29 August 2016

Education is NOT Rocket Science


Even though the "experts" in Big Education would like for you to believe it is. Why? 3 *reasons, primarily:
  1. Control
  2. Job security
  3. They've been brainwashed into believing it is. Why? See #'s 1 and 2.
A recent article at The Imaginative Conservative explains why education is not rocket science. So simple, yet so profound, which is why homeschooling is so amazingly successful:
One of my favorite professors in graduate school grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Saskatchewan, back in the days when a wheat farmer would spend long hours behind the plow. He told us that his grandfather’s neighbor spent those hazy hours sometimes reciting Milton’s Paradise Lost.  He had gotten it by heart. Notice what great difference there is between the phrases “learning by rote” and “getting something by heart”? You cannot do such a thing without considerable intelligence and love.
This is, in part, why the Founders of our nation were so much wiser and intelligent than most moderns, elites and members of academia are today. The agrarian lifestyle gave them a perspective (and time to contemplate it) that most moderns simply do not comprehend. It is also why the Founders are under attack by their inferiors in academia. They're jealous. Agrarian or not, the same method of learning is, of course, still available - if you can cut through all the PC idiocy and nonsense coming from the "experts."

And this . . .
Read good books to the children, have them read them also to you, and have them read them on their own. . . . The Good Books are food for a wholesome imagination. They are well-written. They introduce young people to characters they will never forget. They soar beyond easy cynicism or nihilism. They soar beyond the sweaty halls of politics. They may well have villains in them, there may be warfare, but there will not be the creepy relish for bloodshed—no itch for the base, the sick, the bizarre, the filthy, the evil. No girly vampires.
And this one will drive the moderns and elitists up the wall . . .
Find textbooks written before 1950—grammar, history, even geography. Then surround young people with beauty and goodness. It is not like going to the moon. It is like looking up at the stars. But will your students be ambushed by the detestable standardized tests? Do not fear. Do not let the confidence men and elixir salesmen fool you. Homeschoolers regularly take those tests apart . . .
And finally, this gem . . .
The superintendent has no clothes. The commissars of the Common Core have no clothes. The developers of curricula have no clothes. They are all a great big herd of balding and belly-sagging naked people, swaggering and blustering and ordering everybody around. 
You may read the rest here. The piece is authored by Anthony Esolen who teaches Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College. 

*Once again, to be clear, I'm speaking in broad terms and realize there are still many teachers who do not buy into all the PC garbage and control freak aspects of what we're seeing among many other educators. I do believe, however, that the problems are prevalent and it's an uphill battle.

27 August 2016

Should New York Change Its Name?

After all, "New York" is named after James II of England (the Duke of York). And, as Wikipedia notes:
The Royal African Company was a mercantile company set up by the Stuart family and London merchants to trade along the west coast of Africa. It was led by James, Duke of York, Charles II's brother. Its original purpose was to exploit the gold fields up the Gambia River identified by Prince Rupert during the Interregnum, and it was set up once Charles II gained the English throne in the Restoration of 1660. However, it was soon engaged in the slave trade as well as with other commodities.
And this . . .
In the 1680s the Company was transporting about 5,000 slaves a year across the Atlantic. Many were branded with the letters 'DY', for its Governor, the Duke of York, who succeeded his brother on the throne in 1685, becoming King James II. Other slaves were branded with the company's initials, RAC, on their chests.
Between 1672 and 1689, the Company transported 90,000 to 100,000 slaves.
I am quite confident that since several Civil War bloggers and historians moral reformers were so delighted to see Vanderbilt take steps to begin the process of sandblasting a building (which is on the National Register of Historic places), they will no doubt now turn their focus to a target just as deserving of cleansing: everything named "New York."

26 August 2016

Hit & Run: Free Speech in Academia . . .

is limited to 2 minutes per week. Aren't we all glad that PC is just a figment of our imagination? LOL, you just can't make this stuff up.
A public university in Louisiana has a speech code that permits students to express their beliefs freely for two hours per week at three predetermined locations.
How gracious of them.

Source.

25 August 2016

Homeschooling: When Will The "Experts" Concede They've Lost the Argument?

 Homeschooling, Westmoreland Homesteads, Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, 1936
Business Insider:
Recent data collected by the Department of Education reveals homeschooling has grown by 61.8% over the last 10 years to the point where two million kids — 4% of the total youth population — now learn from the comfort of their own home.
Contrary to the belief that homeschooling produces anti-social outcasts, the truth is that some of the most high-achieving, well-adjusted students are poring over math problems at their kitchen table, not a desk in a classroom. According to leading pedagogical research, at-home instruction may just be the most relevant, responsible, and effective way to educate children in the 21st century.
Yes; and contrary to the control freaks in much of the public (and some private) education business. I understand their fear - besides the elitist notion that "we know best", paid educators are also concerned about protecting their turf. That's a natural reaction, but not one that has the *best interests of the child at heart.

