January 28, 2010

Some Embarrassment Is Good

The good news: We are finally rid of the Romeikes.
Christian fundamentalists have welcomed the decision by a US court to award a German family political asylum in the United States because the parents were unwilling to subject their children to mandatory school attendance rules in Germany.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike from the town of Bissingen in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg wanted to teach their five children at home because they feared that they were being taught an "anti-Christian worldview" in public schools. They pulled their children out of school and in 2008, after fighting the authorities for years, emigrated to the United States, where they applied for political asylum in 2009. On Tuesday night, the evangelical Christian lobbying group Home School Legal Defense Assoication (HSLDA) announced that the Romeikes' asylum application had been approved.

Announcing his verdict in a court in Memphis, Tennessee, Judge Lawrence Burman ruled that the Romeikes' were entitled to political asylum. According to HSLDA -- the ruling is not yet officially available --, Burman argued that he believed the Romeike family's basic human rights were being violated in Germany. "We can't expect every country to follow our constitution," he said, as quoted by the organization. Burman also defined so-called homeschoolers, who teach their children at home, as "a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress." The family, Burman argued, has "a well-founded fear of persecution" and, as a result, the right to political asylum in the United States.

HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly called the decision "embarrassing for Germany." According to Donnelly, the Memphis court issued a final ruling "that homeschoolers are a social group that is being persecuted in Germany." A "Western nation should uphold basic human rights, which include allowing parents to raise and educate their own children," Donnelly said. "This is simply about the German state trying to coerce ideological uniformity in a way that is frighteningly reminiscent of past history."
Isn't all history "past history"? But whatever. Maybe Donnelly was homeschooled. (Ooops... that was cheap!)

The anti-American Pavlovian drooling effect triggered off by this is only too telling and allows a glimpse into the deepest bilges of the German collective soul I wish I hadn't had, but nevertheless, in the best interest of truth, let me stress a couple of points:

Yes, we are trying to suppress homeschoolers. Maybe it is not apropos to make this comparison, but at least we have a rate for functional illiteracy of about 4% and the US of A of about 14%. I am sure that such a high percentage is not due to homeschooling, but I AM sure that our comparatively low rate is due to strictly enforced compulsory education. What I am NOT saying is that our school system does NOT have a lot of room for improvement. It has.

What a pathetic faith that is, which doesn't prepare children for a morning (in case somebody doesn't know: we don't have dayschools) of secular teaching, and what pathetic parents who are not willing or able (or not willing and able) to discuss with their children their curriculum later at home.

What a pathetic faith that resorts to lying to promote its own agenda. All this is "embarrassing" for YOU, not for us.

Dear Americans, in our little country prevails, maybe yet and just, the rule of law, but it prevails. If we allow Evangelical Christians to homeschool their children, we will have to make the same allowance for Muslims, and those, believe me, are only waiting for something like that to happen.

Here are some of the points I made in earlier entries:

Germany was the first country ever to have free elementary education available to all people. This was brought about by the Lutheran Reformation. Luther translated the Bible so that it could be read by everybody who could read.

Another reason for compulsory education was that children would get away for a couple of hours from a home where they would be forced to work. (Not a strong argument, admittedly, for Americans and specifically American libertarians.) Thus, compulsory state schooling was set up first in Saxony, where Martin Luther lived and worked. Ernst der Fromme (notabene Ernest the Pious), Duke of Sachsen-Gotha-Altenburg, introduced compulsory school attendance in 1642 and saw that his schools were well equipped. Schoolbooks were printed. That was about 150 years after America was discovered and if I were into cheap shots I'd say now "150 years after America was discovered and some centuries before you winded up stealing your country from the natives", but I don't because I am not into cheap shots. Other German states followed suit, for example Prussia with the Principia Regulativa of Friedrich Wilhelm I. in 1717. Day-by-day realisation was somewhat slower, but by the end of the 19th century all of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Scandinavia and France had put into practice compulsory school attendance laws, and because I am not into cheap shots and "past history", I will refrain from pointing out any chronology connected to slavery in the American South.

This may amaze you, but we consider this one of the great civilisatory achievements, of which Europe, and Germany, can be justifiedly proud.

