While it is a given that leftists, progressives, liberals or whatever one chooses to call those from the left of even the socialists demand change for the sake of change. Their rallying cry is and always has been we can do better and we can only get there through change, often, as was with President Obama in his 2008 campaign, radical changes. What people should ask themselves, and in turn those demanding change, is what we have working or has it failed us. The easiest way to remember this is to ask oneself as soon as one hears the mantra of change, especially change for the sake of progress, another way of saying change, is whether change is necessary or is the present system actually working. Even if we decide the system in place needs change, or simply some adjustments, then one need ask of those calling for change would be for them to spell out in specifics which parts of the system they believe requires change and what exactly is their change and how will it be an improvement. Usually if one simply claims change is required because we can do better, but they do not define the change, they just scream we must change everything that is not working or is broken, then this person is a danger to the society. Change is not in and of itself good. The concept that all change is inherently good because change will bring innovations and the latest new ideas into play and these new ideas are change we need is dangerous. Changes and new ideas should be approached with great caution, tried in selected places where if this change is an improvement, then this test group is the most likely to understand and gain from the change; and if they fail when trying change then one need return to the previous method and simply state that they gave the changes a fair assessment and they did not produce desired results thus these specific changes are harmful and will not be implemented.
The most evident and easiest to understand is in the field of education, all levels of education. The reason education is such a prime example is because there have always been improvements introduced which were radically successful and other changes have crashed and burned and should have been rejected but for the sake of ‘progress’ (this word actually means change when used in anything even remotely political and education is the most egregious example of these rantings and the programs they installed) were instituted across the board because they only failed because the entire system was not installed and full implementation is the only true test. Full implementation means absolutely no way ever of returning to the previous method because it will have been erased from educator’s minds by the changes in the curricula being taught at every level to teachers, and teachers are one of the few professions where additional training is required. The change barkers, the change merchants, the bringers of change armed with demands of this has to be better as it is change and that makes it innovative beyond any rational understanding so you must accept change, will attempt to overwhelm any opposition with long diatribes which have no clear meaning other than a simple idea that ‘change equals good’ and that is all the argument necessary just as long as you never state that clearly.
Go online and try to understand Common Core math as there are many sites to try and understand their version of subtraction or their forms for algebra which will eventually give one the correct answer provided the answer is a whole number, any mathematician or physicist or other professional who uses math will attest is a rare occurrence which usually only exists in the problems set-up to produce such a result. The reasoning behind this new math, as it used to be named, is that flash cards and memorizing tables is evil and does not explain to the student exactly what addition, subtraction, multiplication and division actually are and this new method does so by revealing every step taken in one’s mind. Therein lays the problem because no two minds will react in exactly the same manner except for memorization.
You want children to understand simple math just give them one hundred dollars in a savings account and tell them that they must never ever allow the principle to drop below that one-hundred dollars. You can then explain how the interest is applied and once they have mastered their savings account they will have a grasp of every function including some simple algebra. Actually, handling money will often teach children what math means faster than anything else. Further, if you ever want to see if the math teacher fully understands addition, just ask them in math what is the definition of a successor. Their answer should start out like this: a successor to any whole number is the point one increment higher on the number line. Every number has a successor thus there is no highest number thus we represent that concept as infinity. As every number has a successor, ever number is the successor to the number before it on the number line. Addition is repeated successors such that five plus three you are looking for the number that is the third successor of five thus the first successor to five is six, the second is seven and the third is eight so five plus three is eight. Subtraction is exactly the opposite so you count in the other direction to find what had the number as its third successor. Multiplication is repeated addition and exponentials are repeated multiplication and once you master that, welcome to the sixth grade and word problems; you will simply learn to hate two trains on the same track. That should be the gist of the teacher’s reply to your question, a deer in the headlights eye lockup is not the desired answer from a math teacher, and yes, my major was theoretical math at some fairly reputed universities.
Another example which I feel has been unbelievably damaging to children’s education was a change for the goodness of change in how reading is taught. The departure from even the most basic of concepts for phonics being dropped and replaced with whole word recognition has a very nefarious and not simply damaging effect on reading, robbing from the child the ability to learn new concepts and ideas on their own. The use of whole word recognition makes it impossible for a child to know what the difference might be had they yet to be introduced to the two words of banana and umbrella as they have no manner to read these words for themselves by sounding out the words using phonics. They do not even understand that just by saying the name of the letters rapidly might also give them sufficient recognition to realize what the written word means. The child has likely run into the two words, banana and umbrella, in their daily lives but solely in conversation and thus knows bananas are food and umbrellas are used for rain or shade from the sun, but never having had the words themselves introduced under whole word recognition, they will not realize what either word is and will be at a loss for understanding.