And BI gets this right as well:
The biggest stereotype surrounding homeschooling is that constant one-on-one teaching deprives kids of the socialization they need to thrive. Not so. Homeschooled kids are just as likely to play soccer and do group projects as any other students.
We've had that discussion here before

Click here to read the BI piece.

And another recent piece points out that African-American families are increasingly joining the homeschooling movement as well. African-American public school teacher turned homeschooling Mom Nikita Bush, was recently quoted in the Christian Science Monitor as saying:
“people are starting to realize that public education in America was designed for the masses of poor, and its intent has been to trap poor people into being workers and servants. If you don’t want that for your children, then you look for something else,” she says. To her, the biggest flaw in public education is a lack of character education, an "absence of a moral binding," that contributes to low expectations – and lower outcomes for children of color.
The CSM piece adds:
The reasons black parents cite for home-schooling their children cover a wide range. Some sound similar to the  homeschooling movement as a whole: religious beliefs, a desire to shelter children from an increasingly crass or materialistic society, a conviction that they are best-suited to teach their kids the values they need to live a fulfilling life.
You can read the interesting CSM piece here.

I will add that we are currently in the infant stages of a similar movement when it comes to college education as well - and for many of the same reasons. What many have referred to as the democratization of education is making much of this possible. Technology has reshaped how we learn much more than some realize. Regardless, the dinosaurs in academia and government schools who continue to advocate a centralized, top-down approach to education will stubbornly fight on to protect their turf. They are fighting for their own relevance.


But the genie is out of the bottle. Parents are taking back control of the education of their children from the "experts." The failure of the bloated education industry, with its misdirected priorities, will be the reason for its own demise. 

*As always, I acknowledge that there are dedicated teachers in public and private education that do have the best interests of their students at heart. Those teachers have my appreciation and prayers. But that does not change the facts of the education establishment and its failures in general.

24 August 2016

The Politics of Our Military

A new poll shows that members of the U.S. military overwhelmingly support presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump over Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Given the traditionally conservative makeup of the military, this is not really surprising. Though I have to believe that Trump's anti-interventionist, "America first" positions have to be rather attractive to soldiers who have been in a perpetual war since 2001.

Source

And in related news, the Military Times just profiled Trump's new campaign manager (and Breitbart News's Executive Chairman), Stephen K. Bannon referring to the the former Naval Officer (and fellow Virginian) as "a pretty extraordinary guy."
“When he was on the [Naval operations] staff, he attended, at night, Georgetown University, studying international affairs, and he got a master's degree there,” Masso said. “This guy was amazing. How many people have a busy, 12-hour job at the Pentagon and then go to Georgetown University at night? To me, that says a lot about this guy.” 
More here.

And Wikipedia notes the following:
Speaking about his role at Breitbart, Bannon said: "We think of ourselves as virulently anti-establishment, particularly 'anti-' the permanent political class." Bannon's daughter, Maureen, is a West Point graduate and, as of October 2015, a lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division. 
Stephen Bannon also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard. I can already hear the gnashing of teeth. It's music to my ears.

23 August 2016

It's A Divisive Flag

Update: And a wise mother responds:
This is the dumbest thing I have ever read and I am so ashamed of this. . . .
Not only is this anti-patriotism, but it's especially stupid due to the fact that anyone has the right in America to not stand or place their hand over their heart for the Pledge of Allegiance anyway, as it is our right to freedom of speech ... since when did we need a permission slip for this? I feel like the permission slip is more of an attempt to push the anti-patriotism agenda than anything. it's pretty pathetic.
We (Americans) would never be able to go into other countries and change their laws or traditions. Why are we allowing others to do it to us? I Just don't get it! This is a mad world....really, sign a paper to exclude your child from the pledge of allegiance? I guess I am from a totally different generation. I am proud to be an American....it is the best country but some are trying to do away with our history and customs....it's disturbing. [Emphasis mine.]
"We" are not "allowing" it. Elitists and globalists in academia, government and the media who hate America's founding are pushing it. As a matter of fact, they're cramming it down our throats. 

Source

End of update.


No, not that one.

