This happened in New Hampshire:
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is a pornographic book that 14-year-olds are being compelled to read at a school in New Hampshire.
Some passages from it can be seen on the video. They are obscene. We could think of better books to educate and entertain 14-year-olds – but perhaps they have all been burnt as the racist, sexist outpourings of privileged dead white men.
William Baer, an attorney and the father of one of the 14-year-olds, complained to the school board at one of its regular meetings that his consent had not been sought for his daughter to be assigned this educational text. So the board had him jailed.
The excuse given by the chairwoman of the meeting for calling a policeman to arrest him was that he had gone some seconds over his allotted time for speaking.
Is it unheard of that speakers sometimes exceed their allotted time? Is it a crime to do so?
Mr Baer went quietly. He had to ask the arresting officer what he was being charged with, and was told “disorderly conduct”. And he was was driven off to be locked away in the slammer where he could no longer threaten society.
At least one other parent made the same complaint as Mr Baer, and others present at the meeting applauded her.
Eventually this official statement was issued in response to the complaints:
The School District policies … refer to the procedures for the use of novels containing controversial material. The district will take immediate action to revise these policies to include notification that requires parents to accept controversial materials rather than to opt out.
So in future the parents will be forewarned – not that there is “controversial material” in a book their children have to read on which they might have their say, but that they are “required to accept” it. (Or do they mean the parent will be asked to “opt in” rather than “opt out”? The school board needs a little schooling in how to express itself clearly.)
Doug Hagmann, who knows William Baer personally, writes at Canada Free Press:
Mr. Baer … first contacted the high school principal, who declined to formally meet with him in order to find a suitable remedy to this issue. After being effectively deferred and deflected at every turn, Mr. Baer was left with attempting to remedy the situation by attending the school board meeting to publicly address this issue. …
The Gilford,New Hampshire, school board was alerted in advance to Mr. Baer’s intention to raise this issue at their normal Monday meeting. In anticipation of Mr. Baer’s attendance, they did a number of things they have not done in the past.
First, they stationed a Gilford municipal police officer inside the meeting venue “to keep order”.
Then, they limited all public comments to two minutes only, and refused to answer any questions of the attendees. Ostensibly, this was done because of the multitudes of those present to speak out against the book, yet not more than a few dozen people were actually present. Also, the number who actually wished to speak remained in the single digits, including Mr. Baer. Accordingly, any sensible person would question the rationale behind such an arbitrary policy instituted for this particular meeting.
The critical back-story, then, indicates that the school board not just anticipated Mr. Baer’s attendance, but took very precise steps to make certain that his objections would be muted and otherwise dealt with in a manner that has been inconsistent with previous public meetings. It would appear that dissent about the book as an assignment in a ninth grade honors class was not merely expected, but the response to such dissent was decided in advance.
When attendees were called to speak, Sue Allen, the board chairwoman, could be heard asking at least twice if anyone cared to speak before Mr. Baer was recognized. When he was permitted … his two minutes, he first noted that there was an unusual “default setting” to the parental authorization that would permit the children to be exposed to this material. Normally, a parent must “opt-in” to allow the book to be read by their child, [just as] parental authorization is given for a field trip. In this case, however, it was only if the parent had an objection to the book that they would need to “opt-out.”
Secondly, Mr. Baer asked the principal present to read page 313 of the book to give those in attendance the reasons for which he was voicing his objections. After all, not everyone there was aware of the contents of the book. The principal refused as did every other board member, calling it “inappropriate”. Mr. Baer attempted to compel the board members to answer legitimate questions about the class assignment and methods, but they refused, asserting they would only allow the attendees two minutes worth of comments to be put on record. As the video shows, it was an exasperating exercise in futility for Mr. Baer to seek redress …
Mr. Baer ultimately exceeded his two minutes by 18 seconds … [The chairwoman warned] Mr. Baer that his time was up and [said] they would have no part in addressing his concerns, [so] he dutifully sat down.
At this point, a man positioned behind Mr. Baer spoke up and glowingly described how the book actually prompted a frank family discussion about the subject matter of the book, taking a tone that seemed to paint Mr. Baer as an advocate of censorship and book banning, which is far from the truth or Mr. Baer’s intent. In response to this false accusation and mischaracterization, Mr. Baer verbally dissented. He calmly defended himself against these public accusations, attempting to set the public record straight.
It was as a result of this egregious offense, one that caused Mr. Baer to add another 30 seconds or so onto his unauthorized 18 seconds beyond the allotted 2 minutes that caused the school board to react – and react with prejudice.
At a signal from the chairwoman, the municipal police officer …
… responded by walking to a stunned Mr. Baer, who was now seated, [and escorting] him from the meeting. Mr. Baer asked if he was being asked to leave, if he was being arrested …
He went quietly. The arresting office handcuffed his hands behind his back. It was then that Mr Baer asked what he was being charged with, and the officer replied “disorderly conduct”.
When they reached the police car, Mr Baer told the officer that he had a neck injury which made it particularly awkward for him to have his hands cuffed behind his back. The officer said that this amounted to “resisting arrest” – but he did have the kindness to re-cuff Mr Baer with his hands held in front.
William Baer will be brought to trial to answer for his disorderly conduct on June 17th, 2014.
Crisis Magazine is a Catholic site.
