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Kids Can Learn Without Instruction

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Don’t show this to your kids, because they might cry. But guess how much time children in “traditional societies”—indigenous groups pretty much off the grid—spend in direct instruction, the way American kids do in school?

About 90 seconds a day.

University of Utah anthropologist Karen Leslie Kramer, who has spent 30 years studying Maya villagers in the Yucatan and Pume hunter-gatherers in South America, came up with that estimate. “The opportunities for learning are -everywhere,” Kramer says. “It doesn’t have to be in a formal environment. Kids are like sponges—they just absorb what’s around them.”

Kids in traditional societies spend plenty of time playing, away from the adults. But they are also often among the grown-ups, watching what they do, eavesdropping, and helping out.

Then they take that information and use it to build skills such as weaving. “In many traditional societies,” Kramer says, “one of the important things to learn is how to weave, because without plastic, we rely on [woven] containers for so much of what we do.”

How do kids learn weaving techniques? “They go to the trash dump where baskets have been discarded, and they take them apart the way young boys learned about cars or radios,” Kramer says. “And then they figure out how they go back together again. When they’re a little older and weaving with their mothers, their mother might say, ‘You’d be better off doing it like this.’ But in terms of moms sitting down formally and saying, ‘OK, step by step, here is how to make a basket’—I have not observed that.”

David F. Lancy, author of The Anthropology of Childhood, says the chores and skills that traditional-society kids are mastering require a lot of “persistence, practice, and watching others.” But the children “are very much on their own,” he explains. “If they go to an adult and say, ‘I need help with this,’ the adult will send them packing: ‘Go away. I’m busy.'” Any teaching happens on the spur of the moment, when adults see the kid hit a speed bump.

What motivates kids to learn anything at all, with no teachers, grades, or trophies? “Once a kid can walk, they’re out the door and down the street,” Kramer says. They’re drawn by the excitement of being with other kids, especially the ones a little older than them. It is the desire to be like those awesome big kids that motivates the younger ones, the same way you may have been motivated to learn swimming (or swearing) to be like your older sibling. A lot of us in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic societies have forgotten how much kids learn from other kids, which is every bit as important as learning from an “official” teacher.

“Humans have been incredibly successful as a species,” Kramer says, “which is in some ways remarkable, because we go through these demographic bottlenecks several times in our history when there were very few humans and we could have gone extinct. Other species did.” Ours didn’t, thanks to young people learning so efficiently and constantly.

Our modern culture may be stunting this superpower. In one famous experiment, researchers brought pair after pair of Guatemalan Maya kids, ages 5 to 11, into a room and told Kid 2, “I’m going to teach Kid 1 how to use this toy. Then, when it’s your turn, I’ll show you how to do something else.” Researchers were actually studying how much attention Kid 2 paid when not being directly instructed.

The Maya kids paid lots of attention. Most of them learned the lesson that was not being taught to them. But when the experiment was done in California, the kids zoned out until the adult was directly addressing them.

One of the researchers, University of California, Santa Cruz, psychologist Barbara Rogoff, told NPR the Maya kids clearly were alert to the world, paying attention to whatever they could see and learn, “instead of always depending on adults to tell them what to pay attention to.” She added, “It may be the case that [some American] children give up control of their attention when it’s always managed by an adult.”

If we want our kids growing up smart, alert, and adaptable, they need chances to learn the old-fashioned way. That means giving them more free time with other kids of all ages.

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THOUSANDS Turn Out Early to See President Trump in Mendon, IL the Day After Roe v. Wade Is Overturned — PHOTOS

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President Trump speaks at campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio January 9, 2020 by Kristinn Taylor

Day after Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Donald Trump will hold a rally with Representative Mary Miller (R-IL).

The 45th president will hold a “Save America Rally” at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Illinois, Northeast of Quincy, on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 7:00 PM CDT.

President Trump is expected to deliver statements regarding the SCOTUS’ recent decision to ban abortion.

Trump will endorse incumbent, first-term U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Oakland. Miller voted against certifying the election results on January 6, 2021, according to a report.

TRENDING: MUST SEE VIDEO: Day 1 of the Abortionist Insurrection – Democrat Leaders Lead Calls for Mass Violence, Violent Mobs Terrorize Communities, Crack Heads

“I’m honored President Trump is coming to the Quincy area to hold a rally after endorsing me over RINO Rodney Davis, who stabbed President Trump in the back by voting for the sham January 6th Commission,” Miller said.

