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Welcome to the Math Project Archive:

 The Math Project: minting knowledge
     --- the new coin of the realm,
           to illume the minds of men.

Table of Contents: 

1     February 12, 1991   Senator Nunn

2     January 8, 1991  Senator Gore

3     December 30, 1990  Senator Kerry

4     December 28, 1990 Notes on Mark Shields

5     December 15, 1990 Senator Sarbanes

6     December 7, 1990  Senator Biden

7     December 7, 1990  Senator Mitchell

8     November 22, 1990 

       U. S. Senator Moynihan

9   November 12 1990   Senator Bradley

10   October 12, 1990 John Sununu,

       The White House

11   September 12, 1990 George Bush,

       President USA

12   July 19, 1990 Senator Cranston

13   June 6, 1990  Senator Mitchell

14   April 27, 1990 Second Letter Senate and    

        White House

15     Undated,  First Letter, Senate and 

       White House

16     Notes

 

 

 

The

Math Project: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.


February 12, 1991


Senator Nunn
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510


Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, California
945[deletion]


"Are not the satisfactions of being a good man amongst our common men great enough to sustain us anymore?"
The Big Chill

Dear Senator Nunn;


From the confirmation hearing of Lamar Alexander I see that there is some interest in the technological expansion of educational opportunities, and in particular the use of laser disks. I take it that the powers that be will now advance our cause.
I noted that Senator Kennedy spoke of using technology to help the "two or three exceptional students" in the "rural" areas of his State, have access to a course in physics. One can only hope that Senator Kennedy will some day come to understand that all of our students are "exceptional."

His comments reminded me of John Sununu's comments at a recent Conference of Governors. Mr. Sununu likened educational testing to "quality control" in an "auto factory." Personally, speaking as one of the "defectives" I, of course, can not gladly agree with the prospect of being shoved off the "assembly line," by Mr. Sununu. ["Why does the sausage reject the meat grinder?" --- Robert Kennedy. ]

"I haven't met that many happy people in my life. How do they act?"
"Um-hun." The Big Chill

None the less we can conclude this Project with the closing remarks of the Doctor Professor at
Waldzell College: [Senator Moynihan please pay attention.]
The seminar concludes with a review of the various graphs that have been discussed during the lectures. There are now ten spider graphs on the screen behind the lecturer, labeled 'Russia,' 'U. S. A.,' 'China,' 'Germany,' etc.

The Doctor Professor looks up from his notes and says, "Thus we have seen that democratic societies have out preformed the totalitarian societies; that free market economies out perform controlled economies.
"Is there an underlying principle at work? Please reflect on your studies of ecosystems. [Footnotes appear on the screen referring the viewer to courses in the Life Sciences Matrix.] There, you will recall, that complex ecosystems were found to be more stable than simple ecosystems.

"In military affairs, cybernetics, and in education . . . [more footnotes appear on the screen] . . . we have seen this same pattern: complex, yes, even chaotic systems have shown a robustness that allows them to grow and survive, yes even thrive, despite the error rates we have observed. Why should this be so? Does it tell us something about the universe?


"I direct your attention to your course in Quantum Mechanics. You will recall Dr. Heisenberg’s Principle. [A footnote refers the student to lecture number 11, frame number 2,263 , course number 45 of the Federal Math Matrix.]

"Dr. Heisenberg stated that if the observer wanted to know the direction of the electron he could not know the position of the electron. And if one knew the electron's position then he could not know its direction. This 'uncertainty,' this quanta, is not the result of a technical difficulty in the construction of an experimental apparatus but results from the fundamental nature of reality and human knowledge in this our Universe.

"As with photons of light, they are both waves and particles --- this is a reality which goes beyond the 'channeled quickness' of the human mind. [A footnote refers the student to Dr. Wilson's lectures in Sociobiology.]

The uncertainty principle is not a problem of formulation. For example, from this principle of uncertainty Dr. Stephen Hawking has explained black holes. Rather it is a fundamental principle of the universe, and of our existence as well.

"The most recondite problem of quantum mechanics is simple mathematics when compared to the matchless complexity of even the most simple human 'problems.' "

Thus Albert Einstein's observation, at the time of the detonation of the atomic bomb, that physics had developed to the point that it could give man the power to destroy the world but that there had not been a corresponding advance in man's knowledge of himself, is, by this analysis, quite understandable.

"Dr. Heisenberg’s "uncertainty principle," appears to apply to philosophy, as much as to the electron or photon.

"Thus, Hume has written, in On Human Nature : 'For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, .... I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception .... nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement.'

"The California philosopher, Alan Watts commented on this: 'Now this is just what we fear --- the loss of human identity and integrity in a transient stream of atoms. [Death] . . . Having seen the fiction of the separate ego-substance, he [Hume] failed to see the fiction of separate things or perceptions which the ego, as a mode of awareness, abstracts from nature. . . . The stream of human experience would then be ordered neither by a transcendental ego nor by a transcendental God but by itself.' Nature, Man and Woman. It is the small mind that seeks to abstract and simplify the world. Life can not be simplified ! Democracy excels because it is complex !

"Thus, we can conclude, that when you encounter a person who insists on certainty, understand their suffering. For the search for certainty in this universe of uncertainty must always lead to suffering. The recognition of this suffering implies compassion. Compassion implies charity. Charity implies love." The Doctor Professor picked up his lecture notes and abruptly exited the hall.

"Good bye, Hello."
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse

Aloha. (A-lo-ha: Greetings, Farewell, Love.)

Very truly yours;



Peter [deletion]

cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe Christopher T. Cross
Director, U. S. Dept. of Education Assistant Secretary, U. S. Dept of Education
Lamar Alexander Dr. Alvin Trivelpiece
Secretary, U. S. Dept. of Education Oak Ridge National Labratory
John Sununu George Bush
Chief of Staff,the White House President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd
Senator Cochran Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glenn Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sarbanes Senator Sasser Senator Seymour Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson

January 8, 1991

Senator Gore
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510


Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, California
945[deletion]

"We have come to far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain the future now." John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"The President shall, be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; (Except that he shall not exercise this authority to involve their forces in hostilities unless Congress having first issued a Declaration of War or made some other Acceptable Authorization;) . . .
The U. S. Constitution as Amended by
The Intellectually Inbred East Coast Establishment

Dear Senator Gore;

Why has no one discovered this passage before?

What do you think, should we look at the Constitution and see what it says happens if there is a Declaration of War?

It will come as a surprise to many to learn that a Declaration of War does not alter the Executive's powers to conduct foreign affairs or command the armed forces; it neither adds nor detracts from these Executive Constitutional powers. What a Declaration of War does do, is to increase the domestic ! powers of the Executives. (Plural because it increases States' Executive powers as well as the Federal Executive's power to control domestic affairs.)

Because the founders feared that certain rights might prevent the defense of these United States in the event of war, a Declaration of War, (like a Declaration of a state of Siege), was included in the Constitution to expand the powers of the Executives, and reduce the powers of the Congress, and reduce the rights of the people.

For example, the rights secured by the Fifth Amendment are in part waived by a Declaration of War. The right secured by the Third Amendment is taken back at the time of the passage of a Declaration of War. Also for example, the limitations on the States, Article I, section 10, are waived if there is such a Declaration. (A portion of Article I, section 9, is waived, with or without a Declaration of War, if there is in fact a war.) Finally, and to my thinking most importantly, the crime of Treason is given full force by such a Declaration. This is a crime from which Senators and Representatives are specifically not "privileged from Arrest." (So be ware !)

So sweeping are these grants of power to the Executive, the founders thought it prudent to vest in the Congress the power to make such a Declaration. Note that there is no mention of greater powers to the Executive to conduct the foreign affairs of these United States, or their armed forces, in the event of such a Declaration. For such powers already existed prior to such a Declaration. The Executive could with out such a Declaration command the military; Congress could, raise money, call the Militia (without a Declaration); but if the emergency should become so extreme the Constitution provides that the Republic can cast off certain rights in order to protect itself, by a Declaration of War.

This is, I know, a point of law hard for Liberals and Counterfeit Conservatives to grasp. It is hard for our feel good, summer time Opinion Leaders (in media and Government), to contemplate a reduction in liberty in order to save Liberty. For they do not understand that our now sainted founders were, as the Irish say, "hard men." Our flabby, intellectually inbred, best and brightest are unaccustomed to taking responsibility.
Congress has the power to raise and support Armies, maintain a Navy, to make rules for their Government and Regulation; and call, organize, and discipline the Militia; construct Fortifications and Magazines. But of all this the President is Commander in Chief. Hence the reluctance over many centuries to maintain "standing armies." Naval forces could be maintained since they were thought not to pose a threat to the civil peace. At most a Navy could embroil these United States in "foreign entanglements," but armies were thought more dangerous to them.

You may feel, as does apparently George Mitchell, that this is an out dated view. You may feel that "standing armies" are essential for our Republic which has been at almost constant war for the last century. You may find our present Constitution "inconvenient" and that some new provisions should be included. You may feel that the Executive should have some curb on its power of Commander in Chief besides the power of the purse, the power to call, Regulate etc., powers which are now all held by Congress. In other words you may want another constitution. But I remind you, Sir, that you have taken an oath to this Constitution.

Jefferson wrote to Madison, (12-20-1787), ". . . There are other good things of less moment. I will now add what I do not like. [about the Constitution] . . . the omission of a . . . protection against standing armies . . . the eternal and unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws . . ." For Jefferson realized that the maintenance of a standing army would give the Executive, as Commander in Chief, power, with or without a Declaration of War. But Jefferson did not get what he wanted.

His reference to habeas corpus is a reference to the suspension of habeas corpus in the event of Rebellion or Invasion, and as noted above, such suspension can take place only if there is an "Invasion . . ." with or with out a Declaration of War. (Article I Section 9) This was a compromise.

The founders agreed that standing armies could be kept; not required, as is the Navy, but could be kept, this despite Jefferson's advice and objection. The founders agreed that habeas corpus could be suspended if necessary, with or with out a Declaration of war. They recognized two points: one, rights are not independent of circumstances, and two, circumstances may require the suspension of these rights because of war whether there was or was not a Declaration of War.

What if there is a Declaration?

The Fifth Amendment requires "a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury. . ." which is a valuable protection. Yet the founders recognized again that this right was not to be considered independently of circumstance. If "in time of War," a crime arose in the armed forces this right could be waived. In fact this right can be waived even with out a Declaration if there is in fact a "public danger." Again note that the founders recognized that not every "public danger" would also be the subject of a Declaration.
Article I Section 10 subordinates the several States to the Congress with respect to their military. Again another valuable protection for the people and not incidentally a valuable protection for the central government. However, this control on the military of the several States applies only when? ". . . in time of Peace." Upon a Declaration of War they can "keep Troops, or Ships of War," without the Consent of Congress. A Declaration of War allows the States to mobilize independently of Congress. With out a Declaration of War Congress would have to give its Consent, with such Declaration the States immediately obtain this right.

Again note that the founders were willing to increase the power of the State Executives in an emergency; but Congress would have to make the Declaration first, "unless (the States were) actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay." Just as habeas corpus could be suspended upon invasion so can the prohibition on individual States making war be suspended, upon Invasion or Danger. The States can only keep troops but not make war upon a Declaration of War. We are reviewing here a series of fine distinctions in rights, each carefully considered with respect to the possible circumstances. It is a strange result that the Executive of the States can wage war based on "imminent Danger" with out a Declaration but the Federal Executive, as Commander in Chief, a power that is not contingent on Danger but absolute, can not.
In these United States the crime of Treason, so often used by tyrants in the past to suppress, does not obtain unless one actually is "levying War against them." (Thus Burr appeared before Marshall.) In these United States we are protected from the abuse of power, the abuse of the charge Treason, unless we actually take up arms against them. However, if there is a Declaration of War by these United States then the crime of Treason can obtain for "adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." Absent such a Declaration, and absent participation in a levy against them, how would one know who were their Enemies? For example was China our Enemy during our Vietnam "experience"? If one gave China aid and comfort would one be a traitor? May be yes may be no. You may say, but clearly Vietnam was our Enemy. Yet without a Declaration how will one know? Thus Jane Fonda, Pat Buchanan, Tom Haden, Evans and Novak all can plead that they did not know they were giving aid and comfort to the Enemy, because there was no Declaration, saying who was the Enemy.

So you disagree? You find my analysis wanting? Sir, you have no one to blame but yourself. I want to take a Constitutional Law course. But how can I? Our Liberal Academic Establishment has contrived to keep your people from knowledge because they have claimed we do not "measure up."

The members of the U. S. Senate proudly lord their superior "intelligence" over us, they claim special knowledge of the Constitution. Yet they deny us access to the courses of instruction by which we might learn.

Would an informed electorate not be a good thing in a democratic Republic? Here, Sir, can you and I not at least agree on this? Would it not be a useful thing for the Senate to cause courses on our Constitution to be distributed to our people? Surly Goodmen can agree on something?!!
In Knoxville Tennessee, this is your State, a company is manufacturing machines that can provide four hours of lectures and-or 2,167 books on a single laser disk, (copy of article enclosed). Sir, Please! I say your own State! Sir. Here is a means of correcting my mistaken views on the Constitution. Sir, please let me learn and know my errors.

"We went out for a walk again. 'Daddy," he asked, 'Daddy, the rich are stronger than anybody else in the world, aren't they?' 'Yes,' I said, 'there are no people in the world stronger than the rich.' . . . Then after a pause he said, his lips still trembling as before: 'Daddy,' he said, 'what a horrid town this is, Daddy!' " Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Sir, I know you to be a rich man's son. I am not envious of you not envious of you at all. For the rich must be pampered even in school. They require tutors and the best minds, the best lecturers available. They must go to the Great Universities and spend long years of their lives in reading and discussing our world. What a terrible disadvantage to be rich! The poor require only a library card and they can learn all !
Let us not make courses available to all on laser disks. When the Leaders of our Great Universities appear before your Committee and tell us that with optical fiber cables students in Iowa can attend M. I. T. let us not ask them, 'if this is so why have they not already used the presently available technologies?' This would be rude. No let us continue to pour billions into the existing system. Why make knowledge available to all? The people are "flawed" they can never understand. They are animals feed them fodder.

Why am I so spiteful? Because the East Coast Intellectuals say they want to have an open debate but instead, as soon as they are challenged, they run off the screen and hide. They hide behind platitudes, e.g. "this is not a quota bill, see it says right here: 'this is not a quota bill.'" No discussion is required of them, no explanation, for they are Liberal.

Very truly yours;


Peter [deletion]

p.s. And I think Saddam Hussein should be destroyed.

cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe Christopher T. Cross
Director, U. S. Dept. of Education Assistant Secretary, U. S. Dept of Education
Lamar Alexander John Sununu
Secretary, U. S. Dept. of Education Chief of Staff, the White House George Bush President, United States of AmericaSenator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator ByrdSenator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glenn Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sarbanes Senator Sasser Senator Seymour Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson

The Math Project: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.


December 30, 1990


Senator J. Kerry
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510

Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, California
945[deletion]

"Diagnosis is only the first step in the process. The process is incomplete unless it leads to a cure. Do you agree?" Arthur C. Clark, Space Odyssey II

"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do,
chapels had been churches and poor men's cottages
princes' palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own
instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good
to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.
---Portia, The Merchant of Venice, Act I, Sc. ii 13

"A wise man leaves no one behind."
Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

Dear Senator John Kerry;

The Math Project's third year of the siege of Washington now begins. Happy New Year to you Sir !
I believe the new year finds us some what closer to our object. This as much despite the exhortations of the undersigned as because of this wild and erratic course of letter writing.
This year's campaign began with your Party raising me up high on their shoulders, (a man of the people!), challenging the President, deriding the Education bureaucracy, calling for a visionary change. I suspected that the interest might have been that my complaints were directed towards the unkept promises of the Republican Administration, but what of it. I was lonely and in need of friends. And unkept promises are the worst form of promises; which should rightly anger all men. If only Democrats still possessed the honor and virtue to recognize an injustice then so much the worse for the Republicans.
Then the Assistant Secretary of Education, Mr. Cross, issued a second promise: The Administration promised a review and recommendation on the Math Project proposal in August. Oh, August ! What an aptly named month !
I reported to the Majority Leader on June 6:

I sincerely apologize if I have offended.
I think all Goodmen will see that by criticisms were well meaning enough to be overlooked; but as for the idea . . . I have hope and faith that this will be fairly considered.
We can, together, do great things.
Every time the professional educators give up on a student we will be there. Every time a student asks "Why?" and is told "we don't have time for that" we will be there. When a parent has difficulty explaining a denominator or a differential equation, we will be there. For the High School student who wants to study physics, (half of our High Schools do not offer a class in physics), we will be there. Where ever there are students who want to learn, from the hollows of Appalachia to the slums of Zambia, the Federal Math Matrix will be there.

Then came disappointment again. The laws of the universe had not been changed; autumn's cold still overtakes the hope of summer! I, sorrow again. [Just where does Darman get off talking about soap operas?]
Senators Simon and Glenn stopped acknowledging their faithful corespondent. Senator Voltaire turned on us on the floor of the U. S. Senate, in front of God and everyone. I "describe warm friends cooling."



