"To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States,
that is to say, 'to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the
general welfare.' For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general
welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not
to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the
debts or provide for the welfare of the Union."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
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Reader comments about this quote:
But what is the definition of 'general welfare'? The Founders could have done a better job at defining general welfare, because the current definition seems to now include everything 'ad libitum' with nearly zero limits or restraint. I do not call indebting a nation forever 'good' for the general welfare.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I guess now they are running amok with an abuse of taxes mind-set as of recent.
     -- Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco Buday, Vancouver, GVRD(Paine Cnty), Coastal Lwr Mainland BC(State of Neo Sumer), U.S. of Eh!     
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    And the general welfare of the Union is best served by making sure that all are educated and have good health, well fed and housed... for the rich will soon enough be poor if they have no workers to build their product and consume their product...
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Keep in mind those findings of the scholars and politicians over the next 40 or 50 years that defined what the general welfare was not.
     -- Shooterman, Beaumont, TX     
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    ..laughs.. Anon, Socialist welfare was NOT what Jefferson had in mind. The "General Welfare" was also to be in accord with the "Republic" which we were supposedly "guaranteed" - Remember? You can't have a Republic and a Welfare State, they are diametrically opposed to each other - Nice try though.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    'General Welfare' had a very specific meaning at the time of its writing. 'General Welfare' was the catch-all phrase meaning anything outside the immediate day-to-day needs of the federal government. Any specie of value possessed by the federal government was not to be given or issued, under any circumstances, to individuals, organizations (for profit, non-profit, etc.), or governmental entities (city, county, state, corporations, etc.). Jefferson's statement along with the 9th and 10th Amendments clearly demonstrates the unlawfulness of the Social Security system
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    lol Anonymous, it's great to see that public education's lack of history instruction hasn't dulled your humor. Thanks for taking the shallow and stupid position of devil's advocate. Your consistency in presenting a lack of intelligence and knowledge on how big business, the money system, human nature, government, etc. works is refreshing. There are probably still some people out there who actually think like you write. Thanks again.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I will admit that I (even I) do not have all the answers. I am confused by certain issues which to some others seem very clear. For example, regarding public education, I know some arguably intelligent people who think that the government should have no particpation in education at all. (Something to do with indoctrination, I think.) But if a person is not influenced by one set of ideas, he will be influenced by another. In the United States, we have socialists coming out of the yinyang, and I do not mean those who believe in quality of outcome, but those who are sympathetic with totalitarian regimes. 54 of our Congressional representatives are registered socialists, as a secondary party affiliation. Something went wrong in their education, I'd say. So is education a matter for the State's involvement. Or do we let everyone adopt jis own absurd frame of reference purely by chance? I think some degree of uniformity is needed, not absolute uniformity but a basis that lends itself to a degree of social cohesion. Face it, even if the public education systems are pathetically inadequate, too many parents really are not capable of providing basic education to their offspring. And yet we pay more for education in the US than we do for national defense.
     -- David L. Rosenthal , Hollywood     
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    Jefferson was an avid promoter of public education. He considered one of his proudest achievements the founding of the University of Virginia.

    "I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it." (Jefferson, 1810)

    "I... [proposed] three distinct grades of education, reaching all classes. 1. Elementary schools for all children generally, rich and poor. 2. Colleges for a middle degree of instruction, calculated for the common purposes of life and such as should be desirable for all who were in easy circumstances. And 3d. an ultimate grade for teaching the sciences generally and in their highest degree... The expenses of [the elementary] schools should be borne by the inhabitants of the county, every one in proportion to his general tax-rate. This would throw on wealth the education of the poor." (Jefferson, 1821)

    Note that education is to be paid via county taxes. See this link at the University of Virginia for a good example of Jefferson's views on Education:
    http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1370.htm
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    Thank you E Archer! It's a shame that Jefferson was SUCH a promoter of the socialistic institution of public education in the elementary grades! I mean, don't you (collective plural + 'Brilliant Mike') think it should be up to each individual family to provide their own educational resources for their own offspring?
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    It is paradoxical: Your education is your responsibility, because if you do not become educated, the results are your problem. However, the results present multiple problems for society at large. So it is in the interests of society to assure a certain degree of education (the type it is apparently neglecting the most) for the general good. No? I would think it is a problem that all should consider at least partly their own. Face it, my stupidity and ignorance will negatively impact you (which I guess you have already figured out) and the more there are of the ignorant type, unprepared to deal with the multitude of issues that need to be constantly addressed, the worse the impact on the rest. Oh, I forgot....that IS what we are facing.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Jefferson was a proponent of private education -- not government education per se. He also proposed free elementary education to encourage the poorer classes to get basic education. He was for voluntary attendance -- let the students decide which subjects to study. I wish we had that curriculum today.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Re: "voluntary attendance -- let the students decide which subjects to study" Helo-oo! Students are STUDENTS in their early years because they DON'T know what to study and their parents usually know even less. You don't know what you don't know. That's WHY you rely in part on teachers and counselors to advise you before college, during college and even post-grad. Yes, students do have increasing leeway as they progress. The foolish ones fail to seek the advice of experience when exercising that discretion. In the pre-college years, 'voluntary attendance' gets you any ghetto in any city.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    So you have two doors. On the right, you have the door through which students pass upon choosing voluntary attendance. As they enter through this door, they are met by all the good things life has to offer. On the left, you have the door through which they pass if they refuse to attend school. As they enter, they are eaten by wild pigs. That'll teach them a lesson.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Jefferson was the 1st "Education President" -- compared to Bush, well, GW hasn't done crap. Jefferson said:

    "Is it a right or a duty in society to take care of their infant members in opposition to the will of the parent? How far does this right and duty extend? --to guard the life of the infant, his property, his instruction, his morals? The Roman father was supreme in all these: we draw a line, but where? --public sentiment does not seem to have traced it precisely... It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father... What is proposed... is to remove the objection of expense, by offering education gratis, and to strengthen parental excitement by the disfranchisement of his child while uneducated. Society has certainly a right to disavow him whom they offer, and are permitted to qualify for the duties of a citizen. If we do not force instruction, let us at least strengthen the motives to receive it when offered." (Note to Elementary School Act, 1817)

