30 January 2010

Leaving The Elites Behind

While the old media talking heads continue talking to themselves; still believing they're the center of the universe and while progressive academics continue to condescend to those who disagree with their science, historical perspectives, or outdated educational methods, the rest of us are moving on. It's quite interesting to observe.

It has been an incredible 12 months:

Those married to an elitist, centralized, command and control type of society are quickly becoming discredited, as are their views. An opinion piece today at The American Thinker offers some analysis as to why:

"We do not expect or want elitists and moral supremacists who believe that they know so much more about justice, the market, and how we should live. In his recent book Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell explains how the 'anointed' believe that their advanced education and depth of knowledge in one field automatically makes them an authority on any field in which they wield an opinion." 

"One message from the Massachusetts Senate contest was that we do not trust educated elitists. . . " 

28 January 2010

Homeschooling History In Virginia Plus More

My wife and I started homeschooling in 1992. Our youngest graduated in 2006. Some of our children are now homeschooling their children. One of my daughters teaches in a private school, another has a degree in history and elementary education and is state certified to teach, but has chosen to homeschool her 4 daughters. And I have other grandchildren that are being homeschooled as well. My youngest son just completed a term on the board of a local Christian school. In addition to homeschooling, my wife and I were both Sunday school teachers for over 20 years, founded and led a 4H group for children in our community and took the group on field trips. We made trips to Richmond where we lobbied our state senators and delegates in support of homeschooling "friendly" laws. My wife has also tutored disadvantaged kids (and adults) in our community and I've coached youth in a YMCA basketball league. We've also assisted and advised other families who wanted to homeschool their children and I've had articles published in homeschooling focused periodicals. So our family is most definitely an "education family" and both my wife and I consider ourselves educators and teachers. The title of "educator" or "teacher" does not belong solely to academics or those who are paid to teach.

Of course, as I've noted before, there are those who are still in the dark ages in regards to homeschooling and are wed (for political and power/control reasons) to a very backward, statist, and narrow-minded--"one size fits all"--view of education. Homeschooling is both a return to tradition and education fundamentals, as well as the wave of the future in educational trends.

And speaking of educational trends, a recent letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News offered some suggestions with which I agree:

"We have to rid ourselves of this elitist notion that college graduates are somehow superior to skilled tradesmen and recognize that we have different God-given talents." (Emphasis mine.) More here.

Case in point: My youngest son was heavily recruited by several prestigious colleges and universities in Virginia. He's very bright. He chose, however, to start his own business in lieu of attending college. When that business didn't go as well as he had planned, he decided, due to his love of the outdoors and of horses, to become a farrier. He attended one of the best farrier schools (some say THE best) in the United States and then apprenticed under a master farrier for a while. He's been in the trade now for about 4 years and his reputation as an expert farrier is growing rapidly in the Shenandoah Valley. He now makes more money than most 4 year degree college graduates and will likely hit 6 figures in the not too distant future. And though farrier work is extremely hard, potentially dangerous, and physically demanding work, it affords my son the benefit of doing something he loves and, within reason, allows him to schedule his work when he wants to.

In regards to skilled trades, Booker T. Washington's model at Tuskegee presents us with some practical lessons in regards to higher education. He not only offered and emphasized the traditional academic courses, but industry and trade skills were also required. Students learned bricklaying, forestry, and timber skills, sewing, cooking, and practical agriculture, and every student was obligated to master at least two trades so he or she would always be able to contribute to the industry and betterment of society and be self-supporting after graduation. Louis Harlan explains that “Washington’s efforts as Tuskegee Institute were to train students to become independent small businessmen, farmers, and teachers rather than wage-earners or servants of white employers.” (Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee [New York: Oxford, 1983], 142). 

But there was more to Booker T. Washington than learning and industry. His spiritual side was well known and he expressed a sincere faith in Christ. Devotional exercises were held every morning at Tuskegee as well as evening prayers. He wrote of the support that Christians had given to his efforts to lift African-Americans out of poverty after the Civil War: “If no other consideration had convinced me of the value of the Christian life, the Christ-like work which the Church of all denominations in America has done during the last thirty-five years for the elevation of the black man would have made me a Christian.” 

