What is “Conservative” Homeschooling, continued

10 03 2009

As we continue the discussion from the last post, I noticed a draft from Feb 5 in our blog background area (where so many of my ideas go to die!) It caught my eye because I had slugged it as: What is Conservative Homeschooling? That’s what we were just trying to flesh out this morning!

So without editing to update or complete, here’s that five-week-old draft:

One year ago, before the candidates for each major party were known, Dana at Principled Discovery provoked quite a discussion by asking whether or not conservative homeschoolers were acting like, well, true conservatives. Do they put their politics where their mouths are?

Hard to say, because apparently we don’t even know what we’re talking about. 🙂

Does it lean more libertarian or theocratic, about the Christian god of holy men and mothers defining all things for all people, for every American including homosexuals, pacifists, Democrats, public schoolers and secular humanists?

Do you experience the conservative homeschooling meme as principled belief in personal freedom and limited government, fueling politics meant to secure and protect equal opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all kinds of Americans as autonomous individuals? Or do you see conservative homeschooling as centered on religious rules and authority trumping secular authority, politics meant to impose fundamentalist social controls that supplant individual freedom (despite “libertarian” arguments and rhetoric)?

Here’s one of my comments from last year’s debate:

Dana said,
“They are not all that unified and they struggle to keep their base together. I think the one thing the Democratic Party has the advantage in is the fact that “God” isn’t so tied up with it.”

Oh yes, I agree with this!
We were Goldwater Republicans in my family, so I’ve had no party for decades, and now almost by surprise I find myself in a new disaffected majority — moderates not much interested in labels or even in “winning” over our fellow Americans, as much as in solving problems for us all. It seems to me both party’s extremes fighting for control and sabotaging each other along with all possible solutions, is the biggest problem we now face. (Which in my view explains why Obama and McCain are attracting so much support.)

Funny that Goldwater was painted by Democrats as so extreme in his time, when today he’d likely sound much too moderate even for many self-proclaimed “conservatives”. More than 25 years ago (1981?) he said:

“There is no more powerful ally one can claim in debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent.”

Some other um, refreshingly candid? — Goldwater quotes can be found in his political obituary coverage by the Washington Post, May 1998.

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20 responses

10 03 2009
Meg

My Dad (a poli science prof.) was a huge Goldwater fan. In hindsight, reading quotes like that it’s easy to see why.

10 03 2009
JJ

My dad too! — business management and public ethics professor, also military which bears on the previous discussion.

Boy, it’s a good thing he died years before Goldwater did, because if Dad were here now to see this mess, it would kill him. . . 😉

10 03 2009
JJ

From Personal Salvation in Dangerous Times:

We who home-educate (no, not home-indoctrinate) are on the whole thoughtful, well-educated and well-engaged advocates of stronger, freer self-government for all. . .

But a very few –and with insufficient excuse imo– are stunning in their stupidity instead, dullness of thought matched only by sharpness of tongue.

. . . The only true lesson to learn from Unreason in any such encounter is that there is no point to reasoning with it, that Unreason is itself a bigger threat than anything it so persistently claims is threatening us.

How earnestly I tried to reason with those incapable of it! — until I realized how unreasonable THAT was, and got reasonable again myself (I had to be saved as I was going down the third time, by those who had gone before me. It was too late to save myself, without like minds in the collective consciousness.)

So I dug this out of my files. . . for you spring chicken parents reading now who I hope may remember this tomorrow and grab it for dear life, when it’s your turn to get sucked beneath the surface of Reason, where your brain can only survive for four minutes without oxygen and you begin to feel it’s easier to just let go . . .

Critical thinking is a choice, an attitude one chooses to apply.

And that attitude has been described in the scientific literature as having five
parts: planning, flexibility, willingness to self-correct, being mindful (conscious) of the thinking process, and consensus-seeking.

Mightn’t we expect home education to value critical thinking, in spite of occasional dark aspersions cast on these habits of mind (consensus-seeking
and flexibility especially) ?

If we could create any image of homeschooling we wished in the public mind, would we choose to be seen as embracing critical thinking, or as hostile to it?

Recent decades offer empirical evidence that eyewitness accounts are
frequently unreliable due to selective perception and recall, that
spontaneous and intuitive solutions to problems are often wrong, that solving complex problems benefits from multiple contributions, multiple
considerations, and [even] multiple mistakes in the thought protocol.

This is cognitive science, not merely a “belief,” although like all
science it is subject to examination and discussion. It seems to suggest —
to those with a critical thinking attitude — that political action based on
unchallenged “witnessing”, or causality assumptions the inferrers refuse to
examine, or ignored discrepancies, self-reinforcing affiliations, gut
instincts or playground sand-kicking, name-calling, and ball-taking-home are inferior as problem-solving strategies.

