As I see things, by the time institutional rules are being written and enforced not by those with the most talent, making the most sacrifices, with their own skin in the game (the people whose habits, skills and resources you most need), but by secondary and tertiary actors pursuing their interests, there is already a lot of rot.
Public institutions and political parties, at any given time, are full of a lot second- and third-raters, and a lot of rot. Even among talented people, meaning well and making serious sacrifices, you’ve got to get the incentives right to keep hope of competency and to stay ahead of the rot.
In a voluntary system, the people whose habits, skills and resources you most need often are often the first to flee from the institutions charged with public obligations if they have the resources to do so (it’s not merely a matter of race, but the pursuit of rational self-interest and basic human nature).
Cities are places of serious freedom, competition and inequality.
In inner city schools, particularly, the social problems are often so grave there is little hope, but the below may be a special indicator of rot:
Don’t forget: It’s the kid ready to learn, eager to engage, with some care and concern for his/her natural gifts who most loses out amongst kids who are maladjusted, acting-up, potentially violent, and who place no internalized value on learning.
It doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t have some moral obligation to our fellow citizens, but I think it does mean that we all need the freedom to discuss the rules governing our interactions with our fellow citizens, and the kinds of arrangements into which we choose to enter. These are reciprocal relationships full of hopes, ambitions and dreams.
Wouldn’t you want as much?
May you let others be free to do as much.
As previously posted:
Full post here.
‘Rhee believed that mayoral control gave her the power to work her will and to ignore dissenters or brush them off as defenders of the status quo. Mayoral control bred arrogance and indifference to dialogue. She didn’t need to listen to anyone because she had the mayor’s unquestioning support. Mayoral control made democratic engagement with parents and teachers unnecessary.’
Diane Ravitch seemed to think that Michelle Rhee didn’t allow the people who need to ulimately take control of their own lives do so…which is why she was voted out.
Yet, the endemic poverty and political corruption in D.C. has led to an untenable situation, not able to be solved by those who hold up ideals of democracy broadly either.
This is still not a reason to get into bed with the status quo, and all the political, ideological and monied interests involved who want to keep things as they are and get their share.
Judge the men of systems, moralizers, rationalists, idealists and utopians not by intentions, but by outcomes:
Walter Russell Mead has a series built upon the argument that the ‘blue’ progressive social model (building the Great Society) is defunct because America will have to adjust to new economic and global realities. In the [then] current post, he focuse[d] on the part of the model that creates and directs government agencies to try and alleviate inner-city poverty and its problems for black folks.
‘This is one danger for the Black middle class and it’s an urgent and obvious one: the good jobs are going away — and they won’t be quite as good anymore. The second danger is subtler but no less important. In the past, government work served to integrate ethnic minorities and urban populations into society at large. In the current atmosphere of sharpening debate over the role and cost of government, the ties of so much of the Black middle class to government employment may make it harder, not easier, for Blacks to take advantage of the opportunities that the emerging Red Age economy offers.’
A quote from John Locke, found here:
“For wherever violence is used, and injury done, though by hands appointed to administer Justice, it is still violence and injury, however colour’d with the Name, Pretences, or Forms of Law, the end whereof being to protect and redress the innocent, by an unbiassed application of it, to all who are under it; wherever that is not bona fide done, War is made upon the Sufferers, who having no appeal on Earth to right them, they are left to the only remedy in such Cases, an appeal to Heaven.”