David Kurten: The State has no right to attack home schooling

A Private Members’ Bill to give powers to local authorities to police home schooling has passed its second reading in the House of Lords. This is the latest attack on the rights of parents, on their duty to bring up their children and on the principle that it is parents, not the State, who are the primary educators of their children. This is the principle of parental duty that both John Locke and John Stuart Mill expounded on which today the State today increasingly infringes. It is the duty and authority of parents under common law to maintain, protect and educate their children.

This principle must not be abolished on the basis of a false premise.

In the typical manner of the Left, the quest to increase the power and reach of the State is being justified under the guise of ‘protecting vulnerable victims’. This modus operandi is so endemic today as to be invisible.

Children have become ‘vulnerable victims’ of their ‘unstable home life’, granting the authorities a rationale to intervene and ‘protect’ them from any nonconforming or independent-minded parents.

It is the same order of ‘victim’ justification that has been used to introduce hate crime laws to protect BAME, LGBT and disabled people, and is now being used to introduce – indeed impose – ‘inclusive sex and relationship education’ into schools to ‘protect LGBT people from bullying’; that sees teachers who disagree or don’t fully comply shut down, suspended or fired.

There are many good and varied reasons why more parents than ever choose to home-school their children, not least a lack of ‘good school’ places, bullying and the popularity of the home-school movement.

The vast majority of parents who make this difficult choice have their children’s best interests at heart and provide an excellent education which can match or exceed what they could receive from the State. Research indicates that outcomes for electively home-educated children appear to be very good, both in the USA and in the UK.

For those children who are deemed to need protection from their parents – whether from radicalisation, physical and educational neglect, or cruelty – it is hard to see why existing child protection laws as set out in the Children Act 1989 are deemed inadequate.

So why the need for this new Bill? Firstly, the number of home-school children has doubled in six years, alarming some politicians such as the former chair of the Education Select Committee, Neil Carmichael, who wants every home educator to be registered. Estelle Morris, a former Labour Education Secretary and instigator of the Bill, wants to see councils monitor ‘the educational, physical and emotional development’ of home-educated children.

There we have it. This is the purpose of the Bill – to allow the State to interfere in the family, and to ensure that all children comply with what councils deem to be their correct development. This means they must tolerate and even celebrate multiculturalism, open borders, same-sex marriage, gender fluidity and whatever other ideologies the Left will demand every child must ‘respect’ now or in the future, however daft or immoral.

There is already a worrying trend among MPs and Ofsted officials to attempt to indoctrinate primary school children with ‘gender-queer theory’ which is confusing and damages children’s normal development as boys and girls.

Justine Greening’s plans to force ‘LGBT inclusive sex and relationships education’ on all primary and secondary schools is likely to expose children to explicit materials at an age which is far too young. This is not only wrong and damaging, but quite frankly, wicked.

 

Add to this the huge Left-wing bias in schools and universities, and the propensity of many teachers and professors to espouse Marxist philosophy either consciously or unconsciously, as well as EU propaganda prevalent in many schools, and it is not surprising that parents already want to remove their children from the swamp of State education. In fact the number who want to pull their children from State schools to avoid the damage of Greening’s changes and Marxist indoctrination is likely to skyrocket.

No wonder parents are walking away in droves from the education provided by the State.



In a healthy society, government limits its role to defending freedom, the nation and its values, supporting families, maintaining order and security and creating the rule of law which allows enterprise to flourish.

Far from discouraging home schooling – given the shortage of decent school places – the State should be thankful and move out of the way to let families get on with educating their children in their own way if they decide to do so. No agent of the State will care as much for children as their own parents.

The State exists to serve the people, and teachers are commissioned by parents to educate their children rather than the other way around. The effect of policing home schooling and giving local authorities powers to monitor parents and require them to have an annual audit will be to turn this principle on its head. Instead of teachers being in loco parentis, parents will be forced to become in domus imperium – compelled to do the bidding of the State under threat of sanction and potentially the ultimate penalty: having their children removed from them, Soviet-style, for not inculcating whatever ideologies the State wishes them to be programmed with.

David Kurten

  • JabbaPapa

    The sheer obscenity of this proposal is impossible to overestimate.

  • martianonlooker

    Instead of addressing the failings of the educational system, the authorities seek instead to control the choices of parents. Perhaps parents are getting sick and tired of the LGBT issues being rammed down their children’s throats. Perhaps they are sick and tired of the lack of discipline in schools. Maybe it is the poor teaching, not necessarily from having poor teachers but from having classes full of non-English speakers.
    On the one hand they seem to have a lesbian trying to force an agenda on them and on the other hand we have socialist Morris who seems to have studied methodology under Sturgeon’s horrific ‘named persons scheme’.
    I feel sorry for the average parent trying to bring their kids up nowadays.

  • Paul Robson

    It’s a bit like residential care for children ; there’s an in built assumption that the state provision is awesome ; some schools are so dreadful almost any form of “home education” would be better. Including playing XBox all day. You won’t learn anything, but you might stay off drugs.

    These new rules will obviously be applied to the two real problematic groups. “Travellers” and “Asians” (who don’t want their children to integrate).

    • paul parmenter

      Are you sure those will be the groups to which the new rules will be applied? I have a feeling that even if it is agreed that the state sledgehammer must be deployed to rescue children from their own parents, it will not be coming down in either of those two areas. Not when they have much softer targets on which to unload.

  • Busy Mum

    I’ve just skimmed the Wiki article on Morris. It appears that this woman is an academic failure on all counts so the fact that she thinks she should dictate to the rest of us about how we educate our children beggars belief. I might let her have a say on the PE curriculum, but that’s as far as it goes.

    • martianonlooker

      Interestingly, I cannot find any reference to her ever being married. So, we seem to have another individual that might not have had children telling parents what they can and cant do. She can join Sturgeon, Davidson, Dugdale, Greening, Rudd in pushing off into the sunset.

    • paul parmenter

      My thoughts entirely. I remember Morris from a few years back; one of the Blair Babe intake of the 1997 election. That group of dynamic bright red Labour women who were going to transform politics and society for the better, and show the tired old grey men how to do it. Remember?

      The great majority of them sank without trace. Those few who achieved high office appear mainly to have done so on the basis of being female rather that being brilliant. Morris was a prime example, promoted way above her ability. The only good thing she did as Education Secretary was to admit she was not up to the job and resign. But that hasn’t stopped her from resurfacing elsewhere to foist her beliefs on the rest of us. Just how do you get rid of these people? They are like nettles, you clear a patch only for them to spring up again somewhere else.

    • LoveMeIamALiberal

      Morris resigned as Education Secretary because she said she didn’t think she was up to the job, thereby making her that rarest breed of politician, useless but honest.

      • Busy Mum

        So why is she popping up again now?!

  • JB

    I’m astounded by how many people I meet who I’d otherwise think perfectly intelligent and rational who are indoctrinated into this idea that parents are inherently bad and only the state can save their children. They of course never stop to question how they would feel if the state arbitrarily decided they were no longer capable of bringing up their own children.

  • Reborn

    Although one can understand principled objections to home schooling, it can only be justified in extreme cases.
    Many home schoolers are religious extremists who pretend their children are being educated at home, but really send them to illegal & unsupervised religious schools.
    Thus, they are producing miseducated misfits with probable terrorist sympathies.
    I accept that many schools today are not good enough, especially in vibrant areas,
    but home schooling is not the answer.

    • JabbaPapa

      Many home schoolers are religious extremists who pretend their children are being educated at home, but really send them to illegal & unsupervised religious schools.
      Thus, they are producing miseducated misfits with probable terrorist sympathies

      I don’t suppose that you could back up with any actual solid evidence that this is a common phenomenon in homeschooling, rather than being a crock of bollox instead, any actual jihadi nutjobs out there notwithstanding ?

      • Flaketime

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/education-35823876/why-some-muslim-parents-home-school

        Even the ultra liberal left wing biased BBC admits there is an issue with this and so does the government:

        “The government says it is looking at strategies to make the system as “robust” as possible amid concerns children could be radicalised or fall off the radar”

        • Busy Mum

          The article picks out one religion in particular. Don’t make the mistake of equating religions.

        • JabbaPapa

          Even the ultra liberal left wing biased BBC admits there is an issue with … jihadi nutjobs, is that what you’re saying ?

          Wow, I’m so grateful you’re here to tell us these things !!

      • Reborn

        It’s a well known fact & includes both Christian & Jewish extremists.