    "I am not fully informed of the practices at Harvard, but there is one from which we shall certainly vary, although it has been copied, I believe, by nearly every college and academy in the United States. That is, the holding the students all to one prescribed course of reading, and disallowing exclusive application to those branches only which are to qualify them for the particular vocations to which they are destined. We shall, on the contrary, allow them uncontrolled choice in the lectures they shall choose to attend, and require elementary qualification only, and sufficient age." (1823)

    The primary point is that there is a danger associated with compulsory education -- better to let the student choose what direction to go. Of course there is a curriculum to choose from -- either choose it, choose an alternative, or choose nothing. While Jefferson considered an educated citizenry to be the best security for the Republic, he did not believe in compulsory education, but to make elemetary education freely available to those who wanted it but could not afford it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    It is ridiculous to assume that unless a person is 'taught' in a 'school' that he cannot learn to provide for himself and be a productive member of society. Einstein failed Physics -- obviously he managed on his own. My great grandfather grew up on a farm and only went a few years to school. He raised a large family, was self-sufficient on his own land, had many children, grand-children, was a respected member of the community, etc. I doubt my Harvard Law School father would know what to do if electricity went out for more than a day... Most of us have not learned any agrarian skills -- if it isn't wrapped up in cellophane, we wouldn't know how to feed ourselves. So since the education of the individual is the responsibility of the individual, then the choices the individual has should allow for a choice of what he/she shall study. Is it really true that if a child was not forced to learn, he wouldn't? Nonsense -- my children want to learn -- they love to learn -- and we love to be a part of it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Einstein failed math..
     -- Anonymous     
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    E. Archer: I'd hate to see GW's transcripts. That would really be frightening. - - It's absurd to think you can 'force' anyone to pursue an education. TJ (in reference to INFANT members of society): "... It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated ... offering education gratis, and to strengthen parental excitement by the disfranchisement of his child while uneducated. Society has certainly a right to disavow him whom they offer, and are permitted to qualify for the duties of a citizen. If we do not force instruction, let us at least strengthen the motives to receive it when offered." - THAT ... doesn't sound like someone who thinks NOT being educated is a good idea. THAT sounds like someone who realized the nature of the mindset of uneducated farmers, who had no way of comprehending (this is not a result of any lack of desire to apply themselves arduously) the value of what they knew nothing about, but whose support he would need to even institute SOME sort of public education system. I do believe he said 'tolerate' and not 'regard as equal in value', 'rare instance' and not 'accepted norm', 'disfranchisement of his child while uneducated' and not 'to be regarded as equal', 'Society has certainly a right to disavow him whom they offer, and are permitted to qualify for the duties of a citizen.' and not 'equally able regardless'. - In reference to ADVANCED courses of study TJ proposes exactly what I've referred to when I said "students do have increasing leeway as they progress". TJ does NOT propose this approach to the education of, what he refers to as, "infant members" (of society). He knew better. He WAS educated. Instead he says; "We shall, on the contrary, allow them uncontrolled choice in the lectures they shall choose to attend, and require ELEMENTARY qualification only, and sufficient AGE." -|- Re Einstein: "... in 1891 (at age 12), he taught himself Euclidean plane geometry from a school booklet and began to study calculus. There is a recurring rumor that Einstein failed mathematics later in his education, but this is untrue; a change in the way grades were assigned caused confusion years later." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein -|- "... (at age 16), still without having completed secondary school, Einstein failed an examination that would have allowed him to pursue a course of study leading to a diploma as an electrical engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He spent the next year in nearby Aarau at the cantonal secondary school, where he enjoyed excellent teachers and first-rate facilities in physics. Einstein returned in 1896 to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, where he graduated, in 1900 as a secondary school teacher of mathematics and physics. - http://www.humboldt1.com/%7Egralsto/einstein/early.html - It's a shame we aren't ALL just THAT gifted. -|- You're right, "It is ridiculous to assume that unless a person is 'taught' in a 'school' that he cannot learn to provide for himself and be a productive member of society." That's not the question. The question is whether you'll be happy cleaning bathrooms at the local Hyatt, flipping burgers at the local fast food joint, or whether you'd rather acquire the competence to run a business well or perhaps pursue a profession you would enjoy. You can be 'productive' in a sweatshop. I'm not sure it's the thing to promote through the acceptance or encouragement of ignorance and low skill levels though. -|- I'm sure your great grandfather was a well liked, bright, ambitious man of good character. None of those qualities would, in today's world, save him from losing his farm if he only had the knowledge he was able to acquire then. The fact that children are generally, if not always, eager to learn is not at issue. What's at issue is whether they will have access to the broadest possible range of materials from which to learn AND whether they will have access to the broadest possible range of ideas presented to them by people who can assess what underlies their inquiries 'on the fly', as it were, while addressing these inquiries in a manner that stimulates the development of critical thinking and further inquiry. That skill set is rarely the purview of the uneducated person. -|- As to whether I'd prefer to be stuck in a lifeboat on rough seas or in the Yukon in January with a bunch of dropouts or a bunch of Harvard Law or engineering graduates, I can tell you that, without a split second's hesitation, I'd go for the dudes and dudettes with the degrees. You don't have to look like Paul Bunyan to know what you're doing AND to do it better WITH an education. THAT'S from direct experience - both in the back country, in large corporations, and in dealing with management in the construction trades. -|- As for "So since the education of the individual is the responsibility of the individual". Clearly that's a dubious premise at best. There's simply no such thing as education (as we know it to be - the passing down of previously acquired knowledge) without the support, resources, exhortation, assistance, and encouragement of the society by way of its members. -|- 'You can lead a girl to Vassar but you can't make her think.' - it's a better pun if you also speak German.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Terry, yes, yes, and yes -- I agree. I suppose if there was a point I was trying to make, it is that providing the opportunity for citizens to get an education IS considered within the realm of 'general welfare' at least as Jefferson saw it. Elementary school would be provided 'free' via county taxes. Read what was expected as Elementary Education:

    "The objects of... primary education [which] determine its character and limits [are]: To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; to enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts in writing; to improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; to understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; to know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains, to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment; and in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed." --Thomas Jefferson: Report for University of Virginia, 1818.

    Like I said before, I wish I had this education. ;-) Jefferson knew how important an education is to retaining liberty -- and yet, compulsory education was not within the rights of government to enforce -- nor did Jefferson want it.

