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-   -   Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=6390)

Ocean 12-31-2010 09:02 AM

Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)
 
There's an additional piece to look at here. If the conservative position were, that based on free will, we are all "responsible" (100%) for our actions (regardless of the conditions of our upbringing), then what makes my free will different (more or less powerful) than your free will?

As usual, we find that the balance between free will and determined behaviors is one of quantity. There are certain conditions under which people develop more "normally", free of limitations to their potential capabilities. Those people have the widest range of free will.

There are other people who are born and/or raised under conditions that pose significant limitations to their development. They end up having a narrower range of possible behaviors. They have some free will, but significantly less than someone that was born and raised in better conditions.

For example, it's easy to understand that the range of possibilities for someone who is born with severe physical defects, or low intelligence, is going to be narrower than for someone without those limitations. Someone who is raised in an environment that is harsh or abusive, may have defects in the development of empathy, and this will affect the choices they make later on in life. The examples are numerous. The most important piece is to understand how all these individual limiting factors can add up, making that range of options narrower and narrower.

It's very difficult for people who don't have most of those limitations, those who have the widest range of free will, to understand that others may not have the same options. When you are in contact with a population that has been affected by life (nature or nurture) in that manner, it becomes clearer.

eeeeeeeli 12-31-2010 11:20 AM

Re: Communitas: For-Profit Colleges (David Halperin & Katherine Mangu-Ward)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 193267)
There's an additional piece to look at here. If the conservative position were, that based on free will, we are all "responsible" (100%) for our actions (regardless of the conditions of our upbringing), then what makes my free will different (more or less powerful) than your free will?

As usual, we find that the balance between free will and determined behaviors is one of quantity. There are certain conditions under which people develop more "normally", free of limitations to their potential capabilities. Those people have the widest range of free will.

There are other people who are born and/or raised under conditions that pose significant limitations to their development. They end up having a narrower range of possible behaviors. They have some free will, but significantly less than someone that was born and raised in better conditions.

For example, it's easy to understand that the range of possibilities for someone who is born with severe physical defects, or low intelligence, is going to be narrower than for someone without those limitations. Someone who is raised in an environment that is harsh or abusive, may have defects in the development of empathy, and this will affect the choices they make later on in life. The examples are numerous. The most important piece is to understand how all these individual limiting factors can add up, making that range of options narrower and narrower.

It's very difficult for people who don't have most of those limitations, those who have the widest range of free will, to understand that others may not have the same options. When you are in contact with a population that has been affected by life (nature or nurture) in that manner, it becomes clearer.

Well said. I think seeing the "free" in free will as a capacity for choice is smart.

I worked for a number of years with brain injured adults and this was abundantly clear. You just couldn't expect them to have the same ability to reason as a "normal" adult. With them, the difference was very stark and clear. But yet even normal adults have varying degrees of competence in how well they function. For some, the problem is merely a tendency to over-eat, or ramble on in conversation, while for others it is something more serious such as inability to control their anger, or drug addiction.

The way I like to look at the free will spectrum is the interaction of human and social capital. So that the more of each you have the more free will you have, as well as the opportunity to acquire more of it.

popcorn_karate 01-03-2011 01:57 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193216)
General variance in IQ has more to do with socioeconomics than anything else.
As for a constitutional right, it's implied. There are plenty of things we view as rights that are not specifically stated in the constitution. My logic is simple: Do kids have a right to an education? If they do, then they need a comparable one. And in order for them to get a comparable one, what we are essentially talking about is human capital. Obviously this is not something you can measure easily, as first you have to define it (see: IQ).



its not semantic games, its about the concepts you are promoting that i fundamentally disagree with:
Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193216)
I think that every child has a constitutional right to very similar levels of human capital by the age of 18

simply put no. Should people have similar access to education, training, and opportunity? yes. Will everybody use those opportunities the same way? no. Will there be differences in IQ's and motivation just as there are in height, weight, and athletic ability? yes.

You should really learn to embrace the diversity of humanity instead of pretending that we are all the same.



Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193216)
Look, if you want to argue that kids don't deserve a fair shot at success, go ahead. Otherwise I'm not interested in playing semantic games.

