Political Implications of IQ Tests [Split from Topic "First time to the U.K. Strange...']


Orphans are a thing. They were a thing in the 19th century, and they’re not going to stop being a thing soon. Or do you have a recipe for world peace? :peace:

No. The second option is your neo-Victorian fantasy, which is a jungle a la Sinclair. I threw in the third option, a literal jungle, for fun.

Yes, you suggested home schooling, scholarships, and the Internet.

Home schooling wouldn’t really be an option for uneducated people who have to work full-time just to get by.

Scholarships would be for the rich to grant to the poor like a monarch granting mercy to a convict, or like talent scouts selecting candidates for Finleylandia’s Next Top Model.

It’s fine to say people should read wikis in their free time, but you already said the poor use the net for social media and naughty stuff (as if the middle and upper classes didn’t), so your prescription doesn’t make much sense.

Evil what now? I said people look at history and at different countries today and decide what they think is better. Some choose to move to less developed countries, for various reasons, but the vast majority prefer to move up, and there is an overflow of people banging on the doors of the first world (and the second for those who figure they have better chances of making it in there).

Immigrants to Canada from less developed countries consistently say they prefer the Canadian education system (occasional objections to sex education notwithstanding). Are Filipinos who move to the UK different?

Laws can be changed with public consensus, more or less. That’s how democracy (the worst of all systems a la Churchill) works.

Less developed countries tend to be less democratic, and that’s part of the point.


So they are. In the UK there were 4700 orphans adopted last year. In the same period, there were 698000 live births. So we might surmise (as a crude approximation) that at any given time 0.67% of the child population are orphans.

You still seem to be suggesting public policy should revolve around the existence of orphans - a tiny minority. Of course we don’t want to be dumping them in the woods, but I don’t see any obvious connection between the existence of orphans and the need for tax-funded education.

I acknowledged that that’s one way it could pan out, if the authorities were utterly incompetent; if the national population were wilfully ignorant, unimaginative, and uncaring; and if teachers were recruited only from the pool of mentally defective. I’d give that outcome a maybe one-in-three probability in a backward shithole, and one-in-ten in a more-or-less functioning society.

Nope, never mentioned home schooling. I suggested ad-hoc schools. People doing things for themselves, in the way they want things done, with whatever resources they have available, and with no need to go to government bean-counters asking, Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

The Uberisation of school. Perhaps that’s why it raises your hackles?

No, they’d be for the rich to grant to the smart. Or I suppose whoever they want. Possibly the State could mandate a standard test for “smart”, if it makes you happier to put politicians in charge of such things.

You seem to be forgetting that the rich already grant scholarships to the poor: under duress, with no say in where their money goes. In the UK, about 40% of the population are ‘donors’, while 60% are ‘beneficiaries’. I hope you’re not going to tell me those 60% are all orphans. Cost per kid, regardless of ability or outcome, is about £4,500 per year. So you can take a good guess at how much the average middle-class earner pays in: it’s around £10,000 a year, some of which would be used for his own kids, if he has any.

The obvious solution would be to run the two systems side by side: those who donate to private organisations and/or pay for their own kids would be exempted from those tax payments. Much like pensions.

But it’s their “right” to do so, isn’t it? I was pointing out that the poor simply have little interest in not being poor. If that weren’t so, they wouldn’t be poor. As for the middle classes using Facebook etc - they do use it less, and they spend more than zero time on ‘educational’ material, even if it’s just the news.

Forcing kids with no interest or ability into school (in its present incarnation) doesn’t help anybody. They walk of out of school 12 years later with no qualifications, the same attitude, and a lifetime of poverty (or jail) ahead of them. Worse, every one of those kids drags down five others who might otherwise succeed. So why bother? If education is a “right”, surely not being educated is also a right? Otherwise, it’s an obligation, isn’t it?

If you say so. Can I post some unicorns and rainbows?

Anyway, at least half of the world population lives under regimes which are either undemocratic, hopelessly incompetent, or both. What do you propose they should do?


And when a war or major disaster happens, there will be more. If a new regime or cultural shift decreases the availability or alters the legality of birth control (if you’re going to go Victorian, why not?), there will be more.

