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I have essentially been doing the same in my classes. Emphasize the roles of duty, "freedom of association" (in hw solving, etc), "economic" freedom in the sense that someone who does all the work s/he is free to share for free with others as long as they understand that by doing so they are essentially devaluing their hard work, among other things. Students have received my approach very well.

...well, I guess I'm not a big fan of "educational sentiments" (..whatever they might be ??).

The study of citizen duties & rights under government control (civics) isn't a big inspiration either.

The Dreyfuss comments are quite vague... but seem just a standard liberal/progressive obeisance to "democracy". Dreyfuss, of course, is a standard American Hollywood liberal, progressive, big-government, Democrat. (...his politics are easily ascertained via a Google).

The term 'democracy' is no where mentioned in the U.S. Constitution -- and the American Founders were very outspoken in their distaste for it.

There are no libertarian "rumblings" at all.

Ali, how did Einstein devalue his work by publishing a series of journal articles (presumably free of charge) to tell people about it? Or are you talking about work that has some more or less obvious commercial value, like a really good betting system?


I'll admit that Dreyfuss's comments are vague and could be interpreted along the lines of standard liberal democrat rhetoric rather than libertarianism. Nonetheless, I found the clip valuable for two reasons. First, he describes America's success as a "rare miracle." This is a big point to get over when confronting people's ordinary ideas concerning economic growth, third world development, and the politics of international trade. Normally celebrity types look at America and assume our growth and success is easy and just needs to be given out elsewhere a la Bono, Jolie, etc. Second, he emphasizes that the task of preserving the west's success is one of ideas. If we fail to uphold the ideas (whatever they might be) that lead to this miracle, we'll loose it. I considered these insights from a celebrity such as Dreyfuss as a breath of fresh air.


The way I think of it is that HW, projects, etc are the fruits of their work. I had noting to do with it. They are free to share it with others. Those who "copy" others' homeworks most certainly copy with the consent of the student who did the work, otherwise a severe penalty is incurred. It is up to the "owner" of the work to share or not share it depending on his/her assessment. Valuation is totally up to the "owner". Devaluation is in the sense of reducing his/her work by not being the sole or one of the few best performing (in the sense of a letter grade) students in the work. I try to emphasize freedom, responsibility, and intelligent decision making.


Like it or not, the word "democracy" (in conversational American speech) is often used as a synonym for what folks used to call "republicanism". Listen to what the man is actually saying.

It is clear from Dreyfuss' words that he is talking about a form of representative democracy where citizens have certain rights and liberties and they must be educated about the way government works if they want to protect them.

Dreyfuss is obviously NOT talking about "democracy" in the sense the founders feared (he is not advocating an unconstrained rule of the majority).

So please, get off your high horse. If the best point you have is that Dreyfuss' use of language would be confusing to a person from the 18th century, I think he did okay.

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