William Kilpatrick makes some points there that we agree with, among some that we do not. We quote:
Question: What does Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist organization, have in common with Western educators? Answer: Both think that Western education is sinful. Fortunately, Western educators will not burn down your church or school with you inside as Boko Haram does to those who persist in their Western ways. Unfortunately, the type of education provided by Western educators will leave you totally unprepared for the likes of Boko Haram.
Roughly translated, “Boko Haram” means “Western education is sinful”. So there’s little doubt about where it stands. But in what way can it be said that Western educators believe the same thing? I don’t know if any educators have actually declared that Western education is sinful, but it’s not unfair to say that contemporary educational theory in the West is built upon a rejection of traditional Western education. Beginning with Rousseau’s Emile (1762), Western intellectuals began to challenge the Judeo-Christian view of the child and along with it traditional ideas about how children should be educated.
He describes what he thinks of as Christian education approvingly:
According to the earlier conception, one which still endures in some corners of our society, the child is born in original sin and, therefore, a good part of his education should be devoted to helping him overcome his natural tendencies to laziness, selfishness and pleasure-seeking. The goal of such education was the transmission of hard-learned cultural lessons through the study of history, literature, scripture and science.
All good subjects (though about scripture, see our last paragraph).
Two comments. One: “original sin” was disobedience followed by lust – not laziness, selfishness and (oh, dear!) pleasure-seeking. Two: For a thousand years, most children in Christendom were taught Christianity but not literacy. Once Christianity descended darkly over Europe, replacing the Roman Empire with the Catholic Church, most children received no education at all except the Christian myth along with the fear of Hell.
But what the writer says next is right on:
According to the Romantic tradition which began with Rousseau and which by the late 1960s had become the dominant philosophy in American education, the child is born in a state of original innocence with trustworthy impulses that should be followed, not denied. Romantic thinkers believed in nature with an almost religious fervor; in their view, man had fallen not from a state of grace but from the state of nature. Sin was a product of civilization, and if there were such a thing as evil, it lay in placing unnatural constraints on the child’s natural spontaneity and wisdom.
The Romantic emphasis on the child’s inner wisdom led to a corresponding de-emphasis on the acquisition of factual knowledge. Learning was thought to be a natural process and the child could therefore be trusted to learn what he needed to know by following his natural instincts. Consequently, book-learning came to be looked upon by Romantic poets and philosophers as an unnatural imposition on the child’s natural development. Take Wordsworth’s poem, The Tables Turned:
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
The third stanza extends the anti-book argument a bit further:
Books! ‘tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
In short, why bother with books [boko haram? - ed]) when you can find all you need to know in the book of nature? That is the [we would say "one of the"] basic principle[s] of Romanticism. For a very long time, most educators ignored this highly unrealistic approach to education. Wordsworth, Emerson, Whitman and other Romantics were taught in schools, but they were celebrated for the beauty of their poetry and prose, not for their anti-bookish prescriptions. Eventually, however, these ideas about natural learning came to exert a powerful influence on the imagination of educators — particularly those of the American variety. By the 1930’s, under the name “progressive education”, the Romantic theory had spread to teacher’s colleges throughout the U.S. By the late 1960’s, it was the dominant philosophy in American classrooms.
The triumph of natural schooling theories did result in significant change — for the worse. SAT scores began a long decline and the U.S. students soon ranked near the bottom of developed countries on international assessment tests. The progressive movement did, however, produce a number of catchy slogans such as “holistic learning”, “child-centered schooling”, “at their own pace”, “self-esteem”, and “critical thinking skills”. Those were the terms of approbation. On the other hand, teachers were warned to avoid “memorization”, “rote-learning”, “mere facts”, “textbook-learning”, and “culturally biased curriculums”.
The progressives failed to realize, however, that you can’t think critically unless you have something to think about. But, having been deprived of “mere facts”, students have very little material with which to “construct knowledge” (another popular piece of educational jargon). How, for example, can students think critically about World War II if they’ve never heard of Roosevelt, Churchill or Stalin or if they have no idea where Germany, Japan, Poland and France are located?
What, you may ask, does this have to do with Boko Haram? Just this. Boko Haram is one of the more violent manifestations of the global resurgence of Islam in our times. Although it is marginally more brutal than other jihadist groups, it is not untypical. There are dozens of such groups all over the world that seek by force to restore Islam to its former dominance. The problem is, today’s anti-knowledge curriculums do not prepare students to think critically about what is happening in the Islamic world and what it means for the rest of us.
The disparagement of “mere facts” ensures that today’s graduates will know very little about the history of Islam. And the Romantic elevation of non-Western traditions means that they will know even less about the bloody nature of that history. Although American students will hear a great deal about Western imperialism, they are not likely to realize that Islam was one of the great imperial powers of all time. At one time, the Islamic Empire stretched from Spain, across North Africa, and all the way to India. The Empire was created by conquest, but high school and college texts tend to avoid that word in favor of euphemisms such as “the spread of Islam” or the “expansion of Islam.” And how was this expansion accomplished? According to one widely used high school history text, “The persecuted people often welcomed the [Muslim] invaders and chose to accept Islam. They were attracted by the appeal of the message of Islam which offered equality and hope in this world.” …
– A lie constantly repeated by Muslim propagandists.
