August 25, 2010

Tom Friedman: Take Up the White Person's Burden

You can always count on Tom Friedman in the NYT to express the state-of-the-art conventional wisdom in its purest form:
[Geoffrey] Canada’s point is that the only way to fix our schools is not with a Superman or a super-theory. No, it’s with supermen and superwomen pushing super-hard to assemble what we know works: better-trained teachers working with the best methods under the best principals supported by more involved parents.

The literary level isn't quite the same, but Friedman's thinking is similar to Kipling's advice to the United States in 1899:
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, have you thought about getting some volunteer mods so we don't have to wait 12 hours for a comment to show up?

robert61 said...

Kinda fascinating how similar those two plans of action are, yet Friedman's a respected pundit while you and Kipling are RACISTS!!! The only real difference is that Friedman buries the lede. He's talking about a new incarnation of the "white man's burden"; he just doesn't dignify it with the name. How are you supposed to solve a problem without even specifying what the problem is?

Amusing anyway that his solution involves √úbermenschen.

Anonymous said...

Some other lines from the poem are particularly applicable to American education policy. After you throw endless billions at the problem, what happens?

And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Anonymous said...

What anon said about mods.

Surely there are a few stout yeomen amongst the isteveoids?

Mr. Widget said...

[Geoffrey] Canada’s point is that the only way to fix our schools is not with a Superman or a super-theory. No, it’s with supermen and superwomen pushing super-hard to assemble what we know works: better-trained teachers working with the best methods under the best principals supported by more involved parents.

What about Super Students and their Super Supporting Families?

Isn't the raw material you feed into the educational machine the most critical factor (and the most limiting factor today)?

Jim O said...

... into the valley of death..

rightsaidfred said...

ZING!

Anonymous said...

LOL, trying to stir things up, huh, Steve?

Perhaps we should push for requiring all Ivy League grads to be public school teachers for 10 years after graduation.

George said...

Kipling pretty well sums up recent and present US foreign policy

Black Death said...

Kipling was encouraging the American takeover of the Philippines following the Spanish-American war. Here are some other lines from this wonderful poem:

And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.


Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour

....

Kipling had a lot of insight.

Anonymous said...

Steve, have you thought about getting some volunteer mods so we don't have to wait 12 hours for a comment to show up?

Volunteer Mods have been pretty disastrous at Jim Robinson's site.

Also, a little off-topic, but Ace [who recently introduced Volunteer Mods] won't let you use the word "Wookiee" anymore [although apparently "Worf" is still acceptable - go figure].

Personally, I would be happy if we could switch Steve to some modern forum software, and get him off of this gosh-awful Blogger/Blogspot package.

Le Mur said...

You can tell the education reform/miracle stories are just fluff because they *never* include useful hard data. If they create enough amazing shiny new "reform schools", so to speak, they'll occasionally get headline-making statistical anomalies at some of them, which is as close as they get to "data" in the MSM. If they ever mention an actual school, look it up on greatschools.org and you'll typically find a combination of mediocrity and 'no test results'.

It's must be embarrassing for the Reformers that standard-issue regular old average schools in Iowa shows far better test (and everything else) results than the schools with the expensive fancy new programs constantly advertised in the NYT.

Default User said...

The last sentence of the linked Friedman article made me smile. It said: "Maureen Dowd is off today."

It is hard to know which would be more annoying.

Jim O said...

Boy to girl: Do you like Kipling?

Girl to boy: You naughty boy, you know I don't kiple."

OneSTDV said...

To liberals, stats are meaningless - only rhetoric and idealism matter.

Education Spending Does Nothing:

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2008/09/Does-Spending-More-on-Education-Improve-Academic-Achievement

Anonymous said...

sullen peoples

Sullen.

Now there's a state of mind.

Anonymous said...

".. not with a Superman or a super-theory. No, it’s with supermen and superwomen pushing super-hard to assemble what we know works: better-trained teachers working with the best methods under the best principals supported by more involved parents."

Friedman is kind of a maniac. What do we 'know works' in education: 'The best methods'. We don't need superman, (that would be asking for too much), we need supermen and superwomen working superhard.

Oh well, least he got tired of cheerleading for the Iraq war. Maybe with this new preoccupation he'll do less damage.

