Thursday, October 25, 2007

More On (Moron?) Bell Curves

I was thinking about bell curves this morning--and maybe (MAYBE, just maybe) I should be more charitable, i.e., maybe I should try to see the world from more "liberal" eyes (at the very least to understand their world view).

So: let us posit for a moment a bell curve of opportunity, i.e., average choices, good choices (fewer), and bad choices (fewer). Maybe due to my "culture" and/or upbringing and/or community/environment, my bell curve of opportunity was shifted to the right, offering a target-rich environment for "pretty good" choices.

And maybe, if you grow up in some ghetto, your opportunity curve is shifted left, meaning that unless one is paying particular attention, then one might have a relatively higher propensity to make bad choices.

Let us assume that this is so; if so, then, how does one intervene to somehow show the under-opportuned how to make better choices (an especially difficult endeavor given that any attempted "intervention" would likely be seen as, at best, cultural imperialism and, more likely, as "racism"--although I maintain that "racism" is lately and often confused with the larger and simpler "classism" or "culturalism").

Somebody asked me why I have my children enrolled in a particular program targeted at a culture to which they do not belong (Russian math? Jewish after-school? Japanse class?); my response was two-fold: to set what they think of as "normal" (or mu, in bell-curve speak) and to give them a target-rich environment from which to pick appropriate friends. In other words, to increase their chances of success--or, rather, to shift their bell curve of opportunity.

So: are SOME people better able to be "adult" in their choices, i.e., to be allowed complete, Ayn-Randian autonomy? Should other, "differently-abled" over-21-year-olds have their choices restrictd or redirected?

I often argue for individual responsibility while others argue for the collective; perhaps some will benefit from greater independence but, if so, how and whom does one choose? Do Liberals (who, I contend, secretly--even unto themselves--look down on the needy as "less able to compete," i.e., stupid) really want that outcome (no, they just want, like Communists, for EVERYONE to suffer, but suffer EQUALLY).

But maybe there is some kernel there: maybe we need to find a way to shift the opportunity curve rightward. Any suggestions?

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