Indeed, many accounts of Islamic history in American textbooks look like they could have been written by the Saudi Ministry for Propaganda and Whitewash. Many world history textbooks, for instance, take great pains to inform readers that jihad has little to do with holy war but rather is best understood as “overcoming immorality,” “a personal inner struggle to achieve spiritual peace”, or a “striving … to achieve personal betterment”. Moreover, in line with the Western habit of romanticizing non-Western cultures, textbooks present a highly romanticized (some would say, largely fictitious) portrait of Islam’s “Golden Age” in Spain and Baghdad. According to one widely-used college text, “The Muslims created [in Baghdad and Cordoba] a brilliant urban culture” where libraries abounded and where “judges, merchants, and government officials, rather than warriors, were regarded as the ideal citizens”. Meanwhile, over in the Christian Carolingian Empire, “Both gluttony and drunkenness were vices shared by many people…. Everyone in Carolingian society, including abbots and monks, drank heavily and often to excess.” …
It is necessary to remember that Christians burnt piles of volumes from the great library of Alexandria centuries before the Muslims came and destroyed it utterly. (It was ravaged by Christians in 391 CE, and completely destroyed by Muslims in 642 CE.)
There is nothing romantic about Boko Haram, and the facts concerning it don’t fit into the rose-colored narrative that is fed to our students about gentle Islamic expansion, interior spiritual struggles, and a library on every corner. … Absent knowledge of Islam’s 1400-year history of jihad, the Boko Haram campaign to exterminate Nigerian Christians must seem like an aberration — something completely unrepresentative of the true Islam. And so will the attacks on Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, the Central African Republic, Kenya, and elsewhere. They will be perceived as discrete, disconnected events that have “nothing to do with Islam” because American citizens are largely unfamiliar with the historical pattern that would help to make sense of these supposedly senseless actions.
What does that pattern look like? Islam scholar Raymond Ibrahim provides this brief description of the European experience with Islam:
Among other nations and territories that were attacked and/or came under Muslim domination are (to give them their modern names in no particular order): Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Belarus, Malta, Sardinia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Montenegro.
It seems well past time to wake up from the romantic dream and reacquaint ourselves with that once-familiar, now forgotten pattern.
We agree of course with his abhorrence of Islam, and with his objections to Romanticism.
We see Romanticism as the (admittedly godless but nevertheless mystical) religion that replaced Christianity when the Enlightenment broke the power of the Churches and brought Christianity into open question.
We see it as the enemy of Reason, scorning proper education, and science, technological innovation, the nation state, free trade, the free market, capitalism, individual freedom, the productive middle-class, prosperity, rule of law, civilization. Also skepticism. And humor.
At present Romanticism is hammering the Western world with two dogmas that are in an improbable alliance, that of Leftism and that of Islam.
Some Catholics, it seems, can share this understanding with us to an extent, though they would no doubt want the Church to rule again, and the irrationalities of Christianity to replace those of Socialism and Mohammedanism.
We agree with William Kilpatrick that our Western culture should be handed down. That means teaching facts, as he says – and critical examination of all opinion.
We want education to be secular.
The Jewish and Christian scriptures should be taught as literature, and religion in history classes, because they have had a huge effect on our culture. But (as our frequent commenter Frank has urged inspirationally) they should be taught only by atheists.
Free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.
So Mark Steyn writes.
In Australia, they’re trying to get rid of Section 18c, which is … [a] thought-crime law. … The Aussie campaign is not going well.”There is a danger that the Coalition resolve to repeal Section 18C will weaken further,” warns The Independent Australian, saying [to the Australian public) there’s an “urgent need to submit your views on 18C amendments by April 30th”. …
What’s going on? In the western world today, there are far more lobby groups for censorship – under polite euphemisms such as “diversity”, “human rights”, “hate speech” – than there are for freedom of expression. …
That’s the hard political arithmetic of defending free speech in western chancelleries today: There aren’t a lot of takers for it, and the opposition to it is very organized. A government minister with an eye to his press clippings has to believe in it an awful lot for it to be worth taking on.
[In Britain] on Saturday, Paul Weston of Liberty GB, a candidate in next month’s European elections, was speaking on the steps of Winchester Guildhall and quoting Winston Churchill on the matter of Muslims (from The River War, young Winston’s book on the Sudanese campaign).
Winston Churchill did not write favorably of Islam.*
[Paul Weston] was, in short order, arrested by half-a-dozen police officers, shoved in the back of a van and taken away to be charged … with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” – in other words, he’s being charged explicitly for the content of that Churchill passage, and the penalty could be two years in jail.
This is remarkable, and not just because Islam is not a race, as its ever more numerous pasty Anglo-Saxon “reverts” will gladly tell you. For one thing, the police have effectively just criminalized Liberty GB’s political platform. There are words for regimes that use state power to criminalize their opponents and they’re not “mother of parliaments” or “land of hope and glory”.
