“Donald Trump may disappoint but anybody else will. He deserves a chance.”
Me, March 15th, 2016
“…the worms slithering back will certainly try to lead him astray if he lets them in.”
Me, November 12th, 2016
The two quotes above are certainly not mutually exclusive but they do offer two possibilities for what is going on with the Trump administation. The latter quote is referring to Republicans and more specifically the neo-conservative element that has infected the right-wing for at least fifty years and probably longer. The former is just good sense for anyone who looks at political actors, movements and their results.
The other day I was by chance linked to Rerum Novarum, a 1890 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII on Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor. I’ve only read a few encyclicals and the ones I have are very densely written if not also lengthy. I find that I really need to focus if I’m to get through them. Anyway, what I’m going to do here is just highlight a few parts and include some commentary of my own.
One pledge I made for Lent is that I would attempt to write this defence of the Catholic teaching on contraception as well as an account of why I returned to Christ. The latter will hopefully be done by the end of the Lenten season. I hope to have it ready to post either Good Friday or Easter Saturday. Both this and the latter, I’m sure will be far from perfect. I am sure finding errors long after this post goes up but I want to do it anyway. This ended up being much longer and more personal than I thought, and I’m not totally happy with it. I thought this would be the easier of the two but it has been much harder. I think it is worth posting but I hope to improve on it.
When engaging on certain topics like say… communism, it is not uncommon to have someone ask if you have read a certain book and after learning (as they probably expect), that you have not, move to immediately disqualify your opinion. With people who do this, it usually doesn’t operate in reverse and they will be just as likely to dismiss any book you bring up for superfluous reasons; probably not themselves having even heard the title before you brought it up. In other words, holding someone to academic standard in an informal, conversational setting and not holding yourself to the same standard.
Now I want to make a clear distinction before continuing that if you are going to seriously engage with a topic, you should be well read on the subject matter. So yes, a serious criticism of communism (something I’ve never done here), would require you to have engaged with the relevant texts like Das Kapital. Replace the the nouns in the previous sentence with any other topic and the same rule applies. Again, I’m not talking about serious academic discourse, just general conversation whether over a dinner table, at a bar or an online forum. I’m talking about things at a amateur or perhaps journalistic level of discussion and not a serious academic study.
Now excuse me while I take a large but necessary tangent for most of the rest of this post.
When I first began writing regularly on this blog a little over a year ago, I never imagined I would write on education as much as I have. It certainly hasn’t been the main topic I’ve dwelt on here, but it is one I generally show little interest in despite it being my profession. I think the main reason I have ended up writing at all is that I have the opportunity to write things I don’t much hear. As I wrote just over a year ago, I am something of an enemy of my own profession and I don’t think anything I wrote since then has done much to contradict this.
As I also wrote in that previous post, it is more the ideologues or education professionals that don’t actually teach, that I have particular distaste for. The rank and file of the profession who actually teach children, are for the most part soft-left politically, but quite pragmatic with the business end of the job. And the ones that aren’t in my experience, are not very good at the job. It is hardly surprising that these are the people who seek non-teaching roles in the industry.
Because of this reality, it is not altogether unusual to hear some statements totally heretical to our modern religion made in the staff room, from time to time. I’ve heard female teachers state that elementary schools need more male teachers which was met with nodding approval by an audience of female teachers. And this wasn’t to flatter my ears as I wasn’t in the conversation and was probably reading a book at the time. I am also quite sure that the teachers with direct experience of the fruits of single-motherhood, don’t think much of modern family culture either. They may not say these things out loud though.
There are other examples but I’d rather get to the subject which involves play. Now being right-wing politically, if not professionally I am quite familiar with the contempt with which thinking men speak of modern day-care schooling. I nod with approval when reading eloquent rants on the stupidity of “everybody wins” sports and “participation” awards. I heartily agree that children should play outside more and be left do it without the proverbial (and sadly now – sometimes literal), leash around their little necks. My soul cries with joy when someone states that boys should be allowed to behave as boys always have and not be sat in a corner or drugged into submission by nasty, barren spinsters. Despite being emotionally and physically weak in my childhood, I approve of the notion that boys should be left to engage in roughhousing and competitive aggression with little interference. I even wish I’d been stronger about being engaged myself when I was a boy.
What does this mean for people working in the schools though? Well, not much.
Earlier this year, I was speaking on a panel for International schools in the city in which I work. It was both an opportunity to promote the school I work for and network with others in the area. It was a small event but there were a number of schools participating and it was well worth being involved in.
Something I hate about being a teacher is the aura of Cultural Marxism (or whatever you want to call the nonsense assumptions), that fill out documents and discussions about education. I could make a list of commonly used platitudes but I might throw up on my keyboard and make the rest of this post impossible. So when it came to the question of why you would want to send your children to an International School, the panelists all came out with variations of these platitudes without getting to the real motivations parents have for sending kids to these schools.
I did no better mind you, and as I was last in line to offer an opinion, I merely stated that I had nothing to add on top of what was said. Also, as I do not own the school I was representing, I felt it was inappropriate to say anything that might draw censure from any observing commissars. Perhaps I’m also just a coward.
So as the title should indicate, this post is to rectify my inaction from that day.