Sunday, March 29, 2015

Motherhood Manifesto

I am a mother. I have the power to defy the popular culture. I have the power to defy evil. I will use that power:
When the world tells my children to be afraid, I will teach them to be courageous.
When the world offers hand sanitizer, I will offer sandboxes, gardens and playgrounds.
When politicians teach helpless dependence on government, I teach independence, voluntary cooperation, private charity and hard work.
When the world undermines the family, I will build a strong one.
When the government undermines and ridicules faith, I will teach my children the history, doctrines and practice of my faith.
When the world teaches socialism, self-esteem, relativism and hedonism, I will teach ethics, logic, reading, mathematics and the scientific method.
When celebrities parade their lives of excess, I can teach a life of purpose.
When their professors glorify Marxism, I will tell my children about the millions killed by Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and a host of other dictators.
When society tells them to shut up, I will encourage them to speak out.
When the world offers them birth control, abortion, and meaningless fornication, I will teach them self control, personal integrity, and unconditional love.
When the media offer them mindless, tasteless entertainment, I can give them the tools to create their own poetry, art, games and music.
When the world tells them the right answer doesn't matter, I will continue to teach the existence and the value of truth.
When artists sing about f*$%Sh#?!Bi&*, I can give them Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.
When people throw feces and call it art, I can show them Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Picasso.
When the world offers them "The Vagina Monologues" I can offer them "Julius Caesar" and "Antigone."
When their peers go to the beach to get drunk over spring break or summer vacation, I will pay for their mission trips to build schools or teach English.
When the media use euphemisms like "choice" and "procedure" I will tell them the truth: Choices are made before conception and the procedure kills an innocent human life.
Yes, I am a subversive woman. I will resist the dominant culture and teach my children to do the same. I make no apologies. If America survives, it will be because of those of us who refused to give in to decadence, dependency, and deception.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An Alternative Perspective

In keeping with the title of this blog, I agreed to review a book I would not otherwise have purchased and read.  Though Cast Away rambles from continent to continent and idea to idea (punctuated by interludes and side trips by the author,) the last quarter of the book did have me thinking about exactly what economic system could improve life in this century.  Though "ethosism" is not defined in detail, I did get the gist that individual interactions are what will revolutionize life for those who do not have access to political favors under crony capitalism or various dictatorships,  Reference was made to people making money through micro transactions on or through youtube fame.  

While I have many differences with the author philosophically, I can agree with him that poverty in the world should anger and sadden us.  Much of that poverty is the result of corruption and greed, whether religious or political in nature or simply humanity's sin nature.  As a libertarian and a Christian, I would have us answer poverty by increasing freedom, lowering barriers to prosperity, and encouraging private virtue and sharing.

If you want to read a book that is different, this one certainly is.  Do not read if you are very sensitive/easily offended (in which case you would not have clicked on this blog anyway.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Group Projects--Preparing Students for a Communist Utopia

One of the early lessons schoolchildren are taught is to do their own work and not copy from other's papers. There is a trend, however, that is on the rise at all levels of education from preschool through graduate school: the group project. Unlike a group activity or discussion during class time, the group project assigns one group grade to several students.

Collaboration versus Freeloading
Groups of scholars through the ages have read and discussed ideas. Students have traditionally been admonished by their teachers to do their own work and to work hard in order to learn new skills. Students have always had discussions among themselves and have tutored others who needed help with difficult concepts. Most importantly, students were responsible for their own work, or lack thereof, and held responsible through a system of grading meant to evaluate individual achievement. It is interesting that professors who rightly devote several syllabus pages to the evils of plagiarism, then turn around and tell students they will be graded, in part, on work done by other people. Once a group grade is assigned, the project moves from scholarly collaboration to teacher-sanctioned freeloading by low-performing group members at the expense of high-performing members.

Academic Socialism
Like economic socialism, group projects force some people to work for the benefit of other people without just compensation for their efforts. Furthermore, group projects assign responsibility for outcomes without corresponding authority to enforce the necessary discipline to complete the project successfully. Responsible and competent students have nothing to gain from a group project, unless they are able to select only other responsible and competent people as group members. Irresponsible or incompetent students have nothing to lose from a group project; if they are in the lower half of the class, odds are in their favor that other group members will make them look competent and responsible in order to preserve their own grade point averages.

Like the producers in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, good students will just keep working harder, dragging the slackers along because they see no other choice. The slackers will relax, complacent, knowing the producers will not let them fail because the producers care about the outcome. Like the characters in Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron, the best students are handicapped so that they cannot appear more competent than others.

Real Life versus Group Project
One argument instructors use to justify graded group projects is that such projects prepare students for real life. This is simply not true. In the world outside the classroom, people do work in groups; however, the similarity ends there. In the real world, somebody in the group has authority to make decisions and enforce them, to evaluate or promote, to retain or to dismiss group members. In the real world, the slackers are often exposed and fired. Real world companies cannot afford to pay people for doing nothing. Companies that insist on paying everyone in a group the same, regardless of performance, will lose their best workers to companies that encourage and reward excellence.

Instructors who want to prepare students for real life should concentrate on teaching skills to all students, evaluating them as individuals, and offering extra help to those who learn more slowly. Group discussion and collaboration should be encouraged as a valuable life skill. Nobody, however, should be allowed to claim a grade earned by others. Graded group projects are not an honest assessment tool.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Here's a Crafty Idea for Your Own Business

Fiberfrau: Fun with Fabrics and Fibers: Make Money from Knitting? It's Possible: Here is a new resource I found to help potential entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes.  Most artisans don't ever make money because they don't understand the value of what they do or how to best turn their passion into a marketable, profitable product.