Monday, October 22, 2007

IFA Week

This week has been declared Islamo-Fascism Awareness week on many college campuses across the country. Despite the efforts of Muslims and leftists to prevent or curtail it many college students will have their eyes opened by speakers and films to exactly what the Islamists have in mind for us and our children. A glimpse of that glorious future can be had here.

If ever these people have their way it will be the end of civilization. Don't watch the video with children present, but by all means watch it, especially if you're a woman. It's important that we understand the nature of the people who seek to spread their religion across the globe.


PC Mindlessness

Readers who harbor an abiding disdain for political correctness and the "white guilt," as Shelby Steele dubs it in his excellent book of that title, often spawned by it, will find nothing in the e-mail below that would elicit doubt as to whether their disdain is merited.

The writer is replying to an old Viewpoint post titled Dunderhead Watch, and the story she relates tells us much about at least one of the schools our children attend:

This article [Dunderhead Watch] hit home because I had a "Dunderhead" experience of my own when my oldest son, who is now 26, was in the sixth grade. At that time I worked as a teaching assistant for the school district in the school where this happened. One morning I came to work to find a note from my son's principal to come to the office. When I arrived at the office I was asked to sit down and wait for him to call me in. I have to say that I felt like I myself was back in school again! Once I got over my surprise of being called to the office, I looked around the room and saw another set of parents waiting. They looked a little angry and I wondered what had happened.

It didn't take long to find out ... A few moments later, my son and a black female classmate of his also came into the office. I was to find out that she was the daughter of the other parents who were also sitting in the office. Once inside the principal's office, he began yelling at me saying "do you know what your son called this girl (I honestly forget her name)? I said no, what? I was clueless. He called her a (the N word). He used the full term, but I dislike it so much I refuse to use it. He went on to say "Where do you think he has heard this before?"

Quite honestly I was in shock because neither my husband, my parents, his parents or anyone else that we were close to used that word. I am not trying to be naïve, but we just didn't. It was not in our vocabulary. Due to my shock at what he had just said, I was not able to speak so the principal went on to say "Do you know that these parents can sue you and your husband for what he said" and so on and so on. It was unbelievable!

After I finally got over my shock, I looked at my son and asked "Mike, where did you hear that word". By then he was crying, but very quietly said "we have been reading Tom Sawyer in class and that is where I heard it. I called her that after she called me White Honky Trash".

You could have heard a pin drop in the office. The other parents asked their daughter if she had called my son that and she said yes. They could not have been any nicer once the truth came out. We both apologized for what we felt was a poor way to use an educational tool by both of our children and then left.

The principal could not have apologized enough to me, but at that time I just said thank you and left to go back to work and sent my son to class. After a few days, once I had my thoughts together, I went to visit the principal. I told him that I felt that he had used terrible judgment in how he had handled the entire situation. First of all, I felt like I had been ambushed. Why had he not spoken to me and let me know why I had been called in? I was totally unprepared and apparently the other parents knew what had happened to land them in the principal's office.

I also did not appreciate how it had affected my son. He was scared to death to be called to the principal's office because not only had he been called to the office for the first time in his life, but he then had to face some very angry parents and hear how his Mom and Dad were going to be sued over something he had done!

I felt better after I spoke my mind, but to be honest I lost quite a bit of respect for the principal. That is difficult not only because I was an employee, but he was the principal of my son's school which is supposed to be what I always believed was an esteemed position and one that you hope employs someone who knows how to not only make smart quick decisions, but rational ones.

There was one other aspect of this. I had to handle this is in a very cautious way with my son around. Even though I felt one way about the man, I had to be careful about what I said to my son about it. He had to continue school there and I had another child who would also be attending in the next year. I wanted them both to still hold respect for the person who was the head of their school.

I will tell you that it was a lesson on learning that there are unfortunately "Dunderheads" out there in positions that teach, and you have to be very aware of who they are. Let's just say I was not as naïve after that experience as I once was and that was a good thing.

