The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Making the Rich and Powerful Work for Everyone

The philosopher John Rawls suggested that the only ethical society is one which we design before we know what position we will hold in it. If you don’t know whether you’ll be born the child of janitor or a billionaire, black or white, you may view social justice differently than when you know that your parents both went to Harvard or Oxford.

Rawls’s point is just in the sense that though none of us choose our parents, very few of us are able to see the world except through our own eyes. What I am going to suggest is something different: A society works best if it treats people the same, no matter what position they hold. This is hardly a new position. The idea that everyone should be treated equally is ancient and many a war has been fought over it. But despite a fair bit of progress, we don’t really understand what equality means, how it works, and why it works.

Let’s have an example. Based on international testing, at the time of this writing, the Finnish education system is arguably the best in the world. Its students do better than those of any other nation.

What is interesting about the Finnish school system, though, is this: When they decided to change how it worked, they did not set out to try and make it the best in the world. Instead their goal was to make it so that everyone was treated the same. Their goal was not excellence, their goal was equality. Somehow, along the way, and very much to their surprise, it also became arguably the best school system in the world.

There are a number of reasons for this, the main one being a well-established fact: People who are treated as lesser don’t perform as well and are less healthy–even after you take into account other factors.

But another reason is that if you are rich or powerful, you can’t buy your child a better education. Testing results between schools are not made public and the very few private schools are not allowed to use selective admissions. In a system where your child will be treated the same as every other child, you must make sure that every child receives an excellent education, otherwise your child may not receive one.

Let’s engage in another thought experiment. In the United States, airport security is extremely intrusive. Recently, new procedures for physical examinations were put in place which include touching the genitals (I’ve personally experienced it and it definitely included genital contact, albeit with my clothing on.) Most security experts consider this to be security theatre, along with such things as taking your shoes off and the new 3D scanners. They believe that the two most important improvements in airline security were locked cockpit doors and passengers knowing that if they remain passive and allow hijacking, they could all wind up dead.

Coincidentally, the 2000s have seen an explosion in the use of private jets. The most powerful, rich, and important people no longer fly on the same airplanes as the hoi polloi and, as a result, they do not go through the same security screenings.

Do you think that if the most important people in the US had to endure the same security as ordinary Americans that it would be as intrusive as it is? How many billionaires would have to be groped before something was done?

While we’re on the subject of private jets, consider the following: A private jet still has to use a runway. If a private jet is using the same public airport you are, it takes up a take-off or landing slot. Next time you’re waiting for a take-off slot, or wondering why your flight is delayed, think on that. Less than ten people on a private jet are holding up over a hundred people on a passenger jet.

No part of society will continue to work properly if the powerful and rich have no interest in its doing so. There are three parts to this:

  1. If there is a public system, there cannot also be a private system which can be used to opt out of the public system.
  2. If there are limited resources, whether those are airplane flight slots at airports or medical care, then no one can be allowed to use either wealth or power to jump the queue, nor must they be allowed to use more resources than those without power or money.
  3. Any part of the economy where there is a monopoly or an oligopoly must either be publicly run or must be heavily regulated for quality, level of profits, and reinvestment.

(Ian-a fundamental article, originally published March 31st, 2015. As it will be unfamiliar to most current readers, re-upped.)

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – April 11, 2021


The Psychopathology of Human Leadership


  1. JustPlainDave

    The success of Finland’s educational system has a lot less to do with equality of access (though important) than it does with their extremely rigorous program of teacher selection and training, which has very deep historical roots.

  2. EmilianoZ

    Finland is a small homogeneous xenophobic country. I’d be more impressed if the results came from a multiracial country.

    This is an interesting article (in French) about racism in Finland:

  3. BlizzardOfOz

    What can we learn from Finland?

    Teachers and principals repeatedly told me that the secret of Finnish success is trust. Parents trust teachers because they are professionals. Teachers trust one another and collaborate to solve mutual problems because they are professionals. Teachers and principals trust one another because all the principals have been teachers and have deep experience.

