Time to ditch modern universities

If Universities no longer actually educate, but have become institutions of “academic narcissism,” why are we still paying to attend them or send our kids there?  Places of indoctrination, lacking in critical thinking, aren’t exactly a good deal for the thousands people pay them.  University no longer equals place of higher learning.  These places are long overdue for being abandoned and replaced.

If you need another reason to ditch the contemporary college model, then there’s this type of student behavior, most recently demonstrated at Evergreen College but rampant on many (if not most) college campuses.

Students said they were protesting institutional racism.

A group of protesters sent the following statement in a news release to The Olympian last week: “What started out as anti-black comments on social media has turned into the dismissal of the rights of students and femmes of color, physical violence by police, and false sentencing of students protesting. Black trans disabled students are actively being sought out and confronted by campus police constantly, police are refusing to explain their actions and harassment. Students will not stand for this anymore, as students of color have never felt comfortable on campus and have not been treated equally.”

Tensions reached a new high after the public airing of an email exchange between school employees over a planned Day of Absence event.

The Day of Absence, based on a play by the same name, dates back to the 1970s at Evergreen. The day is part of two days of race and equity-related events, and in previous years minority students voluntarily left for an off-campus discussion.

This year that event was swapped: White students were asked to leave and minority students remained on campus. But the event had space for 200 students – only a fraction of the roughly 4,800 overall student body, Powers said.

Rashida Love, director of the First People’s Multicultural Advising Services program, sent an email asking for some white students to volunteer not to be on campus for the event, to leave the college more open for students of color, Powers said.

Professor Bret Weinstein then sent back an email saying that asking white students to stay off campus is an “act of oppression in and of itself,” the Journal reported.

Some students have since protested Weinstein, calling him racist and asking the administration to fire him.

The protesters’ statement is so over the top it makes me wonder if it’s for real: “Black trans disabled students are actively being sought out and confronted by campus police constantly.”  For real?  People get trolled and made fun of with stuff like this.  Did these dumb students really say that in all seriousness?!

Of course the professor that objected to their asking all white students to leave for the day is being called a racist.

Definitely time to seek education elsewhere.

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Tigers = White Supremacy

LSU is the latest example of college insanity.  A petition is currently circulating to ban and change the sports team name and mascot, Tigers, because it is a symbol of “White Supremacy.”  Wait?  Isn’t it ok to shout about “black power!” and revere the Black Panthers?  Why not the White Power Tigers?

According to the author of the petition—a user going by the name “LaMallori LSU”—the nickname was chosen by “powerful white males” as an homage to the Confederate “Louisiana Tigers” regiment, whose members “were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battle field [sic].”

“It is incredibly insulting for any African American to have to attend to a school that honors Confederate militantism,” the petition declares. “It is already hard enough to be black at LSU, and these symbols must be changed.”

Almost as an afterthought, the author adds that “it’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people” who have “never been in a cage!”

It concludes by quoting Dr. Charles Coates, an LSU administrator from 1893-1939, who explained the origin of the Tigers mascot in a 1937 alumni newsletter.

Describing the school’s initial foray into college football in 1895, Coates does in fact directly attribute the team’s name to the state’s Civil War heritage, noting that he found it appropriate because the original Louisiana Tigers were known for “getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently.”

Moreover, Coates recounted, the selection fit in with the contemporary custom of naming football teams after “vicious animals,” such as the Yale Bulldogs and the Princeton Tigers.

The petition presents this account as indisputable evidence that the mascot had racist undertones from the very beginning, labeling it a “symbol of white oppression” that must be eliminated.

“We must speak truth to power, and continue to march toward justice,” it declares. “That day is coming, the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down.”

Yep. They want to destroy every symbol of “white oppression” in the country.  Good luck with that.  You’re gonna have to start destroying pretty much everything built by whites. And all those Europeans who founded our country?  Wipe them from the history books too and change the names on everything named after them (goodbye, Washington DC you rotten symbol of white oppression; hello, M. L. Kingstown).  Time to reprint all the money too.  Heck, even the Lincoln Memorial has to go because President Lincoln was actually rather racist in his views on blacks.