This also comes in handy in controlling discourse or the ability to self-actualize and educate beyond their taught concepts let alone other more esoteric or ponderous political concepts outside those that may have been instilled by their educators. As is well established, control the language and one has controlled the discourse and the paths leading forward. This was well established in the novel 1984 with items being classified as good, plus-good, double-plus-good, ungood, plus ungood, and double-plus-ungood substituted for all emotions across an entire range such as envy, pride, satisfaction, hatred or any word dropped from the approved lexicon and also lost is the concept of having no opinion or neutrality thus one is forced to have an opinion even if one does not care thus everything at a minimum are either good or ungood, no such thing as ‘non-good or ungood’ as that was unacceptable speech thus a thought crime, something everybody knew was double-plus-ungood.
These have been some very basic observations on changes over the past half a century in the education profession where the goal of teaching was just as much, if not more so, to place barriers between the student and self-defining such that they could be molded in their thought to come to a uniformed result with all belonging to the groupthink and where individualism was discouraged. As an individual who attended a progressive school which was a test institution for the new reading and writing whole word recognition where I failed miserably as I seemed to continuously write and use words which were, as near as I could tell, unappreciated and there was a strong desire to press upon me the disapproval such words would have on my life should I persist in speaking using such terminology and that I should restrict my thoughts and expressions both written and spoken to appropriate language. As those of you who visit here probably have figured, I hardly ever restrict my choice of words to the meager vocabulary my school teachers of my youth desired I restrict myself to using. I was blessed with a mother whose patience rivaled that of Job who taught me at great pains, largely mine as she believed strongly in corporal-punishment, to use phonics starting with learning to sound out a word by simply saying the letters very quickly slurring them together and if that failed to use the more traditional sounding the word out painstakingly using every conceivable combination of long and short vowels and different emphasis and syllable break-points. I eventually learned sufficiently well enough to become self-sufficient in reading and learning new worlds though never quite to my mother’s, Baruch Hashem, complete satisfaction. My mother was to be blessed for teaching me to think and express myself adequately though after I realized my own path she did not exactly agree with my politics though she could rarely find fault with my positions, she just could not appreciate the manner in which I expressed my views when voting. I would always tell her that she need not worry as whomever I would vote for would be the candidate who would lose so she should be glad I did not vote as she preferred as that one vote would cause them to lose. Enough rambling and perhaps I might get back on track.
I find that I agree that certain things require changing and require such on a regular basis. Many pieces of clothing require changing each on its own schedule, though many choose to change all at the same time, to each their own. Traffic signals changing are a good concept. I have found that except for things which are cyclical that slow and steady change is not a bad idea as should any single step prove unproductive or worse, counter-productive, then it can be altered or even simply undone and discarded. That is how evolution works, or so I have been told though the skeletons of the individual animals which grew eventually into ducks and chickens from a singular ancestral bird have yet to be found; I will not condemn the entire theory as of yet. Somewhere there is an animal where one is a Ducken and another is a Chuck but thus far no such has shown. We are shown an animal’s skeleton and are told this is the ancestral animal from which we get the duck, the chicken, the swan, the emu, the Ostridge and etc. and etc. That had to be one proud bird-like creature to be the forerunner of so many different birds and yet I have trouble seeing the similarities and especially the differences.
Many of the ancestral animals I am particularly glad are not on Earth today as many were downright frightening in size and probably equally capable in defending themselves. I will always remember this one bird which they claim the Ostridge family arose that could kill a modern day buffalo with one strike from its beak by breaking the buffalo’s neck. That was one mean and nasty well-armed bird even if it could not fly. Yet, similarly the same biological-anthropologists, I think that is what they are called, tell us the cockroach has survived from before the dinosaurs almost unchanged over time as it has found itself well-adapted for its niche though some claim it has differed in size from time to time and even place to place. The difference in size from place to place I personally am able to confirm. These changes are necessary and led to our emergence so we do owe our very existence to change. That alone does not make change necessarily good. The flu virus threat changes every year, or at least the injection procedure and medication changes every year and this is definitely a bad thing, especially if the physicians guess wrong and a different outbreak were to strike which actually was favored by their flu shots, this would be a calamity, a world-wide calamity. So here change happens and unless the doctors get the correct change we can lose and lose big. But change in the manner in which we do things such as education, growing crops, raising herd animals, anything to do with the food chain should not be altered drastically or completely across all borders just in case one particular path proves devastatingly wrong. As long as there are crops or animals which were left unaffected by progress, then there would be a chance to return to a path which we know to be solid and proceed, making certain we do not go down that ill tread path ever again.