Anonymous said...

This T Friedman has been promoted relentlessly for all these years as some great thinker we should all listen to. His track record is pretty dismal though, looking at it in retrospect. But hey, who cares, the public memory is short and he seems to have plenty of mileage left in his career as a shill and propagandist. If I see his name I immediately skip to the next item.

Anonymous said...

It has been said before, but the most terrible impact of what Friedman is advocating is that it contributes to a status system in which super high IQ young women devote their youth to trying to improve the lot of NAMs instead of devoting their youth to reproduction.

The dysgenic impacts are staggering.

Our whole society says to young women with an IQ over 130 that they have two paths. The high paid path or the altruistic path. Going in to investment banking or medicine will give them a six figure income and high status among many sub groups. So some of these women with iq over 130 take that path.

The other path open to them is to do teach for america, or some other nonprofit in which they devote their time to raising the life prospects of NAMs. Going down this path gives them status with a different group of peers.

But if the women with an IQ over 130 decides to devote herself to reproducing her own superior DNA, by getting married at 21 and having three children in her 20's, that is considered to be very low status in almost all high IQ social circles.

I of course don't blame Friedman for creating this zeitgeist, but he is a symptom of it.

We have created a society in which women with low IQ have a large number of children at a young age, and the women with the right DNA, the 130 IQ plus women reproduce late or not at all.

Anonymous said...

"Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child" -Kipling


A poster at Dennis Mangan's linked an article that described a young-idealistic teacher's experience in D.C. public elementary school. I was suprised to learn that the teacher could not paddle the students, and apparently (at least in this one school) the students could not be physically punished. These were underclass kids, generally from single-parent households. They ran all over that teacher in a loud, brutal, no-concentration-zone-kind of classroom.

The very first idea that I'd have for improving performance in these schools would be the one that literally forced us to behave when I was a lad: genunine fear of the principle's office and that paddle Mr. Thomas had. It made me keep my mouth shut and my hands to myself all those years ago.


I bet I know one idea that Tom Friedman wont have: sending any of his own kids to distressed "publik skools". Why would I not be suprised if he thought cross-county busing of middle class white students to underclass schools (to improve diversity, etc.) would be a "bold, innovative, revolutionary" approach?

I guess that since Friedman's foreign policy prescriptions have worked out so magnificently well, he is considered an expert in education by the editors of the NYT.


Im glad Steve reads the NYT for the rest of us, so that we dont have to. I wouldn't have any enamel left on my molars if I read the NYT.

Anonymous said...

What an extraordinary Kipling verse! Beautiful, haunting and spot-on. Quote of the year, or decade.

Anonymous said...

The solution to our education problems is different from other solutions to problems. For example consider Alzheimer's. We don't have much treatment for Alzheimer's disease because we don't understand it. If you went back in time a hundred years you would have found a lot of Alzheimer's even if it was misdiagnosed.

That's not true of course of most infectious diseases. There was a lot of such diseases before Koch and Pasteur but as soon as the issue was understood the problem began to dissipate.

Education is just the opposite. Go back a hundred years or so and education seemed to have been better. There was less of it and it was not available for everybody but we knew how to teach reading, writing and 'rithmatic back then.

Read about the education of Hamilton or Burr. In the modern world they would probably have learned less and much more slowly.

I'm all for progress but in education that points toward the past not the future.

Approximately 60% of the new half billion dollar Robert Kennedy school will be filled with illegal aliens who speak little or no English. This isn't about education. It's something else entirely. It's about social engineering and institutional babysitting.

Friedman's right we do know what works but it isn't better-trained teachers or more concerned principals. That's so wrong headed I'm flummoxed for a response.

Albertosaurus

Paleo Truth Squad said...

Kipling would read Steve.

Glaivester said...

We’ve taken up the White mans Burden
Of ebony and brown:
Now will you kindly tell us, Rudyard,
How we may put it down?


-Found in a "New York newspaper"

agnostic said...

Cuz parents today aren't involved enough in their kids' school lives...

Has to be said...

So who are our "new-caught, sullen peoples"?

helene edwards said...