I share your goals of increasing the equality of opportunities available to everybody regardless of socioeconomic background. But when you start talking about equality of outcomes you are either not expressing yourself well or you are exposing a dangerously delusional worldview - the same worldview that lead a doctor to cut off a boys penis and raise him as a girl because "gender" is socially constructed (as i'm sure you know he committed suicide eventually).

Simon Willard 01-03-2011 06:22 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193471)
Should people have similar access to education, training, and opportunity? yes. Will everybody use those opportunities the same way? no. Will there be differences in IQ's and motivation just as there are in height, weight, and athletic ability? yes.
You should really learn to embrace the diversity of humanity instead of pretending that we are all the same.

Yeah, I am also baffled by eliii's use of "human capital". If it had any real utility, it would need to include physical attributes, atheleticism, good looks, family connections, personality traits, emotional maturity, perceptiveness, intuition, communication skills, etc. You couldn't equallize human capital even if you could measure it (which you can't).

popcorn_karate 01-04-2011 11:53 AM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 193485)
Yeah, I am also baffled by eliii's use of "human capital". If it had any real utility, it would need to include physical attributes, atheleticism, good looks, family connections, personality traits, emotional maturity, perceptiveness, intuition, communication skills, etc. You couldn't equallize human capital even if you could measure it (which you can't).

I've been in many arguments with conservatives and republicans over the years where some bizarre caricature of liberal values is thrown in my face, and then i have to patiently explain how off base they are in understanding liberal values.

then Eeeeeli shows up and volunteers to be that caricature.

Simon Willard 01-04-2011 04:13 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193523)
then Eeeeeli shows up and volunteers to be that caricature.

I think you mean eeeeeeeli, not Eeeeeli.

stephanie 01-04-2011 05:10 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 193485)
Yeah, I am also baffled by eliii's use of "human capital". If it had any real utility, it would need to include physical attributes, atheleticism, good looks, family connections, personality traits, emotional maturity, perceptiveness, intuition, communication skills, etc. You couldn't equallize human capital even if you could measure it (which you can't).

Me too. I'm currently thinking that he can't mean what it sounds like he means. (As others have said, you can't have equality in human capital at age 18 or otherwise, because people are different.) Thus, I'm somewhat waiting for clarification.

I'm also inclined toward the idea that we wouldn't want human capital to be equal at that age -- by that point you are probably past the age by which people know whether they want to be on some kind of academic/higher education path vs. training for a trade or other job that doesn't require higher education, and part of the problem in our schools is that we don't do a good job in the latter, so end up requiring people to go to more academic schooling to prove they have basic skills not especially related to what they are learning. At least, lots of employers tend to use high school graduation (which I'm in favor of, obviously) and some college or even college degrees as evidence that employees are basically capable of holding down a job in a responsible fashion.

TwinSwords 01-04-2011 07:09 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193197)
where do you find that in the constitution?

Don't you know that the Constitution is a kind of faith object onto which people project all of their fondest wishes for the human race? People on all sides reflexively and stubbornly cling to the belief that the Constitution stands for whatever they personally think it should stand for. It's exactly like Ezra Klein said the other day: no matter what side people are on, they think they own the Constitution and that it's a Sacred Holy Relic to be used to smite their foes.

The truth is that the Constitution doesn't automatically always stand for what you or I might consider "good" and "just" and "fair." After all, slavery and denying women the right to vote were once considered "constitutional." It took amendments to make the Constitution represent our values, and for the citizens of a free republic to shape the kind of nation they wanted -- the Magical Constitution didn't do that for them.

People need to get over the idea that the Constitution has to stand for whatever they personally want it to. Instead people should focus on what kind of society they want to live in, and pursue it. If it turns out that what they believe isn't "constitutional," they should set out to change the Constitution using the mechanisms that our Founders in their wisdom provided us.

Eli is telling you what kind of values he believes in, what he believes the Constitution does or should stand for, and frankly I appreciate his vision a lot more than any of the crap we hear from the tea party movement.


Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193197)
and regardless of whether the word "constiutional" should be in that statement how does a person with an IQ of 70 manage to have the same human capital of someone with an IQ of 150?