    "The less wealthy people,... by the bill for a general education, would be qualified to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with intelligence their parts in self-government; and all this would be effected without the violation of a single natural right of any one individual citizen." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821.

    Also, Jefferson considered that one ought not to be considered a citizen unless he could read and write:

    "At [the elementary] school shall be received and instructed gratis, every infant of competent age who has not already had three years' schooling. And it is declared and enacted, that no person unborn or under the age of twelve years at the passing of this act, and who is compos mentis, shall, after the age of fifteen years, be a citizen of this commonwealth until he or she can read readily in some tongue, native or acquired." --Thomas Jefferson: Elementary School Act, 1817.

    So in that context, those uneducated about the rights and responsibilities in a republic would not be 'qualified' to be citizen. I often thought that at graduation from high school we should all make our own personal declaration of our commitment to libery and justice for all, and sign it like the founders did.
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    Based on what Archer has quoted of Jefferson's intentions for primary education, with little else by way of variance, I agree with Jefferson.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    E. Archer: IMHO (lol) What TJ referred to as 'elementary' education was what he regarded as comprising a 'minimal requirement' for competent citizenship - AT THE TIME. In today's world you're lost if you only have what is generally taught in the first 12 grades. That gets you fry cook or 'domestic help' status and NO appreciation of the workings of government or corporate influence let alone international or even intra-national political acumen. I know you think TJ was against compulsory education but, when I read what he said (with what I read to be the reluctant voice of resignation to the 'facts on the ground' in terms of what would be politically possible), I get the most distinct sense that, had it not been politically suicidal at the time, he would have pushed for just that. TJ was nobody's fool. He knew which way the winds were blowing and that such winds would be ignored at one's own political peril. Indeed, it never seemed sensible to me that a complete lack of knowledge of the political system shouldn't make one unqualified to vote. The danger there is who decides what level of knowledge is adequate. Besides, just exactly what percentage of the American population would actually qualify if they can't even find their own state on a blank map? Were there to be some process of certification for voter competence, it would surely be subject to the most extreme abuses as it was in the South when some states allowed 'literacy tests' as a way of disqualifying black voters. Allowing every citizen to vote appears the lesser of two potential evils. I mean, I can just envision Brian D. Pickett & Co., Tampa, Florida rubbing their hands together a la Scrooge at the mere thought of having literacy tests to screen out 'non-whites' ('Aryans' are, after all, Indo-European speaking tribes) - LOL. BTW, I guess I regard a 'signed' oath to be worth the paper it's written on. What counts is an internalized commitment. I mean, would you want your BEST friends, confidants and family members to 'SIGN' an oath of allegiance to you? Would you not suspect the very act to be treasonous under duress of alienation? Would not the very act of doing so undermine your trust? True, the paper is static. Hearts are not always so.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    What Jefferson proposed is NOT taught in the primary grades. There is a pretenes of teaching, a pretense of learning, a pretense of a process of education. If all kindergarteners actually learned what Jefferson proposed, we would be in a Golden Age (GIlt, if you prefer).
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Yeah, but they teach self-esteem blended cleverly with no skills and no information so as to make the students ignorant and talent free and proud of it. - - The difference between a 'golden' age and the 'gilded age' is that, during a 'golden' age the entire civilization is at what is regarded to be at a 'high' point as defined according to the criteria of the 'type' of 'golden' age that's being referenced (the 'golden' age of Impressionism, for instance), whereas 'the gilded age' refers to the age of the moneyed industrial tycoons and 'robber barons' of the late 1800s - early 1900s. 'Gilt' is clearly not 'golden'. I'd confused the terms in a previous post and then corrected the mistake. - sorry. -|- Gilt: A thin layer of gold or something simulating gold that is applied in gilding. 2. Superficial brilliance or gloss. 3. Slang. Money. - AHD
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Jefferson was a brilliant man. I am still amazed at the caliber of statesmen of his day -- would that we had such men today in Washington. Was his education the result of the compulsion of the State? No -- he loved books! He was an independent thinker, and his idea of education included the desire to learn. His education bill was to remove the obstacles to education for the poor who desired to learn. He saw genius buried within the poorer classes that would benefit all society. He knew that an education was vital to the support of the republic. However, the State has not been given the power (i.e. the people do not have the right) to compel their neighbors to read. People read because they have to. When I travel to a foriegn country, I have to figure out the language if I want to be able to eat, find a place to sleep, etc. -- I don't need to be forced. If my boy wants to play video games, he's goning to have to learn how to read the instructions. How I choose to figure out Hindi is my problem. Jefferson did not have the power to compel citizens to be 'educated' -- he did not have the right -- neither did he want to. He wanted to provide the opportunity to learn to everyone rich and poor alike. The only compulsion, however, would be on the child BY HIS PARENTS, as it should be. And that is the crux of the mentality between freedom and statism -- when the state compels the person to go to school, the state takes the responsibility of the parent -- and that is just the beginning of a slippery slope to totalitarianism. As far as making a signed declaration to uphold the laws of the Constitution, why not? Can Jefferson, Adams, Franklin et al speak for me 250 years later? Let me sign on -- like any other 'immigrant'. Why should people who will not agree to abide by the Constitution be allowed to vote their people into office? Just wondering.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    If the state does not compel the people to abide by certain standards, such as obtaining a certain degree of education, who will provide that education in the many cases where parents are not capable of providing it? Berg wrote "Yeah, but they teach self-esteem blended cleverly with no skills and no information so as to make the students ignorant and talent free and proud of it." Fine. So reform education. But by leaving it exclusively to parents, you are giving the green light to anything anyone's caprice desires, which would not be an improvement. And who will teach the children of the illiterate to read?
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    David, that is just more statism. That the majority of people need to be groomed and indoctrinated as the state sees fit is a perversion of the very ideals upon which America was founded.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    You haven't answered any of the questions.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    OK, let's keep it simple. My neighbor is illiterate despite free education available in our county. Do I have the right to compel him to learn? Can I force him to go to school? Who is responsible for his life? Quite simply, we allow him to be as he is. If I wish to 'save' him from himself, that is my perogative -- and if he is willing to let me, that is his. That is all I can do -- so the republican state can do no more either. Let him be -- you might try even learning something from him! Humility perhaps.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Jefferson was born a man of privileged and wealth. One man's fortune in having parents of substance and intellect is hardly reflective of a population in general. He, better than most, would have had an insight into the worth of his privileged status and the advantages of the education he was able to be treated to by virtue of his parents' position in life. In such a position of privilege one hardly need rely on, or place much value on any idea along the lines of "It takes a village to raise a child." I guess you're advocating allowing children whose parents either don't want their children to attend school, or children whose parents don't care one way or another, to remain uneducated. It's your prerogative to have such a view. I suspect that the Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Dutch, Swiss, Germans, Austrians, and most of the rest of the 'first' world that you might demonize as 'socialistic' would differ with you about your assessment that a compelled education would lead them towards totalitarianism. They, of course, have been there and might, just MIGHT, have some idea of what that is. There's a huge difference between abiding by the Constitution voluntarily and signing a chit promising to do so. Neither affects the other. One is a commitment. The other is a piece of worthless show akin to Saddam Hussein's 'public demonstrations of support'. Nice for show and propaganda. OR - are you thinking of attaching future laws of 'allegiance' to the idea? Now, THERE'S a great idea! I'll never know why the founding fathers, with all of their substantial foresight, failed to incorporate such a good idea into the framework of the union they were forging. I guess I prickle at the idea of using devices (signed declarations of allegiance etc., which are common in police states as a mechanism of intimidation) to no actual effect. Loyalty, allegiance, and love just don't lend themselves to force. They are won by some virtue or other and freely given or not at all. These 'sentiments' just don't 'force' well. Hitler and Mussolini would have differed with me on that count but then, they had the enforcement squads to do that sort of thing. They would certainly have agreed as to the utility of such devices as a totalitarian control mechanism. I find it odd that you should advocate a compelled allegiance (an oxymoron that's nevertheless popular in fascist circles) and not a compelled education or at least a compelled attempt at an education. Which slippery slope are we on here?
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    We all must be compelled at times. Don't you remember when you were a little bastard whose parents were tearing their hair out because he was a little wild monster? Compelling everyone to abide by minimum standards of behavior is not evil. Insisting that a certain degree of education be attempted (thanks, Berg) is not evil. If you absolutely refuse to educate yourself, sooner or later you will get what you have coming, because you are so stupid already that you will most likely make many more stupid decisions. I do not argue against the idea that public education currently sucks. I argue that everyone requires some education to function in the world. The current statuse of indoctrination in many public school systems is deplorable (I hate that woed, but it fits). The entire public education system requires major reformation. But I would not like to see the millions of potential monsters loosed on the streets in the name of freedom.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Terry, free choice and free thought are cornerstones of a free republic. Education is important -- VERY important, and as a father, I make sure that my children are getting the education I would like -- no matter what the neighbors or anyone else has to say about it. Public education today SUCKS -- and it is not by accident nor is it even close to what Jefferson proposed. That is why private schools are better. So while the intent is good that all should be educated, the belief that the government is the one that should be doing the educating is the danger -- and by making it compulsory, means that students are not permitted to spend their time learning something else. Now we have compulsory drugs that students of public schools need to take (like amphetamines and anti-depressants). We have compulsory vaccines for public schools, compulsory bussing, compulsory secular/religious teaching, compulsory indoctrination. And if I choose to teach my own children at home, I have the neighbors worrying what I am teaching them -- that somehow now as a parent I am unqualified to raise my child from 8am to 3pm. Homeschoolers tend to be smarter, more disciplined, and have better manners than their government schooled peers. And not too surprisingly, those who went to government schools want everyone else to go to.