"When I learnt that he was standing up to his whole class and challenging them all by himself, that he'd become embittered and that his heart was full of resentment, I was frightened for him. We went out for a walk again. 'Daddy," he asked, 'Daddy, the rich are stronger than anybody else in the world, aren't they?' 'Yes,' I said, 'there are no people in the world stronger than the rich.' . . . Then after a pause he said, his lips still trembling as before: 'Daddy,' he said, 'what a horrid town this is, Daddy!' 'Yes, darling,' I said, 'it isn't a very nice town.' Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


"What shall be the manner of the order of the child, and what shall be his work ? " Judges, XIII, 12
"What shall we do, and, how shall we arrange our lives?" Tolstoy

Very truly yours;



Peter [deletion]

p.s. And I think Saddam Hussein should be destroyed.


cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe Christopher T. Cross
Director, U. S. Dept. of Education Assistant Secretary, U. S. Dept of Education
Lamar Alexander John Sununu
Secretary, U. S. Dept. of Education Chief of Staff, the White House
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd
Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glenn Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry
Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sarbanes Senator Sasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson



"The primary task of a useful teacher is to teach his students to recognize 'inconvenient' facts - I mean facts that are inconvenient for their party opinions. And for every party opinion there are facts that are extremely inconvenient, for my own opinion no less than for others. I believe the teacher accomplishes more than a mere intellectual task if he compels his audience to accustom itself to the existence of such facts. I would be so immodest as even to apply the expression 'moral achievement,' though perhaps this may sound too grandiose for something that should go without saying."

------ Max Weber, Science As A Vocation




















Response to Mr. Shields M. & L. N. H. 12-28-90:
And while we are on the subject let us get this straight too: Shields does not tell us what is going down, we tell him. Washington, you do not know even the most basic facts about what is going down.
Your ignorance is exposing Americans to risk. We do not like it. Do you understand?
If the average graduation rate from High School is 71% then how can "3 out of 5" be in "college?" [Where are the other 29%(?), have we misplaced them? What % of the 71% are even ready for "college" work? All most all? 85%? Get serious ! ]
If I said up, Shields would say down; left - right; black - white. This is not a public policy debate it is Shields' ego. OK Mark, everything you believe in is right. OK, we will not change anything. But, no matter what you say, our people are still "at risk". . .
Your ideology can carry us only so far.

The Math Project: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.

December 15, 1990


Senator Sarbanes
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510

Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, California
945[deletion]


"In the absence of a system of hereditary ranks and titles, without a tradition of honors conferred by a monarch, and with no well known status ladder even of high class regiments to confer various degrees of cachet, Americans have had to depend for their mechanism of snobbery far more than other peoples on their college and university hierarchy. In this country, just about all that's finally available as a fount of honor is the institution of the higher learning. Or at least its topmost reaches. I once heard a man with a B. A., and M. A., and a Ph. D. designated as inestimably fine with the words 'He's Yale all the way.' Granted, it's not much on which to base a scheme of invidious distinction, but in the long run it's virtually all we have." Paul Fussell, Class


Dear Senator Sarbanes;


Greetings. The Math Projects Selection Committee is pleased to inform you that your application for admission has been accepted. Congratulations!


The Burden of Proof

Every proposal for change carries with it an implicit criticism of the present way things are organized. And if of the present, then an implicit criticism of the Leaders who preside.
Given that no one gladly receives such criticism the inclination is to reject the proposal. This is Marris' "conservative impulse." This is a deep rooted "conservatism" which liberals share with conservatives. The paradox is that the better one shows the need, the more one offends.
If one is skillful one finesses the issue and saves the egos of those thus confronted. If one is an oaf one stumbles along with one's argument, bowing apologetically every few stanzas.

What is the Problem?

When you look deeply into a problem do you not see that it is the interconnection of a series of solutions?
When you are caught in traffic do you not reflect that land use decisions, highway planning, economic development, etc., all were "solved" in a series of rational conclusions each maximizing the possible benefits? If you say that then "the problem" is the failure to coordinate these diverse decisions, can it not be said that this decision, the deliberate decision to distribute decision making authority to separate authorities, public and private, was itself a solution to the fundamental issue of the distribution of power?
Saddam Hussein's most recent invasion, for example, was made possible because of the absence of deterrents; was this the problem? But our series of diplomats to
Iraq, our continued efforts to befriend him and draw him into the community of nations was our solution to the problem of how to control him. His neighbors solved the difficult international and domestic "problems" by trying to work with him rather than allowing U. S. or U. N. military bases on their territory. Now our past efforts to negotiate with him are seen as the problem.
Generally we can say that when the tanks start rolling, negotiations can fairly be described as having been adjourned pending the outcome of other events. [Some say that Saddam is himself the problem, an idea with which I do not disagree. Yet even psychosis, as R. D. Lang has argued, is a "solution" to the problems faced by the "insane." Because his "solutions" are entirely contained with in Saddam's mind, a possible solution for the rest of us suggests itself.]
Or for example, the homeless; is homelessness the problem or the solution society has arrived at in order to avoid the troubling issues posed by mental illness, drug abuse, and unsociable attitudes towards "normal" behavior; to our legal concept of "human freedom?" This belief that every individual should be free to live their life as they see fit is itself a solution to other fundamental issues. (Even the "worthy" poor who are homeless, a minority, are homeless because of the social solution to the problem of how to keep people from depending on government; a cruel and often self defeating goad to individual responsibility. For example, (as a purely technical matter), they could be organized into communities, but our value of human freedom prevents the exercise of such "control." Even such nonspecific proposals as curfews are prohibited, except in the suburbs where they exist de facto.)
From what has been said we can conclude that the advocate who problematizes some aspect of this world of solutions is not so much defining a "problem" as calling into question those "solutions" that make up the fabric of our lives. There are no accidents.

The Problems of Education

It follows that education reflects a host of solutions, of values, some deeply held some mere vanities, which combine to form the various problems so much in discussion today.
The development of a comprehensive self paced, mass produced education program; based on virtually indestructible laser disks, is resisted because it challenges some values and virtually all the vanities associated with education in America today.
Imagine Senator: What if the computer and technology companies of
California were to join with our well established communications (entertainment) industry; and together with our vast education establishment, began production of the new courseware. Courseware on every subject imaginable, mass produced and mass distributed; translated into all the languages of the world !
Think of it Senator: the whole planet educated by Californians! It gives one a pause of wonder, does it not?
But seriously: Control then is one value which is at issue.
Educators and politicians have a peculiar interest in the power to monopolize education. The education establishment and government are closely allied in their desire to control education, and thereby define reality; the ultimate source of all power.
The desire to establish "standards of excellence," to "guarantee" "quality" in education are commendable values. These are not at issue. Only the attempt to control and exclude the "unworthy" is challenged.
Already admitted into evidence is the true nature of the education establishment's function: "At the lower levels, the purpose of science courses at many institutions is less to educate or inspire than it is to weed out. 'They function as gatekeepers,' says Joan Straumanis, dean of the faculty at
Rollins College. 'In the science and mathematics sequences we sometimes content ourselves with 'discovering' the talented students and frightening off the other.'
"The result is the increasingly rapid spiral of decline: shrinking numbers of American students who are in turn replaced by foreign students who become T. A.s, who in turn manage to frustrate and discourage even more undergraduates from pursuing a career in the sciences. (Foreign students account for 40 to 60 percent of the doctoral candidates in several crucial areas . . .)" Charles Sykes, Prof Scam. [Testimony at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Science, Research, and Technology.]
Oafishly I ask you to consider your contribution to the "problem." Does pride, elitism, snobbery, not contribute to your value of "excellence," and hinder the advance of technology into education? Does your own self satisfaction with your superior "intelligence" (your word), your own mental abilities, not cause you to regard self paced instruction as something less than adequate?
Sir, every human being is unique. Your desire to segregate them into a ranked order, to force them into classes, to constrain them into doctrinal, ideological groups; to select out your "equals" is more vanity than ethic.
The value that places education "above" the market place, that monopolizes education, is less reverence for excellence, than indifferent elitism. Less than 25% of our finest graduate from college. The other 75% are shut out for life. 25% never graduate from High School. They are all cut down in their prime.

The Aftermath

A man of your intelligence (your word), always looking several moves ahead, will want to know what follows after the initial technological breakthrough.
We seek not so much to tear down the old as to build the new.
To raise our national income in the future we will have to improve our handling of our "human capital." This will require the recognition of the individual needs of that "capital." Self paced instruction will gradually grow in dominance. The institutions of education will remain centers for gatherings of scholars, research, and as resource centers directing and stimulating learning.
With the removal of the egoistic limiting factors knowledge will spread, humanity will be benefited.

Intelligence

"It is a matter of intelligence." (Your phrase) You amaze me Sir. Oh, would that it were just a matter of intelligence. But egotism, ideology, and true commitment to sadly misguided interpretations of "truth" all have their part to play. [Let us hear no more apologies from you about not meaning to get "so worked up." We here at the Math Project well understand the occasional lapse into emotions. It is, of course, contrary to our theory and doctrine, but alas, we too are human.]
The intelligent thing to do would be to support the Math Project. To set aside my taunting words and challenges to one's ego and vote to fund the creation of the Federal Math Matrix.
I have taken on the burden of proof; yet I would leave you the presumption of innocence. For the presumption of innocence stands as the juridical equivalent of God's love, which never shifts, but constantly remains with the good. Sir, do not disavow the Math Project because of this lowly oaf's challenges.
Do not count yourself among the insolent and indifferent.


The Categorization of Life

Please note that we are now discussing the ingratitude of princes (and princesses); the insolence of power. For example, it is perfectly proper for those on high to hurl down their epithetical opinions of we lowlys. Our opinion leaders can fairly categorize our views with insipid sociological descriptions. Our views only reflect our gender, race, income, "intelligence," (your word), etc.
But when the tables are turned; when we fire back a similar salvo at the opinion makers on the other side of the screen; we become pariah. If we should rise up on our hind legs and catalogue the views coming at us based on the gender, race, income of the opinion leaders; we have crossed the boundary of good taste; we are beyond the pale and exiled to Connaught. How dare we attempt the same high level of discourse as our Leaders.
Our views only reflect our gender, race, income, "intelligence;" but our aristocrats of "intelligence" (your word) in government, media, and academe; they have a special conduit to the truth which comes to them undistorted by their gender, race, income. Their's is a more ethereal truth; incomprehensible to us earth grovelers.
Oh, to be high and mighty and be conversant with the truth, with "intelligence," (your word) directly. [God made the lowly to humble the mighty.]
It is now that the Sam Donaldsons of the liberal media world rear their [adjective deleted] heads and cry out "sexism!" ("Let's not be sexist . . . we may yet.") We see here male liberalism at its finest: the masculine defense of scientific feminism.
The fact that the lady in question had previously felt pleased to blandly "explain" the Duke phenomena as the "white male vote" is beside the point. We lowlys ought not answer our betters, the high priests and priestesses of "journalism," tit for tat. For when Ms. Roberts speaks of Louisiana; (Ms. Roberts formerly of Louisiana, formerly of Athens, Greece, presently of Mt. Olympus, Washington, District of Columbia); and passes over the issue of quotas in favor of this precise sociological description she attains the plane of scientific feminist objectivism.
Did Duke tap a growing aquaphore of impatience with quotas? Did Duke pick up on the justified resentment towards the injustice of quotas? Do the proles grow restless with the scientific feminist reconstruction of society, based on the genitalia of the individual? These are irrelevancies when compared to the pure sweet reason of her sociological description: "white male vote," which1 can be substituted for reason, discussion, understanding. How impertinent to similarly describe her.
So we start to see the elements of a general rule: When one is talking about others, about whom one knows nothing, sociological abstractions appear on this canvas of ignorance, to be meaningful. But when these abstractions are applied to someone one knows, as we say "personally," then these descriptive terms not only seem intellectually meaningless, but actually offensive. Yeah even "sexist."
Now my Leaders; imagine how we your people feel when we daily hear you so describe us. Imagine the offense taken at your casual vulgar references to us. And you wonder why we are not interested in your discussions, your "intelligence." (Your word)
[Yes, I was unjust when I spoke of "blond haired women network reporter commentators with six figure incomes." Yes, exactly. This is just my point.]

Life is a singular event.
Very truly yours;


Peter [deletion]

p.s. And I think Saddam Hussein should be destroyed.


cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe Christopher T. Cross
Director, U. S. Dept. of Education Assistant Secretary, U. S. Dept of Education
Lauro Cavazos John Sununu
Secretary, U. S. Dept. of Education Chief of Staff, the White House
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd
Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry
Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson

The Math Project: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.

December 7, 1990


Senator Biden
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510

Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, California
945[deletion]

"Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation, come the new Jerusalem . . ." Carly Simon, Working Girl



Dear Senator Biden;


I was watching Mark Shields come to your aid on the M & L News Hour last night. He was saying some policy or another was "flawed." He was not clear what policy was "flawed" or how it was "flawed" but he seemed very sure something was "flawed." The fact that he was speaking on the very day the President announced he would meet with the Iraqi representatives would argue that he was not speaking of the President's policy; but who knows, perhaps he was. Or perhaps he had a script written for him before hand and couldn't change it to meet the changed circumstance of the President's announcement.
Mr. Mark Shields is a man of great sensitivity and deep emotions. I know this because he is always telling us that he is. He is an emotional kind of guy. Very deep. But I get this feeling from him: if you were to tell him that the Labor Party position, (I mean the Democrat Party's position), was that all left handed people should be given two votes, he would be on the M & L News Hour the next week saying it was simple justice. And Mr. Lehrer would be saying, "I hear ya, I hear ya."

The "government" of
Iraq has said it has "mined" the Kuwait oil fields. What could this mean? Do you have any idea?

Lisa Myers, NBC, was promoting her own self interest; she is telling me that opposition to quotas is "racial prejudice." She explains to Mr. Utley that only people "too young to remember the civil rights movement" are opposed to quotas. (So, what is she 50, 55?) She explains to Mr. Utley, the Republicans are using "racial prejudice" because "it works in hard economic times." Mr. Utley looks away sheepishly. Cokie Roberts, explains David Duke's success as the "white male" vote; conveniently overlooking that blacks and yes females, voted for him. It does no good now to remind our friends that political reaction against quotas had been predicted; as was the fact that this reaction would not proceed "pleasantly." We have warned so many times.

In
Iraq 56, 4" diameter canisters, 18 feet long, are being removed from bunkers and loaded onto trucks. The soldiers look over their shoulders now and again at technicians who are dressed in silver colored full body suits. But the soldiers are poorly educated, having only had a state controlled education, and do not know why the technicians are dressed in these strange suits. They do not know why the canisters are warm to the touch.

In
Washington Senator Dixon is interrupting the technical adviser who has started to answer his question. Senator Dixon does not like the answer, but has to be reminded that it is still the custom of the Senate to let the witness answer the question. The Carter National Security adviser says anyone who disagrees with him is "ridiculous." Elanor Clifton is saying that anyone who opposes quotas is prejudiced. Jack Germond says anyone who disagrees with him is a "chinless wonder." The Reagan Defense Secretary says anyone who disagrees with him is an "idiot." And the distinguished Boston columnist, Tom Oliphant, with the pained highly intelligent expression, says anyone who disagrees with him is a "weirdo." (Yes,I was right, a High School boy.) And Gordon Peterson looks into the camera and says "no more Vietnams." And it is emerging as a consensus among the blond haired women network reporter-commentators that white males are pretty much the problem. Mr. Lehrer says, "I hear ya, I hear ya."
And the blond haired reporter commentator asks Buckley "Does it bother you to sound like John Kennedy?"

Five hours later the trucks start arriving at the well heads throughout the geologic formation called
Kuwait. [ Why is it acceptable for "our boys" to come home in "body bags" from the defense of Saudi geologic formations? Location, Location, Location. If you are just a critic, and if you never come up with any idea of your own, you never have to reason through things for yourself. Logical inconsistency is no problem for those who are just critics and have no ideas of their own. ]
The oil workers find the canisters too hot to hold so they take off their shirts and rap these around the canisters and carry them to the well derricks. The technicians with heavy rubber gloves attach the spooled cable to the canister terminals; the two blue leads to the blue terminals and the red lead to the red terminal. The large Krupp Wireworks cable spool is lifted by the
Toyota back loader with spool forks attachment and the canister is lowered into the plugged well column, 300 meters. The Krupp spool slowly unwinding in the desert silence under a starry sky.
After the last of the canisters has been installed, the oil workers watch the technicians hose down each other and meticulously scrub down their suits. The workers never took a laser disk course on physics, never studied radiation, or history, or anything else, except what was given out by the state controlled system of education. They do not know why the technicians are there, or what was in the canisters, but they wonder.