There are reasons for starting with worst case scenarios and working up from them.

Aka home schooling, except that the pre-Apocalyptic version requires kids to pass a test once in a while. (Mileage may vary by jurisdiction.)

Sure, sign your rights away to an opaque foreign company that refuses to admit it’s in the education business, doesn’t pay its teachers (oops, “partners”) a living wage, considers law enforcement a violation of its terms of service, and does lord knows what with customers’ personal information.

Of course people will go for it, as long as they’re desperate enough.

Exactly. Your faith in their judgement is baffling.

Oh please. :roll: I don’t have time for all statism is tyranny! or there’s no such thing as a social contract! arguments.

You talk about them as if they’re a sub-human race of savages who belong in a zoo. Victorian, indeed.

Kids with “no ability” i.e. the severely retarded are what percentage of the population? Less than orphans, I reckon. You’re presuming that anyone with poor parents is severely retarded (even though it’s “because they want to be poor”) and therefore a lost cause, which the state can do nothing to change. You don’t quite say it’s genetic, but if not, then what exactly? They want to be born that way?

Ah, so the state can change a child’s lot, but… only for the worse? :ponder: Strange logic.

As I told you, the ROC Constitution says it’s both.

In the first world in general, it’s a right that children can’t waive. You can split hairs about that if you like. :sleeping:

Unicorns and rainbows are free! :grinning: :rainbow: :unicorn: :peace: :happyrunningaround:

You could say rights exist because governments (including all branches) decided so. Or you could say they exist because philosophers decided so, and governments played along. Or you could say they’re granted by God, by Nature, by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever. It’s as moot as chickens and eggs. They exist in law, and they have results.

I’m trying to explain why I see your idea as a giant leap backward for the first world. As for refusing to hope for any kind of improvement in the rest of the world, I wouldn’t tend to support that either, yet I’m not the optimist you seem to think I am.

You can have your one-step-removed-from-the-literal-jungle life, and you can even raise your kids there. I’ll continue taking my chances with the first world (and whatever Taiwan is – not that I plan to raise kids in its system). :slight_smile:


So, um … let me get this straight. If there is a war or national emergency, it is critical to keep charging taxpayers 4,500 per kid to keep the State education system running, at the expense of - oh, I dunno - national defence?

Yes, but you seem to be drawing mathematically-impossible conclusions. The worst-case scenario is having no money to fund public education. In that scenario, my implementation is far more resilient than yours. Yours just breaks completely.

Seriously? You equate schooling by non-State agencies with home schooling? Harrow is just somebody’s dining room run by stay-at-home parents?

“Free schools” in the UK are now permitted to employ as teachers the kind of people I mentioned, ie., professionals with useful experience but without the standard package of teaching qualifications.

Yeah, I thought I’d hit a raw nerve. You might be interested to know that the UK does actually have such schools, mostly Muslim. The government hates them, partly because it views them as terrorist training camps. However, even officialdom grudgingly admits that they supply quality education at a much better price point than traditional rugby-and-cricket private schools. They’re being left alone as long as they don’t engage in religious indoctrination and suchlike.

People who are rich probably know how to handle money, and will not give it to people who will piss it down the drain. Why exactly is this ‘baffling’? What bad outcome do you anticipate there? Or do you simply object on principle to the idea of people doing as they please with their own money?

It was a statement of fact, not a political view. The numbers I quoted were from the UK ONS.

Besides, my point is that the social contract is being violated. The people pay taxes in expectation of getting useful services in return. That isn’t happening.

It seems you either think these people don’t exist, or you think that that the official statistics on educational failure are made up from whole cloth. Which is it?

They’re as human as anybody else. I’m not saying they should be locked up and thrown scraps through the bars. Using your terminology, I’m saying they should not be allowed to violate the “rights” of other kids who turn up at school expecting an education.

Look, some people are psychopaths. I mean proper psychopaths. They’re unfixable - or if they are fixable, we don’t know how to fix them. There is no good outcome for them. They’re about 1% of the population. A further 2-4% have personality disorders with similar destructive results (BPD, for example). That implies at least one per classroom. It doesn’t really matter why this happens: as with Gain’s argument on IQ, you seem to be conflating facts with causes. But it does happen, and governments should deal with the world as they find it, rather than as they imagine it ought to be.

