condemn Texas government for wanting to pass this law, because from what I've seen obesity is getting terribly common amongst children. I distinctly remember driving by my old Elementary School a year or two ago and almost wrecking my truck in shock when I saw the state of the kids there. Compared to how I remembered we (my classmates and I) always looked, these kids looked like they were animals in a stockyard getting prepared for slaughter... :(

But either way, Texas remains the best state in the Union :D

On a sidenote, if passing one questionable law counts as "discarding freedom", then we live in a fascist country and this snipe against Texas really doesn't count Ray.

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Is this the new law you are talking about?

From Governor Rick Perry's website:

We will promote exercise.

As children spend increasing amounts of after school time flipping channels or playing videogames instead of pedaling bikes or playing ball, child obesity grows in our state. Beginning this year, schools will begin annual physical fitness evaluations for all students in grades 3-12. This new law helps schools and families partner in the fight against the health risks of obesity. Next year, physical education will reappear in middle school when the state will require students to take two years of physical education.

This is an unfair characterization though. Children aren't obese from watching TV or playing video games instead of playing outside, it is a general unhealthy lifestyle of which this may be only one element.

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Yes, that is the law.

I would ask that you question how one is supposed to be or stay free when their choices are taken away. Freedom demands that people make their own choices, even incorrect ones. Freedom also demands self responsibility which in this context means it is something that should be handled between parent and child, and the govrernment should play no part.

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Yes, that is the law.

I would ask that you question how one is supposed to be or stay free when their choices are taken away. Freedom demands that people make their own choices, even incorrect ones. Freedom also demands self responsibility which in this context means it is something that should be handled between parent and child, and the govrernment should play no part.

Wait, I'm not clear on this, is the law concerning only the physical education in schools?

"require students to take two years of physical education"

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While I was growing up in NY, gym was always a part of school life, a welcome break from the tedium of my usually excruciatingly boring classes.

Given the existing public school system, in this context to me the question does not pertain to freedom or to the nature of the proper relationship between parent and child vs government in regard to what the child is taught.

The question is why physical education has no longer been a priority and has even been abandoned in many public schools in recent years.

In some elementary schools, I believe in some towns not far from where I live in California, even recess has been banned (I don't have references in front of me now but could find them, I'm sure). As I remember it, the "reason" is that kids might participate in self-generated competitive games! So the kids are stuck inside all day long with no respite from the boredom. No wonder so many need to be drugged up so they behave in what school personnel consider an acceptable way.

No, instead of curtailing freedom, to me this law opens the door to a little bit of freedom for every child who gets to be active for a few minutes instead of being chained to a desk, getting crammed to pass standardized tests.

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Yes, that is the law.

I would ask that you question how one is supposed to be or stay free when their choices are taken away. Freedom demands that people make their own choices, even incorrect ones. Freedom also demands self responsibility which in this context means it is something that should be handled between parent and child, and the govrernment should play no part.

Ray, I don't like Public Schools any more than the next guy, but the fact remains that Public Schools in Texas belong to Texas, and the State of Texas has the right to do whatever they want with the schools they pay for and govern. It isn't an end to freedom, it is just the state exercising control over something they own and run.

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Ray, I don't like Public Schools any more than the next guy, but the fact remains that Public Schools in Texas belong to Texas, and the State of Texas has the right to do whatever they want with the schools they pay for and govern. It isn't an end to freedom, it is just the state exercising control over something they own and run.

However the State justifies control over public schools and the students attending them, it certainly isn't by right. Rights apply only to individuals who respect the concept of individual freedom; the state is supposed to be a group of representative individuals with the authority to use force to protect that freedom. The State only has the power to put a gun to people's heads to force them to pay for public schools because enough Americans support initiating force against others.

If the State's initiating force against public school students to do anything (including something as otherwise beneficial as daily exercise) automatically falls under the rubric of "just the state exercising control over something they own and run", then where does their control over Texas public schoolchildren end? By that standard, there is no end, and the kids and the taxpayers are free only to the extent that Texas hasn't made them outright slaves. How did Texas come to own and run public schools? By force, not by right.

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Yes, that is the law.

