Feb 06

Lessig on Nader

The entire article is worth reading, but Larry Lessig is furious with Ralph Nader for suggesting that those progressives and liberals who are begging / urging him not to run are engaging in censorship.

I realized today just how angry I remain at Ralph Nader, former hero of mine, while listening to him on NPR today. Apparently, Mr. Nader is considering another run for president. When pressed quite effectively by Melissa Block to respond to the many many many who are begging him not to run, including the Nation, Mr. Nader responded that such a request was "censorship."

This man is truly outrageous. The only thing a Nader candidacy would do is increase the chance that Bush will be reelected. This man has become unsafe — to himself, and to the nation. If he has friends, they should be his friend and stop him from this.

I want to take this further. Nader’s argument (and I encourage you to listen to his interview on NPR) is specious. This is certainly not a first amendment issue, as http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/001718.shtml">Lessig writes:

But I don’t believe in this endless-love view of free speech. Indeed, the whole reason we need a space for free speech is so some people can tell other people that their speech is wrong, or harmful, or both, (see, e.g., most of the comments to my own postings) and then the other people can decide whether to respect the views that were criticizing them. "Free speech" absolutely does not mean I have to like what you say. Nor does it mean I have to refrain from criticizing what you say. Such an idea insults, I believe, the very notion of free speech: which is to use argument to reach understanding, both about what to do, and about what to say.

And that’s the point. Nader, by suggesting that those people — myself included — who would call, write, email Nader and urge him not to run would be censoring him, is, himself, trying to stop debate on the issue by cowing people with the spector of censorship. This is the height of arrogance and manipulation, and for a man who claims to speak for the common man, he is using his elevated status in society to quiet other voices. How dare he misuse and misrepresent a civil rights issue in an attempt to quiet the criticism that he is getting from many of the progressive people he would claim to champion.

Feb 05

Oh Kerry… Why…

… did you go and say this:

"I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts court’s decision," he said.

Yes, he’s for civil-unions, but is that good enough? I don’t want to believe all the "show-horse" comments about him, and I was really happy to support a candidate that voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, but did you have to say you were against gay marriage?

There’s other ways to make sure you don’t lose the middle… you don’t have to offend your base.

Jan 29

A Quote:

"You can regulate the worst abuses out of a system, but you can’t regulate
goodness or excellence into a system because goodness or excellence is
from the hearts and minds of the people involved."

— Professor Tom Sobol

It’s just something to keep in mind as we think about how to make our school… and schools in general… better. Policy… law… regulation… rules… they only go so far. What schools need, what kids need, what our society needs is to understand that "The Good" in the world is not something that can be legislated, but instead, it must be nurtured. We cannot expect people to spend all their days conforming to rules, following directions, and doing what they are told… and then create, care, live freely and think.

There is no question that we need educational policies based in broad legislation. There is no question that schools should have rules and regulations. But we need to remember at all times what the goals of those rules should be: Our educational goals should be to create schools where students can learn what it means to be a thinking, caring, questioning adult who can critically analyze the world around them both with a reasoning and a emotive and caring eye.

Jan 28

Has anyone else…

… started to think that, perhaps, Max Cleeland’s constant presence in the Kerry campaign is an early indication of a possible VP choice if Kerry were to get the nomination?

Southern vet, wounded, former senator, beaten in one of the sleaziest races I can remember, good Democratic Party credentials… and I do think the two men are actually good friends.