Jillian Becker comments: “There are few writers in the world whose appreciation of a political book is as worth having as Daniel Greenfield’s. Those who regularly read Front Page and his daily essay at his own website, will know this to be true.”
Imagine the UK Without Thatcher
With the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, one novel takes a look at a UK without Thatcher. L: A Novel History by Jillian Becker, the author of, Hitler’s Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang, is a modern 1984 taking place in an England fallen to the left. A country where the atrocities and horrors perpetrated in the east found their way to the west.
1984 showed us tyranny from the perspective of an ordinary man coping with the tyranny of an omnipresent Big Brother, while L takes us into the mind of Big Brother.
Becker’s L is a child of the modern left, attracted to the violent spectacle of revolution, feeding on blood and pain, gorging on the emotional spillage of the disgruntled, perpetrating riots, terrorist attacks and finally the mass starvation of the United Kingdom.
1984 takes place in the fragments of a lost history, but L develops its history out of the recent past. L doesn’t emerge out of a vacuum. He is the child of privilege, the student of leftist academics and the tyrant who rises out of the class warfare struggles of the burgeoning welfare state.
L abandons his name, going by a single letter, dabbling in dehumanizing Marxist theory while developing a cult of followers, the L-ites, who become the core of a movement that takes over the United Kingdom. L: A Novel History is as much about L, piecing together his inner thoughts from diary entries and newspaper articles, as it is about the milieu of the period and the more moderate figures on the left who hand over power to him and allow him to perpetrate his acts of terror.
As Becker notes in her introduction, there are historical precedents for L, for his associates and the fascist opposition that eventually allies with him. What she has done is transpose the history of various Communist atrocities from Russia and Eastern Europe into an England on the wavering end of the Cold War.
As a fictional history, L: A Novel History assembles painstakingly an entire alternate history in a metafictional narrative composed of newspaper articles, diary entries and historical speculation that combines the perspectives of L, his followers, the L-ites, his opponents, both genuine and disingenuous, and the people of England who react with bewilderment and then horror as the stores are emptied, the food vanishes and they are put through a brutal and degrading process meant to break their spirit.
L’s great obsession is the cultivation of empathy. Like most sociopaths, he is incapable of genuinely empathizing with others, but has a narcissistic obsession with the experience of emotion as spectacle.
Embodying the privileged empathy of the left, L promises to raise up the people, but instead degrades them, robbing them of their dignity, their humanity and finally their lives, in order to force them to identify with the sufferings of the less well off.
L is Big Brother given form, substance and motive. His resentments and narcissism represent all too well the modern left. Obsessed with image, L is driven to be a cult figure and succeeds in achieving true cult status at the expense of millions for his grand experiment in enforced empathy.
The UK has a long literary tradition of dystopias which imagine a descent into fascism, even as in real life it has continued a descent into Socialism. Jillian Becker’s L: A Novel History challenges that fictional narrative with a meta-fictional narrative that warns of what might have been and what may yet be.
May yet be in America …
The classicist Donald Kagan has given his last lecture at Yale, leaving it now in the hands of the pirates of education – the Left.
These are extracts from an article titled “Democracy May Have Had Its Day” by Matthew Kaminski in the Wall Street Journal:
Universities, he proposed, are failing students and hurting American democracy. …
On campus, he said, “I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness.”
Rare are “faculty with atypical views,” he charged. “Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our Western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values.” He counseled schools to adopt “a common core of studies” in the history, literature and philosophy “of our culture.” By “our” he means Western.
This might once have been called incitement. In 1990, as dean of Yale College, Mr. Kagan argued for the centrality of the study of Western civilization in an “infamous” (his phrase) address to incoming freshmen. A storm followed. He was called a racist — or as the campus daily more politely editorialized, a peddler of “European cultural arrogance.”
Oh for some European cultural arrogance!
Not so now. Mr. Kagan received a long standing ovation from students and alumni in the packed auditorium. Heading into retirement, he has been feted as a beloved and popular teacher and Yale icon. The PC wars of the 1990s feel dated. Maybe, as one undergrad told me after the lecture, “the pendulum has started to swing back” toward traditional values in education.
Has it? Is political correctness outdated? Or becoming outdated? Isn’t that too good to be true?
Mr. Kagan offers another explanation [to the author of the article, in an interview]….
Actually, he’s Dr. Kagan. Or Professor Kagan (since we don’t do as the Germans do and string the titles together to make “Professor Dr.”). But for all we know Donald Kagan prefers the Mr.
“You can’t have a fight,” he says … “because you don’t have two sides. The other side won.”
He means across academia, but that is also true in his case. Mr. Kagan resigned the deanship in April 1992, lobbing a parting bomb at the faculty that bucked his administration. His plans to create a special Western Civilization course at Yale — funded with a $20 million gift from philanthropist and Yale alum Lee Bass, who was inspired by the 1990 lecture — blew up three years later amid a political backlash. “I still cry when I think about it,” says Mr. Kagan.
As he looks at his Yale colleagues today, he says, “you can’t find members of the faculty who have different opinions.” I point at him. “Not anymore!” he says and laughs. …
Democracy, wrote Mr. Kagan in “Pericles of Athens” (1991), is “one of the rarest, most delicate and fragile flowers in the jungle of human experience.” It relies on “free, autonomous and self-reliant” citizens and “extraordinary leadership” to flourish, even survive. These kinds of citizens aren’t born—they need to be educated. …
“Meaningful freedom means that you have choices to make,” Mr. Kagan says. “At the university, there must be intellectual variety. If you don’t have that, it’s not only that you are deprived of knowing some of the things you might know. It’s that you are deprived of testing the things that you do know or do think you know or believe in, so that your knowledge is superficial.”
As dean, Mr. Kagan championed hard sciences, rigorous hiring standards for faculty, and the protection of free speech. Those who see liberal education in crisis return to those ideas. “Crisis suggests it might recover,” Mr. Kagan shoots back. “Maybe it’s had its day. Democracy may have had its day. Concerns about the decline of liberty in our whole polity is what threatens all of the aspects of it, including democracy.”
