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Monday, April 17, 2006

Unbundle the Zaxlebax!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Roderick Long is one of my favorite people at the Mises Institute.

Recently, he gave the Rothbard Memorial Lecture at the Austrian Scholars Conference.

The whole thing is wonderful of course, but the part that struck the hardest for me was when he spoke of anti-concepts and package-deal terms. This is an enormously important thing for everyone to understand, and not only in the context of socio-political thought. I think this is one of the patterns that trips people up all too frequently. It is a fundamental building block of critical reasoning.
Of course, I would say (and I think Prof. Long would agree) that this thing of ours, is essentially critical reasoning properly applied to the socio-political sphere.
In that realm, I find that the biggest stumbling block to speaking clearly with anyone about politics seriously, are these package deal terms.
Most of my real life friends would, if anything, call themselves socialists. A few consider themselves capitalists. But almost all of them end up endorsing positions that are, if they could think about them clearly, terrible and inhumane. But they can't think about them clearly, because they've already absorbed a metric ton of presuppositions about how the universe works that clearly aren't possible. Yet unfortunately, cognitive dissonance and social pressure keep them frozen in their boxes. If you point out the contradictions, they become uncomfortable, and you seem like a "crazy idealist" or something like that.
Public schooling is largely to blame for this, and of course that's why it's one of the really unassailable institutions in our society. I mean, you can criticize it all you like, but if you talk about abolishing public schools, people freak out.
As I've said before, I think that hard reality is the only ally we really have. Underneath it all, people's desire to survive and thrive is stronger than their ideology. Only when statism becomes untenable will it be demolished. And in that post-collapse gap, that's when we have a chance to keep it from reviving.

3 Comments:

Blogger jomama said...

While I respect Long and Murray (I think I read most everything he's written) I am now turned off of any discussion involving "left", "right", Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, conservative, liberal, anarchist, capitalist, communist and many other unmentionables.

I'm trying to wean myself from this whole bucket of worms.

What purpose do any of 'em serve? What's real about any of 'em?

2:50 PM  
Blogger Dr. Lenny said...

watching scorned publik skul bureaucrats squirm is one of my favorite hobbies, but i have been frostily excommunicated from normal access points. i recently came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what the ps do, we just have to teach what we know in an economically feasible way. as an educator, modern education is hopeless and misses the point. as administrator, it's indoctrination 101 at its best and the cream screen filter off free thinkers.

The freeist thinkers are in 5th grade - when they still have curiosity and enthusiasm to learn. but once they are old enough to 'understand', the expectation level set doesn't match with the reality and kids get beaten up mentally for asking questions or not following orders rather than being asked, socratically, counter-questions that would encourage deeper thought.

but then, how much deeper thought can you get on a 50 minute bell schedule?

9:16 AM  
Blogger Vache Folle said...

I have begun to anticipate how my public school argument is going to play out. My auditors will hear my comments as anti-education unless I point out from the outset that I am all for education but that I am opposed to the fraudulent and coercive way it is organized and financed. I present my case as an argument for alternative structures and funding mechanisms and get straight to the crux of the matter- whether it is fitting to compel people by the threat of violence to pay for the education of other people's kids.

3:59 PM  

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