    As far as citizenship being reserved for the literate only, well, we can see why it can not be done considering the potential for abuse -- and unfortunately, the average high school graduate has not learned all he needs to protect himself from the wolves.

    I do believe that to declare oneself honesty and truly brings incredible empowerment. And I believe it is best that that declaration be my own -- to take my stand -- to declare who I am and what I am about, because I say so. But by the issues raised in this discussion, I doubt that others would like me to have such power -- freedom is risky -- especially when we let 'the other guy' make his own choices. Remember, our so-called inalienable rights are merely inalienable because we say so and are willing to back that declaration with force. Our founders made that declaration (unanimously) and then had to fight. That is the power of a declaration.
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    E. A., I certainly have no objection to home schooling and that's clearly an option which has the POTENTIAL to produce a better level of education than is available in most of the public school system. The only question may be how keen your skills in advanced math (needed to teach basic math elements well and that DOESN'T MEAN Arithmetic), chemistry, physics (at least 'heat and mechanics', aka 'Newtonian' physics plus things like wave theory especially as relates to EMR), the biological sciences, foreign languages (several), economics (several models), plus a few other disciplines in the arts and world history are. Not all households have the wherewithal to implement that option and it's a distraction from the issue of required education because it's an option within that realm. Public education has always been hit-and-miss depending on the teachers you happen to get. I recall having some excellent teachers and some duds both in lower grades and college. I also recall punishing (LOL) the dolts mercilessly while shining in the classes of the effective and dedicated instructors who were often not the popular ones. Yes, I DID know the difference and, in hindsight, I was absolutely on target with each of them. There was a LOT of wasted time spent, just to make sure the 'class' was keeping up, which could have been spent on the presentation of more material. It wasn't hard to tell those who knew what they were doing from those who just regarded teaching as a 'job'. If you're defending your right to 'home school', well, THAT'S not the issue. I don't think the public school system or anyone else should object to that if the result of that home schooling permits your children to pass standardized testing regimens. It IS good to know how you stack up when you're criticizing competing methodology. If you're teaching them something like metaphysics and nothing else, well, THAT could prove problematic for your children later on. There's not much demand for that sort of thing in the real world (though you'd never know it living in this part of the country - LOL). The mere idea of COMPUSLORY drugs in school is an abomination. I have no idea how the notion (that someone other than the family physician(s) in consultation with the parents could have any say about that sort of thing) might make sense. I don't think we have compulsory religious teaching in the public school system unless there's something brand new going on. As for secular teaching, well, THAT'S everything else. I'm not sure what you mean by 'compulsory indoctrination'. Is there such a thing as 'voluntary indoctrination'? 'Raising' a child is different from 'educating' a child. I wasn't referring to literacy with regard to citizenship. I was referring to literacy with regard to voting which assumes citizenship but requires IMHO, some additional awareness of how politics affects the direction of the nation. It was a veering off course on my part. The constitution defines citizenship and now, due to the Voting Rights Act, defines more clearly who can not be prevented from voting. You've contradicted yourself in your last paragraph. One's 'own' declaration is not the same as an institutionalized, ceremonial chit signing. So are you in favor of compulsory 'empowerment' now? - LOL - I guess I missed the part where our 'founding fathers' made every 'citizen' sign a declaration before fighting on the side of the rebels - like when there were no citizens - yet. David; what's a woed? Is that wike a wabbit? LOL
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Just a couple clarifications before we move on to other topics: Providing the OPPORTUNITY for those who cannot afford to pay for 'elementary' education (as per Jefferson's definition above) is considered within the jurisdiction of general welfare. Forcing parents to send their children to school is NOT authorized by the Constitution -- PERIOD. As necessary as an education is for the individual and the community, we do not have the right to force anyone to go to school or what they must learn. Regarding religious or secular schooling, well, you aren't going to learn much about the world's religions in a secular school, no more than you will learn secular ideals in a religious school (or any other religions either). As well, we cannot force anyone to take care of us because we have no skills or training. I am talking about personal responsibility -- something too many people are not willing to let people practice. The perversion of compulsory education has turned into compulsory obedience to WHATEVER the state now says -- we are raising generations of sheeple. Both my parents and their siblings grew up poor on farms, studied in small school houses, and went to college on full scholarships -- my father was valedictorian and got a full scholarship to Harvard Law School. They ALL earned their degrees without compulsion other than their own drive and skills. My argument is not for home-schooling -- it is for free choice. People are allowed to screw up their lives if they want to -- chances are what one person sees as screwing up another sees as being unique -- only time will tell. Let me make my own mistakes -- I march to the beat of my own drum. We have to let each other figure out for themselves what they are going to do with their lives -- and provide an opportunity and an inspiration for others to keep on learning, not a whip across the back to learn the periodic table.