Whenever we attempt to advance, we should always be careful to take a good long look back first - and learn from our history - not repeat its mistakes or think we're always smarter and wiser than all those who have gone before us.

26 January 2010

The South To Posterity

. . . or, My Granddaughter Discovers Freeman.

Sometimes, a kind Providence presents us with a unique opportunity to capture a classic and useful photograph--one that will no doubt be discussed in my family for generations to come! My fifteen month old granddaughter was in my basement office Monday evening and, as is her want, headed for some stray books lying on the floor near my desk. She went straight for my copy of Douglas Southall Freeman's The South to Posterity. No, she cannot read yet, despite being the brightest fifteen month old in Virginia--a purely unbiased and objective view, of course. Even so, I could not resist snapping this photograph--a true classic, for sure (Click to enlarge). Ain't she a darlin'?! As she is representative of my posterity; and with the oh-so-predictable, clichéd, disparaging, condescending commentary in recent days about Confederate history, Lee-Jackson Day, etc, I thought this "Kodak moment" (though I took this with a Canon), presented an opportunity to comment on both Freeman's and Lee's lasting legacy, as well as Confederate history.

In the 1998 edition of Freeman's classic, Gary Gallagher writes the following in his introduction quoting historian T. Harry Williams:

"Long before his life had ended, Douglas Freeman had become a name and a legend. To him was accorded the rare honor of being accepted, while still alive, as a great historian, as the authority in his field and of having his works acclaimed as classics that would endure permanently."

Gallagher continues:

"The passage of four [now five] decades has witnessed little diminishment of Freeman's reputation . . . Freeman has had a more enduring impact on Confederate military literature than any other historian. He remains the most widely known figure in the field."

Gallagher adds some comments about the attempt of revisionist historians regarding Lee:

"It is a measure of Freeman's stature that historians who seek to revise his interpretation sometimes devote almost as much attention to the biographer as to the general. Thomas L. Connelly and Alan T. Nolan, authors of pointedly revisionist critiques of Lee as a man and soldier, illustrate this phenomenon. Each sets up Freeman as a towering figure whose work on Lee and his army shaped everything that followed . . . noted Connelly, 'there was little question that Freeman had established his predominance as the ranking Lee scholar.'" (Emphasis mine.)

And Gallagher added this commentary on Freeman's perspective regarding Confederate history:

"What would History's verdict be in judging the Confederate people? That there was logic in secession, concludes Freeman, that the South fought hard and bravely and fairly, that it coped with defeat steadily, and that it produced leaders worthy of admiration. In short, History would record a three-word entry summarazing the Confederate people's experience: 'Character is Confirmed.'" (Emphasis mine.)

A confirmation lacking in many of Lee's--as well as Freeman's--critics.

CW Chaplains Museum Commendation From MCA

20 January 2010

Kenny Rowlette, Director
The National Civil War Chaplains Museum
2043 The Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center
Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Dear Mister Rowlette:

The officers and members of the Military Chaplains Association wish to extend congratulations on the Grand Opening of your museum. 

We deeply appreciate the efforts of your research center and foundation to preserve and advance understanding of religious belief and ministry during the Civil War. 

We share your commitment to foster education concerning the foundational place of religious faith throughout American history.  With particular attention to the ministry legacy of chaplains during the Civil War, you champion a frequently neglected, distorted, or denied truth. Service in the Armed Forces does not require a divorce from religious heritage or loss of regard for others with religious belief. Indeed, a staggering deposit of evidence shows that religious faith was and is crucial to the well-being, performance, and survival of our Warriors during every chapter of American military history.  Moreover, the spiritual care of those “in harm’s way” endures as an essential priority for political, military, and religious leaders.

Thank you for strong witness to our spiritual heritage with devoted service to God and Country.

May our God - the God of our Forebearers - continue to inspire your endeavors and bless you with the “sure hand of Providence.”

Respectfully and prayerfully yours,
Your browser may not support display of this image.

The Rev. Dr. Gary R. Pollitt, Ph.D.
Captain, Chaplain Corps, U. S. Navy (Ret.)
Executive Director

Celebrating 85 years of service.
Speaking for chaplaincy.  Caring for chaplains.
Extending pastoral ministries beyond the battlefield.

25 January 2010

Bad History?

Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory recently made this comment on his blog:

"Slavery did not exist in the Northern states by the beginning of the Civil War."

Well, not exactly. At the beginning of the WBTS, citizens of New Jersey still owned 18 of what their laws referred to as "apprentices for life", though the federal census listed such individuals as "slaves." Yes, a minuscule number compared to Southern states but, nonetheless, a fact. And, though New Jersey abolished slavery in 1846 . . .

"New Jersey's emancipation law carefully protected existing property rights. No one lost a single slave, and the right to the services of young Negroes was fully protected. Moreover, the courts ruled that the right was a 'species of property,' transferable 'from one citizen to another like other personal property.' " ~ Edgar J. McManus, Black Bondage in the North, Syracuse University Press, 1973 (and republished in 2002). 

And, according to McManus, "New Jersey retained slaveholding without technically remaining a slave state." It was not until the 13th amendment was ratified that involuntary servitude in New Jersey was completely abolished.

So Levin's assertion is factually incorrect.

Will he suffer the same "bad history" criticism that Harry Crocker suffered

Edmund Burke, Boob Bait & The Elite

Michael Barone, who was once a senior writer at US News & World Report but who now writes for the Washington Examiner, has written an excellent piece about what pseudo-conservative David Brooks has called--"the educated class" or what Barone calls, "the elite, university-educated, often secular professionals." God bless him. Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that elites are a favorite target here--that avocation just dovetails very nicely with my Scots-Irish populist heritage; not that disdain for elites belongs solely to Scots-Irish--almost everyone dislikes snobbish, arrogant, condescending individuals.

Some may mistake my criticism as "anti-intellectual" or "anti-education"--quite the contrary. Rather, it is false intellectualism and false education at which I hurl my arrows. As a parent who helped home educate 4 of my children, anyone suggesting that someone willing to make that kind of sacrifice is "anti-education" is either woefully ignorant or simply pushing an agenda. And, as is evident in America these days, it is quite possible to be educated beyond one's intelligence. Intellectuals are not my heroes, though some of my heroes happen to be intellectuals. But I digress . . . back to Barone's piece.

In his piece, Barone refers to Edmund Burke -- in many ways, the philosophical and political father of the South and a man to whom I refer in the header of this blog--quite on purpose.

The following excerpt from Barone's piece is priceless:

"Members of 'the educated class' may have heard of Edmund Burke, but they take the very un-Burkean view that those with elite educations can readily rearrange society to comport with their pet abstract theories. These often secular Americans have a quasi-religious faith in government's ability to, in Barack Obama's words to Joe the Plumber, 'spread the wealth around' and to recalibrate the energy sector to protect against climate dangers they are absolutely sure are impending. Ordinary Americans, even in Massachusetts, may not have heard of Edmund Burke, but they share his skepticism that self-appointed experts can reengineer institutions in accordance with abstract theories."

Edmund Burke wins in Massachusetts--now there's something to celebrate.

(I've promised more on this issue in a rather lengthy post for quite a while. It's coming, it's coming . . .)

Historical Nostalgia Can Be A Good Thing

One of the criticisms oft' heard from certain historians and bloggers is their disdain for what they refer to as "celebratory history" or, what one might call a "nostalgic" view or perspective of history. Brett McKay (a recent law school grad) offers an excellent defense of that view of history on his blog post today. Here are a few salient points from his post:

"There have been moments like this at other times in history, most recently the 1960’s where idealistic hippies believed they could form a new world where peace and love ruled the day. That project was largely unsuccessful and in many ways lead to the cultural excess and stagnation we are currently experiencing. But the result of the European project was one of the greatest cultural flourishings in world history: the Renaissance period. The difference? While the movement of the 1960’s was built on the idea of starting with a clean slate, the Renaissance was founded on….yup, you guessed it, nostalgia."

And . . . 

"And the period we get nostalgic for typically represents that which we feel is missing in our current culture. It’s not as if we wish to return wholesale to that period, but that we wish to bring back those characteristics which were most salient about that time and which seem absent in ours."

And . . . 

"Ideally, what should happen is that each generation should take what was best from the generation before it and add it as a brick in the foundation of the culture, discarding the dross and ever stacking together the lessons we’ve learned, the things that have really worked best."

