Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
Posted by Tony Listi on August 1, 2010
Tyranny in democratic republics does not proceed in the same way, however. It ignores the body and goes straight for the soul. The master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free not to think as I do. You may keep your life, your property, and everything else. But from this day forth you shall be as a stranger among us. You will retain your civic privileges, but they will be of no use to you. For if you seek the votes of your fellow citizens, they will withhold them, and if you seek only their esteem, they will feign to refuse even that. You will remain among men, but you will forfeit your rights to humanity. When you approach your fellow creatures, they will shun you as one who is impure. And even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they, too, be shunned in turn. Go in peace, I will not take your life, but the life I leave you with is worse than death.
— Alexis de Tocqueville
A friend of mine drew my attention to a very important article written by Jeff Schafer at the Alliance Defense Fund. It’s entitled “Stigma and Dogma, Revisited.”
This article re-echoes something that De Tocqueville (quoted above) observed early on about the dangerous tendencies of democratic culture. Stigma and social pressure rule the day in a democracy.
Yet stigma and social pressure were what kept the U.S. conservative and free for so long, esp. with regard to our current social issues. In the early history of America, abortion and deviations from traditional marriage were so powerfully and thoroughly stigmatized that they were not political issues at all. Not so anymore.
Stigma is the expression of moral outrage. The article reminds me of one of the Leadership Institute’s Laws of the Public Policy Process: “Moral outrage is the most powerful motivating force in politics.”
If conservatives are to take the long-term view of changing the culture in order to win (as the left did over a century ago), we have to be willing to publicly engage in the Stigma War. Big govt., govt. coercion, govt. dependency, promiscuity, sexual perversity, infanticide, etc. must all become shameful, stigmatized things again. Conservatives have to be willing to publicly denounce these things as immoral and shameful.
Why do you think the left likes to engage in name-calling? Racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, etc. All these epithets are intended to stigmatize conservative views, whether the labels rationally apply or not. And they’ve done a pretty good job of it.
When people evaluate candidates or policies, it is moral factors that determine their choices; it is the elements of shame and guilt that convince people to be politically active and to hold certain political views with intensity.
We need not lose hope completely that the world is doomed to irrationality though. Feelings of guilt, shame, and moral outrage do not spring up spontaneously or irrationally; they are rooted in certain rational, though often false, paradigms and faith systems. The problem with the left is not that they aren’t rational; they are, assuming their faith-based assumptions to be true. It’s the fundamental assumptions about the nature of reality, human nature, and justice that separate us from them. (And these false assumption are inculcated into Americans through the cultural institutions of primary schools, academia, arts & entertainment, churches, and the media.)
We need to bring the reasons for our political faith and assumptions to the surface in the most clear, concise, direct, impactful, and thought-provoking ways possible. And this is where the necessity of activism comes in. And good activism is based on good organizational preparation beforehand that gathers the people and resources to make activism effective.
Moreover, activism should be directed not merely at challenging current leftist stigmas and dogmas but toward recapturing the cultural institutions mentioned above that inculcate these false stigmas and dogmas into American youth (and older).
Posted in Abortion, American Culture, American History, Culture War, Democracy, Education, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Marriage, Moral Philosophy, Political Activism, Political Philosophy, Political Psychoanalysis, Race, Racism, and Affirmative Action, Student Activism, Written by Me | Tagged: conservative, culture, diversity, failure, guilt, leftist, moral, outrage, political correctness, politics, pressure, public, shame, stigma, success, war, win | 1 Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on February 28, 2010
Conservatives of all ages tend to be very short-sighted and ineffective when it comes to political warfare. They put all their energy into electoral and legislative battles but largely ignore the crucial Culture War that CampusReform.org fights daily.
When things get bad politically, conservatives volunteer and work for campaigns, for political parties, and for already elected officials. And when they win an election or legislative battle, they rejoice and go back to their normal lives…until the other side starts winning the elections and policy battles again.
But a battle here or there in itself is meaningless. Who is winning the war? The left is.
Why? Because despite the Reagan Revolution and the consequent short-lived ascendance of the Republican Party, the overall trend in public policy has been toward more government control of the economy and more government-pushed erosion of traditional moral values.