Back in Washington Senator Dixon has interrupted the witness a second time as he attempts to answer another of the Senator's questions and is reminded a second time that it is still the custom in the U. S. Senate to allow the witness to answer. This is a holdover from when Senate hearings were a way of gathering information not manipulating opinion. And Cokie, Elanor, and Elizabeth all agree that women have a special identification with the poor and oppressed of the world. And Lisa Meyers also agrees; why not, wouldn't you if you could draw a 6 figure income from the scam? Now Cokie, Elanor, Elizabeth and Lisa have never advocated laser disks in education so the people of the world can have access to education, but they "identify" with the oppressed. Women "identify" with the oppressed - - that is important, at least in
Washington.
A very intelligent professor is speaking to a
Washington group on C-span and a questioner is asking if he thinks an alternative view is wrong? The very intelligent professor gets this big grin on his face and leans into the microphone and says, "Not only do I think it is wrong, it is dyslexic." Does the audience condemn him? No. It murmurs its approval with a pleasant peal of laughter. How witty! How very intelligent. But of course no one has "raised consciousness" about dyslexia. But for the needs of female reporter-commentators with 6 figure incomes, who "identify" with the poor and oppressed; for them, consciousness has been raised.
And some commentator is talking about the "slow learners." There is no one to say, "better slow than never, pal." And Senator Dixon is really upset now. He says, "Well I'm going to call the President and tell him he had better start bombing
China tomorrow!"
Senator Dreyfus, fresh from the dock where he stands accused of "selling his office," is saying that "they" are "searching for a mission." Hundreds of thousand killed in wars of aggression; a reign of terror, torture, and assassination; poison gas attacks on civilians and soldiers; the taking of hostages; the murder of children as they kneel in front of their mothers: this is not a mission? Senator Dreyfus' situation is made all the more problematic because he is unwilling to do more than issue a press release proclaiming his innocence for fear of antagonizing his party. He willingly participates in his own false condemnation so as to ensnare his fellow Senator, brother officer, Senator McCain.
Elanor and Lisa say opposition to quotas is "prejudice." Jack says "chinless wonder." The distinguished
Boston columnist, with the pained highly intelligent expression, says anyone who disagrees with him is a "weirdo." The professor says, "Not only do I think it is wrong, it is dyslexic." Mr. Lehrer says, "I hear ya, I hear ya."
And the blond haired reporter commentator asks Buckley "Does it bother you to sound like John Kennedy?"

"The winds were blowing from the north, and later shifted to north northeast. The radioactive cloud engulfed all the oil fields . . . Driven by an ever stronger wind, a few hours later the radioactive dust began falling on
Kuwait. . .
"The King of Kings had won his empire. But now it lay under a cloud of lethal radioactivity . . . Not only had American nuclear experts gone to the
Middle East, but those from a dozen different countries of Western Europe. Their conclusions were unanimous: That madman, ( Saddam Hussein ) , had inexplicably used cobalt as the contamination agent . . . " Paul Erdman, The Crash of '79.
The "mining of wells" with radioactive contaminates would cause only a "little" up blast of radiation back out of the wells using conventional explosives. Most of the radioactive materials would be dispersed into the geologic formations. The radiation would be quite small by volume but would tend to migrate across the field. The political - economic affects would be much greater. How much of a discount will it take to sell radioactive oil? As a practical matter oil could be used by ships at sea, for example, where the exhaust would add very little to the natural back ground radiation. The problem would be that its repeated use would irradiate the fuel tanks and engines of the machines that burned it. There is little point in having a ship that no one will allow to enter their ports. Then again radiation would also tend to build up in the refineries, pipes and tanks of any country that tried to use it.

Elanor and Lisa say opposition to quotas is "prejudice." Jack says "chinless wonder." The distinguished
Boston columnist, with the pained highly intelligent expression, says anyone who disagrees with him is a "weirdo." The professor says, "Not only do I think it is wrong, it is dyslexic." Mr. Lehrer says, "I hear ya, I hear ya."
And the blond haired reporter commentator asks Buckley "Does it bother you to sound like John Kennedy?
Mr. Shields parrots the Party line: "Flawed." "Flawed."
And no one wants to talk about laser disks in education. Do you have your priorities straight? Do you know what has to be done?
I feel I am looking at a foreign country; Washington.
Which of us is flawed? Come again?

Very truly yours;


Peter [deletion]

p.s. And I think Saddam Hussein should be destroyed.

 

cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe
Director, U. S. Department of Education
Christopher T. Cross
Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Lauro Cavazos
Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
John Sununu
Chief of Staff, the White House
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley SenatorByrd
Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dixon SenatorDole Senator Domenici Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin SenatorHatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum SenatorKennedy Senator J.Kerry Rep. Leach Senator Levin SenatorLott
Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor SenatorSasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter SenatorThurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson

"History bears witness to the vital part that the 'prophets' have played in human progress - which is evidence of the ultimate practical value of expressing unreservedly the truth as one sees it. Yet it also becomes clear that the acceptance and spreading of their vision has always depended on another class of men - 'leaders' who had to be philosophical strategists, striking a compromise between truth and men's receptivity to it. Their effect has often depended as much on their own limitations in perceiving the truth as on their practical wisdom in proclaiming it.
"The prophets must be stoned; that is their lot, and the test of their self-fulfilment. But a leader who is stoned may merely prove that he has failed in his function through a deficiency of wisdom, or through confusing his function with that of a prophet. Time alone can tell whether the effect of such a sacrifice redeems the apparent failure as a leader that does honour (sic) to him as a man. At the least, he avoids the more common fault of leaders - that of sacrificing the truth to expediency without ultimate advantage to the cause. For whoever habitually suppresses the truth in the interests of tact will produce a deformity from the womb of his thought.
"Is there a practical way of combining progress toward the attainment of truth with progress towards its accepatance? A possible solution of the problem is suggested by reflection on strategic principles - which point to the importance of maintaining an object consistently and, also, of pursuing it in a way adapted to circumstances. Opposition to the truth is inevitable, especially if it takes the form of a new idea, but the degree of resistance can be diminished - by giving thought not only to the aim but to the method of approach. Avoid a frontal attack on a long established position, instead, seek to turn it by flank movement, so that a more penetrable side is exposed to the thrust of truth. But, in any such indirect approach, take care not to diverge from the truth - for nothing is more fatal to its real advancement than to lapse into untruth." B. H. Liddell Hart, Strategy

The Math Project: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.


December 7, 1990


Senator Mitchell
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510

Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, California
945[deletion]


"Let the river run, let all the dreamers wake the nation, come the new Jerusalem . . ." Carly Simon, Working Girl



Dear Senator Mitchell;


The last time I wrote to you I apologized for my rudeness to the President.
I now write to you to apologize to you and your colleagues, especially to those I have personally offended. It seems I fell into the trap you had warned me against: cynicism.
I have been unkind, unfair, and unjust. Mainly I have been spiteful. You can, far better than I, judge why I am so spiteful. I have not shown the charity that I have advised others to have. I have been the tinkling cymbal.
I would continue on in this line except that I do not want to add pride of humility to my already extensive inventory of sins.
I, once again, sincerely apologize.
(Please, do not let me see you anymore without your smile. Your graciousness shames me. When I do not see your smile it reminds me of my spitefulness.)
The Inner tension.

My life with John Kennedy has been the relationship between the narrator of the book Magister Ludi and its central character, Joseph Knecht, the Master. It is the relationship of the inept narrator trying to understand and describe the life of a man whose life was immeasurably greater and more complete than his own.
You will recall the time when we took the oath to never forget.
The meaning of a life is not found in the superficial results but in the allegiance of the soul to the principle.
Whether you and your colleagues agree to fund the Federal Math Matrix and there by revolutionize education and greatly expand educational opportunities is important. But for me, of far greater importance is that I have confronted you with this possibility and made complete the oath taken so long ago.
I like to think that if Robert Kennedy were alive to day, he would say to you and your colleagues: "Well, it is a good idear. Whad do we care if he's a little Republican prick."

The Living Memorial.

I propose not a pile of marble, or a half buried obelisk; but a living memorial. I ask you to consider the bright eyes of children who find that they can understand algebra, when it is taught at their pace. Is this not a fitting memorial? Sir, I tell you that knowledge does not belong solely to the swift, but to we long distance runners also.
That the resistance to this innovation comes not from one side of the aisle of the Senate only, will not surprise you. For a man of your experience can not have failed to note that egotism, indifference, elitism are not monopolized by any party. [Q.E.D.]
I heard a commentator on TV make a reference to "slow learners." There was no one to say, "better slow than never, pal."
I saw a very intelligent professor speaking to a Washington group on C-span. A questioner asked if he thought an alternative view, to that of the speaker, was wrong? The very intelligent professor got this big grin on his face and leaned into the microphone and said, "Not only do I think it is wrong, it is dyslexic." Did the audience condemn him? No. It murmured its approval with a pleasant peal of laughter. How very intelligent.
I wish I could say that I immediately grasped what I should do, but there was at least the recognition that these people failed to see themselves. A blind spot that was preventing the speaker and his audience from understanding themselves and their world.

I Recant Nothing.

Injustice sickens me. But the failure to recognize injustice sickens me more.
Can you not recognize the injustice in the words of one of your colleagues, in discussing the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein, when he said, "I think we are searching for a mission."
Hundreds of thousand killed in wars of aggression; a reign of terror, torture, and assassination; poison gas attacks on civilians and soldiers; the taking of hostages; the murder of children as they kneel in front of their mothers: this is not a mission? If this is not a mission what is? We don't need to search; this one is coming right at us.
From the undisputed facts presently on the public record, (I say the undisputed facts), I can only conclude that Mr. Hussein has the means to inflict grievous harm on our people and the world. I would only refer you again to your technical advisers for hows and means. Every days delay adds to this danger.
Or for example, Lisa Myers of NBC, was using her position as reporter - commentator to promote her own self interest the other night. She is telling me that opposition to quotas is "racial prejudice." She explains to Mr. Utley that only people "too young to remember the civil rights movement" are opposed to quotas. (So, what is she 50, 55?) She explains to Mr. Utley, the Republicans are using "racial prejudice" because "it works in hard economic times." Mr. Utley looks away sheepishly.
Sir, I tell you that talk like this is a deliberate affront. It does no good now to remind our friends that political reaction against quotas had been predicted; as was the fact that this reaction would not proceed "pleasantly," as for example David Duke. One extreme creates its opposite. We have warned so many times.
It is emerging as a consensus amongst the blond haired women network reporter-commentators, (and Lisa), with 6 figure incomes, that white males are pretty much the problem.
Mr. Shields parrots the Party line: "Flawed." "Flawed."
And no one wants to talk about laser disks in education. Do we have your priorities straight? Do we know what has to be done?
I feel I am looking at a foreign country; Washington.

So We Disagree.

Can we not at least agree that we will not be unjust to one another? That when we are, (to error is human), we will admit it and try to correct our mistakes.
I ask only that you separate the Math Project from this inept advocate, and imagine it as it might appear if those great men who no longer can, were to serve as its advocates.

Very truly yours;


Peter [deletion]

p.s. And I think Saddam Hussein should be destroyed.

cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe
Director, U. S. Department of Education
Christopher T. Cross
Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Lauro Cavazos
Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
John Sununu
Chief of Staff, the White House
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd
Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry
Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson
"History bears witness to the vital part that the 'prophets' have played in human progress - which is evidence of the ultimate practical value of expressing unreservedly the truth as one sees it. Yet it also becomes clear that the acceptance and spreading of their vision has always depended on another class of men - 'leaders' who had to be philosophical strategists, striking a compromise between truth and men's receptivity to it. Their effect has often depended as much on their own limitations in perceiving the truth as on their practical wisdom in proclaiming it.
"The prophets must be stoned; that is their lot, and the test of their self-fulfilment. But a leader who is stoned may merely prove that he has failed in his function through a deficiency of wisdom, or through confusing his function with that of a prophet. Time alone can tell whether the effect of such a sacrifice redeems the apparent failure as a leader that does honour (sic) to him as a man. At the least, he avoids the more common fault of leaders - that of sacrificing the truth to expediency without ultimate advantage to the cause. For whoever habitually suppresses the truth in the interests of tact will produce a deformity from the womb of his thought.
"Is there a practical way of combining progress toward the attainment of truth with progress towards its acceptance? A possible solution of the problem is suggested by reflection on strategic principles - which point to the importance of maintaining an object consistently and, also, of pursuing it in a way adapted to circumstances. Opposition to the truth is inevitable, especially if it takes the form of a new idea, but the degree of resistance can be diminished - by giving thought not only to the aim but to the method of approach. Avoid a frontal attack on a long established position, instead, seek to turn it by flank movement, so that a more penetrable side is exposed to the thrust of truth. But, in any such indirect approach, take care not to diverge from the truth - for nothing is more fatal to its real advancement than to lapse into untruth." B. H. Liddell Hart, Strategy

The Math Project: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.



November 22, 1990

Senator Moynihan
U. S. Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510


Peter [deletion]
[deletion]
East Ave.
Hayward, California

945[deletion]

"I think we have to have a way to jump start (the political process); to show the people that something really happens - - something right now! Not just enrich the curriculum and your grandchildren will be smarter than you. " ---- Senator Voltaire
(From a debate on the floor of the United States Senate as transcribed and corrected by Peter Spear on October 9, 1990.)

"It made me realize with unsparing clarity that I was not one of your comrades, not seeking the same goals, not a Castalian, not a person of importance, but a nuisance, a fool trying to ingratiate himself, an uncultivated foreigner. And the fact that all this was conveyed to me with such politeness and good manner, that the disappointment and impatience were so impeccably masked, actually seemed to me the worst of it. "
- - - Plinio Designori
Dear Senator Voltaire;

"This is what I know:"
Of all the things we can do to make this a better world, education is preeminent.
With in this theater, the single most important thing we can do, is bring technology to bear.
Of all the technologies that we have, the laser disk is the most powerful.
The institution best placed to implement this policy is the
United States of America.
With Tolstoy we now ask: Why is it that men organize for evil purposes with such greater speed and ease than for the good?

Where are the dispatches from the left flank?

"I looked across at them and their busy, self-satisfied doings like a prisoner watching through bars, or the way the poor, hungry, and oppressed eye the wealthy and aristocratic, the handsome, cultivated, untroubled, well-bred, well-rested members of an upper class with their clean faces and manicured hands." - - - Plinio Designori

How much of the liberal concern for the poor is social haughtiness disguised as liberal benevolence? How much of the liberal ethos is simply another way to lay abed and sleep in good conscience? An intellectual conceit? These are not my slums, oil spills, nuclear bombs in the hands of a mad man, I am a liberal! All that is evil and wicked in the world is someone else's fault, I am a liberal. I am not responsible, not I the Liberal.
Every conservative plaint from the people is dismissed with a rueful reference to "career disappointment" of "the embittered," or the failure of the "pay packets" to keep up. You perhaps recall your Dickensian phrase: "pay packets?" Is it not possible that we cry out not for more of the same but for something new?
We listen in vain for direction and vision and new ideas from our friends on the left. For with out movement on our left, with out support from our friends on our left, I fear the Math Project, far advanced as it is on the right, in a kind of salient, will be vulnerable. This is the point of maximum danger in any maneuver.
Where we have advanced the question of laser disks in education; at personal cost, imagine my chagrin; [ Yes! We have our "flaws" but at least we do not plagiarize, not that flaw. ] ; we pause and look to our left to see if there is movement, an advance, an attempt to cover our leftward flank and we see former Harvard Dons, our Rhodes Scholars, our best and brightest; lulling about their encampments !
This can not be, we say. The smirks, the bemused expressions, these are not the faces of the party of Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy. I say this.
I expected more from you, good men.

Alamo or Bastogne?

"I don't know whether my life has been useless and merely a misunderstanding, or whether it has a meaning. If it does have a meaning, I should say it would be this: . . . I have tried and failed. . . .I wanted to conquer the world, you see, to understand it, to force it to understand me. I wanted to affirm it and if possible renew and reform it. In my own person I wanted to bring Castalia and the world together, to reconcile them. . . The world was stronger than I was; it slowly overwhelmed and devoured me." - - - Plinio Designori

At our center we thought we saw a relief column. We are seeing interviews on television on CNN and NBC. Reporters are interviewing "experts" in education who allow that laser disks are good as a kind of electronic slide show, an electronic show and tell: "This is our environment. This is the sea. See the ducks in the sea. Oil could hurt them." But the experts say "This will never replace the live instructor."
Does the reporter probe? No. Business executives are challenged, politicians are too; but educators never. For they are the "experts," objective. ("I accuse." (E.Z.)) But what if there is no "the live instructor"? What about all those on whom institutions of education have given up? What are we to do? What of the world's billions, what is to become of them?
To the aristocratic intelligentsia that runs our country, with their neat well ordered liberal minds; upon whom culture has been anointed, to whom understanding has come with the effortlessness of angels; ostracism, depravation, education by act of will alone, these are unknown. They horde their knowledge like loot, plundered from the ancient libraries of the world.
"Why share our knowledge? If they were any good, like us, they would be here with us. They are not, so they must be very stupid." And this from our left, the land of "the People."
We are hearing our friends on the left saying that "it is not a panacea."
Panacea? In the name of Christ ! . . . in the name of Christ, what kind of men are you?
Are conservatives then alone left to challenge authority?


The order of battle.

On the right we have advanced this far:
There is no answer for four decades of obstruction and delay in the application of technology. There is no other way of answering the demand for more time in school, individualized instruction, expanded curriculum, and opportunity for all, (including the third world, yes, and including the dyslexic). This is why we need technology, you see. This is what this crusade is all about, you see. Mass produced, self paced instruction. Are you starting to make out the general contours of this front, Generals?
The arsenals stocked with "care for the poor and oppressed" have been seized and exposed as a farce. As Charles Murray has demonstrated the poor are worse off because of, and more oppressed by, the state system of education than by any other of our failed institutions.
On the issue of "fairness:" No one any longer maintains the fiction that "public" means equal schools. The rear guard actions have been put down by lawsuits across the Nation demanding equalization of educational opportunities. The educational establishment is trapped now that it can no longer offer community schools with unequal advantages in resources; it no longer commands loyalty.
The sympathy of the liberals for the utopian dream of a homogenized "new public man" devoid of the reactionary spiritual values of the past, now lay on the field, behind our lines. They cling by the slimiest of margins to the belief in "the power" of "the state" to "mold minds." Their deserters now swell our ranks:

"The problems of education are merely reflections of the deepest problems of our age. They cannot be solved by organisations (sic), administration, or the expenditure of money, even though the importance of all these is not denied. We are suffering from a metaphysical disease, and the cure must therefore be metaphysical. Education which fails to clarify our central convictions is mere training or indulgence. For it is our central convictions that are in disorder, and as long as the present anti-metaphysical temper persists, the disorder will grow worse." E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful.
This implies does it not that the entrenched position of the non sectarian school must give way?
On the right we have also encircled and laid siege to their Great Universities. They are unwilling to defend the forced collectivization policy of public schools. Inside their walls they herd hundreds of first and second year students into "classes" and therefore are compromised. They dare not answer the question of technology by defending their position. At the back of a 300 student "class," students watch the front of the hall on televisions; they receive no discount on tuition. Choice is emerging as a consensus like a white flag over a besieged city.
But finally, and, most importantly, their morale is broken. They have lost their air, their cover, of superiority. Even the radicals concede their eventual fall: "To this day, the educational barriers to the professions serve as much to exclude as to educate." Barbara Ehrenreich, Fear of Falling They will fall!