Taking a grim view of the Periclean era in Athens, Plato and Aristotle believed that democracy inevitably led to tyranny. The Founding Fathers took on their criticism and strove to balance liberty with equality under the law. Mr. Kagan, who grew up a Truman Democrat, says that when he was young the U.S. needed to redress an imbalance by emphasizing equality. The elite universities after the war opened to minorities and women, not to mention Brooklyn College grads like himself—then “it was all about merit,” he says.
The 1960s brought a shift and marked his own political awakening. Teaching at Cornell, Mr. Kagan watched armed black students occupy a university building in 1969. The administration caved to their demands without asking them to give up their rifles and bandoliers. He joined Allan Bloom and other colleagues in protest. In the fall of that year, he moved to Yale. Bloom ended up at the University of Chicago and in 1987 published “The Closing of the American Mind,” his best-selling attack on the shortcomings of higher education.
In the decades since, faculties have gained “extraordinary authority” over universities, Mr. Kagan says. The changes in the universities were mirrored in the society at large. “The tendency in this century and in the previous century at least has been toward equality of result and every other kind of equality that could be claimed without much regard for liberty,” he says. “Right now the menace is certainly to liberty.”
Yes, and it is impossible to have equality of result and liberty at the same time. In other words, it is impossible to have socialism and liberty. One or the other is the choice.
His lifelong passion is Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War — the epic clash between those former allies, militaristic Sparta and democratic Athens … As Thucydides wrote, people go to war out of “honor, fear and interest.” War, he also said, “is a violent teacher.” Another enduring lesson from him, says Mr. Kagan, is “that you can expect people, whatever they may be, to seek to maximize their power” — then a slight pause — “unless they’re Europeans and have checked their brains at the door, so mortified are they, understandably, by what happened to them in the 20th century. They can’t be taken seriously.”
We would say “morbid” rather than “mortified” because of what they did to themselves in the 20th century. It’s a long slow suicide, but few Europeans heard in the public arena seem to realize it.
These days the burden of seriousness among free states falls on America, a fickle and unusual power. The Romans had no qualms about quashing their enemies, big or small. While the U.S. won two global conflicts and imposed and protected the current global order, the recent record shows failed or inconclusive engagements in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Some would argue that free societies are too soft to fight brutal wars too long. Mr. Kagan offers culture and political leadership as an explanation. “We’re a certain kind of culture which makes it hard for us to behave rationally when the rational thing is to be tough,” he says. “We can do it when we’re scared to death and there seem to be no alternatives. When it’s time to nail down something, we very often sneak away.”
Some would argue that free societies are too soft to fight brutal wars too long. Mr. Kagan offers culture and political leadership as an explanation. “We’re a certain kind of culture which makes it hard for us to behave rationally when the rational thing is to be tough,” he says. “We can do it when we’re scared to death and there seem to be no alternatives. When it’s time to nail down something, we very often sneak away.”
The protection and distance offered by two oceans gives America the idea — or delusion — of being able to stay out of the world’s problems.
Libertarians, please note.
Mr. Kagan also wonders about possible “geocultural” shifts at play. A hundred years ago, most people worked the land for themselves. Today they work for a paycheck, usually in an office. “Fundamentally we are dependent on people who pay our salaries,” says Mr. Kagan. “In the liberal era, in our lifetime, we have come more to expect it is the job of the government to provide for the needs that we can’t provide. Everything is negotiable. Everything is subject to talk.” Maybe that has weakened the American will.
Also don’t forget, says Mr. Kagan, “unsubtle Christianity” and its strong strain of pacifism. “Who else has a religion filled with the notion ‘turn the other cheek’?” he asks. … “If you’re gonna turn the other cheek, go home. Give up the ball.”
In 2000, Mr. Kagan and his younger son, Frederick, a military historian and analyst, published “While America Sleeps.” The book argued for the reversal of the Clinton Cold War peace dividend to meet unforeseen but inevitable threats to come. The timing was uncanny. A year later, 9/11 forced the Pentagon to rearm.
With the end of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the U.S. is slashing defense again. “We do it every time,” Mr. Kagan says. “Failing to understand the most elementary childish fact, which is: If you don’t want trouble with somebody else, be sure he has something to be afraid of.” …
His 1995 book, “On the Origins of War,” made a moral and strategic case to exert as much effort and money to safeguard peace as to win a war.
Thucydides identified man’s potential for folly and greatness. Mr. Kagan these days tends toward the darker view. He sees threats coming from Iran and in Asia, yet no leadership serious about taking them up. The public is too ignorant or irresponsible to care. “When you allow yourself to think of it, you don’t know whether you are going to laugh or cry,” he says.
The Kagan thesis is bleak but not fatalistic. The fight to shape free citizens in schools, through the media and in the public square goes on. “There is no hope for anything if you don’t have a population that buys into a strong and free society,” he says. “That can only be taught. It doesn’t come in nature.”
So does Donald Kagan have hope that “the pendulum is swinging back”? Towards variety of ideas and traditional standards in higher education? Towards liberty and an understanding of the value of liberty? Towards strong democracy?
If so, we wish we could share that hope, but see nothing to encourage it. He has switched off his light at Yale. Is there another?
This is from Canada Free Press, by the excellent researcher and writer Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh, who has herself lived under communism:
Liberal education has been very successful in this country because nobody challenged the progressive educators and their agenda. We are waking up to the unraveling of our society caused by this liberal education and wondering, what happened. Could it be too late to reverse the damage?
Conservative news outlets are pointing out the obvious — our children have been indoctrinated into socialism for 33-40 years and this indoctrination is finally bearing fruit. We have bred a nation of young, entitled citizens who do not like to work, do not like to read or study anything too involved or complicated that exceeds Twitter’s 140 words, do not take responsibility for their actions, exhibit righteous indignation if their demands are not met, claim racism and hate speech if others disagree with them, and are afraid of their shadows.
Students no longer explore and discuss the history of America even in the History Department of the local college — it has long been replaced by courses that praise and promote “sexual, racial and ethnic differences”, instead of highlighting our common American heritage, what made America great and an exceptional nation that has contributed to the betterment of mankind. Socialist professors admire, teach, and laud the history of non-western cultures as superior to our own culture.
