Friday, March 9, 2007

All your lego are belong to us!

These negotiations gave rise to heated conflict and to insightful conversation. Into their coffee shops and houses, the children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.

Well isn't that just precious! And then there is this gem:

As teachers, we were excited by these comments. The children gave voice to the value that collectivity is a solid, energizing way to organize a community — and that it requires power-sharing, equal access to resources, and trust in the other participants. They expressed the need, within collectivity, for personal expression, for being acknowledged as an individual within the group. And finally, they named the deep satisfaction of shared engagement and investment, and the ways in which the participation of many people deepens the experience of membership in community for everyone.

Carl Marx though the same thing and his vision put into action killed millions of people, in some cases just for not wanting to "play along".

And finally:

With these three agreements — which distilled months of social justice exploration into a few simple tenets of community use of resources — we returned the Legos to their place of honor in the classroom.

In other words, we gave them back the Legos when they finally were "educated" to think like we wanted them to.

The kids were pushed into accepting mediocrity, complacency and sameness. This collective sharing of resources is not the most efficient use of resources but sure does manage to make everyone "feel" good about themselves.

No social or economic system is perfect in large part because people are not perfect. People are also not interchangeable pieces that can be allocated to any task. Despite what these teachers were trying to instill in these kids, the real world does not work that way, successfully on any reasonable scale. Collectivism may work fine for a commune of 10 to 20 people but you can not base a society of any reasonable size on it. No amount of educating or re-educating can change basic human nature, that each person will be better at somethings and not so good at others. Some of those skills will either actually be or perceived to be more valuable to society than others. With value comes power. Responsible use of power is key, not elimination of power and like it or not, the fact is that based on all we know as humans, a democratic republic based on a capitalistic economy is the most fair, most adaptable and most efficient system yet invented.

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