24 November 2015

Anti-Semitism Rising on College Campuses

The Student Assembly at the UC Santa Cruz voted last week to divest from five companies that students say are complicit in human rights violations. One representative, a Jewish student, was pressured to abstain from voting over fears of a "Jewish agenda."
Do these students develop these views in a vacuum? I think not.


23 November 2015

Relic Hunting Post # 137: My Latest Article in Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine

The editors at America's oldest relic hunting magazine, Western and Eastern Treasures Magazine, were kind enough to grant permission to post my latest article here. I'm sure most readers know how to enlarge images so this will be more readable but, if not, let me know and I'll post instructions.

One additional thought: Relic hunting provides some of the best opportunities to teach history to young boys (and girls) due to the interaction, hands-on experience and the research that's often required to identify recoveries. Every historic item you recover has a story and broadens your perspective and increases your knowledge about our past. This experience with my grandsons is one of the best I've ever had and a memory I will "treasure" forever.

Another Projected Fantasy in Wackydemia?

Yoga has become the latest victim of political correctness on university campuses, after a free class was cancelled because of complaints that the lessons were an unacceptable “cultural appropriation” of a non-Western practice.
And this fits perfectly with the current meme of anti-western sentiment in academia:
those cultures “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy... we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practicing yoga.”

From that right wing, fantasy-projecting hate paper, the Independent.

20 November 2015

Indirectly Related to the Teaching of History

In that it's more evidence that "experts" and "professionals", whether in academia, science, medicine or history should not be trusted simply because they are "credentialed" or part of academia. As a matter of fact, those facts immediately cause my radar to go on full alert and become more skeptical.

The following link and article isn't directly related to the topics I post about on this blog, but it is indirectly related because of the fraud that we're seeing exposed in academia day by day. And, as an aside, I've seen comments on other left-leaning "Civil War History" related blogs go down a road where questioning "climate change" or man-made global warming gets hitched to one's views and perspectives on American History: this for example.

So with that in mind, this headline on Drudge grabbed my attention this morning:
MIT Climate Scientist: 'Warmest temperature on record? It's just nonsense'...
And no, it is not a contradiction to put stock in these experts' findings and opinion. They are,  in my mind, immediately afforded more credibility due to the fact they are both credentialed AND bucking the leftist groupthink, religion-like pseudo-science of man-made global warming. They are courageous and taking risk in suffering the wrath of an inquisition like persecution from colleagues.

Groupthink or, what Professor Gordon S. Wood would characterize as "incestuous conversations" among academic historians, is what ties this news piece together with the teaching of history when one considers the current state of historiography in the United States and some of the childish nonsense being taught.

And here's a great quote from the Drudge linked piece:
“The discourse of catastrophe is a campaigning device,” Hulme wrote to the BBC in 2006. “The language of catastrophe is not the language of science. To state that climate change will be ‘catastrophic’ hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science,” Hulme wrote.
“Is any amount of climate change catastrophic? Catastrophic for whom, for where, and by when? What index is being used to measure the catastrophe?” Hulme continued.
Lindzen singled out Secretary of State John Kerry for his ‘ignorance’ on science.
“John Kerry stands alone,” Lindzen said. “Kerry expresses his ignorance of what science is,” he added.
Lindzen also criticized EPA Chief Gina McCarthy’s education: “I don’t want to be snobbish, but U Mass Boston is not a very good school,” he said to laughter.
And I loved this quote as well:
“If plants could vote, they would vote for coal,” Happer declared.

Happer also rebutted the alleged 97% consensus.

“97% of scientists have often been wrong on many things,” he said.
Indeed. One could make a similar argument about historians as well. Groupthink is always problematic, particularly when it's based on emotion and an agenda, rather than the facts.

 All this reminds me of two Scriptures, both which describe many modern academic historians and scientists:
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . . ~ Romans 1:22
Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~ 2 Timothy 3:7 
George Orwell's observation is also quite fitting: "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

Today is National Thank a Farmer Day

Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. ~ Thomas Jefferson
I know many farmers in Virginia personally and they are a special breed, the backbone of the American economy and the salt of the earth. Thank God for the American farmer.

