[ExI] diversity and private schools

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed May 13 04:05:29 UTC 2009

BillK wrote:

> On 5/11/09, Lee Corbin wrote:
>>  But a true market place, where some kid repeatedly
>>  doesn't do well or work out at some schools  provides
>>  a "market opportunity" for entrepreneurs.
> "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man" is the
> motto of the Jesuits. Jesuit schools are usually boarding schools to
> reduce the influence of parents and the outside world.

But it was never like that the Jesuits didn't
have a lot of government support. You're speaking
of episodes of history in which any kind of
schooling for the masses not only was not wealth-
creating, but would have been forbidden anyway
(unless it happened to keep to the line of the
government/religious majorities of the day).

> Jesuit schools constitute one of the most effective forms for the
> apostolic activity of the Society of Jesus in the United States.
> Jesuits and their colleagues educate over 46,000 young men and women
> each year at 71 secondary or pre-secondary schools in 25 states
> The trouble with a 'market' in schools is that there is no standard to
> check them by. Every crazy group will have their own schools. Even
> 'good' schools will be sneaking in minor classes in creationism or
> bomb-making or the art of shoplifting, and so on.

You operate under the assumption that we collectively
know better than we do individually. But along with
Madison, I say that the real virtue of your culture
is not going to be manifest collectively if it cannot
be manifest individually, or by smaller groups.

You will rejoice that indeed, at present, the people
you agree with for the most part have the government
power. You'll switch sides expediently enough, I
reckon, if the tables are turned.

I.e., when folks like George Bush or the religious
right are in power, then you're all against centralized
collectively dictated school behavior - but when your
guys are in the ascendancy, well, it's a different

Shall we not try to find a principle here? How
about the one that got the west into riches:
let a thousand flowers bloom (even if that phrasing
was co-opted by a certain someone else).

Clearly, if the people are going to be rotten enough
to want for the most part to do things you don't
like individually, then they'll be just as likely
to do things you don't like collectively.

It also seems to me that you focus overly much on
very small groups, e.g., schools that would turn
out professional criminals, or schools that would
turn out terrorists. Do I sense a subconscious
need for uniformity?

> A 'market' has to have a minimum standard to attain and a supervisory
> administration to stop wrong behavior. Just like any market, from
> street markets to Wall Street (we can wish!).

Yes, a rather totalitarian control is absolutely
needed to stop all wrongdoing. Mao did manage to
end prostitution, drug use, and other vices in all
Chinese cities. But no one, least of all the
Chinese, would today argue that it was worth it.

The wrongdoing that needs attention from government
is that which has effects far, far beyond their
numbers. So we have laws to protect the weak or
innocent from the strong or wicked.

As with so many things, imagining all the things
that could go wrong in some particular private
school is relatively easy, while imagining the
great good that would come about in the myriads
by individualization is much more difficult. It
can rarely be done well except by analogy:

Aren't we grateful that supermarkets are free to
innovate and explore new possibilities, and to
cultivate those world-wide sources of least price?
Imagine what they'd be like if government run (as
they were in the USSR), and people were chanting
"food delivery is too important to be left to the
free market!".


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list