How did this happen? Conservatives have allowed the left to largely dominate the key cultural institutions that shape and determine political outcomes: schools, arts & entertainment industry, churches, and the media.
Create a leftist electorate and leftists will get elected. Simple as that.
While conservatives thought they were turning the tide in the 80s, 90s, and first half of the 00s, leftists had a better long-term strategy, steadily increasing their control over American culture, especially youth culture. All of a sudden, young people helped Barack Obama get elected, not just with their votes but also with the favorable image and winning psychology they provided him.
But which cultural institutions should be a priority for conservatives? The leftist monopoly on the media has been broken. FOX News, talk radio, and the internet have seen to that. Conservatives still do better than leftists among the church-going crowd because of the pro-life and pro-marriage factions of the conservative movement that Reagan and George W. Bush brought on board. But the left has made some gains over time, deceiving many Christians into believing that government can be compassionate and charitable.
But neither the churches nor the media has as great an influence on young Americans as do our schools and the arts & entertainment industry. Teachers unions, liberal professors, Hollywood airheads, musical blowhards, and misguided entertainers promote Big Government and immoral lifestyles among the young.
We shouldn’t have to wait and hope for sincerely misguided young liberals to grow up to become conservatives. If we take these institutions seriously and meet the challenge of reclaiming them, there will be more cradle-to-grave conservatives and more effective, intense conservative activists generation after generation.
Why are young people crucial to long-term political success?
- It will take generations to undo what the left has inflicted on us over several generations.
- They are future candidates, campaign staffers, campaign donors, activists, teachers, professors, artists, actors, musicians, priests, pastors, pundits, and journalists.
- They can recruit and persuade their peers to join and be active in the conservative movement.
- The young today become the electorate that decides tomorrow’s elections.
- They will have children who eventually join the Culture War and the electorate that decides future elections.
Therefore, the most important policy endeavors conservatives can undertake lie in the realm of education, at both the primary and college level.
The left has understood this and is patient, fighting the daily battles always with the long-term cultural objective in mind. If conservatives want their principles to win, they will follow suit, giving priority of time and resources to supporting student activists!
Here’s what you can do to join the ranks in the broader war for the hearts and minds of American youth:
- Support the mission of CampusReform.org by getting active in or creating a conservative student group on your campus!
- Support CampusReform.org financially! Help fund political training for young conservatives!
- Tell all your like-minded friends about CampusReform.org! Spread the word about the crucial importance of youth politics!
- Make school choice for parents a top legislative priority in your state!
Posted in American Culture, American History, Art and Creativity, Culture War, Education, Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Hollywood and the Film Industry, Political Activism, Student Activism, The Media, Old and New, Written by Me | Tagged: 2010, academia, activism, activists, arts, campaign, churches, cultural, culture, Culture War, Education, effective, election, electoral, entertainment, institution, leisure, media, November, parental choice, policy, political, politics, school choice, schools, student, success, victory, vouchers, young, youth | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on September 14, 2008
On August 24, Professor Kimberly Nichele Brown gave a most inappropriate speech at the Freshman Convocation that disparaged A&M and its founders:
[W]ho would have ever thought that Texas A&M would have a Hispanic female president? Not its founding fathers, that’s for sure.
According the the convocation website, the purpose of Freshman Convocation is “formally welcoming students to the beginning of their academic career at Texas A&M University.” It is supposed to “provide students with the opportunity to begin their college career in the same, significant, positive manner in which they end their college career.” Welcome to Texas A&M, a university with a horrible past! What a great way to welcome freshmen in a positive manner!
Apparently, a lack of the protein melanin in her teachers inhibited Professor Brown from learning:
Keep in mind that I didn’t have a course that focused on blacks until I went to college, which means that my entire education up to that point was predicated on my ability to decipher knowledge from people who looked nothing like me.
Oh no! Those enigmatic white people! Why won’t they get a tan so I can learn a little better?!
A little less than halfway through the speech she couldn’t help but bring up slavery and “keloided scars“. What the heck does slavery have to do with welcoming freshmen to campus?!
She went on to talk about liberal internationalist gobbledygook:
And if you learn only one humanistic lesson in college, let it be how to become a good global citizen.
Last time I checked there wasn’t a global state in which all human beings participate as citizens (thank God!). Why do liberal professors insist on teaching students things that are contrary to the obvious?