She cites Bowdoin College, the subject of a recent report (see our post immediately below), as an example of what’s gone wrong in higher education. And she gives examples of courses taught there – to the exclusion of teaching critical thinking skills, and ignoring “scientists, men of letters, philosophers and orators who contributed to western thought and civilization”. Instead, there’s this sort of thing on offer:
Beyond Pocahontas: Native American Stereotypes
Sexual Life of Colonialism
Modern Western Prostitutes
But the greater part of her article is devoted to providing information on IB World Schools. We learn the following:
IB stands for International Baccalaureate.
Most parents have no idea what IB is. IB programs are devoted to the “radical transformation of America’s classrooms.”
The rot taught in American schools like Bowdoin is taught world wide in the IB schools, which are here, there, and spreading everywhere. “There are over 2,000 IB World Schools in the US.” Of those, 74 are in Virginia.
An IB World School is a private or public school that has agreed to offer the IB (International Baccalaureate) program run and coordinated by IBO, a non-profit socialist Swiss Foundation in Geneva … in partnership with UNESCO …
In fact -
Since 1970, IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) has been an official NGO (non-governmental organization) of UNESCO.
They know they’re doing something sneaky, something most American parents would not like.
As a parent, in order to discover what the secret curriculum is, one has to be approved [by] an IB teacher, with a password that accesses the curriculum.
IB schools are a part of Agenda 21. (To find out more about it, use our search slot).
Dr. Paugh is our main source of information about this UN resolution that aims to preserve and restore the wilderness at the expense of human populations; destroy the suburbs; herd people into urban collectivities with single “living units” allotted to them instead of homes shared with their families; deprive them of private cars; control their heating and cooling and other uses of energy. In sum, monitor their whole lives and prescribe how they should live them. And worse, though you might think there could be no worse -
An international baccalaureate world school is another arm of U.N. Agenda 21. [It's aim is the] indoctrination of our children into “global citizenship, social justice, intercultural understanding and respect,” submission to one-world socialist government, using American taxpayer dollars.
She refers to a description of IB education by Justin Pough, who attended an IB school:
No more learning about U.S. Presidenst, good values, no American history … Teachers have to wear the light blue colors of the United Nations. Students are indoctrinated into becoming “citizens of the world” instead of citizens of the country they were born in, preoccupied with “moral, ethical, social, economic, and environmental implications of global production and consumption.”
The student’s version of Agenda 21 is called the Rescue Mission Planet Earth.
The founder of IB, Therese Maurette, describes her educational philosophy that runs against our Founding Fathers’ ideas of what American education should be … The concept of “nationality” must be minimized in order to encourage students to develop a picture of the whole world. “History should not be taught until well into adolescence because, for the younger student, it inevitably consists of a series of stories and myths glorifying violence and misrepresenting events by giving them a nationalistic bias.”
To shape students into pawns of international change, IB programs use “pedagogical methods that are intended to effect the fundamental transformation of America’s classrooms.” Schools that adopt the IB program must also adopt the international moral and ethical values. Whose values are these? They are the diverse values of different cultures as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. They are not our American values, they are values that encourage social change in which “the rights of individuals are linked to those of the collectives:”
By “linked to the values of the collective” they mean, of course, “replaced by ”.
The whole of Dr. Paugh’s article is a must-read.
Here are a few more revolting UN/IB ideas that she gathered from various (named) sources:
There is no right or wrong, only conditioned responses.
The collective good is more important than the individual.
Consensus is more important than principle.
Flexibility is more important than accomplishment.
Nothing is permanent except change.
All ethics are situational; there are no moral absolutes.
There are no perpetrators, only victims.
“Dialectical thinking” is a required component of IB.
Social justice is taught under the rubric of critical pedagogy. Critical pedagogy is the political arm of liberation theology and cultural Marxism/political correctness. The ultimate goal is to bring about social transformation at the collective level through indoctrination of our students. (This last statement ascribed to President Obama’s terrorist associate, Bill Ayres.)
What this all means is that the Left’s New World Order is being established under our noses.
Which, we wonder, will be the first to win the power to impose its control world-wide – the Left or Islam?
At present they are allies. But that will have to change. They must come to blows with each other eventually. The victory of either would be a calamity.
Will anyone fight for liberty?
Evil speaks, as so often, in the name of good. And as so often, in an op-ed in the New York Times.
Three Cheers for the Nanny State is by Sarah Conly, an assistant professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College who is also the author of a book titled Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.
In her op-ed she asks:
Why has there been so much fuss about New York City’s attempt to impose a soda ban, or more precisely, a ban on large-size “sugary drinks”? After all, people can still get as much soda as they want. This isn’t Prohibition. It’s just that getting it would take slightly more effort. So, why is this such a big deal?
Which makes us ask: If it’s so trivial why do it at all?
And we know the right answer: In order to exercise power.
These would-be totalitarians start with small things so you’ll get used to the interference in your private life, get used to them imposing their will on you.
Americans, even those who generally support government intervention in our daily lives, have a reflexive response to being told what to do, and it’s not a positive one. It’s this common desire to be left alone that prompted the Mississippi Legislature earlier this month to pass a ban on bans — a law that forbids municipalities to place local restrictions on food or drink.
Mississippi did that? Bravo, Mississippi!
We have a vision of ourselves as free, rational beings who are totally capable of making all the decisions we need to in order to create a good life. Give us complete liberty, and, barring natural disasters, we’ll end up where we want to be. It’s a nice vision, one that makes us feel proud of ourselves. But it’s false. …
A lot of times we have a good idea of where we want to go, but a really terrible idea of how to get there. It’s well established by now that we often don’t think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends. We make errors. This has been the object of an enormous amount of study over the past few decades, and what has been discovered is that we are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations.
Oh yes. We know about those academic studies. There are millions of them gathering dust. Each study was conducted and written up to prove something – and lo! managed to prove it.
But did any sane person on earth really need “an enormous amount of study” to “discover” that we often go wrong in trying to achieve something?
Research by psychologists and behavioral economists … identified a number of areas in which we fairly dependably fail. They call such a tendency a “cognitive bias,” and there are many of them — a lot of ways in which our own minds trip us up.
For example, we suffer from an optimism bias, that is we tend to think that however likely a bad thing is to happen to most people in our situation, it’s less likely to happen to us — not for any particular reason, but because we’re irrationally optimistic. Because of our “present bias,” when we need to take a small, easy step to bring about some future good, we fail to do it, not because we’ve decided it’s a bad idea, but because we procrastinate.