And while we’re at it, can we please just change all the names of all the sports teams in the US, everything from Little League to the Pros?  They’re all offensive and violent and white (either that or they’re culturally appropriating things like “Redskins”).  How about things like “the Butterflies” or “the Puppies” or “the Kittens?”  Oops, that’ll probably offend PETA or the environmentalists.  Oh, well, we’re just going to have to abolish sports entirely.  But that’ll put a lot of blacks out of work – no biggie they can just go on welfare like the rest.  But…

Once you start down this road of offense-taking insanity there is no end.

Good Books for Civilizational Greatness

Coming from a family with a long history of loving books and valuing true education (not necessarily having anything to do with “school”), I found this essay by William Edmund Fahey interesting.  He writes about great and good books and the effect and importance they have on culture and education:

Our own disorders spring from so much neglect of the real soil of culture: the widely shared canon of good literature and the widely affirmed understanding that there must be goodness in literature, and that such literature should be read aloud within families and by each and every person who dares call himself civilized—before, during, and after their formal education.  Goodness is the soil of greatness.

I do not mean by goodness in literature and good literature that all characters should be plaster statues without depth or real complexity.  No, I mean literature which elicits a clear understanding of what is true, good, and beautiful, because what is light is seen nearby to what is dark.  Enchantment will not work in an imbalanced world of goody-goody mannequins.  The enchantment offered by good literature works because those reading or listening to a tale already know first-hand that life is complex.  We need go no further than Squirrel Nutkin to understand how this very real balance is achieved even in a children’s literature.  Nutkin is, at once, morally flawed and attractive.  No one who encounters Squirrel Nutkin—even one of five years—can fail to miss his conceit, fail to anticipate his demise, or fail to recognize his own fallenness in the impertinent will-to-power of Nutkin.

I will go so far as to say that a reader who has not had his experience nurtured and refined by the likes of Squirrel Nutkin is unlikely to comprehend Thucydides, St. Augustine, or Nietzsche.

Do the Great Books Sustain Wonder and Lead to Morality?

Over the last century, “great books” programs and colleges have fought a valiant battle to keep up the high standard of what it means to be human and civilized.  Sadly, most of the progenitors of these programs neglected or gave little time to thinking about the supporting culture—especially as it touched upon family life and social customs.  Worse still, some of the “great books” proponents thought that by rubbing up against Milton’s Areopagita, or joining in a seminar discussion of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, leaders would be born who would create, leaven, and sustain a good society.  Somehow the idea has held steady for decades that an almost sacred encounter with great literature between the ages of 17 and 22 could transcend a hollow and malnourished family life, where little song was heard and none sung.

Yet the great books demand a supporting culture—both before and after and throughout.

Would we place our trust in a man who was well-versed in Nichomachus’s Introduction to Arithmetic or Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, but who could not complete a line of nursery rhyme, who had never slept under the stars with Jim Hawkins, never wanted to rescue the likes of Princess Flavia, never shrunk in horror at the witches of Macbeth, never wept at the death of a bull dog named Jack or sorrowed over the sins of Kristen Lavransdatter?  The one thing a liberal arts or great books education will not do is create a moral imagination where there is none.  Yet somehow many educators believe that reading advanced works and chatting about them will lead to a good society.  It may lead to a well-read society, but that need not be a good one or a happy one.

Fahey goes on to quote John Senior’s article, “The Thousand Good Books:”

The “Great Books” movement of the last generation has not failed so much as fizzled, not because of any defect in the books—“the best that has been thought and said,” in Matthew Arnold’s phrase—but like good champagne in plastic bottles they went flat.  To change the figure, the seeds are good but the cultural soil has been depleted; the seminal ideas of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, only properly grow in an imaginative ground saturated with fables, fairy tales, stories, rhymes, adventures, which have developed into the thousand books of Grimm, Andersen, Stevenson, Dickens, Scott, Dumas and the rest. Western tradition, taking all that was best of the Greco-Roman world into herself has given us the thousand good books as a preparation for the great ones and for all the studies in the arts and sciences, without which such studies are inhumane.

Read the rest here, including a list of recommended good books for different ages to read.

