by Steven Geoffrey Gieseler
So teachers at a Seattle afterschool program called the Hilltop Childrens Center banned Legos. The teachers' warped, though absolutely priceless, explanation for the decision is here.
I believe this is the first item I've deemed a "must-read" in nearly a year of writing on this blog. Pretty much everything we need to know about where the teachers are coming from ideologically is summed up by the bizarre "confession" / non-sequitur, located in the first paragraph following the overly-dramatic introduction, that "with only a few exceptions, the staff and families are white." John J. Miller, writing for National Review Online and from whom the first link is taken, offers his take here.
Here's a preview of the teachers' rationale, which one might guess is some kind of parody except for that there's not a parodist this talented walking the Earth:
The children were [using the Legos in] building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys–assumptions that mirrored those of of a class-based, capitalist society–a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.
At the root of all of this, you'll note, is the teachers' disdain for the idea of private property. In their own words, "collectivity is a good thing." This, as opposed to the oppressive Lego Regime, where kids aged 5 to 9 were learning to be tyrants who
were unable or unwilling to see that the rules of the game–which mirrored the rules of our capitalist meritocracy–were a setup for winning and losing. Playing by the rules led to a few folks winning big and most folks falling further and further behind. The game created a classic case of cognitive disequilibrium [SGG Note: Wow.]: Either the system is skewed and unfair, or the winners played unfairly.
Eminent domain abuse is awful. But we shouldn't forget that billions of people, amounting likely and sadly to a majority of mankind, still live in places where there's no private property for the government to take to begin with. And if some of these people were free to speak without fear of being imprisoned or killed for it–a situation owing at its core to the fact they have no right to property–I'm sure they could explain to the teachers at the Hilltop Childrens Center what oppression's really all about.