From the peanut gallery: abolish compulsory education 22

JISHOU, HUNAN — Recently, I wrote a reaction to the Christian rightwing hijacking of the Texas Board of Education, and the anti-public education views of one of its members. A visitor named Joey swung by this week, and left this comment: That a functioning democracy requires, first, a well-educated, literate public and, second, a public that shares the same knowledge about the history and political philosophy of the nation is the basic thinking of any statist, when public schools are to serve as the chief means to achieve this homogeneity of thinking. It’s no wonder there are parents and organization already determined to abolish public schools by opting out from compulsory education. It’s an effective way to fight tyranny, particularly the tyranny of the majority. You will note that Joey has nothing directly to say about the Texas BOE, but definitely agrees that public education is a Bad Thing. I don’t, though I am a critic of public education. My reply was this: Excuse me? You need to read up on some history. One of those “statists” who favored public education was Thomas Jefferson. George Washington also recognized the need for a well educated public. Read his farewell address. So, ...

A basic civics lesson 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — Some citizens of the USA seem to forgotten their basic civics, if in fact they ever learned civics in the first place. So here is a primer. Feel free to share this among your anti-Obama associates. The United States of America is a constitutional republic, in which legislators (Congressional representatives and Senators) are elected by popular vote, and the president and vice president are elected in a two-stage electoral process – a popular vote and an Electoral College vote. Whoever gains the most votes (a plurality) in an election is the winner of the election. In the USA, which has two dominant political parties, practically speaking this means whoever gains a simple majority of the votes is the winner. For example, in the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama and Joe Biden received 52.9% of the popular vote, and John McCain and Sarah Palin, 45.7%. The remaining votes went to nominees of several smaller parties. In the Electoral College, Obama/Biden netted 365 votes and McCain/Palin, 173. Thus, Obama/Biden won the election by a clear majority. In a republic, an elected official serves everyone, regardless of who voted for him or her. This precept has been the basis of ...
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