Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Republicans and Teachers

Steve Sailer quotes extensively from a correspondent who chides conservatives/Republicans/libertarians for their ridiculous rhetoric about teachers. He then riffs on the topic with basic common sense himself:
If schoolteachers, firemen, cops, or civil servant bureaucrats move into your neighborhood, is that good for your property values or bad? For all but the top 10% or 20% richest neighborhoods, government employees are fairly desirable neighbors: law-abiding, had to pass some kind of test to get their jobs, stably employed, usually there for the long term, don't work too many hours so they can coach kid teams at the park, and so forth. (This is basic Chicago real estate logic.)
In other words, government employees tend to be one core element of the "small c" conservative American middle class.
I couldn't agree more. I have railed more than once,
more than once,
more than once,
more than once,
about the (Not Very) Good Old Days of Education and will not repeat myself here. Conservatives have this wrong, not just because it is political suicide, but because they are just wrong, period. Their beliefs are too dependent on false nostalgia, narratives of government control of thought and liberal bias, and misreading of educational data.

This topic may be the central evidence for the premise that conservatives do not actually want to govern, they just want to complain. And kick their friends.


james said...

Or they're sloppy thinkers. I respect policemen, but I don't want the policeman's union making the laws. The teachers are agents of policies, not architects.

That the public sector unions encouraged the state to make promises it couldn't keep doesn't mean the members are blameworthy. But making that distinction requires a little care, and subtlety and nuance seem to be a disadvantage in sound-bite-land. We get the kind of politicians we pay attention to.

Bill Nye wrote a little about the one-room schoolhouse education: google books

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Heh. Miss Nelson is missing.

Donna B. said...

In general, I agree. But I was a little surprised to find myself uncomfortable when two policepeople moved in across the street from us.

I felt watched. And it turns out, the wife (sheriff's deputy working as a jailer) was doing just that, although it was initially the husband (city detective) that made me most uncomfortable.

So, I would not now put police officers in the same good neighbor category as other government employees. I'm not saying they are bad neighbors (the wife is pretty much despised by all her neighbors now but it's her personality, not her job) but I am saying that having a cop for a neighbor makes me think twice about things I ordinarily wouldn't give the first thought too.

For example, all the 'little' city ordinances I regularly ignore. If I want to take my trash can to the street before 7 pm, I do. Sometimes I don't put it back until after 7 pm the next day. I've been known to burn a pile of leaves occasionally. I park my car sometimes where it's not supposed to be (on my property, but not on a proper surface) and sometimes I let the dog sit leashless on the front porch with me.

I could be issued a citation for all those infractions by a cop, but not by a teacher or civil service bureaucrat.

All in all, I prefer the neighbor who cut down a tree that landed on our roof, or the one who comes over to tell us how to do whatever we're doing at the moment, or the one who frequently volunteers to store tools for us until we need them again, or the one whose teenager plowed down a mailbox... oh wait, that was us.

Sam L. said...

Well, OK, maybe. It's their unions, their leaders, and all that dues money going into politicians' pockets and campaign funds, pretty much all Democrats.

And we can say it ain't the teachers, but the overload of administrators, etc., etc.

So...one ant is OK, but when you have 20K ants, there's a problem.

SJ said...

I think it's more tribal than anything else.

Conservatives feel that they get attacked by The System (of schools and teachers), and so they feel a need to counter-attack.

Der Hahn said...

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around whether Sailer *read* his own post.

Before he even got to the end of his comments on the letter he quoted, he was proclaiming that it would be political suicide for the GOP to try to appeal to another block of voters that typically support Democrats but individually possess attributes considered small-c conservative, such as working hard to make a better life for your family. Maybe because, according to ‘chicago real estate logic’ and his ‘would I like them for neighbors’ analysis, “their kind” moving in is bad for the neighborhood.

Sailer might be right on this but it’s definitely in the manner of a stopped clock.

james said...

IIRC Roosevelt, that progressive patron saint, didn't think public service unions were a good idea. It isn't hard to see why: the model is the industrial labor union which is inherently adversarial; since the union has a built-in interest in expansion it is inherently political; and experience shows they tend to become a kind of Praetorian Guard hijacking the government to their own ends.

And by Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy the people who run such things are disconnected from the rank and file.

So yes, 1 ant is fine, but 20K ants are a problem, because the organizations that result are problematic. Taking an example from a different field, we don't have problems (OWS-types excepted) with businesses doing well, but we look at monopolies warily because they distort the markets.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The few times I have disagreed with Der Hahn in the past I have had cause to reconsider soon after, so I will note it seriously.

I do acknowledge that knowing which political side one's bread is buttered on may be determinative for teachers and other government employees - as for all human beings, and little philosophical or political agreement may ever come from it. Nonetheless, I will hope not, and think that other small-c conservative elements of the listed professions will carry weight with enough folks to matter.