Wow! Who’d have thought that people hope for the best? Or that they put off doing things they don’t much want to do? Where would we be without these revelations from “psychologists and behavioral economists”? However did humanity make out before they came along?
We also suffer from a status quo bias, which makes us value what we’ve already got over the alternatives, just because we’ve already got it — which might, of course, make us react badly to new laws, even when they are really an improvement over what we’ve got. …
The crucial point is that in some situations it’s just difficult for us to take in the relevant information and choose accordingly. … [So] we need help.
That help must come, she tells us, from laws, though we’ll be cross about them just because they’re new.
No, we’ll be cross about them because the purpose of law should be to protect freedom, and a law against the sale of large sodas does not protect freedom; it limits it.
Conly is not concerned with freedom. She’s concerned – really truly deeply cares, she’d have you know - whether the soda is good for you or not.
Is it always a mistake when someone does something imprudent, when, in this case, a person chooses to chug 32 ounces of soda? No. For some people, that’s the right choice. They don’t care that much about their health, or they won’t drink too many big sodas, or they just really love having a lot of soda at once.
But – Conly says - just because you like it, and may not be harmed by it, or know when to stop indulging yourself with it, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a law against it, because most people need to be forbidden it by law for their own good. It’s the age-old excuse for tyranny.
Laws have to be sensitive to the needs of the majority. That doesn’t mean laws should trample the rights of the minority, but that public benefit is a legitimate concern, even when that may inconvenience some.
So do these laws mean that some people will be kept from doing what they really want to do? Probably — and yes, in many ways it hurts to be part of a society governed by laws, given that laws aren’t designed for each one of us individually. … Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws.
We emphatically disagree. We contend that each person’s liberty should be limited by nothing but everyone else’s. That is the individualist’s view.
But Conly is a collectivist. She says:
What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it’s soda, tomorrow it’s the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch “PBS NewsHour” every day. What this ignores is that successful paternalistic laws are done on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: if it’s too painful [to too many people], it’s not a good law.
You “do” a law. You experiment. If people are badly hurt by it, “it’s not a good law”. Which isn’t to say you repeal it.
Then comes her most fatuous assertion. Of what you should and should not be allowed to do, she says:
Making these analyses is something the government has the resources to do.
What resources? A bevy of bureaucrats?
In the old days we used to blame people for acting imprudently, and say that since their bad choices were their own fault, they deserved to suffer the consequences. Now we see that these errors aren’t a function of bad character, but of our shared cognitive inheritance.
That is to say, human nature. But though she uses the word “our”, she and her fellow statists do not believe they are like the rest of us. They know that they know, as we cannot know, what our ends ought to be, and how best we can get there. And whether we like it or not, they’ll see that we do.
The proper reaction is not blame, but an impulse to help one another.
“Helping one another” is the nice lefty way of saying “interfering in other people’s lives”. “I know better than you what’s good for you”, is the fixed belief of Conly and her fellow busybodies. To which impertinence the right and time-honored retort is, “Mind your own business!”
Conly’s college, where she teaches the virtues of totalitarianism, is critically scrutinized by Bruce Bawer in an article at Front Page. He writes:
If you want to see ideological lockstep and rinse-and-repeat brainwashing in their very purest form, it’s best to look to the small, elite liberal-arts colleges – preferably those that are located out in the middle of nowhere or in adorable little college towns where the colleges themselves set the local tone.
Case in point: Bowdoin … founded in 1794 … located in Brunswick, Maine, has just under 1800 students …
All of whom apparently have a very high opinion of themselves just for having got there. Bruce Bawer quotes (from a recent report) a student saying:
“Our student body represents some of the most intelligent youth of the world. Bowdoin’s worst student is by far and away much more astute than the vast majority of humans.”
Bruce Bawer goes on:
Students are encouraged to see the college itself as … a small-scale model of the better, more progressive world they should strive to help establish after they graduate. …
At Bowdoin, as at other such colleges … identity-studies programs constitute no less than 18 percent of the curriculum. … [And] there’s a proliferation of student clubs based on group identity. Long lost is the idea that it should be an objective, when bringing together kids from a wide variety of backgrounds to be educated, to transcend such categories; on the contrary, the idea is to produce young adults for whom class, race, and gender labels are the very pillars of self-knowledge. …
Women’s studies, black studies, gay studies, transgender studies …
Bowdoin is not concerned with the inculcation of knowledge in its students, but with -
The inculcation of “knowingness” … [These are] ignorant students who have been trained to be smug and self-satisfied, to think that they’ve already got all the answers and that they themselves are the solution to the world’s problems. Why, after all, should they be eager to learn? Academic ideology has already answered all the important questions. Besides, it’s been made clear to them that there’s nothing in particular they need to learn. All of life is an elective. Course content is irrelevant; what matters is that you approach every topic with a reflexive, unquestioning belief in social construction, “social justice,” and “global citizenship.”
They are our betters, who will govern us tomorrow – if we let them.
Determined violent killers who cannot get guns will not refrain from killing; they’ll use less efficient weapons, such as knives or clubs, and so in all probability make the killing slower and more painful.
The answer to anti-gun fever is that it isn’t the gun that kills but the person who shoots with it.
Here the case is well argued by Daniel Greenfield writing at his website Sultan Knish:
Every day another one of the stories comes in. A teacher panicked by a plastic gun, an army man on a cupcake, a t-shirt, a pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun or a finger gun hits the panic button. Supensions and lectures quickly follow as the latest threat to the gun-free zone, usually in the form of a little boy, is tackled to the ground and lectured to within an inch of his life.
There are some very stupid people in charge of schools!
Tellingly these incidents rarely take place in the inner city schools where teenage gang members walk through metal detectors at the start of the day. The safety officers in those schools, big weary men with eyes that look everywhere at once, don’t waste their time on toys. Not unless those toys are full-size, painted black and filed down to look like real guns.
It’s usually the schools where a shooting is wholly unlikely; where gun violence is not a daily reality, but an unlikely convergence of horror, that institutional vigilance hits an irrational peak as every school imagines that it could be the next Columbine or the next Sandy Hook.
