:: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 ::
George Bailey, Global “Equalizer”
Posted by Edward Cline at 11:58 AM
Back in December 2008, in my column,
Wasted Life,” I did Grinch duty and scored Frank Capra’s 1946 “iconic” movie,
It’s a Wonderful Life, for
being a cinematic paean to altruism, self-sacrifice, and living for others.
While coated in the patina of Americanism, I pointed out that it was a
distinctly un-American movie. I followed
that in October 2011 with “Not
So Wonderful a Life,” in which I dwelt on other observations I had in the
meantime made about the movie and its moral premises.
Some readers complained that while I made
valid points about the movie I overlooked the benevolence in it, that it was a
movie which made people glow with good will. It made one “feel good.” They,
however, neglected my point that emotions, good or bad, are not tools of
cognition, and that anyone who “felt good” after seeing IAWL has been conned by
an expert. I recommended Capra’s hectic
comedy Arsenic and Old Lace as an
This week, in the spirit of the season, I contemplated
adding a third column on the subject to incorporate further observations, but
decided that the horse was dead and that there was no longer a reason to beat
it. Then I caught an Internet squib about Bill Gates’ Stanford
University commencement address in mid-June among a slew of such addresses.
I immediately thought, “George Bailey in
the flesh!” Knowing that Gates is a
committed altruist who has made a career of expiating his “sins” of success and
creating unimaginable private wealth, which he is dedicated to dissolving in
the worst instance of “giving back,” I looked up that address. And, lo and
behold, there was George Bailey’s moral doppelganger and his
soul-mate wife, Melinda, reading from prepared remarks to what I can only
assume was an adoring audience. It’s likely he got a pinch of satisfaction for
having been bestowed an honorary degree from Stanford, just as he probably did
when he got an honorary “Doctor of Laws” degree in 2007 from the school he
dropped out of, Harvard.
Of course, Gates can do whatever he wishes
with his wealth, for whatever reasons. But because he never questioned the
secular version of altruism, and had no real sound moral instruction in why he
should never have apologized for having amassed a fabulous fortune and begged
forgiveness in such an abysmal, pathetic way, that is his fate. And the
deliberate, conscious dissolution of his wealth does constitute an apology of a
particularly altruist, selfless species.
However, his attitude towards others’
wealth seems to be: I’ve made my
pile; you others can take the hindmost. I’ll respect you if you want to make
money, but only if it’s to help the poor, the lame, and the halt of the world.
Lost and forgotten in all the sanctimonious
back-and-forth about helping the “poor,” the “disadvantaged,” and the “impoverished”
is the American middle class. Gates mentions it not.
Aside from all the off-the-shelf banalities
in their Stanford commencement speech about optimism, vision, innovation, asking
“what you can do for your county – excuse me, for the world – not what your
country (or the world) can do for you,” the future, and the pride one should
feel for being a “nerd” (at one point they patronized and amused the audience
by putting on pairs of “nerdish” glasses), Bill and Melinda Gates cited some
repellant examples of what motivates them: the sores of others they seem to
enjoy sticking their fingers into and throwing money at. Were there no sores
for them to experience, they’d have no “moral” reason to “do good.”
Bill related his experiences in Soweto,
South Africa, Melinda hers in India and Asia. Melinda rubbed elbows with Indian
prostitutes. I’m betting she took a long, hot shower every time she communed
with disease-ridden “sex workers.”
Bill and Melinda urged the graduates to
work hard in their future careers, to expect and be willing to “give back” as
they themselves are, and to seek out pockets of misery and poverty. Melinda
said, “Let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism.”
So here is our
appeal to you: As you leave Stanford, take your genius and your optimism and
your empathy and go change the world in ways that will make millions of others
optimistic as well. You don't have to rush. You have careers to launch, debts
to pay, spouses to meet and marry. That's enough for now.
But in the course
of your lives, without any plan on your part, you'll come to see suffering that
will break your heart.
When it happens,
and it will, don't turn away from it; turn toward it.
Work to imbue others with optimism. Live to
give others hope. Never mind the taxes and regulations that may make your
“optimism” harder to sustain. Let your hearts be broken. Weep, and you will be
I’d venture to say this is a scarier sermon
than any delivered by Jonathan
Edwards, the 18th century pulpit pounder and guarantor of Hell and
Damnation no matter how virtuous a life you lived. The whole of the Gates’s commencement address
could be re-titled, “The
Selfish In the Hands of an Angry Humanitarian.” (E.g., Edwards wrote, “Simply
because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for
them, men should not think themselves safe from God's wrath.”)
