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12.2.16

How to educate one's children? Where to send them to school? What is the best school?How to find it? Let's put together a few adults that had famous fathers but never accomplished anything great themselves along with two generals of the army that have trained thousands of young men. What type of conclusions will result? The question that comes up at first is not the question of how to be  a soldier but how to train youth in virtue. But how to train a soldier is also part of the question.
 How to go about finding a good school? Or do you even want to find a good school. After all there are advantages of a youth being home and learning from his parents. Any of these questions seems familiar? [These questions I got from Plato from his book Laches.]

Some schools and groups are factories of delusion. You can definitely ruin people by bad education. But can you improve people by good education? What about yeshivas? I have seen lots of groups and yeshivas which turn out monsters consistently.  And I have seen places which predictably  turn out good and responsible people. But what I want to point out is these questions are important. They should not be left to chance.
Clearly the Boy Scouts is no longer an option. What seems to me is that I have largely ignored these questions. I have myself written about good things like Torah and natural sciences and also learning an honest vocation. But I never really dealt with the problem of education in itself.

My basic approach has been to try  to be an example. If I think  Torah, and Physics and survival skills are important, then that is what I try to do myself. As for what and where are the best schools--There is no secret about them. And from what I can see they live up to their reputation. The Mirrer in NY, Ponovitch, Brisk, Torah VeDaath all turn out fine young men. As for schools as long as we are talking about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math] then American and Israeli schools are great.

Mainly what I have seen is that stereotypes are always true. If some group has the reputation of being a fringe cult, then time shows again and again that it is.  And when a cult tries to polish its image--it still is  a cult. What I recommend is not to be fooled by the nail polish they slap on themselves to show they are respectable.
There is a serious problem when delusions gain religious power. Delusions by themselves are just delusions --but add to that numinosity and religious significance, it's a whole new ball game and much more poisonous and pernicious. And youth can and do get attached to these types.

[The general in the dialog was the one that failed to pursue the Spartan navy because of an omen and thus he lost the critical battle  that caused the fall of Athens in 404 B.C.  and was the effective end of the Greek Golden Age and Greek supremacy. That war devastated all of Greece. That general was executed. You can imagine the Athenians were upset. Five years after the war they executed Socrates.]

What is going on is a war for the soul of young people. It is not about education. It is about cults trying to get their dirty hands on your kids- and using very sophisticated time tried methods in doing so.