Thinking Citizen Blog — What Is Worth Dying for? What Is Worth Killing for? Who Says? By What Logic?
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic — What Is Worth Dying for? What Is Worth Killing for? Who Says? By What Logic?
Is there anything more important to think about? If so, is there anything more important to teach than how to think about these questions? The war in the Ukraine is the reason for this post. Are the Ukrainians risking their lives to fight Putin’s forces insane? Why risk it? Wouldn’t the rational flee? And what about those idealists from foreign countries who have decided to go to Ukraine to join the Ukrainian defense forces — are they crazy too? Just like the volunteers who went to Spain in 1937 to fight for the Republican forces against Franco? What is the best analogy? How should students in elementary, middle, and high school be taught to think about such things? What are they being taught at home, in school, and in communities? Is universal military service the only really ethical system? Is it ethical to put on the shoulders of a few what should be the responsibility of all? How do you think about such questions? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
BACK TO THE THREE BY THREE MATRIX — THE BEST WAY?
1. I believe strongly that the only effective way to teach about such issues is to structure the entire K-12 social studies curriculum around the construction of three by three matrices with the columns being principles, facts, and solutions and the rows being Side A, Side B, Side C.
2. So in this case you might imagine a debate in third, fifth, or eighth grade over whether or not you as an individual should or should not volunteer to join the Ukrainian defense forces or we as a nation should send troops to stop Putin’s forces.
3. What age is too young to have such a debate? why? what grade too late? why? after all, students will be eligible for the draft at age 18. Should they not have thought about these issues for years before that so that they could make a rational decision about whether to comply with the a potential draft notice or not?
IS KILLING A HIGHER BAR THAN DYING?
1. One thing is being a martyr — another is killing an enemy.
2. How should children be taught the distinction?
NB: Is fighting for one’s country just one of those things you should not be taught to think about? Should you be taught just to do it?
UKRAINIANS, KURDS, WHAT FREEDOM FIGHTERS WHERE MERIT YOUR RISKING YOUR LIFE FOR THEM (AS AN INDIVIDUAL) OR OUR RISKING OUR LIVES FOR THEM AS A NATION?
1. Have you ever thought about it?
2. Did you come to a conclusion?
3. Ever discussed this with a child?
NB: Personal history: I faced an analogous decision as a college student during the Vietnam War. The way I thought about it was: would Jesus go to South Vietnam to kill Viet Cong? My answer was “No!” And so I filed for conscientious objector status. Then came the lottery and my number was 364. What would I do today if I were drafted to fight against Putin’s forces in the Ukraine? Well, I would, I think, welcome the opportunity to risk my life in a worthy cause. But would I take the initiative to get military training and join the Ukrainian Defense Forces without being drafted? Probably not. Out of cowardice? Prudence? Thoughts?
THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED THEMATICALLY ARE AVAILABLE HERE:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned recently or ever related school education or education policy.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And to cement in your own memory something cool or important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that is close to your heart.