Makework Expands To Fill Time

Why are school lessons so bad? Perhaps we overlook the most crucial of reasons, discovered by Parkinson: work expands to fill time. Compulsory attendance laws mandate that children attend to something for ever-increasing parts of their lives, under the direction of professional educators, at ever-increasing cost. It simply wouldn't do to pay these educators to… Continue reading Makework Expands To Fill Time

Freedom Zone Confronts City Council

"Let's bring this meeting to order," said the Mayor. "Order, please." He banged the gavel. Quiet emerged in the packed City Council Chambers. Cameras flashed. "All right, to begin, this is a highly informal meeting, at the request of a group which calls themselves the Freedom Zone. This group, and the area where they reside,… Continue reading Freedom Zone Confronts City Council

Shan Gao, Huangdi Yuan

Some folks believe that we can't possibly have liberty unless we somehow push a button and make all governments vanish. But why limit our imagination to those stifled and over-governed experiences which most of us in "developed" countries have inured ourselves? Of the seven billion people on this earth, perhaps five billion live in places… Continue reading Shan Gao, Huangdi Yuan

A Little Calculation

Can I have a few seconds? Researchers have been videotaping classes, taking notes, making an estimate of how much time children are actually receiving instruction, as opposed to walking, listening to announcements, handing in or receiving papers, and so forth; it comes to 90 minutes of actual instruction per school day. But even that tally… Continue reading A Little Calculation

Why Am I Not Perfect?

Why am I not perfect? Short answer: because I am a human being - same as everybody else. Why am I not as good a cook as Judy? Because she "failed her way to success." I admire her wondrous spread of exotic cuisine, and she doesn't tell me about the hundreds of disasters, big and… Continue reading Why Am I Not Perfect?

Unteaching

I chat frequently with many young folks, sometimes over a span of several years. I do almost nothing to "improve" their writing; I just write as well as I can, for that format and that audience. When a "creative" spelling appears, I will simply use the same word with the correct spelling, in a natural… Continue reading Unteaching

Failing To Success

Can you fail your way to success? Yes. I was reading an article, Giving Good Praise about how to motivate people to work harder to improve their skills, instead of assuming that they "just aren't smart enough," which included this (lightly edited for capitalization) passage: Failure in small doses is good. [...] Advocates of game-based… Continue reading Failing To Success

Let’s Talk About The Gun

Perhaps the hardest thing for others to understand about libertarian ideas is this: we object to the gun in the room. I don't mean we're anti-gun at all; most, in fact, support the use of firearms for recreational, sporting, and self-defense uses. What we object to is that, in order to drive policy X, some… Continue reading Let’s Talk About The Gun

Thinking is Hard

Ever wonder "why are people so stupid?" - or, more properly speaking, why so many people say and do so many stupid things? I could write an entire article devoted to stupid ideas. I could try to fix the "SIWOTI"http://xkcd.com/386/(Someone is Wrong on the Internet) problem once and for all. And Sisyphus could, given sufficient… Continue reading Thinking is Hard

Math: Not So Formal!

In the fall of 1929 I made up my mind to try the experiment of abandoning all formal instruction in arithmetic below the seventh grade and concentrating on teaching the children to read, to reason, and to recite - my new Three R's. And by reciting I did not mean giving back, verbatim, the words… Continue reading Math: Not So Formal!