Anyone is of course free to engage in any of these, anywhere, harmful
to homeschooling protection or not. Just don’t call it effective political
framing of the issues. JJ

10 03 2009
Crimson Wife

What about those of us who strongly believe in having strict standards for our own personal lives but are loathe to have the government impose those standards on others unless it’s an issue of preventing another person from being harmed? Where do we fit in to this conservative vs. libertarian division? I might very well agree with the social conservatives that _____ is totally immoral but disagree with them that it’s the government’s job to stop it.

Where that ties into our family’s homeschooling is that I do teach my kids from a definite worldview, including the idea that God’s authority is more important than civil authority. This could mean civil disobedience such as a healthcare practitioner refusing to obey a law mandating that he/she dispense the abortifacient “Plan B” pill. I want my kids to learn that it’s more important to do the morally correct thing than to follow a rule written by humans.

But if you want your kids’ education to have a different worldview, I wholeheartedly support your right to do so. You’re the one ultimately accountable for your actions and beliefs, not me or the government or anyone else. I’m not going to necessarily agree with you, but I’m going to stand up with you in defending your right to minimal interference.

10 03 2009
JJ

“I want my kids to learn that it’s more important to do the morally correct thing than to follow a rule written by humans. ”

Not to argue but really asking: in your mind, does that go for a rule written by the boss, the pastor, the teacher, even mom or dad? Dale had an post today that touches on teaching his kids moral and even religious reasoning, *without* teaching them particular moral rules or one religion or only one worldview as Truth, so that they would know they’re actually supposed to be weighing and comparing moral correctness, deriving their own definition of what it’s important to stand up to authority for or against . . .even if it is not Dad’s law.

11 03 2009
Kristina

I agree, mostly, with Crimson Wife. My main difference is that I am a not-quite-converted-Jew, my husband is Agnostic, my oldest son is an atheist, my middle son likes to have a ‘flavor-of-the-week’ religion, and the little just doesn’t care (he’s 5).

It is extremely difficult to say that something is wrong, when there is a fluctuating reason for it. For instance, in one culture, having more than one wife is wrong. In another, there is nothing wrong with it. My middle son thinks having more than one wife is a great idea, since he could have more children and the wives would be friends. Poor misguided child. My oldest son thinks that is rediculous because you can only focus your attention on one wife at a time. (He understands women a little better) Even murder becomes subjective. Is it okay to murder someone in order to steal their food, if you are starving? When you get to that point, many people just don’t care. And, if they don’t have some type of set belief, it is hard to justify not murdering that person to stay alive.

HOWEVER, that being said, doing the right thing, whether it goes against the rules (no matter who made them) is always the right thing to do. So, if the rule is “no kids outside while mom is gone”, but the house is burning down, obviously, the kids have to make a choice: Do we go outside and perhaps get stolen by a stranger, or burn up in the house. Obviously, we have to break the rule.

If the rule is “don’t fight” but your brother is getting beaten up, you break the rule. When children are very young, the rules have to be set in stone. As they begin to develop reasoning powers, they have the ability to determine when a rule needs to be broken. If the rule was broken out of desire, not need, there have to be negative consequences.

11 03 2009
Kristina

But, back to the rigidity of conservatives. I really think this is too broad a stroke. It seems to me that it is more the evangelical conservatives that have this rigidity. I know I don’t conform to that at all. Otherwise, I wouldn’t allow my son to be an atheist. LOL

They are given a set of rules that they must abide by. Then, because they believe that these rules apply to all mankind, the rest of the country has to abide by them, as well.

But, I don’t believe this is true conservatism. I think they identify with Republicans because Republicans have used the religious right’s religious beliefs for political gain. Many of them don’t realize that this is politics. In reality, the Republican part drives me nuts. Yes, I vote with them more often than not, but only because I consider them the lesser of two evils. I don’t like the way they treat conservatism. While I like Bush, I can definitely say that he was not my idea of a conservative. Yes, he took all the religion parts to the max, but he grew government big time.

I have heard it said that there are 3 arms of conservatism. Some people only agree with one, some two, and some all three. The first arm is fiscal conservatism, the second is social conservatism, and I can’t remember what the third is. Sorry. Maybe it’ll come back to me. Problem is, most Republicans have fallen off the fiscal conservatism bandwagon, and tried to make the social conservatism what it’s all about. In fact, I would say that most of the religous right (the ones we think of, anyway) are wholly in the social conservatism basket. They really don’t care about taxes, as long as gays aren’t getting married. They don’t really care that the government runs the schools-they only care that the Bible was taken out of school.

Am I making any sense? I am a social conservative in that I believe that all children should have a parent at home to take care of them. I believe that abortion is wrong. And, if I had my druthers single moms would not keep the children they give birth to. I believe that promiscuity is wrong because it damages the psyche. But, if you want to do damage, have at it. But, I don’t believe that the government should be involved in any of it.

I would agree that I am almost liberatarian. But, I don’t agree with their foreign policy. Quite frankly, I don’t fit anywhere. 😉

11 03 2009
JJ

“Quite frankly, I don’t fit anywhere. ;)”

Oh, me too! I liked you the first time you commented — this must be why!

11 03 2009
Nance Confer

http://www.go2planb.com/

Plan B is not an abortificant.