Now what about the "past history" between 1933 and 1945 during which countless regulations, rules and decrees were passed, which were unashamedly against God's and men's natural law. However, the law that finally and for all did away with homeschooling wasn't one of them. A lot of regulations, rules and decrees were passed as well, which were part of the everyday business of running a state –- ANY state.

It is not exactly as if the Nazis had destroyed a thriving homeschooling infrastructure and in fact it is the height of intellectual dishonesty to say, or insinuate, so. In fact, there WAS no such infrastructure and never had been. The lawmaking process just did what would have been done sooner or later by any German government anyway, namely legally clarifying the status quo.

Obviously, some of the more zealous among the American homeschooling champions are too dense to understand that (or too much lacking in integrity to say so) and that their own traditions, historical development, understanding of personal freedom and scepticism towards governmental paternalism -- in a word: their mentality -- can not be applied offhandedly to other, specifically European, countries. If that were so easy, we'd all be over there.

As it is, it's good that at least the Romeikes are now.


Read also:

A Well-Meaning Suggestion for American Homeschoolers

Dumb, dumber, American conservative

When a Nazi poofter in lederhosen speaks the truth, something stinks!

26 comments:

Bruce Church said...

Hi Editrix,

The Catholic Church has embraced evolution since at least 1941, so it is much easier for Catholics to stomach public schools than for many Evangelicals.

You said that a faith should be able to prepare adherents for the assault on their faith while attending public schools. However, even the Catholic Church is not doing a good job at this since it is losing members to secularism, especially in Germany and Europe.

Most homeschooled children in the US must take tests showing they are at their grade-level or better in all mandatory subjects. See this global map where the legal restrictions and conditions are color-coded:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_homeschooling

Homeschooling actually helps the literacy-rate in the US because the state can spend its education dollars on fewer students--the students who need it most.

Publish school teachers have never liked private schools since it represents competition and makes them look bad. Now they lament homeschooling for the same reasons, but they are reluctant to admit that, and would rather charge that homeschooling is bad for the children despite the tests that say otherwise.

Before public school teachers and unions charged that private schools had the best students and that's why they did so well, but studies have repeatedly shown that private schools can make ANY student perform better with less money than control groups in public schools, no matter how disadvantaged those students are. That's probably the case with homeschooling.

What ruined the literacy rate in the US is teachers unions that have always fought pay rates and continued employment based on results/merit, and they have engaged in grade inflation and social promotions where students pass to the next grade no matter what. Moreover, many teachers are all too glad when problem students drop out of the system, and have encouraged them to drop out. Moreover, you'll never find a teacher's union asking local police to enforce truancy laws! It took the No Child Left Behind Act to finally get localities to enforce those laws to the public schools chagrin. THAT's a major reason for the 14% functional illiteracy rate in the US.

Teachers unions hate Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, but blacks and poor folks love it, and thus there are no plans to repeal it even though the Democrats are in power now, and the teacher's unions are chummy with the Dems.

The best thing to do would be to privatize all education, which would dis-empower the teachers unions to a large extent, and would allow the best teachers to thrive and be paid better (not just based on seniority) while the mediocre and bad teachers are fired.

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, let me thank you for your most valuable input. I learned a lot by reading your comment.

I hope I made it clear that my entry was not against homeschooling (I know accounts from Americans I trust who have convinced me that it is a good thing) but against the arrogance of certain American circles who try to tar us with the Nazi brush, which is, in this context, intellectual dishonest in the extreme.

I said, too, that I don't think that the relatively high illiteracy rate comes from homeschooling.

However, it wouldn't work in Germany. Do you know why we perform so poorly on an academic level? That is because the young, who have just passed a relatively rigid curriculum of 12 years, are totally left alone at university level. They hang out in cafeterias, they choose courses that will lead to easy credits, not to academic accomplishment, they have no perspective, no control (and no self-control) and no leadership. Germans just can't handle freedom. That was my main point.

Another point was that homeschooling would be disastrous because it would leave the Muslim children, and specifically the girls, unprotected. I have thematised it here. You (I mean you Americans) can't even begin to imagine the pressure under which we are put by Islam.

You say: "You said that a faith should be able to prepare adherents for the assault on their faith while attending public schools. However, even the Catholic Church is not doing a good job at this since it is losing members to secularism, especially in Germany and Europe."

That is only too true. However, that isn't the fault of the public school system, but the lack of faith in only too many Catholics up to many bishops and cardinals.