You may read the rest of Brett's thought provoking comments here

23 January 2010

Natioanl Civil War Chaplains Museum Opens In Lynchburg

I left my home in the Shenandoah Valley this morning, headed southeast on the Howardsville Turnpike, through the George Washington National Forest, over Reeds Gap and the Blue Ridge, down past Wintergreen, through Beech Grove, over Brent's Mountain via the Patrick Henry Highway (Rt. 151), down the Monocan Parkway (Rt. 29), across the James River and into Lynchburg to attend the grand opening of the National Civil War Chaplains Museum (I serve on the Board of Trustees - Note: the website needs to be updated. Check back soon). I always love that drive--its beautiful.

The event was well-attended--even though Professor James I. Robertson, Jr--who was scheduled to give the keynote at the luncheon, recently broke his leg and was unable to attend. Fortunately, Chaplain (Colonel) John Wesley Brinsfield, Jr., (Retired), did a great job pinch hitting for the ailing Bud Robertson. Dr. Brinsfield (who taught history, ethics and world religions at the US Army Aviation School, the Army Chaplain School, in the Department of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and at the U.S. Army War College as Director of Ethical Program Development), presented a brief, but fascinating talk on the impact of Civil War Chaplains during and after the war. The part I found particularly interesting was the two theories of war taught at West Point during the times of several prominent WBTS figures--including Lee, Davis, Sherman, and Jackson. During the time Lee, Davis, and other cadets were at West Point, the theory of a "just war" was most prominent - meaning, in part, that armies should do everything possible to prevent casualties of civilians and collateral damage to civilian institutions and property. But, by the time Jackson and Sherman were cadets, that philosophy has been supplanted with the concept of "total war" being taught. During both these periods, it was the responsibility of the West Point Chaplain to teach ethics and moral issues involving warfare. It's interesting to note how the competing philosophies may have impacted how the various individuals viewed and conducted warfare during the WBTS. This subject matter dovetails into a conversation I had with Dr. Brinsfield a while back regarding the impact of a revival that occurred at West Point and how that impacted cadets and future WBTS figures. I actually started researching the subject for an article and his talk today rekindled my interest. I plan on completing that research, along with including this additional aspect, and finishing up that article very soon. I already have a publication interested in it.

The Museum itself has a number of interesting artifacts and displays. One which I'm particularly fond of (since I suggested and lobbied for it), is a display which features the renowned slave preacher, the Reverend John Jasper, who ministered to wounded Confederates (including, quite possibly, my own great-great grandfather) at Chimborazo hospital. On hand manning that display today was the church historian of Jasper's Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church in Richmond, Benjamin Ross. Benjamin and I worked together in writing the text for the John Jasper birthplace historical highway marker in Fluvanna County. Benjamin and I shared a table today at the luncheon which allowed us to discuss some projects he's working on in regards to Jasper's 200th birthday and Virginia's commemoration of the Sesquicentennial.

Also on hand today was Chaplain Gil Gibson, a retired Navy Chaplain who often comments here. Chaplain Gibson presented a letter of commendation for our efforts from the Military Chaplains Association. That was quite a surprise and an honor for us to receive. Thank you Chaplain Gibson!

I would encourage all my readers to visit the museum. There is no entrance fee, though donations would be appreciated. We have a lot of exciting things planned for the future and I'll post updates here. Below are a few photos from today's festivities.

What I encountered when crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway this morning.

Lining up for the ribbon-cutting.

A "unified" honor guard prepares to fire a salute.

This mural inside was painted using the popular painting "
Resurrection Morning" by artist Hong Min Zou as a guide. Both Mr. Zou and his wife traveled from their home in Atlanta for the grand opening today.

Another one of the displays at the Chaplains museum.

And, finally, a shot of Dr. Brinsfield holding forth.

22 January 2010

From Gettysburg Last Weekend

For last week's speaking engagement in Gettysburg, my wife and I stayed in the room which sets atop General Lee's Gettysburg Headquarters & Museum - 2 bedroom, whirlpool bath, kitchenette/living room area - very nice! The event itself was a Lee-Jackson Supper and, according to those who sponsored it, the only one in Gettysburg this year. The supper was held at the historic and beautiful Gettysburg Hotel.