(The list looks interesting and makes me feel not nearly well-read enough!)

How to appease racial tensions

America, ask yourself: do we a) wipe out all reminder of our history that involved the evil of slavery or b) re-instate segregation because that will better support the rights of blacks in our Nation?

Answer: Let’s do both!

Most recently in New Orleans, but happening elsewhere in the country, SJWs are working tirelessly to remove all vestiges of history that remind us the USA’s time as a Slavery Supporting Evil Nation by tearing down Civil War monuments and renaming buildings and institutions.  I can hear their motto now: Destroying our history to preserve our future.  Lauren Southern talks about just this in The Destruction of History.

But not all blacks think this is such a great thing.  Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was recently interviewed by Fox and one of the hosts Brian Kilmeade asked her:

“I want to talk about where your book starts, and that’s our constitution […] As an African-American woman, do you see yourself in this constitution?

Do you think that, when we look at nine of our first twelve presidents as slave owners, should we start taking their statues down and say, we’re embarrassed by you?”

Rice didn’t think so:

“I am a firm believer in ‘keep your history before you.’ So I don’t actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners. I want us to have to look at those names, and realize what they did, and be able to tell our kids what they did and for them to have a sense of their own history.”

Rice, currently a Senior Fellow at the Stanford School of Business, said, “When you start wiping out your history; sanitizing your history to make you feel better? It’s a bad thing.”

She then took a quick trip through the constitution as it relates to blacks in America.

Noting that her ancestors were originally counted as three-fifths of a man, how her father faced trouble in 1952 trying to register to vote in Birmingham, Alabama, and how, in 2005, she stood in the Ben Franklin Room of the State Department and was administered an oath of office by “a Jewish woman Supreme Court justice, that’s the story of America,” she said.

Rice said George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other slave owners were “people of their times.” “What we should celebrate is that from the Jeffersons and the Washingtons as slave owners,” she added, “look at where we are now.”

At Harvard, however, they’re working to turn back the clock.  Blacks are leading the way to segregate themselves, so I guess it’s ok this time.  And I’m impressed that these Harvard students raised the money to pay for this, instead of demanding it from Harvard, but it’s seems like a waste of money.

Harvard University will be holding a special separate graduation ceremony this year for black graduate students, with plans to expand the new tradition to include black undergraduate students.

The special ceremony and subsequent reception will feature some 125 black students, who raised upwards of $27,000 themselves to cover the ceremony and party, The College Fix reported. It is worth noting that these students will also be taking part in the regular Harvard graduation ceremony for all students…

“This is an opportunity to celebrate Harvard’s black excellence and black brilliance,” said Michael Huggins, soon to graduate with a master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. “It’s an event where we can see each other and our parents and family can see us as a collective, whole group. A community.”

“This is not about segregation,” Huggins added. “It’s about fellowship and building a community. This is a chance to reaffirm for each other that we enter the work world with a network of supporters standing with us. We are all partners.”

Except that graduation ceremonies already provided a venue where parents, family and friends could celebrate the achievement and take note of the “network of supporters” without regard to race, color or creed…

The Root reported that black student college graduation rates across the country averaged 44 percent in 2011, yet the graduation rate for black students at Harvard approached 96 percent, far higher than the national average and seemingly indicative of there not really being a problem with black students being unable to achieve success at the school.

Not so fast though, as student Courtney Woods, soon to hold a master’s degree in education policy and management, explained: “Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students. There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonization at Harvard, which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders. This is a history that we are reclaiming.”

If a group of students wants to raise $27,000 to have their own private graduation ceremony/party, more power to them, I guess.  But why?!  And how does excluding other races not just keep racism going?

But maybe they’re on to something.  Come on white people, let’s start holding our own private functions just for whites!  Oh, wait?  That’s racism and not allowed?  Even if we pay for it ourselves?