19 November 2015

The Harvard Law Record: Fascism at Yale

Usually, we at Harvard are more than happy to see Yale students make fools of themselves on camera. The video that emerged this week of Yale students screaming down one of their professors might make for a good laugh, if its implications were not quite so serious. It’s a scene we’ve seen played out far too often at college campuses in recent years, and it deserves to be called by what it is: a nascent form of fascism.
Harvard Law Record

More examples of petulant, childish behavior taught by petulant, childish adults.   

More projected fantasies professor?

18 November 2015

Relic Hunting Post #136 - Lots of Lead & a Discovery

I relic hunted on a battlefield on private property here in the Shenandoah Valley last Friday and had a great day. I recovered 40 Civil War bullets/musket balls and 2 shell fragments. All but 3 or 4 of the Minie balls were recovered on a hillside. As the battle was raging, the Confederate line broke and many of the Confederates tried to escape by running up the hill. As they did, the Union infantry poured lead into their backs. The bullets pictured here either missed or passed through Confederate soldiers and lodged in the ground. Most of them were 4-8 inches deep.

What's interesting about finding the bullets where I did is the fact I've been able to determine, with great accuracy, the exact path/route the Confederate soldiers took in their attempt to flee. Moreover, it's in a different location than what one history of this battle describes. The author was off by several hundred yards. Though this historian wrote an excellent study of this battle, my experience illustrates how amateurs can shed light on history through their own independent research and study. I personally know another relic hunter who made a similar discovery at the Battle of Port Republic.

I was in the field from 8:30 am until dark. It was an exhausting day but I had a great time. I recorded quite a bit of video as well which I'll put together over Thanksgiving and post.

16 November 2015

Has Academia Created A Politically Correct Romper Room For Pretend Adults?

The people who came out of the ‘60s are currently in control of the [teaching American history] profession and it’s become essentially race-class-gender issues. ~ Professor Gordon S. Wood
College students and many historians have become obsessed with inequality and white privilege in American society. And this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history. The inequalities of race and gender now permeate much of academic history-writing, so much so that the general reading public that wants to learn about the whole of our nation’s past has had to turn to history books written by nonacademics who have no Ph.D.s and are not involved in the incestuous conversations of the academic scholars. ~ Professor Gordon S. Wood
"Romper Room" is actually a bad analogy. Those students and teachers were well-behaved. And it's becoming more and more difficult to determine who are the real adolescents - the students or the faculty and administration on college campuses. We all know it. The avalanche of the latest news about protests over Halloween and other made up "offenses" have made this undeniably clear. Undeniable to the honest among us and for those not complicit or afraid or too heavily invested to admit it.

While the intelligentsia in academia like to view themselves as the  mature, sophisticated and educated elite among us, they are actually, in many cases, the exact opposite. They are immature with little real world experience. If recent news hasn't convinced you of that, I would suggest you might be detached from reality. 

But detached from reality is what one could conclude reading the blogs of certain historians. They suggest anyone who sees or notes the kooky left-wing nonsense on college campuses is somehow projecting fantasies and that political correctness is much ado about nothing. But if they're not detached from reality, that leaves a few other possibilities:
  • They're complicit and are advancing the same agenda.
  • They realize it is nonsense, but are afraid to speak out. In other words, they're cowards.
  • They're woefully ignorant.
Gone are the days when criticizing the PC idiocy in academia can be credibly dismissed as "right-wing" fear mongering (please note that the attempt at dismissal comes primarily from left wing academics who are in denial). Recent events have made that abundantly clear, though most of us living on the outside of what is the bubble of academia and its allies already knew this. Let's consider some recent news and commentary. 

