17 June 2010

Worthless Observations From An Outsider & Crazy Dad

Were one to believe Kevin Levin, the observations and opinions of those from "the outside" of the education establishment - a.k.a., "Big Education" - are "worthless" when it comes to criticizing and critiquing the various shortcomings of America's highly politicized, and increasingly indoctrinating, educational system. That's an interesting perspective. I find that opinion particularly arresting since I am a father of 6, grandparent of 13 (soon to be 14, Lord willin'), and a taxpayer. Though I've never worked as a paid educator, I did homeschool 4 of my 6 children, do some private tutoring, coach youth basketball, teach Sunday school, and lead a 4H youth group. So, in a very legitimate sense, I am an "educator." I'm just a volunteer though, I don't get paid for my services. Does that make my contributions, opinions, and observations about education "worthless"? I don't think so. Most parents involved in their community could make the same legitimate claim. So, are parents, grandparents, and taxpayers really "outsiders" when it comes to public (or even private) education? Again, I don't think so. Let's not forget what should be obvious: were it not for parents, schools would be empty and teachers would be unemployed. Parents produce the raw material, so to speak, for what should be the ultimate product: responsible citizens who are productive members of a free society. 

Moreover, were it not for taxpayers (and parents), there would be no funds to build schools and pay teachers. Shouldn't the observations and opinions of those who finance the operations of schools and who send their children to those same schools be valued? I would think so. In the real world, most organizations look upon the views of those whom they ostensibly serve, and who finance their very existance, as very important and worth considering. They take seriously criticisms and critique - as well they should. The concerns of those being served drive the product and services offered - as well they should. Is that not the case in education? Apparently not.

Take the example of the post and the event that led to Levin's comment. Fellow history blogger (and public school teacher), Chris Wehner, posted links and comments about an event to which he received an invitation. According to Chris, his invitation to attend this event came as the result of his being an educator. Chris declined the invite, even though it looks to be quite . . . uh, shall we say . . . interesting? Though Chris declined, would it be safe to assume there are teachers/educators that will attend? I believe that is a reasonable assumption, since they obviously made an apparent, concerted effort to invite many teachers from across the nation and since one of their program tracks includes "Education Organizing, Popular Education."

Would you be concerned if your children's teachers were attending an event that promotes socialism, radical environmentalism, hyper-radical leftist, anti-American, and anti-free market views and philosophies? I think it is safe to assume that the VAST majority of Americans would say yes; regardless of their politics, location, or socioeconomic background.

Think I'm "over-generalizing" or just providing "anecdotal evidence?" Judge for yourself.

First, go to Chris's post and read his examples. Second, go to the event site for yourself and simply browse through the site. Let their own stated goals, programs, and philosophies speak for themselves.

And just to be sure you don't miss this, in exploring the USSF site and event (an event that another blogger described as a “wonderful opportunity”), I came across the “Leftist Lounge” which is affiliated with the USSF and links direct from their main page (Under “fundraising” and “be a sponsor”). Below is a link promoting “artwork” in the “Leftist Lounge” featuring, for example, Marxist & murderer, Che Guevera and a poster with “Free Palestine” on it (I guess Helen Thomas would like that one). Other radical revolutionaries are featured as well, some holding weapons, including Leila Khaled who was into such peaceful “social justice” movements as hijacking airplanes. Another poster features “Commandante Ramona” holding a weapon. One poster features wording which says, “if I become hungry, the usurper’s flesh will be my food.” How wholesome. I thought these folks were all about “non-violence.” Yeah, I want folks attending that event to teach our children. Good Lord. Chilling and disturbing indeed.
Another poster featured in the "Leftist Lounge" at the USSF site has the following wording on it:

America is F****** evil
Israel is F****** evil
Right Wing Evangelical Christians are F****** evil
Christopher Columbus is F****** evil
The Founding Fathers were F****** evil

That's just a sampling. Would anyone like to defend that? You can go to the link above and see it for yourself. No, there's no anti-American, leftist radicalism going on here. These are, of course, just the worthless observations and anecdotal examples from a father, grandfather, and educator who some would label an "outsider." Move along, nothing to see here. Sorry, but this "outsider" does not see this event as a "wonderful opportunity" for anyone, especially educators.