Miller went on Twitter Saturday morning to offer her gratitude for President Trump.

“Today, we woke up in a post-Roe America. The end of Roe v. Wade would not have been possible without President Trump. I will be thanking him tonight in-person at our rally in Adams County!” Miller tweeted.

Doors won’t open until 2 pm but thousands of supporters are already in line to see President Trump. Here are some of the photos at Mendon, Illinois:

Join the RSBN broadcast team LIVE from Mendon, IL for all-day coverage of President Donald J. Trump’s Save America Rally:

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How the Abortion Decision Helps Donald Trump

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John Ellis: “First: it changes the subject, something the Trump camp has been quite desperate to do since the Committee hearings began.”

“Second, it reminds the Republican Party’s most important constituency — white evangelical Christians — just who made yesterday’s ruling possible. That would be, first and foremost, Donald Trump.”

“Third, it requires all the other GOP candidates for the 2024 presidential nomination to acknowledge (and feign admiration for) Trump’s role in Roe’s reversal. This reinforces the perception that the Republican ‘field’ of candidates is actually two fields: Trump and everybody else.”

“Fourth, and this is always a consideration in Trump world, it enables an aggressive direct mail fund-raising campaign, asking small donors to express their appreciation for Trump’s role in the reversal of Roe by sending money to the coffers of what might be called the Trump Bank for Future Endeavors. Such an appeal will raise a lot of money.”

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Dobbs, Abortion, and Stare Decisis

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Friday’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization includes a wide-ranging debate over whether the majority’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade and other precedents supporting abortion rights violated the principle of stare decisis. Both sides make their case well. But at the end of the day, I am left with the impression that much of the debate ultimately comes down to how bad (if at all) you think Roe was in the first place.

I have previously suggested that “Stare decisis will not stop the justices from overturning a precedent they think is badly wrong and causes significant harm” – a point I believe applies to both liberal and conservative jurists. Nothing in yesterday’s opinions leads me to change that view. This point can be recast in terms of the Supreme Court’s doctrinal standards for reversing previous decisions: its “precedent on precedent.” The doctrine requires the Court to consider such factors as the quality of the earlier precedent’s reasoning, the extent to which changing circumstances have undermined its utility, the “workability” of the precedent, and whether it has generated significant reliance interests. But much of this just a fancier and more sophisticated way of saying that courts must consider 1) how bad was the precedent, and 2) how much harm it causes, which perhaps should be weighed against the potential harm of upsetting settled expectations.

If you think, as the conservative majority obviously does, that Roe v. Wade wasn’t just a mistake in legal reasoning, but “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging,” you are going to want to overrule it. As most conservative jurists see it, Roe combines terrible reasoning with horrific real-world consequences comparable to sanctioning the murder of innocent people. If that’s what you think, it’s easy enough to justify reversing Roe under the Court’s standards for overturning precedent, or under almost any theory of stare decisis, short of near-absolute deference to prior decisions, which would also require preservation of such monstrosities as Plessy v. Ferguson and Korematsu. In his majority opinion, Justice Alito compares Roe to Plessy and other notorious “anti-canon” cases.

The conservatives’ reasons for overruling Roe are actually similar to liberals’ own justifications for junking precedents they believe to be especially awful, like the reversal of Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 case upholding the constitutionality of anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), the reversal of numerous pre-New Deal cases protecting economic liberties and property rights, and the reversal of Baker v. Newton (1972), in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) (thereby striking down laws banning same-sex marriage). Each of these situations ultimately came down to a liberal or liberal-leaning Supreme Court majority concluding that the precedents in question should be gotten rid of because they were badly wrong and caused profound harm. I think the liberals were right about Bowers and Baker. But that doesn’t change the reality of how the reversal of those precedents came about.

The joint Dobbs dissent by the three liberal justices at times seems to suggest precedent must never be reversed unless there is some change in intervening circumstances. In response, Alito rightly points out that this theory implies Plessy could not have been justifiably reversed until some kind of social change occurred relative to the situation in 1896. One can say the same thing in about Lawrence’s reversal of Bowers. It’s hard to think of a reason why Bowers was more wrong or more harmful in 2003 than it was in 1986. If anything, the reverse may have been true, as anti-sodomy laws caused more harm in an era when the authorities were more likely to try to actually enforce them.

