RayK

Texas leads the way

144 posts in this topic

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.

Ray,

History of the Public Education system shows that PE (Physical Education) used to be required for all students-even in High Schools in most areas still, you have to take some kind of physical activity.

This would indeed be a bothering law if it stepped inside the home, stating that every child had to exercise there. How would the government expect to regulate something like that? But I do not see it as even remotely possible that such a law would pass.

There are many rules in the public education system. Everybody has to take English, History, Science, Math. Everybody has to go to school.

So really and truly, what's so wrong with this law? It is not invading any individual's personal life. It is not stretching beyond the current sphere of the government.

To call this a step in the wrong direction is an impossible claim-because it is no different than anything the government is doing in public education. The object of criticism should be public education in and of itself.

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I understand those who wonder about the concern over something that, for most of us, was a part of our school curriculum. It was considered a part of the common sense that used to be applied to school. I never had PE in grade school. Our exercise was done naturally on the playground during recess. Recess seems to have been tossed out along with common sense.

On the other hand, these kinds of decisions were then made within the school district, where parents had a direct say in their schools. I do see a difference when the government, be it on the state or federal level, begins to pass such laws, simply because it takes what little control--and responsibility--from the parents. In the scheme of things, exercise is the least of what is going on in our schools, but I don't think it is as innocuous as some people think. It is simply one more decree handed down by a government that considers it proper AND moral to dictate how we spend our money and our time, as long as they justify it on the grounds of "for our own good." If we see the good in this, then why not the good in dictating what we eat? Since exercise is an acknowledged good, because it leads to better health, why not decree that everyone must have a yearly medical checkup? Or universal health care? Health is good, right?

It is by small increments that the government has taken over our lives, and continues to do so. Beware of precedents. My beloved grandmother used to say: Don't ever let the government get a foot in the door, or you'll soon find them squatting in your living room.

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My point is not that we should not have PE in school. My point is that we should not let the government tell us, through laws, what we should and should not be doing. And, I think that Janet did a very good job of stating that in very good terms.

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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.
Okay, fair enough. I agree that public schools are here to stay for the foreseeable future, and it's a damn shame.

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I would disagree there with them being here to stay for the foreseeable future.

I know that in Australia, public schools are losing marketshare in the education market. The most recent statistics I have seen say that private schools now educate a third of our students, and educate half of students during the high school years. :D

Start offering tax deductions for school fees, and then start to watch things change. :(

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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.
Institutions and organizations are properly identified as moral or immoral. We here frequently speak of a moral system of government. And we speak of the immorality of taxes and the like. I would identify an organization such as the KGB as evil. I would also identify a system of universal government healthcare as immoral.

In other words, it is an error to claim public schooling or the public school system (or any aspect of it) cannot be identified as immoral.

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).
One does not have to know anything about a person to identify the idea, system, organization, etc they advocate as immoral - anymore than one has to know anything about a person to identify the idea, system, organization, etc they advocate as irrational.
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.
Public schooling is incredibly immoral. In fact, it is blatantly evil. To equate the identification of this fact with Christian moralizing of intrinsic truths is an offensive and grossly fallacious accusation.
Please provide some context 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.
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.

Talk about "dropping context"! The system of State education indeed uses force, even against those who have no children at all. Please do not claim that there is educational freedom when the State gun is being waved about so blatantly in so many different respects when it comes to education.

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There are many rules in the public education system. Everybody has to take English, History, Science, Math. Everybody has to go to school.

So really and truly, what's so wrong with this law? It is not invading any individual's personal life. It is not stretching beyond the current sphere of the government.

This same argument, made for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school, can be made for 2 yrs mandatory "community service" or anything else in school. In other words, it is not a valid argument. It is simply a justification for unlimited govt action.
To call this a step in the wrong direction is an impossible claim-because it is no different than anything the government is doing in public education.
This statement is in error. Mandatory programs such as exercise classes or community service classes are indeed 'steps in the wrong direction'. They are additional wrongful demands placed upon individuals by the State. In other words, instead of decreasing such demands, the State is increasing its demands.

That is definitely the wrong direction to be heading.

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My point is not that we should not have PE in school. My point is that we should not let the government tell us, through laws, what we should and should not be doing.

But Ray everyone here already knows that. You're preaching to the converted. The thing is that this "law" concerns merely public school regulations; it does not say "all kids must exercise"; it says there should be exercise in public schools, nothing more. No one here likes public schools, but your extrapolation goes too far.

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This "law" means nothing. The kids were going to be forced to sit in class to learn about alternative energy or social studies anyway. This law does not represent the destruction of any new freedoms. For me, PE was a welcome break from the multicultural craftmaking we did when learning about the native tribes.

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This same argument, made for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school, can be made for 2 yrs mandatory "community service" or anything else in school. In other words, it is not a valid argument. It is simply a justification for unlimited govt action.

Not at all. The law does not represent the violation of any new freedoms. It is simply replacing one violation of freedom with another.

