Leftist thinking captures many ideas, but a common denominator of them all is progressivism. That is to say, leftist ideas are progressive, leading to progress, helping “advance.” A progressive society is a society which advances, its members get more and more rights every time, they are increasingly better protected against contingencies: housing, illness, unemployment, ageing. On the other hand, a non-progressive society is conservative and does not “advance,” there are more and more unequal rights among its members, and there are many members who are excluded for different reasons and are forced to live on the margins of that society —the unemployed, low classes, gays, etc. Read the rest of this entry »
Some dyed-in-the-wool secularists call for the suppression of religious symbols at public as well as at state-subsidized private schools, since these are supported by public funds. Are they not aware that many parents choose some of these schools precisely because they wish to educate their children according to a Christian sense of life, expressed, among other things, by those symbols? Education based on a set of ideas —whichever, whether religious or not— characterizing many state-subsidized private schools is a public service to the extent that there are parents who want that kind of education for their children. And the chance of choosing that kind of schools is a constitutional right. Symbols help express beliefs and values defining the identity of people and human communities. Suppressing them would contribute to a reifying regimentation, more proper to egalitarian totalitarianism than to free societies. As regards their suppression at public schools, it amounts to neglecting a deep-rooted cultural tradition to which most parents subscribe. In this sense, there is an interesting statement by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) concerning the Headscarf Ban in France: “It is not at the discretion of a state to determine which manifestations are legitimate as long as they do not violate other people’s basic human rights or do not endanger public safety, health or morals.” I do not think this is the case.
“The decrease in the reading habits of a people implies a true mental step back for society. It reduces its creative imagination, its intelligence and its sensitivity.” The quote is by Ibáñez Langloise, a Chilean poet with whom I totally agree. As an educator, I verify that students who are fond of reading encounter fewer hitches in their studies, get better grades and are usually more mature. It is just logical —reading improves spelling, vocabulary, written and oral expression, it builds up culture and helps thinking. And those who think are capable of internalizing values. In addition, it can contribute to knowledge of the truth, achievement of good, and appreciation of beauty, which helps us improve as human beings. On the other hand, reading is the best antidote to boredom, since you do not need others in order to have a good time. One of the most exciting challenges we parents and educators face is to encourage reading among our children and students. How? By reading more ourselves; it is the example that draws in, as you can only convey what you experience.