From the Wall Street Journal:
As one left-wing professor wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “After the Vietnam War, a lot of us didn’t just crawl back into our literary cubicles; we stepped into academic positions. With the war over, our visibility was lost, and it seemed for a while—to the unobservant—that we had disappeared. Now we have tenure, and the work of reshaping the universities has begun in earnest.” 
And . . .
The truth is that American universities are among the safest and most coddled environments ever devised by man. The idea that one should attend college to be protected from ideas one might find controversial or offensive could only occur to someone who had jettisoned any hope of acquiring an education. Many commentators have been warning about a “higher education bubble.” They have focused mostly on the unsustainable costs of college, but the spectacle of timid moral self-indulgence also deserves a place on the bill of indictment.
And this from Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz (hardly a "right-winger"):
Well, this is the same people who claim they’re seeking diversity. The last thing many of these students want is real diversity. Diversity of ideas. They may want superficial diversity of gender. Superficial diversity of color, but they don’t want diversity of ideas. We’re seeing a curtain of McCarthyism descend over many college campuses. You know, I don’t want to make analogies to the 1930s but we have to remember that it was the students at universities who first started burning books during the Nazi regime. And these students are book burners. They don’t want to hear diverse views on college campuses.
Is Professor Dershowitz "projecting a fantasy"? Hardly. He's spot on and I've noted the EXACT same thing here for years, while other history bloggers have scoffed and mocked. And, speaking of fantasies, how about the new trend of the chic-victim - "microagressions"?

As a recent piece in the LA Times noted:
Bradley Campbell, an associate professor of sociology at Cal State Los Angeles, said the movement is transforming society from a "dignity culture," in which people are taught to have thick skins and refuse to allow others to affect their sense of self-worth, to a "victimhood culture" that advertises personal oppression.
And this from, of all places, The Atlantic, regarding (see previous post) Halloween Costumes at Yale:
Everyone invested in how the elites of tomorrow are being acculturated should understand, as best they can, how so many cognitively privileged, ordinarily kind, seemingly well-intentioned young people could lash out with such flagrant intolerance.
Could it be that the "how" of the creation of this "flagrant intolerance" lies in the words and criticism of esteemed history Professor Gordon S. Wood (as well as many others):
It’s as if academics have given up trying to recover an honest picture of the past, . . .  and have decided that their history-writing should become simply an instrument of moral hand-wringing. .  .  . College students and many historians have become obsessed with inequality and white privilege in American society. And this obsession has seriously affected the writing of American history.
"Obsessed with inequality." Obsession is unhealthy. It often leads to extremes and, as we've seen in recent events, violence. So the blame for all this should be laid at the door of those who have taught and supported these obsessions with the negative aspects of American History, while downplaying our founding principles of liberty and individual rights. A recent report of scholars and historians noted this imbalance and obsession. The report was signed by a few individuals who would be familiar to students of the War Between the States - Dr. Steven Woodworth and Kent Masterson Brown. A Washington Post article on the report made this observation about the report:
Dozens of academics, calling themselves “Scholars Concerned About Advanced Placement History” have published an open letter opposing the College Board’s new framework for the AP U.S. History course, saying that it presents “a grave new risk” to the study of America’s past, in large part because it ignores American exceptionalism. . . . The letter was signed by historians and others from a wide range of schools including Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Princeton universities . . .
And this . . .
Critics complained that the framework does not mention important American historical figures, such as Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King Jr., but focuses on some of the darker episodes in American history. [Kinda like what Jerry Springer does. The operative word here is focus.]
And . . .
The new framework is organized around such abstractions as “identity,” “peopling,” “work, exchange, and technology,” and “human geography” while downplaying essential subjects, such as the sources, meaning, and development of America’s ideals and political institutions, notably the Constitution. Elections, wars, diplomacy, inventions, discoveries—all these formerly central subjects tend to dissolve into the vagaries of identity-group conflict.
Are you beginning to see the pattern here? 