Yes, it's true (as I predicted when the anti-Confederate feeding frenzy began). The low hanging fruit no longer satisfies the perpetually offended . . .
A Florida school district is inviting parents to excuse their children from reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Of course, this could be interpreted a number of ways (as we'll soon see), but the impetus and motivation hails from the same PC mindset. American tradition and heritage must go. All of it.

More here.

22 August 2016

You Think You Know the Southern Conservative Mind


But you don't and it's oh so obvious. You are little more than, as the book of James describes frauds, one who "boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain." What is simultaneously puzzling, depressing and delightful to me is that you are so blinded by your arrogance.

With all this in mind, I came across an interesting essay about Russell Kirk this morning. Though not a Southerner, Kirk often identified with the Southern conservative mind. He found in Southern agrarianism, a kindred spirit. A recent essay reveals a few of Kirk's idiosyncrasies.
As to his eccentricities, these are legion: from his walking across much of North Africa during 1963, being pursued by (especially) Bedouin children, fascinated with his three-piece tweed suit and felt hat, armed with a cane (hiding a sword) and a typewriter.
In the 1970s, he threw a TV out the third floor of house, and in the 1980s, he threw rock albums into the fire when he found his daughters in possession of such cultural depravities!
In politics, he usually identified first with personality, second with ideas and political alignment. He equally admired (though, to varying degrees) Robert Taft, Malcolm X, Norman Thomas, Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Ronald Reagan, and Pat Buchanan.
In 1973, when radical and well-armed Lakota Indians took over the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973, holding at bay the FBI, Kirk couldn’t decide whether it would be worth risking jail time to aid the Sioux and those helping the Sioux or not.
And, as is well known, Russell and Annette gave indefinitely long shelter to the homeless, to pregnant women, and to refugees from around the world. Kirk’s daughters never quite knew who might be at breakfast on any given morning: there might be any number of persons from Ethiopia, Vietnam, or Eastern Europe.
And, as a side note, he also planted thousands of trees, calling it penance for the European rapacious attitude toward North America. “I am best content when planting little trees,” he wrote in 1963, “To plant a tree, in our age when the expectation of change commonly seems greater than the expectation of continuity, is an act of faith. Also it is an act of historical penance, restoring the fairness of the land.”
And, on Progressive FDR's internment of Japanese-Americans:
We have indeed become a government of men and not of laws. Without legislation–without even a presidential–or dictatorial–proclamation, the army and the bureaucracy can force hundreds of thousands of citizens into the desert west of the Sierras, without even compensation. We must crush that Hitlerian tyranny which commits such atrocious crimes as deporting Polish Jews into Eastern Poland.
On the treatment of the American Indian:
In America, nothing so heinous had occurred since the progressives of the federal government had stolen Indian children from their parents to reeducate them in schools in the eastern part of the United States. Sadly, such an American tradition of theft of property and destruction of families had its roots as far back as Andrew Jackson’s presidency. All of it horrified Kirk who had no time for prejudices dealing with the accidents of birth. 
Note that progressives in the federal government  are still attempting to steal "children from their parents to reeducate them in schools" and they use the same "logic": "We know better (and are better) than you."

And one of my favorite Kirk observations, which so aptly describes much of academia these days:
When the liberals speak of liberties, he continued, they really mean “friendliness toward the rights of collectivists” and “absolute freedom for ‘liberals’ of their own kind.” 
And Kirk on "total war" brought to us by Lincoln, Sherman, et al:
With our successful conclusion to the Second World War, Kirk feared, America had embraced a new world of total war, becoming no better than the totalitarian societies of the world. If a just god or gods exist, the skeptical Kirk feared, he or they would make America pay for its crimes against humanity. Such a fear, it should be noted, on this 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, was shared by Robert E. Lee, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, and U.S. Grant, each assuming God would punish us for our atrocities committed during the Mexican American War of 1846-1848.
Kirk on "progressive education":
Depressed, Kirk found even the World War II victory celebrations offensive.  On August 17, Kirk walked through the streets of normally-conservative Salt Lake City to find “a raucous, disgusting mob of juvenile delinquents, halting automobiles, badgering policemen, and mauling girls.”  Lacking courage or, perhaps, morality, the crowd pretended not to notice or simply laughed it off.  “It was a most interesting commentary on the benefits of progressive education,” Kirk decided.
And, finally, Kirk on the essence and meaning of life in the mind of the "enlightened conservative":
The enlightened conservative does not believe that the end or aim of life is competition; or success; or enjoyment; or longevity; or power; or possessions. He believes, instead, that the object of life is Love. . . . He understands that Death, when we have finished the part that was assigned to us, is the reward of Love. He apprehends the truth that the greatest happiness ever granted to a man is the privilege of being happy in the hour of his death.

