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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Educational Gerrymandering


My nemesis: an earnest man in suit and tie wearing a sympathetic expression and explaining the importance of rules.

Resolved: the purpose of formal education is not to educate, but to winnow the field. You read that correctly. Every school subject, every rule, every insipid and pointless hoop which requires jumping through is only there to separate out those who might upset the apple cart. It's all an elaborate system designed to identify those who'll happily follow the leader and those who might conceivably question authority. You see the purpose of school is to reduce the competition. Those in control wish to stay there. Every decision they make is designed to make it ever harder to replace them. This is quintessential statism. The main reason totalitarian regimes are so vastly unpopular is because once you're placed into your niche that's where you'll stay. That's where your children and grandchildren will stay as well. No matter how hard you work, no matter how talented you prove yourself to be, once you're pigeon holed that's that. What American institution is more totalitarian in nature than our public educational system? What other American institution is as unforgiving? Every year admissions staff at colleges and universities pore over the applications and the school records with a magnifying glass and an unforgiving eye. What's this? An expulsion! Avaunt!

The idea of reducing competition is tried and true in the liberal establishment. It's never about how talented they are but about who's the best of a mediocre crop. You don't believe it? Look at all the green companies with their lavish subsidies and extravagant grants, meanwhile Obama wants to raise the taxes on "Big Oil." Green initiatives—as they're called—are unable to compete with traditional energy technologies so they're given unfair government precedence meanwhile useful and competitive energy providers are hindered to the very limit of the law—and beyond.
In fact, the U.S. Treasury Department makes it very clear that they now regard oil and gas production as a problem. In each of the annual budget proposals they have sent to Congress, the Treasury Department calls for higher taxes on domestic oil gas and coal. Their remarkable reasoning is that unless taxes are raised, it will encourage the overproduction of oil gas and coal! For suffering motorists and families and businesses struggling to pay their energy bills, this is a cruel policy.

It’s very apparent that the real intent is to make oil and gas more expensive in order to make the heavily subsidized, unreliable and costly ”renewable” energy programs they are pushing more cost-competitive. This is the Tonya Harding approach to energy… break your opponent’s kneecap if you can’t win fair and square.
Sometimes you see something that really sets you off. Today I read that a high-school student in Florida was expelled for setting something off and charged with a felony to boot. My friend that I work with—who possesses the same close-minded and intransigent attitude of the progressive crème de la crème—argued that kids who break the rules should get what's coming to them. He further argued that it doesn't matter that no harm was intended nor harm inflicted...rules are rules. He stated categorically that whether or not someone was hurt the possibility existed for someone to get hurt. I.E. a device which could have inflicted harm was used on school grounds and therefore regardless of whatever safety precautions 16-year-old Kiera Wilmot put in place to ensure the safety of herself and her classmates during her impromptu MacGyver-esque experiment, she should experience the complete and utter consequences of her actions. And in this case the consequences are a one-ton rulebook flung into Kiera's face with all the imperious fury that these pedantic officials in Florida can muster.

Well Kiera—if you're reading this—I just want you to know that your peers in high school are grateful that you're one person they'll never have to compete with in the public sector or at any university. They'll graduate and some of them will go to college and achieve degrees in history or sociology and then finally perhaps even bigger and better things like Master's degrees and PhD's, while you'll probably be home schooled and perhaps if you're very lucky you'll get your GED. After that maybe you'll even go on to community college and perhaps one day if you play your cards right you may even get a decent paying job. What you won't do is threaten your peers with any possibility of competition.

You see Kiera, the people you find teaching at school, administering at school, and securing government funding for a variety of pointless and insipid academic studies of one kind or another, are deliriously happy when people like you—Kiera—fall through the cracks and just disappear. You threaten them. Your innate curiosity—if it had been permitted to flower—is the one thing that truly frightens the privileged educational aristocracy—someone with talent, drive, and education. You may well go on to invent a better mousetrap and become fabulously wealthy but it's highly unlikely you'll ever find the cure for cancer or diabetes. For disease cures you need formal education, degrees, Ph.Ds, laboratories, and funding, things only available to those lacking your unfortunate curiosity. You've been pigeon-holed Kiera. You've proven that you're a troublemaker. It's highly unlikely that you'll follow the leader and wait your turn, and they can't have people just going around solving all the world’s problems, not when those problems are the hill and they're king of it.

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