You can't focus on "identity-group conflict" and the "darker episodes in American history" without eventuating cause and effect. The recent turmoil on college campuses is the effect. The cause lies in how American history is being taught not only in college classrooms, but in high school as well.

And, once again, Gordon Wood nails the "cause":
Gone is the idea that history should provide a fund of compelling stories about exemplary people and events. No longer will students hear about America as a dynamic and exemplary nation, flawed in many respects, but whose citizens have striven through the years toward the more perfect realization of its professed ideals. The new version of the test will effectively marginalize important ways of teaching about the American past, and force American high schools to teach U.S. history from a perspective that self-consciously seeks to de-center American history and subordinate it to a global and heavily social-scientific perspective.
Beyond the inaccuracy of this perspective in teaching and the agenda-driven chaos it creates, it also creates a very immature and shallow perspective of American history. It creates young adults (and I use the term loosely) who have a chip on their shoulder about everything from offensive Halloween costumes, to being served certain ethnic themed cuisines, to the injustice of celebrating Columbus Day. It is, besides insane, childish.

Welcome to Romper Room 2.0, courtesy of academia and the education establishment.

14 November 2015

Who Coined the Term, "Activist Historian"?

Someone recently sent me a link to a popular Civil War blog where the host made this comment:
. . . “activist historians,” a term coined by a few unhappy right-of-center blogger. . .
I really don't know who coined the term originally. I suspect this blogger may have had me in mind when posting. In any event, I cannot take credit. I started using the term here because another Civil War blogger once used it in a comment on his blog to describe himself.

Just wanted to make sure proper credit was given.

13 November 2015

What is Not Education

The students in this video block and assault a fellow student and member of the media from taking photos on public property. Gee, I wonder who taught them that? Certainly they didn't learn that from their objective professors? Uh-oh, wait a minute . . . after student journalist Tim Tai is pushed, shoved and intimidated by the mob, another person kept filming inside an area designated the "safe place" (how ironic is that?). As this person was filming, he asked a professor: 

"I’m media, can I talk to you?" 

"No, you need to get out! You need to get out!" the professor shouted as she grabbed the camera. When the man correctly informed her that he was allowed to be there, the professor called for some "muscle." 

"Hey, who wants to help me get this reporter out of here! I need some muscle over here," she said. Wow, she sounds violent to me. Please, someone show me my safe place.

So I guess these students are learning this type of conduct from their professors. Or maybe this is just another example of "projected fantasies." One website notes the woman requesting "muscle" is, "a professor of 'audience studies, theories of gender and sexuality, and media literacy. Current research projects involve 50 Shades of Grey readers, the impact of social media in fans’ relationship with Lady Gaga, masculinity and male fans, messages about class and food in reality television programming, and messages about work in children’s television programs.'"

Perfect. Your student loan debt at work.

Now that's a fantasy I couldn't even project.

The professor has since issued a public apology and resigned. Oh, and this just in. The "professor" has had assault charges filed against her, as well as "a formal complaint with the Title IX office."Like I said in a previous post, Karma's a b*tch.

12 November 2015

What is Education?

G.K. Chesterton
In What’s Wrong with the World, G.K. Chesterton sets the record straight by reminding us that when it comes to defining education, there is no such thing. “Education is a word like ‘transmission’ or ‘inheritance'; it is not an object, but a method. It must mean the conveying of certain facts, views or qualities…if they are handed on from one generation to another they are education.” He further illustrates that “education is not a thing like theology, it is not an inferior or superior thing; it is not a thing in the same category of terms. Theology and education are to each other like a love-letter to the General Post Office.” Public education ought to imitate the general post office and teachers ought to be like mail carriers. We are to deliver the love letters, not write them.

As a transmission of culture, how we educate our children ought to include passing on to them the “best that has been said and done” in the Great Western Tradition and in consideration of the “democracy of the dead.” We have abandoned that strategy in favor of having secular humanist social utopians re-writing the love letters themselves in coded ideology, and at that, with a numbed mind, a hardened heart and an illiterate pen. We are in dire need of a recovery of the classical understanding of an education.
From The Imaginative Conservative. I prefer "learning" to "education."