    The tendency to place in the government's hands our own responsibilities is what ends up destroying our independence. Regarding my comment about citizenship, I said make a 'personal declaration' -- well, a personal declaration is not something written by someone then signed by someone else. I agree that if there were some form that kids had to sign once they finished school that it would be corrupted into some sort of 'contract' that would grant some commercial jurisdiction over the person forever. So while I do believe it to be empowering to make the personal declaration to be free, to be responsible and to respect others' rights as well, the declaration must be mine to make. Indeed the world awaits our answer to "who are you, and why are you here?" I am sure there are some on this list that have the answer for me, but I'll answer those questions myself, if you don't mind. lol
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    Re: the 'contract': What does it matter who 'writes' it if it's institutionalized? There's no difference in the requisite 'ceremony'. It's still a metaphorical sibling to a 'Heil Hitler!' If 'ceremonies' meant so much the divorce rate would be zero. Re: 'education': I'm sorry to say that I'm hearing a bit of sanctimony and rationalization-speak in what you say and the way you say it. Keep whistling past the graveyard. (It's a saying) PS, it wouldn't hurt to know the periodic table among not just a few other things. These things can save your life on rare occasion.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    As far as the argument against a 'declaration of understanding and responsibility' goes, well, it is like the difference between those that get married repeating the words the church tells them to say or writing one's own vows. So I concede that a statist 'right of passage' like a personal declaration to uphold the principles of our nation is not something the state should enforce, BUT I would say that those that have made that personal declaration for themselves and have joined their brothers on the front lines in defense of their liberties are among those I call true defenders of Liberty. And it is inaccurate that the soldiers fighting for Independence did not sign something declaring their commitment -- do you think you can enlist in the army without a signature? How many government contracts are forced upon us? If I wish to apply for the services the state is offering to supply to its citizens with the corresponding responsibilities of the citizen to contribute to those services, then I would assume there is something for me to sign -- that I must make a declaration that I understand the terms and conditions of the 'welfare' I am to receive and the tax I am to pay for such services. It actually makes sense that those that do not wish any government benefits or emoluments, would not need to make any spoken or written declaration at all as qualification for citizenship. However, if we wish to receive licenses, permits, entitlements, benefits, etc., we ALWAYS have to 'sign up' for it -- we have to agree to grant certain rights and responsibilities to the state -- and that can happen even in a free republic. In that context, mandatory Social Security taxes are a 'Heil, Hitler' to the US government.