        • Busy Mum

          I find the word ‘extremist’, like ‘fundamentalist’, to be misleading. There are either sincere Christians, Muslims, Jews etc who believe the fundamental principles of those religions, or else there are nominal Christians, Muslims, Jews etc. who are ‘culturally’ part of those systems but don’t actually believe any of the basic tenets.

          All human beings are capable of using violence, despite their religion or irreligion, or sometimes because of it.

          • Reborn

            In the UK & much of the World, devout/extremist muslims use
            violence or the threat of it constantly, as we all know.
            British Christians are non violent &, apart from Ireland, the last outbreak was the Gordon Riots. We are a peaceable lot in the UK which accounts for some of our present difficulties.
            In the US some extreme Christians are violent and in India some Hindus &
            Sikhs are.
            A Judeo Christian cultural way of life is very appropriate for the West.
            Unlike fundamentalists, they recognise our religious values as being essentially cultural & political

          • Ian Oliver

            Indeed, because Britons are peaceable our Governments find the safest course of action in coping with large-scale incompatible immigrant communities is always to lean on the indigenous Brits while indulging the unpredictable, frightening, but revered minorities.

        • JabbaPapa

          It’s a well known fact

          Translated into English : “No, JabbaPapa, I can find no actual solid evidence that this is a common phenomenon in homeschooling.

          • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

            “We don’ need to show you no steenkin’ evidence!”

          • Reborn

            The matter has been reported by OFSTED etc and been publicly aired for years.

  • Flaketime

    Oh Dear, clearly the writer of this article has not been watching UK news to find out why this new proposed law has to be brought in.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/08/report-on-death-of-boy-with-scurvy-raises-fears-for-home-schooled-children

    Just read that article – and reflect that it is just one from hundreds, and then come back and tell me why you think it is right that abusive and paedophile parents should be allowed to harm and sometimes even kill their children, all because some nutter believes they have some God given right to home school their children without interference.

    Currently it is an easy option for any abuser to withdraw the child from public attention so they can carry on the abuse with impunity, and it happens with depressing regularity.

    https://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/abuse-and-neglect/abuse-in-homeschooling-environments/

    I could post hundreds of links here to cases where parents have used home schooling as a cover for their abuse of the child.

    So shame on you David Kurten for putting your own prejudices before the rights and safety of defenceless and innocent children, and for failing to find out the reasons why this bill is so necessary.

    • JabbaPapa

      I could post hundreds of links here to cases where parents have used home schooling as a cover for their abuse of the child

      I very, very much doubt that you could do so.

      • Flaketime

        Google returns 17 500 000 hits for the search term home schooled child abuse, I think that proves the point.

        It doesn’t just go on in the UK, where ever home schooling is practiced it is used as a cover for abuse.

        • Nockian

          Is your aim to have every child removed from the parents at birth and looked after for life in the state system ?

          • JabbaPapa

            That wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest …

          • Billy Lindner

            The state does such a wonderful job of looking after children in ‘care’ that schools are required to put them on the special needs register.

        • JabbaPapa

          Google returns 17 500 000 hits for the search term home schooled child abuse

          So your understanding of how search engines generate results based on the precision, or in this case the utter lack thereof, is nil, then ?

          Gives me No results found for “home schooled child abuse”

          As for “homeschool child abuse”, I get 2 pages of results — not exactly “hundreds”, eh ? — some of which are duplicates, and the great majority of which detail no actual cases, except for some very extreme fringe situations involving psychopathic parents.

          An article HERE – http://www.pahomeschoolers.com/newsletter/issue90b.htm – covering the question from the much larger USA does not present “hundreds” of cases either, but a handful, suggesting that the actual cases of abuse in these environments is of exceptional rarity.

          where ever home schooling is practiced it is used as a cover for abuse

          This is just generalised hogwash. The actual truth here is that wherever there are children to be found, there too will also be some cases of abuse against them.

          Nevertheless, to illustrate the actual rarity of the phenomenon ..

          From a Guardian article —

          Rachel Coleman, the co-founder, executive director, and director of research for the CRHE, explains that while the percentages of abuse-related death among home-schooled children is high, the actual numbers are small. “Only about 4% of school-aged children in America are home-schooled,” Coleman explained, “but when we looked at public records and news stories of abuse cases we would only expect to see 73 total deaths between 2000 and 2012, but the actual number is 84.”

          There are about 50 million school-aged children in America, so that’s 2 million in homeschooling.

          And some dozens of cases of abuses.

          So this is hardly as endemic to nor related to homeschooling as you’re trying to pretend, or as you’d know if you spent your time studying facts instead of propaganda.

        • paul parmenter

          Not trying to argue with you over your perception of the risks of child abuse among home schooled children, since that is beyond my knowledge. But you surely know you must be careful with google searches as a basis of proof of anything. I just keyed in “earth is flat” and had 14.2 million hits. Does this prove that the earth really must be flat?

        • Phil R

          “Google returns 17 500 000 hits for the search term home schooled child abuse”

          Nice to know that quality research skills are not completely dead

    • suemary

      Don’t bother replying to JabbaPapa he isn’t really interested in debate he just likes to air his prejudice.

      • JabbaPapa

        My, what a lovely statement of your prejudice against me, suemary.

        Or perhaps you could demonstrate via some evidence that my objection to that comment by Flake is unwarranted ?

      • Nockian

        We all do don’t we, isn’t that the point ?
        I’ve had many rough spats with JP but he is interested in debate.

        • suemary

          I am pleased you found him so.

    • Busy Mum

      The Guardian article raises more questions than it answers. Following a strict vegetarian diet leads to scurvy? Really? I can think of iron, protein and Vitamin D deficiency being the result but not Vitamin C.
      Tacitly criticising a strict vegetarian diet which would be pampered, cosseted and encouraged in every way at school?
      The child died in 2011, the article is dated 2016. If home-schooling was such a problem, you would think they could drag up a more recent incident than one from five years before, to illustrate the point.

      Some of us see the psychological abuse that takes place in state schools to be just as evil as physical abuse.

      • Nockian

        Personally I class vegetarianism as an eating disorder. However children can eat whatever they like at school which can be chips.

        Psychological abuse pretty much sums up the entire state schooling system. If we ever become more civilised people will look back on state schooling as they did Victorian work houses.

      • Nick

        There was a case several years ago of two vegetarian university students getting scurvy. Their diet was crisps, and coke.

        • Busy Mum

          !!
          Though I hardly think they can be described as vegetarian…

          • Nick

            I expect vegetarianism is a spectrum of self-defining states of being….

          • Busy Mum

            Well, yes, if they self-identify as vegetarians who are we to question them?

    • Groan

      “professionals believed they had no right to insist on seeing the youngsters” Of course what isn’t addressed is that the professionals were wrong in their belief. Home schooling in the local ethnic community is common and it is crystal clear that any suspicion can be acted on. the legislation exists already.

    • Woman at home

      There are plenty of child protection laws already in place to deal with the physical and emotional abuse of children. The government should concentrate on enforcing them.

    • Nockian

      Whether they home school or not, abuse happens anyway. So that’s rubbish. A few bad apples doesn’t make a barrel.

      The damage to children’s consciousness and mental health from state schooling is wholesale abuse. Sure you can’t see the bruises, but at least bruises heal, mental abuse is invisible. Currently we have an epedemic in mental health – no one asks why. It’s definitely not the result of home schooling.

    • Nick

      Flaketime
      Note the article says the child was invisible to the authorities after being taken out of school. Nearly all cases of child abuse of ‘Home schooled children’ are cases where the child has been known to multiple agencies prior to them being taken out of school – and those agencies have failed to protect the child.
      The NSPCC did a report which identified the abuse problem with all its examples showing that the children abused were known in this way. Conflating these children with children who are taken out of school because the parents wish to educate them (and for whom outcomes are better than children who are schooled) is simply bad methodology and shows a lack of any real understanding of home schooling.

      • Groan

        In the case referred in the Guardian it wasn’t that the “professionals” didn’t have the powers needed in fact, but that they “believed they didn’t” . Frankly more legislation would probably increase such misunderstanding. In some ways maybe its a blessing many Professionals don’t realise the extent of their existing powers. Clearly it backfired in this case.

        • Nick

          Professionals – Possibly overloaded, inexperienced, lacking in continuity and bureaucratically inhibited with poor inter-agency communication?

    • Gloria Hole

      “I could post hundreds of links here to cases where parents have used home schooling as a cover for their abuse of the child.”

      I could post to millions that don’t.

