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Opening Arguments

Collective stupidity

Private property is bad because "ownership" results in an unequal distribution of power, which frustrates efforts to act communally for the public good. That is the collectivist drivel being taught in a school in Seattle. The children had their Legos taken away because, in building their Legotown, they were incorporating "their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys." These assumptions "mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society -- a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive." The Legos were given back only after the children's socialist indoctrination was complete:

At the end of that time, Legos returned to the classroom after the children agreed to several guiding principles framed by the teachers, including that "All structures are public structures" and "All structures will be standard sizes." The teachers quote the children:

"A house is good because it is a community house."

"We should have equal houses. They should be standard sizes."

"It's important to have the same amount of power as other people over your building."

In case you think the writer is exaggerating or distorting what the school is doing, here are a couple of the teachers giddily explaining the whole thing. They are quite pleased that the children "gave voice to the value that collectivity is a solid, energizing way to organize a community — and that it requires power-sharing, equal access to resources, and trust in the other participants." Whew.

There are only two ways to think about the formation of government -- the individual is more important than the group, or the group is more important than the individual -- and they lead to two kinds of government. Property rights aren't just as important as other rights -- they're more important. "Civil" rights are granted by the government, which decides who gets them and who doesn't, how they will be applied and paid for. Property rights draw the line between the individual and the group, and tells the government what its limits are. But if there are Supreme Court justices who don't understand that, it's probably foolish to expect a couple of grade-school teachers to.

Oh, this is a private school, by the way, not a public one. No irony there.

Posted in: Current Affairs


Larry Morris
Thu, 03/08/2007 - 8:08am

I'm beginning to wonder where the hell I live, ...

tim zank
Thu, 03/08/2007 - 8:21am

It takes a Village Idiot, to raise a child, right? In this case a whole shool full of Village idiots.....

Bob G.
Thu, 03/08/2007 - 9:31am

Gee...and to think THAT mindset used to be called SOCIALISM...or was that COMMUNISM? Somewhere, Karl Marx is smiling over this.

Man...what rock are all these misinformed misanthropes crawling out from under these days?

And the last time I checked it still takes a PARENT (that gives a rat's-ass) to raise ANY child.

Sounds like that school on the LEFT coast (where ELSE would this crap occur?) wants to be part of the "Borg Assimilation For Lunch Bunch".

That's it...I'm digging MY legos back out and building some PRIVATE property...lol!



Steve Towsley
Thu, 03/08/2007 - 11:53am

Those teachers should be made to sit through a screening of THE FOUNTAINHEAD. Then try to explain to all of us how Gary Cooper's Howard Roark is a villain and Twohy and his ilk are champions of the ideal architectural ethic.

Ridiculous, and back-azzward. Too bad there is apparently no higher, or smarter, authority in Seattle.

Bob G.
Fri, 03/09/2007 - 6:32am

And don't forget Steve...in Seattle, they're trying to keep you from BOOING at games now as well.


tim zank
Fri, 03/09/2007 - 7:04am

I saw that last night. If parents can't raise kids to be "good" fans, the schools will take care of it.

This will save all those poor kids on the football teams from being humiliated, eh?

I know I've suggested this before, but wouldn't it be great if we could just "break off" WA/OR/& CA from our coast and let them float away???????


Steve Towsley
Fri, 03/09/2007 - 4:41pm

tim zank wrote:
>wouldn't it be great if we
>could just "break off" WA/OR/&
>CA from our coast and let them
>float away???????

We fought a war from 1860-65 to preserve and consolidate our Union, and I'd rather reprimand states who act like foreign countries than exempt them from our nation's Constitution.

tim zank
Fri, 03/09/2007 - 5:48pm

Then for God's sake, would somebody please reprimand them?

Steve Towsley
Fri, 03/09/2007 - 7:45pm

tim --

I've heard national politicians and pundits say very recently that California operates like a foreign country. Why that doesn't trip an automatic switch in the national government to pull them up short is one of the mysteries of current American life.

Apparently they are more trouble than they are worth?

kent strock
Sat, 03/10/2007 - 8:43pm

No, what is the most interesting mystery is how Republicans are incapable of addressing the real problems created by the people that you adored and lauded and used as a basis to blast, "liberals".

It is not a coincidence that the "losers" of the Republican pary that you are running from, are now actually being held to account by the system. Rather than address those problems, the right spouts crap about everyone "does it" and raises more silly wedge issues, like guns etc. If you want to be taken politically serious...leave the guns issue alone as a deflection. But again that would require you actually think.