I would ask that you question how one is supposed to be or stay free when their choices are taken away. Freedom demands that people make their own choices, even incorrect ones. Freedom also demands self responsibility which in this context means it is something that should be handled between parent and child, and the govrernment should play no part.

To add a bit more:

But there is complete freedom here Ray: no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to send your kids to Public Schools in Texas... in fact, in Texas (I'm sure it is the same elsewhere) you have the choice of whether to send your child to Public Schools, Private Schools, or to home-school instead.

Secondly, all they are really doing is making a change to the required curriculum at a Texas Public School. They aren't making girls wear Hijabs, they aren't making us pray, and they aren't beating our kids with flails if they misbehave; what they are doing is about on par with saying "by law all Geography text-books used in Texas Public Schools will be the second edition of Marrion-Basil". To call this "discarding freedom" is ridiculous and dropping context faster than French soldiers drop their guns.

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However the State justifies control over public schools and the students attending them, it certainly isn't by right. Rights apply only to individuals who respect the concept of individual freedom; the state is supposed to be a group of representative individuals with the authority to use force to protect that freedom. The State only has the power to put a gun to people's heads to force them to pay for public schools because enough Americans support initiating force against others.

If the State's initiating force against public school students to do anything (including something as otherwise beneficial as daily exercise) automatically falls under the rubric of "just the state exercising control over something they own and run", then where does their control over Texas public schoolchildren end? By that standard, there is no end, and the kids and the taxpayers are free only to the extent that Texas hasn't made them outright slaves. How did Texas come to own and run public schools? By force, not by right.

Ok, using right was a poor choice. How about it is within the State of Texas' proper jurisdiction to make these decisions concerning public schools? I don't think it is proper in our current world for the state of Texas to be forcing people to fund public school (or for public school for civilians to exist now); but if for now it has to exist, then it is within Texas' jurisdiction.

And to repeat what I said before: No one is forcing children to enroll in public schools in Texas; the State of Texas is not initiating force against public school students by enforcing rules.

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While I was growing up in NY, gym was always a part of school life, a welcome break from the tedium of my usually excruciatingly boring classes.

Given the existing public school system, in this context to me the question does not pertain to freedom or to the nature of the proper relationship between parent and child vs government in regard to what the child is taught.

The question is why physical education has no longer been a priority and has even been abandoned in many public schools in recent years.

In some elementary schools, I believe in some towns not far from where I live in California, even recess has been banned (I don't have references in front of me now but could find them, I'm sure). As I remember it, the "reason" is that kids might participate in self-generated competitive games! So the kids are stuck inside all day long with no respite from the boredom. No wonder so many need to be drugged up so they behave in what school personnel consider an acceptable way.

No, instead of curtailing freedom, to me this law opens the door to a little bit of freedom for every child who gets to be active for a few minutes instead of being chained to a desk, getting crammed to pass standardized tests.

Amen.

I've even heard in some extreme cases where the game of tag was banned because it created feelings of exclusion or inferiority!

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I don’t think I understand the objection to this. Public schools are themselves a violation of our freedoms. This is just the government’s attempt to run the schools the way they run everything else – by making a law. However, I don’t see how this law violates the rights of the parents or students above and beyond the very existence of these schools. Why does this law deserve particular attention? In fact, it was my understanding that most, if not all, public schools already had physical education programs. I certainly remember mine. I also remember having recess until high school. What's more, I believe these things are a good part of the school day. Exercise increases energy and helps focus, which makes class time more productive. Considering the long hours kids spend in school each day, I think not giving them the chance to play would be as harmful as denying them time for lunch. It's hard to learn when you're tired and have a growling belly.

Of course the government has no proper role in deciding to force exercise requirements on the schools. It should be up to those running the schools to decide what programs to offer, according to the needs of their students and the resources available to provide them. But of all the irrational, mind-destroying educational techniques being employed today, why focus on this exercise requirement?