More to the point, if Mr Weston is found guilty of a “racially aggravated crime” for reading Churchill’s words, then why is the publisher of the book not also guilty and liable to two years in jail? Why is Churchill himself not guilty? …
Civilized societies … lose their liberties incrementally. … Sir Winston’s River War will simply disappear from print, but so discreetly you won’t even notice it’s gone. Personally, while we’re criminalizing Churchill, I’m in favor of banning that “Fight on the beaches” speech, on the grounds that all that “we will never surrender” stuff is … increasingly risible. …
[In America] fifty-five percent (55%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should be allowed to review political ads and candidates’ campaign comments for their accuracy and punish those that it decides are making false statements about other candidates. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% oppose such government oversight. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
Or to put it another way: fewer than a third of those polled give a hoot about the First Amendment. …
Two generations of Americans have been raised in an educational milieu that thinks, to pluck a current example at random, that using the phrase “Man up!” ought to be banned. If you’ve been marinated in this world from kindergarten, why would you emerge into the adult world with any attachment to the value of freedom of speech?
As I say, free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.
*Here is the passage from Churchill’s book The River War that may not be read aloud in public in Britain:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
We hate to disagree with Winston Churchill on any point, and we love to quote this passage for most of what he says in it, but of course we cannot agree that “Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science”. Since the Enlightenment put a stop to the power of the Churches, science has been slowly burying Christianity – we’re happy to say.
The civilization of modern Europe is falling, “as fell the civilization of ancient Rome”.
Christianity brought down the night on the Roman Empire. Islam is doing the same to modern Europe. Churchill saw the danger. He did not foresee that it would start happening just a few decades after he led the West to victory over Islam’s twin and ally, Nazism.
Debate is out. Sooo 2008. No longer will an idea be discussed from several points of view with reasoned argument weighing pros and cons among listeners open to persuasion.
Instead there are to be “feelings” contests. Whoever can prove “I feel more intensely about this or that than you do”, will be the winner.
“I am more emotional than thou,” is the implied motto of the exercise.
Contestants who can shout loudest and cry longest stand the best chance of winning.
A good name for this new kind of competition would be “a Howl“. The contestants might be called “Howlers“. The graphic on their logo might be a wolf howling at the moon.
The object of the participants is to arrive at “the new truth”. (It is not entirely new: there is precedent in religion, and in the doctrine of Wagnerian/Nazi ideology, that “truth is what you feel”.)
The object for the audience is not to consider points of view and arrive at an opinion. The object is catharsis. Leave drained, and you’ve had a good night out.
The Atlantic reports – rather sympathetically – on a recent bout:
On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.
This US government? The Obama administration? With Eric Holder heading the Department of Justice and refusing to prosecute New Panthers who intimidated voters at a polling station, on the grounds that they are “his people”? Yep, that’s the one.
In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled. His partner Campbell, who won the top speaker award at the National Debate Tournament two weeks later, had been unfairly targeted by the police at the debate venue just days before, and cited this personal trauma as evidence for his case against the government’s treatment of poor African-Americans.
This year wasn’t the first time this had happened. In the 2013 championship, two men from Emporia State University, Ryan Walsh and Elijah Smith, employed a similar style and became the first African-Americans to win two national debate tournaments. Many of their arguments, based on personal memoir and rap music, completely ignored the stated resolution, and instead asserted that the framework of collegiate debate has historically privileged straight, white, middle-class students.
Tournament participants from all backgrounds say they have found some of these debate strategies offensive. Even so, the new style has received mainstream acceptance, sympathy, and awards.
Joe Leeson Schatz, Director of Speech and Debate at Binghamton University, is encouraged by the changes in debate style and community. “Finally, there’s a recognition in the academic space that the way argument has taken place in the past privileges certain types of people over others,” he said.
Such as those who can think rationally and express their thoughts cogently.
“Arguments don’t necessarily have to be backed up by professors or written papers. They can come from lived experience.”
And my pain is greater than your pain, so there – I win.
One thing is clear: In a community accustomed to hashing out every possible argument, this debate will continue. The uncontested benefit of the debate format is that everyone receives equal time to speak …
Wai-ait a mo! Isn’t timing to be fucked?
Answer: Now that’s just the sort of thing that must not be allowed. Demands for consistency will exclude whole classes of people. Not everyone can be consistent, you know? But everyone can feel …
So although timing is to be fucked, it’s a cool thing to hold on to …
… something that drew many minority students to debate in the first place, said Korey Johnson. “No matter how people feel about my argument, they have to listen to me for all of my speeches, everything I have to say, they can’t make me stop speaking,” she said.
Dennis Prager sees more clearly that there is extreme racism in all this. He writes at Townhall:
When Americans over the age of, let us say, 45, look at any of the iconic paintings of America’s Founders – the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the signing of the Constitution, George Washington crossing the Delaware, any of the individual portraits of the Founders – what do they see? They see great men founding a great country….
Increasingly only conservatives see pictures of greatness. More and more Americans – that includes the entire left and many universities attendees who were indoctrinated by left-wing professors – now see rich, white, self-interested males.
The left-wing trinity of race, gender and class has prevailed. The new dividing lines are no longer good and bad or excellent and mediocre, but white and non-white, male and female, and rich and poor. Instead of seeing great human beings in those paintings of the Founders, Americans have been taught to see rich, white, (meaning – by definition – selfish, bigoted, racist, sexist) males.
In colleges throughout America, students are taught to have disdain for the white race. I know this sounds incredible, or at least exaggerated. It is neither.