You're going way out of your way to misunderstand what Eli meant.

TwinSwords 01-04-2011 07:21 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193471)
its not semantic games, its about the concepts you are promoting that i fundamentally disagree with

I don't think you really know what "concepts" Eli is putting forth. Instead, you're reacting to your own caricature.


Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193471)
Should people have similar access to education, training, and opportunity? yes.

Yeah, and I think that's pretty much what Eli was suggesting.


Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193471)
Will everybody use those opportunities the same way? no. Will there be differences in IQ's and motivation just as there are in height, weight, and athletic ability? yes.

Such a straw man. Eli never suggested otherwise. You have to really want to misunderstand his point and presume the worst possible intent on his part to react the way you have.


Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193471)
You should really learn to embrace the diversity of humanity instead of pretending that we are all the same.

This is just completely uncalled for. Eli said nothing to warrant such a broadside. Almost like a wingnut, you have completely turned what he said around on its head.


Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 193471)
I share your goals of increasing the equality of opportunities available to everybody regardless of socioeconomic background. But when you start talking about equality of outcomes you are either not expressing yourself well or you are exposing a dangerously delusional worldview - the same worldview that lead a doctor to cut off a boys penis and raise him as a girl because "gender" is socially constructed (as i'm sure you know he committed suicide eventually).

This is absolutely beyond the pale. You have taken a completely innocent, offhand remark about Eli's wanting to improve the condition of kids' lives and redress some of the inequities caused by entrenched inequality and used it to suggest he's some kind of Mengele.

TwinSwords 01-04-2011 07:23 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 193485)
Yeah, I am also baffled by eliii's use of "human capital". If it had any real utility, it would need to include physical attributes, atheleticism, good looks, family connections, personality traits, emotional maturity, perceptiveness, intuition, communication skills, etc. You couldn't equallize human capital even if you could measure it (which you can't).

That's a cute straw man, but obviously Eli wasn't suggesting achieving equality on all those criteria. As I said to popcorn, you really have to work to misunderstand what was really a pretty straightforward and non-controversial, if off-hand, comment from Eli.

popcorn_karate 01-04-2011 07:50 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 193535)
This is absolutely beyond the pale. You have taken a completely innocent, offhand remark about Eli's wanting to improve the condition of kids' lives and redress some of the inequities caused by entrenched inequality and used it to suggest he's some kind of Mengele.

it wasn't mengele who did that, it was a respected american doctor, in my own lifetime, operating under eeeeeli's proposition that everybody is exactly the same (the blank slate idea).

This issue comes up in nearly every one of eeeeli's posts - he wants the same outcomes, not the same opportunities and that is one of the good intentions that paves the road to hell.

and, no, i clearly quoted eeeeeli and did not misread or read into his words anything that was not there for anybody to see. sorry you don't like it, i know eeeeeli is ideologically aligned with you (and me for that matter), but he has a long track record of making these kind of indefensible statements and I will call him on it when he does it.

i hope he really thinks about why this idea that everyone should have the "same human capital by age 18" is profoundly misguided, because i agree with him on nearly everything but his allegiance to the thoroughly discredited blank slate theory of human development.

eeeeeeeli 01-04-2011 08:18 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
I think Twin Swords understands pretty clearly what I meant. I'm always finding it odd that while I love writing and language, and probably veer into pedantry much too frequently, I'm still a master of picking the wrong words!

Anyway, I think I understand human capital pretty well. It's everything that an individual brings to the table - whether it was from genes or learned. My point on education is that the variance between 18 year olds is far more the product of their environment than their genes. And what we are seeing when we look at the achievement gap is 100% environmental. Poor children are no less able to be successful than affluent children.

My use of human capital should have emphasized the SES gap. Obviously some people can run faster, jump higher, etc. I assumed that we would all agree that there is no correlation between SES and genetically determined qualities! But simply put, we should not be seeing any correlation between SES and vocabulary, math skills, historical knowledge, communication skills, emotional skills, reasoning, etc. - basically anything that is learned. That is something we as a society have some control over and need to take responsibility for. (Conservatives love to talk about "personal responsibility", yet refuse to take responsibility for allowing children to be born into circumstances where intervention and support could have helped them from ending up committing violence or destroying their life with drugs... suddenly "they" need to take responsibility. I think it's a convenient dynamic.)