    Regarding the sanctimoniousness -- I find your own arguments for mandatory state-enforced government education to be contradictory to most every other argument you have made against statist policies -- you haven't convinced me that the state both has the right and duty to require me to go to their schools for 12 years. And nobody had to compel me to learn the periodic table -- I love science -- it is the search for truth, for how things really work -- why shouldn't that be encouraged instead of holding everybody to the lowest common denominator in the name of 'education'? I don't know about your schooling, but among my peers we did not have that much respect for the blatant hypocrisy of what we were taught and what we could see for ourselves. Let me tell you, the government has done more to hurt the collective consciousness and knowledge of the nation than develop it -- especially in the last 50 years -- how can you possibly defend it? The exposition of your own knowledge does not sound like something the average student gets in a government school, Terry -- it sounds like someone who has done his own research -- and most likely someone who is interested in the truth whatever it may be. I guess you didn't need to be sent to Vassar to think afterall. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    You're right about the 'true' (as in possessing fidelity to something) defenders of liberty having made a personal commitment as relates to the War of Independence. But that's not the realm we're discussing. We're discussing the implementation of a compulsory (via peer pressure or state pressure?) SIGNED pledge of allegiance (reference your entry - "at graduation from high school we should all make our own personal declaration of our commitment to liberty and justice for all, and sign it like the founders did."). - - - "When the war began, the Americans did not have a regular army (also known as a "standing army"). Each colony had traditionally provided for its own defenses through the use of local militia. Militiamen served for only a few weeks or months at a time, were reluctant to go very far from home, and were thus generally unavailable for extended operations. Militia lacked the training and discipline of regular soldiers, but were occasionally effective against regular troops. American militia were sometimes adept at partisan warfare, and were particularly effective at suppressing Loyalist activity when British regulars were not in the area." - wikipedia - - - There WAS no army into which to 'enlist'. Do you think they, most of them anyway, even KNEW how to sign their name, let alone 'write' some oath of 'commitment'? Dream on. They were largely farmers without much, if any, education. The present day instances you refer to, where signatures are required, properly fall under the rubric of 'contract law' as you have alluded to. 'Contract law' refers to, by definition of 'contract', 'agreements' entered into voluntarily by both parties (in the absence of duress). There is no such thing as a 'forced' contract - period. That's what the law surrounding 'contracts' says. The law makes a distinction between a 'privilege' and a 'right'. It regards driving to be a 'privilege'. You don't 'need' to drive. Paper can record a 'contract' - it doesn't make for commitments but I think I hit that point already. 'Build' a new 'context' that comports with things as they are. Oh yeah, I, as a general rule, have no bias, pro or con, with regard to 'ist-isms' or 'isms'. I find them unhelpful in viewing problems and/or situations. They seem to serve one function; to muddy the waters and mislead by obscuring the issues. They're basically good for name-calling and when you start name-calling, it's the surest sign you'll ever get that you've lost your case and have nowhere to turn except the ice-cream tub. Refer to 'Axis of Evil' or 'Evil-doers'. Bring on the ice-cream truck! - - - I declare (I know you'll like this) my non-commitment to 'isms'. There you have it - my 'commitment' (well, one anyway) - LOL! I do like to imagine that I aim to be pragmatic while not stepping on the toes of others (though, I probably wouldn't lose any sleep over having stepped on toes jutted out in front of me in an attempt to trip me for no good reason). The 'sanctimony' I was referring to has to do with your attempts to shore up an argument with anecdotal 'evidence'. Trust me, if we were to get into the 'my anecdote is more compelling than your anecdote' dance, I'd win, hands down. 'Anecdotal one-upmanship', however, is worthless in a debate about 'merits'. It's good in church though. Regarding the 'lowest common denominator' issue which bedevils EVERY classroom; I already touched on that. If you can afford a private or 'more' private environment for learning, you're blessed beyond most. None of this has anything to do with 'compulsory education'. I imagine it would be just fine if, to 'graduate' any 'level' of education, the only requirement were a set of tests to ascertain proficiency in a subject. I would advocate a national, optional, alternative (I do NOT trust that all localities have the wisdom to avoid watered-down 'testing' criteria given what's happened recently with the sleazy attempts to pawn off 'ID' as 'science'.) standardized set of testing mechanisms such that, if you passed, you could just get the credit for having mastered a subject in the same way that you can 'challenge' a class in college. It's true that our public education system 'sucks' - been there, done that - but, unless we have a core of enlightened parents with an actual education, changing it much is a far-off dream. Yet, it beats no education at all by some small margin. In any event, I do think some mandatory demonstration of 'learning' or mandatory attendance to attempt to deliver such learning is preferable to allowing the development of some huge uneducated mob (who can vote - scary, and maybe clean toilets). And frankly, I'm less concerned with the 'liberties' of minors (or their parents who might not all be as illustrious as yours) than I am with sending them out on their own with the tools to navigate today's world successfully. I still have boundless affection and unending gratitude for those 'education nazi' (lol) instructors who did that for me. BTW, what do you use to get those nice paragraph breaks into your posts? It makes it so much more readable (er, that, technically, would be 'less yucky').
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Firstly, I did not talk about a compulsory contract to sign -- I said (repeatedly) a 'personal declaration' -- not a form, not a contract, but a declaration. (I asked why shouldn't I sign on, too, to the declaration the founders made, but that is my choice.) If you do think facing the enemy on the front lines is not a declaration of one's commitment, then you do not know what I am talking about. And, yes, the Continental Army did exist, and yes, there were soldiers that 'signed on'. If you think an army can run without paperwork and agreements and plans and, yes, even oaths of allegiance, you probably have never been in military service. The fact is, the 'declaration' is the official 'standing up for oneself.' Our new American government could not come into being without it -- so how important is it that we as individuals take our stand, too? Forget about a form -- my delcaration is mine to make. Terry, your solution (as far as I can tell) is the current educational system -- well, America is now one of the dumbest nations on Earth -- India has more PhD's than America, and they are still living in the dirt (I know, I lived there). My suggestion is more along the lines of Jefferson. As well as being an American, I have spent 15 years living in foreign countries. I have been part of several non-profit projects for bringing water to small villages and other 'improvements' we Westerners believed the people needed. I was extremely humbled by the strength and humility of those we were supposedly helping. I also learned that we do not have any idea of what poverty is. Americans think poverty is not having enough money, but the 3rd world 'poor' people we worked with were doing quite well without us despite living in what we would call unbearable conditions. Sure, if we wanted to give them money, they would be happy to accept. But whether we were there to save them or not, they managed as they have always managed -- with pride and strong family values -- a great deal of the time, they were helping us to adjust rather than us fixing their ways. My faith in the state and in corporate organizations trying to 'save' the poor and unfortunate has waned significantly. In fact, the more I dealve into it, the state actually acts parasitically -- it still boggles my mind the cry for government to solve our problems considering most of societies ills are caused by the state. Greed, hatred, the desire to live off the efforts of others -- these vices cannot be legislated against, they can only be held in check by the individual himself. Face it, MOST children would rather go to school and learn than not. Those that do not may have good reasons, whether we agree or understand them or not. But that is what it means to live in a free society -- we don't all agree, but if we are not violating anyone else's rights, then leave us alone. What about ugly people? We are discriminated against all the time -- does the state have some duty to make sure I look good? The exact same argument you use against a compulsory contract is turned on its head when you justify compulsory education. C'mon, too many words defending the indefensible. Freedom is freedom, whether you like what the other guy does with his time or not. The militiamen fighting in the Continental Army may have been illiterate -- it didn't make their contribution and sacrifices any less -- and their 'declarations' were written in blood. If we were freed by a band of illiterates, then they are OK with me, as is, and I am happy to offer free elementary education (as per Jefferson above) to all who want it, and everyone is free to accept the gift or not. I respect their decision either way.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Terry, sorry -- about the paragraph breaks -- insert the 'less than sign', letter 'p', and 'greater than sign'. (I can't write it here or it will not display).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Also, regarding Terry's statement "I guess I missed the part where our 'founding fathers' made every 'citizen' sign a declaration before fighting on the side of the rebels - like when there were no citizens". In the days of the American Revolution, people were the citizens of their State (colony) and subjects of the Crown. Not until after the War Betwen the States did the U.S. citizen come into being because the States were no longer sovereign. As far as a soldier's declaration goes, only a soldier who has made that declaration would follow a command from their 'superior' officer -- otherwise, why are they there? Do they not know what they are doing and why? They did, and they fought in defense of their self-declared freedoms. Forget about the paper -- the declaration comes from within.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    E. A.: Yes but 'personal' and 'compulsory' are not mutually exclusive. When one says "I often thought that at graduation from high school we should all make our own personal declaration of our commitment to liberty and justice for all, and sign it like the founders did." I have no idea how one would extricate 'all' and 'sign' from inevitable institutionalization of the 'ceremony'. It is, after all, only a ceremony insofar as a 'declaration' written or spoken is still worth the 'paper' it's 'written' on. It's deceptive and static. Any 'commitment' it refers to is either there or it isn't - like it is or isn't in a friendship, a job, a group, or even a marriage contract. My question therefore is; for whose benefit is such a ceremony to be performed? In Nazi Germany you'd fail to say 'Heil Hitler' at the peril of being turned in for not 'towing the party line' so, of course, you'd say it and then curse under your breath unless you were actually 'in lockstep' with the idiots. For whose benefit? Let's not conflate the rules of the military (an army) with the rules of civilian life - at least not until we become a military state, shall we? It's currently (again and) still an option to make a contract with the military to become their property for a duration though it may not be so for long. I dare say that students and other civilians are not yet under military law until they 'sign up'.