I assume Friedman's smart enough to know that if it hadn't been for Education spending over the last 20 yrs. or so, the black middle class would not have expanded to anything like the size it is now. When I see a black 21-year old non-thug driving a new 525i, as I did this morning on the Bay Bridge, I assume her mother is a principal or state ed. bureaucrat whose salary is provided by the feds.

Anonymous said...

Kipling would read Steve.

Or he might be a tool and a neocon.

Just like he was a tool for the Rothschilds, Sassoons, etc.

Anonymous said...

a little off-topic, but Ace [who recently introduced Volunteer Mods] won't let you use the word "Wookiee" anymore [although apparently "Worf" is still acceptable - go figure].



Ace always struck me as a guy with severe emotional problems. I predict that in the next four years he'll do a full Charles Johnson.

Baloo said...

Thank you, Glaivester. That is indeed a gem.

Svigor said...

White Person's Burden

Cute, very cute.

Svigor said...

Canada’s point is that the only way to fix our schools is not with a Superman or a super-theory. No, it’s with supermen and superwomen pushing super-hard to assemble what we know works

Remember the French guy in True Lies?

Who writes this shit? C'est la merde.

Anonymous said...

"and the women with the right DNA, the 130 IQ plus women reproduce late or not at all."


Ehh, that would be me. You smart fellas all diss religion, but I think if my divorced and very secular parents had at least imparted some faith, it may have affirmed the general notion that are supposed to carry on, after all, and not just live for today. I learned much too late that we should be fruitful and multiply.

Svigor said...

Perhaps we should push for requiring all Ivy League grads to be public school teachers for 10 years after graduation.

Now who's trying to stir things up?

I like it. I like it a lot.

Also, a little off-topic, but Ace [who recently introduced Volunteer Mods] won't let you use the word "Wookiee" anymore [although apparently "Worf" is still acceptable - go figure].

Help a brother out - what do "Wookie" and "Worf" mean?

I was suprised to learn that the teacher could not paddle the students

I spent 3 years in 2 public schools in 2 states and I've never heard of a public school that allows teachers to lay a hand on anyone unless it's to break up a fight. Actually, I never knew the exact policy, but I knew corporal punishment was way out the window.

So your surprise is a surprise to me. But I agree. Kids think corporal punishment's a joke until they get a taste. Mom with the belt, it ain't. I got served up to a disciplinarian once and it's no joke.

It made me keep my mouth shut and my hands to myself all those years ago.

Who's the guy who says a family, properly run, is authoritarian?

Anonymous said...

Reading Kipling's poem, it does not sound like a ringing endorsement of the "white man's burden".

Curvaceous, etc. said...

what do "Wookie" and "Worf" mean?

Wookie was the furry man / dog looking creature that was Han Solo's sidekick in Star Wars.

http://img362.imageshack.us/i/wookie.jpg/

Worf was the Black Klingon character in Star Trek, The Next Generation.
http://fashionindie.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/worf01.jpg

Hey, fellas, don't despair! Geeky girls ARE out there!

Anonymous said...

Hasn't Friedman heard of that school in LA that costs over $500 million? That's the solution!

ricpic said...

Kipling was spot on about the sullenness of the lesser breeds.

BamaGirl said...

"and the women with the right DNA, the 130 IQ plus women reproduce late or not at all."

I'm right around there, and I plan on reproducing around 26-27 (already got the mate picked out)..But I do agree with the overall point, and although I don't necessarily even like children (yet), I don't understand people who don't want any.

Maybe it's bizarre, but I have always felt like I have some sort of obligation towards my ancestors to "keep the line going." And since I'm not very religious, genes seem to be the only surefire way to achieve some semblance of immortality

Anonymous said...

Really, he's harnessing all the powers of society and government for a vocabulary test and math quiz.

Svigor said...

Lol, I know what Wookie and Worf really mean. I want to know the slang context. Or did I miss the point, and the guy just doesn't want anyone talking about the big shaggy Star Wars character?

Brent Lane said...

I'm sure that, if Friedman's education 'reform' were put into practice, he'd be the first to tell us we'd know it whether or not it was working in the next six months.


Speaking of the White Man's Burden, I came across this image in Wikipedia Commons.

