We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, March 26. 2015
The totalitarian impulse is omnipresent, and must be resisted at all times. The "offence principle," however, is nothing but a self-ridiculing bullying tactic which deserves mockery rather that resistance. If you equate offense with a wound, you live on the wrong planet. I am offended by people and things continuously, and that's normal life. But this is not really about emotional wounds - it's a bullying tactic and rarely if ever genuine. Not that that matters anyway.
"Offence" becomes offense.
Wednesday, March 25. 2015
One of my proposals is for kids to learn stuff anyway they can, with degrees issued by degree-offering institutions following oral and written examinations.
You can tell quickly whether a person knows their stuff in an oral exam. You can ramp up your questions to determine the limits of their knowledge and thinking. If some kids need to be spoon-fed their education, so be it. There's been enough of this overly-costly "college experience" nonsense.
You can almost do that today, but you still have to pay. One of the brightest fellows I know got his BS in Physics from a highly-prestigious university in three years without ever going to class, while playing drums in a touring rock band. Picked up the syllabi, and showed up for exams.
What's your opinion?
Monday, March 23. 2015
Why would any on-campus crime be handled any differently than an off-campus crime? Colleges today find themselves in a funny spot. Are they in loco parentis, or not? Do they enforce morals, or not? Do they have codes of behavior, or not? They certainly seem to have absurd speech codes. In any event, I would take them out of the criminal justice business.
Sunday, March 22. 2015
I don't know about sainthood, but G K Chesterton (a member of the Maggie's pantheon) certainly deserves to be read and to be remembered.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:44 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, March 21. 2015
Friday, March 20. 2015
We often wonder what is gained by contributing all of this money, but in a Blue State you are at their mercy so you just try not to think about it. With all its dying cities filled with government-dependents, its liberal gentry, and the union power, you're screwed.
The higher they raise them, the faster they drive away the people who can pay them. It's a shame, because it's a wonderful little state with plenty of history, recreation, rural beauty, schools and universities, educated people, social life, every kind of church, seaside, rivers, real seasons, etc.
Thursday, March 19. 2015
That was our ironic term for my all-boys boarding school. Since then, times have changed and the ruling class ain't what it usta be (and never was), but I'll tell y'all about it here, if you are interested. (No, it's not Groton)
The history of American education is fascinating to me. I'd like to write the book but it seems like too much work and my writing has no zip to it, no flair, wouldn't sell. I wish I could write like Michael Lewis.
Private boarding schools (prep schools) are a relatively recent development (late 1800s) in the northeastern US and California, but had a long history in England. Prior to that, children of the prosperous in the US were mostly home-schooled (tutors) to prepare them for college.
Public education in the US, since the mid-1800s, was based on the Prussian/German model, as are American universities. The older American private secondary schools, however, were modeled on English private ("called "public") schools. But, as always through human history, the brightest and most talented kids were/are self-educated in the end.
My school was as much about the cultural experience as it was about the information and skills acquired - but those were high-level too. In fact, they tried to pack in everything you might need to begin adulthood in a time when college was considered adulthood. Four years of this would make much of college today redundant.
Below the fold, I will tell you about it all and how it worked well even for kids like me without superior IQs.
Continue reading "Secondary Education for the Ruling Class"
Wednesday, March 18. 2015
"The German language is sufficiently copious and productive to furnish native words for any idea that can be expressed at all."
Selections from Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition by Ben Schott:
Witzbeharrsamkeit - unashamedly repeating a bon mot until it is heard by everyone present
Abgrundsanziehung - toying with the non-suicidal idea of jumping from a height
Frohsinnsfascismus - the awful mediocrity of organized fun
Clashsyndrom - moments of etiquette perplexity when there is no polite way of behaving
Fetanlaushangriff - tuning in and out of a number of conversations at a party
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:32 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, March 17. 2015
Did higher ed suddenly begin to sell a more valuable service in 1980, or is it just another debt-fueled and government-subsidized bubble:
Who is "we," pardner? While attacking straw men, bringing race into a non-racial discussion, and demonizing "individualism", he seems to be arguing for a top-down, one-size-fits-all, centrally-organized system of primary and secondary education in the USA. He suggests that it be oriented ideologically, and claims it would be "for the common good." He is a Bismarckian with that Prussian control attitude towards the masses.
Thus it's a little dissonant to read his views, coming as they are from the president of hippy-dippy, free-spirit, granola-ridden and hugely expensive, and private, Bard College. But maybe it's not odd.
I'd bet home schooling drives him nuts. As usual with Liberals, "I know how to deliver your pursuit of happiness and I would like to shove it up your butt." I hate hearing the elites and the experts pontificate about what "we" should do. I'd rather hear myself pontificate about freedom and free choices in life. Even the freedom to apply to the somewhat offbeat Bard College if you want to.
