Re: 20160413 Variations on a theme of Adam Smith
20170423 Pages 747-765
At his point in Reference #1, Mr. Smith opens a new "Book"
Of the Revenue of the Sovereign or Commonwealth
Of the Expenses of the Sovereign or Commonwealth
Of the Expense of Defense
In this part of the chapter, Mr. Smith reviews the development of military activities over multiple continents. He considers societies of hunters, people he calls husbandmen who raise flocks, those who settle in locations to raise crops, and those who are advanced enough to support classes of people who perform such non-farm activities as artisans and manufacturers.
For each stage of the development of organization of societies, Mr. Smith describes the nature of the military organization with respect to the question of cost to the sovereign. It is when it is necessary to maintain a standing army that a society must fund the soldiers and sailors and their supplies, and since there were no republics in Smith's time, he considers funding a standing army as the responsibility of the sovereign.
In the course of the discussion, Mr. Smith describes education “imposed by the state upon every free citizen”.
In all the different republics of ancient Greece, to learn his military exercises, was necessary part of the education imposed by the state upon every free citizen.
As a citizen of the United States in 2017, and “veteran” of a both public and private education carried on in the United States in the 1940's, 1950's, 1960's and even to a lesser extent later, I do not recall experiencing or even hearing about any expectations on the part of the country with regard to my education, or to the education of any other person.
Now, in 2017, it seems to me that education is in massive disarray in the United States, and there are vigorous arguments about what subjects should be taught, and more energetically, how learning should be measured. Yet, at the same time, anecdotal reports indicate that individual citizens are transitioning out of the varied educational processes with widely varying capabilities. It is quite common to read that colleges and universities are unable to work with incoming students because their performance is so far below “normal” expectations.
It turns out that the disarray we observe in the United States is intentional.
From this reference: http://education.stateuniversity.com/pa ... ation.html
In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriquez, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 held that education is not a "fundamental right" under the U.S. Constitution
It seems to me that while the preference of the Founders of the United States was that States should have responsibility for education, the practical consequences have not resulted in an optimum situation in 2017. Over the years the Federal Government has attempted to bring some order to the chaos that prevails, but from my observation, those efforts have not succeeded at an optimal level, either for individual citizens or for the nation as a whole.
While there very well be changes to the Constitution that may seem more important, I think that the example of expectations of citizens noted in ancient Greece might well serve as a guide for proposing a Constitutional Amendment to insure some more modern expectations.
Beyond the immediate circumstance, however, and thinking ahead to the constitutions that will be adopted on Mars, the Moon and other locations away from Earth, it seems to me that defining expectations for performance of citizens in those fundamental documents would serve those communities well over time.
Further on in this Part of the Chapter, Mr. Smith considers the challenge of maintaining a viable standing army in times of peace and plenty. This state of affairs would seem likely to prevail in a community away from Earth, where a false sense of security due to distance from the Earth or other communities might easily lead citizens to conclude that maintaining readiness for military conflict is unnecessary. However, in the Universe we inhabit, that attitude seems to be to be unwise. I would counsel any such community to maintain military readiness despite decades or perhaps even centuries of freedom from annoyance by humans or aliens. Still, human nature being what it is, I am doubtful of such wise counsel lasting long as the generations replace each other.
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