I don’t care if you teach your kids that Plan B is wrong. Or unplanned sex is wrong. Have at it. And I know you teach them that raping someone is wrong. Any decent person would.

But it doesn’t do your credibility any good, with them or the larger world, to teach them misinformation.

Nance

11 03 2009
Nance Confer

My middle son thinks having more than one wife is a great idea, since he could have more children and the wives would be friends. Poor misguided child. My oldest son thinks that is rediculous because you can only focus your attention on one wife at a time. (He understands women a little better)

********

Have they considered being one of multiple husbands?

Nance

11 03 2009
Nance Confer

Three legs perhaps?

That’s how Limbaugh talks about it — http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_020408/content/01125109.guest.html.guest.html

And they are fiscal, social and national security/foreign policy, according to this link.

These are pretty much the same legs that make up the D or liberal or progressive stool.

Nance

11 03 2009
Nance Confer

To answer this question, JJ:

Do you experience the conservative homeschooling meme as principled belief in personal freedom and limited government, fueling politics meant to secure and protect equal opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all kinds of Americans as autonomous individuals? Or do you see conservative homeschooling as centered on religious rules and authority trumping secular authority, politics meant to impose fundamentalist social controls that supplant individual freedom (despite “libertarian” arguments and rhetoric)?

We’ve all seen both of these types call themselves conservative homeschoolers. IMO, too few of the former and way too many of the latter.

But this split seems to be part of the R party’s recent identity crisis. I’m used to seeing Ds in disarray. 🙂 But not this.

Nance

11 03 2009
JJ

Good points, Nance. And it doesn’t matter which type you are if you aren’t putting that out into the real world effectively, communicating what you believe.
It IS an identity crisis, isn’t it?

And bigger than national party identity, maybe. Religious identity may be in crisis too, if you consider something like this stunning Christian Science Monitor piece Lynn found yesterday. . .

The Coming Evangelical Collapse

11 03 2009
Kristina

Have they considered being one of multiple husbands?

*********************************************

I don’t think so. But, since he knows my husband doesn’t want more children, while I do, and he also wants more siblings, that same son thinks me having more husbands would be a great plan. LOL I’m not really interested. One is enough.

12 03 2009
Nance Confer

Some days, one is more than enough. 🙂

Nance

12 03 2009
Crimson Wife

The “Plan B” can work either as a contraceptive (by preventing ovulation) OR as a chemical abortifacient (by preventing implantation). I have no problem with giving it to rape victims SO LONG AS they have not yet ovulated. If conception has already occurred, however, it is immoral for them to take the “Plan B” pill. I have huge sympathy for their situation, but two wrongs don’t make a right. It is not okay to take deliberate action to prevent implantation no matter what the circumstances are surrounding the baby’s conception. And the healthcare practitioner has the moral obligation to “first, do no harm” and that includes towards unborn babies.

12 03 2009
JJ

Are you a pharmacist though? (If you are, we need to have a different conversation.) Speaking as a Catholic interpreting your Catholic beliefs is one thing, speaking as a pharmacist about how you interpret your ethical oath is another — and making that private health care decision as the individual woman whose health and reproduction is at issue, is yet another.

Nance was speaking, I think, as none of the above, about the biology of it and its terminology, not the moral interpretations any of those might be mixing in with the science.

And “unborn baby” used to refer to an egg, even a possibly fertilized egg? Also not medical science terminology.

And then to falsely equate the indisputably human individual female seeking that health care without harm, to the very harm she seeks to avoid and then actually consigning her to suffer that harm because her own biology’s humanity supposedly takes PRECEDENCE over hers as some separate and superior entity, to elevate potential harm to “it” over any harm potential or real to her, as if she were dependent on IT and helpless to act on her own best interest, subject to church or state authority and interpretations for her ability to make health care decisions, and had to settle for being so infantalized or worse — that’s my definition of doing harm right there.

13 03 2009
Nance Confer

You have confused contraception with abortion, CW. You label Plan B as an abortifacient only by defining abortion as including the prevention of implantation of the blastocyst.

To stretch this already ludicrous definition to include women being denied this treatment because, in the aftermath of a brutal attack, they do not know if they have ovulated or not is cruel beyond imagining.

Nance

29 07 2009
Rules, Authority, Control: It’s the Power, Stupid « Cocking A Snook!

[…] do you see conservative homeschooling as centered on religious rules and authority trumping secular authority, politics meant to impose fundamentalist social controls that supplant […]

9 09 2010
Consider “Parental Rights” in Light of Friendly Atheist Advice to 14-Year-Old « Cocking A Snook!

[…] What Is Conservative [Christian] Homeschooling? Do you experience the conservative homeschooling meme as principled belief in personal freedom and limited government, fueling politics meant to secure and protect equal opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all kinds of Americans as autonomous individuals? Or do you see conservative homeschooling as centered on religious rules and authority trumping secular authority, politics meant to impose fundamentalist social controls that supplant individual freedom (despite “libertarian” arguments and rhetoric)? […]

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