Friday, January 27, 2006

Intelligent Design -- Liberal Style

I've finally figured it out...

... The Liberals actually believe in Intelligent Design while Conservatives believe in evolution. Sounds backwards, right? But hear me out:

A key characteristic of Conservative thought is that there should be minimal interference from government, allowing individuals to seek their own potential, with the opportunity to both excel and fail. This is exactly the way natural selection, or evolution if your prefer, works.

On the other hand, Liberals feel that the economic system needs to be managed and controlled. In their opinion, a purely market-driven, free-choice economy will fail to invest in the "right" things, therefore the government has a responsibility to substitute its will upon the public. In other words, Liberals don't really believe in allowing natural selection to take place without outside influence. They believe in Intelligent Design alright, and furthermore believe they play the role of the Designer.

I entered into this line of thinking while shaking my head at our Governor's announcement that starting with the high school Class of 2011, students in Ohio would have to show proficiency in Algebra 2, Chemistry and Physics in addition to all the current standards.

The public education system in this country is one of the greatest examples of liberal thinking -- the government knows what's best for everyone. The government mandates the existence of public schools, requires taxes to be paid to support them, and sets standards for student proficiency.

Meanwhile our economy is a train wreck in progress. The Governor's pronouncement is a bad idea because it will take resources away from the brightest students and redirect it to students who have neither the aptitude or desire to learn about math, chemistry, and physics.

He cites the increasing global competition for labor, and says that by having better trained high school graduates in Ohio, our state will be able to compete for new jobs more successfully. He forgets that the problem isn't that our workers are undereducated compared to other countries. In fact, the probability is that the skills of our workers versus those in other regions of the US and other countries compare favorably. The issue is that our cost of labor is much higher than the rest of the world. That is the legacy of 100 years of unions and government expansion, not a problem with how much education our residents acquire in high school. If you are going to add any subject matter to the high school curriculum, how about Economics?

The governor's plan will be expensive. It will cause either an incremental funding load to pay for the additional teachers required to teach everyone these subjects, or it will take away resources from "optional" programs in the school systems (e.g. programs for gifted students). He may be a Republican, but he's thinking like a Democrat in this case. I'm glad he's out of office this year.

If we want to fix our schools, we need to allow the kids and parents to have a choice where they go to school. I'm okay with a national policy which says every kid should have a chance to go to school, and would support vouchers as a way to make sure every kid has the money to do so. Schools that deliver the results the customer wants (ie - the parents & students) will attract kids and money, and those who fail to deliver will starve and die. Kids who have aptitude and desire will seek out the schools that will actually give them an education in their chosen field. The rest can be trained in a trade, or join the military, or be free to starve to death. America is the land of opportunity, not the land of guarantees.

Liberals: you support evolution -- this is how it works. Quit playing Intelligent Designer.

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