Now, interestingly, special education is an area in which we do strive to correct for genetic problems as much as we can. If someone has a visual deficit or disability, we have made it their right to receive supplemental treatment. Yet if someone has an environmentally created disadvantage they are essentially on their own - or at least until their behavior is completely out-of-control. There are a variety of developmental risk factors that we could be doing outreach and assessments for - just as we do with special ed, and yet we are not.

Simon Willard 01-04-2011 09:01 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TwinSwords (Post 193536)
That's a cute straw man, but obviously Eli wasn't suggesting achieving equality on all those criteria. As I said to popcorn, you really have to work to misunderstand what was really a pretty straightforward and non-controversial, if off-hand, comment from Eli.

I have no idea what he's talking about, and after some effort, I concluded that there was NO straightforward comment there. Perhaps you would like to translate for me. He does say, below, that human capital is "everything that an individual brings to the table". So that lines up pretty well with my strawman.

TwinSwords 01-04-2011 09:43 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193546)
I think Twin Swords understands pretty clearly what I meant. I'm always finding it odd that while I love writing and language, and probably veer into pedantry much too frequently, I'm still a master of picking the wrong words!

Eh, I don't think so. You're a gifted writer -- far more clear in expressing yourself than I'll ever hope to be. And I really don't think there was anything that ambiguous or difficult to understand in your original comment. As I said, a person had to arrive with the express intent to misunderstand you to misconstrue you the way P_K did -- at least that's my view. He accused you of all sorts of things you never gave any hint you believed.


Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193546)
Anyway, I think I understand human capital pretty well. It's everything that an individual brings to the table - whether it was from genes or learned. My point on education is that the variance between 18 year olds is far more the product of their environment than their genes. And what we are seeing when we look at the achievement gap is 100% environmental. Poor children are no less able to be successful than affluent children.

A critical point. About 20 years ago I took a course in college in which we were taught that there is no correlation between intelligence and social class. This is one of those counter-intuitive points that many people have a hard time grasping, but you're right: the idea that the poor are genetically inferior and, therefore deserving of their fate, is a major myth.

It also happens to be a myth that is aggressively promoted by one of the big heroes of many of this forum's members: Charles Murray. Most people know that Murray is the white supremacist who said blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Far fewer know why Murray made that argument. His point was not to attack blacks, but to attack the welfare state and liberal social policy. Murray contended in The Bell Curve that the welfare state and affirmative action should be abandoned because blacks are incapable of improving: the achievement gap between blacks and whites could not be remedied through improved environment or opportunity, because blacks are just inferior by their very nature.

Once they lost slavery, they resorted to Jim Crow. Once they lost Jim Crow, they resorted to the "science" of men like Murry to justify the continuation of the kind of conditions you describe.


Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193546)
My use of human capital should have emphasized the SES gap. Obviously some people can run faster, jump higher, etc. I assumed that we would all agree that there is no correlation between SES and genetically determined qualities! But simply put, we should not be seeing any correlation between SES and vocabulary, math skills, historical knowledge, communication skills, emotional skills, reasoning, etc. - basically anything that is learned. That is something we as a society have some control over and need to take responsibility for. (Conservatives love to talk about "personal responsibility", yet refuse to take responsibility for allowing children to be born into circumstances where intervention and support could have helped them from ending up committing violence or destroying their life with drugs... suddenly "they" need to take responsibility. I think it's a convenient dynamic.)

Now, interestingly, special education is an area in which we do strive to correct for genetic problems as much as we can. If someone has a visual deficit or disability, we have made it their right to receive supplemental treatment. Yet if someone has an environmentally created disadvantage they are essentially on their own - or at least until their behavior is completely out-of-control. There are a variety of developmental risk factors that we could be doing outreach and assessments for - just as we do with special ed, and yet we are not.

Very interesting.