It's an editorial cartoon, circa 1898. From the Detroit Journal.

Oh, the irony.

Svigor said...

Bamagirl, nothing bizarre about that, it's called having a healthy mindset.

The Bear said...

OT: Steve, there's an intriguing article on college football in today's Wall Street Journal. I hope you plan to post on this season even though your boy has moved on.

Anonymous said...

Also in the Times recently is this very NYT-ish article, "Lower East Side Has Less to Offer Jesuits Who Teach the Poor".

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/nyregion/11mission.html?fta=y

Extract:

"Father Podsiadlo and Mr. Pellino began to zero in on neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Brooklyn where conditions echo those of the old Lower East Side. Ideally, they want a spot where there is an active community group or a vibrant parish, a place where parents and neighbors can join their mission.

They would also like to serve Latinos, who, recent news reports have shown, are underrepresented at innovative charter schools."

I tell you, the entire newspaper has become a footnote to iSteve.

elvisd said...

"I spent 3 years in 2 public schools in 2 states and I've never heard of a public school that allows teachers to lay a hand on anyone unless it's to break up a fight. Actually, I never knew the exact policy, but I knew corporal punishment was way out the window"

Still legal back home, with written parental permission.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Bama Girl:

Parenting is an instinct. You will like your own children just fine.

Anonymous said...

"Ehh, that would be me. You smart fellas all diss religion, but I think if my divorced and very secular parents had at least imparted some faith, it may have affirmed the general notion that are supposed to carry on, after all, and not just live for today. I learned much too late that we should be fruitful and multiply."

Welfare Mamas seem to squeeze out a lot of kids without any kind of religion whatsoever, and they are definitely living for today.

It's more about having the right conditions encouraging young women to marry and reproduce, and a little social pressure as well. Religion can do that, but so can other things. Religion by itself isn't the deciding factor.

Anonymous said...

"[Geoffrey] Canada’s point is that the only way to fix our schools is not with a Superman or a super-theory. No, it’s with supermen and superwomen pushing super-hard to assemble what we know works: better-trained teachers working with the best methods under the best principals supported by more involved parents."

Must admit, that's some pretty horrific writing, even for Tom Friedman. I can understand why a buffoon like Imus might be impressed with this kind of drivel, but the other Friedman fans have fewer excuses.

eh said...

What a dork.

Fred said...

"Reading Kipling's poem, it does not sound like a ringing endorsement of the "white man's burden"."

Kipling would have been happy to know that you got the point of his poem. It would have been the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae of his accomplishments.

elvisd said...

This is a Spengler topic to the max.

Anonymous said...

Ace always struck me as a guy with severe emotional problems. I predict that in the next four years he'll do a full Charles Johnson.

Agreed.

I think that Steve's analyses of Verhoeven and Tarantino go a long way towards explaining both Charles's and Ace's initial infatuations with the military and things militaristic.


Lol, I know what Wookie and Worf really mean. I want to know the slang context. Or did I miss the point, and the guy just doesn't want anyone talking about the big shaggy Star Wars character?

Ace will let you say, "The First Lady looked resplendent in a shimmering evening dress by Donna Karan, with matching bat'leth by Vera Wang."

But you are forbidden to say, "It was clear that when she snuck away to the Great Mosque of Granada, the First Wookiee was experiencing a bad hair day."

Truth said...

"Reading Kipling's poem, it does not sound like a ringing endorsement of the "white man's burden"

Nothing gets by you, does it Poirot?

C. Van Carter said...

Friedman is famous for the pure smugness of his droning, but in that peice a few desperate sounding notes can be heard intruding.

David said...

Friedman is always cracking the whip for everyone (else) to work hard-as-hell 24/7.

Invasion by millions of people from the four corners of the globe (thanks to open borders) and everything up for grabs? Become a genius and innovate!

Massive education failure? Put supermen and superwomen working superhard on the job!

Work harder! Harder! HARDER!

Until you're ready for the glue factory.

Mr. Anon said...

"David said...

Work harder! Harder! HARDER!

Until you're ready for the glue factory."

Indeed, Friedman is the Stakhanovite Neo-Con.

Of course HE'LL never be sent to the knackers yard - he married into an ultra-wealthy family.

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