  • me

    Perhaps we should be getting the faith schools in order 1st as they represent larger no’s in one site, most particularly the Muslim schools who are teaching misogyny racial hatred and religious intolerance and trying to hide basic right to their female pupils.

    • Little Black Censored

      You should not lump “faith schools” together in that detestable phrase. We all know which faith is causing the trouble. Just because some children are being brought up in an alien and hostile culture, we should not attack church schools which have been an integral part of our society since before the State provided any education at all.

  • Groan

    This is odd. As Home schooling has to be approved and monitored as one can’t remove a child from school without demonstrating they will be educated appropriately. And Safeguarding applies to children in School or schooled at home. Given that services are already stretched I can’t see that it would do anything other than add confusion, a part of the penchant for “virtue signalling” legislation when the issue isn’t the legislation just the ability of services to do all the “policing” already required.

    • paul parmenter

      The second half of your post is most depressing, and a further indictment of, as you say, the breakdown of our society. With government part of the problem, not the solution.

      • Groan

        I couldn’t say there is proper evidence for this but I have to say that it appears locally that the influx of Polish appears to have helped in stabilising things. The effect seems to be that that they revive the ideas of family and having a “trade” as people observe them going about their lives. Not an argument for being in the EU but I think an illustration of the lack of “leadership” in its broadest sense. Prior to this it appeared that many people had lost confidence that these things were even possible, because they saw it less and less and were told its impossible or even not desirable. Rather like economic growth the Gov. can either help create the conditions to help those who generate growth or they can stifle it. Though it blew up in his face I can’t help but think John Major had a point about promoting the idea that certain values and behaviours are better than others. To sound old fashioned “setting the tone”. Quite apart from morality its pretty clear what is dysfunctional and what is far less so. Sharing this information, even if some people in niche lifestyles might be “uncomfortable”, might be a start.

    • Debs

      Not entirely true. I removed my 14 year old and they seemed only too glad to be rid of him ,he being a challenging child. It was the best thing I ever did. He is now a well adjusted employed adult albeit with no GCSEs.
      If I had to do it again ,home schooling would be the way to go but without the state brainwashing.

      • Groan

        Sorry my comment began with education. My point being there that there are already legislative safeguards so its a red herring to create new legislation when the case in the Guardian was clearly about “professionals” not knowing their existing powers.
        The second point I rambled into is that services are so stretched its pretty silly to imagine an new layer of “inspection” will actually happen..

    • forgotten_man

      In the time honoured way, my local authority spent 5 years trying to find out where our daughter was going to school as we didn’t take up the place at a semi-sink school they ‘offered’ us when the grammar place didn’t materialise.
      I’m not sure they know even now …and she is at university …..

      If you don’t say anything it they wont look….local government is full of lazy office staff.

    • Phil R

      At present homeschooling does not need to be approved. Monitored, but not inspected.

  • Nockian

    Agreed on the majority of that except two points:

    The state shouldn’t be protecting freedom, nation and values. It should be protecting the rights of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. By adding, freedom, to values and nation you have created an open door in which each can be used to impose on the population whatever the state defines. For instance freedom can mean freedom from the concerns of individualism, or the worry over property ownership and even life itself. Values can be anything the state ascribes and typically does with its ‘tolerance’ ‘diversity ‘ and ‘fairness’. Protecting ‘the nation’ can mean protecting anything the state deems in need of protecting such as the Government, or state education.

    Secondly, though it’s nice to think that the state serves us, this is really untrue. Clearly the state serves whatever majority, or minority has its ear. Those on the receiving end of those groups who win government priviliges are clearly not being served. Any laws created do not serve us, thus we have TV vans full of state madated thugs going door to door looking for license avoiding ‘criminals’. We have laws being introduced to stop us watching things the state doesn’t want us watching on the Internet. We have dangerous roads full of ugly yellow cameras which are somehow supposed to increase our comfort and safety by fining anyone going a few mph over the speed limit and yet thousands die/injured on Government roads every year, not because of speeding, but because the roads are unsafe.

    • JabbaPapa

      The state … should be protecting the rights of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness

      Except that “the state” doesn’t just boil down to some shallow version of an Americanist utopian fantasy.

      • Nockian

        Then you are agreeing that the state should police homeschooling. You can’t have it both ways JB. Either you delimit the state and accept that people have to take responsibility for their own lives under a common law protecting everyone’s rights, or you open the door to priviliges and state legislation which takes over that responsibility.

        • JabbaPapa

          You can’t have it both ways JB

          You’re the one defining the individual solely in relation to the State, not me … I neither agree with that dichotomy, nor do am I bound in thought by its mandates.

          Furthermore, you propose only the two most extremist positions, which is a strawman basically, as these are NOT the only two options available …

          • Nockian

            In relation to ALL individuals within a society, not solely an individual to the state. You are a twister of words. We require a Government because we live in a society, we don’t need one if we live alone on an Island without any connection to other people.

          • JabbaPapa

            ALL individuals within a society, not solely an individual to the state. You are a twister of words

            Nope, an abstract exemplum (“the individual”) clearly relates to individuals universally, not just an individual individual.

            We require a Government because we live in a society

            Have you been reading too much Robinson Crusoe volume 3 ?

            You might like it — it’s easily as didactic and badly-written as anything by Ayn Rand …

            But more seriously, your position ignores the family, ignores the community (village, minority, neighbourhood, or etc), and every other social structure that one can belong to outside of any relationship with the State — which certainly need not be politically and legally established as being universal to every individual in their relationship to it.

            Sorry mate, I’m still not into the business of buying any of your political ideology.

          • Nockian

            How does it ignore the family, community or any other social structure ? It gives protection of the rights of all those individuals in any kind of social structure. Believe it or not, even in communities and families there are bad actors that attempt to tramp over those rights.

            I sometimes think we are talking past each other. Your reply doesn’t exactly sit uncomfortably with me. The politics would be laissez faire capitalism and the legality would be under a moral law protecting rights. I’m not sure if you are an anarchist or a statist ?

          • JabbaPapa

            I’m not sure if you are an anarchist or a statist ?

            You just can’t help redefining everything in the terms of some polarised extremes, can you …

            [The State] gives protection of the rights of all those individuals in any kind of social structure

            In other words those individuals are defined, according to you, solely by a relationship with the State.

          • Nockian

            That’s an interesting interpretation, but untrue, it’s by their relationship with each other. The state need only be an objective provider of law, order and the protection of ‘individual’ rights.

            I can’t help but try and discover exactly where you stand. Are you for rights of Liberty -it seems so by your comments on home education. Yet you argue I’m wrong, or utopian ? That’s confusing.

          • JabbaPapa

            I can’t help but try and discover exactly where you stand

            I realise that, but then you can see why it is so unhelpful to that purpose when you insist on redefining (or rather : warp) everything I might say into some notions of your own entirely foreign to even my previous statements.

            I mean I specifically rejected the (fake, americanist) notion of “liberty” (admittedly without really saying why — though come to think of it, I’ve said why in earlier exchanges), and yet here you are asking me if I believe in it !!!

            “Liberty” (or French “Liberté“) was created as an overt slogan of Freemasonry for the purpose of destroying any social values except for the direct relationship between the individual and the State (as defined by Masonry, of course). It is destructive of the Family, of the Cloister, of the Parish, of the Fief, of Free Cities and independent Trading Companies, and so on, seeking either to absorb all of these entities into being organs of the State, or simply destroying them as being hostile to the totalitarian Masonic ideals, as they attempted throughout the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th Centuries.

            “Liberty” is not Freedom, it puts the individual in collar and leash.

            Freedom does not exclude the rights of men to band together for some purpose of their own ; “Liberty” requires that permission (tacit or overt) should exist beforehand from the State.

            “Liberty”, as a part of the equally Masonic slogan “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” is also part of a twisted mockery of the Catholic Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.

            exactly where you stand

            I am a Catholic Christian, so that where I stand exactly is not defined by worldly political ideologies nor labels.

          • Nockian

            So your disagreement is over the interpretation and of the constitution. Where as I have said multiple times that the constitution is flawed, so this is the Objectivist version of rights. I’m happy to substitute freedom for liberty if we can agree that on the definition.

            You are welcome to your virtues, as long as you don’t impose them on others and freedom/liberty means you are free to do whatever you want you like as long as it doesn’t impose/trespass against their rights.

            Your last sentence makes no sense to me, but again, you are welcome to that belief as long as it doesn’t impose on others. In neither virtue, nor Christian Catholic values I am free to question, mock and offend accepting that this is also true in reverse.