Apparently, in true Marxist fashion, Professor Brown longs for a return to the turbulent and violent college campuses of the 60s and 70s:
While there have been several events in recent history that might cause students to feel disenfranchised, I often suggest to them that one of the reasons for their disaffection might be their lack of exposure to the history of student protest in this country and abroad.
And last but certainly not least, she made a veiled accusation of racism against former students:
Texas A&M graduates are often ranked high for their loyalty, but low in their acceptance and awareness of cultural diversity.
Sorry, but not all cultures are created equal. Cultural relativism is a pernicious sham.
Many parents have already expressed their outrage over Brown’s speech and hopefully more will continue to do so.
Read the full text of the speech for yourself.
Posted in Education, Government and Politics, Race, Racism, and Affirmative Action, Texas A&M, Written by Me | Tagged: freshman convocation, freshmen, inappropriate, Kimberly Nichele Brown, leftist, liberal, Marxist, professor, racism, racist, relativism, slavery, Texas A&M, welcome | 6 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008
Dr. Ken Miller, a Roman Catholic professor of biology at Brown University, examines Intelligent Design as a political phenomenon and addresses two of its key objections: the paucity of intermediate organisms in the fossil record and, more importantly, Michael Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity. He takes these scientific objections to evolution seriously and then scientifically refutes them with specific examples. He does not dismiss such objections merely as “religious” and then end the discussion.
This video of his lecture has changed my view of the ID movement and my thinking on the science behind evolution. I’m more inclined to think evolution is a sound theory now.
It has not changed my belief that science should not be funded by the government nor that there is a hostile, secular, aggressively anti-religious bias within much of the scientific establishment and academia in general.
I am not a creationist and the Christian faith does not compel belief in creationism as literalist Protestants define it.
The natural process of evolution need not contradict the existence of God and his Providence. Thus, neither does it preclude the existence of morality. I mean, what would it say about morality if we really believed a material, natural process could influence its validity at all? That is what liberalism/secularism believes. Creationists make a dangerous misstep since their logic implies this too. Though evolution has certainly been used to justify horrible crimes, so has religion. And we should reject the flawed logic of such criminals that misuse both science and religion.
I am a big fan of Dinesh D’Souza’s biblical argument in defense of evolution:
“We read in Genesis 2:7 that ‘the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.’ Right away we notice something different: the Bible says that the universe was created out of nothing but it does not say that man was created out of nothing. Rather, it says that man was made or shaped from the existing substance of nature. ‘Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return.’ So the Bible is quite consistent with the idea that man is made up of atoms and molecules and shares the same DNA found in earthworms, whales, and monkeys.
It is true, however, that the creation account in Genesis does not prepare us for the discovery that man has about 98 percent of his DNA in common with apes. In his Descent of Man, Darwin writes that ‘man…still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.’ Our resistance to this is not religious; it is because we sense a significant chasm between ourselves and chimpanzees. Of course Darwin is not saying that man is descended from chimpanzees, only that apes and man are descended from a common ancestor. Whatever the merits of this theory, there is no reason to reject it purely on biblical grounds. Christians since medieval times have agreed with Aristotle that man is an animal–a ‘rational animal,’ but still an animal.
What makes man different, according to the Bible, is that God breathed an immaterial soul into him. Thus there is no theological problem in viewing the bodily frame of man as derived from other creatures. The Bible stresses God’s resolution, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Christians have always understood God as a spiritual rather than a material being. Consequently if man is created in the ‘likeness’ of God, the resemblance is clearly not physical. When Jared Diamond in his book The Third Chimpanzee refers to humans as ‘little more than glorified chimpanzees,’ he is unwittingly making a Christian point. We may have common ancestors with the animals, but we are glorified animals.”
Posted in Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Education, Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Science and Politics, Science and Religion, Uncategorized, Written by Me | Tagged: biblical defense of evolution, creationism, D'Souza, Dover, Edwards, evolution, fossil record, intelligent design, intermediate organisms, irreducible complexity, Ken Miller, Michael Behe, politics, religion, science | 8 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on June 11, 2008
I have a confession to make: In my darkest, most morbid, and most cynical moods, I’ve always thought abortion might actually be good for the country.
