Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chakrabarti, private schools, and hypocrisy

It is not necessarily hypocrisy to argue against allowing X (e.g. private/selective schooling) whilst nevertheless buying X for your kids. E.g. if air was privatised and sold, I'd fight that tooth and nail, while buying it for my kids. Nothing hypocritical about that.

There are important goods Chakrabarti cannot have for all kids while private schools are in place (such as a level playing field when it comes to careers in journalism, the civil service, etc.etc.). So Chakrabarti argues against private schools. However, for her not to buy private schooling for her own kids may, under the present system that does allow and encourage private schools, be to significantly disadvantage them. In which case it may be morally permissable for Chakrabarti to buy private schooling for her kids if she can afford it, notwithstanding her moral objection to private schooling.
This is not rocket science. I don't understand why so many fail to grasp the point. It's is if they don't want to.

Having said that, some very principled folk won't buy private schooling for their kids even if they do think that will likely disadvantage those children. That may or may not be beyond the call of duty. I am not going to condemn anyone either way.

Independent report here.

10 comments:

martine said...

I'm sorry, you are a philosopher and to see you using reductio ad absurdum to refute people's criticism of Ms Chakrabarti is just discreditable. Schooling is not comparable to air.

Adam said...

I agree. I am morally opposed to faith schools, but if my nearest school was a faith school, and if most of the neighbourhood kids were going to that school, and/or its Ofsted scores were better than the nearest secular school, then I reserve the right to do what ever performance is necessary to get my kids into that school. I'm not sure I could justify inflicting my moral and political principles on my kid if it risks him being the outsider in his own neighbourhood and educationally disadvantaged. The fact that you have to use the system you are fighting suggests it really is a crappy system.

Anonymous said...

Alas she is a hypocrite. She opposes selective education for other peoples' children on the basis it is damaging but chooses to send her child to a selective school.
This indicates that she is happy to participate in selective education for her child but seeks to prevent other people choosing selective schools for their children.

Alhazen said...

A very interesting post but it puts me in a moral dilemma. On one hand it relieves me from my sense of gilt for appearing hypocritical in my stand such as the one Chakrabati finds herself, but on the other it seems to give me permission to engage in some unethical acts such as; in a country where corruption is rife and I am very opposed to it on ethical as well as practical grounds, am I morally excused for resorting to bribery sometimes in order move my business along when nothing else would do even though all I am trying to do is just to be left alone in peace to legally run my business?

Where to draw the line?

Alhazen

Alhazen said...

On one hand the concept of "fighting the privatization of air and yet buying it for your kids" is quite liberating and I see how it applies in the case of Chakrabati. The concept helped me feel comfortable with myself regarding my own reactions to some behaviours that might be construed by others as hypocritical. But tell me Stephen; where would you draw the line between the case of "buying air for your kids" and being immoral? For example; would sometimes resorting to bribery to hold corrupt officials at bay in order to save your business, in a country where corruption is standard, o.k. even though you publically you hate corruption and fight it on moral and practical grounds? Is this also like "buying air for your kids", because it looks like buying life for your business which provides for your kids?

Alhazen

Stephen Law said...

Posted on behalf of Alhazen: On one hand the concept of "fighting the privatization of air and yet buying it for your kids" is quite liberating and I see how it applies in the case of Chakrabati. The concept helped me feel comfortable with myself regarding my own reactions to some behaviours that might be construed by others as hypocritical. But tell me Stephen; where would you draw the line between the case of "buying air for your kids" and being immoral or even criminal? For example; would resorting to bribery sometimes in order to hold corrupt officials at bay to save your business, in a country where corruption is standard, o.k. even though you publically hate corruption and fight it on moral and practical grounds? Is this also like "buying air for your kids"? Because it looks here like you buying life for your business which provides for your kids?

Maths Tutor Wirral said...

' E.g. if air was privatised and sold, I'd fight that tooth and nail, while buying it for my kids.'

If push came to shove, would you also buy air for your neighbour's kids?

Jack said...

In terms of a being contradictory it looks like a Class 2. Type A. (Conception to Synthetic Conception). Compared with other types I find this more serious and believe Chakrabarti should send her children to public school.

Alhazen said...

The case of Chakrabati and the question posed by Alhazen was brought up for discussion between a group of friends who meet regularly at Almajlis (saloon in Arabic) to discuss philosophical and social topics. They have concluded with the following points;

1-Perhaps it is permissible in a country where bribery is wide spread to resort to such means if not resorting to such means is likely to endanger one's business provided that all one is looking for is his/her basic rights. However, bribery should fought against and should reported to the concerned authority whenever possible and not used in order to further one's business vis a vis other similar businesses because then it would be clearly immoral to do so.

2-A point was raised that many times it is not clear if all one is asking for is his basic rights. Sometimes it is a matter of opinion that it is so. What should one do in such circumstances? Almajlis could not reach a clear answer as to what to do in such circumstances.

3-It was suggested that it is possible that there wasn't a universal moral ground to help one to decide what to do and that it might come down to each person's predilections. Each person has to decide for himself what is of greater value to him. For example, Chakrabati may have found it more important to give her children a better start in their future career than sacrifice her children's education in order not to appear as a hypocrite to the public. Another example, a person who is faced with the situation of resorting to bribery to save his business and who might be very religious may think it would be more important to please God by not bribing; save his soul in preference to saving his business so to speak. Another possibility is that another person might be so afraid of being caught bribing that he would never do it but would seek other means (e.g. going to court of law) to defend his basic rights and his business. The decision of what to do in such situations may ultimately come down to each individual's values, fears, desires, etc.

4-A point was raised that it would be hypocritical for a leader in say a Ministry of Education who is supposed to improve the independent schools to take his/her children to a private school. This situation is really like the situation Chakrabati found herself facing. If this person is doing very little to improve the independent schools then he/she is obviously a hypocrite. But if he/she is doing his/her utmost best, like Chakrabati, then it is arguable that he/she is sincere and not a hypocrite.

Allan Jones said...

Does the analogy with bottled air hold up? It's not life and death - it's a good education or a, perhaps, slightly better education. The evidence seems to suggest that the educational advantage gained may not be great (see here http://tinyurl.com/gqfsv25). The advantage may be more nebulous i.e. a good school background may help in a particular career. This might be called an unfair advantage. I'd suggest that Chakrabati may well be seeking an unfair advantage for her children. To me, given her politics, that stinks of hypocrisy.