    “Trust” declines with diversity, according to Robert D. Putnam’s research

    In recent years, Putnam has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity. His conclusion based on over 40 cases and 30,000 people within the United States is that, other things being equal, more diversity in a community is associated with less trust both between and within ethnic groups.

    Has any state in history achieved all three of diversity, equality, and freedom? The West used to have a lot of equality and freedom, but with its elites having been committed to diversity uber alles for decades, we get ever less of them.

    Also, in comparing the PISA rankings one might want to factor in the racial composition of countries. The US is mediocre in its overall ranking, but not so bad when you consider that white Americans outscored every white country except Finland; and Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and African-Americans outscored every Asian, Latin American, and African country respectively.

    Obviously I still agree with the main point of the post — elites should have to eat their own dog food.

  4. Dan Lynch

    Ian said “If there is a public system, there cannot also be a private system which can be used to opt out of the public system.”

    I agree. I.E., no private schools, no private health care, no private roads, no private jets. Everybody in, nobody out.

  5. Cvp

    In recent years, Putnam has been engaged in a comprehensive study of the relationship between trust within communities and their ethnic diversity. His conclusion based on over 40 cases and 30,000 people within the United States is that, other things being equal, more diversity in a community is associated with less trust both between and within ethnic groups.

    Toronto had both in the late 20th century, as did Vancouver. Canada’s main social democratic party at the time, the NDP, was also its main “diversity” party. I think the distinguishing factor might be the ruthless assimilationism of American society which tends to create a lot of pent-up hostility beneath the uniform front it presents.

  6. NoniMausa

    Wait a minute — the NSA doesn’t screen private jets and their passengers? They just come and go as they please? And no-one thinks this might, possibly, be a problem? That a wealthy interest, or a skilled hijacker, would never decide to take out the whole chain of command of the USA on Inauguration Day, leaving an interesting power vacuum?

    I have given up saying, “Oh surely they would never do THAT,” because generally they do, with bells on. But …


  7. Gustafus

    Why do we wring our hands and wonder how Finland could have a superior school system?

    DUH… because the Fins are superior people???

    I live in New Mexico. Yes, we have multi culturalism. And to a certain extent – things are peaceful here. Latinos are easy to love.. their music, food and culture are unassuming and easy to live with. But make no mistake.. there is a huge difference between Latino kids and whites. And the Navajos are way behind even the Latinos.

    Ij am 68 years old. I”ve lived and traveled the world. NO – we are not all equal. And I’m sick to death of being told the differences are in my imagination. They are right there to see, if one has eyes to see. The Bell Curve and it’s implications are all around us.. and it is wonderful when minorities achieve better.

    But stop telling me we are all the same… WE most certainly are NOT!

  8. cripes

    Well, that last comment kind of sucked. Not only does he suggest “differences” are race-based, he raises the loathsome Bell Curve to support his prejudices.

    The point Ian is making is not that every individual is equal in talents, ability or achievement, but that a healthy society will strive to make their access to vital common resources as equal as possible. Think local taxes unequally funding schools; think how awful access for the poors is for everything, denying us equal participation as citizens of a commonweal. Don’t get started on that idiotic shibboleth of “opportunity” vs “outcomes.” The opportunities suck. The outcomes suck. The hardest-working people in every country are the poor.

    Don’t. Ever. Forget. It.

    Oh yes, latino culture is so…unassuming. And fiery, too! But the Navajos are way behind. Cretin.

  9. The way things should be, and always should have been
    …but also how they will never be.

    People are too xenophobic and fascist by nature.
    There will ALWAYS be those who are considered (and treated as) “lessers”.

  10. Sandman

    I disagree with the previous comment: people are not too xenophobic or fascist by nature. Such behavior is learned. Taught by people who stand to gain by inciting division. It’s one of the oldest scams in the book: get two other people to fight and, while they’re rolling around in the dirt, grab both of their wallets.

