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Everything posted by SlowRiver

  1. You could equally talk about identity politics, if you didn't want to use the term critical theory, though they are pretty intertwined. The difficulty for the parents that are objecting is that they can see that these approaches they object to are tied together but they find it difficult to articulate the link. Telling them what they are experiencing just isn't really a think is a great way of dismissing their concerns. What they are trying to point to is the kind of approaches that come out of books like White Fragility, or which they see in unconscious bias training. It's pretty disingenuous to make out that they are not seeing something real and connected. And FWIW, I work in a school, and have kids in schools, and the same books and materials and fads are making their way from the US into schools in other countries. I've also talked with as many American parents who are struggling directly with it as I've seen deny it, and since I see the latter types saying the same things that similar people are saying here, I'm rather skeptical.
  2. There are a few thousand people that die every year in the US from diphtheria. It's a bit odd to be disagreeing about how possible it is to eliminate viruses, when we still have only eliminated two in human history, after more than 60 years of widespread vaccination for many of them. And none of them are even in the same family of viruses - the closest comparator to covid now is flu and no one thinks that is going anywhere. How is it suddenly a real possibility now when it's been so difficult before? Smallpox was able to be actually eradicated because of it's particular characteristics. Easy to see, quick to become visible after infection, doesn't mutate readily, no animal equivalent, immunity is permanent and lifelong, There are a few other diseases that scientists think it might be possible to really eradicate which share similar characteristics - a few being less than 10 . Covid is not similar to those.
  3. Yeah, the two income professional/middle class family was very much financially better off for having that second income. Even today, families with two FT professional incomes are in a really excellent financial position, even with childcare costs. And those families are also likely to only have one o two kids because of time constraints. Two incomes in a working class or poor family are a whole other kettle of fish, often they are not financially much ahead and QOL suffers. And as time has gone on and the economy has adapted to the two FT income family they can actually be worse off compared to when one FT income was more normative. It's not really about advantages for women, it's about advantages for men and women in certain economic bands.
  4. People claiming that CT isn't providing the framework for a lot of what is going on in education now is why you get articles pointing out that these same ideas are being found or drawn out of several different kinds of policies. And it's also linked to the rather bizarre claim that keeps getting made that people who don't favour that approach don't want diversity in education, or don't want anyone to mention race, or don't want to talk about bad people in the past. It's possible to have good solid history teaching, and a school environment that promotes respect for all people in the community even when they have very different backgrounds or viewpoints from our own, without the kind of crap that tends to pass for diversity training.
  5. Being vaccinated doesn't mean they would not have brought covid. Unless you are going to close borders permanently, you aren't going to keep it out.
  6. What are you talking about? I haven' suggested that vaccines aren't a useful tool. And I did suggest that there are some concrete measures we could take. You and a lot of others on this thread keep assuming that people who aren't in agreement with you are anti-vaccination in general, or don't think people should get this vaccination, or that there shouldn't be measures to try and mitigate covid effects, etc. While at the same time you aren't really addressing any issues around what long term management could or should look like, around ethical issues, and seem to have a deeply unrealistic sense that if only everyone does whatever, we'll be fine. But this idea that we can decide on some level of death that we think is ok and then we just do whatever is necessary to achieve that is crazy. What if what it takes means locking people in secure units? What if everything we are willing to do doesn't get us to that level? Are there any limits to what we think it is ok to do? The idea that we have total control here is just some kind of self-comfort bedtime story. I'm sorry to tell you that outside of the US, there are countries, like mine, that have excellent vaccination levels, and covid has not receded in the same way that diseases lime measles or polio have. It's not the same kind of disease and it's just not directly comparable. There is nothing wrong with vaccine education but this idea that the main reason for people not vaccinating is lack of education is rather naive from what I can see. In the US people with the highest levels of education are as likely, maybe more likely, to be hesitant with regards to covid vaccines as those with low education. There was also a very interesting study to come out of MIT recently about the data literacy of those taking a variety of more skeptical positions on a number of public health measures, and found that understanding the information was really not the problem, in fact that group often had a less naive understanding of the scientific process than the pro-people. They concluded that more data wasn't the way forward to changing people's minds. (Unfortunately their suggestions for a way forward were a little foggy.) A lot of the best guesses right now are that covid will be like flu, it will be a yearly thing that comes in regular waves. That doesn't mean it will only be as dangerous as the flu, even with vaccination. It may be more dangerous for a long time. It may evolve to become less serious which isn't uncommon. We may find that, like some other viruses, if people get it as children they are less likely to have serious effects as adults. Right now we don't know and a multiplicity of ideas and approaches is not necessarily a bad thing. Some skepticism and asking questions are not bad things. But the approach of trying to force people into vaccination isn't exactly working where you are, or anywhere else, so I'm not sure why people think it's the way forward. Germany decided against that kind of approach for just that reason, they felt it would create a public divide that would ultimately take them away from their goal.
