06 January 2008

"Helping the gifted" and other deceptions

To those of a relatively uncynical persuasion living in a mediocracy, caution is to be recommended. Things may not be quite as they are presented. The reality may be the opposite of the appearance.

For example, when medical staff and 'bioethicists' (= apologists for medical authoritarianism) speak of promoting patient autonomy, they may be talking not about self-determination, but about the opposite: manipulating clients into choosing the 'correct' option and into feeling they are exercising choice.

When egalitarians speak of improving social mobility, they may be talking about what is now charmingly referred to as "encouraging downward mobility": ensuring that the bourgeoisie do not pass on any advantages to their children, so that more of them drift down the social ladder.

Similar inversions apply to consultation, democratisation — and now, also, liberty.

Likewise, when there is talk of helping gifted children, perhaps in response to the observation that they are being bored and frustrated to the point of despair by the degraded syllabus now passing for secondary education, this needs to be taken with a large pinch of salt.

More analysis here, from a former gifted child.