Ultimately, the liberal justices concede that “we are not saying that a decision can never be overruled just because it is terribly wrong.” If so, then much depends on just how wrong the decision in question actually is.

I do think the majority mishandles one aspect of the Court’s standard for overruling: the problem of reliance interests. Justice Alito dismisses the idea that Roe has engendered significant reliance interests because “[t]raditional reliance interests arise ‘where advance planning of great precision is most obviously a necessity.’ Casey, 505 U. S., at 856…. In Casey, the controlling opinion conceded that those traditional reliance interests were not implicated because getting an abortion is generally “unplanned activity,” and “reproductive planning could take virtually immediate account of any sudden restoration of state authority to ban abortions.” 505 U. S., at 856. For these reasons, we agree with the Casey plurality that conventional, concrete reliance interests are not present here.”

I agree that contraception and “reproductive planning” are often effective substitutes for abortion. But these tools don’t work in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, or where the need for abortion arises from a medical problem that only became evident after the pregnancy began. Alito says that only “concrete” reliance interests deserve consideration, not “intangible form[s] of reliance” that are difficult to for courts to assess. But the examples above strike me as both concrete and tangible. Indeed, it’s hard to think of many interests that are more concrete than those of a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy caused by rape, or one that poses a serious danger to her health. The dissent offers some additional examples of reliance interests overlooked by Alito, though I don’t fully agree with its analysis of these points.

Even very extensive reliance interests aren’t always enough to preclude reversal of a precedent. Few prominent Supreme Court cases engendered as much reliance as Plessy v. Ferguson and other decisions upholding racial segregation. Segregationists weren’t entirely wrong when they asserted that the entire southern “way of life” was bound up with Jim Crow. Yet, today, almost everyone agrees the Court was right to gut Plessy, regardless. Pro-segregation decisions were so profoundly wrong and harmful that the case for getting rid of them outweighed even very large reliance interests. If you think abortion is the moral equivalent of murder, you could reasonably say the same of Roe.

I myself do not believe Roe was anywhere near as awful Plessy. But that’s in large part because I’m pro-choice with respect to the vast majority of abortions, and certainly do not believe they are the moral equivalent of murder, or anything like it. I also think that, while there are indeed significant analytical errors in Roe, they are no more egregious than those in lots of other Supreme Court rulings. But I have to admit I would be far more supportive of overruling Roe if I thought abortion was a great evil, and Roe’s reasoning placed it among the worst-reasoned cases of all time.

Regardless, the reliance interests underpinning Roe are more substantial than the Dobbs majority recognizes. That at least should raise the threshold of awfulness great enough to justify reversal.

Some have argued that Dobbs’ reversal of Roe is especially bad because it reverses a decision expanding constitutional rights, rather than contracting them. But, as I explained at length in a previous post, the Court has an extensive history of reversing rights-protecting precedents, including many whose demise was cheered by the political left.

I think most of these reversals were actually misguided, and that it might be wise to establish an especially strong presumption against reversing precedents that protect individual rights.  I would have been happy if the Supreme Court had adopted such a rule, and declined to reverse Roe on that basis. But that’s not an approach you can embrace if – like many progressives – you applaud the Supreme Court’s 20th century gutting of precedents protecting contract and property rights, and would be happy to see it overrule Citizens United v. FEC (2010) or various cases protecting gun rights.

In sum, despite the impressive intellectual effort both sides devote to the stare decisis question, I think the debate over the overruling of Roe mostly comes down to how bad it was in the first place. That’s not to say that stare decisis never matters. Far from it. It matters a great deal in the many situations where judges think a precedent was only modestly erroneous, the mistaken precedent doesn’t cause much harm, or – even better – some combination of both. Nearly all judges – yes, even Clarence Thomas – tolerate numerous precedents they think are wrong, but ultimately not all that bad.

But such tolerance wilts when it comes to decisions jurists think are horrendously awful in both their reasoning and their effects. Liberals and conservatives, originalists and living constitutionalists, all behave that way – for good reason, in my view. All are willing to reverse precedents that are “egregiously wrong and deeply damaging,” as Alito puts it. The big disagreement is over which cases fall into that category.

 

 

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