Men are put into this world, he realizes, to struggle, to suffer, to contend against the evil that is in their neighbors and in themselves, and to aspire toward the triumph of Love. They are put into this world to live like men, and to die like men. He seeks to preserve a society which allows men to attain manhood, rather than keeping them within bonds of perpetual childhood.
You can read the complete essay here.

17 August 2016

Vanderbilt's Priorities


By now most readers are likely aware that Vanderbilt University will spend (at least) $1.2 million dollars to "remove the word 'Confederate' from the school’s Confederate Memorial Hall." 

Talk about obsession and misdirected priorities. Wow. I have to assume the cost will actually be much higher. I believe the $1.2 million is just the money that will be reimbursed (including interest) to the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the university choosing to weasel out of its contractual obligation. You would also have to add the cost of the school's legal fees, as well as the cost to sandblast/remove "Confederate" from the building. Cultural cleansing ain't cheap.

I could not help but contemplate the absolute anti-Confederate obsession of progressives, not to mention the other uses that this money could have been used for, i.e. scholarships, etc. Its absolutely stunning.

One Civil War blogger snidely commented, "I look forward to seeing what the UDC decides to do with the money." Yeah, I bet. Kinda missing the elephant in the room, ain't he?

No mention of the fact that spending that kind of money (whether donated or not) to sandblast a building that's on the National Register of Historic places is not only grossly irresponsible, but also involves desecrating a historic landmark. Amazing how anti-Confederate obsession blinds some folks, isn't it?

I guess all those compassionate 1% 'ers in academia have money to burn.

And aren't you glad that political correctness is just a boogie-man of the right?

More here.

12 August 2016

History & Politics: An Admission

For my whiny academic readers:
It’s the conceit of every generation that horses have never been faster, whisky has never been older, beautiful women have never been younger — and politics have never been rowdier. But maybe our generation has a legitimate claim.

The clown vs. the crook, the vulgarian vs. the witch, both stained worthies that neither party wants. One is a big talker who can’t keep his mouth shut and his tongue at ease, the other driven by greed, lies and avarice, ever on the scout for loose valuables. Has the republic ever had such a choice?

Well, politics were particularly rowdy in the decades after the War of Northern Aggression . . . 
More here by the unflappable Wes Pruden.

10 August 2016

Another "Education Expert" Gets Schooled


School officials objected to the family listing their child in 3rd grade and refused to issue an “approval” letter. They insisted that the family teach him at the 1st grade level or document evidence of readiness for 3rd grade in the form of work samples or progress reports. . . . homeschooled students are not required to learn at the same pace in every subject. Some students may excel in math and science but require a little more time and effort in English and social studies. Other students love history and writing but have trouble with numbers. Homeschooling empowers parents to encourage their children to pursue their dreams and shine in their favorite subjects while taking the time necessary to become proficient in all areas. Pennsylvania law charges parents—not public schools—with picking the most appropriate grade level for each child.
More here.

08 August 2016

The Blog Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned - 2nd Edition

Update

For a classic (almost scary) example of projection, I would refer readers to the latest comment from the original post, beginning with "I just quote 'em." Oh my, where does one begin? Why would an esteemed Civil War scholar and university professor with a Ph.D. in history obsess over a little ol' college dropout blogger like me? Has he become bored with constantly criticizing those two Confederate flag-waving chicks all over the internet? Do I, a college dropout with "limited readership", provide him with a new intellectual challenge and exercise? I'm flattered. (I think.) Yes, I do have limited readership. Though with the good professor's frequent visits of late, my hit count has been going up at a rather brisk pace.

So yes, I do believe that any objective reader would have to come to the conclusion that I have indeed "struck a nerve." But I've not really responded to the professor's accusatory remarks. That too gets under his skin. He's not really worth the time. Read his blog, you'll understand. But I will take this occasion to respond to two of his remarks just to provide an example of the falsehoods and incoherence. 


First, he suggests that the Virginia Flaggers are my "buddies." (Folks like the good professor love to play guilt by association--even when there is no association.) As I've noted before on this blog, I am of the opinion that the Virginia Flaggeres are, as a group, buffoonish, embarrassing and ignorant. Though some of them may have their hearts in the right place in protesting political correctness, they have their heads inserted (in similar fashion to the accusing blogger) in a body orifice that prevents them from seeing much beyond their own innards--metaphorically speaking, of course. (The accusing blogger's head is much too large for inserting in just about anything.)