Before offering her broken heart advice,
Melinda Gates displayed her true epistemological and metaphysical colors (say,
rather, disabilities?), by repeating
Obama’s “you didn’t build that” mantra. Speaking about what contributes to
one’s success, she said:
When I talk with
the mothers I meet during my travels, I see that there is no difference at all
in what we want for our children. The only difference is our ability to give it
What accounts for
that difference? Bill and I talk about this with our kids at the dinner table.
Bill worked incredibly hard and took risks and made sacrifices for success. But
there is another essential ingredient of success, and that ingredient is luck –
absolute and total luck.
When were you born?
Who were your parents? Where did you grow up? None of us earned these things. They were given to us.
When we strip away
our luck and privilege and consider where we'd be without them, it becomes
easier to see someone who's poor and sick and say "that could be me."
This is empathy; it tears down barriers and opens up new frontiers for
optimism. (Italics mine)
Bill didn’t “build Microsoft”? The only
conclusion I can draw from this drivel is that Bill Gates’ success was possible
because he had “empathy,” combined with “luck.” If one doesn’t have “empathy,”
then one is out of luck. You won’t succeed. And if you do, you must have
cheated somehow, and you’ll be a pariah because you didn’t have empathy. Go
figure. I can picture Melinda Gates twenty or thirty years hence, resembling
that wizened, selfless old crone, Mother
Teresa, the patron witch of altruism. A perfect soul-mate for Bill. Lucky
Bill Gates might a Democrat. He might a
Republican. Or an “Independent.” It’s difficult to determine which Party
commands his loyalty. As can be seen in the linked CampaignMoney.com’s chart of his
political contributions going back to 1999, he has divided his campaign
contributions almost equally between Democrats and Republicans and
“Independents.” Therefore, neither Party can accuse him of favoritism or of not
being bipartisan. This is so typical of American businessmen: Betting on Tweedledee
and Tweedledum in a pragmatic exercise of ensuring friendly treatment from
whichever party may assume control over the economy, finance, and trade.
In his Stanford speech, Gates noted that
advances in technology, especially in computer technology, “would make
inequality worse.” His goal from the beginning, he claimed, was to “democratize
computing.” (You can take that with a
grain of salt.) He didn’t want just “rich kids” and businesses be able to use
computers. This is an altruist way of saying he wanted to create a bigger
market and make lots of money. At the outset, he wants us to believe, he was a
kind of “people’s capitalist” with not a selfish bone in his body.
Gates is obsessed with income “inequality,”
and “wealth disparity.” Some economists recommend that capitalism be “reformed”
to achieve “social justice.” But this is a non sequitur. As Islam can’t be “reformed”
without killing Islam, one can't reform capitalism, because at the end of the
reformation, what’s left is no longer “capitalism.” Gates doesn’t want to
reform it. He wants to punish it, or rather what we have left of it.
It might not come
as a surprise to many that Bill Gates, whom Forbes’ magazine ranks as the second wealthiest
man in the world, doesn’t agree with the ideas of French economist Thomas
Piketty. It’s Piketty, after all, who made a big splash this year with his book
in the 21st Century, which argued that it is a fundamental
law of capitalism that wealth will grow more concentrated absent destabilizing
events like global wars.
A global tax on capital that could help governments better understand how
wealth is distributed and stem the tide of inevitably increasing inequality,
which Piketty believes is socially destabilizing.
There’s another altruist premise: A global
tax will instruct governments on how to devise policies that will preempt the
envious and diminish “inequality.” Like most economists today, Piketty isn’t
much concerned with how wealth is created, only with how it can be seized and
distributed to stave off the envious.
Picketty’s global tax on wealth would be
collected by whom? In all the discussions
of Picketty’s tax, I haven’t seen one
that identifies the agency which would collect such a tax. The European Union?
The IMF? The United Nations? What entity would impose and collect such a tax globally? Further, I’ve always been
astonished by the nonchalance
with which most economists advocate various systems of legalized theft.
Gates dissents, on the other hand, writes
…Gates has already
pledged to give away half his fortune over the course of his lifetime, a much
larger amount than the 1% or 2% wealth tax, proposed by Piketty, would
confiscate. His problem isn’t with the idea that the super wealthy should
spread their fortunes around, but rather with Piketty’s mechanism and the
incentives it would create….