And just how much "anecdotal evidence" does one have to examine before one is convinced of a fact? Below is another anecdotal example about the "social justice movement" and promoting it to Junior High and High School students. By the way, what's the largest labor union in the United States? The National Education Association.

As you will notice, the woman speaking here was, at the time, the Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO. I think most readers are familiar with that union. But what many reading this post may not know is that the NEA has pledged to "work with" the AFL-CIO. 

“NEA shares these values and recognizes the tremendous impact these values will have on our country and our future. That’s why NEA is committed to working collaboratively on quality public education, health care and other critical issues that affect working families. We look forward to working with the AFL-CIO and its leadership team.”

So, let's recap. We have what is, by all appearances, a hyper-radical leftist movement in the United States known as "social justice". We have a high ranking official with the AFL-CIO stating publicly that they intend to promote this movement in our schools. And then we have the Nation's largest union, which just happens to be made up of teachers, pledging to work "collaboratively" with the AFL-CIO on "quality public education."

But not to worry, there is no real evidence this is occurring in our schools. None. There is no agenda. It's all imaginary. This is all just anecdotal evidence from a bunch of crazy, right-wing conspiracy nuts paranoid about nothing. Uh-huh. Call me crazy.


msimons said...

Thanks for bringing this up. We are blessed where we work in Tx because we have so much local control plus a very right State Government. I would not go near a event like that either because it is opposed to all I believe or stand for.

13thBama said...

Thanks for bringing this to light. I am sure the leftist lurkers on this blog will stay hidden in the shadows and not respond. There is only one explanation for them not being able to see just how wrong their thinking is. They have been "given over"!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

13B - yes, they seem to get all worked up in a lather if an SCV member or museum curator says something whacky about the WBTS to a hundred people at an event, but virulent anti-American socialists hosting an event w/12,000 doesn't seem to bother them. Some perspective (and credibility) seems to be lacking.

Rebel Raider said...

I can recall reading a book titled "Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age." It is very instructive in understanding the origins of the leftist mindset. It details the various stages of the nihilist mind, which begins as its starting point the embrace of 'liberalism.' This is the more 'passive' nihilism that serves as an entry level for more radical stages such as socialism and Bolshevism. In a nut shell, the whole enterprise could be boiled down to "self love disguised as altruism." This could explain the leftist tendency to condescend and elevate themselves above others based on a false perception of being morally and intellectually superior. It might also explain the leftist tendency to divorce themselves from the actual results of their ideas. Of course, the whole leftist project began as an insurrection against God. The end result being man (aided only by his own reason) would instead install himself as a replacement for God as final arbiter.

It was G.K. Chesterton who noted that once man ceases belief in God, he in turn does not believe in nothing;he believes in anything. Ironically, many of the stated beliefs of leftists take on religious furor even after they have rejected formal religion. We can see this particularly in the environmental movement with many of its adherents (in essence) worshiping the earth. When a disaster occurs (such as the oil spill) many seem so exercised over the event that they would be willing to hang the BP execs if they could. It is almost akin to drawing a cartoon of Muhammad.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


All excellent points.

"the leftist tendency to condescend and elevate themselves above others based on a false perception of being morally and intellectually superior."

How true. What is quite instructive in the follow up comments on both Mr. Wehner's blog, as well as Mr. Levin's, is the reaction of other academics. These folks will get exercised to the point of foaming at the mouth and expressing outrage over the subject of black confederates but cannot bring themselves to condemn this "conference" and it's anti-American Marxism code-worded as "social justice". No, instead they attack Wehner for using a search engine for finding information about "social justice." I suppose they would have preferred he go to the local library and use a card catalogue.!! They can troll the internet on a daily basis for events, comments, videos which they use to bash, mock, ridicule those who celebrate their Confederate ancestors, but others should pull out a pencil and paper and buy some stamps and mail their research inquiries! Amazing!