    If you don’t spend all day putting people into little cubby holes and telling them that the people in the other cubby holes are their enemies, if you don’t spend all day telling those people that everything is more scarce than it actually is (or creating actual scarcities where there were none), and if you don’t spend all day nursing their grievances, those people are not going to grow up to be xenophobic fascists.

  11. Doc

    Goodness. What comments!

    First and foremost, we are all humans. (Not Newberry. He’s a robot)

    Second, we have subsets among us: tall, short, intelligent, dumb, pretty, pretty ugly, fast, slow, etc.

    We are born into these subsets.

    All the other subsets that we create, which are always self serving , are just that, man made.

    Do yourself a favor and judge the person next to you by his/her God given talents or shortcomings. It’ll save you a lot of Grief.

  12. cripes

    “Judging people by their talents” is a big problem in this society, because it most often comes down to judging their social (read class) position; their wealth, status, edumacation, job, house, wife, sort-of-intelligence, instead of character. And then there are those with average, not stellar, character. But they must have a place.

    We have got to move towards a society that recognizes and accounts for people who are not the smartest in the room, who are unambitious (praise Jesus), who are old or sick or work as waiters and home-care attendants (seriously, you’ll need one) or bakers or barbers.

    When the only people in a society who can live decent lives, have security of health, food, housing and education are the elite, in our case bankers, lobbyists and arms dealers, we have a problem.

  13. someofparts

    “Aristotle described democracy as the political stage immediately preceding oligarchy, and tending to evolve into it. Ever since his epoch in classical antiquity, democracy has not been able to protect populations from the financial sector using debt to reduce them to bondage

    What terminology should we use for today’s world to describe what makes China (and Soviet Russia a century ago) distinct from the Western “democracies”?

    The important characteristic is that banking and finance are public functions.”

    Sounds like justice won’t be an option until we nationalize finance and banking.

  14. Joseph E. Kelleam

    Either that, or reinstate Glass-Steagall, along with serious antitrust enforcement.

  15. Eric Anderson

    America is this way because we allow #CapitalistPropaganda to be pounded into our brain from cradle to grave. We call it advertising for some stupid euphemistic reason.

    Case in point and I’m gonna get all Willy anecdotie here.

    I was in a sporting goods store today looking for the first pair of waders I’ve ever owned to go fly fishing. I’ve made it to 50 fishing in jeans and a pair of converse all stars. But, I’m getting old, and I’m not quite as tough as I used to be. So I bit the bullet.

    Care to guess what a pair of top end waders cost? Only around $750. Now, I’m a lawyer. I make decent money. Who in holy hell is buying $750 dollar waders? And why?

    I was with my Dad (we had a great day on the river btw) and on the drive home I ranted about American’s penchant for CONSPICUOUS WEALTH. Don’t for one second try to tell me that an Acura, an Infinity, a Mercedes, or a BMW will drive more miles than my Toyota. Nobody needs that crap … but there it is? Why?

    Because capitalists make more money when you think your wealth makes you better than other people. And, if you watch closely, this is the premise of Every. Ad. Ever. Created.

    This is your brain.
    This is your brain on 30 yrs of #CapitalistPropaganda drugs.

    Oh yeah, almost forgot. I got the $125.00 waders and they worked just fine. Go figure.

  16. Eric Anderson

    But for a paltry $600 more, I could act cooler than you and look down my nose at you … even if I didn’t catch as many fish.

    God I just want to repeatedly kick people in the crotch that buy into that crap.

  17. Hugh

    The wealthy and powerful need to be less wealthy and powerful. They need to have skin in the game. Currently, they don’t. Nowadays if you close one loophole they will simply buy another or pay to keep the current one open.

    As for the Finns, a good education doesn’t come from just having good schools for everyone but also having safe and supportive homes and families for children. Again you won’t have the resources for that if all your society’s resources are siphoned off to a class of rich, powerful unproductive parasites.