          • JabbaPapa

            So your disagreement is over the interpretation and of the constitution

            No, certainly not — my disagreement is with the basic fundamentals of your ideology, which BTW you keep on trying to shove into these conversations as if they had even the slightest relevance to what I either believe or have intended to say.

            as long as you don’t impose them on others

            And yet you keep on trying to impose your own ideologies into these very discussions as if they were pertinent to my own positions, which I have very much objected to on multiple occasions.

          • Nockian

            I have good reason to suspect that you don’t know, nor care what the fundamentals of Objectivism are ;-). I’m not even sure you know what your own response to your own ideology is. Let me know when you have given up on your woo woo. At least Cox knows that much.

            Impose with force. Not disagree, offer opinion, argument, or even insult. You know that surely ?

          • JabbaPapa

            I have good reason to suspect that you don’t know, nor care what the fundamentals of Objectivism are

            So you think that I have neither listened to you, nor made some examination of those fundamentals independently ?

            Not agreeing with those fundamentals is not produced solely by failing to understand them.

            For instance, the objectivist posit that “human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception” is false, because our contact with reality is either indirect via the senses, or direct via transcendental experience, or intellective via such means as induction, deduction, instruction, and so on.

            Similarly, the notion that “one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic” is also false, because all logic is subjected to the peril of “Junk In, Junk Out”. Furthermore, Logic is not itself infallible, given that it is a series of tools that have been created by the human mind for the purpose of analysis, and it does NOT correspond 1:1 with reality as such, nor even 1:1 with all structures existing therein. — I have raised this objection multiple times, and NOT ONCE have you even attempted responding to it.

            Also, the ideological creed that “the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest)” is just straightforward utter bollox in relation to Classical Ethics and Morals, as well as the specifically Catholic Christian understanding of those things. I completely reject this notion — but it is preposterous to claim that I “do not understand” it, a preposterous argument tactic in any case, because you’re just trying to set up this ideology as being unfalsifiable — if the only people who disagree with you are seen magically as devoid of “understanding”, then how can you ever possibly have any actually meaningful discussions with them, or with anyone else for that matter ? You can’t, because you put yourself in a position where you’ll a priori refuse anything that they might bring to the table wherever it might be in conflict with your ideology.

            You’ll just end up dividing everyone into one of your stark black and white extremes again — those who “understand” objectivism, and therefore agree with it ; and those who disagree with or otherwise reject objectivism, and therefore “do not understand” it. But this is magical thinking, as well as constituting circular logic.

            I’m not even sure you know what your own response to your own ideology is

            That’s just plain weird, frankly …

            The relationships between material realities, concepts, words, beliefs, ideas, philosophies, ideologies, knowledge, doubt, the immanent, the transcendental, the unknown, perception, thought, neural pathways and structures, the “objective” and the “subjective”, and so on and on are extraordinarily complex, and certainly not fully understood by anyone — and they are very poorly represented in the objectivist ideology that you seem to cleave to far closer than is good for you.

            My relationship with whatever my ideology may be is in any case a dynamic one. This is called “thought”.

            My Faith is NOT centred upon ideology BTW, and the ideological elements that I derive from my orthodox Catholic Christianity are NOT the sum total of what my ideology may constitute, nor even is every Dogma of the Catholic Church part of an ideology in the first place. Faith in and Love for God is NOT an “idea” just for starters …

          • Nockian

            Sense and perception aren’t extraneous to the nature of things within the universe. There aren’t a load of spurious fluxes remote from causality. We are in the universe, we exist as part and parcel of it and are subject to the same action and reaction. What we sense is what is. How we understand what we are seeing is something else.

            Logic is infallible, but use of it is not. Hence I have been very careful to define logic as ‘the ART of non contradictory identification’. Naturally it is possible to make mistakes, our use of logic is not infallible, but that’s the tool we have and we have nothing better. However, our understanding (knowledge) whether corrupt or not, does not imply that our sense perception is inaccurate.

            Rational self interest is beyond your current understanding, because you are a spiritual mystic. That’s not an insult, it’s what is and we won’t get any closer. You have to go your way on this-that’s your philosophy. The church preaches altruism and I’m afraid that is something morally unacceptable to me. Faith I have no need of; hope is the one thing we all have to have; charity is fine, but I’m particular about who receives it.

          • JabbaPapa

            Logic is infallible

            That is a false statement, as you’d know if you’d ever had to make professional, practical use of it to deal with real things.

            I have been very careful to define logic as ‘the ART of non contradictory identification’

            I’ve already debunked that definition once before, and it’s not the “art” word that bothers me … it’s that the phrase “non contradictory identification” is foreign to the nature and purposes of systems of logic generally and severally.

            does not imply that our sense perception is inaccurate

            There’s no need to “imply” any inaccuracies, given that it is blatantly obvious that our senses of perception are both limited and flawed (even when undamaged or affected by handicap).

            Rational self interest is beyond your current understanding, because you are a spiritual mystic. That’s not an insult

            No, it’s just a load of bollox.

            Your response to my having pointed out a flaw of circularity in your logic is to just steam ahead right back on into another loop of the circle.

            Do you not understand that spirituality and mysticism are apart from the intellect as such, so that the quality of one’s rational understanding of other people’s ideas is unaffected by the presence of either ?

            Are you unaware that one of the principal tasks in philosophy is to understand the contents of other philosophical systems than what one believes in the terms and definitions not of one’s own, but of those other systems ?

            Failing to agree with your ideologies (such as this naïve “rational self interest” one) does NOT, I repeat, constitute “failure to understand” them.

            The church preaches altruism

            The Church preaches Christ and Salvation, and as for your notion that altruism is some sort of “dirty word”, well again — bollox.

            charity is fine, but I’m particular about who receives it

            The Virtue of Charity doesn’t boil down to your local Oxfam.

            but mostly it seems like misunderstanding

            This seems due mostly to some intellectual flaw on your own part, whereby you rationalise all opposite proposals as being defined according to your own dogmatic ideology.

            she says we can make ‘unlimited’ integrations

            Sounds like total bollox to me.

          • Nockian

            Yet logic is all we have to deal with ‘real things’. To claim that it’s fallible is to dismiss it as a tool of knowledge. That is to dismiss any method currently known. It’s to dismiss that anything can be known, including the sentence ‘that anything can be known’. In essence you have invalidated any argument you offer.

            What are you left with the validate your own arguments for if not logic and reason ? Surely that only leaves feeling and emotional cognition ? You might suggest divine revelation, but what method do you have to evaluate it ?

            There is little point arguing further unless you have something superior to logic with which to evaluate your arguments epistemologically and something superior to your sense perception with which to reference that argument to existent reality.

            Do you see what you are saying ? That you haven’t a clue what’s out there because having eyes makes you blind, that ears make you deaf. Then you have no way to evaluate anything conceptually because any tool is plagued by its fallibility. In Ther words having the faculty of reason means you can’t know anything, that having a mind makes you mindless.

            It isn’t worth my while to try and argue someone who doesn’t believe they have any footing for their arguments.

          • JabbaPapa

            Yet logic is all we have to deal with ‘real things’

            This is a blatant falsehood — we are not born with logic already present in our minds, and yet instantly from out of our mothers’ wombs there we are, dealing as we may with a sudden multiplicity of real things around us.

            Our bodies and our senses and our autonomic functions, even the autonomic functions of our minds and of our nervous systems, are all well suited to dealing with realities, no logic necessary.

            Our minds exist long before we know how even to speak, let alone ratiocinate. They exist before we are born.

            Logic is a product of the mind, and it is intrinsically worthless in the absence of learning. And yet, real things exist regardless.

            The core of understanding lies in Perception, and NOT in Logic — which is a powerful tool that we have, one of our most powerful certainly, for the organisation of our Perceptions (not excluding organised Learning) into coherent structures of our own individual as well as collective invention.

            But however coherent these structures might be, and no matter how easily one can be tempted into a confusion about their nature, they do not constitute reality, which even in the most trite manner imaginable, is infinitely transcendental of anything that any single person could possibly imagine of it.

            Logic, therefore, as a part of and a product of those idiological & sociological mental structures cannot possibly be the same thing as reality itself.

            To claim that it’s fallible is to dismiss it as a tool of knowledge

            That statement is absolutely false (it’s not often that one gets to say that BTW) — EVERY tool is fallible. If it’s infallible, then by very definition it’s not a tool, but it’s the Truth itself.

