One Hundred Percent or Ten Percent?

I have had the joy recently of working on various writing projects, which can only be done upon the back of research.  In my research, I have been reading Saul Alinsky’s work, Rules for Radicals.  One of his assertions to would-be-Community-Organizers is the notion that you shoot for the moon with your vision and then rest happy that you got folks to come a little bit more your way than if you had been more centrist with your “shot.”  He literally puts percentages too it, saying shoot for 100% of your vision and then be happy when you get 10%.  Setting aside the raw pragmatism of this stance, I am bothered by his being able to swallow less than a full realization of the vision.  But this is just where it gets slipper for me.

Let’s use the example of a vision I might have for a classical school.  My inner conversation sounds something like the following:

  • Can you have a school that is halfway classical?  Is it all or nothing like being pregnant?
  • Part of the difficulty that both Alinsky and myself may be working with is clarity of vision.  Just what is a classical school?  There seem to be as many definitions as there are visionaries.
  • Even if a group of modern Americans can agree, at least initially, on a single clear vision of a school, will the surrounding culture support it with enough students, money, and other forms of “help” to allow it to come into being, and then once in being, to remain?

Perhaps you begin to see mud slide I am stuck in?  Is it better to be right and lonely, or a little more toward “right” and at least surrounded by partial supporters?  This needs a lot of discussion among the leaders of the CCE movement.  It needs a lot more discussion than technique or curriculum choices, I would suggest.


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