I don't blame the girls' parents for taking the matter to the school administration, given what they knew at the time, but of all the ways this situation could have been handled it's hard to imagine one which would have been more maladroit than the way it was handled. The principal, rather than seizing the opportunity to teach the boy that some words are hurtful and inappropriate and to teach him the virtues of apology, sought instead, I suspect, to ingratiate himself with the girls' parents by showing them that whatever some white people are like, he himself is completely pure on the matter of race and that he isn't going to tolerate any budding young skinheads and their parents in his school. It's a textbook example of what Steele talks about in White Guilt.

I wonder if the principal, having heard the little girl admit to her racial insult, lectured the girl's parents the same way he lectured the boy's mom, and I wonder if he told them that they could be sued. Probably not. Maybe he was angling at the time for a job at Duke.


Political Skepticism

In response to a post last week titled Truth Matters my friend Byron e-mails to ask me why I seem skeptical of the intentions of those on the political left. It's a good question since I am indeed skeptical of the short-term aims and long-term goals of some, perhaps most, of those in Congress, the media and the blogosphere who tend to position themselves along the portside rail of the ship of state. Here's By's query. My slightly amended reply to it follows:

The only reason I take the time to keep this little sidebar conversation going is to ask why you are so singularly cynical and skeptical of the motives and ulterior motives of the Dems? Wait, on second thought, I am not sure I want to hear why.

Too late to change your mind. Here's the root of my concern, By. Today's liberal leaders wish to move the country to the left in several ways which I think are truly harmful. They want to secularize the nation, lower or erase standards of sexual morality, define deviancy down, and socialize the economy, including health care. They also wish to emasculate American power and influence around the world and restrict individual freedom here at home. They long to banish distinctions of class and values and level everyone to the lowest common denominator. They see each of these as a desideratum, but they realize that the general public, were they aware of this agenda, would not stand for it, so they seek to implement it gradually, hoping that, like the frog in the pot, the public won't notice the rising temperature.

You might say that this is true, perhaps, of Marxists, but that it's not true of liberals. As someone once said, however, Marxists and liberals are traveling along the same road. The only difference between them is that Marxists are in more of a hurry.

People of the secular left tend to share in common the desire to push the boundaries of culture, society, the economy, foreign policy, etc., ever leftward, and there's no endpoint to the push. If there were then progressives would have to change their name to conservatives when the endpoint was reached. No matter how much change we undergo as a society it will never be enough to slake the progressive's thirst for more.

Along the way traditional institutions like marriage are undermined, and education, especially in the humanities, is diluted and debased. People who have strong family attachments are not good raw material for the progressive project nor are people who have some historical understanding of the founding principles of this nation or the major lineaments of world civilization. As I said, the march leftward is a slow trudge that takes generations to complete, and I don't mean to give the impression that it's a conscious conspiracy or that all liberals are on board for the journey - some no doubt oppose it - but the overall ebb and flow of the American culture war has been relentlessly leftward for the last 100 years.

The best way to stop this march to the cliff, perhaps, is to first recognize its manifestations and to then hold it up to the light of day. The more people see what's happening the better chance there is of heading it off.

None of this is to say that there is nothing good about liberalism. I've talked about this with you on occasion and explained that I think liberals are often much more attuned to human problems than are conservatives. Liberals also provoke conservatives to question assumptions and convictions they hold which may be indefensible. But the problem with liberalism is that their solutions to our problems - more government control, higher taxes, more spending, a weaker military, a libertarian socio-cultural milieu, a radically secular public square - are all, in my mind, dangerously wrong-headed.

So, when I see intelligent government officials and others doing and saying things that prima facie make no sense, and which would appear to people whose opinions and thoughtfulness I respect to have deleterious consequences for our nation or society, I have to wonder whether there is some reason they are saying and doing these things other than the reason they give. What is it, exactly, that they're trying to gain by doing what they do?

Anyway, even though you didn't want to hear it, that's why I'm skeptical of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid et al. They're the pawns and front men for people even more radical than themselves, and what they have in mind for my children and grandchildren is not what I hope for them.