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  • NEWS FLASH!

    Filed at 8:00 am under by dcobranchi

    Thomas Sowell is an idiot. Yeah, I know– dog bites man.

    If ordinary people, with no medical training, could perform surgery in their kitchens with steak knives, and get results that were better than those of surgeons in hospital operating rooms, the whole medical profession would be discredited.

    Yet it is common for ordinary parents, with no training in education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master’s degrees and in schools spending upwards of $10,000 a year per student — which is to say, more than a million dollars to educate ten kids from K through 12.

    He then goes on to point out that the economists who were running the planned economies in China and India haven’t done as well in allocating goods and service as the “market.” It’s two-fer idiocy. First, he’s comparing apples and oranges. Home education and a g-school education have nothing in common except the word “education.” I have no doubt that I’d be a total flop at running a class of 25 or 30 6th-graders. The “system” is completely different. Just as a market economy is a completely different system than a planned one.

    Second, he’s attempting to carry water for the GOP’s latest anti-intellectual meme. Scientists are elitists when they talk about climate change. Economists are elitists when they talk about the economy. Obama’s an elitist when he talks about anything at all because he’s smart (and McCain’s not). Here’s a news flash. Being smart is good. Knowing what you’re talking about is good. Stephen Colbert nailed the attitude almost three years ago:

    I’m sorry, but this reading initiative. I’ve never been a fan of books. I don’t trust them. They’re all fact, no heart. I mean, they’re elitist telling us what is or isn’t true, what did or didn’t happen. What’s Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was built in 1914. If I want to say it was built in 1941, that’s my right as an American. I’m with the president, let history decide what did or did not happen.

    The original Know Nothings weren’t ignorant. They just pleaded ignorance about their knowledge of party activities. The modern day Know Nothings– Bush, Sowell, and the rest of the GOP– don’t know anything and revel in their ignorance:

    At a town hall event in Berea, Ohio, Obama recited his plans to encourage the development of alternative fuels and his proposal for energy tax rebates and said Republicans were “lying about what my energy plan is.”

    “The other thing is, they are making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by three to four percent,” Obama said. “It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant. They think it’s funny that they’re making fun of something that is actually true.”

    I’m so sick of being preached to and (mis)led by a bunch of people who believe that Orwell’s “Ignorance is Strength” was prescriptive.

    [/rant]

    UPDATE: Cross-posted at dKos.

    9 Responses to “NEWS FLASH!”


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 24th, 2008
    at 11:18 am

    Great rant. I’m linking it now:
    Don’t Let Know-Nothings Dumb Us All Down


    Comment by
    Lynn
    August 24th, 2008
    at 3:57 pm

    I loved it, too. Thanks.


    Comment by
    Duffy
    August 25th, 2008
    at 8:53 am

    “First, he’s comparing apples and oranges. Home education and a g-school education have nothing in common except the word “education.” I have no doubt that I’d be a total flop at running a class of 25 or 30 6th-graders. The “system” is completely different. Just as a market economy is a completely different system than a planned one.”

    The point is that these choices are binary. You can either be in a classroom or be homeschooled. You either have a market economy or a planned one. The two actually do go hand in hand. Allowing market forces to work in education benefits both schools and students.

    Why is any of that “idiocy”?


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    August 25th, 2008
    at 2:33 pm

    Allowing market forces to work in education benefits both schools and students.

    **Isn’t that pretty much what we have always had? Rich kids in good schools and the rest, not so much. Google income levels and get the test scores. It’s a pretty good match. Has been. Still is.

    **And now under NCLB we’ve got what? Where’s the free market? How’s it helping the kid who can’t get to the charter school that doesn’t provide transportation? How’s it helping the kid stuck in the ghetto school?

    **Not seeing the beauty of the free market in any of this — past or present.

    Nance


    Comment by
    COD
    August 25th, 2008
    at 3:21 pm

    The whole free market vs planned market argument is a strawman. Our economy, and just about every other economy, is a hybrid. Some lean one way or the other, some lean more than others, but I doubt there is a single pure free market nation on the planet, and only a handful that are still completely planned.


    Comment by
    Lori
    August 25th, 2008
    at 3:43 pm

    I think Sowell makes some good points. Can’t find an idiot there. Sorry.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 25th, 2008
    at 4:32 pm

    I’m with COD. No binary human choices out there, in the economy or education or any policy or personal matters. My biggest frustration always has been (recently is even more so!) trying to have any real conversation with someone taking Duffy’s tack, true or false, right or wrong, good or bad, with us or agin us.

    Heck, even those idiot standardized forced-choice tests give us FOUR choice combinations!.

    Therefore my basic definition of well-educated higher intelligence is never doing that.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    August 25th, 2008
    at 4:40 pm

    Mark one part of my comment “wrong” for misconstruing the quote in Duffy’s comment, apologies to both Daryl and Duffy or confusing the messenger. (But not ALL wrong! ) 😉


    Comment by
    Duffy
    August 28th, 2008
    at 8:51 am

    Nance:

    Isn’t that pretty much what we have always had? Rich kids in good schools and the rest, not so much. Google income levels and get the test scores. It’s a pretty good match. Has been. Still is.

    You’re assuming that rich kids are in good schools while the rest are not. I don’t agree. I grew up solidly middle class but had very good schools. Emphasis on education and wealth track very closely. That is, people who have bachelor’s degrees and/or make more money value education more highly than the uneducated and/or poor. My Mom works in a poor area as a teacher and in a school of 1000 students they had a grand total of seven parents on back to school night.

    **And now under NCLB we’ve got what? Where’s the free market? How’s it helping the kid who can’t get to the charter school that doesn’t provide transportation? How’s it helping the kid stuck in the ghetto school?

    The free market for education is very tightly constrained. If it were not, it would look a lot like secondary education.

    **Not seeing the beauty of the free market in any of this — past or present.

    Look closer 😉

    Also, good points by those who indicated that free markets are not nec. binary. However, primary schooling tracks more closely with a planned economy than with a free one.