The same should apply to education, and even political change though that often comes only from violent and complete change, all too often resulting within a short period of time, an all too short a period, to result in the same dilemma though with a new tyrant replacing the old tyrant. Then there are the merchants of hope who claimed that Bashir al-Assad was a reformer and would bring democracy and an enlightened path to Syria because, after all, he was educated in Britain and had been shown the advantages of Western culture and a whole long list of positive enforcements which would serve as a bulwark guarding against any temptations to resort to the kind or actions his father had used when he nearly wiped out an entire town to put an end to demonstrations. Unfortunately for the Syrian people and the entirety of the heartlands of the Middle East the Bashir acorn did not fall far from the tree and we had an exact same response to the demonstrations and then some, leading to a dysfunctional devastation spreading across the heartlands of the Middle East from Lebanon across the Syrian borders through to Iraq and even sprouting offshoots in Libya, Sinai Peninsula, Nigeria and beyond known as ISIS and claiming to be the Caliphate. That too is a form of change but not exactly constructive change.
I am not calling for an end to change as to do that is to claim you are against all progress. I am also not ever going to claim that all change is progress and therefore inherently good. Measured change which has been tried and proven to be an improvement by a wide consensus comprised with people from as wide an array of perspectives, experiences and all other criteria which may be either favorable or unsympathetic to the planned change is careful and responsible change. The results should be measured by disparate methodologies and across every field which may be affected and these results repeated in second, third and even fourth separate studies using different situations and mediums as may potentially be affected as well. Once a change has proven effective and superior to the previous known and generally accepted methods, then it can be fully implemented. Change must be performed in incremental and deliberate stages such that any and all ramifications as well as any difficulties can be addressed and rectified before the next stage is implemented. Change which is undefined is and always will be a threat to the wellbeing of the society.
Whenever somebody, especially a person attempting to take a meaningful position such as principle of a school or President of a nation, they must be forced to define every step of what it is they plan to change before their call for change can be judged and then approved by the people. Change which is undefined and the actual changes kept from definition is truly Hope and Change and that can prove to be very detrimental, something the full effects of which are being and are going to continue to be felt unfortunately far beyond the borders where the people claimed that they could sign on to Hope and Change and all that went with it. May the full effects be able to be repaired before some of the change delivers some nasty results, the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons within the decade being a prime example. Hopefully the human race has had enough Change where Hope was the underpinning and will now know to force any politicians claiming to be the bringer of Hope coupled with Change will demand as to what it is they Hope for and what Change they intend to use to get there, and then limit their enthusiasms as much as one is able. Change will happen even if a Luddite gains office and his entire Luddite Party gains both houses of Congress, even with such a resistance elected, change will come because some changes just cannot be held back.
Once the steam engine was invented and modified for industrial use with the centrifugal governor regulating its speed there would be no going back to oxen as the power for industry, the industrial revolution became unstoppable. Change that is worth keeping will eventually come into being but even as that may bring in change, it must be allowed to bring certain changes to an end when they no longer serve any purpose. One need not install any centrifugal governor to a step dc motor because it cannot enter a runaway mode, thus requiring such might have been a great idea during the steam age but would become an unnecessary part in the electronic age and requiring one would serve to keep the copper ball manufacturers employed but that would serve little other use beyond needlessly increasing prices. Still, one would be astonished on how long people have been kept in the employ and even hired to fill a position even after their position was no longer required. The fire stokers were required to man stations even after the steam locomotives were replaced by diesel electric engines despite there being no fire to tend nor coal to shovel, but that position was kept as required to man any engine for almost two decades after they became obsolete. There are those who claim this is what led to the end of passenger rail service in the United States but at the same time made air travel so successful. Eventually necessary change will happen and when resisted it can have some very interesting consequences.
Beyond the Cusp