Never too late to lose.

Despite these successes defeat can still be achieved.
All that is required is for the good men on our left to continue to do nothing. Carp, complain, ridicule, but do nothing.
Allow the world to go on as it is. The strategy is to do nothing. The politics of single minded commitment feeds off despair and failure. Why join hands with your brothers on the right?
No, this is a failure to take account of the world, to adopt the strategy appropriate to the times. ["Gentlemen do not assassinate other gentlemen." But he is not a gentleman!]
For example, the graduated response "strategy" of our Vietnam "experience" had often been studied in military science before Vietnam; but never so much studied as strategy as it was rather understood before Vietnam as the absence of strategy, the failure to make decisive decisions, uncertainty, and irresolution.
It is instructive to note that thirty years later, President Bush attempts to maintain relations with China and is criticized. Does no one recall that our Vietnam policy was based on a fear of China's involvement? This is serious is it not? Over 50,000 Americans, dead, unknown millions of Southeast Asians, dead, because of the absence of diplomatic contacts and understandings with China. China was not Vietnam's natural ally as their subsequent war demonstrates. I say only that foolish policies make them selves known faster in war not that the lessons are learned or remembered by all.
Why is it that when we ask young men to sacrifice for the Nation we call them our "finest" but when we are called on to educate them they are just "youths?" Our young men can sacrifice on our battlefields for as long as they like, but algebra, this they must study strictly by the clock: 50 minutes per class and not a minute longer. And what amazes me even now as I write these words is that they believe us. Those good children; they believe us. And we make them feel stupid. Made them to feel stupid. My God.
You must not think me disloyal, for example, to your just cause of National Health "Insurance" when I question if again there is not a similar mismatch as in our above noted mistaken policies. Should I really think that our fellow citizens will gladly pay for pacemakers for men whom they now will suffer to sit out on the streets in the cold? What kind of policy will cure the pneumonia of those we abandoned to the street but will not cause them to learn to read and write and learn mathematics? There is a confusion of values here, (like Vietnam, there is both concern and reluctance to get "too" involved), the strategy will therefore also be confused. Failure will result.
I am not disloyal to you or your cause. I share your concern for this suffering. It is just at times of high emotion that strategy requires calmness and insight.
Does anyone really think that cocaine babies can be prevented by an increase in pre-natal education funding? The truth is that either you are willing to intervene or you are not willing to intervene in the lives of women you can scarcely understand. This is a fact that must be confronted. A decision will have to be made, eventually. This is called a "central fact;" it therefore must be a strategic consideration. It can not be avoided.
And if money alone would solve these problems . . . But the strategy is wrong or rather absent. Emotions are not enough, sympathy is not enough, just being liberal is not enough. There must be strategy. In all policy there must be strategy.
How many has Washington caused to be slaughtered because you, (I mean you my "leaders"), would not clarify your views and coordinate your values? There are some central questions which must be resolved.
Washington has pursued race and gender conscious policies on the theory that you could construct greater amity and benevolence in society. If these policies have been based on theory and not ideology let us stop and reflect on your success and examine the theory in light of its results. This would be the scientific thing to do would it not?
We repeatedly are confronted with the fact that race relations have not improved, and every where the question is asked what accounts for the worsening race relations. The divorce rate; does it concur with the theory? And the increase in the formation of single individual households, is this the result of greater amity in society or less?
You have had a theory which you have followed for twenty years. Are you closer to your goal or are you further away from your goal? Such analysis allows one to improve one's theory. This is the science of policy. If on the other hand these policies have been followed because of ideology then practical results are of less importance; they here serve as a goad to even more group conscious acts.
This is the spiral of failure, the internal logic that drives folly.
What waste. What unparalleled waste.





Very truly yours;

Peter [deletion]


ps

"The President," the boy gasped for breath after the furious ride home from school, "The President, he is assinated!"
"Oh! Yes, assassinated," she said.
"He is assassinated, is he dead?"
"My, and on your birthday!"
The boy saw the angst expression on his mother's face and fearing he had done something wrong said defiantly, "So?"







cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe
Director, U. S. Department of Education
Christopher T. Cross
Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Lauro Cavazos
Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
John Sununu
Chief of Staff, the White House
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd
Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici
Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin
Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry
Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell SenatorNunn Senator Pryor Senator Sasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop SenatorWarner Govern. Wilson

 

 

 

 

The Glass Bead Game: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.


November 12, 1990 (corrected)


Senator Bradley
U. S. Senate
Gopher Prairie, D. C. 20510

Plinio Designori
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Castalia
945[deletion]

 

"Maybe that guy's got the right dope, but what's the use of looking on the dark side of things all the time? New ideas are first-rate, but not all this criticism. Enough trouble in life without looking for it!" --- Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.


Dear Senator Bradley;

The Administration promised a response to the Math Project proposal three months ago. They have not shown even the courtesy of a reply to my inquires.

A Posed Question

Will the distinguished Senator not agree with me that it is most unfortunate that the White House staff repeatedly fails to take advantage of opportunities when these opportunities present themselves?
NO? Sir, you surprise me. I never thought of you as an obstructionist. You remind me of my old rhetoric teacher, William Buckley. If I heard the great man say it once I heard him say it a hundred times: "As long as our Government remains incompetent our liberty remains secure."
Personally I always found this the most troubling aspect of Buckley's philosophy. But perhaps you find in this thought some special insight.
Please let me congratulate you on your win. I do not know what all the fuss is about. A one vote margin is all that is required. As my grandfather, Admiral Sprague, use to say: "A miss is as good as a mile !"

The Future

We are about to begin a new century. We will be saying good by to the bloodiest most despicable hundred years in history and beginning, what?
Sir, in the future deserts will bloom into rich savanna under zebra striped skies softening the sun's rays; the old will grow young in genetic "baths" of synthetic
DNA; hurricanes will be calmed out at sea; and the truth will be experienced not taught.
The Malthusian intellectuals tell you that the world's population is expanding too fast; that the third world will not be able to keep up with this explosion. "There are not enough bricks in the third world to build all the schools that this growing population will require!" they will say. We have in our possession the means right now, this very instant, the power to educate everyone.
"Not just enrich the curriculum and our grandchildren will be smarter," but right now Sir. (1) Let us not be content with doubling the number of schools in thirty years just to keep up with world population. No, let us increase the number of schools not by a factor of 10 but by a factor of a 1,000,000 and not in thirty years but in ten!
A President once called on us to "bear any burden" one cold long ago new year's morning. But rhetoric is for the provinces, right? The natives of Gopher Prairie, D. C. are more interested in gossip than truth, more interested in their own careers and pleasures than our Nation's future. This future depends on how well you in our Nation's capital perceive and communicate this future. We fear that you in our capital have lost the ability to even discuss our Nation's future.
Of all the possible rhetorics Washingtonians seem to have hit upon just the wrong rhetoric to discuss our National Policy.

A war of words and the retreat of the intellect.

The truth tests of a rhetoric is what kind of world does it make possible?
When some Washingtonians said the choice for the American people is to tax the rich or cut the Medicare program they used just the wrong rhetoric because it presents just the wrong choice of futures. (2)
It is universally acknowledged that a people grown accustomed to depending on others to care for them will in adversity falter, and at the first set back collapse. We find freedom in individual responsibility not in the mayhem of
Paris and St. Petersburg. It is to the free city states defended by massed pikes, not to the walled towns defended by royal knights that we trace our linage of liberty. Tyrants are our natural enemy. The art of our rhetoric Sir is to make politically possible that which is strategically necessary.
Look at the way sophisticated Washingtonians discuss the great issue of war and peace. "That's absurd . . . ," "hysterical," "That's ridiculous . . . ", "blood thirsty," "chinless wonders . . .," "Idiot . . .," and these are the sounds of the "doves!" These are not just the words of televised journalists: but those also of a Carter National Security Adviser and a Reagan Defense Secretary. They might be High School boys out to prove their manliness. It gives one pause to contemplate the advice given in private. Shudder to think that men's lives will be decided, may have already been decided, by thoughts formed in such a rhetoric.
Those who have become accustomed to postponing decisions lack the self confidence to assess the future and act today based on that assessment.

A crooked game.

In domestic politics our rhetoric conceals the malevolent liberal social policy and Orwell appears to us clairvoyant as those who argue for race neutral policies are called "racists" and those who argue for explicitly race conscious policies are called . . . well . . . liberal. This is truly inside out rhetoric. Those who make choices based on gender are "for equal rights" and those who say gender discrimination is wrong are "sexist."
Of course, how could one carry out a racist, sexist policy except with a rhetoric that allowed one to defend these pogroms by accusing one's critics of being racists and sexists? Or for example those who are quiet and do not object are labeled "passive aggressives" just as those who do not subsidize art are said to be censoring it.
With Dostoyevsky we can ask: "Do you despise or do you respect mankind, you - its future saviours?"

An old Rhetoric for a New Day.

In 1919, Max Weber gave several speeches in
Munich about politics and science as vocations. He argued for a rhetoric of "wertfreiheit": "ethical neutrality" or the ethic of responsibility. He contrasted wertfriheit with "gesinnungspolitik" or the "politics of single-minded conviction," (3) true believers. (4) "Every action, especially political action" he said "must let itself be disturbed by science through value discussion and must let itself be corrected by inconvenient facts." (5) The rhetoric must be neutral so that contending values can be addressed. If the rhetoric has been politicized then important values and ideas will literally be unspeakable because the words will not exist to express the ideas.
"The two ethics, (the ethic of responsibility and the ethic of single minded commitment), he argued, differed exactly in the manner in which they evaluated know-how and feasibility. Whereas the believer in an ethic of responsibility considers the instrumental value and hence the chances for success as well as the consequences, the believer in an ethic of conviction is concerned with commitment for its own sake, independent of any calculation of success." (6)
"The ethic of conviction cannot recognize that in politics, in particular, which employs force as its specific means, good can create evil and vice versa. In a specific sense this ethic is blind to reality." (7)
I submit for your consideration that those societies that have established a rhetoric that allows dispassionate, analytic discourse develop superior (value judgment?) social policy. Superior demonstrably because better discussed and therefore better understood. If social policy depends on dissembling it may appear to achieve faster results but it always fails. Slow change means permanent change.
Our rhetoric is controlled by the Great Universities and it suffers from their prejudices. We can not say in English that the free market should, to give a specific example, be used to prevent pollution as has been recently suggested in the National Toxic Waste Deposit Fund proposal presented at
Waldzell College, Heidelberg University. (Yes Germany, "But Waldzell breeds the skillful Glass Bead Game players.")

The laser disk gap.

I was recently sent a set of three laser disks that were created from the
Heidelberg University symposium: "Pollution: the Market Solution." Germany has moved far ahead of the United States in this new technology which in German is called "laser pedagogy." There are now over 85 University courses available on laser disks prepared by Germany's leading universities. I have a catalogue of some 300 Gymnasium courses. ["vocational" is a poor translation; see how our rhetoric limits us?] Most disks have consecutive translations in English, Russian, and Arabic. The future dominance of German arts, letters, and sciences on world culture can not be doubted.
France, for another example, has 34 laser disk courses and it is estimated another 100 courses are now under development. We are losing the laser disk race.

The German laser disks.

Let me describe one of the lectures in the symposium as an example of how new ideas require a special more detached rhetoric and to provide a demonstration of this technology.
Looking down from a camera angle like that of the
U. S. Senate we see a small lecture theater at Waldzell College. Around the lectern steeply rise ranks of semi-circular desks darkly glowing in polished mahogany. Some 40 students sit scattered among the desks with books, papers, and portable computers in front of them. At one desk a man and a woman sit almost cheek to cheek staring at their intertwined hands.
In strides the Doctor Professor, a young man wearing an open collar shirt, a black robe draped over his shoulders and billowing behind him. He stands at the lectern and nods to the students to be seated. As he begins the lecture two graphs appear on the screen behind him. On the left a seven axis spider graph shows multiple relationships. It is a type of graph virtually unknown in
America where we have difficulty keeping in mind more than one variable.
The Doctor Professor describes the cost benefit relationships of business, government, consumers, technical developments, etc. as illustrated by the graphs. He says, "the National Toxic Waste Deposit Fund is an example of this market driven environmental regulation." As the lecture proceeds footnotes appear on the screen with options for the student to review the course materials or refer to other lectures and commentaries.
"Apart from any purely moral considerations," the Doctor Professor is saying, "pollution is everywhere and always a cost avoidance behavior. A rhetoric that focuses exclusively or mainly on the moral with out reference to this system of economies, that we have here been describing, will concentrate on punishment instead of changing the system of economies to which the polluter is simply responding.
"Obviously in order to redeem the deposits the toxic material must be properly deposited in certified sites. Thus the well run and law abiding firm is not put at a competitive disadvantage as against its
midnight dumping unscrupulous competitor. A great social benefit is achieved by selectively encouraging those firms that maintain control of and documentation on their hazardous materials.
"Then again as the costs of the administration is more than covered by the interest earned on these deposits no additional costs accrue to government and as the incentive for illegal dumping is removed and is actually punished by forfeiture of deposits paid a net savings is experienced by government while tending to increase total savings in the National economy. Administration is further eased by collection of the deposits at the point of manufacture or extraction of these hazardous materials as defined.

"The emotion of moral outrage can thus be seen as misplaced. It hampers an orderly correction. The pollution is now corrected by the normal market forces as defined."

A sense of responsibility and a critique.

The Doctor Professor pauses at the end of the lecture; the camera starts to zoom in on him, the silver threads in his turquoise shirt glistening in the spotlight of this magic theater. He looks up from his lecture notes and removes his glasses. "Here we pause and consider the issue of ultimate ends and the selected technical means to achieve them.
"Beyond any calculations of possible outcomes we must consider the ends to be achieved and the means selected.
"As Germans we have a special duty in this regard. No other people has done greater harm to the quest for technical solutions than we.
"It is our special responsibility to address the disrepute into which technology and the search for technical solutions has fallen. Is it any wonder given our history, in which," his voice begins to rise, "this nation attempted to change the very course of history by technical means; by the application of planes, tanks, and rocketry." His voice drops to a whisper, "Yes and by gas chambers and mobile gas chambers, and," now again in a cry that seems to echo back from the ceiling, "factories of death! Factories!" the woman in the front row flinches as he falls back to a speaking voice ". . . of death.
"Our terrible search for final solutions. . . " he repeats in a whisper, "final solutions." The hall is silent.
"And yet here I stand I can do none other. The mere fact of our existence impels us on this voyage of technical discovery on an empirical sea of experience.
"Because of these crimes, this our criminal history, we who seek technical solutions have this special burden of history to bear. This is a burden we all share, all of us who design an engine, erect a building, develop a process in all the countries of the world. We Germans, Russians, Americans, we face together this issue of ultimate ends, it is our special concern as the guilt is especially ours.
"For you to fully assume this obligation, this debt owed by all in every technical enterprise, you must understand that this human universe allows, permits, the non linear transmission of guilt.
"This guilt, this individual responsibility which singles us out from all other people, is transmitted to us not by our acts alone, not even by the acts of the national fathers alone; but is communicated to us across time and space in a strange non linear way as by God himself. The universe is a unitary whole and its linear deconstruction is Maya, an illusion of the mind; ends and means are one! The application of logic, the attempt to rationalize in a linear sequence of reasoning, is at the core of the guilt which we therefore can never expurgate. This special guilt is ours in perpetuity, it can not be altered it must simply be accepted as is the fact of our existence.
"We share, in particular we share, the guilt of Raskolnikov, that would be Napoleon; of Hitler, that killer of Jews."

" [other options available: literature, history, biography, philosophy. see index. ] " appeared at the bottom of the screen.

Death and a beginning.

Why, Washingtonians, do I continue the Math Project crusade? I was born on the 22nd of November. When I became eleven a great man was murdered.
"Oh! he thought in grief and horror, now I am guilty of his death. And only now, when there was no longer need to save his pride or offer resistance, he felt, in shock and sorrow, how dear this man had already become to him. And since in spite of all rational objections he felt responsible for the Master's death, there came over him, with a premonitory shudder of awe, a sense that this guilt would utterly change him and his life, and would demand much greater things of him than he had ever before demanded of himself." Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi. (1943)

With Holmes we can say that in our youth our hearts, also, were touched by fire.

 

 

 

 

The Glass Bead Game: minting knowledge
--- the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.


November 12, 1990 (corrected)


Senator Bradley
U. S. Senate
Gopher Prairie, D. C. 20510

Plinio Designori
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Castalia
945[deletion]

"Maybe that guy's got the right dope, but what's the use of looking on the dark side of things all the time? New ideas are first-rate, but not all this criticism. Enough trouble in life without looking for it!" --- Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.