Why are there no posts about the firing of the federal prosecutors for political reasons? Why nothing about the 2 Billion dollars we are spending a week in Iraq, yet providing healthcare to children is pork. What about the 8 billion dollars that the administration acknowledges as missing...given the administrations projections and accounts, I am guessing 8 Billion is very low. They might have got that number from Curveball or Chalabi. But never mind.

kent strock
Sat, 03/10/2007 - 8:50pm

Sorry Leo,
Given the stakes and problems occuring in the world, like hundreds of Iraqis dieing everyday. I am not sure how you think that legos and a specific school is somehow representative and something worthy of writing an editorical. There are lots of other issues out there...maybe listen to NPR once in awhile?

kent strock
Sat, 03/10/2007 - 9:00pm

amazing..all that is going on and you guys are talking about high school sports? get a life

Steve Towsley
Sun, 03/11/2007 - 11:11am

>...maybe listen to NPR once in

Ahh, so THAT's what's wrong with you.

>all that is going on and you guys
>are talking about high school
>sports? get a life...

I'm no avid follower of weekend sports, but I know the above statement pretty much automatically discredits you around here with anyone other than a minority of fellow knee-jerk liberals.

PS -- I'd be glad to table further discussion of guns -- if I thought the leftists had finally learned to leave them alone once they get back into power, not to mention rolling their unconstitutional regulations and ban lists.

Leftists should really ask themselves the most practical and inevitable question, how they'll like it when, sooner or later, some politician proclaims that we have a "moral obligation" to limit and regulate the First Amendment, and quotes laws eroding the Second Amendment as the legal precedent?

Steve Towsley
Sun, 03/11/2007 - 11:26am

>If you want to be taken politically
>serious...leave the guns issue

I can't pass up the clear opportunity to solidify this liberal point.

I say the very same thing back to the Democrats that you hope we'll buy, and that is what is quoted above as some kind of common sense doctrine:

"Leave the guns issue alone."

I urge the Democrats to take their own advice, if they're going to try to sell "leave them alone" to the American people, especially since there are over 4 million activists in the NRA and other groups whose total votes exceed the number by which George W. Bush won a presidential election in the state of Ohio alone.

Gun control is a dead horse -- an unconstitutional dead horse. You can't infringe a paragraph in the Bill of Rights which states it shall not be infringed.

It's not that gun rights are a deflection. It's that there are so many one-critical-issue voters who always insist on voting for candidates who will let liberal gun control die a natural death.

Democrats could win a lot more elections on the basis of jobs and health care, if only they could be de-toxed from their addiction to beating the dead horse of attacks on the Second Amendment. And that is a fact.

tim zank
Sun, 03/11/2007 - 6:33pm

That's a hell of a jump from leggos to gun control, eh?

Sun, 03/11/2007 - 8:08pm

>Leftists should really ask themselves the most practical and inevitable question, how they'll like it when, sooner or later, some politician proclaims that we have a "moral obligation" to limit and regulate the First Amendment

Bob G.
Mon, 03/12/2007 - 6:02am

Look...I made a gun...from LEGOS....!

(that tie it all together for 'ya, Tim?)



tim zank
Mon, 03/12/2007 - 9:43am

Thanks Bob! I KNEW I could count on you! LOL!!

Mon, 03/12/2007 - 1:11pm


who will his police chief be- who issues gun permits in the city?

(his HQ is in the helmke law office)
helmke is part of the "brady bunch" therefore- guilt by association.)

Steve Towsley
Tue, 03/13/2007 - 1:03am

Getting past the fog, ask yourselves whether the Bill of Rights is open to regulation by federal law, and worse, by differing regulations of the various states. Either it is, or it is not.

When you figure out whether you like that concept or not, then you'll know whether the 1st, 2nd, and all the rest of the amendments that make up our one and only Bill of Rights are vulnerable to alterations by whichever party is in power, and whatever trend is popular in a given generation.

You can't have it both ways. I have no doubt that 2nd Amendment defenders would be happy to curtail, ban and forbid some of what they view as blatant excesses of 1st Amendment rights to free speech by outright America-haters, if liberals should further succeed in eroding the equally sacrosanct 2nd Amendment, thereby setting legal precedent to diminish the other nine amendments.

You can't selectively screw with just one out of ten paragraphs of the Bill of Rights. You can only screw with the whole document, no matter your rationalization for messing with it.

kent strock
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 7:22pm

Where is this idea that guns are gonna be outlawed coming from? Reactionary paranoia and the inability to deal with larger polictial/ethical issues? I find it amazing that the only contemporary issue you comment on is gun control. To the best of my knowledge there is NO serious or pointed effort to take away people's guns. Ok, I have no idea why 50 caliber guns are needed, but that is no assult on gun rights. You guys sound like a 5 year old who is given a hammer and suddenly finds nails all over the place.