No, not the severely retarded. Kids who, for whatever reason, will not benefit from school and will make the lives of other kids miserable. As noted, that’s probably about 3-5% of the general population, more in some locations, less in others.

The State can do either. At the moment, it chooses to make things worse, and wastes a lot of money doing it.

This is hardly “splitting hairs”. It is logically impossible for something to be both a right and an obligation. Those words have almost diametrically opposite meanings: eg., I have an obligation not to steal people’s cars because other people have a right not to have their cars stolen. The State has an obligation to maintain an impartial and efficient judiciary because the people have a right to fair and swift justice. If I have a right to do or have something then by definition I have a right to decline it, and/or make my own arrangements. In your world, it’s the Government’s way or the highway.

Interesting. Aren’t you glad you have that right? :slight_smile:


Quick, send all refugees, earthquake survivors, and other poor people to the munitions factories! The somethingorothers are coming! :runaway: But send the rich to the five star bomb shelters, since they have so much “ability”! :money_mouth_face:

What, expelling the poor from school and evicting them from semi-decent housing to live in Victorian slums again? (Or evicting them from the cities entirely, so they can be hunter-gatherers? Since they have “no ability” and all that…)

Oh, I see what’s going on. It’s like the Airbnb discussion. You said

I suggested ad-hoc schools. People doing things for themselves, in the way they want things done, with whatever resources they have available, and with no need to go to government bean-counters asking, Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

If you home school your kids, you can get together with other home schooling families (ad-hoc schools), you do things the way you want, you do things with whatever resources you have available.

If you let a home schooling group get big enough or a private school get small enough, at some point the one will resemble the other, just like if you rent out enough rooms or apartments to enough people for short enough durations, you will eventually become a de facto hotel (or guesthouse), and if you rent one hotel suite to one person for one year at a time you will become a de facto vanilla landlord.

It’s up to any given society to decide where one ends and the other begins. As I said before, expecting society not to want these things regulated is Sisyphean.

I don’t believe you. That there are private schools run by religious groups, yes, that’s not new. That some of them are less formal than traditional Etons and Harrows and may be hard to distinguish from home schooling groups, yes. But that’s not Uber’s business model.

Wait, what? :eek: In the UK, public schools (state schools) are funded by giving money directly to students or their parents? :doh: No wonder you’re so messed up over there… :roll:

fwp finley taxes
If a contract is being violated, you have recourse. Use it! :slight_smile:

Having bipolar disorder means having “no ability”? :rofl:
Having bipolar disorder is a symptom of poverty? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I wonder what else would make it onto Comrade Finsky’s List of Characteristics By Which Useless Mouths Distinguish Themselves. :ponder:

In Canada, even way back when yyy was little, public education came in multiple flavors. The fast learners (who didn’t necessarily do well in normal classes) got more challenging lessons, and the disabled crowd got whatever patient treatment they needed, or so we were told.

Is this not a thing in the UK?

You’re not the first person to find the ROC constitution paradoxical, and you won’t be the last. :slight_smile:

(Legal paradoxes can be fun to discuss, but I don’t think this is the place.)

I prefer the rule of law (a form of statism) to anarchy, yes. When the law is stupid, I look for (legal) alternatives, including changing the law. That’s how that worst-of-all-possible-systems thing works.

Are you asking if I’m I glad I have freedom of movement or if I’m glad I’m not an ROC national with household registration? :ponder:

In my own country, people have the right to choose between state schooling, private schooling and home schooling. There are problems with all three systems, and I look forward to the day when all of them, including the parts that are publicly funded, will be less problematic than they are now. Still, having seen how it works in certain other countries, I’m neither shedding tears nor advocating abolition of state schools.

Would you say your views are relatively mainstream in the UK? Perhaps I should show this thread to Canadians who support CANZUK, to put the proverbial fear of God into them. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


You brought up the war issue. When a country has no spare money, it needs to get creative with funding the necessities. It’s a pity they stop doing it in peacetime - it might be one of the explanations for economic bullishness during wartime. Heard of “war gardens”? 40% of British food came from backyards during WW2. Tesco would hate that sort of thing. Growing vegetables is actually a violation of city bylaws in some US communities.

