Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Home Education and Civil Society

After over a week of doing my level best to move as little as possible, and relying entirely upon the good nature of Dh and friends, it is back to business as usual. I attribute the final improvement to a generous glass of the house white, which clearly had excellent medicinal qualities, and completely eradicated all remaining traces of back pain.

The lessons I have learnt from all this: (apart from: if in pain, get drunk quick): We need our friends in the HE community; they can and do help you out in sticky moments like this one. The community may be small and self-selecting, but I do not believe that it suffers for this. In fact I believe it thrives. The very freedom to leave such a community means that those who do stay, do so because the relationships are meaningful and trusting. These relationships are not treated lightly or wantonly abandoned; people stay in them because they help the people there to thrive and because they want to.

Fukuyama contended that the tiny size of communities such as the HE one would automatically mean that they lacked power and influence. Again I would disagree. We live in a world where ideas are no longer necessarily spread through the force of numbers of people who adopt them. We do not need huge masses to perpetuate an idea, since the power of the electronic word, one well-argued sentence or paragraph, can cause a meme to spread. The criticism to which ideas will be subjected means that bad memes can get filtered out quickly. Truth seeking memes are more likely to stay the course because even the worst moral and cultural relativist or post-modernist is actually much more truth seeking than they normally realise. Deep down somewhere, in their heart of hearts, they will know that these ideas are good and once they overcome their entrenchments, either through sheer force of argument and failing to find a superior counter-argument, or through sheer habituation to these ideas, even they may be won over.

Seeing as the arguments for autonomous education make epistemological sense, (they seem to contain truth-like elements), the autonomous Home Education meme stands a very good chance of spreading further and further afield.

Happy days!

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