They'll rant and rave over and over for days on end over Earl Ijames and his research on black Confederates and his speech to a handful of attendees at a seminar, but yawn at a conference with 12,000 attending which features "artwork" celebrating murdering Marxist revolutionaries and posters proclaiming America is F****** evil, etc, etc.

What a bunch of hypocrites!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Thinking more about your comments, especially regarding religion and a belief in God, I've long believed, as do many others, that many of the extreme "isms" in leftist ideology are simply a rather sad attempt by those involved to fill the void that denying Christ and orthodoxy leaves. But much of what is involved in Marxist/leftist ideology reminds me of the analogy of the "wolf in sheep's clothing" that Christ used to warn against false prophets. False prophets in religion, similar to the "social justice" movement, uses what appears on the surface to be worthy goals to manipulate people and obtain political power. Thus the need to label what they view as "the man", i.e. Israel, America, Evangelicals, The Founding Fathers, etc, etc, as "F****** evil." Label these persons/things "evil" and replace them with Marxist revolutionaries and ideology: "Hey hey, ho, ho, Western Civ has got to go." To see those in academia deny this is going on is laughable on its face. In denying this, they absolutely shred any credibility they had.

As the trend since the '60's has been to exclude God from the public square more and more, these "isms" have rushed in to fill that vacuum. The human need to want to "right wrongs" and "seek justice" is natural, but often the source of statism and a tool used by despots and statists to gain power ostensibly in the name of "justice". Utopia is their goal, no matter what (or who) must be destroyed in the process and by those who, in your words, see "themselves above others based on a false perception of being morally and intellectually superior."

Thus it is easy for them to justify their "ends justifies the means" actions. This subject is way too deep to explore on a blog, but your comments were pregnant with insight.

Thanks again.

Michael Lynch said...

Well, I can't speak for everybody who commented to Kevin's post, but as for me, I'm neither a leftist, nor an atheist, nor an opponent of the Founding Fathers, nor of America, nor of Western Civ. Indeed, I'm your pretty standard evangelical Christian, and my politics tend to fall well to the right of the spectrum.

Nor, for that matter, did I deny that politicization and radicalization in the classroom takes place, nor that Chris has found an example of it.

I did, however, express my skepticism about claims that the entire educational system is in peril or that this sort of thing is typical of what American teachers are doing. I had assumed that my use of the term "over-generalization" to describe this phenomenon would be pretty clear, but apparently it's been misunderstood by more than a few people. I didn't mean that Chris was inaccurate in his description of what he found; I just question a tendency to draw broad conclusions from evidence of this kind.

I've tried to clarify what I meant further in a post over at my blog: http://pastinthepresent.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/im-winning-friends-and-influencing-people/. I hope it explains where I'm coming from with this.


Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Thanks for taking the time to comment here.

"the entire educational system is in peril"

I don't think Chris said that, though one could (and many have) make a strong argument that, in regards to public schools, it is a legitimate concern and definite trend.

When I was in school in the '60's and '70's, we had prayer, Weekday Religious Education (in the classroom), and Scripture and prayers were sometimes posted on walls. Is that the case now? What's changed? It's a rhetorical question, of course.

I don't doubt your sincerity Michael, I just find it quite amazing that any informed person could deny that the type of leftist worldview expressed by the "social justice" approach is now having (and has been for some time) an impact.

Thanks for the invitation to visit your site. I'll be sure and do that.

David Rhoads said...

As an aside, I think it's unfortunate that the USSF have appropriated the phrase "social justice", which heretofore--at least for the past 100 years or so--has been shorthand for the mainstream social teachings of the Catholic Church.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Hello David. Words are powerful. The left often uses words that most associate with a cause or goal other than that actually being pursued. I believe the term "social justice" also appears on one of the Federalist Papers.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

**That should have read "in" one of the Federalist Papers.