WHY WE DON'T HIRE DUCKS | 2001-03-10

One of the easiest ways to spot bias is to listen for one side's buzz terms. If you hear "pro-choice" you're listening to the pro-abortion side, and pro-life means one is on the anti-abortion side (unless the same speaker says both).

So, when the newscaster on CNN refers to "investment in education" instead of "expenditures on education," you know he is so liberal he doesn't know he's using Libspeak.

Since only Libspeakers have been reporting the news, those for more Federal spending on education get away with a really childish trick.

They know that the more years of school a person has, the more money he makes, ON AVERAGE. They then say that education alone has produced all that extra income.

Meanwhile, back on earth, you can do the same thing with almost any expenditure. The more expensive the car a person owns, the more money he is likely to make. The bigger the house he was raised in, the more likely he is to have gone to college and graduate school.

In other words, by exactly the same statistical process by which we justify "investments in education," we could justify an "investment" in a limousine or a home in Beverly Hills.

If your parents spend more money on education, it means that they are probably richer. If your parents spent more on their home, it probably means they were, ON AVERAGE, richer and just plain smarter than people who have smaller homes. Their kids will then be smarter and make more money.

It's too bad the "investment in education" logic is so silly, because it would be wonderful if it worked. It would mean that education is magic, and that any moron could be made a brain surgeon by "investing" money in training him. It would mean you wouldn't even have to be human to make millions. You could take a horse, a duck, or a puppy dog, give them the magic training and they would be able to make all that money.

It takes training to develop somebody's natural talent. But you have to have the talent first, and that is what all education statistics leave out. A psychologist writing a column was recently asked if you have to be SMART to be a "gifted child." The implication was that if he said you had to be born smart to be "gifted," he would be anaziwhowantstokillsixmilionjews".

OH, no!, said the good doctor, you could be born retarded and still stand just as good a chance of being "gifted" as one of those smart kids.

You can see that this sort of logic leads straight to silliness.

The fact is that education or training is used to develop the gifts you already have. You are paid not only for training, but for BEING TRAINABLE.

Being trainable, in turn, is a matter of genetics. Hitler believed in genetics, so our entire national policy is rooted in the idea that anyone who mentions innate intelligence is anaziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

For those who make their living in education or other supplements to genetics, this is a wonderful label. It means that those who sell social sciences like education or psychology or sociology can say that they can cure anything. They don't say you can hire ducks and make them brain surgeons, but they say you can do absolutely anything else by "investing in education" or financing other social programs.

And if you disagree with them, they shriek that you are anzaiwhowantstokillsixmillionjews. All of our silliest misconceptions are defended by that label.

Until we stop screaming "HITLER!" and begin to apply logic to education policy, it is going to keep failing, no matter how much you "invest" in it.