  7. You know smallpox is literally the only human disease that we have managed to do that with, and it is not a disease anything like covid. Some people think that polio might be another we could eliminate but notably, no one has yet. Again, not a disease like covid. There is only one animal disease we've eliminated too, even when we can cull whole populations. If you think that's an answer you are living in a dreamworld and you will have a very unrealistic sense of what to do about problems like this. Nature did a survey not long ago of immunologists, virologists, etc - 90% said they did not think it could be eliminated.
  8. I don't think that's a particularly answerable question. Because as I said, we might get it to zero, if were willing to ignore civil liberties, forcibly quarantine people at any cost, etc. But those measures aren't ok, no matter how many people they save. In an endemic situation we are talking about what kinds of measure should be permanent. I would say that anything that is a civil liberty infringement is not acceptable - so that would mean travel restrictions, and probably most proof of vaccination other than select areas like health. I also think that mask mandates shouldn't be permanent. Lockdown and gathering limits would also be out. Restrictions on people in nursing and care homes need to go too. As far as testing, it needs to be done in a way that's proportionate in terms of the costs and hours involved, like all ongoing health initiatives. Quarantining for the ill is still a good idea though how to best use testing with this requires some thought. More emphasis and maybe money spent on some cleaning and especially air circulation. Beefing up of some hospital capacities may be required, moving to a more robust procurement system. If 10 years from now we still have so many extra people dying from covid, research into better treatments may be the best course, but it may be we never find an answer.
  9. It is a conundrum, it's why I think the idea of a really secular school is a bit dangerous. No such beast exists and it's much better to be up-front about your belief system. But I'm not sure that you'd actually find that it is true that people who object to critical theory type approaches map on to that other group quite so well. (Although patriotism should, by definition, be quite inclusive of pretty much everyone, since it is based on geography rather than identity. Not to say it always is, but a state school could look for things that unify the group and hold them together, geography and togetherness being the most basic. If we need to find something to tie people together and give feelings of solidarity, it is probably the best bet in a pluralistic society.) But I don't think you'd even find in this discussion that people who are critical or CT are particularly likely to be members of the religious right, and a lot of it's fiercest critics aren't. A lot of them are classical liberals, many are atheists, or Catholic, or something else, many are university educated and many aren't, some are marxists or other kinds of leftists, they cover a wide spectrum of economic bands. In fact I would say they are a much broader church than the very pro-CRT people who tend to be middle class, university educated liberal progressives who are non-religious or from progressive mainline churches. Most polling on the issue suggests that they are more likely to be white, comparatively, as well. It's true that history is never totally neutral, but you know lots of historians, and not just religious right wing ones, think the kind of history being taught under the guise of CT is pretty twisted by that lens. It is possible to teach a pretty straightforward factual history without framing it in terms of oppressors and oppression. And with very little political commentary of any kind. Especially before you are at the university level. That doesn't mean you don't talk about race, any more than you don't talk about how workers got the vote, or the power conflicts between European powers and the papacy.
  10. No, it's not crowded. And it isn't weird. As I said, they do not think that these activities are dangerous. We have not, and never have had, an outdoor mask mandate. They do not think covid will be passed at the pumpkin patch. They are not trying to mitigate a risky behaviour here. They are trying to "encourage" people to do something they cannot require by law.
