My Biases

Doug asks that bloggers be up front about our biases:
I'’ve just decided I won't read anybody who doesn'’t tell me where s/he is coming from. Why should I pay any attention to a person who does not have experience or may have some sort of hidden agenda that colors her/his writings? (If the agenda is stated, no problem. See My Biases and John Pederson's biases. Will Richardson has his "“Disclaimer"”.) Damn fine and shining examples of good behavior, we are.
For the record, then, here are my biases. Make of them what you will.

About education:
  1. We owe it to our country and our future to provide every child with the best possible education.
  2. No Child Left Behind is not, in and of itself, evil. The implementation and reliance on testing is horribly misguided and doing nothing to further the education of our students.
  3. Libraries are not optional in a school environment and all students should be information fluent before they leave school.
  4. The fact that students graduate high school without being properly prepared for the world after (be it college or work) is criminal.
  5. Constructivist education should not replace teaching the basics. Without building blocks, there is no further learning. Allowing students to "follow their bliss" should only occur after 9th grade.
  6. A college education - or beyond - is not as important as we think it is. There is honor in doing work that does not require codified higher education.
  7. If you have a PhD in English or Musicology, you are not a doctor.

About technology:
  1. Buying a cool tool is not implementation, it's acquisition.
  2. Technology only works if you know why you have it and how you plan to use it. Sometimes, the older form works better - not every bell and whistle is needed.
  3. People need to be comfortable with a new "solution" for it to work. Forcing change leads to bad change and angry constituents.
  4. There is value to being unplugged and quiet.

About politics, religion and culture:
  1. Privacy is disappearing - this is not a good thing.
  2. Holding to your own religious beliefs is not a bad thing; forcing others to believe the same is. Until death, no one can positively know which is the True Faith. For all we know, we're all wrong.
  3. #2 does not mean that we should not all do our best to be kind, ethical and honorable in our dealings with the world.
  4. Evil does exist. Hitler and Stalin may have been the most recent examples of evil leadership; comparing current politicians to either dilutes the meaning of the word and anesthetizes us to the true thing.
  5. We should all boycott and protest any politician that engages in negative campaigning.
  6. I am not convinced that voting for someone simply because they're not the other party is enough: I want to know what my representative's biases are and where they stand on the issues. Democrats, take note.
  7. Not everyone needs to be famous for 15 minutes.
  8. Our culture celebrate "heroes" mainly those that are merely inspirations. This includes Lance Armstrong, Hillary Clinton, Princess Diana and Oprah.
  9. Celebrating youth is not a good thing. Grow old gracefully. I intend to.

That's enough for now. I expect these will change over the days... months... years. And I'll let you know when they do.


Anonymous said...

I will admit to one bias: I deplore instances of the genetic fallacy, wherever I find them. And Doug's request, IMO, dances near the edge. Ideas should be judged on their own merits, not on whether the holders thereof have agendas, hidden or otherwise. I don't need to know all your basic beliefs before I'm willing to hear what you have to say on this or that issue-- and, quite frankly, few people are such systematic thinkers that a list of their basics is an infallible predicter of what they'll say on every topic.

Plus, would you really characterize the list you gave as a set of biases? Some of them are biases, but others are surely critical opinions, carefully come by.

Aravis said...

I agree with cam. That being said, I also agree with most of your listed opinions. Regarding negative ads, the ones that bug me the most are the ones that attack their opponent for negative ads, all the while tearing down the opponent. This makes my eyes roll every time.

Anonymous said...

As Dave Barry would say, 'Dancing on the Edge of a Genetic Fallacy" would make a great name for a rock band.

Enjoyed your list very much. Something cathartic about thinking about one's biases and just getting them out in the open air where they stand open mouthed and blinking.

All the best,


Brian H said...

Most recent examples? You discount Pol Pot, Mao, Kim (pere et fils), Saddam, Milosevic, etc., etc.? How very forgiving and liberal of you!