  18. Mark Pontin

    In theory, I’m all for the egalitarian. In practice, I do okay at it most of the time. (I think, but then of course I would.)

    Nevertheless ….

    As several note, we’re all human, as far as we know — and for what that’s worth. (Newberry, too, or even especially.)

    And, sure, it would be a boring world if we were all the same. Yes, a “society that recognizes and accounts for people who are not the smartest in the room, who are unambitious (praise Jesus), who are old or sick or work as waiters and home-care attendants (seriously, you’ll need one) or bakers or barbers” would be a Good Thing.

    Except, firstly, what about the “people who are not the smartest in the room” but think they _are_ or want others to think they are and who are certainly ambitious? We often call these people narcissists.

    Then, secondly, extreme narcissists’ behavior functionally is often indistinguishable from that of psychopaths and sociopaths. (Two different things, not incidentally; sociopaths populate the jailhouses, psychopaths the c-suites.) What do we about these people, some of whom congenitally cannot feel empathy and can only see the rest of us as prey?

    Is it not the case in the real world that we don’t have “a society (that) works best (and) treats people the same, no matter what position they hold” precisely because that’s the last thing the narcissists and psychopaths want, and they are in fact the people largely responsible for our current social order?

    Here’s a hypothetical. Here in 2021 there are hints that technologies are emerging that in time will let us identify at least the 0.05 of the population who are congenital psychopaths. Let us turn the clock forward to 2050 and imagine not only that these technologies are now fully developed and easily deployable, but also that us more-or-less normals have somehow managed to have a revolution and unseat the psychopaths.

    Okay. After the revolution, what do we do with the psychopaths to stop them continuing to prey on us? Clearly, we unfortunately do have to discriminate against them.

    Do we kill them, which at least is an appropriately psychopathic way of dealing with psychopaths? In fact, that’s an awful idea when you think about just how badly such a program could work out, especially if (yikes) an ambitious psychopath somehow managed to gain control of its administration — which is just the thing an ambitious psychopath _would_ try to do.

    Do we isolate psychopaths by imprisoning them on reservations, alternatively? For better and worse, it would mean psychopaths preying only on other psychopaths. Still, that’s an injustice for those who are less-inclined to violence and who are, remember, psychopathic through no fault of their own: the hard core of psychopaths are like that congenitally — they were inescapably born with that incipient brain-structure.

    Do we rebuild congenital psychopaths’ brains for them, assuming we have the technology in 2050? If we do, we’ll be destroying the people they currently are — violating their identities in a way that’s essentially no different than other forms of summary execution.

    Do we let psychopaths wander free but only after we’ve created some zone of repulsion around them such that wherever they go, they’re unable to impose their psychopathic preferences on the rest of us? Along this line, there’s a great old science-fiction story called “The Country of the Kind, written by Damon Knight in the 1950s that comes to mind.

    Anyway, sorry if I’ve wandered a little speculatively. Still, the question of “What do we do about the psychopaths?” does inescapably follow the question Ian asked, “How do we get a society that treats everybody equally?”

  19. Mark Pontin

    someofparts: “Sounds like justice won’t be an option until we nationalize finance and banking.”

    Why do you think they killed Lincoln and Huey Long?

    Why do you think they also hate China, for that matter?

    Yes, there_ is_ a psychopath class.

  20. Paul Harris

    It seems that psychopathy may have evolved in humans simply as a strategy to pass on genes more efficiently (Tielbeek et al.). If so, even if we removed them all wouldn’t we just evolve the condition again?

  21. Hugh

    My understanding is that the original term was psychopath. Psychopath became a generic pejorative so psychiatrists started using sociopath as less controversial, but the same thing happened. So now it’s called anti-social personality disorder.