    'Commitments' to independence preceded any 'signings' of any enlistments, both before and after the formation (in June 1775) of the Continental Army. You don't go and fight without a commitment - paper or not. You don't need a ceremony to validate that commitment although, in the interest of heightening the psychological pressures to maintain strict adherence to the military code (for an army that's a good thing), 'signed declarations', among other forms of control, are a useful adjunct. But for whose benefit? The French Underground Resistance (men and women and sometimes the rather young ) would have never signed anything to the effect of a 'declaration' to their cause though they were as dedicated and heroic in their work as any man on the front lines. I mean, I think we're talking here about the difference between silent prayer and making a big fat public display of one's self while doing it on the street corner. For whose benefit?

    "The militiamen fighting in the Continental Army may have been illiterate -- it didn't make their contribution and sacrifices any less" Well, that was my original point.

    So I'm puzzled as to what the precise purpose or function of such a 'declaration' as you proposed would be. I know what the 'tribal' function (of cohesiveness as it is in the military) would be but I'd like to hear some expression from you about what you think its function would be with respect to what it would accomplish beyond what would exist in its absence in the civilian population of the US.

    'Standing up for oneself': Now, that 'sounds' good, doesn't it? I do believe however, that it's a blurry (not specific) concept not unlike 'being spiritual' which sounds appealing and defies description. Now, I may have some inkling about what people intend to convey with phrases like that (which phrases indicate fuzzy thinking or 'unbaked' notions) but, usually, when I ask someone to specify what they mean by such phrases they tend to reply with something along the lines of "Well, if you don't know what that means then I can't help you". That's never a helpful response but it does dodge the problem in their view. It also indicates they have no idea of what a specific meaning of such a phrase might be. "Our new American government could not come into being without it" is a bit presumptuous. How can you assert that such a nebulous concept is a prerequisite to anything?

    Ok, enough with the anecdotal indulgences already. I'm not entirely sure India's approach to much of anything would be sufficiently alluring to you to get you to move there permanently - yet. Granted, they've done a remarkable job in providing education especially given their situation while we are losing ground in the sciences. Nevertheless, the number of PhDs they have doesn't keep them from having polls like "Should Caste-based reservation of seats be allowed in our Education System?" - http://www.indiaeducation.info/ - - They're also not yet at the point of educating every child in the nation though that's the goal.

    [Education has been a thrust sector ever since India attained independence. The leaders of independent India had formulated provisions for primary formal and non-formal education to realise the goal of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act 2002, enacted in December 2002 seeks to make education free and compulsory, and a Fundamental Right for all children in the age-group 6-14 years. A new Article, 21A in Part III ["Fundamental Rights"] of the Constitution has been introduced to accentuate this. It reads: The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.■ ... There are other programmes for compulsory primary education, especially for girls. The Kasturba Gandhi Shiksha Yojana aims to establish residential schools for girls in all the districts, which have a particularly low female literacy rate. Institutes like National Bal Bhavan encourages children to pursue activities as per their liking, and thus enhance their creative potential. Other programmes, like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Mid Day Meal Scheme have been introduced with the intention of attracting more children (and parents) towards literacy.] - http://www.india.gov.in/citizen/primary_education.php - - - So I'm puzzled as to why, with so much government intervention into the lives of Indians, you would select India as somehow exemplary of your ideals. Let's try to keep separate the primary levels of education from advanced studies for the purpose of this discussion.

    My solution to our 'primary school' academic mess would not be terribly appealing because I would wield a heavy hand and insist we do whatever works to impart the skills, (math, sciences, languages, history, arts, and critical thinking/philosophies). That's not very democratic but then we're talking about minors here. I have no idea how, if it's in fact the case, you may have gotten the notion that I disagree with Jefferson. I happen to have the idea that you missed the tenor of his writings as contextualized in the society of the time. Perhaps you've missed the tenor of what I've said as well. I mean, you say "Face it, MOST children would rather go to school and learn than not." as if to imply that I've differed on that count. Please show me where I have if you think that's the case.

    What's this 'ugly people' thing about anyway? And what might looks have to do with education - or the state - or with anything that's 'organized'? Looks count interpersonally to SOME people - sometimes. We'll get ya a face-lift, ok? - Oh ... wait, ... let's apply for a government grant for that one, shall we? LOL - - As I said, there's no such thing as a 'compulsory contract'. You'd do well to get some clarity as to the differences between 'contract law' and the laws surrounding the implementation of 'public' education before trying to draw a comparison between the two. It's a mistake to confuse aspects of one with aspects of the other.

    Oh yeah, 'freedom' - please define THAT one for me as well and, while you're at it, define 'love' and 'hate' and 'valor' and 'honor' and 'nobility' and any number of other 'concepts' that are sufficiently nebulous to rally around without having much of a clue as to what they mean to others.

    "... they fought in defense of their self-declared freedoms. Forget about the paper -- the declaration comes from within." - By George (pick your George), ... I think you've GOT it!