You actually think I said that? Did you even read any of it?

Yes, I suppose it is like AirBnB. I suggested the government could solve that problem by addressing legal categories that have some objective reality (such as noise pollution or building standards) rather than trying to draw lines around completely arbitrary categories.

To be fair, the UK is moving in this direction re. schooling. School is slowly being taken over by the private sector as the government fails to do its job. The problem is that the government still thinks its entitled to take taxes from people who pay taxes for education and school fees in addition.

Fixed that for you. One of the problems with the EU as-is, and one of the causes of Brexit, is the ceaseless obsession with regulating stuff that really doesn’t need regulating.


I love the phrase ‘suspected illegal schools’ used in that article. You are suspected of educating your child in non-approved ways! It’s room 101 for you!

Again, to be fair, the inspectors are mainly concerned with safety and effectiveness (which, as I said, is reasonable in the context of AirBnB etc). I personally dislike ‘ultra-orthodox’ religions. What’s amusing is that the inspectors have no powers to improve the safety and effectiveness of State schools.

No, not yet - I was suggesting it could be done like that.

What difference does it make what roundabout path the money takes? I was suggesting it could be done that way. Full disclosure: I was a scholarship boy (my nephew also). I owe a debt of gratitude to those anonymous parents and chinless wonders who donated (some of) my school fees. You’ll probably go off on a rant about elitism, and I quite agree. Such things should be available to anyone with the ability to pay back on the investment - or rather, to pay it forward, which I try to do.

What, stop paying your taxes?
Tell the government it’s awfully unfair and they should stop doing it?
Take the government to court (what legislation do you suppose you could deploy, given that the ‘social contract’ is purely notional)?

The ‘illegal schools’ are actually doing what needs to be done: ignoring bad laws. That’s the way bad laws do eventually get changed: a critical mass of people flout them. Classic example would be home schooling in the USA.

I can lend you the diagnostic and treatment manual if you’re interested. However, it is extremely resistant to treatment, mainly because people with BPD are quite obnoxious and hard to work with; most of them don’t realise they have a problem.

You are again arguing that because something isn’t the kid’s fault (and of course it isn’t) he should be absolved of his responsibilities. Nutcases can’t help what they are any more than blind people can help being blind. Life sucks, it sucks more for some people than others, and more often than not there is no solution.

All I’m suggesting here is that kids who will violate the rights of others should not be allowed to do so. What you do with them instead is a completely different question. I’m amazed that this is even up for debate.

No, it isn’t, and many other countries are similar. But I was speaking specifically of the UK. I agree that it’s a very obvious solution, but it’s one that’s politically impossible in the current climate of “every child is Equal!”.

On education specifically, yes. It’s particularly the poor who are sick of it, because they don’t have much recourse.


Wow, we are so not on the same page. There are only so many hours in a day, so I will leave this one.

(I thought Tesco was private sector btw, but I suppose anything is possible on your island.)

I’m trying to find the logical conclusions of your version of neo-Vickyism. Create a situation in which people are less educated, ergo they will be poorer, ergo they won’t be able to afford to live in the cities, and so on. (At least in Neal Stephenson’s version they get free matter compilers they can use to feed themselves.)

I only meant the “when does x become y?” part was like what I had said in the Uber thread about Airbnb and hotels, btw, not that home schooling groups resemble Airbnb business-wise.

Uh-oh, those scholarship donors deserve a refund because Finley just failed reading comprehension! :no_no: Try again:

The same thing happens in Canada. It has nothing to do with the new religion of Uberism (yet).

It’s a democracy, innit?

Okay, yyy failed his medical acronyms test. :oops: But the same article makes you sound like a doomsday prophet.

If the only options are let them harm other kids or throw them out on the street, it’s a false dichotomy. Except–

Seriously? :noway:

At this point I would throw up my arms and say the Motherland is royally covfefed beyond repair (can’t find the right Britishism for that), but I’ll still hold out a sliver of hope that you’re just under-informed about your country’s system. :rainbow:


Yes, honestly, I think we’re just talking past each other again.