For example, from the day they enter college, many students are taught about white privilege – how innately advantaged white students (and all other whites are). Last week, the president of Western Washington University posed the question on the university’s website: “How do we make sure that in future years we are not as white as we are today?” …
Inner city young blacks who work hard in school are routinely chastised by other black youth for “acting white”.
Regarding white privilege, last year, three academics at the University of Rhode Island wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education:
The American Psychological Association’s educational goals for the psychology major include sociocultural and international awareness, with learning outcomes regarding mastery of concepts related to power and privilege. Other professional organizations, including the American Sociological Association, have developed similar learning goals for teaching in higher education. Instructors have been charged with teaching their white students to understand their own privileged positions in society relative to those of marginalized groups.
And be heartily ashamed of it. They should spend the rest of their student days repenting.
The key point here is that the word “values” never appears. Instead of asking what values made America’s Founders great, the left asks what race, gender and class privileges enabled those men to found America. Instead of asking what values does the white majority (or, for that matter, on some campuses, the Asian majority) live by in order to succeed, and how can we help inculcate those values among more less successful people of all racial and ethnic groups, the left asks what privileges do whites have that enable them to get into colleges and graduate at a higher rate than blacks and Latinos.
The undermining of the very concept of values was starkly made clear last month at a national inter-college debate tournament. ..
And he goes on to relate what happened at the March 24 CEDA Championships at Indiana University, quoting The Atlantic report, and comments:
In a national intercollegiate debate contest, a black debating team won by transforming the topic of the debate, one that had nothing to do with race, into a race question.
But to object to this, or to argue that a team might be disqualified for yelling “f— the time” when told it had gone over the time limit, or to ask what performing hip-hop has to do with the topic “whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted” – is now deemed to act white.
This is another victory for the left. And another defeat for standards, for truth and for the values embodied by the men in the paintings of the Founders.
Well, we’d all better get used to it. If you want to go to a university, if you want to get a degree, remember: reason, logic, intellect are OUT. They are too white and male.
Howling is IN.
For regularly participating Howlers, training in opera singing is advised and might even become compulsory.
Scientists, mathematicians, logicians, engineers, lawyers, doctors, businessmen are advised to stay away.
If you’re placing bets, expect women to win more often than men – especially if the team is feminist, as complaining is their schtick.
Expect Leftists to beat Rightists invariably.
This is the way the world ends, not with a whimper but a howl.
Today we have posted essay number 8, Faust (One), in the series titled The Darkness of This World. (Find it under Pages in our margin.)
Here are some extracts from it:
Post-Enlightenment Romanticism was an escape from the reality of “this world”, and a belief that there could be a better world realized in Art, or in a future brought about by political action. …
The Romantic Movement was seeded in France with the revolutionary idealism of Rousseau, and flowered first in England as resistance to the iron reality of the Industrial Revolution, but found its natural home in Germany. There God died, but the Devil lived on.
The death of God was announced by the German philosopher Nietzsche in 1882, but when had it occurred? God was still alive, tussling with the Devil for the souls of men when the first part of Goethe’s play Faust was published in 1808, so the event must have come about, quietly, sometime in the intervening seventy-four years.
The legend of Faust and his pact with the Devil had arisen in Germany soon after the Reformation began there [in 1517], and about two hundred years before the Enlightenment seriously weakened the power of the Churches. …
The legendary Faust is a man who chooses to sell his soul to the Devil in exchange for power, honor, wealth, fame; delight of the senses and satisfaction of the appetites, especially lust; and knowledge (of both the scientific and the intuitive sorts), for the duration of his life on earth, usually twenty-four years from the day of the compact. As his splendid life goes on, he wonders at moments if he could repent and be saved. He is exhorted by well-wishers to turn to God for mercy. But he chooses to renew his fatal pact. When he dies he goes to hell …
There was a real historical Dr Faust, “magician, necromancer, sodomist, astrologer and palm reader”, living in Germany in the early sixteenth century, and it was on his character, skills and escapades that the legend was based.
His birth name was Georgius Sabellicus. In 1505 he was helped by a certain Franz von Sickengen – who interested himself in mysticism and the magic arts – to obtain the post of schoolmaster in the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Kreuznach. Exposed as having forced boys of his classroom to perform “acts of lewdness”, Sabellicus disappeared from the school and the town. Two years later, as “Johannes Faust”, he was granted the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Theology by the University of Heidelberg. He came top of his class of fifteen, so either he was a brainy fellow, or he had already sold his soul to the Devil.
The graduate called himself “the Second Magus”, signaling that he was the successor to Simon Magus, the 1st century Gnostic teacher of St Paul’s day, written about scornfully in the New Testament and condemned by the Catholic Church as “the father of all heresies”. (See our post, The father of all heresies, February 21, 2010.)
He stayed in Heidelberg for some years and acquired a dubious reputation as a man of extraordinary powers.
While most commentary on him both in his lifetime and for a few years after his death (which was probably in or about 1540) portrayed him as no more than a braggart, a fraud, and a petty thief, some took him more seriously. An agreement made between himself and the Devil soon became an essential ingredient of his legend. It was related in tones of thrilled horror that he had referred to Satan as his “Schwäger”, his brother-in-law. A demon spirit who takes the form of Helen of Troy occurs in almost all the versions of the story. (She had been Simon Magus’s consort. Though he had found her in a brothel in Tyre, he taught that she had been incarnated in one of her lives as Helen, “the most beautiful woman in the world”, and had descended again from the highest heaven to help him with his mission of redeeming mankind.)
