Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A More Principled Attack On Emmanuel and Union-busters

By saying what follows I should rightly be seen as jumping to conclusions. This is because the principles of society are not for me to dictate. I will keep to widely accepted sources on living a principled life -- Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, and Frederick Douglass.

First, what should not be controversial. The teachers have undeniable facts on their side. Their ability to form a union was challenged (still got 90% with a 75% minimum), and the President did not come to their aid as promised (by the way, "both sides" kind of people in questions of freedom is who Martin Luther King explicitly told to go to hell). 75% of fired teachers were non-white and the public did not find solidarity then.

Market education is against American conception principled government
One only need to search for #CTU on Twitter or read the columnists from the New York Times. The only argument for charter schools is if they are in fact a better form of protection to the students. The research is not clear on this, but as far as it is about the parent's authority, the argument loses merit. From the "first principles of government" liberty to control someone is not a defense of liberty. Keeping with the definitions of rights set out by Thomas Paine, "their rights are under the sacred guardianship of the aged" who "have not and cannot have the right to make a law to set up and establish hereditary government, or, to speak more distinctly, an hereditary succession of governors." 

Following this, parents cannot impose control on students, they can only act as guardians. Charter schools and private education are brought up in arguments opposing the teachers as being too expensive, not as bad guardians (although it is usually concluded for good measure).This is the ground for a principled debate, not whether the teachers or the city is asking too much. It's clear who sees this part on their side based on who is spinning more. The solution is to stop the spinning, not to spin the other way. Chicago  has indeed been making steady improvements in literacy.

Both sides can make principled arguments with Adam Smith's capitalism:
Doing the same thing day in and day out is the easiest way to make a person stupid. One only needs to look at Joe Biden who has been a professional politician for about half of his life to see this is the case.

There are serious questions that follow: What part of teaching is routine? What encourages students to break out of routine? Again, there is room for a debate here. If teachers are a problem at all, it's because they do the same job their whole lives. But the solution to that is not to make them work year-round, with a curriculum mandated by standardized tests, with less recess, and so forth. They are not babysitters, they are educators. Is allowing for natural intelligence important at all to the mayor and the charter school advocates? It's obvious whose side I see this point favoring but it's the facts that support me, not my ideology.

Why a strike is only the start
The easiest and probably least controversial example of self-defense should not be taken out of context. The most significant form of resistance this country's history provides comes down squarely on the side of the laborer, an educated one. Frederick Douglass did not fight his master until he knew that his master feared him being educated in ideas he did not like. Before resistance, Douglass could only survive as a by holding back. If you worked too efficiently, that raised expectations, which were impossible to live up to. His master was used to whipping him and was not about to lose this habit.  That's what is at stake with education since it should hold for all contracts, if self-respect and self-defense are to mean anything at all. There is no leader who can free you if you cannot demand freedom at all costs.

Emmanuel should live up to his principles of defending Chicago like he thought he was doing with Chick Fil A. Just give them the raise like the contract says and talk about the real issues. That's what the city wants. Nobody has his back except the president and various sophists in the media.

No sane person denies another the right to resist abuse. I can't imagine a more useful lesson in life. But it only now that they are demonstrating that ability. That ability is for anyone else to judge. That is why the common principles must also be addressed. Until, now, the teachers were in this situation alone to a considerable degree. The strike is the right thing to do. 

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