Dear Senator Bradley;

The Administration promised a response to the Math Project proposal three months ago. They have not shown even the courtesy of a reply to my inquires.

A Posed Question

Will the distinguished Senator not agree with me that it is most unfortunate that the White House staff repeatedly fails to take advantage of opportunities when these opportunities present themselves?
NO? Sir, you surprise me. I never thought of you as an obstructionist. You remind me of my old rhetoric teacher, William Buckley. If I heard the great man say it once I heard him say it a hundred times: "As long as our Government remains incompetent our liberty remains secure."
Personally I always found this the most troubling aspect of Buckley's philosophy. But perhaps you find in this thought some special insight.
Please let me congratulate you on your win. I do not know what all the fuss is about. A one vote margin is all that is required. As my grandfather, Admiral Sprague, use to say: "A miss is as good as a mile !"

The Future

We are about to begin a new century. We will be saying good by to the bloodiest most despicable hundred years in history and beginning, what?
Sir, in the future deserts will bloom into rich savanna under zebra striped skies softening the sun's rays; the old will grow young in genetic "baths" of synthetic DNA; hurricanes will be calmed out at sea; and the truth will be experienced not taught.
The Malthusian intellectuals tell you that the world's population is expanding too fast; that the third world will not be able to keep up with this explosion. "There are not enough bricks in the third world to build all the schools that this growing population will require!" they will say. We have in our possession the means right now, this very instant, the power to educate everyone.
"Not just enrich the curriculum and our grandchildren will be smarter," but right now Sir. (1) Let us not be content with doubling the number of schools in thirty years just to keep up with world population. No, let us increase the number of schools not by a factor of 10 but by a factor of a 1,000,000 and not in thirty years but in ten!
A President once called on us to "bear any burden" one cold long ago new year's morning. But rhetoric is for the provinces, right? The natives of Gopher Prairie, D. C. are more interested in gossip than truth, more interested in their own careers and pleasures than our Nation's future. This future depends on how well you in our Nation's capital perceive and communicate this future. We fear that you in our capital have lost the ability to even discuss our Nation's future.
Of all the possible rhetorics Washingtonians seem to have hit upon just the wrong rhetoric to discuss our National Policy.

A war of words and the retreat of the intellect.

The truth tests of a rhetoric is what kind of world does it make possible?
When some Washingtonians said the choice for the American people is to tax the rich or cut the medicare program they used just the wrong rhetoric because it presents just the wrong choice of futures. (2)
It is universally acknowledged that a people grown accustomed to depending on others to care for them will in adversity falter, and at the first set back collapse. We find freedom in individual responsibility not in the mayhem of Paris and St. Petersburg. It is to the free city states defended by massed pikes, not to the walled towns defended by royal knights that we trace our linage of liberty. Tyrants are our natural enemy. The art of our rhetoric Sir is to make politically possible that which is strategically necessary.
Look at the way sophisticated Washingtonians discuss the great issue of war and peace. "That's absurd . . . ," "hysterical," "That's ridiculous . . . ", "blood thirsty," "chinless wonders . . .," "Idiot . . .," and these are the sounds of the "doves!" These are not just the words of televised journalists: but those also of a Carter National Security Adviser and a Reagan Defence Secretary. They might be High School boys out to prove their manliness. It gives one pause to contemplate the advice given in private. Shudder to think that men's lives will be decided, may have already been decided, by thoughts formed in such a rhetoric.
Those who have become accustomed to postponing decisions lack the self confidence to assess the future and act today based on that assessment.

A crooked game.

In domestic politics our rhetoric conceals the malevolent liberal social policy and Orwell appears to us clairvoyant as those who argue for race neutral policies are called "racists" and those who argue for explicitly race conscious policies are called . . . well . . . liberal. This is truly inside out rhetoric. Those who make choices based on gender are "for equal rights" and those who say gender discrimination is wrong are "sexist."
Of course, how could one carry out a racist, sexist policy except with a rhetoric that allowed one to defend these pogroms by accusing one's critics of being racists and sexists? Or for example those who are quiet and do not object are labeled "passive aggressives" just as those who do not subsidize art are said to be censoring it.
With Dostoyevsky we can ask: "Do you despise or do you respect mankind, you - its future saviours?"

An old Rhetoric for a New Day.

In 1919, Max Weber gave several speeches in Munich about politics and science as vocations. He argued for a rhetoric of "wertfreiheit": "ethical neutrality" or the ethic of responsibility. He contrasted wertfriheit with "gesinnungspolitik" or the "politics of single-minded conviction," (3) true believers. (4) "Every action, especially political action" he said "must let itself be disturbed by science through value discussion and must let itself be corrected by inconvenient facts." (5) The rhetoric must be neutral so that contending values can be addressed. If the rhetoric has been politicized then important values and ideas will literally be unspeakable because the words will not exist to express the ideas.
"The two ethics, (the ethic of responsibility and the ethic of single minded commitment), he argued, differed exactly in the manner in which they evaluated know-how and feasibility. Whereas the believer in an ethic of responsibility considers the instrumental value and hence the chances for success as well as the consequences, the believer in an ethic of conviction is concerned with commitment for its own sake, independent of any calculation of success." (6)
"The ethic of conviction cannot recognize that in politics, in particular, which employs force as its specific means, good can create evil and vice versa. In a specific sense this ethic is blind to reality." (7)
I submit for your consideration that those societies that have established a rhetoric that allows dispassionate, analytic discourse develop superior (value judgement?) social policy. Superior demonstrably because better discussed and therefore better understood. If social policy depends on dissembling it may appear to achieve faster results but it always fails. Slow change means permanent change.
Our rhetoric is controlled by the Great Universities and it suffers from their prejudices. We can not say in English that the free market should, to give a specific example, be used to prevent pollution as has been recently suggested in the National Toxic Waste Deposit Fund proposal presented at Waldzell College, Heidelberg University. (Yes Germany, "But Waldzell breeds the skillful Glass Bead Game players.")

The laser disk gap.

I was recently sent a set of three laser disks that were created from the Heidelberg University symposium: "Pollution: the Market Solution." Germany has moved far ahead of the United States in this new technology which in German is called "laser pedagogy." There are now over 85 University courses available on laser disks prepared by Germany's leading universities. I have a catalogue of some 300 Gymnasium courses. ["vocational" is a poor translation; see how our rhetoric limits us?] Most disks have consecutive translations in English, Russian, and Arabic. The future dominance of German arts, letters, and sciences on world culture can not be doubted.
France, for another example, has 34 laser disk courses and it is estimated another 100 courses are now under development. We are losing the laser disk race.

The German laser disks.

Let me describe one of the lectures in the symposium as an example of how new ideas require a special more detached rhetoric and to provide a demonstration of this technology.
Looking down from a camera angle like that of the U. S. Senate we see a small lecture theater at Waldzell College. Around the lectern steeply rise ranks of semi-circular desks darkly glowing in polished mahogany. Some 40 students sit scattered among the desks with books, papers, and portable computers in front of them. At one desk a man and a woman sit almost cheek to cheek staring at their intertwined hands.
In strides the Doctor Professor, a young man wearing an open collar shirt, a black robe draped over his shoulders and billowing behind him. He stands at the lectern and nods to the students to be seated. As he begins the lecture two graphs appear on the screen behind him. On the left a seven axis spider graph shows multiple relationships. It is a type of graph virtually unknown in America where we have difficulty keeping in mind more than one variable.
The Doctor Professor describes the cost benefit relationships of business, government, consumers, technical developments, etc. as illustrated by the graphs. He says, "the National Toxic Waste Deposit Fund is an example of this market driven environmental regulation." As the lecture proceeds footnotes appear on the screen with options for the student to review the course materials or refer to other lectures and commentaries.
"Apart from any purely moral considerations," the Doctor Professor is saying, "pollution is everywhere and always a cost avoidance behavior. A rhetoric that focuses exclusively or mainly on the moral with out reference to this system of economies, that we have here been describing, will concentrate on punishment instead of changing the system of economies to which the polluter is simply responding.
"Obviously in order to redeem the deposits the toxic material must be properly deposited in certified sites. Thus the well run and law abiding firm is not put at a competitive disadvantage as against its midnight dumping unscrupulous competitor. A great social benefit is achieved by selectively encouraging those firms that maintain control of and documentation on their hazardous materials.
"Then again as the costs of the administration is more than covered by the interest earned on these deposits no additional costs accrue to government and as the incentive for illegal dumping is removed and is actually punished by forfeiture of deposits paid a net savings is experienced by government while tending to increase total savings in the National economy. Administration is further eased by collection of the deposits at the point of manufacture or extraction of these hazardous materials as defined.

"The emotion of moral outrage can thus be seen as misplaced. It hampers an orderly correction. The pollution is now corrected by the normal market forces as defined."

A sense of responsibility and a critique.

The Doctor Professor pauses at the end of the lecture; the camera starts to zoom in on him, the silver threads in his turquoise shirt glistening in the spotlight of this magic theater. He looks up from his lecture notes and removes his glasses. "Here we pause and consider the issue of ultimate ends and the selected technical means to achieve them.
"Beyond any calculations of possible outcomes we must consider the ends to be achieved and the means selected.
"As Germans we have a special duty in this regard. No other people has done greater harm to the quest for technical solutions than we.
"It is our special responsibility to address the disrepute into which technology and the search for technical solutions has fallen. Is it any wonder given our history, in which," his voice begins to rise, "this nation attempted to change the very course of history by technical means; by the application of planes, tanks, and rocketry." His voice drops to a whisper, "Yes and by gas chambers and mobile gas chambers, and," now again in a cry that seems to echo back from the ceiling, "factories of death! Factories!" the woman in the front row flinches as he falls back to a speaking voice ". . . of death.
"Our terrible search for final solutions. . . " he repeats in a whisper, "final solutions." The hall is silent.
"And yet here I stand I can do none other. The mere fact of our existence impels us on this voyage of technical discovery on an empirical sea of experience.
"Because of these crimes, this our criminal history, we who seek technical solutions have this special burden of history to bear. This is a burden we all share, all of us who design an engine, erect a building, develop a process in all the countries of the world. We Germans, Russians, Americans, we face together this issue of ultimate ends, it is our special concern as the guilt is especially ours.
"For you to fully assume this obligation, this debt owed by all in every technical enterprise, you must understand that this human universe allows, permits, the non linear transmission of guilt.
"This guilt, this individual responsibility which singles us out from all other people, is transmitted to us not by our acts alone, not even by the acts of the national fathers alone; but is communicated to us across time and space in a strange non linear way as by God himself. The universe is a unitary whole and its linear deconstruction is Maya, an illusion of the mind; ends and means are one! The application of logic, the attempt to rationalize in a linear sequence of reasoning, is at the core of the guilt which we therefore can never expurgate. This special guilt is ours in perpetuity, it can not be altered it must simply be accepted as is the fact of our existence.
"We share, in particular we share, the guilt of Raskolnikov, that would be Napoleon; of Hitler, that killer of Jews."

" [other options available: literature, history, biography, philosophy. see index. ] " appeared at the bottom of the screen.

Death and a beginning.

Why, Washingtonians, do I continue the Math Project crusade? I was born on the 22nd of November. When I became eleven a great man was murdered.
"Oh! he thought in grief and horror, now I am guilty of his death. And only now, when there was no longer need to save his pride or offer resistance, he felt, in shock and sorrow, how dear this man had already become to him. And since in spite of all rational objections he felt responsible for the Master's death, there came over him, with a premonitory shudder of awe, a sense that this guilt would utterly change him and his life, and would demand much greater things of him than he had ever before demanded of himself." Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi. (1943)

With Holmes we can say that in our youth our hearts, also, were touched by fire.



Very truly yours;


Peter [deletion]

ps You seem to have quite a bit of influence with the White House. Could you help the Math Project?

cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe
Director, U. S. Department of Education
Christopher T. Cross
Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Lauro Cavazos
Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
John Sununu
Chief of Staff, the White House
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Byrd Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici Senator Garn
Rep. Gingrich Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Grassley
Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry Rep. Leach
Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Govern. Wilson


footnotes:
(1) Senator Voltaire, from a debate on the floor of the United States Senate as transcribed on October 9, 1990.
(2) Senator Sasser, M & L News Hour.
(3) Max Weber's Vision of History, Ethics and Methods, By Guenther Roth and Wolfgang Schluchter, University of California Press, 1979, page 68.
(4) Max Weber's Vision of History, Ethics and Methods, By Guenther Roth and Wolfgang Schluchter, University of California Press, 1979, page 66.
(5) Max Weber's Vision of History, Ethics and Methods, By Guenther Roth and Wolfgang Schluchter, University of California Press, 1979, page 84.
(6) Max Weber's Vision of History, Ethics and Methods, By Guenther Roth and Wolfgang Schluchter, University of California Press, 1979, page 85.
(7) Max Weber's Vision of History, Ethics and Methods, By Guenther Roth and Wolfgang Schluchter, University of California Press, 1979, page 88.

"Was it better to be with Tereza or remain alone?
"There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal of life is life itself?"
----------Milan Kundera,
The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

The Math Project: minting knowledge
---the new coin of the realm,
to illume the minds of men.


October 12, 1990



John Sununu
Chief of Staff
the White House
Washington, D. C. 20510

Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Ca.
945[deletion]


Dear John Sununu;

I am writing to you to get your advise on how I can win friends and influence people to support the Math Project.

I have been trying for two years to get the Administration to keep the promises it has made regarding the Federal Math Matrix. I can not believe the President would allow, if he knew, this bureaucratic intransigence and repeated failures to keep the promises made in his name to continue. I wrote to the President a month ago to tell him about this problem; someone must be keeping my letters from him.

The Federal Math Matrix is a series of 48 interrelated, self paced, math courses, (from basic to advanced), recorded on laser disks in an interactive format. This would allow even small schools to have a complete math department. More importantly it would allow students to proceed at their own pace as they master each subject. The courses would be circulated by Junior High Schools, High Schools, Community Colleges, and Libraries. The initial ten million dollar investment would be paid back to the Government. The project would be a joint Government - computer industry venture.

The problem is that I fear I may have been too strident in my advocacy, too overbearing. So I put it to you, Governor: Have I alienated the very people I have been trying to persuade? Was my questioning of the distinguished Senator Alan Cranston too sharp? Did his Excellency President Bush find my references to Yale offensive? The Senate, have I insulted all of them?

Have you noticed that men keep a close tally of all the minuses but show a casual disregard for the pluses. So much depends on where one starts counting. Sir, I am an outsider inexperienced in the ways of Washington; I seek your guidance, am I too aggressive?

Now, Senator Sasser says that the only reason the Democrats went along with The Great Budget Compromise Of 1990, was because Sununu "literally held a gun to our heads." Wow! I thought, now that's what I call the power of persuasion.

Or take the Honorable Gingrich. Now there, Governor, is a case of persuasion. Do not be angry with your brother Newt. John, your Governorship, life is too short to hold grudges. Love Newt as you love yourself, and forgive him as you would have others forgive you. Let's face it, warning against deficits and the evils of governmental spending is what has won for the Republican party the proud claim to being the longest running minority party in history. All budget politics now, post Reagan, is based on the strategy of letting some other poor dumb sucker carry the bad news that there are limits to Uncle Sam's bank roll, no, (the bank roll is gone): that there are limits to Uncle Sam's credit card.

This is what Reagan did for the Republicans, like Moses leading the Jews from bondage. Reagan said to a century of good Republican deficit control: let my people go. Behold, the waters parted; Republicans could again win with Land Slides. Gingrich is saying why not let our friends carry the burden for the next century? Or to use the fashionable academic metaphor: the relationship between Democrats and Republicans is that of addict and co-dependent. When Reagan changed the rules of the relationship the binge began --- the addict was unable to change with out the old support of the co-dependent. We have been "playing chicken" for some time.
This is what President Bush is saying on taxes. We are not going to play that same old game, the President is saying, where the Democrats buy the government programs and the Republicans get to demand a tax Bill increase. (Or, in the alternative, let us go to the people together and explain reality.)

What then is the difference between Republicans and Democrats? Philosophy. Republicans use free market principles in social policy, that is to say experience. The Math Project is saying: you don't have to spend money like a Democrat in order to have a big impact on education. (Adult education is the most cost effective education. Individualized education is the most efficient. Technology eliminates bureaucracy—lowers costs.)

Look at the difference between us and our friends:

Two liberals writing for the American Association for the Advancement of Science said: "Education today remains technologically underdeveloped. The first question Americans ask about a new product of technology is: How can it be used to turn a profit? It is rare that we initially ask, How can this new product be developed and designed so as to improve American education?

"The American pattern is clear. The educational exploitation of technologies is always secondary to the prevalent market orientation and philosophy. Educational technologies always follow commercial development, almost as an afterthought. . . . Technology for education simply is not viewed as a long-term investment in the economy of the Nation."(1)

Did you note the liberal bias against the free market? Did you note that the alternative explanation, that because the educational system is governmentally controlled technology has not been used, is not even considered my these writers?

A Republican philosophy provides the explanation to the mystery: Why in the most technologically advanced nation on the planet; the country where the electronic computer was developed; where the greatest emphasis is placed on the opportunity of the individual to advance as far as his abilities will take him, why, has the educational establishment not embraced technology?

Government bureaucrats do not innovate, they do not need technology. Like the Ancient Chinese Mandarins our Mandarins, enthroned in the Great Universities, define the reality of Education, and then control a vast administrative apparatus to impose their views. China's vast labor supply allowed its centralized power structure to succeeded too well. There was no need to innovate. Just so, American Mandarins, atop their hierarchical structure, pour vast amounts of money into a bloated bureaucracy. Technical innovation? Who cares?