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Ok, using right was a poor choice. How about it is within the State of Texas' proper jurisdiction to make these decisions concerning public schools? I don't think it is proper in our current world for the state of Texas to be forcing people to fund public school (or for public school for civilians to exist now); but if for now it has to exist, then it is within Texas' jurisdiction
I would say it is within Texas' legal jurisdiction to govern public schools. I can't find anything "proper" about it, in any meaningful sense. At worst, a semi-honest person would evaluate the legality of public schools and call it "arbitrary". An honest person, or better yet an Objectivist, would call it "immoral". Our mixed economy composed of mixed philosophies rationalizes it as "necessary". Which leads me to my dislike even for the idea that the public school system "has to exist". It only "has to" when the context of individual rights is replaced by the welfare state, and that's not worth dropping in my book.

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Ok, using right was a poor choice. How about it is within the State of Texas' proper jurisdiction to make these decisions concerning public schools? I don't think it is proper in our current world for the state of Texas to be forcing people to fund public school (or for public school for civilians to exist now); but if for now it has to exist, then it is within Texas' jurisdiction
I would say it is within Texas' legal jurisdiction to govern public schools. I can't find anything "proper" about it, in any meaningful sense. At worst, a semi-honest person would evaluate the legality of public schools and call it "arbitrary". An honest person, or better yet an Objectivist, would call it "immoral". Our mixed economy composed of mixed philosophies rationalizes it as "necessary". Which leads me to my dislike even for the idea that the public school system "has to exist". It only "has to" when the context of individual rights is replaced by the welfare state, and that's not worth dropping in my book.

I said "if it has to exist" because for now public school is here to stay.

Also, I don't think it is appropriate to call public schooling "immoral", or to imply that those who advocate public schooling are immoral. I think a better word would be improper.

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I don’t think I understand the objection to this. Public schools are themselves a violation of our freedoms. This is just the government’s attempt to run the schools the way they run everything else – by making a law. However, I don’t see how this law violates the rights of the parents or students above and beyond the very existence of these schools. Why does this law deserve particular attention? In fact, it was my understanding that most, if not all, public schools already had physical education programs. I certainly remember mine. I also remember having recess until high school. What's more, I believe these things are a good part of the school day. Exercise increases energy and helps focus, which makes class time more productive. Considering the long hours kids spend in school each day, I think not giving them the chance to play would be as harmful as denying them time for lunch. It's hard to learn when you're tired and have a growling belly.

Of course the government has no proper role in deciding to force exercise requirements on the schools. It should be up to those running the schools to decide what programs to offer, according to the needs of their students and the resources available to provide them. But of all the irrational, mind-destroying educational techniques being employed today, why focus on this exercise requirement?

bborg, exactly. PE was fun, and definitely a good idea, whether for public schools or not.

Speaking of legality of non-public schools, I could be wrong on this but every child in New York City is required to attend a public school I believe.

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I always hated PE at school. I really hated being forced to attend it too.

I kept thinking to myself "Why should I have to do this? Can't school simply get rid of PE out of the curriculum, make the school day 30 minutes shorter, so I can choose the sports I want to play, in my own time, instead of having to do the sports the *school* selects as acceptable. Or what if I don't want to do the sports? I can study instead to improve my life, and the kids who want to do sports, they can still do so."

So yes, I consider it freedom being taken away because now the government is controlling one more part of the childrens lives.

And to those who say you have the choice not to attend public school, it is like saying to Canadians after all their income is taken away for socialised medicine and they disagree with how it is spent "You have a choice to use private medicine in the US", but can't afford it due to the government theft of their money.

Unless of course, Texas funds its schools by something other than taxes forcibly taken from each citizen whether they goto public school or not. :(

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Motivated by negative comments against Texas, I present this:

http://kurant.arn.net/stores/sos/catalog/t..._with_texas.jpg

(This is what our anti-littering signs say. Other states try to whine and beg by saying "keep our land grand", etc. Texas just gets in your face and to the point)

Until you told me what the signs meant, I had no idea what the signs were trying to say before now. I had wondered if it was some joke version of "Neighbourhood watch" or something.

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I always hated PE at school. I really hated being forced to attend it too.

I kept thinking to myself "Why should I have to do this? Can't school simply get rid of PE out of the curriculum, make the school day 30 minutes shorter, so I can choose the sports I want to play, in my own time, instead of having to do the sports the *school* selects as acceptable. Or what if I don't want to do the sports? I can study instead to improve my life, and the kids who want to do sports, they can still do so."