The idea that supernatural powers could be bestowed on a man by the Devil, but had to be paid for with the man’s soul, probably arose from the anathematizing accounts by the Catholic church fathers of the Gnostic cults. Because the Gnostics did not worship the Creator God of the bible but another god whom they “knew” by the gift of intuitive knowledge (the Gnosis); because many of them declared the Creator God to be evil; and because the worship of their god took the form of drugged orgies, perverted sex (anal and oral in order to avoid conception), and the deliberate flouting of biblical commandments, they were considered by Catholics to be devil-worshippers, and their rites Satanic. Their doctrines and practices were deplored in the pulpits of Christendom, embellished with fearful details and scary myths, not only to condemn them and warn the awestruck laity against them, but because the clergy was genuinely full of superstitious terror of the Devil. For centuries Gnostic ritual was considered by Christian theologians to be devil-worship. The Catholic Church succeeded in wiping out Gnosticism in the Middle Ages, using the instrument of the Inquisition. (See our post The heretics of Languedoc, May 1, 2011.)
When the centuries of Church power were brought to an end by the Enlightenment, and Christianity itself took a beating, Faust and the Devil not only survived but flourished.
The Industrial Revolution made it possible as never before for individuals not born to riches and power to acquire them. To those who understood economics it was not an inexplicable phenomenon. But to those who wanted as little to do with the racket and dirt of industry as possible, who were nostalgic for the past, and who continued to believe in the supernatural though the priests had been shouted down by Reason, it was uncanny, magical; and ever-present envy had no trouble diagnosing the cause as demonic. So with the Devil living on in the psyche of Christian Europe long after God had died, Dr. Faust had a new lease of life. …
Brandeis University was being true to its despicable self after all when it treated Ayaan Hirsi Ali disgracefully.
It was where Herbert Marcuse, one of the most prominent apologists for the violently destructive New Left, indoctrinated students and wrote his staggeringly idiotic books.
This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:
BRANDEIS’S “REPRESSIVE TOLERANCE”
Like me, Michael Leeden finds that “if there’s anything really new about Brandeis’ disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it’s that they invited her at all”. While many seem surprised that Brandeis, founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, would align itself with Islamists and their apologists, Ledeen finds no underlying inconsistency.
Brandeis was the home of professor Herbert Marcuse, the iconic leftist philosopher of the 1960s. Marcuse dedicated his book Repressive Tolerance to his Brandeis students. He summarized its thesis this way:
The … realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period – a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression. . . .
The restoration of freedom of thought may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions. …
Marcuse gave the student rebels and the terrorists of the West European New Left “a justification for their aggression. He told them that they were quite as subjugated as those who lived in the totalitarian states on the other side of the Berlin Wall – by being forced to endure the tolerable and rewarding and comfortable, to suffer food and clothing and lodging beyond bare necessity, to have many varieties of luxury foisted on them, and to be conned into the illusion that they were free”. (Quotation from Hitler’s Children by Jillian Becker.)
Paul Mirengoff concludes:
Herbert Marcuse would be proud of his old University.
Yes. Brandeis has been disgraceful for at least fifty years. But its treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali adds cold-blooded viciousness to its record.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim in Somalia. She was forced to suffer the sexual mutilation that Islam inflicts on women. Her family tried to force her into marriage with a relation. To avoid it, she fled to the Netherlands in 1992. In a very short time she learnt to speak fluent Dutch and became a member of parliament. In 2004 she made a film, in partnership with Theo van Gogh, about the enslavement and savage treatment of women in Islam. A Muslim, deeply offended that anyone should tell the truth about his cruel and violent religion, killed Theo van Gogh on the street, and left a note on his body threatening her with murder too.
Mark Steyn wrote:
She lived under armed guard and was forced to abandon the Netherlands because quite a lot of people want to kill her. And not in the desultory behead-the-enemies-of-Islam you-will-die-infidel pro forma death-threats-R-us way that many of us have perforce gotten used to in recent years: her great friend and professional collaborator was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam by a man who shot him eight times, attempted to decapitate him, and then drove into his chest two knives, pinning to what was left of him a five-page note pledging to do the same to her.
She now lives in the United States. She speaks fluent, excellent English. She has established an organization that works to help oppressed women immigrants in the West – including of course Muslim women. (The very real and cruel oppression suffered by Muslim women even in Western countries is not recognized or in the least objected to by American feminists. They have a vast accumulation of petty grouses to attend to.)
In her book Infidel she writes:
I left the world of faith, of genital cutting and forced marriage for the world of reason and emancipation. After making this voyage I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values.
She came to America because it is the land of liberty that protects free speech.
If ever a person deserved to be honored, she does. And Brandeis University prepared to honor her. She was invited to address a commencement ceremony and receive an honorary degree.
But a mob of Muslim men and their submissive women, inside and outside the university, objected. So the university administrators withdrew their invitation, refused to honor her after all.
Brandeis president, Fred Lawrence, joined with some 85 professors, including the Women’s Studies academic staff (no surprise there), and issued this statement by way of explanation:
Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.