Secondly, the professor makes the following accusation:
In short, someone who complains that certain blogs are partisan forums without admitting that his blog is indeed slanted for political and philosophical reasons is something of a hypocrite who lacks integrity. But did we really expect anything else? [Emphasis mine.]
Any of my "limited readership" would know that if there's anything I'm very open about and  have admitted, it's my own political and philosophical leanings and bias. As a matter of fact, the following quote appears in the footer of every page on my blog:
From Virginia sprung the Southern Mind, a mind which favoured the local community, Burkean conservatism, the folkways of ancestors, an unwavering orthodox Christian faith. ~ Alphonse Vinh
And, when reading the "about your host" page, you'll see (in referring to yours truly): 
He uses this blog to share his passion for history and to celebrate and defend the "permanent things." 
I would venture to say, that just these two examples shatter his silly accusation of "not admitting" my philosophical leanings. He should admit he has no idea what he's talking about.
But those two examples are not the most revealing example of this ignorant, false accusation on the part of the professor. His own words are even more damning in exposing the false charge of "not admitting" my own biases. I suppose he forgot he posted the following on July 16th in referring to me admitting my biases:
But one must look elsewhere for a far more interesting admission:
So he specifically points out that I make an "interesting admission", then follows with a quote from what I wrote in my latest book about my own biases:
. . . While connections to subjects and events can be a stumbling block when attempting to write objectively about those same topics, they can also serve as motivations—even giving keen insight and unique perspective attainable no other way. It certainly motivates me.
So which is it professor? Your July 16th accusation of my "interesting admission" about my biases or your more recent post where you accuse me of of not admitting my biases? I wish you success as you argue with yourself.

End of update
 
I must have struck a nerve. Someone comes off as a bit insecure, wouldn't you say? LOL.

And, in regards to referring to the American Civil War as "the War Between the States", I would refer the ignorant here.

02 August 2016

We Know The Presidential Election Is Heating Up . . .

Image source.
By the Civil War blog posts attacking Republicans. LOL. Here's how it works: Post some comments about something in the recent news and stretch and connect it to the WBTS. This provides an opportunity for readers to go GOP bashing. But nothing to see here, they're not political. They prove it by only doing this type of thing to Republican candidates. And the virtue-signalling is extremely nauseating.

31 July 2016

A Progressive's (& Academic's) Guide to PC

For all you snowflakes in academia . . .




Will makes the important point that progressives (including many academic historians) are in a perpetual state of being offended. As Will points out, "those who constantly find reason to take offense are rarely happy people."

This is so true and is something which can be observed as the PC control freaks move from one "offense" to another. For example, first the cry was for no Confederate flags on government grounds, then there was a wink and a nod to the vandalizing of Confederate (and other) monuments as an "expression of art." Now we're seeing some suggest the NPS should not even allow the Confederate battle flag on reenactment battlefields (or graves).

And, as I've pointed out numerous times, the low-hanging fruit of Confederate symbolism are the easy targets to soften up Americans. Those who "constantly find reason to take offense" have their ultimate sights set on the Founders, as we are already seeing.


So keep denying and poo-pooing PC. You're seen as a complicit fool.

27 July 2016

Why Progressives Love Abraham Lincoln & Why Conservatives Don't Undertsand Him



"Rejection of agrarian life and family led to the rejection of other social pillars that upheld the agrarian order of southern Indiana and Illinois. Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and a current adviser to Hillary Clinton, finds in Lincoln the sort of self-made spirit that made the United States great. Mr. Blumenthal’s comprehensive and well-written account nonetheless exposes the central weakness of Abraham Lincoln’s statesmanship: his wholesale rejection of cultural, religious, and social traditions. In order to make himself truly the great statesman posterity would recognize, Lincoln needed to throw off family and religion. Blumenthal praises Lincoln’s rejection of organized religion, especially his decision to reject “intolerant versions” of religion, such as orthodox Calvinism, which presented obstacles to the hyper-rationalism he made sovereign in his life. Blumenthal speaks in adulation of Lincoln’s heretical religiosity. Lincoln rejected Christ’s divinity, the Virgin Birth, Original Sin, and the Atonement. Blumenthal, a convinced secular statist, recognizes in Lincoln one of the first politicians to break the sway of orthodox Christianity in American political life." ~ Historian Miles Smith

26 July 2016

The Moral Reformer Historians Should Be Happy

None of their soul mates displayed any offensive Confederate or American flags at their convention yesterday. More here and here. Birds of a feather?