So yes, I consider it freedom being taken away because now the government is controlling one more part of the childrens lives.

PE wasn't fun for me either, because the teachers were bad and the kids I shared the class with were often delinquents. I dreaded it every time it came around, and I don't mean to glorify it now. I said it's a good thing because personally I think activity is important if you're going to keep kids in a building sitting around most of the day. Kids' bodies aren't built for that anymore than the bodies of adults are. The difference is adults are responsible for themselves. The parent isn't just paying for the education, they're paying for the supervision too.

Don't misunderstand though, that's my personal opinion and I wouldn't force it on the schools as the government has. What services the school provides, including whether they have gym, should be decided by them based on demand in a free market.

My only point in my initial response was that I don't understand what the big deal is about this particular law, as distinct from the public school system itself. It's not even on the same level as showing Al Gore's prophetic visions in science class, or teaching that it doesn't matter how you do a math problem as long as you feel good about yourself. In fact it's not clear that this law will even change the way the schools are being run right now. It's probably just a meaningless show of support for obesity problems from the current local gov't, because schools are already giving PE classes.

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State, not local government, sorry. It would be nice if this stuff was only managed on the local level though, huh.

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State, not local government, sorry. It would be nice if this stuff was only managed on the local level though, huh.

That is one thing that confuses me about the US(and to a lesser extent, Australia). Why do 3 layers of government have to fund and regulate schools?

They all tax the exact same people so the federal government can't do more than what a local or state government can since they all derive their money from the same source.

I sometimes wonder if people think to themselves they can loot the citizens of other states / regions to pay for their own programs(hidden by the thought that the federal government is 'bigger').

Otherwise, why would people want distant bureaucrats to get involved instead of more local representatives?

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I sometimes wonder if people think to themselves they can loot the citizens of other states / regions to pay for their own programs(hidden by the thought that the federal government is 'bigger').

Otherwise, why would people want distant bureaucrats to get involved instead of more local representatives?

I don't think most people think about it at all, due to some combination of the inability to think in terms of principles, evasion, and/or being drowned out by the thought of how much they (or others) need free education. To the small extent they do think about it, it gets rationalized as necessary by the notion that if their state has a budget crisis, then its public schools will suffer, and that cannot be allowed to happen, so everyone in the country has to pitch in to keep it going. It's the pervasive "we're-all-in-it-together" mentality.

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Ok, using right was a poor choice. How about it is within the State of Texas' proper jurisdiction to make these decisions concerning public schools? I don't think it is proper in our current world for the state of Texas to be forcing people to fund public school (or for public school for civilians to exist now); but if for now it has to exist, then it is within Texas' jurisdiction
I would say it is within Texas' legal jurisdiction to govern public schools. I can't find anything "proper" about it, in any meaningful sense. At worst, a semi-honest person would evaluate the legality of public schools and call it "arbitrary". An honest person, or better yet an Objectivist, would call it "immoral". Our mixed economy composed of mixed philosophies rationalizes it as "necessary". Which leads me to my dislike even for the idea that the public school system "has to exist". It only "has to" when the context of individual rights is replaced by the welfare state, and that's not worth dropping in my book.

I said "if it has to exist" because for now public school is here to stay.

Also, I don't think it is appropriate to call public schooling "immoral", or to imply that those who advocate public schooling are immoral. I think a better word would be improper.

I understand that your conditional statement was made in the context of the current pragmatic approach to politics. But the injustice of even that premise screams so loudly in my head, that I cannot compartmentalize it enough to formulate a subsequent conclusion. It's like trying to think about the proposition that, "if for now our leaders have to keep altruistically throwing brave American soldiers into meatgrinders for savages, ..." It's just a premise I cannot go any further with. I wouldn't feel any better about it if the situation was that Texas was forcing public school students to learn Objectivism. I'd be horrified (not to mention the certainty that they'd screw it up), and the only thing tempering that horror would be the rationalization that such a course might, might lead to the dismantling of the welfare state that created it. Such a possibilty does not exist with an exercise curriculum.