A lobby group with a Facebook-presence has recently successfully fought the removal of the Crucifix from the classrooms in Austria. That is a small but important step. During the next couple of years it will be decided whether the West will survive or not and secularism is no reliable ally here.

Bruce Church said...

Hi Editrix,

I know that public teachers in Germany actually care about their students, which is much different than in public schools in the US where the unions only care about lessening the teacher burden, and getting higher pay and pension benefits. Where I live the teachers get a 3 point something percent pay raise every year--even during this latest recession. Plus, it's a steady job. They don't know how good they got it compared to the average American worker, especially considering how only one of five US workers has pension benefits. For many decades the teachers unions have blamed the students for all their academic failings, but finally the US Congress has started to tighten the screws on the teachers and their unions.

Thanks for the counter-comment. I hadn't thought about the Muslim menace and homeschooling. There are cities in the US where Muslim populations are significant, and things are becoming problematic, but the connection between homeschooling and Muslims is not mentioned as being a problem--yet.

Also, I hadn't thought about the Nazi angle since I think of that being a WWII problem that Germans largely have put behind them. I was in Germany two years while in the US military and never saw a Neo-Nazi, nor even a very disagreeable German, except for that typewriter repairman who hadn't bathed in two weeks, I'd guess. Those Swedish crystal deodorants can only cover up so much! I'll never forget that, nor my trip to Dachau.

I think there is one Muslim per 20 Germans (3 point something million Muslims vs 70m Germans). That's not quite as bad as the Netherlands where it's one per 16 people (1m vs 16m). In the US it's about one Muslim per 120 people (2m vs 340m). So even in places like Dearborn, Michigan, certain suburbs of Chicago and in cities of Virginia where there are a lot of Muslims, they know that they are so overwhelmed that they don't pressure Americans as much as they must in Germany. It's somewhat like in India where Muslims are kept in line by the sheer number of Hindus who Muslims know hold a pre-modern religious mindset, meaning they aren't above persecuting.

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, this is a most interesting exchange. I've got to go to bed now, up early and maniacally busy tomorrow. I'll come back tomorrow night or Sunday.

Be well!

Bruce Church said...

Oops! Spoke too early. The teacher union-friendly Dems are going to revise No Child Left Behind because expecting schools to reduce the the 14 percent functional illiteracy rate in the US is deemed "utopian" by the school teachers unions.

Germany may have Neo-Nazis, but the US has the teachers unions, and if one has to compare the damage done to each country by the respective group, the teachers unions do far and away more damage to the US than the Neo-Nazis could ever dream of doing to Germany.

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, I don't have children and no nephews and nieces either, but yes, I am under the impression that quite a few of German teachers care about their students. Whether the result is all that good is a different question. The picture you paint is not too different from Germany, but we are not quite there.

I encounter a disturbing disregard among Americans of our situation with such a strong Muslim minority. Plus we are much closer to the Arab world. Do your math and figure out how far it is from -- say -- Chicago to Riad and how far from Berlin.

I don't think that homeschooling and Muslims will become a problem for you, the reason for that are exactly the different mentalities I mention in my entry. Of course, it would be unwise not to watch such a connection closely.

Also, I hadn't thought about the Nazi angle since I think of that being a WWII problem that Germans largely have put behind them. I was in Germany two years while in the US military and never saw a Neo-Nazi, nor even a very disagreeable German, except for that typewriter repairman who hadn't bathed in two weeks...

:-) Your observation is correct. The big problems we have are certainly not due to "Neo Nazis". That is why I find the demagogic (and untrue) argument that mandatory school attendance comes from the Nazis so disgusting.

"I think there is one Muslim per 20 Germans (3 point something million Muslims vs 70m Germans). That's not quite as bad as the Netherlands where it's one per 16 people (1m vs 16m). In the US it's about one Muslim per 120 people (2m vs 340m). So even in places like Dearborn, Michigan, certain suburbs of Chicago and in cities of Virginia where there are a lot of Muslims, they know that they are so overwhelmed that they don't pressure Americans as much as they must in Germany. It's somewhat like in India where Muslims are kept in line by the sheer number of Hindus who Muslims know hold a pre-modern religious mindset, meaning they aren't above persecuting."

Exactly! And that is the only thing that will keep Muslims in line.

The_Editrix said...