It is important to pick and choose our battles. The reason I did not support Bush's veto of government funded stem-cell research was because it was a religious motivated ban. The same with mandatory community service in schools--it's an altruism motivated initiative. But if look-say was taught in class and the government instituted a phonics law, which required all students to learn with phonics rather than look-say, I would not be against it! The same for a relatively innocuous change, like requiring fat sedentary students to do some physical exercise as a break between studies.

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The fact that Ray brings this up doesn't mean that he is advocating a fight against this specific law. It is my impression that he is reporting another instance of the way government has decided to render another decree to the citizens concerning their children. While it is innocuous enough in itself, it is a part of something that is not so innocuous.

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Well, rather than gym, I think it would be even healthier to have the kids go into the outdoors and walk around carrying signs promoting green thoughts, and perhaps picketing the local fast food joints serving that evil fast food. Surely a harmless activity that gets them a lot of exercise while doing good. After all, they *are* the property of the government, and it should be able to do what it wants with its property. Some of you guys are just too hung up on that philosophical stuff - you gotta be *practical* y'know?

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The fact that Ray brings this up doesn't mean that he is advocating a fight against this specific law. It is my impression that he is reporting another instance of the way government has decided to render another decree to the citizens concerning their children. While it is innocuous enough in itself, it is a part of something that is not so innocuous.

Correct.

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It is important to pick and choose our battles. ...

Can you elaborate on the nature of picking and choosing your battles? Is it important to oneself to do so? If so, in what way? Is it important to the promotion of Objectivism? If so, how does this fit Objectivism's salient needs for promotion? I realize the majority of people who find out about Objectivism will only "opt in" to agree on certain aspects of certain issues but not others without seeing any contradiction in such niche parceling, and can only grasp Objectivism in very small doses. But if the promoters of the philosophy try to fit it what each random person is looking for and therefore must be compromised in battles in order to win the war, that is declaring Objectivism as having already lost.

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This same argument, made for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school, can be made for 2 yrs mandatory "community service" or anything else in school. In other words, it is not a valid argument. It is simply a justification for unlimited govt action.
Not at all. The law does not represent the violation of any new freedoms. It is simply replacing one violation of freedom with another.
The logic of this assertion is not at all clear. Please explain how you reach your conclusion.

As I said - and as phil's subsequent post certainly shows - the argument you presented for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school is simply a justification for unlimited government action in that context. What does the argument you presented NOT allow?

It is important to pick and choose our battles.
It is also important to identify and denounce injustice when we see it. This is just further encroachment of govt into the lives of individuals. Now we are not only being told what we should learn but what we must do with our bodies.
The same with mandatory community service in schools--it's an altruism motivated initiative
Your argument for 2 yrs mandatory exercise in school applies just as validly to mandatory community service in school. If it is wrong for one, it is wrong for the other. You can't have it both ways - no cake and eating it too. That would be a contradiction.
...I would not be against it! The same for a relatively innocuous change, like requiring fat sedentary students to do some physical exercise as a break between studies.
You would be against mandatory community service in school but would not be against mandatory exercise in school? Since both are initiations of force, that cannot be the premise which makes you accept one and reject the other. As such, what premise leads you to accept the government forcing individuals to do one thing with their bodies but not another thing with their bodies? Is it because you think "fat" people need to exercise - that it is good for them, whether they agree or not - and so you accept that violation of their rights where you don't accept other violations?

Exactly what principle are you using to distinguish between what you would and you would not be against?

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I realize the majority of people who find out about Objectivism will only "opt in" to agree on certain aspects of certain issues but not others without seeing any contradiction in such niche parceling, and can only grasp Objectivism in very small doses. But if the promoters of the philosophy try to fit it what each random person is looking for and therefore must be compromised in battles in order to win the war, that is declaring Objectivism as having already lost.

I don't think so because in order to promote Objectivism -- or any value for that matter -- it is necessary to demonstrate how that value is of value to another person. The best way to get their attention is to start with whatever issues or concerns they have.

Fortunately, Objectivism is a comprehensive philosophy with something to offer anyone and all I have to do is make the connection. I have sucessfully introduced Objectivism, and gotten people to read Ayn Rand after discussions of politics, why the boss is a jerk, why they don't make movies like they used to, how to raise children, their career choices, or just about anything. Once I show them that reading Ayn Rand is in their self-interest, Miss Rand takes it from there.

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I realize the majority of people who find out about Objectivism will only "opt in" to agree on certain aspects of certain issues but not others without seeing any contradiction in such niche parceling, and can only grasp Objectivism in very small doses. But if the promoters of the philosophy try to fit it [to] what each random person is looking for and therefore must be compromised in battles in order to win the war, that is declaring Objectivism as having already lost.

I don't think so because in order to promote Objectivism -- or any value for that matter -- it is necessary to demonstrate how that value is of value to another person. The best way to get their attention is to start with whatever issues or concerns they have.

Fortunately, Objectivism is a comprehensive philosophy with something to offer anyone and all I have to do is make the connection. I have sucessfully introduced Objectivism, and gotten people to read Ayn Rand after discussions of politics, why the boss is a jerk, why they don't make movies like they used to, how to raise children, their career choices, or just about anything. Once I show them that reading Ayn Rand is in their self-interest, Miss Rand takes it from there.