The NRA’s initial proposal of armed school guards was met with an irrational chorus of protests. More guns aren’t the answer, was the cry. And the leading crier was the White House’s expert skeet shooter. … The problem was not the man, it was the gun. Get rid of the guns and you stop the killing. Schools across the country are banning not [only] the gun, but the idea of the gun. It is a conceptual prohibition that is meant to push away the threat of gun violence by eliminating any mention of the G word. Gun-free zones mean places where guns cannot be mentioned, depicted or even symbolized as if the refusal to concede the existence of a firearm will eliminate the threat of it being used on the premises.
This isn’t a precautionary attitude, but a pacifist one. Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority. Rather than teaching children to hate killers, schools are instead teaching them to hate guns. And reducing murders to instruments rather than morals, children are left with no sense of right and wrong, only an instinctive horror of violence.
Pacifists have always demonized armies rather than invaders. … By dealing with the object rather than the subject, they are able to avoid the question of moral responsibility. Rather than hold the Nazis, Communists or Islamists accountable for their actions, they extended a blanket condemnation over the weapons-wielders. …
While the left likes to indulge in stereotypes of gun-toting rednecks and bomb-brandishing generals, the only people who judge the worth of a man by his weapon are the pacifists, the gun-fearers and gun-hiders who mythologize weapons as black agents of evil.
To believe that there is no such thing as constructive violence is to reject free will. Without accepting the necessity of constructive violence, there is no good and evil, only armed men and unarmed men. Without constructive violence, two boys playing cops and robbers in the schoolyard are not acting out a childish morality play, they are becoming desensitized to murder …
If there is no such thing as constructive violence, then the police officer is not the solution to crime, he is part of the cycle of violence. And if that cycle of violence does not begin with a man choosing to use a gun for good or evil, then it must begin with the gun. The man becomes the object and the gun becomes the subject. American ICBMs become just as bad as Russian ballistic missiles. An Israeli soldier killing a suicide bomber is just as bad as the terrorist. There are no good guys with guns. To have a gun is to be the bad guy.
For decades the gun-control lobby has brandished assault rifles at press conferences and spent more time describing their killing power than their manufacturers have. The rifle has been upgraded to the assault rifle and now, in the latest Orwellian vernacular used by the White House and the entire media pyramid beneath it, weapons of war. …
Shootings in America are not caused by guns, they are caused by crime. Guns really do not walk off store shelves and go on killing sprees. That’s what criminals are for. But the trouble with that discussion is that it takes us into moral territory. … We have to ask the difficult question of what does kill people.
It’s a bigger question than just Adam Lanza pulling the trigger in a classroom full of children. It is a big question that encompasses the Nazi gas chambers and the Soviet gulags, the Rape of Nanking and September 11. It is a question as big as all of human history.
Pacifists once used to be able to address such questions, but they have become obsessed with the technology of violence … ,[which] is largely beside the point. Guns do not motivate people to kill. …
Some of history’s worst massacres happened long before firearms became useful for more than scaring off peasants. The heavily armed Americans of the 50s had lower per capita murder rates than medieval London. It isn’t the gun that makes the killer. It’s not the hand that kills, but the mind.
The gun-free society has little interest in individuals. Its technocratic philosopher-kings want big and comprehensive solutions. Their answer to gun violence is to feed a horror of guns. Their answer to obesity is to ban sodas. Their solutions invariably miss the point by treating people like objects and objects like people.
In the Middle Ages, rats were put on trial for eating crops. Today we put guns on trial for killing people.
The left has tried to reduce people to economics, to class and then race, gender and sexual orientation. It has done its best to reduce people to the sum of their parts and then to tinker with those parts and it has failed badly. The best testimony of its … failure is that the worst pockets of gun violence are in urban areas that have been under the influence of their sociologists, urban planners, psychologists, social justice activists, community organizers and political rope-pullers for generations. And what have those areas brought forth except malaise, despair, blight and murder?
Banning guns will do as much for those areas as banning drugs did. …
The gun-control activists drew the wrong lesson from [the murder of children at Sandy Hook school in] Newtown as they drew the wrong lessons from WW2 and September 11. The lesson is not that weapons are bad, the lesson is that people in the grip of evil ideas are capable of unimaginable horrors regardless of the tools at their disposal. A single man can kill a classroom full of children with a gun and a few men can kill thousands with a few box cutters. It isn’t the tool that matters. It’s the man.
Unwishing the gun brings us back to the sword. Unwishing the sword brings us back to the spear. Unwishing the spear brings us back to the stone club. And what then? When every weapon that ever existed or will exist is undone, all that remains is the deadliest weapon of all. The mind of man.
The gun, the sword, the spear and the club took countless lives and saved countless lives. Civilization has always balanced on a future made possible by little boys playing cops and robbers and playing with little green army men. They can either grow up to be the protectors of the future or the frightened men who will stand aside and do nothing when they hear the screams begin to come because they have been told that all violence is evil.
Mr and Mrs Bill Ayers are terrorists. Once a terrorist, always a terrorist. Once a murderer, always a murderer.
The San Francisco Police Department Park Station bombing occurred on February 16, 1970, when a pipe bomb filled with shrapnel detonated on the ledge of a window at the San Francisco Police Department’s Golden Gate Park station. Brian V. McDonnell, a police sergeant, was fatally wounded in its blast. Robert Fogarty, another police officer, was severely wounded in his face and legs and was partially blinded. In addition, eight other police officers were wounded.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Investigators in the early ’70s said the bombing likely was the work of the Weather Underground …”
An investigation was reopened in 1999. A San Francisco grand jury looked into the incident, but no indictments followed.
In early 2009 conservative advocacy group America’s Survival Inc. advocated for a murder charge against Bill Ayers [founder/leader] of the Weather Underground. In connection with a press release, the group released a letter from the San Francisco Police Officers Association endorsing an earlier allegation by Larry Grathwohl, a former FBI informant within the Weather Underground, that “there are “irrefutable and compelling reasons” that establish that Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, are responsible for the bombing.”
The case has yet to be solved and remains an active case.