            That is to dismiss any method currently known. It’s to dismiss that anything can be known, including the sentence ‘that anything can be known’. In essence you have invalidated any argument you offer.

            Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, and rubbish — I find it quite ironic that you’re the one (claiming not to be a dogmatist BTW) proposing absolutist statements of this kind !!

            What are you left with the validate your own arguments for if not logic and reason ?

            AGAIN with the grotesquely tedious absolutist black & white ideological extremism !!!

            To denounce your deep misconceptions of these things — and I must insist, with implicit respect for your ability in both areas, for if it were non-existent I most certainly would not have written these who knows how many thousands of words — is NOT to denounce the things themselves.

            Logic and reason are in our nature imperfect — this does not deprive them of value, given that among all of our imperfections, they are in nature at least, even if not universally among us in practice, among the least tainted.

            Our only perfections are in the Graces of our Creation, but I know that you will not accept that, even though it would be for your best.

            unless you have something superior to logic

            I cannot recall ever having made any attempts to dismiss logic as one of the verymost highly valuable tools of human understanding.

            No — what I most certainly disagree with is with the exaggerated attributes that you have attached to it in your mind, which IMO have nothing to do with Logic as such, but belong instead to a highly romanticised and quite irrational view of its characteristics.

            Do you see what you are saying ?

            Crikey, HOW many times exactly must I complain about your unlaudable tendency to project your own ideology onto what I’ve written ???

          • Nockian

            Out of our mothers wombs we are essentially blank slates with potential capacities. We are not born with logic, we are born with the ability to begin the conceptual process. The world into which we are born is unitelligible, but we begin making conceptual integrations immediately and all those integrations are through sense perception. Perception is an automatic function, but not conception which is a volitional conscious process of integrating data presented by our perception. Ask any small child questions and you would know this immediately. Why do you think children spend so much time in repetition ? They roll a ball, or drop something repeatedly in order to confirm the world continues to act in a specific way such as a ball rolls, but a block does not; a ballon floats, but a rattle falls to the ground.

            Logic is an epistemological tool of the mind. It is an consciously organised approach. That isn’t to say we don’t use logic prior to learning of it. Just like the scientific method, we learn the organisation in order to employ it as consistently as possible.

            Logic as a tool is infallible just as a chisel is used to cut away wood, in the hands of someone untrained it is likely to damage the work. Like any tool it must be maintained and sharpened.

            As you already stated quite rightly, we already use logic to make integrations. That’s the only tool we have as far as I know. Aristotle merely formalised it (I say merely, but it was an incredible tour de force). That is why your denial of logic makes your arguments utterly worthless, it isn’t that you are denying formal Aristotalian logic, but the entire method of gathering any knowledge about anything.

            The first premise X is X, a thing is a thing and it isn’t anything other than it is-this is what you reject. Yet we don’t need formal logic to know this to be true, we look and see an object and it is what it is despite our best attempts to wish it into something else. We can’t pray it into something else, we can’t whim it into something else.

            How do you think you made all those conceptual integrations ? Think about a simple object like a cup. What prior knowledge was required to grasp that concept ? What distinguishes a cup from a glass, a bowl, a tree, from a person, from the universe ? As a small child it was nothing but an object, not yet distinct from all other objects.

          • JabbaPapa

            Out of our mothers wombs we are essentially blank slates

            That is a false statement — objectively BTW, given that recent advances in the Science of intra-uterine development have demonstrated that both individuation and transmission from mother and father (and siblings) to a new child begin to occur in the womb.

            Anyway, even beyond that, the idea is patent bollox — if it were true, all we’d ever do is topple over and shatter.

            Perception is an automatic function

            Nope.

            Test it yourself — look in a certain direction, and then see if you “automatically” perceive anything located elsewhere …

            conception which is a volitional conscious process of integrating data presented by our perception. Ask any small child questions and you would know this immediately. Why do you think children spend so much time in repetition ? They roll a ball, or drop something repeatedly in order to confirm the world continues to act in a specific way such as a ball rolls, but a block does not; a ballon floats, but a rattle falls to the ground.

            OK but totally irrelevant.

            Logic is an epistemological tool of the mind

            No — you’re getting warmer, but this is still quite wrong.

            Logic and Epistemology are, just for starters, separate disciplines.

            Logic is an analytical tool, not an epistemological one.

            Logic as a tool is infallible just as a chisel is used to cut away wood

            Good jolly old chisels that shatter and wreck the carver’s hand, eh ?

            As you already stated quite rightly, we already use logic to make integrations

            Oh FFS now you’re putting words in my mouth — I jolly well said NO SUCH THING.

            your denial of logic

            Do you even bother reading what I type prior to spouting out these false and irrelevant claims about me ?

            The first premise X is X

            That is a pure mathematical abstraction, and most certainly NOT any absolute statement of truth valid in any and every imaginable circumstances.

            An apple is an apple, but this apple is different to that one.

            These are trivial platitudes of philosophy, resolved likely about 3000 years ago and more.

            How do you think you made all those conceptual integrations ?

            I started pondering these questions when I was four years old.

            Do you have anything new to add after nearly 50 years of inquiry on my part ?

          • Nockian

            Absolutely there is a level of development in the womb. No where have I said there wasn’t, but we are born pretty much a blank slate apart from that. A baby is pretty much helpless so yes.

            Did you misunderstand perception ? Point and shoot. Look and see.

            Logic is used for the integration of perceptual data. It doesn’t matter what the sense source is. That’s why ‘the art of non contradictory identification’. It is a method of conforming to reality. It is the method of reason. On a perceptual level one learns only that an entity IS, not what it is. The question ‘what is it’? Any identification must be non contradictory.

            I misread what you wrote. Scrub that, clearly we don’t use any logic and hence we can accept anything as anything else. 😉

            This apple being different to that apple does not make either Apple something else, or nothing at all. X is X. This is how we hold all abstractions, as something akin to conceptual equations, having only an open end classification, which includes the yet-to-be-discovered characteristics of a given group of existents.

            Rand’s formulation:

            “A concept pertaining to consciousness is a mental integration of two or more instances of a psychological process possessing the same distinguishing characteristics , with the particular contents and measurements of the actions intensity omitted-on the principle that these omitted measurements must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity (ie a given psychological process must possess some content and some degree of intensity, but mat posses any content or degree of the appropriate category). “

          • JabbaPapa

            Did you misunderstand perception ? Point and shoot. Look and see.

            This is a difficult one, as you may not have the basics. They are difficult.

            The examination of memory and usually even the reception of thought processes belong to perception, far more than rationality.

            Memory belongs to perception of existing contents, not to mad, ongoing, radical revisionism.

            Perception is very simply whatever it may be that you can feel around you right now. Punto e basta.

            Rand’s formulation:

            “A concept pertaining to consciousness is a mental integration of two or more instances of a psychological process possessing the same distinguishing characteristics , with the particular contents and measurements of the actions intensity omitted-on the principle that these omitted measurements must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity (ie a given psychological process must possess some content and some degree of intensity, but mat posses any content or degree of the appropriate category). “

            Crikey, what a load of meaningless verbiage !!

          • Nockian

            If we get into a new car, the controls might be different, in different places, the steering wheel might be on a different side, it might be an automatic when we are used to a manual. Perception allows us to sense the car automatically, but it takes a few moments to consciously integrate the new data into the frame of the familiar concept. This isn’t automatic, we can notice that we do this because we have to work our way though figuring it out.

          • JabbaPapa

            Perception allows us to sense the car automatically

            No — perception is very often subconscious, but only in its most autonomic functions can it possibly be described as “automatic”, and even then with several meaningful caveats.

          • Nockian

            Semantics.

            ‘Often subscribed as subconscious’ is below the level of consciousness. In other words it’s not something we need to think about, just as we don’t need to think about our hearts beating. Our eyes see whatever we choose to look at and we perceive it instantly. We needed no further external information to have the knowledge of how to use our eyes did we ? We didn’t learn how to hear, we were born with the ability to hear-because it’s automatic.

            All sense perception is automatic, because if it were not so, then the mind would have no way to teach itself how to do it. It’s back to your strange principle of fallible sense perception.

            You are making yourself sound ridiculous and you are bright enough to know when you have fallen in a hole of your own making from which there is no spade big enough to dig yourself out. If I were you I would stop digging and rethink this through, but you won’t.

            It’s been an interesting discussion, but it’s gone as far as it’s going. You have confirmed that you have no method of proof, you can’t explain how you learned to perceive things because according to you it isn’t automatic, even if it were it’s fallible and any data obtained cannot be correlated with reality because you have no means of doing so because logic is fallible. Good luck with that.