Commencement is about celebrating and honoring our extraordinary students and their accomplishments, and we are committed to providing an atmosphere that allows our community’s focus to be squarely on our students. In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.
Brandeis University was founded in 1948, named after one of its founders, Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis, in order that Jews excluded by quota limits from other schools could get a university education. It is not a “faith school”, however, and admits students of all denominations and none. It no doubt prides itself on its tolerance.
But it does not seem good at judging who should and should not be honored. It made a fine judgment when it saw that Ayaan Hirsi Ali had earned honor, before it changed its mind.
It honored one Tony Kushner in 2006, for or despite his much published hatred of Israel, his belief that it has no right to exist, his insistence that it is a menace to the world, and his false accusations that it is guilty of racist persecution on a massive scale.
In 2000 it honored the despicable Bishop Desmond Tutu, a notorious anti-Semite who insists that Israel is a viciously “apartheid” country.
Brandeis University had planned to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali at its commencement ceremony this year, but after a smear campaign led by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamic supremacist groups, on Tuesday the university issued a statement announcing the predictable result: the honorary degree would not be given.
Now we quote, from Front Page, a column by Robert Spencer.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brandeis assured the world, “is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world.” However, as compelling as Brandeis may have considered that work, ultimately it didn’t matter: “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.”
Who brought these statements – which had been openly made and are unmissable by anyone exploring Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s biography – to the attention of the Brandeis ivory tower? Why, none other than the energetic Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, that iniquitous, terrorist-supporting organization – along with the Muslim students and the Women’s Studies professors and the rest of the local mob who passionately support the side of Ayaan’s, America’s, and freedom’s enemies.
The Brandeis statement did not mention CAIR, and probably university administrators are unaware of its Hamas ties or its record of opposing any and all counter-terror efforts. Nor did the statement specify exactly what in Hirsi Ali’s past statements was “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values”. CAIR, however, did so in its press release (also issued Tuesday; Brandeis snapped into line quickly) which quoted Hirsi Ali from a 2007 interview saying: “I think that we are at war with Islam.”
Ironically, CAIR spokesmen have said the same thing: “The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself,” said then-CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed in July 2007. The only difference is that Hirsi Ali and CAIR are on opposite sides of this war. Is it unacceptable at Brandeis, a contradiction of its core values, to oppose the global jihad? Apparently so.
In the same interview, Hirsi Ali also called for the closing of Islamic schools in the United States. While that is indeed a severe and questionable recommendation …
We don’t think so. We think Islam is an evil ideology, like Nazism, and any measure taken to expunge it is good. It should be strongly and persistently opposed. Robert Spencer goes on to say as much:
… it should be remembered that Ayaan Hirsi Ali attended Islamic schools in her native Somalia. She no doubt also has seen the reports from all over the world showing hatred and violence being taught in all too many Islamic schools. In that same interview she said:
Asking whether radical preachers ought to be allowed to operate is not hostile to the idea of civil liberties; it’s an attempt to save civil liberties. A nation like this one is based on civil liberties, and we shouldn’t allow any serious threat to them. So Muslim schools in the West, some of which are institutions of fascism that teach innocent kids that Jews are pigs and monkeys — I would say in order to preserve civil liberties, don’t allow such schools.
Is calling for the schools that teach hatred and contempt of an entire group of people against the core values of Brandeis University? Apparently it is. …
All [CAIR] wants is to shut down any and every individual who opposes jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, in any venue. Generously funded and well-staffed, it pounces on anyone and everyone who dares raise a critical word against jihad terror, and mounts a smear campaign intending to get the Islamocritical speaker canceled and discredited.
In acceding to these smear campaigns, event organizers and – in this case, Brandeis University administrators – apparently make no attempt, even a simple Google search, to discover the intentions of the people behind the campaign. They appear indifferent to CAIR’s unsavory connections or its advice to Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. The organization’s own claims that it is merely a civil rights organization are accepted uncritically and without examination. … CAIR routinely blindsides officials and places on the defensive by its attacks, and so simply to avoid controversy they usually gave the “civil rights group” what it wants: the cancellation, demonization and marginalization of every speaker who is remotely critical of Islam. …
Someone really ought to teach the Brandeis administrators how to use the Internet.
Anyone and everyone who dares to oppose jihad and Islamic supremacism will become a target for a CAIR smear campaign. The real agenda of Islamic supremacist groups in the United States is clearly not to distinguish legitimate resistance to jihad from bigotry and hatred, but to stigmatize all resistance to jihad as bigotry and hatred, and clear away all obstacles to the advance of that jihad.
And they have made great headway, stigmatizing resistance to jihad in the eyes of large segments of the general public, and even of government and law enforcement officials, as “bigotry.” Yet while it has become generally accepted that standing up to jihad terror is “bigotry,” no one has ever clearly explained why. A highly tendentious and politically manipulative perspective has been foisted upon the American people as accepted wisdom, in which opponents of jihad terror are cast as bigots and efforts increased to rule their perspective altogether out of the realm of acceptable public discourse.
The one certain result of this will be more jihad terror in the U.S. – some of it emanating from hate-preaching Islamic schools that Ayaan Hirsi Ali so heinously suggested should be closed.
Finally, here is Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s dignified response to Brandeis University’s decision:
Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.