We actually don't disagree, but you are referring to a separate issue. If a person were to state as an Objectivist that legislated PE or legislated whatever is better than legislated other policy x that also violates our rights, that person is not promoting Objectivism. You can spark interest in Objectivism by showing how it is relevant to what another values, but one should not misrepresent it by promoting, on a policy by policy outcome basis, that it is okay for a common philosophical root to be treated as irrelevant. That leads the non-Objectivist to view the philosophy as just another confusing bag of contradictions and impractical, and though some may actually lean towards such a bag of bones due to their mental state, that is not how Objectivism should be presented.

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People, I'm repeating this because a lot of posters seem to be forgetting this:

In the State of Texas, you have a choice whether or not to enroll your child in public school. Many, many families opt for something different by either homeschooling their children or schooling them at a Christian Private School.

You can't call a law a further invasion of our rights and greater control by the nanny-state when you have a choice of whether or not be affected by the law.

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Secondly, I just want to say that while it is perfectly proper to call public schools to be wrong in the context of modern day America, but to call them evil is brutally unfair. Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.

I am extremely thankful to the public school system I went through, regardless of the pitfalls it may have had. I am extremely thankful for some of the excellent teachers I had that touched our lives.

But then again, maybe I should just write them all explaining how my latest philosophical deduction proved that they work for an evil institution.

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Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.

And of course, when the Nazis, the Soviets, the Evil Empire, and D.C., run schools, the children will be encouraged to think independently about the nature of the government funding those schools, right? No propaganda there!

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Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.

And of course, when the Nazis, the Soviets, the Evil Empire, and D.C., run schools, the children will be encouraged to think independently about the nature of the government funding those schools, right? No propaganda there!

As opposed to the evil multi-national corporations who would own the schools in a private system, brainwashing the children into believing whatever they want?

Give me a break Phil. Government is not intrinsically evil just as much as a corporation is not intrinsically good. They are neutral, amoral-and the goodness or badness comes from the individuals who run it. If D.C. is as bad as Stalin, please point out the tens of millions of dead bodies lying on the streets. And run.

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Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.

And of course, when the Nazis, the Soviets, the Evil Empire, and D.C., run schools, the children will be encouraged to think independently about the nature of the government funding those schools, right? No propaganda there!

As opposed to the evil multi-national corporations who would own the schools in a private system, brainwashing the children into believing whatever they want?

Give me a break Phil. Government is not intrinsically evil just as much as a corporation is not intrinsically good. They are neutral, amoral-and the goodness or badness comes from the individuals who run it. If D.C. is as bad as Stalin, please point out the tens of millions of dead bodies lying on the streets. And run.

I would like to make an addition:

Government is not intrinsically evil jut as much as a corporation is not intrinsically good. They are neutral, amoral-and the goodness or badness comes from the individuals who run it and a proper contextual judgment of the laws of the government, and the practical implication of these laws, as compared to a proper moral theory of individual rights.

You can have a monarchy or democracy, a republic or timocracy, an oligarchy or aristocracy, or any mix of different types of governments-and every single one of them could be moral. You could have a Stalin in a Republic, or a George Washington as King. You could have a democracy that kills everybody but Muslims, and an aristocracy which allows people the freedom to choose their own religion.

I hope this clarified my point.

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People, I'm repeating this because a lot of posters seem to be forgetting this:

In the State of Texas, you have a choice whether or not to enroll your child in public school. Many, many families opt for something different by either homeschooling their children or schooling them at a Christian Private School.

You can't call a law a further invasion of our rights and greater control by the nanny-state when you have a choice of whether or not be affected by the law.

When a government taxes someone to pay for public schools, this takes their money/productivity to support something that they have not chosen as a value. If that same someone chooses to opt out of sending their children to public schools, they do not get the choice of opting out of the taxes. So, they are forced to pay for something they have not chosen. That same person is now paying for two educations, one that their child is not getting and one that they are. For some reason I guess some cannot see this as an inititation of force. The government digs into a person's pocket to pay for something that they do not choose as a value nor are they allowed out of the payment.

Please, explain how this is not seen as an "invasion of our rights." On the other hand, there is no need for you to attempt an explanation, I know I will not agree with it.

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Nazism is evil, Stalin was evil, Storm Troopers in Star Wars were evil, but public schooling? Give me a break.

And of course, when the Nazis, the Soviets, the Evil Empire, and D.C., run schools, the children will be encouraged to think independently about the nature of the government funding those schools, right? No propaganda there!

As opposed to the evil multi-national corporations who would own the schools in a private system, brainwashing the children into believing whatever they want?

Give me a break Phil. Government is not intrinsically evil just as much as a corporation is not intrinsically good. They are neutral, amoral-and the goodness or badness comes from the individuals who run it. If D.C. is as bad as Stalin, please point out the tens of millions of dead bodies lying on the streets. And run.

You are wrong, there are governments that are bad by their very nature. It does not matter who is running the government, a communist government is evil. Just like it does not matter who or what someone would be altruistic for, the ethical theory of altruism is evil.

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