Piketty’s goal of spreading wealth [echoes of Obama’s explanation to Joe
the Plumber can be heard here], yet he doesn’t want to discourage the uber wealthy (like Gates) who are taking
risks, investing in value-creating businesses, and helping the world through
philanthropy. Gates’ solution? Shift the American tax code from one that taxes
labor to one that taxes consumption.
rich, you see, have a moral duty to “help the world” and become fulltime
philanthropists. If they don’t meet that obligation, then they’re contemptible philistines
only interested in “conspicuous consumption.” Strive to “consume” less
conspicuously, and you’ll be counted as having had a broken heart and are a
good person because you’ve sacrificed a value.
After a gobbledygook fantasy of an explanation
of how Gates’ consumption tax would work for an “average” family and help to
reduce the federal deficit (!!!), Matthews neglects to mention in it that no
controls would stop a government from continuing to be a conspicuously
consuming spendthrift. For example, see Betsy
McCaughey’s article on Family Security Matters on Cromnibus, the 1,695 page,
$1.1 trillion “budget” Congress hurriedly passed last weekend to fund the
federal government through September 2015.
Gates, however, while he endorses less “consumption”
and wishes to penalize it with a tax, is much more interested in ensuring that the
wealth one leaves one’s heirs is boiled down to rice and old shoes with a
confiscatory inheritance or “death tax.” William H. Gates, Sr., co-authored a sophomorically written piece, “’Death Tax’: What’s in a Name?,” in which he
advocates replacing the term “death tax” with simply “estate tax” to make it
more palatable. It was Gates Senior (and later
billionaire Warren Buffet) who, early on, together with Melinda,
urged Bill Junior to liquidate his wealth as a moral obligation.
Such a regime could
appeal to both the right and left sides of the political spectrum. For those on
the left, who are sometimes uncomfortable with the effects of a culture based
around consumption, this tax would discourage such behavior. Meanwhile, a
regime that encourages savings and investment would appeal to conservatives.
But for a
progressive consumption tax to be truly progressive, there would need to be a
hefty estate tax to prevent the rich from simply letting their wealth grow over
generations through interest income. But Gates argues this is not a problem,
because we have the ability to institute estate taxes, a policy which he is a
“big believer” in.
The son, however, is an enthusiastic “globalist-socialist”
and endorses not only a death tax, but all kinds of other taxes, as reported in Cliff Kincaid’s November 2012
AIM article, “Bill
Gates Urges Obama to Embrace Global Tax.”
On Thursday, as
part of the G20 summit, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, delivered a report on “financing for development” that proposes
global taxes on America and other “rich” nations to make the Global Poverty Act
“I am honored to
have been given this important opportunity,” said
Gates, founder of Microsoft. “My report will address the financing needed
to achieve maximum progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and to make
faster progress on development over the next decade.” The report, available
on the website of the Gates Foundation, proposes a financial transaction tax
(FTT) as well as taxes on tobacco, aviation and bunker fuel, and carbon
(energy), by G20 countries and other members of the European Union.
What? No FTT on trading in “carbon credits”?
Al Gore must be relieved.
George Bailey, a “community organizer” in
his own right, has come a long way from
Bedford Falls. He continues to “give
back” what he never took in the first place.
1 Comments ::
:: Saturday, December 13, 2014 ::
My Own “Enemies List”
Posted by Edward Cline at 9:59 AM
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Not necessarily. Remember what happened
when FDR allied himself with Josef Stalin to defeat Nazi Germany. At war’s end,
Stalin gobbled up half of Europe with FDR’s leave. The U.S. was saddled with a
costly “cold war” with our former “friend” Soviet Russia for nearly half a
century. See Diana West’s path-breaking book, American
Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, for details, or
about how “mainstream” historians deny the truth of West’s thesis. The USSR was
never a friend of America.
suggests that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common
enemy. Although it is often described as an Arabic proverb, there is no
evidence of such an origin.
But now I can say that the friends of my
enemies are without question or a shade of doubt my enemies, as well.
To begin with, every one of them is a liar.
Daniel Greenfield, in his December 12th
FrontPage column, “Lying
in Post-Truth America,” prefaced his comments with a reprise of Bill
Clinton’s lies about Monica Lewinsky, then remarked:
set the stage for a current administration which can never be caught in a lie
because it’s lying all the time. Obama and his people don’t just lie, they lie
about the lies and then they lie about those lies. Bringing them in to testify
just clogs the filters with an extra layer of lies.
