Affirmative action and related issues

Okay, James [not his real name], got you marked on the calendar.

About keeping emails private, that is not necessary unless I ask for that to be done.

Good thing about your daughter’s soccer. From the aspect of the politics of sex, it is, of course, segregation according to sex. True women’s liberation and equitable rights for the sexes would permit girls and boys to rise to the maximum individual level of proficiency they would be able to *and wanted to* achieve regardless of their sex in any field of endeavour. Affirmative action to achieve that is a feminist aberration. Moreover, it comes without exception at the expense of boys and men – at the cost of a much-widened gap in the respective life expectancies of the sexes.

Ruth and I discussed what we were doing at age 14. She grew up in Alberta, and I in Germany. Neither one of us and few people our age had the experience of having our childhood expanded instead of having our personal development focused on growing into responsible adulthood. Ruth was still going to school and working at home on the farm, and I was starting my apprenticeship and working at home on an acreage, where we had to have a large garden for keeping our family alive. My mom considered herself to be blessed, as she had a total of seven children to whom she could delegate a good portion of her work. Still, we played too, but we far more often had to discuss the affairs and management of the necessities of our lives, so as to learn how to live.

Ruth puts it this way: “We did what we had to, and then we did what we wanted to.” Neither of us have regrets about learning how to live and about the nature of, and the differences between, rights, entitlements, duties, obligations and responsibilities.

Our playing was not organized sports, although some people found time for that. We both were involved to varying extents in ping-pong, bowling, soccer and various other ballgames, cards, chess (my dad taught me that at age ten; and I became a mean player), in youth organizations and in some games that were to some extent popular left-overs from the Nazi era but are also being played by Boy Scout and Girl Guides throughout the world. Our playing was spontaneous, mostly on Sunday afternoons, holidays and vacations. It was not easy to play during the 48-hour work week, as we still worked Saturday mornings. Saturday afternoons were for clean-up at home to get ready for Sunday, a day of rest.

School involved, depending on age, from 38 to 42 hours of lessons a week plus a considerable amount of compulsory home work, upon which in part it was decided whether we would pass to the next grade.

Still, I had it better than did my dad. His standard work week was still 70 hours, and he had not earned any money at all during his apprenticeship (which he, too, had begun at age 14). He had to pay for the privilege of learning a trade, but that included room and board provided by his employer, in turn for which he was expected after hours to help with some of the chores in his employer’s household.

All of that worked out well for us and our siblings, a good number of whom became millionaires, except for Ruth and for me.  Both of us experienced divorces that set us back for a number of years.  Still, that is now so long ago in the past that it seems like it happened in another life.

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