Another explanation comes from Diane Ravitch in The Troubled Crusade:

"With funds from foundations and government, school systems experimented with the new (supposedly 'teacher-proof') curricula, new patterns of staffing and scheduling, new ways of training teachers, and new technology. Admirers of behaviorist B. F. Skinner claimed that the teaching machine and programmed instruction would revolutionize the classroom. Others, touting the virtues of television teaching, talking typewriters, computers, and multimedia equipment, envisioned the advent of 'the automated classroom.' The new technology, it was believed, had made the traditional . . . school obsolete . . .

"The expected pedagogical revolution in the schools was not to be, however. It was swept aside by the onrush of the racial revolution, which presented a forceful challenge to the political, social, and economic basis of American schools. . . .

"Before long, the pursuit of excellence was overshadowed by concerns about the needs of the disadvantaged. . . . Such efforts were multiplied by congressional passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965, with its focus on educating poor children."(2)

I call this blaming the victim. If you really wanted to expand educational opportunities how could you avoid education technology? The issue for Liberal educators was never how to meet the "needs of the disadvantaged" but how to incorporate the new political forces into the beehive bureaucracy of state controlled education. Their first concern was, and is, power.

Did you ever hear a Liberal educator complain that he had too much funding and wanted some of it given to a poorer institution? They may have been Liberal but they were not that liberal. It has taken court action to get the "professionals" to even consider equalizing the distribution of educational resources in California, Texas, New Jersey, etc., etc.

And in all this; in all the teary eyed pleas for help, in all the law suits, the shouting matches in school board chambers across America has there ever been anyone who thought to consider what might be and ask why not?

Was there ever such a man?

["Birkin remembered how once Gerald had clutched his hand, with a warm, momentaneous grip of final love. For one second - then let go again, let go forever. If he had kept true to that clasp, death would not have mattered. Those who die, and dying still can love, still believe, do not die. They live still in the beloved. Gerald might still have been living in the spirit with Birkin, even after death, He might have lived with his friend, a further life."]

Very truly yours;

Peter [deletion]

ps Remember, when you strike at a king kill him.

cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe
Director, U. S. Department of Education
Christopher T. Cross
Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Lauro Cavazos
Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
George Bush
President, United States of America
Senator Biden Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd
Senator Cranston Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Domenici
Senator Garn Rep. Gingrich Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Grassley Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin
Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J.Kerry
Rep. Leach Senator Levin Senator Lott Senator Lugar Senator McCain Senator Metzenbaum Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Pryor Senator Sasser Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Specter Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Senator Wilson

1 Mathematics, Microelectronics, and American Education, by F. James Rutherford and Joseph M. Dasbach, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Institute of Education and National Science Foundation Conference Proceedings 1981. page 13.
2 The Troubled Crusade: American Education 1945-1980, by Diane Ravitch, Basic Books, New York, 1983, page 233 - 234

The Math Project: minting knowledge
---the new coin of the realm

September 12, 1990


George Bush
President, United States of America
The White House
Washington, D. C.

Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Ca.
945[deletion]

Dear Mr. President;

"All funds for mathematics programs supported with fiscal year 1989 funds have been expended. We have not yet received our appropriation for fiscal year 1990. As soon as the appropriation is determined, program priorities will be set and announcements will be made regarding the next round. . . . We have placed your name on a list to receive both the announcement and the application package."
Bruno V. Manno,Acting Assistant Secretary
September 15, 1989

"Thank you for your letters to President Bush, former Acting Assistant Secretary Manno, and Secretary Cavazos regarding the status of your math application.

"We have submitted your outline for review under an unsolicited proposal process administered by the F.I.R.S.T. Office. You should be contacted by a F.I.R.S.T. Staff member sometime in August regarding its status in the review process."
--------Christopher T. Cross,
Assistant Secretary
May 15, 1990

I am, myself, my own best evidence of the sorry state of American education. This is, I guess, why the Administration never keeps its word to me. Why should they? Promises made in May need not be kept in August to a fool. Some advocate I am: I can not get the Administration to do what it has said, of its own free will, it would do. (The Administration set the time.)

Last year I waited all through the long dark months of my humiliation; waiting for the promised contact that never came. As an insurance adjuster I was busy inspecting the buildings damaged in the Great Earthquake of '89. December and January passed and then I began to realize that the Department of Education was not going to contact me as they said they would. The budget had not been settled but even when it was it dawned on me that no one was interested in the pipe dream of an insurance adjuster in California. (Yes, Dr. La Pointe, California.) My hopes became like the buildings I was inspecting: broken and ruined.

No one at the Department of Education needs to hear from me. They no doubt agree with the sentiments of Senator Voltaire, who found in my letters only the grousing of one who has not had his "pay packet" increased in the last 30 years. They no doubt think: just another defective taking out his frustrations on the Administration. Who was I to think differently?

If the Yale Divinity School had wanted to produce a course for the general public on say the Family and the Meaning of Life, in the 1950's they could have produced the lectures on Long Playing records. If Harvard or U. C. Berkeley had wanted to contribute to the general public's understanding of literature in the 1960's they could have produced their courses on audio cassettes and distributed them to the Community Colleges and High Schools. (The late B. F. Skinner invented the learning machine at Harvard.)
 
M. I. T. hardly needs to hear from me that it could have produced courses in science and technology in the 1970's on video cassettes with tutorials on magnetic disks for computers. Half of our High Schools do not offer a course in physics, for example, but there seems to be no substitute for "the live instructor" even when there is no instructor at all. No, the Department of Education is right, why keep their word to me? Who did I think I was?

Why were laser disks allowed to collect dust in the 1980's? Given this history of failure to exploit technology, the question should be why did I think I could change anything?

I had given up on the application from the Department of Education when on April 16, 1990 Senator Byrd established the record for the most votes cast in the United States Senate. There was a small ceremony to recognize the achievement. The Senator stood on the floor and gave a speech in which he said that we should help those who are trying to continue their education. He went on to describe his own education and concluded by saying that "if there is anyone out there who is listening" they should keep trying to help. I rushed off a letter to the Senate, the Administration, the Math Project participants.
Well Senator Byrd I tried. I did not succeed. But I tried.

In the life of the world to come it will be hard for those future citizens to understand our failure to use technology to advance education. They will think us small, narrow minded, and selfish. And they would be right. We are a race headed for extinction because we did not care for our children as well as we cared for ourselves.

Our Nation is to become a colonial backwater for the great nations of this world. Our children will consume what other nation's children invent. America will become a kind of giant farm to be slashed and burned and harvested, but never cultivated. Oh yes, I tried, but now I know better.

The Department of Education has taught me a bitter lesson--- I can not change my world. Now I rejoice in the all too short, narrow path of life. Every white hair on my head will be, like first snows of winter's approach, a reminder that I am soon to lay my head down in my makers lap and sleep that final sleep. Now I can set aside the humiliation of the Department's delay. Now I know what all have known, what a waste learning has been on me.

But what are we to do, Mr. President, the scorned and wretched of this world, who want to learn?

Very truly yours;


Peter [deletion]

p.s. And I think Saddam Hussein should be destroyed.
cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe
Director, U. S. Department of Education
Christopher T. Cross
Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
Lauro Cavazos
Secretary, U. S. Department of Education
John Sununu
Chief of Staff, the White House
Senator Bond Senator Bradley Senator Byrd Senator Danforth Senator Dole Senator Garn Senator Glen Senator Gore Senator Harkin Senator Hatch Senator Heflin Senator Helms Senator Kassebaum Senator Kennedy Senator J. Kerry Senator Levin Senator Lugar Senator Mitchell Senator Moynihan Senator Nunn Senator Simon Senator Simpson Senator Thurmond Senator Wallop Senator Warner Senator Wilson

How to protect the Flag with out Constitutional amendments:
I propose a Bill that would define what the U. S. Flag's exact dimensions, proportions, and technic of manufacture shall be. The Bill would specify the type of cloth, its chemical composition. For example the cloth could contain metal threads to allow easy identification even if it has been burned.
The Bill would prohibit any manufacture of this flag save that the Government has issued a licence. Others would be permitted to make flags similar, even very similar, as long as they did not exactly match the exact dimensions and proportions and colors etc. as specified by the Bill. We grant our own patent.
This flag, the only genuine true Flag, would not be sold but would be used solely by the Federal Government and by lessees. Lessees would be granted generous leases of say 999 years. They would take possession but never ownership interest which would always remain with the United States.
The Bill would specify the punishment, civil and/or criminal, for any one who abused this true Flag of the Nation. The chemical or metallic "markers" in its fabric would allow prosecutors to meet the "preponderance of the evidence" rule and even the "beyond a reasonable doubt" rules of our courts.
Now, if someone wants to take some crayons and paper and set it on fire they can be subject to local ordinances for unlawful demonstrations or having a fire with out a permit but the Federal Government would have no interest as this bit of paper is not
the true Flag. Do what they will with bits of similar cloth, but as for the one true Flag: Don't tread on me !

The Math Project: "minting knowledge"
 
July 19, 1990
 
Senator Cranston
United States Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510
 
Jude Fawley
[Deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Ca. 945[deletion]
 
Dear Senator Cranston;
 
I bring you good news.
 
I believe that President George Bush will next month announce the creation of the Federal Math Matrix on laser disk.
 
I believe that soon every student in America will be able to study math at the pace that best suits them. I believe that President Bush will be remembered for centuries for establishing knowledge as the new coin of the realm.
 
His laser disks will circulate around the world allowing millions to learn and fulfill their abilities.
 
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Factorem coeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium. . . .
 
We are privileged to witness the union of crisis and leadership, of political philosophy and technology, into a policy out of which will come a revolutionary breakthrough in American Education. Soon, with in a few hundred hours after the first course is produced, students will be studying geometry from the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Lectures in Elementary Geometry, and algebra in the John F. Kennedy Memorial Lectures in Elementary Algebra, and numerical reasoning in the William McKinley Memorial Lectures in Numerical Reasoning, and statistic in the Allard Lowenstein Memorial Lectures in Statistics III (Statistics for Political and Social Science).
 
It has taken a National crisis in education to prepare us for this bold, visionary advance. As is said in the Tao Te Ching, "When the Nation is imperiled great men arise."
 
President Bush is about to create the first in a series of matrixes that will bring as great a change in education as the introduction of moveable type. This will be a whole new college, an electronic college. His free market philosophy, his policy initiatives of free choice in education, his political philosophy of ever expanding opportunities for the individual, (what, after all, does the Republican Party stand for if it does not stand for the individual?), have all prepared the way for this new beginning.
 
To this leader, in this historic crisis, has come the technology of the laser disk. It is as if God himself has intervened in our behalf. This technology is powerful because it is interactive. Now every student, by this technology, can enter into a dialogue with the teacher. The unresponsive technologies of the past, e.g. the book, the audio and video technologies, are now superseded by the interactive power of the laser disk.
 
Such coalescence of leader, crisis, solution do not come often in our lives; it is right that we should pause and consider this. What if more of the problems we face as a Nation could be solved in such a happy manner?
 
 . . . Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. . .
 
How often have we failed even to consider the technical solution thinking that our problems were some how "in side" of us and not amenable to technical solutions? (This is the "malaise" theory of Government and society so long ago rejected by our people.)
 
We forget that we are the Nation of Franklin, Edison, and The Woz.
 
I submit that for every problem, the correct alignment of problem formulation will allow for a technical solution. Wither the problem is education, the protection of the National Flag, or global warming, what ever the problem, there is a technical solution. Americans will never be as homogeneous as the Japanese. We will never be as studious as the Germans, or as self confident as the French.
 
America, your genius lies in the application of technology, particularly the mass application of technology. America your genius lies in mass production.
 
Reject all formulations of problems that do not lend themselves to technical solutions, and in the main mass production of "solutions." It is always and every where true that superior management is always the result of superior strategy.
 
. . . Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur. Qui locutus est per prophetas. . . .
 
Sir, while you and I are still in this warm bipartisan embrace, let me ask you to please read my petition.
 
From the early years of the nineteenth century when Horace Mann began his campaign for the establishment of "public schools" the history of education in the United States has been the history of governmental involvement in education. In the United States this involvement has been imbued with a utopian spirit, and as with all utopian movements, there has been a sameness to our schools.
 
Utopias are the creation of a single point of view and therefore are self limited by definition. (If different points of view were allowed, there would be disagreement and thus they would not be utopias.) The result is that American public schools show little inclination to innovate. The bureaucratic institutions that control education are more interested in their self perpetuation than innovation.
 
Layered over these public schools are the elite schools whose graduates control public policy. I am talking about people like you. I am not writing to Washington to speak to the good; I am writing to Washington to speak to the wicked. Am I unfair? Let us see, just answer these questions: You are a Stanford man I believe. You are proud of your school are you not? Tell me sir why is there only one Stanford? They have a "product" that is in demand do they not? They yearly turn away "customers" do they not? Have they sought to expand their "market share," to "diversify?"
 
What business would operate like this? Why are you proud of this school? Why do institutions of learning operate by one standard that is agreeable to you but which no where else in our society would be commended? The situation of education in America to day is no accident. It is not the unintended consequence of class, party, or what have you, it is the direct result of your system of values. The disparities you see all about you. The failed lives.
 
All the children who have been branded failures by this system, have grown up failures, because of an attitude towards education and technology held by you and your friends and colleagues. These Stanfords, Harvards, (we will exempt Yale Mr. President, because of your anticipated breakthrough policy), are not institutions of education, i.e. the communication of information from one generation to the next, they are institutions of power.
 
You can not have more than one of these places, you can not diversify, open additional campuses and use other technologies, because the transmission of information is not really what is taking place. Rather these institutions confer power. These places are bastilles of knowledge not citadels; knowledge is there imprisoned not protected.
 
If the free market were allowed to work in education as in other areas of human activity things would look very different. Tell me sir, what is being said at Stanford about Shakespeare that can not be said to me?
 
I know I am unworthy but what would be lost if the lecture were to be shown to me? Look at your values! Sir, look into your heart. What is there that causes you to so despise us, your inferiors? Why will you not share your world of knowledge with us? Why will you not allow us to even stand out side the door of your lecture halls? We do not ask to walk even on the same pavement as you Stanford men, we do not object when you "shoulder" us out of your way. But tell me why are new technologies not adopted by educators? Are you not to blame? Truly?
 
Does your cloak of liberalism so completely protect you from all responsibility?
 
"I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?" Job xii. 3.
 
Thus the schools and their graduates that are more interested in power than communication effectively control our public schools as well. I would use this new technology to break up this state monopoly. This is populist conservatism. But do not think me an ideologue.
 
Just being liberal is not enough. Public education as a state monopoly was a good thing in its time but the world moves on, for God's sake life moves on. What was good policy then is bad policy now. Can you not change? Can you not grow?
 
Et unam Catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remisionem peccatorum. Et exspecto Resurrectionem mortuorum. Et vitam venturi saeculi.
 
The personal computer's ability to patiently carry out an individualized program of instruction - starting at what ever level of understanding the student brings to the subject - and continue on to any level of detail desired is the single greatest innovation since the application of movable type. The question is why has this technology not been more fully integrated into the American system of education?
 
 I submit that the failure of our Government to take advantage of the computer in education is only the most recent example of a series of failures that result from the way our Government formulates our National policy. How many billions have been spent on education?
 
What do you have to show for it? Is our work force the best educated? Literacy, where do we rank?
 
What can I say to move you?
 
If you are men, call this new college: "Ruskin College."
Amen.
 
Very truly yours;
 
Peter [deletion]
 
p.s. "He regarded the statesmen in their various types, men of firmer movement and less dreamy air; the scholar, the speaker, the plodder; the man whose mind grew with his growth in years, and the man whose mind contracted with the same." --- Thomas Hardy.

The Math Project:
"minting knowledge"
 
June 6, 1990
Senator George Mitchell
United States Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510
 
Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Ca. 945[deletion]
 
Dear Senator George Mitchell;
 
Thank you for your letter of May 18, 1990.
 
I am pleased to report that the Administration has forwarded on to me an abstract of some projects that have been funded in fiscal year 1990 as well as a sample application package.
 
Perhaps more importantly I am also informed by Christopher Cross, Assistant Secretary, that the Administration is reviewing the Math Project proposal and promises action by August, 1990. I do not know if the Administration will allow the submission of the Math Project proposal for the fiscal year 1991, as you suggested in your letter of 18 May.
 
Dr. La Pointe's letter of acknowledgement of your letter, refers to the Cross letter, but I do not see any reference in the Cross letter to the next funding cycle. It is my hope that the independent review to be completed in August is some sort of administrative process that will lead to quicker action in the development and implementation of the Math Project.
 
I have no reason to believe this is a superior way of proceeding other than my simple hope and faith. (August comes sooner than December.) It is also my hope that the Administration is not too displeased with my amateurish efforts to bring to its attention the important opportunities being presented by our advancing technologies.
 
The President has a good and generous spirit and I can only hope that his largess is shared by his advisers. I knew that he would find my letter of 27 April upsetting just because he is a Goodman.
 
The President has often said that he would not trade his leadership position on the growing edge of policy for a safer position in the middle of the pack simply to avoid the occasional criticism from kibitzers on the sidelines. If he had not set the Education Presidency as his goal there would be less reason for the goading and taunting by which we encourage our leaders to excellence. I sincerely apologize if I have offended.
 