  22. Willy

    I see psychopathy like I do autism. It’s a spectrum thing. People with Asperger’s can do well in the engineering and tech fields and be successful enough to reproduce. But when two of them hook up, the genetic possibility for autism increases dramatically. Same thing with two tough-minded parents. And I’ve known a couple psychopathic families. You never wanted to be their neighbors.

    Sometimes planted seeds do sprout. I once told my rich and sheltered niece, a brand-new kindergarten teacher, to be on the lookout for psychopaths. She gave me that weird look. It wasn’t more than a couple years before she announced her first psychopathic student, a kid so utterly incorrigible that she was trying to get him removed from her class.

    I once read about a very rare neurological condition involving being born without the sense of touch. In one case a toddler who couldn’t feel physical pain was driving his mother nuts doing stuff like turning on the stove burner and placing his hand on it, curious about the interesting smells which would result. He’d been to the hospital many times for other physical injuries. I used that example to help illustrate psychopaths with their inability to feel any social emotions like empathy or guilt for all the rationalistic tabla rasa folks out there who should know better. Not everybody is born normal. People really are “cut from different cloths”.

    But I also believe in plasticity, where people isolated from harsh realities, like my niece, can suddenly “feel” something when their lives get rubbed into it.

    The rank and file conservatives I know rationalize inequality with individuality. They say we cannot have one without the other. This is obvious bullshit. No matter what system humans have had there have always been artists, engineers, psychopaths… as well as elites.

    The elites we want (vs the ones we wish we had) can still “feel“ what not being an elite is like. This is why I preferred Biden over Trump. In the lazy world of Joe Biden, he voted for the crime bill to keep us safe from the sudden rise of crime, apparently choosing to go no further into the “why” this was happening. But he’s corrigible. After decades of Bernie being a Biden whisperer Joe may finally be getting the actual “why” behind crime spiking, because he’s corrigible enough to actually care.

  23. anon

    I’ve always believed that racism has played a large role in preventing the USA from raising the minimum wage, fixing the education system, and implementing universal health care. Elites of all ethnic backgrounds do not want equality that would not benefit themselves or create competition for their children. However, the average American with a MAGA flag still flying on their lawn would rather cut off their own nose to spite minorities who would also benefit from these social programs. Notice how largely homogenous developed countries have an easier time implementing socialist programs that benefit their own people, but more multicultural countries face greater resistance.

  24. Feral Finster

    It is not surprising that when meritocrats are responsible for determining what “merit” means and virtue signalers set the standards for deciding “virtue”, that the practical definition of “merit” and “virtue” will mean “Just Like Me!”

  25. Feral Finster

    @Mark Pontin: I have long thought that the true real function of government is to keep power out of the hands of psychopaths.

    This is why there is no one true and correct system of government, and why states and societies decay. Because, like rust, the psychopaths eventually always get in and corrupt everything they touch.

    This is also why the West had as good a run as long as it has, imperfect though it always was. What we are seeing to day, a reversion to more or less open psychopathy, is but a reversion to the mean.

  26. Feral Finster

    “Wait a minute — the NSA doesn’t screen private jets and their passengers? They just come and go as they please?”

    I think you are talking about the TSA. And one of the charms of private aircraft ownership, post 9/11, has been the relative lack of TSA control. It’s not entirely absent, but a much lighter touch than if you are a passenger on an airline.

  27. Hugh

    One of the things that griped me about the Amazon union vote in Alabama was the justifications after the defeat. I kept hearing that Amazon paid its employees $15 an hour “twice the minimum wage.” The federal minimum wage is $7.25. So I guess I should have been surprised that I didn’t hear that Amazon employees started at MORE than twice the minimum wage.

    The problem is that like so many things in economics the minimum wage sounds like it is supposed to mean something but doesn’t in fact mean anything at all, which is a feature, not a bug. It’s akin to choosing some random amount, like 50 cents, and saying OMG Amazon’s starting pay is 30 TIMES the super duper pooper scooper wage. Wow!

