Saturday, December 17, 2005

ADD then and now

Jerry Pournelle had this to say about the use of drugs to, well, drug unruly boys: call attention to the fact that we are using drugs when that may not be the right way to go. It may be the ONLY way with some children, but boys must learn self-discipline, and they do not learn it by being kept "calm" with drugs. This seems self-evident to me. And of course there are incentives for the drug companies to push profitable drugs, and for teachers already faced with discipline problems to turn to recommending drugs as a way out of the hard work that teaching self-control to unruly boys, and particularly to bright unruly boys always is. If drugs had been available when I was a teen I do not believe the Christian Brothers who were responsible for my high school education would have turned to them; but I know that the principal of Capleville Consolidated where I went to grade and middle school after we left Memphis and St. Anne's, would have greeted a way to drug me to calmness with shrieks of joy. Fortunately that alternative wasn't available to her, and a willow switch and then a wooden paddle were the instruments she had the legal authority to apply. Those worked: I learned to control myself in order to avoid pain. It is an ancient learning mechanism designed by Nature (Intelligent or not) and perfected over tens of thousands of years. Of course we all know better now.

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