A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: Harry Potter studies
Previous entry: Home education at the St Petersburg Zoo
Friday April 25 2008

Here’s a piece by a long-time favourite of mine, P. J. O’Rourke, about his trip to the giant US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.  I hope that there will be very varied responses from the readers of this blog to the political tone of this article, reflecting what I hope are the varying political attitudes of my readers.  But in among his political ruminations, O’Rourke makes an interesting and uncontroversial point about the age of many of the people who work on this huge and intricately functioning vessel, by quoting something said to him by the chief petty officer:

These are supremely dangerous jobs. And most of the flight deck crew members are only 19 or 20. Indeed the whole ship is run by youngsters. The average age, officers and all, is about 24. “These are the same kids,” a chief petty officer said, “who, back on land, have their hats bumped to one side and their pants around their knees, hanging out on corners. And here they’re in charge of $35 million airplanes.”

I didn’t study sociology for nothing.  Okay, it was a Mickey Mouse subject compared to something like physics, but the central fact of the subject was (is) indeed a fact.  There most definitely is such a thing as society – societies plural to be exact – and it is (they are) a hell of a force.  The same people, depending on the circumstances they find themselves in, have it in them to behave in radically different ways, as different as the two kinds of young people described in the above paragraph.  You absolutely do not have to be in favour of enormous aircraft carriers to accept the truth of all that.

Which is all a different way of saying what I earlier said in this posting.  That was merely about how the same teachers get different results in different schools, with different rules.  But the principle is exactly the same.

image

That is all for today.  At ease.