    BTW, Thanks for the HTML tip. It's always obvious AFTER you've been told - duhhh - LOL.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     

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    I never said anything about a 'ceremony'. I have also tried numerous times to define what meant by 'declaration' without success. I think we've combined too many issues and arguments. I was trying to relate my comments to the quote to which we are supposedly commenting about. As far as defining freedom goes, as soon as you have defined it, you have limited it. That is why our Constitution does not define 'freedom' but does identify some -- but not all -- our inalienable rights. (The 10 Commandments are similar -- the Law only says what you cannot do, not what you must do.) That is good enough for me.

    As far as signing one's declaration -- go ahead and make your argument -- but it sure would be nice if a young person newly considered an adult by merely reaching 15 years of age could actually confirm his understanding of civics and officially join the ranks of adults (instead of being a ward of his parents or worse, the state). But no, we prefer to hand this young man a form to sign up for a Social Security number (and tell him it is mandatory if he ever wants to work), to sign up for selective military service (or you'll get in trouble), to sign his labors away with a tax return (or the IRS will come and take you away), to sign for a license to travel, to marry, and who knows, one day you may need a license to be a parent according to the 'sense' of the argument for compulsory education. Enough.

    I say actually teach the power and responsibility of a signature -- that is to make a contract and to promise. Let's encourage our youth to learn the law and declare their understanding of it. There is an army of government bureaucrats out there preying upon the young and ignorant -- and our 'compulsory education' makes sure you never know that their power is not lawful but de facto.

    You don't think a Social Security number is a compulsory contract? Try to get a job without a social security number... Try to get a bank account without a social security number. Sure, try to use cash to buy -- you'll be speaking with authorities soon enough. NO, no, you can sing the praises of the state -- or even the neighbors -- but not me. I am done with this thread. Go ahead and get in your last licks. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    Ooops, had to comment on India as I lived there -- yes, there are LOTS of educational programmes available in India -- and most are private charities and organizations -- you mentioned a few. I will repeat again, these Indian students are not compelled by the State to go to school -- and yet, they do! Amazing, huh? And what to you do with the millions of peasants who work the land and have little education? Train them to be bankers? ;-) Or shall we just send them to some welfare center -- all 300 million of them. Again, state-imposed compulsory education is NOT what Jefferson had envisioned, and neither does India have state-imposed compulsory education.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Last Licks 1 - Mwahahaha: No, you didn't say anything about a 'ceremony'. I did. I'd like to know what, beyond (or differing from) a ceremony, your initial notion could actually be. it's such a cop-out to leave something undefined and then pretend to be able to use it to support an argument. That's partly why I included that particular challenge to you. It's the evil sister of that "If you don't know ..." thing. You can't get anywhere in a discussion if the terms are undefined. A 'thing' doesn't exist if it's not defined. Unfortunately, the structure of our language lumps 'concepts' in with things that exist. A concept has no existence, no definition - it's not a 'thing' except in that it's treated as a noun in English. A discussion about 'things' undefined is meaningless and goes on forever without resolution - much like discussions about 'things' which don't exist in general. That's how discussions about 'religion' or 'God' end up never being resolved. There's nothing (no thing) to talk about but people just go on as if what they were saying made sense. If that's good enough for you then so be it.

    'Nice' is the perfect word. If you look up the word 'nice' you'll find you're exactly right (from Latin 'nescius'). But you're referring to a 'rite of passage' here - a 'ceremony'. The 'licensing' issue is different altogether. Licensing is where the government really does get control of the most minute details of the lives of the population and always in response to a real or percieved 'problem', i.e. ATF, vehicle 'control', etc., etc.. The 'Social Security' number system was never originally intended to serve as an 'identification' number in the way it's use has been morphed into today. For the sake of expedience however, we have what we have today. Indeed, it won't be long before you'll need a 'licence' to have children. It sounds strange today but so did satellite radar and GPS thirty years ago when they were being developed.

    How, exactly would you propose to "actually teach the power and responsibility of a signature -- that is to make a contract and to promise."?

    The Social Security system and its components don't fall under the rubric of contract law but you may regard it as you wish. I'm just addressing what is, not what I'd prefer to see it as (that's another world).

    If you think school attendance in India is voluntary, you probably failed to read www.india.gov.in - the Indian Government web site.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     

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    "If you think school attendance in India is voluntary, you probably failed to read www.india.gov.in - the Indian Government web site." ROFL! You obviously have not been to India. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Sorry, that's the Indian Government web site.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    You're right. You mean to say they're as feckless as our government - still? You mean to say they 'follow' the law about as well as 'we' do as a nation? Gasp, Shock, and Awe!!
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Speaking of education, watch the documentary, "The Cartel" available on Netflix and other sites. It's about how the teachers unions have strangled education in New Jersey. Watch the woman president of the teachers union tap dance around questions as to why New Jersey spends more than any state on schools and has the worst schools in the country. See how it is nearly impossible to fire a totally incompetent teacher. It's a fascinating story.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
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    Inalienable rights, tax, general "welfare". If, inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be taxed away, then obviously that is not the implied " welfare " mentioned. Therefore sound doctrine must be brought forth in defense of inalienable rights. " welfare " yshuwah, something saved, deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity, help, health, salvation, welfare. Considering freedom from oppression, this word denotes broadly anything from which " deliverance " must be sought; distress, war, servitude, or enemies. There are both human and divine deliverers, but the word Yeshuwah rarely refers to human " deliverance." but rather, that " welfare " which God provides. Coupled with the understanding of " chophshiy, eleutheria, and apeleutheros, Liberties, one is freed from bondage and direct tax at your pleasure, documented manumission, Declaration of independent association with God .Education required through study sense AD 70. Now it is easy to understand Why, protestant clergyman maintain private interpretation rather than teaching of sound doctrines of Liberty and Freedom from the "bully pit". The same reason politicians refrain form defined doctrines. More wiggle room to lie and deceive, then indoctrination of socialism. 70 % or more of denominational Christian secs are socialist by way of perverted doctrine. Hence our 13th apostle of Liberty, Paul, declares it is not another gospel they preach but a perverted gospel. That said gospel containing Liberty and freedom from oppression. Physical and Spiritual deliverance combined. Obviously he trusts the " welfare " God provides. The word Chophshiy Liberty is defined also as financial Freedom. Then " freedom" chaphash, chuphshah, to manumit from slavery, be free, and liberty ( from slavery )- Freedom.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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