Sunday, March 15. 2015
The discussions in the comments are quite good. Conservatives often idealize the independent, self-sufficient family, but there is a debate, and not all families can measure up to that. We're not in pioneer days. Government charity and freebies can be life-saving, but they can also be "enablers" for dysfunction and immature attitudes towards life.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:12 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, March 14. 2015
The guy annoys me a lot, but it's a good intro (in series, automatically) to several of the common fallacies we can all fall into: The Guide to Some Common Fallacies.
This brings to mind something I have been thinking about. I think colleges (and high schools) ought to offer lots of one or two-month courses, as my prep school did. These were mostly ways of applying basic knowledge to real life.
We had lots of short course options: intro to logic, public speaking, argumentation and fallacy, etymology, the Parthenon and Greek architecture, opera history, local geology, basics of meteorology, ornithology, paper-making, the math and science of sails and sailing, human anatomy, emergency first aid, typing (was required), the natural history of New England woodlands, intro to the American legal system (by a local lawyer), how doctors think and diagnose (by a local doc), the life and music of Brahms, Freud's main theories, What banks do and the math of banking, Adam Smith's life and work, ballistics and firearm design, geology of the sun, the US Constitution and the Federalist Papers, etc. etc., - along with the usual full trimester things and the required daily sports and daily chapel (which was, in effect, a 4-year Bible study). Wonderful. In four years, you could do a lot of them.
(We all had to be on a dirty jobs crew throughout the year too. Slave labor saved the school money, and protected us privileged boys from being complete spoiled brats. Dishwashing, leaf-raking, mowing the sports fields, serving at faculty tea, vacuuming the dorms, cleaning the chapel, and so much more!)
With the short courses, you had to learn it fast, which was good brain-training. The masters got to chose their own offerings from their own interests and hobbies. 10 kids per class, max.
Our required trimester courses? That's another topic, but they were good indeed and there were no choices at all. It's a shame that few colleges are as fine and as demanding as was my prep school. Gosh, it was fun, and they improved my Skeet skills too. The things that make preppy preppy, I guess. Not brains necessarily, but exposure, discipline, and training.
Friday, March 13. 2015
Since renowned philosopher Roger Scruton has a place in the Maggie's Farm pantheon of thinkers, I suspect that it will be good: How to Think Seriously About the Planet: The Case for an Environmental Conservatism (Oxford University Press).
Hayward discusses here.
Readers know that we Farmers are not Gaia worshippers or fanatics. We are old-fashioned Conservationists, mostly outdoor people, with respect for God's creation and its critters. We don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk when it comes to protection of land.
We burn carbon, too, in all forms. Good stuff to burn. Wood stoves, fireplaces, tractors, boats, furnace, etc.
Thursday, March 12. 2015
I oppose any sort of government-guaranteed loans, whether mortgages, student loans, loans to solar companies, or loans to car companies. Also, the SBA loans. Government is not a bank. Government-guaranteed loans put taxpayers on the hook for things they would never lend to, including dumb and unmotivated kids.
Bankruptcy rightly screws up your credit for a long time. Megan McArdle says Lending Bankrupt Students a Hand
Sure, as long as there is no government guarantee. Few things would raise the quality and lower the cost of higher ed faster than that.
Tuesday, March 10. 2015
Monday, March 9. 2015
How to Get the Best Return on Investment For College. They mean Bismarckian, ie practical for society's interests and your work/career. Germans always thinking about society's interests.
Sunday, March 8. 2015
Compared to their cohorts around the world, American millennials come in last or near-last by just about every metric.
Saturday, March 7. 2015
Wednesday, March 4. 2015
When I was young, Sweet Briar had already evolved from an elite finishing school to a serious college for female children of the gentry, and especially those with horses. Skidmore used to do the same. Their goal had been to produce excellent young wives for gentry men; literate, infused with a dose of southern charm, graciousness and manners (even though at least half were from the north), prepared to help any kids with homework, to pour tea, to read a book each week, to go on fox hunts, to shoot shotguns and rifles, to throw a dinner party, to be equipped to run family affairs and to handle social relations delicately, to run Junior Leagues, church organizations, and garden clubs - and to discuss any topic intelligently with a hubby, from the sciences to art history to international issues.
Women well-equipped to create beautiful family lives for the gentry class and to raise lots of fine kids and future good citizens and future good parents.
The lovely college mostly kept to that mission until they responsibly recognized that the market was running against them. Sad. Many families over the past 100 years are grateful for their mission. Charming campus, with sweet, genteel and refined young women. It all fades into history and fond memory.
I admit I am old-fashioned. I married an extremely-bright Randolph-Macon girl. Lucky me to catch a southern gal from the horsey set. She is still ticked off about the War Between the States, but, thank God, she likes me and my friends up here in Yankeeland. Hostess of the Century, I think. I just show up, and there's a fun party with interesting folks. I pour, and enjoy the bright, interesting people she collects and who are drawn to her sparkling self.
Tuesday, March 3. 2015
Boola Boola. College sure has changed:
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