Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best Friends Are Bad, Say Educators

I usually push back whenever commenters say that Ayn Rand was prescient. After all, she didn't envision the negative consequences of collectivism and socialism, she lived through them, twice.

The first time was for ten years in Soviet Russia, then again for another twenty during the Hoover and FDR administrations. So, while the episodes in 1957's Atlas Shrugged may look predictive of today's events, they're actually an abstraction of the essentials she observed first hand.

However, she was imaginative and she had a superb ability to project an idea's logical consequences. That's nowhere more evident than in 1937's Anthem. I never expected to see the events of that novella brought to literal life, though. Now, they have been.

A group of 'educators' — and here the scare quotes are well and truly deserved — argue that having a best friend is bad.
“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”
[S]chool officials admit they watch close friendships carefully for adverse effects. “When two children discover a special bond between them, we honor that bond, provided that neither child overtly or covertly excludes or rejects others,” said Jan Mooney, a psychologist at the Town School, a nursery through eighth grade private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

“However, the bottom line is that if we find a best friend pairing to be destructive to either child, or to others in the classroom, we will not hesitate to separate children and to work with the children and their parents to ensure healthier relationships in the future.”
I won't bother to counter their reasons; their pretense at being worried about bullying and unhealthy relationships are blatant rationalizations and not worth the bother. Their actual motives are not hard to discern, for anyone who has read Anthem. They're out to collectivize personal relationships, i.e. to make them impersonal. They are Dewey's heirs.

Choosing a close friend, someone who stands out as special, is to do just that: make that person stand out in one's hierarchy of values. To stand out is to stand apart, apart from the group, to regard one person as more important than another.

That, Progressive educators simply can not abide. It runs wholly contrary to their smothering collectivism and all-enveloping egalitarianism. To not be an interchangeable drone is to threaten the hive and to bring on the stings of the queen and her protectors.

If the parents in those school districts have a lick of sense they'll immediately withdraw their children until all those espousing such views have been completely purged. They should treat their children's exposure to that propaganda as they would an outbreak of small pox.

Sadly, that's about as likely as Obama being impeached. Even though it was a prominent story in the New York Times, most parents will read the story and shrug. Such lunacy has become so commonplace today it raises few eyebrows. When you live in the moral equivalent of the 14th century it's all too easy to get stoic about the plague.

It shouldn't be too surprising. After all, when the parents have themselves been raised by Comprachicos, the concept of a disease that destroys the soul becomes literally unthinkable.

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