Also from Wikipedia:
In late 1975, the Weather Underground put out an issue of a magazine, Osawatamie, which carried an article by Dohrn, “Our Class Struggle”, described as a speech given to the organization’s cadres on September 2 of that year. In the article, Dohrn clearly stated support for communist ideology:
“We are building a communist organization to be part of the forces which build a revolutionary communist party to lead the working class to seize power and build socialism. [...] We must further the study of Marxism-Leninism within the WUO [Weather Underground Organization]. The struggle for Marxism-Leninism is the most significant development in our recent history. [...] We discovered thru our own experiences what revolutionaries all over the world have found — that Marxism-Leninism is the science of revolution, the revolutionary ideology of the working class, our guide to the struggle [...]”
According to a 1974 FBI study of the group, Dohrn’s article signaled a developing commitment to Marxism-Leninism that had not been clear in the group’s previous statements, despite trips to Cuba by some members of the group before and after Weather Underground was formed, and contact with Vietnamese communists there. [!]
While on the run from police, Dohrn married another Weatherman leader, Bill Ayers, with whom she has two children. … In the late 1970s, the Weatherman group split into two factions, the “May 19 Coalition” and the “Prairie Fire Collective”, with Dohrn and Ayers in the latter. The Prairie Fire Collective favored coming out of hiding, with members facing the criminal charges against them, while the May 19 Coalition continued in hiding. A decisive factor in Dohrn’s coming out of hiding were her concerns about her children.
The couple turned themselves in to authorities in 1980. While some charges relating to their activities with the Weathermen were dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct, Dohrn pled guilty to charges of aggravated battery and bail jumping, receiving probation.
After refusing to testify against ex-Weatherman Susan Rosenberg in an armed robbery case, she later served less than a year of jail time.
This is from an article by Mary Grabar at PJ Media today:
At a “fireside chat” that followed his speech to the Association of Teacher Educators on Sunday morning, February 17, Bill Ayers, co-founder of the terrorist group the Weathermen and retired “distinguished professor of education” from the University of Illinois at Chicago, expressed his gratitude that the Atlanta Hyatt Regency Hotel did not “buckle” and reveal to callers when and where he would be speaking during the conference. There were no protestors, and no visible police. Few would have guessed that Ayers’s speech would come at 9:45 on a Sunday morning. …
Education, in the real sense, is the least of Ayers’s concerns. …
Ayers’s real concern, and the concern of many in the educating educators industry, which trains and certifies future teachers, is turning classrooms into spaces for activism on behalf of what is called “social justice.” As they do this, they gloss over the violent past and revolutionary Marxist goals of its purveyors. Ayers has repeatedly called himself a communist with a small “c,” and the Weathermen were involved in several bombings. …
I read a report of his speech on February 26 at Minnesota State University, where he is to be scholar in residence. The news report said he spoke about “education reform,” but the quotations from his talk were the same as what I heard in Atlanta. Ayers quoted his mother: “’Education is God’s work.’” He also said, “’Education can shape your destiny, and can shape the destiny of a people,’” quoting his father (the wealthy and politically powerful chairman of Commonwealth Edison, Thomas Ayers of Chicago).
Ayers also re-used his observations from his visit to apartheid schools in South Africa. Among the pearls cast over and over in books, articles, and speeches was this one dutifully reported in the North Dakota paper: “every child should receive the same education in the U.S.” And this one: “’Every human being is entitled to an education that will develop the whole human personality.’”
No kidding. But where is the substance?
The answer, of course, is that there is none. Ayers attempts to subvert education and to turn students into foot soldiers for the Revolution. Teachers, he said in Atlanta, should teach “authenticity,” “initiative,” “courage,” and how to “engage in dialogue.” Ayers’s speech, like his books and articles, was a stream-of-consciousness pastiche of slogans, rallying cries, anecdotes, and loose references to poetry. …
“We are world-changers, one student at a time,” Ayers told his appreciative audience. “World-changers,” of course, have no time for such matters as measuring student academic achievement, adhering to standards, or ensuring that teachers are knowledgeable in their subject areas. In fact, Ayers considers testing and regularly scheduled class periods to be symptomatic of a prison-like system. For Ayers, education is “naturally cooperative.” He quipped, “The idea that education is competition makes what hair I have left curl.” Titles of panel sessions were in line: “Making the Most of History: Teaching Historical Empathy Across the Content Area,” “Encouraging Equity and Social Justice in a Diverse Society,” and “Cultivating Student Learning: Critical Elements for Enhancing a Global Community of Learners and Educators via Teacher Reflectivity.” …
The Association of Teacher Educators claims to be “devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education for both school and campus-based teacher educators.” Founded in 1920, ATE represents over 650 colleges and universities, 500 major school systems, and the majority of the state departments of education. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, it “represents its members’ interests before governmental agencies and educational organizations,” and has two voting seats on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
So bureaucrats, at both public and private institutions, issuing expense checks for $300-plus in registration and membership fees, plus airfare, hotel rooms, meals, and miscellaneous expenses no doubt justify such expenses under “professional development.”
In spite of the fancy accommodations and warm reception by the education establishment, Ayers told his admirers, “I have a history of being marginalized,” a reference to the controversial association with Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. (The project they worked on together, C, with its Ayers-designed radical curriculum, failed miserably to improve educational outcomes for intended beneficiaries, Chicago inner-city students.)
Still, Ayers presents himself as one of the beleaguered world-changers, teachers who have a “mind wrecking and bone crunching” task. But there is a moral satisfaction: If you want to do something “useful,” without making six figures, become a teacher, he said. Shortly before he retired, he, of course, was earning a base salary $126,000. Ayers also made frequent trips for speaking and “research” gigs, courtesy of Illinois taxpayers, as I learned from his records. He served on numerous dissertation committees, especially at Georgia Southern University.
Now in retirement, Ayers apparently enjoys a lifestyle that requires even less work than he had as a distinguished professor of education. (His syllabi indicated none of the traditional time-consuming assignments that we professors are used to, but instead “deep” in-class discussions and “reflective” projects.)
Ayers presents a curriculum of questions like “Who am I? What am I here for?” (verbatim). He promotes group work to address such questions. He suggested that education professors ask their students to clarify their own values by writing down three qualities they would bestow on all human beings. Students should work in small groups to come to agreement and then in a larger group to come to agreement. The goal? Learning respect for others and for self, and a “love for humanity.”