    I often use $20 an hour as a rule of thumb starting point for a living wage for a single person. And that’s assuming $20 an hour, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year or $40,000. But that’s just a guess and probably needs updating. For a living wage, a person should be able to afford a decent apartment, a car, food, pay the bills, including taxes, have healthcare, and still have 20-25% left over for discretionary income to spend or save for whatever they want. But I have seen virtually no work in this area. I would be interested to know what other people thought would/should be a living wage. $15 an hour to be an over-stressed wage slave at Amazon doesn’t cut it for me.

  28. R

    Has anyone seen those studies that show that becoming rich changes the brain, often resulting in psychopathy?

    I’m thinking this is the reason many religions discourage wealth-building, and in Zoroastrianism the rich are supposed to spread their wealth as much as possible.

  29. someofparts

    Mark Pontin – Lincoln and Huey Long were killed over moving banking/finance away from private control?

    Please share more information on this.

    I managed to find a book by Huey Long and have it on order now. Good to know I’m on the right track.

  30. someofparts

    Hugh – Krystal & Sagaar opened their show this morning with a segment about the Amazon vote. They had useful things to say about the larger socio-economic forces stacked against organizing these days.

    Later in the show, they spoke with an economics reporter for the WaPo who says that the ProAct will probably be dropped from the Biden stimulus bill.

    Overall the message seems to be that conditions for working people are awful at present and won’t be getting better any time soon.

  31. Steve Ruis

    A comment on the Finnish education system. When they decided to reshape their education system they felt it was important to design it using the best research available. And where did they find it? In the U.S. It is our shame that we do not even try to implement our own research findings.

    In addition if we leveled the playing field, those who wanted a better education for their own kids would necessarily have to make the entire system better, not just their local schools. This would be a better system. But don’t count on it because we already have established “rights” for the rich over the educations of our kids through private schools and home schooling. We always favor individual rights over collect rights except where conservatives and liberals agree (national defense, courts, formerly the postal service, etc.).

  32. Ché Pasa

    Back in the olden days, toward the beginning of the Progressive Era, and then again at the outset of the New Deal, many of the rich and the plutocracy could be shamed for a while into doing the Right Thing. It wouldn’t last, but at least for the time being they would let “the People” have their way somewhat and even financially support Good Government and such. Free public education — in some places even through college — relatively free public health services and public hospitals, publicly funded mental health institutions (that often were terrible, but that’s another issue), publicly owned infrastructure and heavily regulated utilities, on and on. They could be shamed through a combination the rigorous morality of the versions of Christianity most were then brought up to believe in, even if they didn’t practice, and through the realization that their pecuniary and power interests were jeopardized by continuing and often catastrophic failures of the capitalist system of finance and rule.

    And of course after 1917 they were terrified of the rise and surprising success of the Soviet Union, despite the strenuous and ongoing efforts of what seemed like the whole wide world to crush it.


    These days, of course, there is no higher morality among the plutocracy, just the opposite. They see no self interest at all in raising up the Lower Orders from poverty and despair. Nor is good government and functioning infrastructure in their interests. They’d just as soon the Lower Orders disappear altogether. The failures of the capitalist system these days make them way richer and more powerful, so… why not let it fail? Even more enriching: why not cause it to fail? Over and over and over again! Whoopee!

    Of course anti-Dems are having a really hard time with the efforts of the Biden regime to tame some of the wilder aspects of the free-for-all “republic of dunces” we’re living in, and simultaneously clip the wings of the plutocracy while providing at least some material benefit, no matter how inadequate and temporary, to the unwashed and sans culottes.

    Poor “Lambert” went into a frenzied rant yesterday about how Biden is no FDR, partly because Biden doesn’t do Fireside Chats on the radio and “Lambert” want’s his six hundred dollars, g-dmmit! NOW!