Invite [Jonathan] Gruber
to testify about the time that he admitted that the administration had been
lying and the only thing that will happen is more lies being told by a man who
is there only because he lied….
repeatedly dismissed ObamaCare scandals by arguing that no one could have taken
Obama’s claims at face value anyway. When Obama promised Americans that they
could keep their doctors, the housewife in Topeka, the freelance programmer in
San Francisco and the geologist in Tulsa were supposed to be as knowing as the
Washington press corps and realize that he didn’t mean it….
simply lie. He exists in a truth-free zone. He doesn’t stumble with any
construction as clumsy as Kerry’s “I actually did vote for the $87 billion,
before I voted against it.” He does not start with truthful facts. His starting
point is in an imaginary territory. It ends in an imaginary territory. If the
two imaginary territories are different, it scarcely matters because neither
place was ever real….
Lying is the faking of reality, of
committing fraud by concocting an illusion for others. To the liar, something
has GOT to be true, for otherwise the liar hasn’t a claim to anyone else’s
attention and without the lie the liar is an empty-handed boob and nobody. Or
because the truth will condemn the liar to jail or social ostracism. To the
liar, reality must conform to his lies. If it doesn’t, then he will blame it on
the Möbius Strip that the liar wishes you also to believe is the nature of
existence, that everything is in a Heraclian flux. That way, neither he nor you can claim any
authority about what is a truth or a lie.
Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, and Jonathan
Gruber, among others, wanted Obamacare foisted on the country, so they all
participated in a lie. Americans are suckers, claimed Gruber, and should never
be given an even break. Lies can be told to them because it’s for their own
good. But the truth behind the nature of Obamacare wasn’t a lie. He was caught
out by his own hubris.
Gruber made the mistake of boasting about
it at an obscure conference he thought no one else would ever care to learn
about, and went into detail about the machinations of his and his allies’ minds
and explained the rationale behind their collective lies. Even in his Congressional testimony
his apology for calling the American
voter “stupid” is a lie; his crime makes Richard Nixon, perceived as a lying
used car salesman, seem like an artless novice. Bill Clinton beat him hands down. Concerning Gruber, the
sound we heard in Congress was his imitation of Porky
Barack Obama, however, is a congenital liar
about everything. He probably even boasts to others that he could give the golf
pro Jack Nicklaus a run for his money, and believes
If he exists in what Greenfield called a “truth-free”
zone, or in an “alternative universe” in which a paper cornucopia of wealth
flows from solar panels and Muslim outreach and healthy school lunches and the
milk and honey are actually vinegar and rationed Trail Mix, then it is thanks
to generations of philosophers, going back to David Hume, Immanuel Kant and Georg Hegel (or even further
back to Plato) who preached that “reality” is not accessible to man. It exists
in some other-worldly realm impervious to man’s lying, stunted senses, so, who
knows what the truth is?
The truth is what I say it is, asserts the
liar, and who is anyone to question my special powers of kenning it. Truth can
be “A” and “non-A” at the same time or any combination of “X” and “Z” and “Y”
or whatever else I say it is. Let’s pass Obamacare, turn it into an ironclad
law, except when the President rewrites it, and then we can see what’s in it.
However, who are my enemies, who pose as my
friends yet side with my other enemies?
President Barack H. Obama, our National Community Organizing Expert, enemy of
the Constitution, and Liar-in-Chief.
Second: everyone who,
with starry-eyed hankerings for the unearned and the redistribution of what
they never built, voted for Obama first, and then, after seeing the destruction
he wrought on the country, and even in their own lives in the way of Obamacare,
cost of living increases, unemployment, scandals, inflation, the increase in
the national debt, blatant cronyism, corruption, and foreign policy disasters
that will redound repeatedly on America in the future like the Four Horsemen of
the Apocalypse, voted for him again in 2012.
Third: his Progressive, Socialist, and soft-pedaling Communist allies
in Congress, in both houses. This includes Nancy Pelosi, Tim Kaine and Mark
Warner (U.S. Senators for Virginia, my current domicile), Harry Reid, John
Boehner, and the whole Rouges’ Gallery of politicians, most of them Democrats
or pretend Republicans.
Fourth: the Mainstream
Media, Obama’s private NGO cum news
dispenser, the lap dog of the White House’s policy of dissimulation and
disinformation, and unpaid propaganda bureau. This includes prominent
columnists, pundits, apologists for America, and writers and blog sites that project
for the enemy and totalitarians than they do f or the victims of statist and
Mideast (read Islamic) savagery.