  11. Endemic can mean any levels of death, I have no idea why you would think otherwise. Diseases that kill large numbers of people sometimes burn themselves out, but covid is unlikely to do that, especially as is by far worst for people past reproductive age. That's just not what endemic means. We don't get to choose if diseases become endemic. Look, we could take the approaches of some authoritarian regimes and have no or almost no covid, but we don't because we consider their measures to be immoral, and the trade-offs false coin. If the only consideration was preventing deaths, those kinds of measures would be justifiable. Not everyone agrees with your assessments of the issues and it's not all because they are very stupid or ignorant, and the research by the way does not support that view. It's most often because they do not see the trade offs from the same perspective, or they put weight on somewhat different research elements. Even more people who are vaccinated themselves and would encourage others to do so have real problems with the way it's being pushed by pressure by state or society. That long term it's not going to result in many people changing behaviour but will in fact lose a lot of trust. Or they are concerned with the kinds of legal precedents that will come out of this that will affect all kinds of areas of law, or that there is increasing acceptance of authoritarianism. Some have just observed that temporary powers (like income tax) are very rarely willingly given up by states, or employers, or corporate bodies.
  12. I can't imagine that you have failed to notice that there are basic legal principles and rights which restrict the kinds of things society can compell us to do. And had you bothered to read the chain of comments, you would realise that I am talking about situations where we recognize that the principle applies, but the law is trying to find alternate ways to compel people anyway. I don't imagine you'll bother to actually answer in a thoughtful way, [edited by moderator for vulgarity.]
  13. I think this is a big factor. There is a group that thinks there will be a way out. When there are enough people vaccinated seems to be the thing they are looking for at the moment. If everyone gets their boosters. If people follow the masking rules. Eventually it will die out or become rare and the people at more risk will be safe. These people are very focused on everyone doing the right things so life can go back to normal. It seems worth it to push for these things, even when the protocols have costs or we might be impinging on civil liberties. And the people who think it will be endemic, and eventually most people will get it at various points. (Which seems to be the more dominant view among epidemiologists at the moment.) That leads to a whole different set of calculations when you are weighing up the costs of various pandemic measures. It raises the real question of whether vaccines for children are actually preferable to infection, or vice versa, because it's not at all clear it's the former. It means that vulnerable people will always be more at risk in the same way they are for other illnesses. That a certain number of old people will have it as their final illness, rather than something else. The balance weighing against measures isn't as clear especially since you would have to go on with the measures forever. It means asking, what types of things are sustainable in a permanent scenario with covid in the population? What are people willing to give up, permanently?
  14. This seems to vary a lot. Where I am you can't go to the pumpkin U-pick. But what I'm more interested in is that the authorities are quite open that this is not because they think the pumpkin u-pick is dangerous. We've never even had a mask mandate for this type of activity. They are looking to use this kind of normal activity to pressure people into getting vaccinated. So it's not actually justified as a direct risk mitigation
  15. That doesn't really answer the question, it's another question but they don't cancel out. If we have laws based around principles that suggest compelling certain things is unethical, are we just ejecting those ideas now? Is trying to accomplish the same thing indirectly really taking that principle seriously? People seem very hesitant to give straight answers to that kind of question. The fact that something might save others doesn't mean it's ethical or we can just dismiss the ethical implications.Torture doesn't become ethical because it will save people from a hidden bomb. Incarcerating a bunch of people because you have a good idea that some of them might commit crimes isn't ok. It doesn't matter how many people will benefit.
  16. This kind of argument gets used for a lot of things, many of which make the idea of autonomy or rights pretty meaningless. If we aren't willing to force people to vaccinate, why? If we are going to try and force them indirectly, by making it so uncomfortable for them they can't function in society, or can't work, I'd suggest we don't really believe in the principle at all. People have been quite open that mandates aren't just about directly protecting people, they are about applying pressure. That's a problematic mindset.
  17. Schools are sending them home here soon, apparently. The costs of it all are going to be staggering when they do the sums.