          • JabbaPapa

            Semantics

            No, because you’re using the concept of “automatic perception” to try and justify a false theory of the intellect.

            All sense perception is automatic, because if it were not so, then the mind would have no way to teach itself how to do it. It’s back to your strange principle of fallible sense perception

            This simply isn’t true, but then why should I be surprised, as you’re just peddling one more of your trademark black & white dichotomies again.

            No, all sense perception is NOT automatic, because it is possible to direct the sensory organs with the Will, just for starters, but mostly because sense perception is actively produced by the autonomic nervous system and then relayed into consciousness by the brain. Perception is a mental activity, and not anything passive nor “automatic”.

            Perception, and the intellect, and the Will are entangled into each other, rather than being entirely separate.

            As for your rejection of the extremely blatant fallibility in all human activities, It is purely nonsensical.

            even if it were it’s fallible and any data obtained cannot be correlated with reality because you have no means of doing so because logic is fallible

            Any epistemological theory that fails to recognise these unavoidable limitations to human understanding is doomed to failure.

          • Nockian

            Yes, we can choose where we place our awareness, but our perception is automatic. To put it more succincly ‘where one looks, one sees’. Even if you lie back, de-focus said he vision, half shut your eyes the perceptions are there automatically. We notice this sometimes when we drive, when our minds are occupied and we suddenly find we are switched our awareness internally-but the perceptions still come in even when we aren’t consciously directing awareness, otherwise we would crash.

            I didn’t say automatic, was passive, that’s your description. I said that it differs from the fully, conscious, volitional use of reason/logic used to create/add to concepts. Consciousness is not passive, it’s obviously an active process. I believe I already confirmed that.

            As to your last paragraph, absolutely, I’ve continually said so. Human understanding as seperate to human perception. If I had to guess I believe one of the things we are disagreeing on is the concept of perception. Objectivism doesn’t parcel perception with conception, they are seperate, but conjoined processes within the context of an active consciousness.

          • JabbaPapa

            our perception is automatic

            Clearly you believe this falsehood in a dogmatic fashion.

            Objectivism doesn’t parcel perception with conception, they are seperate

            Then objectivism is objectively wrong in its cognitive theory.

          • JabbaPapa

            All basic concept-formation in the human person is subjective and emotive by very definition, because what happens in the human brain when a new word for something is learned, the brain attaches that word to a certain subjective experience or memory that it will use, in creating the link between the word and its referend, to provide the new concept with meaning.

            So for example, the word “dog” might naturally be emotionally and even in some sense semantically attached to the family pet of one’s childhood, or any other random and variable early subjective experiences with dogs.

            Therefore, to claim that perception and concept-formation are “separate” is just plain old wrong — and scientifically so.

          • Nockian

            I believe it because that’s how I experience it. That you say it’s subconscious would mean its operating below the level of consciousness. Now that can mean two things:

            1. It was learned at some point and has now become subconscious through repetition-highly unlikely as our learning process is through our senses. If we do don’t know how to use them, then we aren’t ever going to learn.

            2. It wasn’t learned, it’s completely an automatic function. We gaze at something and that’s what we see.

            However, I know that to read a word in a book I don’t understand requires further inquiry. It have to understand the word in context and it’s definition-sometimes it’s possible to fill in the blanks by reference to the context, but this is a conscious effort. I can gaze at the word, I already have pre-learned letters as concepts, books as concepts, writing as concepts, phonetics as concepts. It therefore is no effort to see the word and relate it to those concepts.m

          • JabbaPapa

            That you say it’s subconscious would mean its operating below the level of consciousness. Now that can mean two things:

            1. It was learned at some point and has now become subconscious through repetition-highly unlikely as our learning process is through our senses. If we do don’t know how to use them, then we aren’t ever going to learn.

            2. It wasn’t learned, it’s completely an automatic function. We gaze at something and that’s what we see.

            You seem to misunderstand the nature of the subconsious.

            Subconscious processes are activities of the brain/mind that the consciousness is unaware of.

            One’s mind is actively at work in any perception experience, regardless of how passively those perceptions seem to enter into our conscious awareness.

          • Nockian

            I didn’t say it wasn’t at work, or that it was passive. I said it was automatic.

          • JabbaPapa

            From the moment we popped out, we just look around and see

            This is not true, in fact it’s one of the very first things that a newborn must teach itself how to do. One must learn how to direct the eyes through an act of will, to use the muscles in one’s eyes to achieve the correct degree of focus to see clearly at these or those distances, to direct the gaze upon this or that, instead of just randomly whatever happens to be located in a certain direction, and especially to interpret those signals as belonging to objects in one’s near or more distant surroundings.

            I’d say that it’s actually impossible to use one’s eyesight “automatically” and without exercising the Will, not correctly anyway, else all we’d perceive is the same sort of indistinct blur that the newborn does.

            If you wish to imply something about the neural process as being subconscious in some way

            No, these are complex processes incorporating both subconscious activities and conscious awareness and conscious control.

            I do understand why you’re loathe to respond to my post starting with the words “All basic concept-formation” — for if you were to accept the current scientifically accepted theories of concept-formation, you would then have to abandon the idea that concepts might be systematically “objective” in nature, and from there on the entire edifice of objectivist ideology would through a simple process of logic come tumbling down like a house of cards.

          • Nockian

            First para: no argument, but as I said previously, an adult may de focus their eyes. The perception remains the perception whether in focus, or not. To choose to focus is an act of conscious volition. A baby sees a whirl of indistinct forms-we are in full agreement. This is precisely according to Objectivism.

            It doesn’t matter and I don’t care to theorise about the process of perception. I only say it’s automatic. Moving the awareness is conscious effort and we can know it, but whatever we gaze at in focus, or not, we have the perception without any thought.

            Science isn’t philosophy and scientific theory isn’t proof. Science cannot tell us what existence, or consciousness is. Not all concepts are logical, I made that perfectly clear, humans produce errors in identification, as well as being objectively right. The scientific method is that exact thing-the use of reason/logic to produce verified, objective observations. Clearly then, I do not reject science, but today, science has rejected reason and logic – hence the dalliances with AGW consensus and quantum theory (I don’t mean here quantum science, but the entire two slit abomination that theorises that an identical something can be in two places at once-hocum).

          • JabbaPapa

            WTF are “integrations” ????

          • Nockian

            Good point, it’s an objectivist term for concept formation. Integrating new information conceptually.

          • JabbaPapa

            Sounds like some culty New Age idea from the Scientologists. Sounds like bollox.

            It also sounds like a brainwashing technique.

          • Nockian

            Yet we have conceptual abstracts like mathematical equations which we can fill with real quantities from existent reality. This is Rand’s theory of concept formation and we have a direct parallel with the way we handle mathematic abstractions.

            I’m giving only a snapshot here.

          • JabbaPapa

            But to treat the contents of your mind as if they were simply empty slots in an equation that can be filled as desired is the end result achieved when a mind is “broken” through brainwashing.

          • Nockian

            They aren’t ’empty slots’ they are concepts stored without particulars. So that a new version of that concept can be added without having to relearn the whole thing all over again.

          • JabbaPapa

            It sounds exactly like a brainwashing technique.

          • Nockian

            Rather than piecemeal this, it’s easier to extract the passage from the book:

            According to Objectivism, concepts “represent classifications of observed existents according to their relationships to other observed existents.” (Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology; all further quotations in this section, unless otherwise identified, are from this work.) To form a concept, one mentally isolates a group of concretes (of distinct perceptual units), on the basis of observed similarities which distinguish them from all other known concretes (similarity is “the relationship between two or more existents which possess the same characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree”); then, by a process of omitting the particular measurements of these concretes, one integrates them into a single new mental unit: the concept, which subsumes all concretes of this kind (a potentially unlimited number). The integration is completed and retained by the selection of a perceptual symbol (a word) to designate it. “A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.”

            Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology Leonard Peikoff, “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy,”
            Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 97–98


            Bear firmly in mind that the term “measurements omitted” does not mean, in this context, that measurements are regarded as non-existent; it means that measurements exist, but are not specified. That measurements must exist is an essential part of the process. The principle is: the relevant measurements must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity.