I think all Goodmen will see that by criticisms were well meaning enough to be overlooked; but as for the idea . . . I have hope and faith that this will be fairly considered. We can, together, do great things.
 
Every time the professional educators give up on a student we will be there. Every time a student asks "Why?" and is told "we don't have time for that" we will be there. When a parent has difficulty explaining a denominator or a differential equation, we will be there. For the High School student who wants to study physics, (half of our High Schools do not offer a class in physics), we will be there. Where ever there are students who want to learn, from the hollows of Appalachia to the slums of Zambia, the Federal Math Matrix will be there.
 
At the center of these silvery disks will be a fearsome bird, and in that bird's talons will be a scroll, and on that scroll will be our motto: E Pluribus Unum.
 
 Once again thank you for your letter and your support. Can August be so close?
 
Very truly yours;
 
Peter [deletion]
 
 
cc Dr. Richard T. La Pointe Director, U. S. Department of Education Christopher T. Cross Assistant Secretary, U. S. Department of Education Lauro Cavazos Secretary, U. S. Department of Education John Sununu Chief of Staff, the White House George Bush President, United States of America Senator Harkin Senator Helms blind cc

 
 

April 27, 1990


Name
Address
City State Zip


Peter [deletion]
[deletion] East Ave.
Hayward, Ca. 945[deletion]


Salutation


I am writing to you to find out if you think I should give up on the Administration?

Last year I wrote the United States Senate, President Bush, and the Secretary of Education, and asked for support for the creation of a demonstration project to show how mathematics education can be improved by the use of interactive laser disks. The Acting Assistant Secretary of Education, responding on behalf of the President and the Secretary, had promised that the Administration would consider the proposal for the fiscal year 1990, and promised action by December 1, 1989. (copy enclosed)
Five months have now passed and the Administration has not been able to keep its commitment. Have no "program priorities" been set?

What has become of the Education Presidency? Must everything wait on the Budget?

The Math Project proposal is of particular interest because it has already received letters of encouragement from Senator Thurmond, and his colleagues: Senator Helms, Senator Kennedy, Senator Nunn, Senator Bradley, Senator Levin, Senator Hatch, and Senator Heflin. By the end of this year 2.3 billion dollars worth of CD-ROM disks and drives will have been sold in the United States. Nearly 18 million CD-ROM disks will be in circulation.

It seems technology is expanding in the open market but our government controlled educational system is destined to lag behind yet again. The failure of our Government to respond to and take advantage of the opportunities presented by our free market is exactly the failure of government and government controlled institutions that we have witnessed around the world. In the absence of action the number of math teachers continues to dwindle, our test scores on international comparison math tests continue to decline. This mounting failure looms over our future, and our children's future. "But there is nothing new in this: the confusion of counsel, the failure to act when action might lead to success, there is nothing new in this; it is the long lamentable history of mankind."

Robert Pearlman of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, states his organization "supports the use of videodisc technology" and has requested additional information about the Math Project. Anthony Comitto of IBM has also requested additional information while considering IBM's participation in the Project.

Paul Sally, Chair of the Committee on Education of the American Mathematical Society, is presently reviewing the Math Project proposal. "We should begin without delay," says the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "the systematic and thoughtful introduction of microcomputers into the schools as a standard tool of mathematics learning at all educational levels. . . .the most promising combination is . . . 'intelligent' videodisc --- the microcomputer linked to the videodisc. The interactive power of the microcomputer having direct and rapid access to the vast visual and auditory storage capacity of the videodisc means that teachers and students can have available a rich audiovisual library of slides, films, and graphics related to the mathematics being studied. Because of the importance of mathematics to living in the modern world we cannot afford to deny any of our American youth an adequate education in mathematics."

The Association of American Universities states "we support your contention that much improvement is required in our schools" and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce's Robert Martin found the proposal "interesting" and stated "the U. S. Chamber shares your views on the increasing problems in the American education system." The Council for Advancement and Support of Education's, Gary Quehl, found the Math Project proposal "a worth wile undertaking."

Senator Thurmond has offered "further assistance" and Senator Heflin "would be happy considering this issue further" and has asked the Math Project to indicate what additional support is needed? Senators, we need the Administration to respond --- no, we need the Administration to lead on this issue.

This general agreement and interest from such a wide group of individuals and organizations speaks well of the Math Project proposal and argues for your serious consideration.
The Math Project divides mathematics into 48 courses, each interrelated, which allows students to proceed at their own pace. Below is the outline of the proposed Federal Math Matrix:
____________________________________________________
FEDERAL MATH MATRIX
Official School Grade
____________________________________________________
Junior High School College Graduate
High School Level School
7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
(actual grade)
*Junior High *High School *College *G.S.
____________________________________________________
Vocational
1,5 9,13,17,21 25,29,33,37 41,45
2,6 10,14,18,22 26,30,34,38 42,46
3,7 11,15,19,23 27,31,35,39 43,47
4,8 12,16,20,24 28,32,36,40 44,48
Scientific

Enclosed please find with this letter the course titles for these 48 courses.

You will note that the 48 math courses which make up the curriculum are placed in an integrated order from basic to advanced when viewed from left to right and are arranged from "vocational," (or utilitarian), to "scientific" when viewed from top to bottom.

Please note that the first year of study covered by this proposed curriculum is actually "remedial" and most students upon entering the matrix will, hopefully, enter into the second year of study. This "advanced" placement may appear artificial yet there is little point of developing a comprehensive core of math educational programs if access to the programs is limited to those who have already had some success in math education. Therefore the curriculum is biased towards basic math education in the early grades and biased in favor of "vocational" or practical application of mathematics up to the first college year. There after the bias in the upper right quadrant of the matrix devolves to economics and engineering applications of mathematics. Generally it is anticipated that most students will exit the matrix "upwards" in the direction of the "vocational" courses. It is only for a few unfortunates to begin and end their mathematical careers with course number 8 and course number 48, both titled "Number Theory." (Given the poor state of math education, practical applications are arguably our best hope.)

The dwindling number of math teachers has been remarked on as a problem. The Math Project submits a proposed solution. If implemented, tomorrows limited numbers of math teachers would be made more productive. Even volunteers, acting as teaching assistants can, with little background in mathematics, assist students with this programed instruction. The availability of this extensive inventory of information would encourage the development of the technology and would extend the resources presently available.

If all of the 10,000 sets of the Federal Math Matrix were manufactured as proposed there would be 20 million disks manufactured --- nearly twice as many disks for this one project as are expected to be manufactured by the end of 1990!

This represents a significant stimulus to the industry.



CD-ROM Market Summary, 1985 - 1990: (*)

year Drives Drives Disks Value of Total value of
Sold Installed Manufactured Drives Sold Systems

1985     80 80 200 $120,000 $288,000
1986    6,178 6,258 18,392 $9,051,400 $15,338,000
1987   36,627 42,885 204,940 $40,929,700 $80,702,600
1988   115,907 158,792 1,107,064 $105,046,300 $249,103,200
1989   289,172 447,964 4,210,834 $204,780,400 $653,823,400
1990   534,713 982,677 12,319,270 $285,096,500 $1,283,093,400

Totals:
85-90     982,677     982,677    17,860,700    $645,024,300 $2,282,348,600

However, by the year 1995 at current rates of increase there will be over one hundred million disks on the private market. In this perspective the stimulus of the Math Project can be seen as helping a new industry but not the dominant force it might have at first seemed. The Federal involvement is to assist the industry and direct resources to math education. Because of the amount of public money being spent on education few private laser disk companies would be interested in competing in the "education market" with public institutions which, of course, do not have to make a profit. The creation of the Federal Math Matrix will counter the reluctance of the technology companies to provide private resources to education.

Several Senators have questioned what the Federal role in education should be. One answer comes from the American Association for the Advancement of Science which has noted: "Often our experimentation and efforts at innovation are piecemeal and disconnected. We usually focus our attention narrowly: . . . on curriculum change or methodological change or technological change, but not on all three at once.

"One stultifying result of our fragmented system is the difficulty it presents us in establishing our educational goals as a Nation. . . . This situation emphasizes that there is no mechanism for instituting needed national change without a Federal role." The Federal Math Matrix is the proper Federal role.

The creation of the Federal Math Matrix on laser disks would allow us to produce the disks the same way we now coin money. We would quite literally be minting knowledge. Generally the main value in creating a tangible good is that its value continues long after the period of production is over, unlike the providing of services. This continuity of value makes possible investments in the future that are not practicable when financing services.

In as much as we have not yet received the promised consideration from President Bush or the Secretary of Education and anticipating Administration objections to an increase in spending, and in the absence of the Administrations promised review, an alternative means of starting the project has been developed.

Specifically we request the Administration to prepare a draft of a Bill to authorize the Secretary of Education to issue bonds redeemable in complete sets of the Federal Math Matrix Curriculum. These bonds will not be guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States but will rather only be redeemable for the completed sets of the disks which make up the Federal Math Matrix. Think of it as a cooperative effort.

Upon completion of the Math Matrix the complete set of disks of the curriculum will be available for an estimated cost of $10,000 a set. Those States and private organizations that have been awarded the right to develop the courses by the Secretary of Education will be issued bonds with a face value of the costs incurred in the production of the courses, plus interest of 5% per year. It is anticipated that the 48 courses will be completed and available for production 3 years after the first course is completed. The bond holders may then submit their bonds to the Secretary as a credit for the purchase of the sets of the Matrix for the face value of the bond plus interest earned.

For example: The Bill would authorize the Secretary of Education of the United States to award a contract to the developer of course number 39, Differential Equations and Field Theory, course number 42, Engineering Mathematics, and course number 43, Linear Optimization. Upon review the Secretary, for purposes of this example, awards the rights to Annapolis. Annapolis then develops the courses, selects the text books and masters video tapes of the lectures and the interactive tutorials developed for these courses. Annapolis then delivers to the Department of Education 123 laser disks to serve as masters for production. That is 41 disks per course. 40 disks contain the lectures and the last disk contains up to 50,000 pages of texts, lecture notes, and the interactive tutorials.

The Secretary there upon issues to the Department of the Navy bonds to cover the costs of development. This amount is estimated to be less than $100,000 per course for large educational institutions already in possession of computers and video equipment and experienced faculty, however the Bill would authorize the Secretary to issue bonds up to $208,000 per course if needed. ($10,000,000 plus interest) Upon completion of the Math Matrix curriculum the Department of the Navy would be permitted to purchase the complete set. In this example if the courses were developed for $300,000 and the Matrix completed prior to the accrual of interest, the Navy would be given 30 complete sets of disks for distribution to its personnel. As it is expected that the Navy will wish to equip each of its ships with at least one set of disks the additional sets would be available for purchase at the regular rate of $10,000 per set.

The cost estimates are based on two types of costs: developmental costs and mastering costs. It is estimated that the Bill should authorize the Secretary to issue $10,000,000 in bonds to cover the costs of developing the courses and their tutorials. Mastering costs will be covered on a cost incurred basis at the time the disks are manufactured. It is estimated that the disks will be produced for a cost of under $5 each. The 1,968 disks per set will cost less than $10,000 to produce. The $10,000,000 allocated for course development will be divided equally over the sets produced with a pay back or break even point after the 10,000th set is sold. $10,000,000 divided by 10,000 sets is $1,000 per set or $20 per course. As math is a "stable" subject, (it changes little from year to year), once the courses are "in the can" the key to lowering the developmental costs is mass production. Only a few states have a sufficiently large population to allow these costs the be spread out over a long "production run." The Federal government on the other hand is ideally positioned to take advantage of the need for math instruction which at present is not being met by the government controlled system of education or by private industry which is blocked from entering education because of this governmental control, i.e. strangle hold.
Therefore the greatest cost of the Project lies not in the development of the courses but in the actual cost of production and distribution which remains fixed and inflexible. Therefore there is a preference to sell complete sets so as to distribute the costs over all the courses. It will be necessary for the Government to be prepared to appropriate funds to cover the costs of production and distribution of the sets until the 10,000th set is sold; distinct from those that are redeemed by bond holders. However these subsequent appropriations need not be guaranteed out of current year appropriations.

Another example perhaps will help: If the Secretary of Education of the State of South Carolina were to be awarded the rights to develop course number 21, Mathematics for Business and Social Sciences and course number 23, Calculus II, he would sign a contract with the Secretary of Education of the United States to produce the courses for $150,000 each, as follows:


1, selection of instructor $5,000
2, payment for 40 lectures 1 $2,600 ($65 per hour)
3, payment for preparation $4,800 (120 hours @ $40)
4, tutorial preparation 1 $25,600 (640 hours @$40)
5, rights to textbook 1 $50,000 (present value)
6, animation 3 $20,000 (present value)
7, testing and evaluation $4,800 (120 hours @ $40)
8, recording studio 2 $12,000 ($300 per hour)
9, digitizing and mastering $10,000
10, additional production costs $15,200
$150,000 total costs

(1, Royalties not calculated but could be substituted for present value. 2, Public Broadcasting facilities estimated. 3, Volunteer student animators of the University of South Carolina, estimated.)

The Secretary of Education of South Carolina could then subcontract these costs to the Charleston School District and IBM for $100,000, and $50,000 respectively. Upon submission of mastered disks the Charleston School District and IBM would be issued bonds for costs plus interest at 5%. At the completion of the Matrix, for this example in 3 years, the Charleston School District would be given $115,763 worth of the disks and IBM would have the right to claim $57,881 worth of disks or 11 complete sets and 5 sets respectively, for their work on each course developed. IBM's bond would be redeemable for complete sets only, but the Charleston School District would have the option of taking complete sets or the equivalent in individual courses. IBM would be free to sell the completed sets or sell the bonds or take delivery of the sets for distribution to its employees and their dependents.

The Navy Department would receive the benefit of Charleston's work in Calculus II and Charleston's students will receive the benefit of Annapolis' work in Engineering Mathematics. The cost to the Charleston School District for the first student to complete Calculus II is $225. ($200 for the costs of production of 41 disks at $5 each, and $20 for the cost of developing the course spread over the first 10,000 students. (Actually $15 in this example as the cost is less than the authorized limit of $200,000.)) The cost for the second student is $112.50 and $56.25 for the fourth student, $28.13 for the eight student and so on into the future. This compares favorably with the fixed cost of $75 for the cost of one student in a regular math class. (The $75 figure is based on the cost of one math teacher and facilities of $45,000 per year divided by 600 students per school year. It assumes no absences and four quarters of instruction with 30 students per class, 5 classes per quarter.)

Only those institutions interested in purchasing the completed product of the Math Project will participate in the development of the product; i.e. in the development of the Federal Math Matrix. Of course immediate appropriations would be preferred. Of course, variations are possible.

For example if the Bill sets the price of private sale of the completed sets at $20,000 the interest payments on the bonds can be reduced as private organizations will be able to obtain a higher resale value of the sets or the bonds. Only 1,000 sets would thus need to be sold in order to obtain the break even point on development costs, however it is our intent to spread the cost out as far as possible.
It is because the Math Project will be selling a "product" that this method of financing is possible. The reduction of costs per course is possible because of the proposed mass distribution. Euclid's truths have a long "shelf life" and therefore we can look forward to an extended production run on these courses.

Finally, it is not proposed that traditional math education be replaced with these "teaching robots" rather the Math Project intends to assist and augment existing educational services. By reducing the number of students in Charleston's math classrooms the teachers will be able to concentrate on the needs of the remaining students. This is particularly true as we suspect that the brightest and poorest students will be attracted to the Project; this for the same reason: it is self paced. The brightest students will quickly move through Calculus II to Linear Algebra II to Advanced Numerical Analysis while still in High School. The poorer students, students not unlike a great many of us, will more diligently move from Mathematical Reasoning to Advanced Accounting and on to Quantitative Business Methods trying to prove that the tortoise can out run the rabbit.

The dwindling number of math teachers has been remarked on as a problem. The Math Project submits a proposed solution. If implemented, tomorrows limited numbers of math teachers would be made more productive.

Do you suppose you can get the Administration to respond?
Please let me hear from you.



Very truly yours,


Peter [deletion]



Enclosures: one, Federal Math Matrix / list of course titles
two, letter from Acting Assistant Secretary


(*) from CD-ROM: Breakthrough in information storage, by Frederick Holtz, page 139, Tab Books, Inc. 1988.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

,  1990

 

 

U. S. Senate

The White House

 

Washington, D. C.  20510

 

 

                                Peter [deletion]

                                [deletion] East Ave.

                                Hayward, Ca.

                                945[deletion]

 

 

Dear                      ;

 

 

I am writing to you to find out if you will support the "Math Project?"

 

The "Math Project" is a proposal for the Federal Government to develop a demonstration project to show how advanced laser disk technology in an interactive format can teach students mathematics in an integrated program that is self paced.

               

The poor performance of American students on international comparison tests has been blamed on our schools.  This is largely an incorrect criticism as our schools have been doing exactly what has been asked of them; i.e. they have been "tracking" the best students and have provided an adequate education for "most" students and have not "wasted" money on the "below average" students.  The theory has been that only a few students will be going on to college and even fewer will be majoring in math and science, so the time and money invested in the students that do not major in science and math  is wasted. 

               

Now, dimly, we are beginning to realize that this elitist model is misguided.  With out an educated work force that can carry out the complicated plans of our advanced technology we will continue to lose in the global competition. 

               

The  "Math Project" divides mathematics into 48 courses.  Starting with grade 7 and continuing onto the graduate college level,  each of these twelve years of study are subdivided into 48 quarters of study.  Each of these quarters have three levels of study:  student, practitioner, and advanced.  Starting with basic seventh grade mathematics and continuing on to quantum mechanics the program is integrated so that each of the quarter long classes are cross linked to each of the other classes so that a student can move from one course to another acquiring the necessary knowledge to advance to the next level.