"...expecting schools to reduce the the 14 percent functional illiteracy rate in the US is deemed "utopian" by the school teachers unions."

What a sad, total admission of failure! A 14% rate of functional illiteracy in the most powerful nation of the world!

In Germany, the pathetic Neo Nazis and the "threat" they are supposed to be is used as a smokescreen to distract from the danger that comes from the left. In Germany it's a bit more involved because "the left" was historically against the Nazis and everybody who used to be in opposition to the Nazis is persona grata at our end.

Btw. I totally agree about privatising of education for our country -- while keeping up mandatory school attendance.

Bruce Church said...

I doubt Germany will ever have a functional illiteracy rate that approaches anything near that of the Backward United States of America. Here a hint as to why. The Calvinists set the tone of the country (the US, that is), and their Augustinian dogma says that if someone is poor or a slave or is damned, it's their fault due to their sin, and not only that, but they are reprobated in that sin. In other words, God's punishes sin with hardness in sin, and ignorance is punished with more ignorance, or debt is punished by insolvency, or unemployment is punished with more unemployment, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. So hardly any of the do-gooders in the US are Calvinists, and moreover, there are too few do-gooders to raise the level of the poor and uneducated in the US.

Notice how Obama decided to take on No Child Left Behind only AFTER his one year anniversary State of the Union address. Everyone knows No Child Left Behind is popular among Americans (especially among Blacks), but the public school teachers and their union hate it, and they support the Dem party:

February 01, 2010
Obama Reportedly to Overhaul No Child Left Behind

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/01/obama-reportedly-overhaul-child-left/

Bruce Church said...

Hi Editrix,

I was thinking about what you wrote, that it's a shame that "the most powerful nation of the world" has a high illiteracy rate, and a thought occurred to me that has occurred many times before, and that is, when Germany, Europe and other "rich" countries don't do their share in policing the world, or funding the United Nations, or whatnot, on the pretext that the United State is so rich and powerful so they can handle it, what occurs then is the US picks up the tab, but at the expense of the poor of the United States who go yet another year without healthcare and good education.

It's galling that countries in which everyone has good healthcare and education are making the US do and pay extra to keep the world secure and make sure everyone has clean water and such, when so much of its citizenship are living relatively miserable lives, often hand to mouth, and some are even homeless.

Universal Realist said...

Hello Editix,

It’s me Chris I finally figure how to post here with your help.

Anyway I can’t believe someone can get political asylum status in my country based on the bases that they don’t want their kid to get a secular education in their home country.

The one draw back I see about homeschooling is kids being denied learning how to interact with different types of individuals and personalities. I think this can be a drawback later in life.

Great post.

Tragedy101 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The_Editrix said...

Where did I say you attacked me? I don't even know you. And it isn't my "prescious Martin Luther" (it's spelled "precious" by the way -- are you home schooled?). I'm Catholic. This was your first and last comment here. Naff off.

The_Editrix said...

Dear Moron,

*I* decide who posts what at my blog and as you chose to delete your post without my permission, here it is again:

You want an attack. Here it is: your prescious Martin Luther wrote the rather lengthy essay entitled "The Jews and their Lies", I don't have to tell you what is in that. Using your logic Martin Luther had nothing to do with the concentration camps or the extermination of Jews in Germany either? Only in public education which is obviously good, because literacy is more important than being capable of independant, rational thought?

I didn't mention it on Beak's site, although he, being well read, probably is familiar with it.

And you have the nerve to claim I'm attacking you. Because you attack an obscure sentence written by a - "brain damaged" you called her? - woman rather than the statements of the man.

The man sounds like a bad man. Attack his statements, not his church.


To which I replied:

Where did I say you attacked me? I don't even know you. And it isn't my "prescious Martin Luther" (it's spelled "precious" by the way -- are you home schooled?). I'm Catholic. This was your first and last comment here. Naff off.

Just for posterity!

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, first let me say "thank you for the Calvinist angle, of which I was largely unaware.

Then this:

I was thinking about what you wrote, that it's a shame that "the most powerful nation of the world" has a high illiteracy rate, and a thought occurred to me that has occurred many times before, and that is, when Germany, Europe and other "rich" countries don't do their share in policing the world, or funding the United Nations, or whatnot, on the pretext that the United State is so rich and powerful so they can handle it, what occurs then is the US picks up the tab, but at the expense of the poor of the United States who go yet another year without healthcare and good education.