Just think about it. A large majority of children eventually adopt the political leanings of their parents. Therefore, if liberals keep aborting their offspring, the American voting population should eventually become more conservative. The discrepancy in birthrate between liberals and conservatives would eventually tip in favor of conservatives. The very policies of liberalism would ensure its own extinction, haha! You would think liberals of all people would take Darwin and natural selection more seriously, lol! Liberals would reap the what they sow. It would be justice.
Of course, that is not how it really happens. Though liberals don’t have children (or relatively few), they do have access to the children of conservatives and moderates. Liberals use the public education system as a means to indoctrinate the children of others in liberal ideology. Those children then grow up to lead their own children astray in a vicious cycle. What liberals lose through abortion, they more than compensate for through government-monopolized education. How clever of them! They don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting of caring for and raising a child, they demand the children be brought to them by law (truancy laws), and then they get paid (always demanding more) for corrupting the youth and future of America. How perverse. (And of course, kids are then primed and ready for leftist university professors.)
This is why the Left, including communism and fascism, has always shown great concern for children: it must find a way to sustain itself in future generations. Like a virus, it uses children as a host to merely replicate itself, destroying the host in the process. For liberals, children are a means to an end, which is to perpetuate their own ideology and secure sympathetic voting blocs.
Parental choice of which school their children go to is critical to breaking down this systematic liberal indoctrination. Not only will it create better students, but it will also create better citizens, citizens who in the long run may vote more conservatively and thus elect conservatives. Ultimately, future elections will be won or lost in the battlegrounds of the classroom, education boards, and state legislatures.
Posted in Abortion, American Culture, Culture War, Education, Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics | Tagged: Abortion, children, elections, government monopoly, indoctrination, Liberalism, parental choice, public education, public school, school choice, school vouchers, teacher salaries, truancy laws, voting, voting bloc, win elections | 6 Comments »
Posted by Tony Listi on May 16, 2008
Conservatives are not opposed to learning about other countries and cultures around the world. There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Americans need to be aware of the diversity of beliefs around the world and what their implications are for international relations. In fact, such knowledge can increase the peace and prosperity of the US.
However, international awareness can easily devolve into cultural relativism, a form of moral relativism. And this is what conservatives vehemently oppose. In an atmosphere of multiculturalism, mere knowledge often devolves into mindless, politically correct, approval and appreciation of morally inferior elements of certain cultures.
Moreover, though, conservatives believe that younger generations of Americans hardly have any knowledge of their own heritage. Young people do not learn about and understand the value of Western civilization that has been passed down to us from Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian traditions. They do not understand the ideas and reasoning that went into the Founding of America. SO, with this in mind, why should young people be traveling abroad and studying other cultures when they don’t even understand their own cultural heritage?
The American, ignorant of his own heritage and the reasoning behind it, is unable to think critically about other cultures. And this inability will lead to confusion and error. And such confusion and error will weaken the US and the values and beliefs that have made it great.
I’d like to end with this very interest commentary on international travel by G.K. Chesterton:
“I have never managed to lose my old conviction that travel narrows the mind. At least a man must make a double effort of moral humility and imaginative energy to prevent it from narrowing his mind. Indeed there is something touching and even tragic about the thought of the thoughtless tourist, who might have stayed at home loving Laplanders, embracing Chinamen, and clasping Patagonians to his heart in Hampstead or Surbiton, but for his blind and suicidal impulse to go and see what they looked like. This is not meant for nonsense; still less is it meant for the silliest sort of nonsense, which is cynicism. The human bond that he feels at home is not an illusion. On the contrary, it is rather an inner reality. Man is inside all men. In a real sense any man may be inside any men. But to travel is to leave the inside and draw dangerously near the outside. So long as he thought of men in the abstract, like naked toiling figures in some classic frieze, merely as those who labor and love their children and die, he was thinking the fundamental truth about them. By going to look at their unfamiliar manners and customs he is inviting them to disguise themselves in fantastic masks and costumes. Many modern internationalists talk as if men of different nationalities had only to meet and mix and understand each other. In reality that is the moment of supreme danger-the moment when they meet. We might shiver, as at the old euphemism by which a meeting meant a duel.
