Other Peoples’ Kids

From a Jay Nordlinger post at NRO:

You know my favorite Phil Gramm story, right? (One of them, anyway.) He’s on MacNeil-Lehrer (I believe) with some woman from the education establishment (what Bill Bennett used to call “the Blob”). Gramm says, “My educational policies are based on the fact that I care more about my children than you do.”

The woman says, “No, you don’t.”

Gramm says, “Okay: What are their names?”

That, my friends, is a touchdown. Two-point conversion coming up. (via Mary Katherine Ham)


  1. It’s actually a rhetorical trick, based on a bait and switch between caring and knowing certain things about them. Lot’s of times, complete strangers have (say) rescued children from burning buildings at the risk of their own lives. They certainly cared, but couldn’t have told you the children’s names.

  2. Ah. I’m convinced. That woman probably cares more about my kids than I do. Right.

    When buildings are burning down and strangers rescue kids, is it because the strangers care more about the kids than the parents?

    The point is that the woman does NOT care more.

  3. I know the point, and that woman probably does NOT care more – but the ARGUMENT is spurious. Sadly, there are some parents who do not care enough to save their children – and then, knowing their names is no test of caring.

  4. I’m not sure you do know the point. You’re going after the “rhetorical trick” Gramm used and continuing on about how it is “spurious.” As if the complete strangers example you used isn’t just more of the same. I don’t think you’re arguing that the complete strangers who rescued kids from a burning building care more because the parents didn’t perform the rescue, but the difference is that I doubt many rescuers would argue that they CARE MORE than the parents.

    I guess I’m just having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that Gramm’s snap shot comeback is worth harping on yet the woman’s utterly outrageous and ridiculous statement to which he was replying isn’t.

    Gramm was being snarky. She was being serious. (At least as far as can be told from this telling of the story.)

  5. What she is really saying is that she is smarter the Gramm and all of us parents. SHE knows what’s best and we should shut up and let her educate / brainwash our kids as she sees fit.

  6. I got it that she was wrong. If you like, I was pointing out that the comeback was snarky rather than a genuine demonstration that she was wrong.

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