My buddy Ellen writes, regarding Dontay (see below):

...a clear example of one not succumbing to victimhood. I am with you on that one. What I can't quite place is why the hoorah for a product of the public school system which takes your money, after all, without even asking. Spending it on edumacation and what not, and FREE lunches to boot. Egads! Is it simply that you did not have the energy to rant on what is not right about the whole public school system? That with a smattering of "well heck, this is the system we are forced to life with until the revolution so why bother" thrown in for good measure? Just a wondering.

Boy, email like this is easy to respond to since she pretty much has me pegged. Of course I do not believe in public education, and of course I realize that the system is not going to magically vanish just because I think it is immoral. So, yes; I am writing about responses to the system as it is. Also, in this case, the focus is more on Dontay, the It kid, making his way as best he can through the system he is presented with. He has even less power than I do to change it. Also he almost certainly has no exposure to libertarian ideas; so to expect him to act in accordance with them is unreasonable. (As if he would buy them even if he knew about them.)

More generally, I always keep in mind that my opponents are people and deserve respect. Most people, in my experience, are good hearted in the sense that they want the world to be a better place; that they want more happiness for more people; and that they want to live in a virtuous, moral, and peaceful society. Nobody has a monopoly on these things.

The differences in the world boil down to two things. First, different axioms. Some people think a seven month old fetus has (or should have) rights; some people don't. This sort of difference will never go away, and will always cause conflict. The best we can do is to manage that conflict, as peacefully as possible. One can hope to win over the other side to one's own view of the world, but that is not something one can do with science and reason alone. Ultimately, everyone is religious in the sense of accepting truths that are unprovable.

The other sort of difference in the world is error; either misunderstandings of the basic nature of reality, or incorrect reasoning. For instance, do drugs cause crime or do drug laws cause crime? The process of debate and punditry can hope to correct error, but even that is very difficult, usually because history does not often provide clear interpretations.

Getting back to Dontay, his is just a single anecdote which doesn't prove much. It would serve to disprove an extreme view holding that it is literally impossible to transcend race and class in America -- but then nobody really holds such a view. Practically, the best I can hope for socialists reading this is for them to question the idea that "society" is or must be the primary force determining the success and failure of individuals. What we are includes things we are born with, which make a big difference.

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