11 November 2015

Veterans Day & Our Unique National Character

Last night, I watched Iwo Jima: From Combat to Comrades on my local PBS station. It was excellent and quite moving. In one part of the film, they interviewed a Japanese survivor and, through a translator, he said the following:

I was rescued by an American who showed no animosity towards me. I was his enemy but he saved me. I wonder if a Japanese soldier would have done the same for a wounded American. I don’t think so. I think if the situation were reversed, a Japanese soldier would have left his enemy to die. The American fighting man was unique. There is something about their national character that makes them merciful. . . . I wish to thank them in person. ~ Tsuruji Akikusa, Radioman, Imperial Japanese Army
I would argue that the uniqueness of "the American fighting man" and our national character is part of American Exceptionalism. Very closely related to that character and AE is our Judeo-Christian founding. That Japanese soldier owes his life to not only the American who saved him, but to the culture and heritage that produced that soldier.

I would further argue that the enemies of AE are purposely destroying the character that saved that Japanese soldier. 

"When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." ~ Proverbs 16:7

If case you missed it, you can watch the complete episode here

10 November 2015

The Political Correctness Monster Is Eating Its Own

The coddling comes first.
Image source.
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself."
~ Thomas Paine

Kinda hard to feel sorry for those being eaten.
Professor Nicholas Christakis lives at Yale, where he presides over one of its undergraduate colleges. His wife Erika, a lecturer in early childhood education, shares that duty. They reside among students and are responsible for shaping residential life. And before Halloween, some students complained to them that Yale administrators were offering heavy-handed advice on what Halloween costumes to avoid.

Erika Christakis reflected on the frustrations of the students, drew on her scholarship and career experience, and composed an email inviting the community to think about the controversy through an intellectual lens that few if any had considered. Her message was a model of relevant, thoughtful, civil engagement.

For her trouble, a faction of students are now trying to get the couple removed from their residential positions, which is to say, censured and ousted from their home on campus. Hundreds of Yale students are attacking them, some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming. In doing so, they have shown an illiberal streak that flows from flaws in their well-intentioned [sic] ideology.
And the protests quickly devolved into the bizarre and violent . . . 
A large group of students eventually gathered outside of the building on High Street, where several attendees were spat on . . .
Can't have offensive Halloween costumes, so we spit on those who disagree with us. Perfect. Personally, I'd prefer seeing an offensive Halloween get-up over having someone hock a loogie on me. But maybe that's just me. As an aside, I find it rather curious that the sudden concern and whining over this comes from one of the promoters of PC crap - The Atlantic. Cry me a river. The piece from which the quotes above were taken is titled, The New Intolerance of Student Activism.

First of all, it's really not all that new. Secondly, the piece fails to bring attention to the fact that the intolerance in the students has been fostered (over many decades) by professors and administrators themselves. The writer can't see the forest for the trees. It's called sowing and reaping. But, since most of these folks reject the concept of natural law, I can understand why they are surprised by the fact that they are now reaping the harvest of seeds they themselves have sown. Perhaps they'd better grasp their dilemma by contemplating a phrase more easily understood from their narrow worldview: Karma's a b*tch.

Academia and their co-conspirators in the media and government have created and fed this monster known as Political Correctness for decades. They've cheered and encouraged the monster (while simultaneously claiming it doesn't exist), as it has ruined the lives of innocent (and even well-intentioned) folks who have violated it's silly, immature, groupthink, moronic walk-on-eggshell rules. 