Liberal logic goes something like this:

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More Racial Insanity

Apparently, we should believe that black college students in California are terribly oppressed. Black students at UC Santa Cruz took over an Administrative building and planned to stay put, no matter what, until their demands were met.  What were those demands, you ask?  Oh, only that a particular dorm on campus (that is already named for Rosa Parks and “African-American themed”) be set aside for black students.  It’s like they’re demanding segregation all over again.  There were a couple other things too, making 4 demands total.  Here they are courtesy of a local station:

1) “Similar to EOP students and International students’ housing guarantees, we demand that ALL African Black Caribbean identified students have a 4 year housing guarantee to live in the Rosa Parks African American Themed House. Guaranteeing this would provide a viable living option to all (Afrikan/Black/Caribbean) identified students regardless of housing status and college affiliation. We demand a written agreement by the opening of housing applications in April 2017.”

2) “We demand the university remove the beds and release the Rosa Parks African Themed House lounge so it can serve its original purpose. We demand the lounge be returned by Fall 2017.”

3) “We demand that the university fund the ENTIRE exterior of the Rosa Parks African American Themed House being painted Pan-Afrikan colors (Red, green, and black) by the start of Spring quarter 2017. These Pan Afrikan colors represent Black liberation, and represent our diaspora, and the goals of our people.”

4) “We demand that all new incoming students from 2017-2018 school year forward (first years and transfers) go through a mandatory in-person diversity competency training in the event that the online module is not implemented by JUNE 2017. We demand that the training be reviewed and approved by A/BSA board every two years. We demand that every incoming student complete this training by their first day of class.”

As Tucker Carlson predicted when he interviewed one of the protest leaders, the University caved to all of the demands.  Ah, the things kids learn in college these days. Throw a fit and you get what you want (as long as you’re not white).

A Few Spots of Hope

The GOP might be mostly worthless (and possibly traitorous), but we have had a few hopeful developments this week.

Trump Reins in Federal Role in Education, Common Core

President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order doing something unprecedented: establishing as the official policy of the federal government to “protect and preserve State and local control over” our nation’s education system.

You can watch the press conference and official signing of the document online.

President Trump’s executive order also directs U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to review every single regulation, guidance document, or other publication from the U.S. Department of Education to see whether any of them violate laws limiting the federal role in education. The order specifically directs the secretary of education to “rescind or revise” any such regulations or guidance documents “no later than 300 days’ from yesterday…

In recognizing the primacy of these laws [No Child Left Behind & Every Student Succeeds Act], President Trump’s executive order is unique. Past presidents—from both political parties—have often used such directives to increase federal control over various aspects of society, including education. Whenever the federal government increases its role in education, children suffer, as bureaucrats far removed from parents, teachers, and locally elected school boards exert their will over how our students are educated.

The order also singles out the “Common Core State Standards developed under the Common Core State Standards Initiative” as one specific area where state and local control over education has been attacked.

Executive Order Recognizes Religious Freedom

After an eight-year war on faith, President Trump finally called a ceasefire on the conflict started by Barack Obama with an executive order on religious freedom. The measure, which was celebrated in a signing ceremony at the White House, was the fulfillment of one of the most significant promises made by the longshot candidate: “to preserve and protect our religious liberty.” …

Among other things, the directive checks another big box on the White House’s to-do list — lifting the gag order on churches and other nonprofits under the Johnson Amendment. Since the first days of his candidacy, Donald Trump has railed against the 60-year-old piece of tax code that liberals have turned into a club to punish pastors with. For too long, the Left has used the IRS to threaten the charitable status of churches who dared to speak out on the moral issues of the day…

Medical professionals, charities, businesses, and even nuns who’ve suffered under the outrageous mandate of Obamacare will finally have the relief they need to say no to insurance coverage that violates their conscience. After years of court battles, they’ll be free from regulatory harassment of including contraception and abortifacients in their health care plans. But that’s not all the order does. It sets in place a multi-step process that will provide some long-overdue protections by directing the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop guidelines for every federal agency to ensure they protect and promote religious freedom. This includes members of our military, who, under the Obama administration, have been systematically silenced and even purged. Men and women like Chaplain Wes Modder (U.S. Navy-Ret.) and Monifa Sterling, who stared down the ends of their careers for their deeply-held beliefs, can finally come out of hiding and live out their faith openly.