Teaching has turned into community organizing, I realized. Bill Ayers is the mentor. I learned at one panel that some schools now are 24-hour “community centers,” complete with dental care services. Teachers, who have no memory of the 1960s or 1970s (and thus of traditional education), are enjoined to go into the “community,” to teach students how to talk to parents, to be a “bridge,” to go to churches and neighborhood association meetings, and to visit students’ homes. The atmosphere was suffused with do-goodism that indicated an alarming violation of teacher-student boundaries, especially in the last session I attended, where two area public high school English teachers with formerly “undocumented” students, both girls, discussed how they used their classes for advocacy on behalf of illegal aliens.
The weekend was surreal. Ayers studiously avoided any references to his violent past, glossing over facts in his anecdote-filled speech. The North Dakota newspaper reporter described Ayers in the sanitized manner these educators would have used: as an “educational reform advocate and former anti-war activist.”
At the “fireside chat,” Ayers gave suggestions for “How to survive till the Revolution” with “anarchist calisthenics,” at any time during the day when an administrator is not looking over shoulders. …
It’s for the kids: “Every kid deserves to get a well-rested and well-paid teacher,” said Ayers. The way to pay for it has not changed since the 1960s, though: “close the Pentagon.”
He gave both his congratulations and sympathies to a doctoral student from Baylor University for being at a Baptist institution. Her academic field in education is — a direct quotation — “transformative citizenship.”
Ayers’s mentee Barack Obama is in the White House and going after the military.
Ayers is the “2013 College of Education and Human Services visiting scholar,” delivering the public address and meeting with several classes and discussing curriculum with faculty at Minnesota State University, Moorhead — with security, faculty salaries, overhead, and everything else state and federal taxpayers support to keep a public university going.
It was an education professor, Steve Grineski, who invited Ayers to come and spread his ideas to future teachers and other students.
Today, Ayers is a grandfather and a senior mentor to such professors and students. Who would have thought back in the 1970s, during his days as a fugitive from the law, that he would spend his golden years basking in such glow?
The trouble is that in an era that has a Barack Obama as President of the United States it is not unexpected at all, but highly expectable, that a terrorist who has learnt nothing with age and experience should be respected, honored, privileged, and handsomely paid to teach children that the very society which is treating him so generously must be transformed into a Communist … what? What would his word be? Paradise?
Rush Limbaugh weighed in recently on the Republicans’ on-going debate about what went wrong in November. Elaborating on his earlier comment that he was “[for the first time in my life] ashamed of America,” Limbaugh said, “The Left has beaten us. They have created far more low-information, unaware, uneducated people than we’ve been able to keep up with . . . He added that the Democrats “control the education system . . . pop culture, movies, TV and books” and use that control to create “dependency” among voters.
These are extracts from an article by Bruce Thornton at Front Page. He endorses Rush Limbaugh’s lament. Both of them seem to think that not only has the Left “beaten us” in the present (“us” being Republicans, conservatives, anti-socialists generally), but that the Left’s victory is probably irreversible:
Some may think this is a dog-bites-man observation, but it’s worth looking more closely at the most important item in Limbaugh’s list - the educational system. Everything else Limbaugh mentions is made possible because of the deep corruption in public education from kindergarten to university.
We often focus on the ideological biases of the university, where the more lunatic examples of political correctness get the most attention. But in education as in economics, there is a trickle-down effect. The grandees at the elite universities train the PhD’s who go on to second and third tier institutions, where they in turn train the students who get high school and grade school teaching credentials. They also write most of the textbooks that end up in K-12 classrooms. Thus the progressive ideology metastasizes throughout the educational system, determining the curriculum, the textbooks, and the point of view of the teachers. At that level the ideas may be garbled, half-baked, incoherent, and a collection of clichés and slogans. But they are still toxic and effective at transmitting a world-view to impressionable minds.
When my kids were in public school I witnessed this process over and over. Questionable leftist ideas I had to sit through in graduate seminars turned up regularly in my kids’ English and history courses and textbooks. In the Marxist interpretation of history, for example, traditional historical narratives reflect the “false consciousness” of capitalism’s academic publicists justifying and “mystifying” a history marked by oppression and atrocities in service to a dehumanizing capitalist ideology.
The founding of the United States, then, was not about things like freedom and inalienable rights, but instead reflected the economic interests and power of wealthy white property-owners. The civil war wasn’t about freeing the slaves or preserving the union, but about economic competition between the industrial north and the plantation south. The settling of the West was not an epic saga of hardships endured to create a civilization in a wilderness, but genocide of the Indians whose lands and resources were stolen to serve capitalist exploitation. Inherent in this sort of history were the assumptions of Marxist economic determinism and the primacy of material causes over the camouflage of ideals and principles.
In the 60’s this narrative was married to identity politics: the defining of ethnic minorities and Third World peoples on the basis of their status as victims of this capitalist hegemony and it imperialist and colonialist mechanisms, which justified the plundering, oppression, and exploitation of the non-white “others” with racist notions of their natural inferiority. Various strains of postmodernism added a cultural relativism that put out of bounds any judgments of a culture’s values, since all such standards reflect the economic needs of the dominant power. Soon feminism added women to the list of victims sacrificed to the white-male power structure. …
Generations of credential students have sat in these courses and then gone on to teach in high schools and grade schools, and to write the textbooks and curricula that propagate this ideology. The result is a student population ignorant of the basic facts of history, the vacuum filled with melodramas of victimization, racism, oppression, and violence that cast the United States as a global villain guilty of crimes against humanity. …
So too with the movies, books, television shows, and popular music Limbaugh identifies as vectors of this disease. They merely reflect what their creators absorbed in school and what their audiences have been programmed to uncritically accept as true. Having been schooled in the evil designs of oppressive, greedy corporations that abuse workers and rape the planet, these cultural consumers are natural audiences for the plots of movies and television shows that recycle these dull clichés. Having been taught the evils of free-market capitalism that enriches the few at the expense of the many, they are natural constituents of a class-envy politics demanding the rich “pay their fair share,” which is nothing more than property redistribution useful for creating a class of political clients dependent on the federal government. Having spent years being indoctrinated with romantic environmentalism and Disneyfied visions of nature, they are susceptible to an anti-carbon politics that retards development of American oil resources in the name of “protecting the planet” from an apocalyptic rise in global temperatures caused by human and corporate misbehavior, a notion that barely qualifies as a hypothesis, let alone a scientific fact. But how could most products of our dysfunctional educational system tell the difference?