But, like the fictional Frankenstein monster that turned on his creator, so this PC monster is turning on the professors, administrators and institution that created it. And the creators are now afraid of their monster. For example, consider the experiences of one self-described "liberal" professor who recently wrote about his experiences:
I'm a professor at a midsize state school. I have been teaching college classes for nine years now. I have won (minor) teaching awards, studied pedagogy extensively, and almost always score highly on my student evaluations. . . . Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.
And this . . .
I have intentionally adjusted [due to fear] my teaching materials as the political winds have shifted. (I also make sure all my remotely offensive or challenging opinions, such as this article, are expressed either anonymously or pseudonymously). Most of my colleagues who still have jobs have done the same. 
Amazing, isn't it? The self-proclaimed bastion of free thought and expression has professors who intentionally "adjust" their teaching materials due to their fear of PC (that some of their own claim doesn't even exist). You can read the damning piece here at Vox, and I recommend you do - especially you gutless history bloggers, educators and academics who claim PC isn't a real problem on college campuses, and even systemic in the education establishment in the U.S.

Of course, the writer at Vox isn't the only one who recognizes creating a monster has it's downsides. Another professor recently led off an article at Salon about PC idiocy with this:
I believed in trigger warnings when I taught a course on sex and film. Then they drove me out of the academy.
For those of you who aren't familiar with "trigger warnings" - don't waste your time. It will just make your head explode. The writer refers to her students as "coddled young radicals." Indeed. But let's not overlook the fact that they were created by coddled old radicals in institutions providing the means and environment in which to coddle and create. As one writer so aptly put it:
Through decades of social engineering, intellectually bankrupt courses in professional victimhood and mendacious speech codes, loony liberals have succeeded in turning American universities into madrasas. Instead of churning out intellectually independent citizens, they’re turning out wild-eyed fanatics with cult-like beliefs . . .
I have been blogging about the PC monster for years. And I've been mocked by academics, educators and history bloggers - many of whom serve as little more than echo chamber for much of the PC mindset. Some of them used to come here and challenge and mock me - until they were exposed as either frauds or woefully ignorant. I've blogged about this subject because it's germane to the subject of history, culture and American heritage; which are the primary topics discussed here. I've criticized Political Correctness because it's a cultish fraud and it inhibits our ability to study and discuss history (and other subjects) honestly. It's also a tool used by leftists to suppress opposing views and curtail free speech.

So I hope you will forgive me if I find it rather satisfying to see the Frankenstein turn on and eat it's creators. Grab some popcorn folks, I believe things are going to get even more interesting at our institutions of "higher learning."

09 November 2015

Academia: Shred the Constitution (an "oppressive document") For Therapy

I'm seldom at a loss for words, but this is one of those times . . .

Wait, I did think of some words: "projected fantasies" . . .

I thought of some more words, but my better angels are screaming, "you better not . . ."

Gee, I wonder what these students are learning about the U.S. Constitution from their professors. 

Academia: where reality takes a vacation and projected fantasies are reality. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to spend some time in my happy place.

06 November 2015

My Latest Article in Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine

Of Treasure, Pirates and Wide-Eyed Boys . . . 

I'm going to see if the magazine will allow me to post the article here. It's a cool story.

05 November 2015

"The ungodly were not so and lived in town."

In the beginning was the land. Shortly thereafter was the father. The boy knew this with certainty. It was knowledge that was in his marrow. It predated memory and conscious thought as surely as hunger and thirst. He could not have explained it, but he knew it.

The father owned the land. He plowed it, harvested it, timbered it, and hunted over it. It was his. Before that it had been the land of his father and his father’s father. Before that it had belonged to the Indians, who since Creation had held it by God’s will in trust for the family, just waiting until it could be claimed by its rightful owners.

The boy knew all this. No one told him. He also knew that in turn the land owned his father. Everything the father did eventually revolved around nurture of the land. Without the land there would be no family. The ungodly were not so and lived in town. They were like chaff which the wind bloweth away. Their feet were not rooted in the soil, and they were therefore of little consequence in the scheme of things. ~ Ferrol Sams

"The ungodly were not so and lived in town."

What a great line. Less is more. So much in that short sentence.
The essence of good Southern writing. Plain, simple, humorous, to the point, profound and with an appreciative nod at the Holy Scriptures. Classic.