If you had said instead, "since it exists now, ...", I could go along with that. There's nothing in that premise to object to. But it's the metaphysical appeal of the "has to" that stops me cold, and takes me on a detour from a political argument based on individual rights to one based on pragmatism. And just to be as fair and honest as possible, I'm really not trying to pick on you for the wording. I just find the sanctioning of the idea that one has to concede such evil as welfare programs as a given, even one as seemingly innocuous as yours, to be intolerable.

I say public school is "immoral" because it's based on the violation of individual rights. That is antithetical to life, as such. It may seem harmless compared to other immoral violations, but I think the state of the system speaks for itself at just how rotten it is. "Improper" would suffice for casual language in a business letter, or generally rude or disrespectful behavior, being a term more suitable for describing a social relationship, in which rights are respected but one's actions breach another's values. But public schools go way beyond such a social construct as impropriety -- they are an assault on man's life as such, and they compound the evil by perpetuating a hideous, anti-reason, collectivist educational system.

All that said, I always liked the assertiveness and pride implied in the slogan "Don't mess with Texas." Given that so much of the political entity of the state has been increasingly smuggled into that sentiment, replacing the great, traditional independent culture of Texas, maybe a better version would be "Don't mess with Texans."

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I understand that your conditional statement was made in the context of the current pragmatic approach to politics. But the injustice of even that premise screams so loudly in my head, that I cannot compartmentalize it enough to formulate a subsequent conclusion. It's like trying to think about the proposition that, "if for now our leaders have to keep altruistically throwing brave American soldiers into meatgrinders for savages, ..." It's just a premise I cannot go any further with. I wouldn't feel any better about it if the situation was that Texas was forcing public school students to learn Objectivism. I'd be horrified (not to mention the certainty that they'd screw it up), and the only thing tempering that horror would be the rationalization that such a course might, might lead to the dismantling of the welfare state that created it. Such a possibilty does not exist with an exercise curriculum.

If you had said instead, "since it exists now, ...", I could go along with that. There's nothing in that premise to object to. But it's the metaphysical appeal of the "has to" that stops me cold, and takes me on a detour from a political argument based on individual rights to one based on pragmatism. And just to be as fair and honest as possible, I'm really not trying to pick on you for the wording. I just find the sanctioning of the idea that one has to concede such evil as welfare programs as a given, even one as seemingly innocuous as yours, to be intolerable.

Kurt, I really think you are taking this way too far. All I'm saying is it that Public School is here, and it is here to stay (in the foreseeable future); this is reality, and I'm accepting it. So it is a fact of reality that for now it has to be here, so I'm judging the situation accordingly.

I say public school is "immoral" because it's based on the violation of individual rights. That is antithetical to life, as such. It may seem harmless compared to other immoral violations, but I think the state of the system speaks for itself at just how rotten it is. "Improper" would suffice for casual language in a business letter, or generally rude or disrespectful behavior, being a term more suitable for describing a social relationship, in which rights are respected but one's actions breach another's values. But public schools go way beyond such a social construct as impropriety -- they are an assault on man's life as such, and they compound the evil by perpetuating a hideous, anti-reason, collectivist educational system.

I was just trying to make the point that a public school can't be immoral--only individuals can be--and that the term "immoral" should be used carefully. I wouldn't even call a Democrat immoral for advocating universal government healthcare and huge taxes without knowing a lot about the person (their beliefs, thoughts, motivation, etc.)

I recommended "improper" because I thought it was very accurate and at the same time impersonal in the sense that it is absent of moral condemnation (which is only warranted in serious situations, and is only justified when there is a lot of personal information known about the individual).

Also, I just find that there is a subtle but huge difference between asking "is this proper?" vs "is this moral?": the latter just smacks to much of Christian morality, where we view morality as a list of black and white intrinsic truths (always moral to do this, always moral to do that, etc.) whereas the former is more of a worldly, life-based, reason-based question to ask.

This really is a subtle distinction and I'm not doing a proper job explaining it! :(

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For all of those that think this is alright I would like for you to think over the next logical step. When a government makes it mandatory, by law, for children to exercise, what do you think will keep them from making it mandatory for adults to exercise? When a government becomes so paternalistic that it does not care about rights, it will most likely not stop with just children.

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