Objectivists on Education
In education, Objectivism is especially poor. Everything comes down to cognitive knowledge and hierarchy in Objectivism. They take no look at children and how they might best learn. They think they do, and that makes it worse. They think they understand the epistemological processes of the brain–comparing this and that, developing concepts–and thus if they present information in such conceptually clear ways, it’s all they need.
My argument is you have to monitor the emotions of the child to see if what you are doing is being received well. Emotions are like the Check Engine light on a car dashboard. It sincerely is meant to tell us something. Our job is to pay attention to it, not program that very Check Engine light. A distraught child means we aren’t handling them properly.
Objectivists don’t do this. Peikoff directly says in Teaching Johnny to Think:
If you want to teach thought, you must first put up a sign at the front door of the class: ‘Children should be seen and not heard.’ ….the dominant presence and voice must be that of the teacher, the cognitive expert … (21)
He also says if a child can’t sit and listen to a lecture, he should be sent off to therapy. When the topic of emotions comes up, he simply mocks it. And it all rests on blank slate theory:
The idea of education is to take a tabula rasa (someone born blank) and transform him, through a systematic process across years, into a being with the skills and aptitudes necessary to fit him for adult life. (2)
It could not be written more plainly: take a child and transform him. Rand herself says tyrannies hold on to the belief that man is born “infinitely … malleable.” And Peikoff right there says a malleable (blank) child cannot have their biological nature trusted and must be transformed. My challenge. Right there.
And this rests on how he approaches his theories. Peikoff proudly says he approaches it from a philosophical perspective:
A philosophy of education is the application of epistemology and ethics to issues of education. The whole field can be approached from a philosophical basis, and once you have that viewpoint, it is much easier to determine what to do in education. (3)
The whole field “can be approached from a philosophical basis.” Not in studying children. Not in experience. Not in studies. From a philosophical perspective. From these philosophers who think they are the guardians of knowledge. This is how intellectually bankrupt Objectivism is.
And all of this creates for tremendous abuse. Sending a child off to a psychologist because they don’t do well in a lecture format of education is abuse. Rand routinely dishes out narcissistic abuse in her writing. If you think you are always right and other people’s feelings are by nature inferior, it engenders abuse, especially when you are rational and moral and others are irrational and immoral. Rand literally says to view the world as sick patients and to treat them one by one as you bring rationality to them.
Amber does child development work, which is popular and well used. Unlike “OBJECTIVISTS,” she actually studies children objectively, without the thought that, per correct philosophical premises, they need “transformed” into a “rational” adult.