I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. -- Thomas Jefferson

Friday, August 28, 2009

Has conservatism failed?

Keith Preston has a brief but insightful discussion of the history of American conservatism in a book review on the Takimag site.

His final paragraph sums up the ultimate futility of conservatism in the US during the last half century:

Indeed, given the phenomenal success of the “conservatives” in expanding military spending and military interventionism, and their phenomenal failure everything else, one might be tempted to argue that the former was the only issue that ever really mattered all along, and that the grassroots economic, fiscal, social, cultural, religious and patriotic conservatives who comprised the activist base and key voting blocks were, to use an ironic Leninist term, nothing more than “useful idiots.”

But read the whole essay – his case is convincing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Teacher Training the Problem?

Steve Sailer has a new blog entry, “The inanity of teacher training,” consisting largely of a lengthy quote from Heather MacDonald, that nicely illustrates part of the problem with the current “educational system” in the USA. It is also worth reading MacDonald’s essay in its entirety.

To pursue this in greater historical detail, see Kliebard's classic The Struggle for the American Curriculum, 1893-1958, which manages to be both scholarly and remarkably readable.

However, I think that Sailer and MacDonald have only identified part of the problem: a century ago, many American parents did oppose the content-free curriculum.

But, today, this is actually what a large number of American parents want for their children. A "content-full" curriculum leads to kids who are "nerds," and many parents would rather have their children grow up to be illiterates than nerds.

Advocating knowledge for its own sake is a subversive stance in contemporary America.

Monday, August 24, 2009

From the Homeschooling Physicist---

The main purpose of this blog is to offer information about our homeschooling approach and the resources we have found useful in our homeschooling experience.

As a Ph.D. physicist turned stay-at-home homeschooling dad, my experience as a homeschooling parent is somewhat unusual: I hope I can offer a helpful perspective on some aspects of homeschooling, especially in areas such as math and science where my own professional background may be especially relevant.

Of course, from time to time, I may also offer comments on politics, philosophy, religion, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do not expect to blog a great deal about our personal lives.

I hope eventually to post systematic information on all the different books, workbooks, etc. that we have used in our homeschooling.

I will not necessarily be posting on a daily basis, but I do hope to post at least a few times each month.

The comment section is intended to be somewhat restricted -- i.e., a place to ask questions about my blog entries, to provide further information, or to politely offer different perspectives. I do not wish the comments section to become a free-for-all for debates on politics, religion, homeschooling styles, etc.: there are many other forums for such debates, and I just do not have the time to oversee such debates here. Any attempts to be nasty or abusive in the comments section will be ruthlessly deleted.

The blogs and links over to the right are various sites that I often find interesting: I do not agree with everything posted on all (or any) of these sites: if they post something outrageous, please blame them, not me. Those links include a Christian libertarian anarchist (Lew Rockwell), a self-described “godless liberal” (P. Z. Myers), and a wide range in between.

Free and open speech is a good thing.

Dave Miller in Sacramento