Travel ought to combine amusement with instruction; but most travelers are so much amused that they refuse to be instructed. I do not blame them for being amused; it is perfectly natural to be amused at a Dutchman for being Dutch or a Chinaman for being Chinese. Where they are wrong is that they take their own amusement seriously. They base on it their serious ideas of international instruction. It was said that the Englishman takes his pleasures sadly; and the pleasure of despising foreigners is one which he takes most sadly of all. He comes to scoff and does not remain to pray, but rather to excommunicate. Hence in international relations there is far too little laughing, and far too much sneering. But I believe that there is a better way which largely consists of laughter; a form of friendship between nations which is actually founded on differences.”
Posted in American Culture, Education, Government and Politics, Texas A&M, Uncategorized, Written by Me | Tagged: American heritage, conservative, conservative approach, cultural relativism, cultural sensitivity, diversity, heritage, international awareness, international relations, moral relativism, multiculturalism, PC, political correctness, politically correct, study abroad, travel abroad | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Tony Listi on March 25, 2008
This is outrageous. Why is it that communists, fascists, and liberals “care” so much for “the children”? Because this is the only way to control and indoctrinate them. They want to separate children from their parents. (Apparently, government “cares” more for children than their own parents!) They want the government to determine/transform American culture rather than the free market of ideas. They want a government education monopoly that fails our children rather than a free market of competition that produces a better quality product (that might even raise teachers salaries naturally according the value society places on education).
Or, to borrow the Left’s vocabulary, they are just so prejudiced and intolerant of parents and the home school community! Parentism! Home schoolism! Where are the civil rights leaders?? ACLU, where are you? Home schoolers are now an oppressed minority!…. Hypocrites….
March 22, 2008; Page A24
In the annals of judicial imperialism, we have arrived at a strange new chapter. A California court ruled this month that parents cannot “home school” their children without government certification. No teaching credential, no teaching. Parents “do not have a constitutional right to home school their children,” wrote California appellate Justice Walter Croskey.
The 166,000 families in the state that now choose to educate their children at home must be stunned. But at least one political lobby likes the ruling. “We’re happy,” the California Teachers Association’s Lloyd Porter told the San Francisco Chronicle. He says the union believes all students should be taught only by “credentialed” teachers, who will in due course belong to unions.
California law requires children between six and 18 to attend a full-time day school. Failure to comply means falling afoul of the state’s truancy laws, which say kids can’t play hooky without an excuse. But kids who are taught at home are less likely to be truants. Their parents choose to spend their time teaching English, math and science precisely because they don’t think the public schools do a good enough job.
The case was initiated by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services after a home-schooled child reportedly complained of physical abuse by his father. A lawyer assigned to two of the family’s eight children invoked the truancy law to get the children enrolled in a public school and away from their parents. So a single case of parental abuse is being used to promote the registration of all parents who crack a book for their kids. If this strikes some readers as a tad East German, we know how you feel.
That so many families turn to home schooling is a market solution to a market failure — namely the dismal performance of the local education monopoly. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the majority of states have low to moderate levels of regulation for home schools, an environment that has allowed the option to flourish, especially in the South and Western U.S. Between 1999 and 2003, the rate of home-schooling increased by 29%.
For some parents, the motive for home schooling is religious; others want to protect their kids from gangs and drugs. But the most-cited reason is to ensure a good education. Home-schooled students are routinely high performers on standardized academic tests, beating their public school peers on average by as much as 30 percentile points, regardless of subject. They perform well on tests like the SAT — and colleges actively recruit them both for their high scores and the diversity they bring to campus.
In 1994, a federal attempt to require certification of parent-teachers went down in flames as hundreds of thousands of calls lit up phone banks on Capitol Hill. The movement has since only grown larger and better organized, now conservatively estimated at well over a million nationwide. But what they can’t accomplish legislatively, unions are now trying to achieve by diktat from the courts.
If John McCain wants an issue to endear him to cultural conservatives, this would be it. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rarely stray from the preferences of the teachers unions, but we’d like to know whether they really favor the certification of parents who dare to believe they know best how to teach their children.
Posted in Education, Government and Politics, Supreme Court and Federal Judiciary | Tagged: America's schools, American education system, California, Education, education system, fascism, federal judiciary, home school, judicial activism, judicial fascism, judicial imperialism, judicial tyranny, public school system, public schools | 1 Comment »