Don’t Miss This NPR Audio on Situational Psychology!

1 05 2007

As I listened to Zimbardo’s wonderful radio interview this morning, I thought about kid-hitting! This brilliant situational psychologist who followed up on Milgram’s seminal experiments with shock “learning”, explains how the unhealthy environments of power and control he has studied, make even gentle, loving, anti-war individuals turn monstrous, make them inflict and then justify any brutality (including unimaginable emotional abuse) committed on the weak and subservient, the moment they are made into authority figures and perceive their control is challenged by those entrusted to their care.
And it’s also about The Emperor’s New Clothes, why good people can’t “see” how wicked it is and instead become complicit themselves, maybe assuming it’s a necessary human evil. I hope to work on this more with some of you, so please listen and think . . .

‘Lucifer Effect’ Asks Why Good People Go Bad


(Audio available at the link.)

Fresh Air from WHYY, May 1, 2007 · Best known for the landmark Stanford Prison Experiment — in which student volunteers in a mock prison transformed with startling speed into sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners — Philip Zimbardo has written a book on the psychology of the unspeakable.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.

Homeschoolers Praying to Guns, God, Government As Trinity

1 05 2007

UPDATE one – I think this is important so I’m bringing it up top:

“I sense that the reluctance that has kept many of us quietly deferential to religions we did not share and believed to be of no threat to our own families, is about as dead as the dodo.

Believe it or not, we all will have to learn to reckon with that new reality in our own ways.”

UPDATE TWO – I just crossposted this essay at Culture Kitchen, with a longish new introduction, and closing with a new appeal for the help of secular progressives, that at the least they refrain from prejudicially lumping all home educators together as religious wackos.



I grew up here and know the stories, speak the native languages.

Not Spanish. I mean idiomatic dialects like Goldwater Republican. Metaphorical Methodist. Southern Democrat. Spring Break Speak. Hiassen. Government in the Sunshine. Even PublicSchool Speak.

For a while our National Tourism slogan was “Florida– the rules are different here!”
It encouraged folks to dream of our white-sugar beaches and sunshine as the Promised Land, to plan idyllic pilgrimages here with faith they would be welcome as if to heaven, however they got here and however long they wanted to stay and live it up.

But the rules here aren’t so different anymore.

Not sure when it happened, that the Trinity of God, Government and Guns took over again. I have been slow to notice, with all this gentle, loving, respectful and mannerly pretense that religious education is a private non-governmental realm of the spirit, not the State.



National Day of Prayer State Capitol Rally Thursday, May 3, 2007 Homeschoolers are invited to take part in this important day of prayer for our state and nation and participate in the children’s prayer walk. If older youth would like to help stamp prayer passports, please email — Volunteer time is from 10:30 am – Noon, report to the tent in the courtyard


Children’s Prayer Walk
Location: Capitol Courtyard
Time: 11:00 am-Noon
Emergency Response & Military Vehicles will be on display in the Courtyard as part of the Prayer Walk.
Each child will be issued a prayer passport to take to each stations and pray for the personnel. They can tour the vehicles as well.


National Day of Prayer Rally
Location: Capitol Courtyard
Praise & Worship: 11:30 am
Prayer Rally: Noon-1:15 pm
Governor Crist, Lt. Governor Kottkamp and other leaders will be taking part in the service.


We did have Easter at the Governor’s Mansion this spring– a very important holiday, said Governor Crist — but at least in the newspaper, his Easter Bunny gig played as a secular hospitality for a few Florida kids who might or might not have been Christian, a ceremonial family occasion and photo op, not associated with the state sausage-making of the Legislature down the street nor with public prayer walks on the Capitol Plaza.
And nothing to do with home education at all.

But now comes a special day for masses of children where the Governor himself will stamp prayer indelibly onto home education “passports”, and not on a weekend at his home but on a legislative workday at the Capitol, in front of all the lawmakers, not in a bunny suit but in his official governing suit and tie. Prayer flanked with tanks and guns for real action, followed by ambulances to mop up all the blood and waste, the way elephants are followed in parades. Talk about Power of Story!

God, government and guns. No wait, that’s not the sponsors’ exact slogan, let me get it just right, oh here it is: Governing Florida with Prayer and Action” which isn’t tricky to translate — “governing Florida” is plainly the dominion that their version of god’s will (prayer) commands them to exercise over the secular State and all our laws. And how will this be accomplished? ACTION. The spiritual realm translated into physical reality, warfare on every front in this world and time.

Resistance is futile?
I personally prefer this version but I digress . . .

The point is I get the meaning of the purpose and method. Dominion through warfare. But when it comes to the education this all represents, I have knotty translation problems. Read the rest of this entry »