No surprise, then, that last year Obama won the 18-44 demographic––46% of the electorate––by about 15 points. This is the age group that has spent its whole educational career in schools that fail at teaching fundamental skills and basic information, but succeed at transmitting the progressive ideology perfect for creating conformist dependents …
Thornton acknowledges that some children “escape this warping influence “, which, he says, “is a testimony to parents and independent-minded teachers who are careful to counter this ideology”.
He concludes with a reminder of the Jesuit educational maxim: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”. And he observes, “Today’s progressives get children until they are 18 and sometimes 21. That kind of influence is hard to match.”
And now the Obama gang want to start the indoctrination even earlier, with free pre-school education for all children.
Have Republican policy-makers thought about how to cure the Left’s corruption of the school and university curricula? Is any Republican leader or conservative organization likely to think about it? Is there a solution short of abolishing all state-financed and state-aided education (which Republicans are extremely unlikely ever to think of doing)?
If the answer to all those questions is no, then is Rush Limbaugh right that “we are beaten”?
Our hopes lie with the invincible liberating selfishness of human nature; with the “natural order of liberty” – which was Adam Smith’s phrase for what Marx called “capitalism”; and with the knowledge derived form both thinking and noting the history of the last hundred years that socialism cannot work so it will not work.
The Left’s victory – like the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia – may last as much as a few decades, to the extreme detriment of America, but it will fail eventually because its teachings are untrue, as all religious doctrines always are.
L is for Leftism … M is for Marxism and Misery … R is for Religion, Radicalism, and Revolution … S is for Superstition, Socialism, and Serfdom … T is for Tyranny …
But that is not what children are being taught.
The religion of the Left has many names: Collectivism, Statism, Socialism, Communism, Progressivism, Marxism …
It is inculcated into children from their infancy, just as the various Christianities, Islamic faiths, Judaisms, Hinduisms, Buddhisms are drummed into little heads.
Where the Left is in power, the inculcation begins in kindergarten. At least in California.
No separation of church and state there. The Left will not admit that it is itself a religion.
This is from Townhall, by Kyle Olson:
Is your three-year-old preschooler chanting “union power” these days? She might, if author Innosanto Nagara has his way.
Nagara wrote A is for Activist, a book supposedly geared for the children of the “99 percent.” In other words, a new vehicle has been developed for leftists to begin indoctrinating children.
“It’s pretty awesome to hear a three-year-old saying ‘union power,’” Nagara said …
But union power and student activism aren’t the only goals. Consider these other letters and how they are applied in the book:
B is for banner, as in a protest banner hanging off a construction crane
L is for LGBTQ, as in Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered and Queer
T is for Trans, as in transgendered
Z is for Zapatistas, as in Mexican revolutionary leftists
Heady stuff for preschoolers, but the indoctrinators believe the tikes are old enough to learn the basics of revolutionary thought.
Nagara’s A is for Activist has been heralded by the likes of Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, who said, “Many a thousand young activists bloom!”
“This is an amazing book for toddlers,” wrote Oakland teachers union activist Mary Prophet.
The Radical teachers group Rethinking Schools gave the book its hearty endorsement, offering it on its resources page.
“This beautifully illustrated alphabet reader brings a whole new vocabulary to board books,” the organizations wrote about the book. “For example, ‘Kings are fine for storytime/Knights are fun to play/But when people make decisions/we will choose the people’s way.’ As a spirited and humor-filled introduction to progressive values, A is for Activist is a book to grow on, and return to again and again for many years. It could also be used as a prompt for older students to create their own alphabet books with a conscience.”
One might ask how anyone with a conscience could even think about exposing little children to this sort of political garbage, or how any parents wouldallow it.
East Bay Express – an “alternative” Oakland news outlet – said the book is for “grooming your future activist.”
“Children’s entertainment comes with no shortage of messages: disobedient princesses learning to obey their parents; giant red dogs urging teamwork; purple dinosaurs imparting the wisdom of just being yourself,” the newspaper wrote. “But with a few exceptions, kids’ books, movies, and music highlight only a narrow range of voices and viewpoints. Most are an implicit endorsement of stratified wealth. … There’s an acute shortage of voices from queer folks and people of color. Many have outmoded gender norms.”
Who knew Barney [a purple dinosaur on a TV children's program] was endorsing the perpetuation of “stratified wealth”? …
There is a war on for the minds of our future leaders. And judging by Nagara’s book, they’re targeting children at younger and younger ages. …
As a parent, do you know what your student is learning?
“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is not so much a history, more a compendium of complaint. And (therefore) of every Leftist issue you could think of.
(We have written about Zinn before. See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)
The “People” in Zinn’s mind are a totally different species from the “fifty-five privileged white males whose class interest required a strong central government” and so wrote the Constitution and founded the Union. Those same fifty-five privileged white males of a species different from the People have continued to pursue their selfish material interests ever since at the expense of downtrodden masses. These masses, this vast victimized majority (he quotes Shelley at them: “Ye are many; they are few!”), consists of subordinated races, females, persons of minority sexual preferences (he doesn’t call them that), and people who would like to be rich but do not manage to become so (he doesn’t call them that).
Zinn milks pity from his readers (or tries to). He would have you feel bad if you are white, if you are male, if you are “privileged” (ie not poor), and if you are American; but implies over some 700 pages that you can redeem yourself from your badness if you will beat your breast frequently, cry ‘Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” every day of your life, and join with the complainers in bringing down those fifty-five imperial villains by becoming a violent radical socialist revolutionary or, more comfortably – well, he doesn’t say so in the book because it was published before the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged, but he would have said, by joining it.
Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.
John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.
Or to put it another way: indoctrinate students to believe that a much better society – even a perfect one – could be planned and is only not being planned because “corporate interests” (a euphemism for the fifty-five immortals who founded the USA) will not allow it.
A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.
If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book.
That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.
This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years.
Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?”
Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.”
Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. …
American schools today are … undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally.
Which reminds us of what happened to Rome when it took on Christianity, the first Mea Culpa creed in history.