You have put me to shame and I deserved it.

The best thing to do would be to privatize all education, which would dis-empower the teachers unions to a large extent, and would allow the best teachers to thrive and be paid better (not just based on seniority) while the mediocre and bad teachers are fired.

That would be the best thing for Germany as well. I hope it is clear by now that I am not anti-home-schooling, I am just saying that it would be counterproductive to apply it to Germany. Privatisation, i.e. the introduction of performance and competition, of education with strictly enforced attendance and supervision by the state would do my country a lot of good. Why supervision by the state? This would be a case in point.

The_Editrix said...

UR says: Anyway I can’t believe someone can get political asylum status in my country based on the bases that they don’t want their kid to get a secular education in their home country.

Yes it's weird, isn't it? What a poor faith it must be that can't see children safely through half a day of secular education. But whatever, I have a hunch that you will hear from those people at your end as well sooner or later, because they are (I think) not strong individualists, but litigious oddballs. I hope I am wrong.

The one draw back I see about homeschooling is kids being denied learning how to interact with different types of individuals and personalities. I think this can be a drawback later in life.

Funny enough, that is a drawback I don't see. Many homeschooling parents credibly state that that is not the case. I am not familiar with American everyday life, but I think it should be possible to provide sufficient post-school social interachtion to homeschooled children. But as I said, I am no judge of that aspect.

Great post.

Thank you!

bruce-church said...

Hi Editrix,

Spiegel confirmed exactly today what I stated in my comments above, namely, that Europeans very well knew that the only way Americans could do everything they were doing for the rest of the world, and for Europe, was by neglecting its poor (and, BTW, the environment by using too much cheap dirty coal). Spiegel said it was a century-long scandal that there was no universal coverage in the US as there was in developed European countries, yet Spiegel lamented that the US will have to turn its attention away from matters that Germans are concerned about while it deals with, and pays for, its internal matters (see excerpts below).

Now the federal govt will subsidize a minimal health care plan for 31 million Americans, but that still leaves many Americans in the lurch who can't afford subsidized health care, plus, in total 80 million Americans will still suffer lapses in their health care coverage each year due to lapses in employment where the employer provides coverage, and other circumstances. 80 million is nearly equal to the entire 81 million population of Germany!

Over the years I'm sure it's been hard for European tourists and business travelers to miss the fact that every city in America has a neighborhood, or entire square miles, of dilapitated housing with inadequate services from the city, and the people there have little health care to speak of, and rely on charity and emergency care.

If Europeans had to live where many Americans do, and rec'd as few services, they'd be suing their respective govts over civil and human rights abuses in the European courts for sure! In fact, when I visited former East Germany after the reunion, the German govt was spending billions to bring its buildings up to standard. There are many places in the US that looked worse than former East Germany did, and American politicians were loath to spend any money improving or tearing down those places.
-------------
US Health Care -- Good for America, Bad for the World?

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,684952,00.html

excerpts: It was a scandal that the world's richest country for so long offered its citizens such pitiful protection against illness or injury.

Every other issue has become a sideshow, particularly those outside the borders of America. The Afghanistan mission: of marginal interest. Protecting the environment: postponed. Peace in the Middle East: off in the distance. Sanctions against Iran: delayed. Europe: not even worth a trip.

The one remaining global superpower has succumbed to navel gazing.

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, you made an excellent point already and yes, Der Spiegel acknowledges the fact that the USA made sacrifices, yet manages to draw yet another anti-American conclusion from it. Isn't it a shame? With that rag, it's instinctive.

Re public health care: I once fell seriously ill in England and was treated by the NHS. I found it effective, but the minimalism was a shock for somebody used to German opulence. In the meantime it has turned out that our health system is seriously endangered of going bankrupt. I don't find the basic idea wrong that every worker ought to be able to send his child to a doctor, and I find the libertarian idea of "let them beg" ignoble. But how to put my idea of a "better kind of English NHS" into practice, I don't know. I listen and I am trying to learn.

Universal Realist said...

The_Editrix said...
“In the meantime it has turned out that our health system is seriously endangered of going bankrupt.”

My concern is if America is heading to Universal Health Care which I think it is, it will be bankrupt before it gets started.

The_Editrix said...