Steve Towsley
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 8:25pm

>Reactionary paranoia...

It is becoming quite detestable to me that liberals would like to characterize anyone with an appreciation of American history, particularly the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as reactionaries.

You might as well claim that a strong American grassroots effort to defeat a ban on the making of fire or the manufacture of electric light bulbs is "reactionary."

>Where is this idea that guns are gonna be
>outlawed coming from?

Are you kidding? Since the Democrats got a sliver of majority in Congress, the "moderate Democrat" movement has died and all of the usual suspects are in the limelight -- Schumer, Pelosi, Kennedy and the rest.

Every Democrat candidate is saddled with the same unspoken coda to his or her campaign promises -- "I'll give you better jobs (and my party leaders will take some more of your guns)." "I'll improve public access to health care (and my party leaders will take some more of your guns)." "I'll pull out of Iraq (and my party leaders will take some more of your guns)."

Anybody who thinks Democrats in power will either leave gun rights alone or roll back some of the current unconstitutional imfringements on gun rights is the "5 year old."

Watch and learn, if they manage to obtain power. See which of us is being alarmist over nothing. See if the party you think has become indifferent to the gun rights issue tries to infringe the uninfringeable again, and again, and again. I think they still long for a renewal of the Clinton ban era, just for starters, with an extended list of banned firearms.

But hey, maybe you're right, which guarantees that I have nothing to worry about. Want to risk something on your reassurances? Want to put something on the table that you would forfeit if you're not being entirely straight with us on that? The Second Amendment is nothing to make light of, after all, any more than the First, the Fifth, or the rest.

So, what will the Democrats offer to guarantee their promise to end (for real) their obsessive assault on our fundamental gun rights?

kent strock
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 8:45pm

I still find it amazing that you consider the legitimate limit on the weapons can be owned are the determining factor of your concern with the country. ya, know if you are that worried about this country you might want to devote some time and thought to other issues...like the Constitutional issues in the functioning of the government, soldiers dieing for no reason or THE SPENDING OF 2 BILLION DOLLARS A WEEK IN IRAQ.

How about dealing with the important issues first. "obsessive assult on fundamental gun rights"? Again, I have no idea what you are talking about other than the narrow view of the NRA. BTW I own guns and hunt.

No right is absolute...they are meaningful by the limits it sets. You can't scream fire in a theatre and you can't scream kill the president without giving up some rights. Guess what...as we deal with Iran, YOU don't have the right to own a nuclear weapon..you want to give everyone to own a delivery system that can cause unlimited damage.

Guess what...you might want to be reasonable and focus on the important issues. If you think your guns are gonna be taken from you...you are beyond paranoia

kent strock
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 8:48pm

name me a national politician..esp. for president that has promised to outlaw guns...you sound like a 5 year old that if told "no" thinks it is the end of the world.

Steve Towsley
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 9:39pm

kent --

Don't seriously advance the proposition that Democrats in power will do nothing to further curtail gun rights. If the Democrats have proved anything in the last several years, it is that they won't hear the American voter, and that they believe the way to success is to redouble their efforts to advance their dead-horse agenda.

Precisely because this is both ridiculous and laughable, I encourage their party's leftist leadership to knock themselves out. They'll be much easier to beat if they're speaking their truth. If you doubt me, note the false commitments to respect moderate liberals. The moderates have all been flushed down the tubes since the last election by the very radicals who were supposed to be shut out of the "new" democrat party. I urge independents to take note.

If terrorists do get the predicted foothold on our shores, giving up our Second Amendment rights is going to seem EVEN MORE stupid than it already does.

If there is anything more scary than the old bumper sticker which warns, "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will own guns," it is "If guns are outlawed, only TERRORISTS will own guns." That is, unaccountably, the liberal's Utopia -- a country in which we've banned all but the least effective of firearms, while terrorists, dealers and other criminals may smuggle in, transport and stockpile the latest automatic weapons to assure supremacy and neutralize average Americans during further attacks on our country -- maybe on our school buses, to mention a timely example.

And yes, there are 4 million NRA members, all of whom vote, and millions more gun owners who DON'T belong to the NRA, only because they think it is too weak and has "sold out." Those people are TOUGHER supporters of all gun rights. It's very hard to get elected if these folks vote en bloc against you because you refuse to commit to uphold 1/10th of our Bill of Rights -- and that is as it should be. If you can't be bothered to take it seriously, learn from those who always do.

Hate it or love it, Article II is the constitutional law of our nation, and you can't infringe it without a new constitutional convention. I don't really need to repeat that statement, do I?

And don't give me that phoney "militia" bit. The people were guaranteed arms precisely BECAUSE the state's would insist upon establishing militias -- as the amendment makes perfectly clear.

