October 16, 2007


Caption: This is a mad crowd.

This week, in addition to news and links on current events, El Cabrero is passing out nuggets from the less whacked out portions of Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil for your entertainment and edification.

Is this a full service blog or what?

I may have used today's selection before but it's another one that should be widely posted in public places to remind us of the dangers of group behavior:

Madness is something rare in individuals--but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule.

Although we are social animals and not all groups are nasty, it is the official Goat Rope verdict that the dude wasn't too far off the mark. Aside from the occasional sociopath, people tend to be fairly harmless taken one at a time. Put a bunch of us together at the same time and place, add a few other choice ingredients, and all bets are off.

(Note: the positive and negative sides of group behavior are frequent Goat Rope themes. If you're interested, search the blog for tags such as group psychology, group behavior, conflict, conformity, obedience.)

GAPS. According to a new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, millions of low wage Americans struggle to make ends meet due to the gap between employer-provided wages and benefits and public work support programs. Here's a shorter article on the subject by CEPR's Heather Boushey.

ON TOP OF ALL THAT, workplace stress can be lethal.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS HOLD THEIR OWN. According to a Washington Post article on study released last week,

Low-income students who attend urban public high schools generally do just as well as private-school students with similar backgrounds, according to a study being released Wednesday.

Students at independent private schools and most parochial schools scored the same on 12th-grade achievement tests in core academic subjects as those in traditional public high schools when income and other family characteristics were taken into account, according to the study by the nonpartisan Center on Education Policy.

There's been a lot of public school bashing in the last few years, but the study found that when one controls for factors such as parental involvement, the difference in achievement between public and private schools tends to evaporate.

CHURCHES WEIGH IN. The West Virginia Council of Churches issued a statement on mountaintop removal mining last week. It stopped short of calling for abolition but urged strict enforcement of existing laws and opposed their weakening. Here's AP coverage and here's the statement.

AMERICA IN A FUNK? Some public opinion surveys would indicate one. This is a good follow-up to last week's series on optimism and pessimism.

IT'S ALL GOOD. Here's one on Reaganomics from The Onion.



Jspiker said...

I've often wondered why the "Destruction of our Enviroment" has not been more of an "issue" in the religious community. It's good to see the effort from the "West Virginia Council of Churches".

It would be good to see more people (and many more goats), collectively mad on this issue!

Thanks for the post!

El Cabrero said...

There's another group around called Christians for the Mountains.

I was surprised by the desire of the denomination heads at the Council to issue this statement. Another good feature of WVCC's work is that they have also supported the United Mine Workers on a number of issues, such as mine safety and the right to organize.