When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings”, and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.
What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements”, which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.
What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.
Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues”. Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck — and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.
This incident will add more honor and glory to the reputation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Brandeis University will bear the shame of it always.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Here’s the email address of Fred Lawrence, president of Brandeis. Tell him what you think.
Why did the West fail to claim an ideological or moral victory at the apparent end of the Cold War?
Did the West really even win the Cold War?
Diana West asks these questions. She goes on:
If we go back in time and listen, we hear no consensus click over signs that an unalloyed US-led triumph over communist ideology had taken place; nor do we find a sense of national thanksgiving for the forces of good – or, at least, for the forces of better – in their triumph over the forces of a non-abstract evil as manifested in Gulag or KGB or famine or purge history. “Mustn’t gloat” was about as joyous as the White House of Bush No. 41 ever got.
The inability to proclaim victory loud and clear derives from the Christian injunction to be humble.
Almost everything that handicaps our civilization comes from its Christian legacy; and everything that drives it forward to discover and innovate, to attain greater prosperity, longer life – whatever general conditions are needed for such happiness as we may individually be capable of – is the legacy of the Enlightenment, the awakening from the long dark nightmare of “God’s” reign, the rise of reason. It only happened to the West. Reason and its children Science, Freedom, and the United States of America, made the West great; not, as those lovers of the darkness, the god-worshipers, like to intone, the “Judeo-Christian” tradition.
All religions are the ideological enemies of the West. But yes, the Red ones, Communism and its conjoined twin Environmentalism, are the most dangerous at present. They suffuse and weaken our culture and our civilization.
They are the New Christianities.
Diana West is right to diagnose Communism as the transforming blight.
Was the official non-reaction due to that “crisis of confidence” we always hear about — specifically, that “politically correct” failure to believe in the worth of the West? I used to think exactly that and no more. The self-loathing West, failing to see anything of value in itself, was simply unable to take satisfaction, let alone pride, in the demise of its mass-murdering nemesis. “After all,” the PC catechism goes, “Who’s to say the Western system is ‘better’ than any other?”
But there is far more to it. At a certain point, it becomes clear that what we are looking at isn’t a West that fails to appreciate itself anymore, but rather a West that isn’t itself anymore.
Decades of subversion by communist infiltrators and American traitors, collaborators and “useful idiots” have helped make sure of that. So, even if the military enemy went away after the dissolution of the USSR on Christmas Day 1991, our ideological enemy never even had to break step.
Cold Warriors might have prevailed abroad, but America lost the ideological Cold War at home.
This helps explain why our college campuses are outposts of Marx, our centralizing government is increasingly invasive and dictatorial, and our culture is one of metastasizing decadence …
President Obama’s recent speech in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, reveals the chasm between what we have become and what we are supposed to be. Wearing his “Leader of the Free World” hat, Obama made the case against Russia’s annexation of Crimea by conjuring a Manichaean split between free societies and dictatorships. But does it fit?
According to the president, there are free societies where “each of us has the right to live as we choose,” and there are dictatorships where the rule is “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs.” Americans confronting government-mandated health insurance would do well to wonder exactly which society they live in.
Obama continued: “In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas.” That contest, he explained, swerving wildly away from historical fact, was won “not by tanks or missiles, but because our ideals stirred the hearts” of Eastern Bloc anti-communists.
Omitted was the fact that these revolts were mainly crushed without US aid. Omitted also was the decisive role that President Reagan’s “tanks and missiles” – and missile defense – played in the military contest.
In this post-World War II era, Obama declared, “America joined with Europe to reject the darker forces of the past and build a new architecture of peace.”
Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in sum, is an attack on that “architecture,” and, as such, is bad.
On closer examination, however, that same US-EU “architecture” doesn’t support the free-society paradigm so much as what the president calls the “more traditional view of power” – the one that sees “ordinary men and women (as) too small-minded to govern their own affairs.”
This latter view aptly describes the “soft” tyranny of the EU nanny state, whose early lights, after all, were Belgian Socialists and Nazi sympathizers with visions of a unified pan-European welfare state. In Brussels, their political progeny – unelected bureaucrats – increasingly dictate political and social norms across a “United States of Europe”.
In the US, the medical totalitarianism of Obamacare – not to mention Obama’s serial usurpations of power (not enforcing legislation he doesn’t like, making up and enforcing legislation he does like) – makes it all too clear that this president has a dictatorial temperament.
This is unsurprising when you consider that his political baby, his engine of transformative change – state-mandated health care – happens also to have been an early program of the Bolsheviks, and had as one of its earliest US boosters a noted Stalinist named Henry Sigerist. This seems like as good a moment as any to remind readers that the UN and the IMF, those leading institutions of globalist infrastructure, were fostered into post-World War II existence by a pair of notorious American Soviet agents – Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White.
Truly, it’s a Red, Red world.
As we often do, we’ve pinched the cartoon we like best from PowerLine’s This Week in Pictures.
The students in this video from CNS News are all apparently over 18 so they have the vote. One of them says she is taking a course in politics. None of them knows who the first president of the United States was. Two of them cannot divide 100 by 50 – or do not know (like the president) that there are 50 states in the Union. They’re all being put through the expensive travesty called a university education.
(Hat-tip Robert Kantor)