So, either we have 2nd Amendment gun rights, or we have none at all. Everyone believes we do have something called "2nd Amendment rights." So, what do they think they are talking about, if not rights of the people -- as the amendment specifically states?

And - if that is so, gun rights are unquestionably embodied in the Second Amendment. There is no other federal law that guarantees the people's gun rights, after all. So our gun rights are basic and fundamental in the fabric of our natural freedoms. If they aren't in the 2nd, they aren't anywhere. Nobody thinks they aren't anywhere -- or at least admits they hold that notion.

So until you revise the Bill of Rights, bite the bullet. Or in modern lingo: Get used to it.

Millions of voters factor the stand, and voting record, on gun rights into their assessment of a candidate's viability. Any otherwise perfect candidate might lose an election solely on his (or her) support of gun control.

Take Kerry's ridiculous appearance in camouflage as a cautionary example. Nothing could be more disingenuous. Look at the reluctance to endorse certain East Coast Republican contenders in the current run-up to the Republican primaries, because blue state Republicans are liberal on social issues -- which often means they don't defend individual gun rights.

The trouble with Republicans from California and New England is that they are all too similar to the now-deceased moderate democrats, even including Evan Bayh. Nobody seems to be buying (no pun intended) the moderates now, especially if they used a semi-conservative platform to get elected in liberal-majority constituencies (like Indianapolis, so I hear).

So don't expect anybody to be fooled. Very little has changed since the big Democrat defeat a few years ago, and it is most particularly true that the liberals have refused to learn anything from their recent ideological ouster.

The leftist leadership has made their new bed by deciding to redouble their efforts at the same ol' same ol', and to squash their own more popular moderates. We'll see how that plays among real Americans in the "fly-over" states before too long.

kent strock
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 9:53pm

ahh tell me where in the constitution it says you can own a nuclear weapon or a machine gun? To be honest, if you join a militia, then you have the right to own a weapon.

Your paranoia about "leftist" and democrats taking away guns is just plain detached from reality. But you are welcome to try again.

Steve Towsley
Fri, 03/16/2007 - 11:53pm

Machine guns are still legal for civilians, as long as you get the paperwork in order and pay the fees.

I'll believe that my concern about the Democrats' taking people's guns is "detached from reality" when I see them renounce their long-standing obsession with that very unconstitutional intention. I wonder how many liberals who read this blog can agree with you that the Dems have no designs on people's gun rights. Pu-lease.

Reality is based on what happens, past, present and future. Try that on for size, and you'll find yourself stuck in a rather embarrassing web of undeniable gun right infringements. Inconvenient, but there they are. Regulations, even bans. I wonder which is worse -- an "infringement," or a "ban?" I submit that the ban is the worst kind of infringement.

I'll stick with the party that honors one of my primary concerns, as a life NRA member and holder of a collector's "FFL 03 C&R" license -- the commitment of the given party to protect and defend the People against unconstitutional infringements of Second Amendment guarantees.

Remember, everybody claims to agree, we have guaranteed Second Amendment rights. So read the paragraph and decide for yourself whether it addresses a) hunting, b) sporting, or c) defensive arms as being protected from infringement.

I don't think you'll spot the hunting or sporting purpose language in there. But you will find guarantees about arms suitable for security. So guess which arms are MOST surely protected from infringements -- those designed to win over one's enemies, or those adequate to shoot ducks. Get back to us on that.

tim zank
Sat, 03/17/2007 - 9:56am

Steve makes an outstanding point, when those ammendments were written, given the political climate of the time, and what the authors had been through, and the method of warfare they employed to beat the British, the foremost thing (presumeably) on their minds would have been individuals keeping and bearing arms.

That's that old common sense thing rearing it's ugly head again.

Steve Towsley
Sat, 03/17/2007 - 10:28am

Darn that ol' common sense anyway; always getting in the way of a perfectly good rationalization.

John Kerry dons a camo hunting outfit, props a shotgun awkwardly on his shoulder, talks about the joys of crawling on his belly to stalk deer, and claims he supports the 2nd Amendment.

Chuck Schumer, a senior democrat leader, announces that he dismisses the 2nd Amendment as "an empty cereal box."

Kerry was right, but lying. Schumer is wrong, but telling the truth about democrats.

kent strock
Sat, 03/17/2007 - 2:57pm


Bla Bla Bla expected and imagined things that might happen based on paranoia...bla bla bla bla. Again I ask you are there no standards that can limit the ownership of weapons? Can gone go anywhere with any weapon as they see fit? You need to get out more. There are lots of other things going on. If you think the most pressing problem is someone prying your gun from your cold hands...you need to get out of your basement and maybe read a bit.