            Let us now examine the process of forming the simplest concept, the concept of a single attribute (chronologically, this is not the first concept that a child would grasp; but it is the simplest one epistemologically)—for instance, the concept “length.” If a child considers a match, a pencil and a stick, he observes that length is the attribute they have in common, but their specific lengths differ. The difference is one of measurement. In order to form the concept “length,” the child’s mind retains the attribute and omits its particular measurements. Or, more precisely, if the process were identified in words, it would consist of the following: “Length must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity. I shall identify as ‘length’ that attribute of any existent possessing it which can be quantitatively related to a unit of length, without specifying the quantity.”

            The child does not think in such words (he has, as yet, no knowledge of words), but that is the nature of the process which his mind performs wordlessly. And that is the principle which his mind follows, when, having grasped the concept “length” by observing the three objects, he uses it to identify the attribute of length in a piece of string, a ribbon, a belt, a corridor or a street.

            The same principle directs the process of forming concepts of entities—for instance, the concept “table.” The child’s mind isolates two or more tables from other objects, by focusing on their distinctive characteristic: their shape. He observes that their shapes vary, but have one characteristic in common: a flat, level surface and support(s). He forms the concept “table” by retaining that characteristic and omitting all particular measurements, not only the measurements of the shape, but of all the other characteristics of tables (many of which he is not aware of at the time).

            Observe the multiple role of measurements in the process of concept-formation, in both of its two essential parts: differentiation and integration. Concepts cannot be formed at random. All concepts are formed by first differentiating two or more existents from other existents. All conceptual differentiations are made in terms of commensurable characteristics (i.e., characteristics possessing a common unit of measurement). No concept could be formed, for instance, by attempting to distinguish long objects from green objects. Incommensurable characteristics cannot be integrated into one unit.

            Tables, for instance, are first differentiated from chairs, beds and other objects by means of the characteristic of shape, which is an attribute possessed by all the objects involved. Then, their particular kind of shape is set as the distinguishing characteristic of tables—i.e., a certain category of geometrical measurements of shape is specified. Then, within that category, the particular measurements of individual table-shapes are omitted.

            Please note the fact that a given shape represents a certain category or set of geometrical measurements. Shape is an attribute; differences of shape—whether cubes, spheres, cones or any complex combinations—are a matter of differing measurements; any shape can be reduced to or expressed by a set of figures in terms of linear measurement. When, in the process of concept-formation, man observes that shape is a commensurable characteristic of certain objects, he does not have to measure all the shapes involved nor even to know how to measure them; he merely has to observe the element of similarity.

            Similarity is grasped perceptually; in observing it, man is not and does not have to be aware of the fact that it involves a matter of measurement. It is the task of philosophy and of science to identify that fact.

            A commensurable characteristic (such as shape in the case of tables, or hue in the case of colors) is an essential element in the process of concept-formation. I shall designate it as the “Conceptual Common Denominator” and define it as “The characteristic(s) reducible to a unit of measurement, by means of which man differentiates two or more existents from other existents possessing it.”

            The distinguishing characteristic(s) of a concept represents a specified category of measurements within the “Conceptual Common Denominator” involved.

            New concepts can be formed by integrating earlier-formed concepts into wider categories, or by subdividing them into narrower categories (a process which we shall discuss later). But all concepts are ultimately reducible to their base in perceptual entities, which are the base (the given) of man’s cognitive development.

            When concepts are integrated into a wider one, the new concept includes all the characteristics of its constituent units; but their distinguishing characteristics are regarded as omitted measurements, and one of their common characteristics determines the distinguishing characteristic of the new concept: the one representing their “Conceptual Common Denominator” with the existents from which they are being differentiated.

            When a concept is subdivided into narrower ones, its distinguishing characteristic is taken as their “Conceptual Common Denominator”—and is given a narrower range of specified measurements or is combined with an additional characteristic(s), to form the individual distinguishing characteristics of the new concepts.

            The formation of introspective concepts follows the same principles as the formation of extrospective concepts. A concept pertaining to consciousness is a mental integration of two or more instances of a psychological process possessing the same distinguishing characteristics, with the particular contents and the measurements of the action’s intensity omitted—on the principle that these omitted measurements must exist in some quantity, but may exist in any quantity (i.e., a given psychological process must possess some content and some degree of intensity, but may possess any content or degree of the appropriate category).

            Concepts are not and cannot be formed in a vacuum; they are formed in a context; the process of conceptualization consists of observing the differences and similarities of the existents within the field of one’s awareness (and organizing them into concepts accordingly). From a child’s grasp of the simplest concept integrating a group of perceptually given concretes, to a scientist’s grasp of the most complex abstractions integrating long conceptual chains—all conceptualization is a contextual process; the context is the entire field of a mind’s awareness or knowledge at any level of its cognitive development.

            This does not mean that conceptualization is a subjective process or that the content of concepts depends on an individual’s subjective (i.e., arbitrary) choice. The only issue open to an individual’s choice in this matter is how much knowledge he will seek to acquire and, consequently, what conceptual complexity he will be able to reach. But so long as and to the extent that his mind deals with concepts (as distinguished from memorized sounds and floating abstractions), the content of his concepts is determined and dictated by the cognitive content of his mind, i.e., by his grasp of the facts of reality.

            Objectivity begins with the realization that man (including his every attribute and faculty, including his consciousness) is an entity of a specific nature who must act accordingly; that there is no escape from the law of identity, neither in the universe with which he deals nor in the working of his own consciousness, and if he is to acquire knowledge of the first, he must discover the proper method of using the second; that there is no room for the arbitrary in any activity of man, least of all in his method of cognition—and just as he has learned to be guided by objective criteria in making his physical tools, so he must be guided by objective criteria in forming his tools of cognition: his concepts.

            Just as man’s physical existence was liberated when he grasped the principle that “nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed,” so his consciousness will be liberated when he grasps that nature, to be apprehended, must be obeyed—that the rules of cognition must be derived from the nature of existence and the nature, the identity, of his cognitive faculty.

            Man’s sense organs function automatically; man’s brain integrates his sense data into percepts automatically; but the process of integrating percepts into concepts—the process of abstraction and of concept-formation—is not automatic.

            The process of concept-formation does not consist merely of grasping a few simple abstractions, such as “chair,” “table,” “hot,” “cold,” and of learning to speak. It consists of a method of using one’s consciousness, best designated by the term “conceptualizing.” It is not a passive state of registering random impressions. It is an actively sustained process of identifying one’s impressions in conceptual terms, of integrating every event and every observation into a conceptual context, of grasping relationships, differences, similarities in one’s perceptual material and of abstracting them into new concepts, of drawing inferences, of making deductions, of reaching conclusions, of asking new questions and discovering new answers and expanding one’s knowledge into an ever-growing sum. The faculty that directs this process, the faculty that works by means of concepts, is: reason. The process is thinking.

          • JabbaPapa

            This does not mean that conceptualization is a subjective process or that the content of concepts depends on an individual’s subjective (i.e., arbitrary) choice

            Either a complete misunderstanding of the cognitive process, or a brazen lie. Possibly both simultaneously.

            Anyway, these sorts of old ideas about primary thought processes have been made completely obsolete by the neuro-sciences and, via neurolinguistics, by contemporary research into Linguistics, both general and its specialist sub-disciplines.

            For a better treatment of the subject outside of neurolinguistics as such, perhaps read the work of Umberto Eco on Semiotics — his Lector in Fabula (The Role of the Reader) would be a good place to start.

          • JabbaPapa

            clearly we don’t use any logic and hence we can accept anything as anything else

            Your understanding of the nature of the debate appears to be predicated by errors in your own quite rancid ideology.

          • Nockian

            How do you know they are errors ? what method are you using ?

          • JabbaPapa

            Your primal error is the one already mentioned multiple times — NO, Logic is NOT infallible.

            You compound this error by seeming to think that those who reach different conclusions to yourself might be using something other than logic.

          • Nockian

            But you have said that you can’t trust your senses because they are fallible, hence any data collected by your senses if fallible. You have no way to know what ‘out there’ and you have no way to know what’s true because your way of determining it -logic-is also fallible. You have no method. That leaves you one argument – that nobody can know anything at all because no one has a way of knowing it.

            People can now ignore anything you say, because you yourself have confirmed that you can’t know anything for certain hence you cannot believe what you say because proof is impossible.

            Unless you can explain to the boys and girls what other system you use and how you validate anything then why should anyone listen to you ?

          • JabbaPapa

            you have said that you can’t trust your senses

            No I haven’t.

            hence any data collected by your senses if fallible

            I’ve suggested no such thing … sigh …

            Your intellectual bias towards understanding everything only in stark black & white dichotomies is proving to be a very great hindrance in discussions with you.

