Saturday, 13 May 2017

Continual Comparisons And The Flux Of Life

OK. I cannot read anything else without comparing it to Poul Anderson:

an ancient Roman Time Patrol trainee and some Emberversers treat machines like horses;
both Bond and Flandry were bereaved;
Merseians try to subvert Terran society as Russians tried to subvert Western societies;
Anderson and others speculate about the consequences of longevity;
Wells introduced ideas that Anderson and others developed;
Anderson is comparable not only to Wells but also to Tolkien.

These are just a few recent examples.

All writing and blogging occurs with the flux of life going on around it. Anderson showed us dynamic societies and we live in some of them. Tomorrow in Lancaster, Headteachers, Primary and Secondary School Teachers, Teaching Assistants, parents, pupils and their supporters will march and rally to protest against major cuts in government spending on educational services and none of them will do this as covert agents of any hostile foreign power! In the evening, there will be another Goth Night. But there might also be time for some blogging.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    This betrays my owe ignorance, but I'm not sure how certain naive persons treat machines like horses.

    And, frankly, I have some sympathy for how Her Majesty's Government wishes to cut spending on "education." Considering how, all too frequently, such policies have failed in many US public schools, I have sympathy for those in the UK who may think gov't spending in "education" is not working all that well.

    At the very least, why should the national gov't even be in education at all? Shouldn't that be left to private funding, churches, non government owned schools, local gov'ts?


    1. Thank you, Sean. You have caught up with the posts and it will be a little while before there is another. There have been 455 page views since 1.00 AM and hopefully page viewers read the combox so your and my views have an audience. I must finish reading THE SUNRISE LANDS before starting MURDER IN BLACK LETTER.

    2. Sean:
      "At the very least, why should the national gov't even be in education at all? Shouldn't that be left to private funding, churches, non government owned schools, local gov'ts?"
      Standardization of knowledge.

      Put education totally under local control with no national input, and you open the door to curricula that differ so widely, any family that moves from one area to another might find their kids weren't educated to local standards. These children would then need to spend extra time catching up to their new classmates.

      Leave schools to private funding, and those who grow up in poorer neighborhoods — or poorer states — will be deprived of the chance for good schooling, simply because nobody there can afford to pay enough teachers and buy enough textbooks and other materials.

      There's also the question of schools teaching not just at different levels, but teaching contradictory views. In 1986, there was a lawsuit brought in Tennessee by Protestant fundamentalists. One of the most vocal, Vicki Frost, said she didn't want the school to even mention the EXISTENCE of faiths other than her own variant of Christianity, UNLESS the teacher specified that those other faiths, such as Roman Catholicism, were FALSE.

      "We cannot be tolerant of religious views on the basis of accepting other religions as equal to our own." She very clearly said she considered the Catholic version of Christianity to be WRONG, an entirely different religion from her own interpretation of Christianity, and she wanted the school to tell ALL students that Catholicism was not True Christianity.

      She also protested letting students learn ANYTHING about the Renaissance period, because "a central idea of the Renaissance was a belief in the dignity and worth of human beings."

      Mrs. Frost stated that "Our children's imaginations have to be bounded." She objected to a line in a textbook which figuratively described using imagination as "magical." To her, that word "magical" was LITERAL, and therefore imagination was "an occult practice," forbidden to the children of True Christians. I don't think she'd have anything good to say about reading Poul Anderson.

      Summing up, it's my view that without nationally standardized education, there's an increasing chance that a family moving to a different area might as well have moved to a different NATION. Ungood. Doubleplus ungood.

    3. And thank you, David. Every issue is relevant to Poul Anderson Appreciation. Sean and I discussed public versus private education in the Solar Commonwealth in the combox for the post, "Terrestrial Society," Fri 24 Oct 2014.

    4. Kaor, DAVID!

      Thanks for your lengthy comments, making some points I have to agree may be worth thinking about. Despite me still disagreeing with you.

      I understand your point about "standardization," but didn't we, in the US, get along quite well without that kind of micromanaging of standards which started after about 1960? Also, it's my view that with a WIDE variety of different kinds of schools, parents will likely find the kind of schools they think are best.

      In fact, I have sometimes wondered if we do better to return to a variant of the kind system used in the Medieval and early Modern era: the Trivium and Quadrivium, for beginning and advanced studies. The study of Aristotelian logic, for example, would do far more good than studying "feminist issues"!

      As for poorer versus richer schools, I still have very serious caveats and reservations. Far too many big city schools in poorer parts are still terrible or worse than terrible, despite all the billions in tax monies they got. I only need to cite a few notorious examples like Detroit, Chicago, Los Angels, etc. Many of the very worst schools are in RICHER, not poorer states of the US. So I have my doubts that merely a state being poorer necessarily means its schools will be bad.

      And there's also the matter of the death grip on public schools held by the teachers unions. It's almost impossible to get rid of failed or incompetent teachers due to dominance of the unions in public schools. Private, non government controlled schools would have a freer hand in choosing and firing teachers.

      As for the weird views of Mrs. Frost, who wants to, basically, set up fundamentalist Protestant madrasahs, well the US Constitution does guarantee freedom of religion even to nuts like her. I don't really think there are enough "evangelical Protestants" like her that other evangelicals will send their children to such Frost style schools if competition from better schools shows Frost's ideas won't work.

      So, if we have to have "standardization," I would prefer leave them to states of the US, not the national gov't. Even if that means "standards" may vary. I have seen too much bungling and incompetence from the national gov't to have much confidence when it tries to go beyond its proper, modest bounds. And I argue the same will be true of other nations.


    5. Kaor, Paul!

      Naturally, I'm glad your blog has gotten so many viewers dropping by! And I hope some readers will also leave their own remarks in the comboxes. Sometimes it's very hard to keep up with you! (Smiles)


    6. Sometimes I get exasperated by some of my own combox comments. I need to take the time to read a comment before uploading it, so I can correct errors and smooth out infelicities of expression and wording.


    7. Sean,
      I am sure that they read smoothly enough to the rest of us.

    8. Kaor, Paul!

      Thanks! But I have noticed too many times errors I've made and awkward turns of phrase which could have been avoided by taking the time to do some editing.