Finally, for our friends like Barronelle Stutzman and Don Vander Boon, who’ve suffered for their biblical views on marriage, there’s hope. As President Trump said, “No American should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith,” President Trump told those of us gathered in the Rose Garden for today’s ceremony. “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore,” the president said. “We will never ever stand for religious discrimination.”

And finally one that might not pan out, but here’s hoping…

Republicans Back Pact to Gut Obamacare

By a 217-213 vote, the House advanced the mission the Americans elected them for — defunding the nation’s biggest abortion group and gutting an unsustainable and unconscionable law. Despite almost three months of drama, the GOP managed to pull together a coalition that put the American Health Care Act (AHCA) over the top, fulfilling a major pledge the president’s party has campaigned on since 2010… House leaders have struck a compromise that lowers premiums, boosts freedom, and protects taxpayers and the unborn.

Today’s win was a long time coming for pro-lifers, who watched with revulsion every David Daleiden video detailing the horrors of Cecile Richards’s group. For once, the moral injustice done to taxpayers has a voice: Congress’s. There was the usual phony panic from Planned Parenthood, which insisted that if Congress didn’t send them their usual half-billion taxpayer dollars, women’s health care would cease to exist. (What they didn’t mention is that the money would be redirected to thousands of local health clinics — which, incidentally, haven’t been referred for criminal prosecution.) Not surprisingly, they’ve called the effort to defund their organization a “national scandal.” But honestly, the only real scandal is that America has been funding the group as long as it has!

Let’s hope the Senate follows quickly in the House’s footsteps and sends the AHCA to the desk of the pro-life president we’ve been waiting for. It’s time for Donald Trump to make history and bring our nation closer to the day when all human life is protected under law.

 

Education and the Benedict Option

Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option has received a good deal of commentary recently.   Certainly we are living in post-Christian times.  This review makes me more interested in reading it.

In Fearing Dreher: Why the Benedict Option Scares Christians, Thomas Ascik writes:

But it is most interesting that Mr. Dreher barely talks about the curriculum of public elementary and secondary schools. He emphasizes, instead, the peer culture of the school environment. Christian parents may try very hard, but everything can be undone by “the toxic peer culture” of public schools. In addition, the parents themselves may neither understand nor be capable of resisting. The effects are pervasive. Mr. Dreher quotes communications to him from parents of children in public schools who describe the startling number of public-school students who have come to believe that that they are transgender or bisexual. In the bluntest statement of his whole book, and one aimed directly at Christian parents, Mr. Dreher asserts that “two or three hours of religious education weekly is unlikely to counteract the forty or more hours spent in school or school-related programming.” The conclusion: Christian parents should remove their children from public schools.

A senior in a large public high school located in a major western city recently told this reviewer that he did not know any Christians at his school. Now, since there are obviously students there who are Christians, that means that the Christian students never identify themselves as Christians nor say or do anything identifiably Christian. Plainly, those students think that a public school is not an environment where it is appropriate or even permissible to be an open Christian. So, we may ask, if you never express who you really are, aren’t you inevitably changing who you really are?

***

In order to combine Christian education with an education in the liberal learning of Western civilization, Mr. Dreher endorses the classical Christian school movement and gives both Catholic and Evangelical examples. If such schools are too expensive or not available, the alternative is to homeschool.

I couldn’t agree more that the public schools in our country are a disaster and the best thing you could do for your kids is to keep them out.  Here are a couple recent examples of the sort of negative influences in school he’s talking about.

A Florida teacher demanded her 9th grade student remove a cross necklace that she was wearing.  The teacher’s room is full of LGBT posters and rainbows.  She’s allowed to proselytize the kids, but the kids can’t even wear a symbol of their faith?  Although the girl obeyed the teacher’s demand at the time, she and her parents aren’t taking this without a fight:

Together with her attorneys, this brave ninth grader is asking for the right to express her faith, which is already guaranteed to her by the Constitution. Students should never have to check their beliefs at the school house door — or anywhere else for that matter.