            Why are you so scared (seemingly) of the existence of fallibility and imperfections ?

            you yourself have confirmed that you can’t know anything for certain hence you cannot believe what you say because proof is impossible

            This is just nonsense. http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_epistemology.html

          • Nockian

            You said your senses were fallible. You said that logic was fallible.

            I already said that our use of logic is not error free. We aren’t omniscient, we make mistakes regarding our perceptions. Everything is black and white in existent reality, something is, or it is not. It is our conceptions where the errors occur. We are either wrong or right about our identification of an entity, there is no middle ground, as there is no middle ground in ethics. Either something is good, or it isn’t.

            Even here, I must presume that you believe you are really right. It’s possible to change your mind of course, but at this point in time there are no greys in your argument, were there some greys then you couldn’t be sure you were right.

          • JabbaPapa

            You said your senses were fallible

            This does not mean “you can’t trust your senses”.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The state has a duty to protect its citizens. What do you think the armed forces are for? The state has also been responsible for a lot of infrastructure, e.g. roads since Roman times.

      • Nockian

        Ever looked at what the armed forces were used for in China and the USSR ? Protecting ‘the nation’ and ‘safety’ have been used as excuses to erode people’s freedoms by Governments of every nation. Once it begins ‘protecting citizens’ this becomes a very slippery slope as the phrase can be expanded to include all kinds of things the state considers as a necessity.

        The Government should protect rights: life, freedom, property and the pursuit of happiness. It should do so whether the threat to those rights is internal or external. It’s important to be very precise in order to delimit state power.

        There is no reason that the Government should be responsible for any infrastructure other than those needed to protect rights.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Do you think that the United States should drastically slash the size of its armed forces, perhaps to the size they were in 1939 when the American army was smaller than that of Portugal but bigger than that of Bulgaria?

          As for infrastructure, do you think that the Roman Empire was wrong to build roads?

          • Nockian

            I think they should drastically reduce Government spending and stop invading countries which don’t threaten them. The size of their military is a matter for their military experts to decide.

            The Roman Empire in the South collapsed so….

  • My daughter and son-in-law withdrew our grandson, then aged 7, from the local Church of England Junior school. There was too much emphasis on political correctness whilst his reading was abysmal. A visit to a synagogue and proposed visit to a mosque was the decider. She considered home schooling, but as they could afford it, he was sent to a local Independent School where they concentrate on the essentials and avoid political correctness as far as possible (due to the interference of OFSTED). A year later he is a good reader, brings a book when he visits and wants to read to me.
    If they hadn’t been able to pay for independent schooling, we would have considered home schooling, with both sets of grandparents getting involved. My sister, recently retired as a teacher would be able to give professional advice. Anything but the left wing politically inspired teaching of LGBT relationships.
    As a side issue has anyone heard of pupils from an Islamic school visiting a Christian church and being told about Christian beliefs?

    • Reborn

      If it occurred & devout muslims heard of it, the result would be a death sentence.

    • Tricia

      There are some C of E schools in cities such as Birmingham that have majority Muslim pupils. They are taught Christianity but I don’t know about church visits. Some Muslim parents prefer a faith school to secular education plus they are usually the better schools.

      • I was very surprised about the C of E school that my grandson attended as the education didn’t seem that good which is unusual.

  • Coram Deo

    Well said, David. Where are all your like?

  • Billy Lindner

    I homeschooled my son in the 1990s, and official interference was pretty much a formality. I took him out of school when he was 8–not only had his schools failed miserably in terms of the three Rs, (we had to do that bit ourselves), but they were already pumping him full of feminist propaganda (which he hated!). We were visited by an education social worker, who asked to see my son alone just to be sure that he really want to leave school. This was patently ridiculous–he was already very articulate, and had already expressed his views eloquently–so I rounded on the ESW, and said that after the scandals involving over-zealous authorities in Cleveland, Orkney and Rochdale, there was no way I was going to leave him alone with a social worker.

    He backed off, and a year later I got a letter from the local authority saying that it was time for the annual inspection, and saying that they wanted to visit on such and such a date. As it happened, I had planned a visit to the US (where I was born–I still have a very noticeable accent after 45 years in the UK), and I had the inspiration of telling them that I didn’t think I’d be in the UK for tax purposes that year. It wasn’t true, but they said to send them a letter to that effect, and they’d take my son off their rolls.

    By this time, I was running a charity for other local parents whose children had been failed by the ‘whole language’ craze, and I was asked by the local comp to teach basic literacy skills two day per week. They knew perfectly well that my son was at home in a pile of books, and they could care less: they were fed up with having to ‘differentiate’ lessons for kids who were functionally illiterate. After three years, I had trained teaching assistants to use good programmed spelling materials, and they worked with parents who came into the school for one period per week so they could use the lessons at home. The programme was in place long after I left.

    Two quibbles with this article, which rightly alerts us to the horrific ideas now being pushed by the unspeakable Justine Greening. First, there aren’t any Marxists to speak of in education. The post-modern tendency which dominates modern education may owe something to Marcuse, but in fact real Marxists had no time at all for progressive nonsense. Second, primary education is where the real problem lies. Most primary teachers are so poorly educated that they couldn’t teach their kids the basics of maths, science or history if they wanted to. Although secondary schools are by no means immune from the disease, teachers who have degrees in an academic subject are far more likely to value that knowledge and impart as much as they can to the next generation.

  • Aisla Sinclair

    Good stuff David, your appreciation of all that the State are doing to lock down debate and lock up its intellectual opponents does you great credit.
    Schools have been weaponised since the Major era-Thatcher ignored the danger of the culture wars she inadvertedly caused with her godawful National Curriculum. Her former advisers soon went native and gave us the dogs mess that is compulsory schooling content and exams in same. Blair gleefully took the free run to politicise a generation in lefty green limewash for the E.U and we live with the consequences today. Time to get your kids out of schools, and blackmail the State into funding the alternatives you come up with. Islam is right to do so-Christians and all people of goodwill need to match them before we`re in REAL trouble.

  • Grope_of_Big_Horn

    Difficult subject – there are a number of parents claiming JSA who are entitled to turn down suitable job openings during the standard working day because they are home schooling their child. The government wants the child in State school in the day, and the parent to include school hours in their search for jobs. I don’t like this but should the government have their way?
    I don’t think so, but if neoliberalism is the answer, then it does mean that the incentives to work need sorting out with lower withdrawal rates, and lower taxes for those in entry level jobs and Band A/B properties.

    • Paul

      I think that JSA should be restricted to people seeking jobs, shouldn’t it? Let people home-educate their children unimpeded but they shouldn’t claim taxpayer money for it. (Apart, possibly, from a voucher method).

  • bobworth

    “Research indicates that outcomes for electively home-educated children appear to be very good, both in the USA and in the UK.”

    Yet the only study for the UK linked to, is headed: “Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association, University of Exeter, England, 12-14 September 2002”.

    https://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002197.htm

    So it’s a full 15 years out of date. The latest item in the bibliography is shown as dated 1999…… 18 years ago. The whole field of education has changed drastically in the last 18 years.

    And, being the only study quoted, one would assume it covers a huge sample. Er….. not quite: it’s based on “196 assessments evaluating the psychosocial and academic development of home-educated children aged eleven years and under.”

    So a tiny sample evaluated the best part of 2 decades ago. Wow, is this REALLY what passes as “evidence” on the weirdo Right??

  • There is a word for a state that seeks to interfere with and have control over every area of public and private life – its called totalitarian and that is sadly the direction the UK is heading in.
    It won’t be a pretty end that much is for sure.

  • David Prentice

    The left have weaponised education, they are now arrogant, open and blatant about the things they used to try to hide.

  • Nick

    Two of my comments have been ‘detected as spam’ – can anyone explain this?
    Nick Reborn 14 hours ago
    Detected as spam Thanks, we’ll work on getting this corrected.
    As you know there are two faith groups where this is common and they don’t include Christian
    Nick
    Nick Flaketime 14 hours ago
    Detected as spam Thanks, we’ll work on getting this corrected.
    Google returned 33,700,000 Results for child abuse in state schools – therefore you think that proves a point?

    • JabbaPapa

      Because of the links you included in those two posts.

      • Nick

        No links – I did copy the stat on google hits in the second post though

  • Naomi

    Well who would trust ANY local authority after the multiple and increasing abuse coming to light in Local Council run Children’s Homes over the length and breadth of this country, where young children are neglected, prostituted out and groomed by Muslim men ? Local Council Children Services are not fit for purpose.