Fifth: Islam, in the
person of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and all of its
Hamas-Terrorist affiliations, such as ISNA, ICNA, MSA, and other alphabetic
linkages beyond, such as ISIS, the PA, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, and
any other Islamic terrorist organizations.
Sixth: all the other Islamic States, such as Saudi Arabia,
Iran, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and all the small
fry Islamic States. I may as well throw in Turkey. The blitzkrieg of ISIS (the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is comparable to Mohammad’s campaign on the
Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century to bring the whole region under his and
race-baiters and “What? Me Worry?” ignoramuses who have a vested interest in
racial strife and conflict, and work diligently perpetuate them on the
slightest pretext, regardless of
reality, such as Al
Sharpton and Jessie Jackson.
In his own special category of
pulpit-pounding racism, I also name Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan.
Eighth: Conservatives who
can’t decide on which side their principles (if any) and convictions (if any) should
reside: Freedom, or a status quo as defined by their alleged enemies, Democrats.
Eleventh: Any and all Federal and state regulatory
agencies established to regulate trade, human activities, and social
relationships, such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Environmental
Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration,
among myriad others.
There are many others that merit my eternal
hostility, but I think these eleven ought to suffice for the moment. Then there
are the “lone wolf” enemies, such as American book and newspaper publishers,
who refused to reproduce the Mohammad
cartoons of 2005 and even in a Yale University
Press book about The
Cartoons That Shook the World lest they “offend” the gentle
sensibilities of Muslims and anger them to the point that they would go on
murderous rampages and call for the end of freedom of speech.
And let us not forget the major and
“inadvertent” faux pas of Scholastic,
Inc., which recently published a children’s book that omitted Israel from a
map of the Mideast. Or, given the rising tide of anti-Semitism, was the
omission instead an instance of la négligence
Perhaps Wizard Harry Potter,
whose exploits are published by Scholastic, whisked by on his broom and with a
flick of his magic wand made Israel disappear from the minds of Scholastic’s
cartographers. I’m trying to imagine the discredited Protocols of the Elders of
Zion in the curriculum of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
That curriculum, however, seems to be
shared by most American schools and universities.
All in all, one’s “friends” are not
necessarily one’s “friends.” They could be one’s worst enemies.
Moral: Choose your friends wisely. And make
sure your enemy knows you are not his friend.
3 Comments ::
:: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 ::
Montessori Made Easy
Posted by Edward Cline at 12:46 AM
was born on August 31, 1870, in the provincial town of
Chiaravalle, Italy, to middle-class, well-educated parents. At the time that
Montessori was growing up, Italy held conservative values about women's roles.
From a young age, she consistently broke out of those proscribed gender
limitations. After the family moved to Rome, when she was 14, Montessori
attended classes at a boys' technical institute, where she further developed
her aptitude for math and her interest in the sciences—particularly biology.
her father's resistance but armed with her mother's support, Montessori went on
to graduate with high honors from the medical school of the University of Rome
in 1896. In so doing, Montessori became the first female doctor in Italy.
Montessori displayed the same insatiable appetite
for knowledge that she has encouraged her teachers to imbue in their pre-school
and kindergarten students. Her premise was that “class” and a child’s external
environment did not necessarily determine the contents and actions of his mind,
unless he has a passive, as opposed
to an active, ambitious, eager mind. (Passivity
is also an action of volition, or of choice, but a negative one.) The mentally healthy mind possesses the human
attribute of volition, and can develop a willingness
and ability to think. This, Cushman, emphasizes, is a natural desire in
children. Bright, independent, confident children could hale from any strata of
society. Social status is irrelevant.
a doctor, Montessori chose pediatrics and psychiatry as her specialties. While
teaching at her medical-school alma mater, Montessori treated many poor and
working-class children who attended the free clinics there. During that time,
she observed that intrinsic intelligence was present in children of all
became the director of the Orthophrenic School for developmentally disabled
children in 1900. There she began to extensively research early childhood
development and education….