  18. With schools, isn't the fundamental problem that no one wants their kids being taught stuff that is really contrary to their family views, be they religious, political, cultural, whatever? No one wants their kids learning that their family has views or values that are lesser or backwards or deserving of ridicule. So when you have state funded schools that are meant to be for everyone, there is a line to be walked. There will likely always be some people on the outskirts of society who will never feel their views are respected, but generally, school's teaching has to fall more or less within the public consensus. On other issues they need to be agnostic. The more homogeneous a society is, the more they can teach things like values and political philosophies. The more diverse social views are, the less they'll be able to do that. That's the trade off of intellectual, religious, and cultural diversity. Right now there is an increasing political divide, increasing social fragmentation, at the same time as specific teachings on values and controversial ideas are being doubled down on in a lot of public schools. It's a bad combination.
  19. Workplaces are also being really encouraged to have requirements across the country. Though I notice that the federal civil servants union is not quite so keen as they seemed initially. I think the penny dropped that it was potentially setting a bad precedent not to push back. What's worth noting though is that spread doesn't seem to have been clearly averted even where vaccination rates are high, and that vaccinated people are more effective spreaders than they had hoped. It's increasingly looking like they are going to have to move to an endemic model. Once kids are vaccinated it will be more clear but at the moment that seems the most likely outcome. And so they need to be looking ahead to the end of emergency measures, when the legality of a lot of the mandates like masks and proof of vaccination will be on much shakier ground. Which has been happening to a certain extent where I live, they are trying to begin to switch models, for example with testing or reporting on exposures, to something sustainable long term. They have had so much of their testing capacity tied up in covid other things have been going by the wayside, they are now years behind in some cancer testing. While melanoma patients are not appearing until they are far advanced and the attempts to save them are much less successful than normal. So there is a need to switch modes. But significant sectors of the public is not necessarily responding well. They've been so scared by the messaging up until now they can't deal with the idea that we are going to have to accept that covid exposures will happen and most people will be exposed over time.
  20. In practice that often isn't the effect, unfortunately, it's more like what Melissa is alluding to. Their "diversity" is also rather narrow. Chock full of queer women, not so many working class male poets, though.
  21. Yes, I get emails at my work for job openings at a big literary organisation that runs retreats and has writers internships and things, mainly we are supposed to put them up as notices. They are often quite specific about not only being open to, but preferring or sometimes even requiring, what they call "diverse applicants". It's similar at my university, though not quite so blatant. One way you can get around rules about asking people stuff is by using a self-declaration type model. If it's seen as advantageous people will use it, and even bend the meaning pretty significantly to qualify.
  22. Sure, but it doesn't have much to do with my point. It's still usually necessary, in a family where one spouse can be shipped out, to have the other in a more stable and also flexible position. The same applies to many kinds of work. The idea that families can easily have two parents in similar roles in these cases is just not that realistic. If you are in a fly in oil patch position your spouse is going to have to deal with all the sick days, school drop-offs, etc.
  23. But this is the whole point about PS, isn't it? She wasn't just questioning one particular piece of legislation, her concern was about the whole direction that would lead to a society where we just accept that, because if women choose to stay home and take care of their kids, that is there (unenlightened and foolish) choice. The idea that women can be financially independent if they only have one or two kids and use childcare isn't a feature, it's a bug. It comes from a way of thinking that doesn't see mothering children as productive work, a positive good. It's not that it has somehow advanced past the need to care for kids, it just wants to see that done for pay rather than for one's own children. Was there another way that equality approaches could have made more mother-friendly choices? Some other countries do better than the US, including mine, with much more time off for mothers of babies, including pay during that time, as well as child benefits directly to parents. But always the ultimate push is into the workforce and state provided childcare which is to say, school. The issues aren't really any different in the end and women feel the same pressures. There were some interesting policy developments in some countries to support family life after WWII, as well as changes over the year in terms of things like divorce settlements intended to protect women. A lot of that was abandoned to embrace the atomic individual production unit model of the economy. It's not at all clear to me that's been all for the good.
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