UP, I am not sure whether ours is a true universal system. Contrary to the information below, it IS possible to slip through the network of statutory health insurance, altough not all that easily. It is still, compared to the British NHS, very lavish with much less regulations for the patients than the NHS system. It used to be positively extravagant and everybody took advantage of it. It was foreseeable that it would lead to bankruptcy one day.

This and this may be interesting.

Bruce Church said...

It's true that the US and Germany may need to do some belt tightening when it comes to medical spending. I know that Germany has already cut out spas as health treatments. Here's a dated mention of that:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOEqFiC_yT4

This is sort of ironic: as a German-American I was wondering whether it would be easier on my conscience to continue to be American with its ongoing social injustice, or migrate back to Germany and feel guilty about the historical wrong of the Holocaust.
Now that things are finally improving, I feel better about being/staying American.

The_Editrix said...

Bruce, thanks for the YouTube link. Yes, spas are an example of the incredible waste of money that goes on here. Everybody knows those who are on a spa every year for several weeks and all that comes out of it are, besides staffing-problems for the employer, marital desasters. (There is the proverbial "spa shadow".) And to top it all, spas have no verifiable positive effect.

It is a pity that the video ended when they started to discuss the NHS. I still think that it's basically (maybe not as it is currently performed) the best system.

Bruce, what on earth makes you think that you, as a German-American, have anything to do with the guilt in the Holocaust? To assume something like that, you must believe that there is some GENETIC (okay, maybe not genetic, because that would exclude any guilt) or -- for want of a better word -- transcendent guilt. I guess there are a lot of contradictions between individual freedom and social justice. For me, America isn't doing too badly in balancing those two.

bruce-church said...

Hi Editrix,

(Links supporting what I say are at the bottom of the second part of this two-part post.)

You said "America isn't doing too badly in balancing...personal freedom" and "social justice." I can tell you don't live here. It's disgusting. Here's what my commute is like. I drive home from work and see in the exurbs and countryside many McMansions and super-sized houses that must cost a fortune to heat, and then I pass the outskirts of a rundown neighborhood, and a fire station that has a sign saying there's a benefit for some family that has a child with cancer. In other words, the family already burned through its health insurance coverage fighting the cancer, and the family is bankrupt, and is in need of a donations from the community so they don't get evicted from their lowly home.

When Reagan was president, the top tax rate was lowered from 40% to 28%, and now it might be back up to 36%. What happened is many people got rich since the 1980s, but the poor remained poor. Women getting educated and entering the workforce didn't help the situation as one might suspect it would have, since the high earners tended to marry the high earners, making the couple twice as rich, thereby serving to increase the gap between rich and poor.

Because of this, the income inequity has increased in the US as measured by the Gini Index, so now the US ranks along with South American countries that have long been notorious for their poor/rich divide and lack of social mobility. This leads to a lot of crime since the poor on one continent sell drugs to the rich
on another continent.

For the poor in the US, it's increasingly hard to get higher education and to break out of the generational poverty cycle.

The latest health care debate has exposed just how many people have vested interests in the status quo, and exactly how callous they are toward the poor.

Another area I've seen where the callousness is apparent is critics of aid programs don't like it that if the poor get extra money, they spend it on "sugary drinks." So they'd even begrudge the poor the simple luxury of Kool-Aid! See the links at the bottom of this post for more on that.

I seems to be bothered by the inequities of life more than other people, perhaps because I read my Bible and see that God's takes notice of, say, evicting a widow from her house in order to join houses together, the ancient version of todays McMansions that dot the American exurbs and countryside. I don't think God cares about how such deeds are laundered and impersonally done through financial "vehicles," and made to look extra-legal because the local sheriff is the one doing the evicting.

In the same way, I'm bothered when I read about Germans having great health care and spa treatments while Holocaust survivors are picking through garbage cans in Israel to get enough to eat. Also, the Germans and other European nations leave it up to America to defend the world while knowing America can only afford to do so at the expense of its poor.

bruce-church said...