began to conceptualize her own method of applying their educational theories,
which she tested through hands-on scientific observation of students at the
Orthophrenic School. Montessori found the resulting improvement in students'
When an infant begins to see things – when the
blurs and blogs of color that swim in his vision begin to coalesce into
identities—what a child needs to know is that these things are real things in a
reality that is permanent and stable. Montessori stresses the primacy of
existence. Cushman writes:
need to establish a view of the world that is stable, and since the child forms
himself from his environment, order is a major component of Montessori
classrooms. Everything in the classroom is in order. The classroom as a whole
is in order, organized into designated areas, each of which is part of a
sequence. The materials on the shelves are in order, and each activity is
displayed properly arranged in its container. Concepts are presented in a
logical order and there is order in how they are taught. Order is part of the
daily routine.” (p. 5)
Discussing the role of language in a child’s
developing and growing mind, Cushman notes:
are cognitively superior to all other animals because they can reason (and can
thus control their environment and their own lives). A person uses mathematics
in the process of forming concepts. He forms a concept for a given kind of
thing when he has integrated the appropriate number of abstractions from real
instances of it, and he then labels that concept with a word, which is a symbol
for the concept. Language is a systematic combination of such symbols that
arranges concepts in a logical sequence and is, therefore, primarily a tool of
cognition.” (p. 40)
Cushman makes this startling observation about how
a child begins to learn how to speak:
child is sensitive to human speech even before he knows who is speaking. By the
time the baby is four months old his eyes are focused on the mouth of the
speaker and he can be seen making little motions with his lips as though he
were making silent words. At six months the child begins to babble, imitating
the sounds of human speech, and by the time he is eight or nine months old, he
has uttered every sound in the alphabet of his native language. It is
interesting to note that the child does not utter and imitate every sound
in his environment, but is drawn towards language.” (pp. 40-41)
Here are some highlights from Cushman’s opus:
doesn’t start with…creation. It starts with knowledge, and the primary focus of
education in the beginning must be the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge
needs to be presented in an orderly way so that the mind can file information
logically and retrieve it reliably; only then can the mind make the novel
connections that are the essence of the creative process. Once knowledge and
skills have been attained, freedom is necessary for the mind to bring
innovations into existence.” (p. 112)
then, is the true aim of the Montessori Method? In a word—independence, and the
result is the child’s profound love of his work.” (p. 128)
“Self-esteem entails two interrelated aspects: that one is
worthy of living and that one is competent to live. It is the knowledge that
one’s mind can grasp the facts of reality, that one can understand the world
and then live rationally and morally.” (p. 142)
“Self-esteem, as I discussed earlier, does not come from the
approval of others. Children initially develop their self-evaluation from the
conclusions that they draw about the world through their experiences. If they
think reality is understandable and that they are capable of understanding it,
they will have a positive view of themselves; but if they think reality is
chaos, that they can’t comprehend it, and that anything goes, they will have a
negative view of themselves.” (p. 157)
Montessori education the child is taught how to think for himself. He uses
concrete objects to experiment with and confirm reality. The Montessori child
develops an independent mind because we do not tell him what to think. We allow
him to learn independently—on his own—without flooding the room with adults. We
also let him learn by interacting with lots of other children.” (p. 196)
In modern education, children (and high school- and
college-age adults) are pressured to become “socialized,” to fit into groups,
to “go with the flow,” to conform collectivist identities and purposes, to obey
and not question. But, Cushman asks:
into what? The group, the crowd, the gang? Relationships are with individuals, not with unknown collectives. When
someone wants to fit in with the unnamed “others,” he puts himself at the mercy
of what others think of him. Instead, he should be defining what his standards
are for relationships, decide which individuals are worthwhile, and choose his
friends accordingly.” (p. 209, Italics
Cushman advises parents:
you consider your options, keep this in mind: education is more than just
learning how to add and read. Education is preparing the child for adulthood.
When he grows up, he will need to know how to listen and remember what he
hears, read and assimilate information, follow a train of logic, and make
decisions.” (p. 211)
At the end of Maria Montessori,
Cushman re-emphasizes the purpose of the Montessori Method of education:
ability to think is essential for man’s survival and happiness. I don’t know of
any other educational system other than the Montessori Method that uses a
highly specialized, integrated methodology for the specific purpose of teaching
a child how to use his mind. Maria Montessori discovered what children are and
how they really learn. And she recognized that in order to reason, it takes
much more than just an accumulation of facts. The Montessori Method is a
realistic approach to learning based on the true nature of the child. And it
works.” (p. 222)
Forty illustrations of children at work – never
at play – in a Montessori classroom adorn this important volume. Some children
are smiling while performing a chore or a task. Others are frowning in thought
while engaged in some activity. But a frown is a good sign. Ayn Rand, to whom
Cushman has dedicated her book, noted
in her novel, The Fountainhead
“…. Man's first frown is the first touch of
God on his forehead. The touch of thought.”
Montessori: Why It Matters for Your
Child’s Success and Happiness, by Charlotte Cushman. Kerhonkson, NY: The
Paper Tiger. 253 pp. Illustrated.
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