Emily Zinos writes “A ‘transgender’ kindergartner registered at my kids’ school. That’s when the madness began.”  She goes on to describe what happened in her school district: the school’s attempts at accommodation, the “trans” kid’s parents suing anyway, school sponsored meetings telling the rest of the parents they had to comply and when these parents funded a meeting to counterpoint the school’s presentation, “Well over a hundred local pro-LGBTQ protesters came to the presentation, prompting the local police to send a sergeant and two patrolling squads as protection.”  Because tolerance, folks!

The rest of Ms. Zinos’ article is interesting, especially that a group of feminists has joined the fight against transgender activism because of common ground of ensuring the rights of biological women.  Here is her conclusion about what’s happening in the schools:

institutionalizing gender ideology will require that schools ignore the evidence that it causes real harm to children. You can’t extol the virtues of gender ideology and question its soundness at the same time. By celebrating transgenderism as a valid identity, schools are promoting a body-mind disconnect that may very well bring on the gender dysphoric state they were attempting to prevent. And when the widely accepted “affirmative” medical treatments of gender dysphoria in children are both poorly studied and glaringly injurious, we have nothing to celebrate.

We’re building a school-to-gender-clinic pipeline that will feed this new pediatric specialty with young patients. There are now more than thirty gender clinics specializing in youth across the United States, and the young patients who are under their care are often given bone-destroying puberty blockers at eleven, potentially sterilized with cross-sex hormones at sixteen, and permanently mutilated by plastic surgery soon after that.

Make no mistake, schools that endorse and celebrate transgenderism as valid are endorsing child abuse.

Given examples like those (and those are only two, only the tip of the ice berg where trans-issues are but one problem among many), I’d say Dreher isn’t wrong about the state of education in America.  He also opines that most of the American colleges may be beyond saving – unless they are replaced by truer places of secondary learning.  What about his other ideas?

Mr. Dreher, who visited the Benedictine monastery at Nursia, Italy, in preparing his book, holds that the Rule is a “manual of practices, and its precepts simple and “plain enough to be adapted by lay Christians for their own use.” He derives eight main principles from the Rule and states why each would literally be a godsend for Christians in the modern, secular world. Against the disorder and loss of tradition of the modern world, the first principle is that it is order—ordered daily life, rather than today’s randomness—that sets the stage for “internal order.”

The second is prayer. “Prayer is the life of the soul,” Mr. Dreher quotes a Benedictine monk, and time must be set aside for it. The monastic emphasis on regular, daily prayer is the precisely needed antidote to the maniacal busyness of the contemporary world. Echoing the standard understanding of the role of prayer in Christian life, Mr. Dreher suggests that “if we spend all our time in activity, even when that activity serves Christ, and neglect prayer and contemplation, we put our faith in danger.”

Third, against the intellectualizing of everything today, Benedict’s Rule understands that the involvement of the body in manual labor is an essential part of human work. Again, Christians today, having been forced out of some of the professions, may have to resort to more labor by hand, Mr. Dreher concludes.

Fourth, contrary to the supreme modern principle of satisfying one’s own desires, “relearning asceticism—that is, how to suffer for the faith—is critical training for Christians living in the world today and the world of the near future.”

Fifth, even that most monastic principle of stability—that is, staying in one place—has some relevance to lay Christians, for what is the overall benefit of our constant mobility?

Sixth is community, the human architecture of a monastery, but also of a family, a neighborhood, a city, a society, and a polity. We readers might add to Mr. Dreher’s analysis the observation that we now increasingly live without a sense of shared life, without a “collective consciousness,” as Emile Durkheim put it. We are “free, equal, and independent,” but, pace John Locke, we are alone.

Seventh, contrary to Mr. Dreher’s critics and to a true understanding of the Rule, hospitality is a daily duty not only of monastic life but also of lay Christian life. Pilgrims and visitors are to “be received like Christ.” But hospitality, like all the virtues, must be practiced with prudence and according to the other principles of the Rule. A visitor cannot disturb or disrupt the community.

Mr. Dreher adds an eighth principle—balance, partly derived from the Benedictines but also from his own reflection and observation. By being too strict, some Christian communities have fallen apart or become “cultlike.” On the other hand, since abandonment to the will of God is the goal, Christian communities cannot be based on “spiritual mediocrity.”