Part 2 of 3:

One reason the US hasn't had nationalized health care is the people who would otherwise advocate on behalf of the poor already have excellent coverage via their union, or their state or church employers. Thus, pastors, union leaders and politicians actually come out against nationalized health care because they want to preserve their topnotch health care packages. For example, Mayor Rudy Giuliani of NY came out against nationalized health care because the US had slightly better prostrate cancer survival rates than the UK. What he didn't say was he survived his prostrate cancer thanks to being covered by NY City's health care package, something the average person in the US doesn't have access to. Another example is union leaders held up "Obama-Care" for months because they didn't want their "Cadillac" health care plans taxed, meaning their $25,000+ per year health care plans would be subject to a luxury tax. The compromise that got the unions' reluctant support is Cadillac plans won't have a luxury tax slapped on them until 2018. I've heard pastors say that Obama-Care will make US health care like Cuba's because more people will have access to good health care, yet the number of doctors and nurses will not increase for some years, and so the resources will be spread thin.

I don't believe in any racial component to guilt, however, there is a national and religious component to collective guilt. Also, I don't believe in trying to correct history and ruining the economy in order to make reparations, but I am for making amends where possible, and being sensitive about past historical wrongs.

I think that members of Lutheran and Catholic churches especially must admit that there is a long history of antisemitism in those churches, and that not only was this a factor in the Holocaust coming about, but it turned many people who could have stopped the evil into bystanders and even abettors. Also, in the Eastern Churches there was much Antisemitism, so in Ukraine and other places, no one put a stop to the mass killing of Jews, not even warning Jews to arm themselves or flee.

Members of nations and churches need to assume their share of the collective guilt associated with their respective church or nation, whether he/she, or his/her relatives, immigrated to a nation after the fact, or even a hundred years after the fact.

Immigrants should not be like many Muslim immigrants who, for example, move to Germany or Australia, and then disavow any connection to the dishonorable chapters of that nation's history, and have an attitude of moral superiority over the natives of their host nations. They also deny that by becoming a member of a host nation, they are in any way unfairly advantaged by past historical wrongs of that nation, and deny that they should make any personal sacrifice to make amends with the disadvantaged or victimized groups. (In the case of Australia, I'm talking about their former Aborigine policy).

bruce-church said...

Part 3 of 3:

Links:
-----------
People would begrudge poor even "sugary drinks":

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22sugary+drinks%22+%22deserving+poor%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

http://jezebel.com/5341698/are-women-the-new-deserving-poor

They add that the world's poorest families spend ten times as much on "alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts" as they do on education, and that "if poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries."
--
Reference Giuliani's cancer:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/spotlighthealth/2002-10-14-giuliani_x.htm
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Gini Index:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/Gini_since_WWII.svg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Gini_Coefficient_World_CIA_Report_2009.png

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0908770.html

fpb said...

There is no necessary link between homeschooling and religion. In Britain, homeschooling is legal and traditional, but it is a left-wing tradition with hippy-ish connotations. What is true is that it is characteristic of the "orneriness", the low-level rebelliousness that is an ancient streak of the Anglo-Saxon mind. There is a nasty Italian joke that says "You cannot reason with a German, but you can give him orders;" to which experience has led me to add that "the difference with an Englishman is that you cannot reason with him, and he won't take orders."

I think that education is in crisis throughout the West, and I think the reasons for it are systemic and historical. I hope you don't mind my peppering your blog with links to mine, but it spares me repeating myself: I have dealt with educational issues here: http://fpb.livejournal.com/250748.html , and especially here: http://fpb.livejournal.com/364850.html . My view is that the state-led model of education that tends to prevail is outdated, intended to respond to conditions that no longer exist, and needs rethinking.

The_Editrix said...

FPB, I don't mind the links to your blog at all, in fact I welcome them, I would just recommend that you wrap them in HTML code because then they will benefit your blog's link count. (I have removed the "nofollow" argument from this blog.)

What you say about the Germans stresses exactly my point about homeschooling. You can give a German orders. The average German will never understand the concepts of self-reliance, personal reponsibility and individualism. I am NOT saying that our state school system does NOT need a vast reformation. I am even for extensive privatisation of education, but without compulsory school attendance this country wouldn't work.

I read your blog entries and found this thought fascinating: "Yet the notion of duty should be at the absolute heart of anything that any school teaches." I guess that something like this used to be behind the traditional concept of German schoolteachers being "Beamte" and thus subject to a specific code of duty and special rights. Alas, this has turned into a privileges-only thing because duty has become a dirty word. I guess privatisation and abolition of the "Beamtenstatus" is, for us, the only way out.