    No, Biden is no FDR, and that’s probably a good thing, but it may be hard to grasp so soon after the transition (still incomplete) from Trump. In FDR’s time, remember, the plutocrats could still be shamed. They can’t be now. They literally do not care what anybody says or does or thinks about their obscenely wayward ways. They don’t mind driving the country or the whole world into the ditch. Nothing penetrates the bubbles of power and wealth they live in.

    Almost all FDR had to do was jawbone them and most tamed some of their worst instincts. Biden has a much more difficult task. They won’t listen, they don’t care, and to them, there is no one in the regime who is “one of them” that they need to listen to.

    It’s gonna take The Hammer to do what needs doing, and I don’t think we’ve ever seen that. We may not this time around, but I wouldn’t bet against it just yet.

  33. js

    Biden is no FDR. But FDR wasn’t about $600 payments, that’s not what matters long term, unless you want to be Andrew Yang. I am far more sympathetic to guaranteed necessities of life (healthcare, housing etc.) rather than guaranteed income. But the money might matter for reelection in Congress, and reelection matters greatly.

    Biden is no FDR, nor is he Sanders, because there is no broad scale effort to turn the U.S. into a 21st century social democracy. There is very targeted, truthfully almost profoundly cynical, money spending here and there, but no real attempt to build a more humane capitalism for all (and I’m anti-capitalist, I’m just saying that is the least we should want). I mean we live in a country where we just went through a pandemic and can’t get guaranteed sick time at the Federal level. There are less than 10 countries that don’t have it and half of them you haven’t heard of. There is no real attempt to rewrite the conditions of American capitalism to be something more humane.

    But who voted for Biden thinking he was FDR anyway? It was that or Trump, the cynical choices that were engineered for us, it’s like one of those people who cut off their arm to save their life because they got stuck in rocks somewhere. One doesn’t do it because they like cutting off their arm. I don’t know when people who don’t see that will get it through their thick skulls. That it was all about Trump, that Trump supporters and voters had inflicted the worst kind of awful on us, and we had to extricate ourselves no matter what.

  34. Great, another racist Boomer thinks the Bell Curve is real. YAWN.
    YT’er Shaun’s 2hr 30min (yes) video takedown of the racist Bell Curve BS:

  35. Trinity

    “But stop telling me we are all the same… WE most certainly are NOT!”

    And thankfully, this is true else we might all be racist pr*cks.

    More importantly, both cultures that the bell curve ass mentioned are much more community-oriented than the dystopian culture we live in. This fact is why they are targeted, to suppress communal thinking.

    It’s never been about skin color, or even class, it’s about culture, and the deliberate suppression of communal cultures. TPTB weren’t threatened by Black Wall Street, or black people having money, they were threatened by the obvious comparisons that would arise for outcomes of people who look out for each other. This is one of their problems with China, too.

    Community mindedness (too tired to think of better words) is by far the biggest threat to TPTB. And TPTB, the ultra rich, by what ever name or label you apply, are mentally ill. Something to keep in mind as we move along the downward slope. Expecting any majority of them to “do the right thing” is nonsensical.

    Ian, I taught high school math for a year. I was very successful, despite being given all the students the other teachers didn’t want. My secret? I treated every student the same. I didn’t know any better, but had so few problems I thought maybe I had special students. Nope! At the end of the year, in my “worst” class of “incorrigibles”, they told me how much it meant to them that I just tried. They had NEVER been treated that way before. They had never had a teacher do that. I couldn’t help it, I went home and cried. While I’m pretty clear on how things have come to be this way, I also feel the loss of what could have been, very keenly. I still think about them, and wonder how they are doing.

    I left teaching not because of that, but because of No Child Left Behind. One of the other math teachers was deliberately accelerating her syllabus to wean out the “weak” so she could get 100% passing rates for the standardized tests. And she did. And she got a Teacher of the Year award. Meanwhile, my classes doubled in size with her cast offs, I was running out of books and desks.

    It’s no wonder I’m so cynical.

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