I meant that the government is beholden to companies like Tesco because, if they went arse-end-up, people would starve. Hence my arguments in favour of distributed systems (which fail gracefully, or adapt) rather than monoliths (which are brittle).

Why on earth would anyone advocate such a thing? I’m suggesting mechanisms by which those who want to be educated could access education, of one sort of another. I’d like this to see this happen (a) without them being harassed by those who are more interested in wreaking havoc than in learning how to spell and count, and (b) without the State spending an eye-watering amount of cash on the project, which is physically impossible in countries not still chugging along on the fumes of Empire.

You seem to value appearances over substance. Just because car thief Wayne is sent to school when he’s not out stealing cars, it doesn’t mean he’s actually being educated.

I know. I did get that bit. I responded in the same way: “yet”. The difference here is that I think that future possibility is a positive thing. The reason is that governments have no incentive to reduce costs. They simply take the bovine approach of assuming that a building costs this much to buy and run, salaries cost this much, equipment costs this much, etc. A school is a school is a school and it must follow a standard blueprint. Much like a transport company is a transport company, and if it doesn’t fulfil the blueprint then >DOES NOT COMPUTE >DIVIDE BY CHEESE ERROR >LAWYER ALLOCATION ERROR >RETRY OR REBOOT?

Profit-seeking enterprises are much better at reducing costs than governments. Contrary to left-leaning opinion, they don’t do this by shafting their workers, especially when their business success depends on a reputation for quality, and when quality depends on hiring excellent workers. Of course, I won’t deny that it doesn’t happen when quality is irrelevant, or can be hidden.

Consider Taiwan’s example: the buxiban system, which (it seems to me) is where 50%+ of the learning takes place. Inefficient, but apparently effective. I know someone who much prefers to work as a private teacher because (a) she gets more money and (b) she doesn’t have to put up with bureaucratic bullshit.

Possibly. So what? You’re being coy about exactly what options are available. Could this be because, in practice, there are none (apart from the one I suggested: flouting the law)?

It’s hard to put them anywhere else except on the street because that’s where they like going by default. There are of course plenty of other possibilities, but the British gov’t at least is extraordinarily uninventive in that regard.

I was specifically railing against the modern train of thought that goes like this:

  • education is a right.
  • the government has a responsibility to fund the fulfillment of that right.
  • all people are equal.
  • ergo all people should have access to tax-funded education, even when they’re little bastards.

I acknowledge that other countries haven’t gone down this road (yet), but since the above are quite common memes, it’s likely to spread.

I don’t think so. I know two people there who are teachers, and of course plenty of people who have (or are) kids going through the system. But yeah, it’s all a bit of a disaster over there.

Why do men get bashed for no reason these days?

Yes, wonderful. There was a time when schools taught things you can do with your hands, not just book (or computer) learning. Things like cooking and carpentry. Is that all gone? If they taught gardening, that would be great imo.

(Of course, slum dwellers might not be able to grow victory gardens, depending on how crowded the rooms they share are.)

You lost your right to vote?

You have to pay tax on your worldwide income as a non-resident?

As I said, learning disabilities are accommodated in some countries, not by mainstreaming but by special programs. That this concept would be shocking is what I find shocking.

You said it.


Ha. Except when they administrate public money; then everything tends to be crappy and expensive. I wonder why… What a mystery!


Another of this Nazi garbage on this site.

GB/UK dark green? With all that pubs and beer?


Sure. Same problem isn’t it: they have no incentive to spend that money wisely because the government guarantees their slice regardless. OTOH, apart from the railways and some bits of the health service, I can’t think of anything in the UK that falls into that category.


I don’t see anything wrong with memorizing certain knowledge and then using them as a life-long skill.

That’s how every Lawyer and Doctor becomes who they are now.

Unsuccessful people usually talk the most loudly and have the most opinions about education.
But the fact is, it’s their own fault not to memorize the right thing and use them properly at the right time. And they blame the educational system for their own failure.


I agree.

While one must have a certain amount of smarts to know how to use memorized facts, the average dull kid can get along very well by just memorizing things: times-tables, for example.