               

At the "student level," for example, the student acquires a general knowledge of the subject that every layman should have.  Each "practitioner level" contains the knowledge necessary to apply the subject to problems and corresponds to the "student level" in the next quarter's course of study.  The "advanced level" corresponds to the "practitioner level" of the next course.  By integrating the course of study of mathematics students who would have otherwise passed over mathematics altogether will be able to acquire a basic understanding of the subject, at the "student level," and when they come to realize that they need mathematics to advance in their education, will be able to concentrate on those courses that are needed.

               

A typical case in our present system is that a student who has difficulty at one level is not able to return to that level and so simply drops out of math altogether.

               

By self paced I mean that the program would allow students to move through the course of study at the speed and at the level of detail they require to learn the subject.  For example, a student who has completed the course of study of geometry at the practitioner  level and the course of statistics at the advanced level will, when he enters the course of study of calculus, realize that he also needs to consult trigonometry and analytic geometry.  Because it is integrated the student will be able to go to the quarters of study he needs and because the courses are self paced the detour can be made without interruption. 

               

Under the  present system, students who need remedial study are "flunked" out of the course and must complete the entire course as well as the entirety of the remedial courses, before they can continue;   is it any wonder that many, most, do not bother with such a system of education?

               

Why laser disks?  Laser disk provide a storage medium for massive amounts of information at a low cost.  This information can be accessed frame by frame just as the courses themselves are designed to be accessed level by level, course by course.

               

Why interactive?   In addition to presenting the lecture of the teacher,  the disks can also contain a programmed text that allows the student to "interact" with the teacher through a structured question and answer secession.   A correct response leads the student on to the next level of instruction, where as an incorrect response is answered by a replay of the part of the lecture that covered the question under consideration or the page of the textbook that covered the question.

 

"The present research implies that adapting problem context to student interests can be an effective means of reducing comprehension problems, simultaneously improving attitudes toward learning math material.  It also demonstrates that with the availability of today's low-cost microcomputers, such a strategy is now practical to use as well."(1)  This research implies that we should "introduce new pedagogical techniques" in math  education.(2)  

       

But there is a benefit which goes beyond making the subject more interesting or approachable, "Learner-control subjects performed significantly better on the post test principal items than did program-control subjects.  These findings provide some support for Merrill's (1975)  contention that given some control over instruction, learners can effectively determine how best to learn in a given situation."(3)

       

Every time the professional educators give up on a student we will be there.  Every time a student asks "Why?" and is told "we don't have time for that" we will be there.  When a parent has difficulty explaining a denominator or a differential equation, we will be there.  For the High School student who wants to study physics, (half of our High Schools do not offer a class in physics), we will be there.   Where ever there are students who want to learn, from the hollows of Appalachia to the slums of Zambia,  the Federal Math Matrix will be there.

 

At the center of these silvery disks will be a fearsome bird, and in that bird's talons will be a scroll, and on that scroll will be our motto:  

E Pluribus Unum.     

 

The courses consist of 1, a preliminary test of prior knowledge the student brings to the subject, 2, a lecture in 40 one hour sessions, 3, an interactive tutorial lasting up to 3 hours depending on how many incorrect responses are recorded by the student, 4, a textbook, and 5, a final test testing how much has been learned from the program.  

               

Under the present system no preliminary testing is done so no measure exists on how well, or how poorly, the course has accomplished its goal.  (And, of course, there is no interaction, except for the correction of the home work, where the feed back comes too late to help the student with his study.)

               

How much will it cost?  The Forty hours of lecture per quarter is calculated at three hours of preparation for every hour on instruction recorded, or about $3,600,000.00 dollars.  The interactive portion would be prepared by the instructors as the lectures are written.  The teachers will be selected from across the country with each State selecting the best teacher in the subject and from this group the National finalists would then be selected.  Test preparation and production costs could bring the total to 10 million. 

               

How would it be administered?  The courses would be made available to military personnel, civilian employees, dependents of federal employees overseas, etc.   The courses would be available for purchase by State Departments of Education and for private sale to individuals, (who would presumably rent the disks to private customers.)   The disks would of course be available to foreign countries thus making knowledge available to millions who at present have no access to education.

               

Education is the single greatest social welfare program presently available.  The Math Project is the first of many applications of this new technology to education.  In a country where half of the High Schools do not offer a course in physics,  i.e.  in third world countries such as our own,  this technology offers the chance of knowledge where none had existed before.              

 

Please let me hear from you.

 

       

 

                                Very truly yours;

 

 

                       

                                Peter [deletion]

 

Orignials only sent without cc

 

 

 

Notes:

The following notes, undated, and footnotes missing, were fond among the papers:
 
 

Heisenberg’s "uncertainty principle," appears to apply to social process as much as to the electron.

Hume ,The Abstract: "By all that has been said the reader will easily perceive that the philosophy contained in this book is very skeptical and tends to give us a notion of the imperfections and narrow limits of human understanding."

Hume has written, (On Human Nature) : "For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, .... I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe anything but the perception .... nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement."

Alan Watts commented on this: "Now this is just what we fear --- the loss of human identity and integrity in a transient stream of atoms. ... Having seen the fiction of the separate ego-substance, he failed to see the fiction of separate things or perceptions which the ego, as a mode of awareness, abstracts from nature. ... The stream of human experience would then be ordered neither by a transcendental ego nor by a transcendental God but by itself." (Nature, Man and Woman) The models of the world we use do not organize the world they organize our experience of the world.

We thus come to the third point on the issue of moral relativism. What is the nature of man and his experience called knowledge? The philosophers have speculated about human understanding and now our science provides some interestingly similar thoughts. Mother nature intended the brain to help in man's survival. That man chooses to put his brain to other tasks is a matter of supreme indifference to mother nature.

The study of man scientifically may be a political act as the radical claims, and it may not yield knowledge any "better" than that produced by any other faculty of the mind, as Hume has stated, yet it exists: "Here I stand. I can do not otherwise." "Marxism is sociobiology without biology," Wilson states. "The strongest opposition to the scientific study of human nature has come from a small number of Marxist biologists ... When faced with the evidence of greater structure, their response has been to declare human nature off limits ... A few otherwise very able scholars have gone so far as to suggest that merely to talk about the subject is dangerous, at least to their concept of progress."(31)

 

 Given the avowedly political nature of the radical, we must ask is their objection to this study the result of praxis?


Wilson goes on to speculate: "Human genes, it will be recalled, program the functioning of the nervous, sensory, and hormonal systems of the body, and thereby almost certainly influence the learning process. They constrain the maturation of some behaviors and the learning process. They constrain the maturation of some behaviors and the learning rules of other behaviors. Incest taboos, taboos in general, xenophobia, the dichotomization of objects into the sacred and profane, nosism, hierarchical dominance systems, intense attention toward leaders, (teachers) charisma, trophyism, and trance induction are among the elements of religious behavior most likely to be shaped by developmental programs and learning rules. All of these processes act to circumscribe a social group and bind its members together in unquestioning allegiance. Our hypothesis requires that such constraints exist, that they have a physiological basis, and that the physiological basis in turn has a genetic origin."(32)


The ordering of reality that results may not accurately reflect "reality" as the organ is put to uses for which it was not selected. "Because the order of thought is a linear, bit-by-bit series, it can approximate but never comprehend a system of relations in which everything is happening simultaneously. ... Nature is, at the very least, a volume, and at most an infinitely dimensioned field. We need, then, another conception of natural order..." says
Watts, an another conception of wo/man, one might add.

(Nature Man Woman)


The human mind evolved in the process of natural selection for which it has had, over the last 50,000 years that Homo sapiens have traversed the planet, certain advantages: in hunting and in gathering. It has for only the last 8,000 years of civilization been put to the purpose of understanding life itself. Our understanding is affected by this brain, by the way it processes information. The brain secretes thoughts just as the other organs secrete fluids. To understand life we must understand how our orders of thought are governed by this organ.


"How could it be otherwise? The brain evolved into its present form over a period of about two million years, from the time of Homo habilis to the late stone age of Homo sapiens, during which people existed in hunter-gatherer bands in intimate contact with the natural environment. Snakes mattered. The smell of water, the hum of a bee, the directional bend of a plant stalk mattered. The naturalist's trance was adaptive: the glimpse of one small animal hidden in the grass could make the difference between eating and going hungry in the evening. And a sweet sense of horror, the shivery fascination with monsters and creeping forms that so delights us today even in the sterile hearts of the cities, could see you through to the next morning. Organisms are the natural stuff of metaphor and ritual. Although the evidence is far from all in, the brain appears to have kept its old capacities, its channeled quickness. We stay alert and alive in the vanished forests of the world."(33)


The breaking up of reality, and the attachment of a hierarch to the bits, and then the attachment of meaning to those bits and pieces of reality, an attachment for which men, yes and women too, are willing to die, is part of that "channeled quickness." It is a quickness that passes by us so fast that even in the deliberate attempt to see how this reality is changing even as you read this word the mind has doubled back on itself and moved on. But it is by such slips in consciousness that some have passed through. This is our position. We are just inside a thin wall Weber's ethic of responsibility is a value system, it is of the inferno, yet it is a window through this wall, of channeled quickness which we mistake for reality.


Heisenberg’s "uncertainty principle," appears to apply to social process as much as to the electron. Friedmann misstates the principle as the case that "the instrument of observation was itself a disturbing element, and what could not be observed 'as it really was' could only be interpreted according to the laws of chance." (34) Again as the radical does not delimit their actions but includes selective communication as a justifiable "act" we do not know whether Friedmann is continuing his campaign of misrepresenting the scientific positivist male chauvinists running dogs of the capitalist masters or does he really think that this is all the uncertainty principle sets out?


Heisenberg stated that if the observer wanted to know the direction of the electron he could not know the position of the electron. And if one knew the electrons position then he could not know it's direction. This "uncertainty" is not the result of the technical inability in the construction of an experimental apparatus but has to do with the fundamental nature of reality and human knowledge. If the theory is that the electron is a particle then it can have a position, if it is a wave then it can have a direction. Between these two theories it can have an approximate position and an approximate direction but one must accept some "uncertainty." As with photons of light they are both waves and particles --- this is a reality which goes beyond the channeled quickness of the human mind. (But note the logical inconsistency.) Man can set out two theories on this side of the wall, the world of human models, and on the other side there is . . . (The wall symbolizes the limited ego centered consciousness that divides the world into manageable units.)


The uncertainty principle is not a problem of formulation.(35) From this principle of uncertainty Stephen Hawking has explained black holes: If space is narrowed down to an infinitely small point, the better to locate the place of the electron you see, to potential particle can have an infinite mass. The physicists therefore have a model not of the world as it really is as Friedmann, for what ever reason, would have us believe but have a model, have a number of models, and they have the world, and there is an uncertainty. So far no one has lost their life in a scientific revolution. Why is it that so many have died in disputes between political and philosophical models?


The most recondite problem of quantum mechanics is simple mathematics when compared to the matchless complexity of even the most simple human "problems." Thus when Albert Einstein observed at the time of the detonation of the atomic bomb that physics had developed to the point that it could give man the power to destroy the world but that there had not been a corresponding advance in mans knowledge of himself is by this analysis quite understandable.


Weber's position is that: "Science is an enabling agent insofar as it shifts the decision into the subjective sphere through the application of the principle of value-freedom. Science limits decision-making by formulating restrictive conditions which must be accepted by the decision-maker. These conditions result from the risks that are inherent in every decision made in the present. ... risks ... for the individual ... and ... for the social surroundings. It must clarify the one by the discussion of values, and the other by establishing the chances of success and the likelihood of subsidiary consequences." (36) "Every action, especially political action must let itself be disturbed by science through value discussion and must let itself be corrected by inconvenient facts." (37)


"The two ethics, (the ethic of responsibility and the ethic of single minded commitment), he argued, differed exactly in the manner in which they evaluated know-how and feasibility. Whereas the believer in an ethic of responsibility considers the instrumental value and hence the chances for success as well as the as the consequences, the believer in an ethic of conviction is concerned with commitment for its own sake, independent of any calculation of success." (38)


"As a political ethic, the ethic of conviction is absolute, in the first instance, insofar as it finds intolerable 'the ethical irrationality of the world.' The ethic of conviction cannot recognize that in politics, in particular, which employs force as its specific means, good can create evil an vice versa. In a specific sense this ethic is blind to reality. (39)


If it is now said that there is a logical inconsistency here, how can one be "value neutral" when neutrality is itself a value, let me point out an even greater inconsistency. Max Weber also stated that "only a person who observes both maxims (ethic of responsibility and the ethic of conviction) can pursue 'politics as a vocation.' Even though the maxims contradict each other, no politician can act solely according to the dictates of the ethic of responsibility, even if he claims he does. There are situations in which he, too, must stick to his ultimate commitments and leave the consequences to God." (40)


Why the inconsistency? Because we have come up against the wall again. At the infinite, space turns back on itself. As with the other sciences so to with mathematics: "It must be recognized ... that a sizable group of mathematicians ....take the view that mathematics simply has not yet advanced far enough to be able to cope ... with modern set theory; that the 'truth' concerning these is still a matter of investigation ... the situation is much like that of the natural sciences ... Whether this 'true' situation will ever be discovered, or even whether it can be formulated in linguistic or mathematical terms if it does exist, he (the scientist) can not say. Similarly, the mathematician who feels that rigorous mathematical truth does exist must admit, in the present state of knowledge, that it may never be possible to attain it." (41)


Yes, the ethic of responsibility is a subjective formulation. But the demand that a "scientific" proof be formulated is an unsophisticated demand. It shows no understanding of the relationship of our science to the other sciences and mathematics. It smacks of a childish obstinacy, a willful stamping of the feet, 'unless you can prove objectivity, I'm going to go on propagandizing.' We are here speaking not of "Value Neutrality" but of value neutrality. And if you tell me that you are objective I will not argue, this is not a court of law with an issue for the jury.


Follow the steps: First a frame of reference is formulated, that "Science" has a "rigorous" "proof" and makes "objective" statements called "truths," then this frame is placed over our science, and our science is found wanting for lack of this postulated rigorous truth. Our science has thus been problematized. First a frame is laid over reality. The reality is found not to match the requirements of the frame and is therefore called a: problem. Objectively this is not wrong, we here only note the fact.
What is the difference between education and propaganda? Education is a disclosure of the subject to the subject separate from action on the subject. Propaganda is only an action on the subject there is no disclosure. The educator will disclose both the reasons for his arguments and the reasons his arguments should be questioned. The propagandist would prefer to appear not to be arguing, but rather have his action achieved by manipulation behind the scenes "in private." If the student knows the "truth" the educator will know his job has just begun, the propagandist will have finished. An education free of value judgements is an education free to inquire, an education that accepts the constraints of the world, including the constraints of the human capacity to comprehend, and the constraints of science. Education accepts these constraints, propaganda writhes against these constraints. The ethic of single minded commitment does not accept, it is forever in opposition. "If an action of good intent leads to bad results, then, in the actor's eyes, not he but the world, or the stupidity of other men, or God's will who made them thus, is responsible for the evil."(42)

 

"Thus," we can agree with that "marginal intellectual" Alan Watts, "if political health consists in realizing that legal restraint is freely self-imposed by the people, philosophical health consists in realizing that our true self is the natural man, the spontaneous Tao, from which we never deviate. In psychological terms this realization is a total self acceptance standing, like political freedom, as the constant background of every thought, feeling, and action -- however restricted."(The Book) Behaviorism, Sociobiology, and all the other "deterministic" sciences do not limit the "freedom" of the healthy individual. If you were to demonstrate beyond equivocation that life were completely predetermined would free will have been lost? Would anything have been changed?


To make problematic God's frame of reference, (to ask God why have you done this to me?), is to approach the infinite with the frame of reference of the mortal. To problematize the infinite is to problematize existence. The Book of Job is the story of how God's truth is beyond human understanding. Job must accept that if God takes his son, the reason is a reason of the infinite. It is God. It is the frame of all frames. It is the set of all sets, which is an infinite loop, in mathematical terms. The next frame is the human frame of reference at the ontological level. Here to make problematic the ontological meaning is to engage in a logical inconsistency if not an infinite loop. The act of problematizing at this level is implicitly to challenge basic values. With in the ontological frame of reference the subsequent frames can be made problematic with out illogical inconsistencies as long as the ontological frame is respected. A value neutral (lower case) ethic respects these frames and negotiates among them. Practicality is a deciding factor in traversing the web of meaning that is the human condition. To problematize at this level is to challenge interpretation of facts not basic values.


Rather than imposing a frame about the way the world should be the world is accepted as it is. The frames should be learned the way foreign languages are learned, by translation. Mr. Kahn's frame should be learned and so should Mr. Friedman's frame, and the process would be incomplete until all terms had been translated and understood at least as well as one's own language-frame.


"I learned all about the Peloponnesian War."
Eleanor Clifton, McLaughlin Group

Dear Senator Byrd;

Doesn't the above quoted statement from Ms. Clifton, as she discussed your speech, just go to prove my point: that there is a crying need for expanded educational programs?
To think that our Washington best and brightest do not know the difference between the Peloponnesian Wars and the Punic Wars is reason 273 why we need the Math Project.

Credentialed Scholars will be allowed to view these documents on alternate Tuesdays  on even numbered months by permission of the Ludi Magistor.

        
 
 
 
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