TwinSwords 01-04-2011 09:50 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 193550)
I have no idea what he's talking about, and after some effort, I concluded that there was NO straightforward comment there. Perhaps you would like to translate for me. He does say, below, that human capital is "everything that an individual brings to the table". So that lines up pretty well with my strawman.

Read his comments about SES and the correlation between intelligence and environment.

His comments were non-specific, but obviously intended to convey the belief that we should strive, as a society, to provide as much opportunity as we can to all our children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth. I'm sure Eli understands better than me and probably better than you the real life obstacles to ever achieving this. But we're never going to get there if we don't set the goal and work like hell to achieve it.

Oh, and as far as the Constitutional basis for his proposal goes, it seems to me that the General Welfare clause of the Constitution should count for something. The US Constitution says that the government was established to promote the general welfare. I would not have a problem with interpreting that to mean that we try to foster opportunity for our children, especially those who are most disadvantaged. If we can spend trillions subsidizing high tech R&D in the private sector, and then let all the profits from that R&D flow to the private sector, we can spare a few nickles and dimes for education -- as much as it enrages conservatives and Republicans.

Oh, and if it helps the conservatives to embrace the idea, think of it this way: It's a massive subsidy to the rich and to business. The better we do at educating our children, the deeper the pool of competent workers who can take jobs in our private sector and excel. Good public education isn't just a gift to despised minorities; it has a direct benefit to everyone in the country, and the rich more than anyone else, as they are (by definition) the leading beneficiaries of our social order.

I'd even go so far as to say that if we are going to compete in the decades ahead, we're going to have to overcome conservative opposition to education and improving the lot of our population. The rest of the world doesn't have the same ambivalence about funding education as we do in America thanks to conservatives.

Simon Willard 01-04-2011 09:53 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli (Post 193546)
I think Twin Swords understands pretty clearly what I meant. I'm always finding it odd that while I love writing and language, and probably veer into pedantry much too frequently, I'm still a master of picking the wrong words!

Anyway, I think I understand human capital pretty well. It's everything that an individual brings to the table - whether it was from genes or learned. My point on education is that the variance between 18 year olds is far more the product of their environment than their genes. And what we are seeing when we look at the achievement gap is 100% environmental. Poor children are no less able to be successful than affluent children.

My use of human capital should have emphasized the SES gap. Obviously some people can run faster, jump higher, etc. I assumed that we would all agree that there is no correlation between SES and genetically determined qualities! But simply put, we should not be seeing any correlation between SES and vocabulary, math skills, historical knowledge, communication skills, emotional skills, reasoning, etc. - basically anything that is learned. That is something we as a society have some control over and need to take responsibility for. (Conservatives love to talk about "personal responsibility", yet refuse to take responsibility for allowing children to be born into circumstances where intervention and support could have helped them from ending up committing violence or destroying their life with drugs... suddenly "they" need to take responsibility. I think it's a convenient dynamic.)

eeeeeeeli, I took a look at your blog and found it well-written and mostly well-reasoned. You can read your own blog to understand the difficulty of the gap; clearly you have first-hand experience. It's the enormous difficulty of the problem that leads some commenters to pounce on your prescription to equalize human capital. Ain't gonna happen.

To illustrate, let me tell you how my wife (who is rather far to the right) would address the problem. It has little to do with SES funding. No leaving the house after dinner. No hanging out with friends, except on Saturday. Church every Sunday. No television (unless the New England Patriots are playing football). No rap music. No YouTube or computer games. Spare time is spent on homework. Personal Responsibility.

Would this go over well in the communities where you teach? Is it something we as a society can enforce? Or would this be seen as another unwelcome attempt to impose anglo values? I suspect conservatives would be happy to spell out some rules. And, I'm sure there's no way they would be allowed to.

Now, I'm not saying their's is the only way. But I take issue with your statement that conservatives "refuse to take responsibility for allowing children to be born into circumstances where intervention and support could have helped them". Over the years we have made it very clear to conservatives to get the hell out of other people's lives. Conservatives' only recourse is to chant "personal responsibility". That is not being disingenuous.

piscivorous 01-04-2011 10:48 PM

Re: To badhat and eliii
 
Gee if people know this by 18 why the need to still be sheltering them in their parents insurance nest at 26?


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