The View From 1776

Do I Detect Defection?

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/do_i_detect_defection/

A certified liberal-socialist recants a key doctrine.

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Matthew Miller, a nationally-syndicated columnist, had a startling op-ed article in yesterday’s New York Times.

According to Mr. Miller’s bio on the Center for American Progress Website:

“Matt Miller is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress; a monthly columnist for Fortune; and an award-winning contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and other national magazines. Miller is also a commentator for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and the host of “Left, Right & Center,” a political week-in-review program aired on public radio stations across the country….. Previously, Miller held senior posts in both government and business. Miller served as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995, where his duties included managing the staff work for presidential decisionmaking on the budget, and leading management studies both for OMB and the White House, which led to the most sweeping changes at OMB in two decades. From 1991 to 1992 he was a White House Fellow, serving as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.”

In other words, Mr. Miller is a certified, true-blue liberal-socialist. 

This makes the more startling his article, which advocates improving education in the worst schools by (sic!) judging individuals on the basis of merit, determined by evaluating performance, not just “self-esteem” techniques!  He writes, “We’d raise salaries for teachers in poor schools by 50 percent. But this offer would be conditioned on two major reforms. First, the unions would have to abandon their lock-step pay scale so that we could raise the top half of performers (and those in shortage fields like math and science) another 50 percent. Second, the unions would have to make it much easier to fire the worst teachers, who are blighting the lives of countless kids.”

This is the sort of thing that Mario Cuomo advocated when he first ran for the New York governorship.  Needless to say, he was decisively defeated by massive campaign funding from the teachers unions.  Four years later, as a converted champion of socialistic parasitism for teachers unions, he won handily.

One can make the case that Mr. Miller’s advocacy of merit, rather than lock-step solidarity with socialistic unions that promote primarily on the basis of longevity in grade, is consistent with his secular humanism.  He has written in other pieces that all of human society is the product of the human reason (i.e., there is no God or intelligent design to the universe or meaning to history).  So, why not, as socialists customarily do, simply conjure up a vision of collectivized perfection and presume that it can be implemented by the intellectuals?

My expectation, however, is that before anything so radical as Mr. Miller’s merit-based proposal gets very far, he will be visited by the thought police and subjected to a Soviet-style reprograming of his rational mind.

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