Of course, anyone staying in the Lee Suite gets VIP parking.

(Man, I'm looking a little cheeky here. Gotta lay off the Hardees sausage biscuits for a while . . . or maybe it was the holiday desserts. Hey, I'm 52 years old, give me a break. Back to the gym soon . . . grrooaannn.)

21 January 2010

Happy Birthday General

Jackson Meets Little Sorrel by John Paul Strain

It's been a busy week. After speaking at a Lee-Jackson supper in Gettysburg over the weekend, I'm headed to Lynchburg tonight to do the same thing--weather permitting as they're calling for a major ice storm here in Western Virginia.  

Patrick Henry College Beats Harvard In Debate

"Just 10 years old, 350-student Patrick Henry College won its fourth national debate championship in six years. The Virginia evangelical Christian school, founded by the leading Christian homeschool organization, is the only college or university to win the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national championship more than once. Other schools competing included Harvard, Miami, Syracuse, Holy Cross, the College of Wooster and Fitchburg State College. "

I'm proud to say that my youngest daughter, who we homeschooled from age 4 until she graduated high school, was accepted at Patrick Henry a few years ago. Though she chose another school, I'm still very proud of her accomplishment as PHC is extremely competitive. PHC caters to homeschoolers, you know, that dangerous method of education that should be criminalized.

I wonder if academics who think homeschooling should be criminalized or is somehow inferior to other methods could hold their own in a debate with these PHC students?

20 January 2010

Coming Soon From Franklin Springs Family Media

And the same folks that brought you Still Standing - The Stonewall Jackson Story. . .

Historic Poetic Justice - Boston Tea Party II

"If -- repeat if -- Scott Brown wins next Tuesday, it is no exaggeration to say he will change the world of politics as we know it." ~ Andy Hiller, 14 January 2010

The first American Revolution started in Massachusetts. Has the second one started there? Let there be no doubt about this historic Senate election: This is a bombshell in progressive/liberal/Democrat circles. This is not the proverbial canary in the coal mine--symbolically, it is a whole flock of dead ravens on the front lawn of every liberal politician in America. In so many ways, it is one of those out-of-nowhere poetic justice moments that are pivotal in American history. Think about it. The bluest of blue--deep blue--states, Massachusetts, has elected a conservative Republican who made no bones about his conservatism. President Obama and those in Congress who have been governing against the will of the majority of Americans have been blindsided. Moreover, Scott Brown has been elected to the seat formerly held by THE iconic politician of the left--"the swimmer"-- Ted Kennedy. AND, Scott Brown has openly promised to be the 41st vote to kill the socialist healthcare "reform" legislation which was Ted Kennedy's lifelong dream. Undeniably staggering. Since the statists have taken control of the federal government, conservative candidates have had stunning wins in 3 major elections (two of them VERY blue states): Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. This is an unprecedented turn of political fortunes since 2008. 

"An epic upset . . . a stunning embarrassment for the White House" ~ The Associated Press
"A remarkable upset victory." ~ The Washington Post
"A dramatic upset." ~ ABC News

It is a moment that those who love liberty, freedom, and our founding principles should savor--but not for long. The progressives will not stop their "ends justifies the means" agenda. In a classic illustration of "what part of losing 3 elections in a row do you not understand?" - Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Coakley's loss won't deter his colleagues from continuing their practice of blaming George W. Bush's administration. 

Yeah, that seems to be working out real well there for you Congressman. By all means, do keep it up. At least one Senator from my home state seems to have gotten religion since the Massachusetts election was called:

In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated. ~ Virginia Senator Jim Webb (D - at least for now).

I guess those tea-bagging jokes just aren't quiet as funny as they were a few weeks ago, huh?
More on this and the related historical perspective coming in a detailed post soon.

19 January 2010

Lee Chapel - The Office Of Robert E. Lee


Lee Chapel has put together an excellent online exhibit of Robert E. Lee's college office, located in the basement of Lee Chapel. You can explore the office, along with its contents, here.

From this website: "
With the rule of civility, exemplified by the W&L 'speaking tradition,' Lee’s legacy of honor continues to permeate academic and social life at Washington and Lee University and serves as a model nationwide."

"A model nationwide." I would wholeheartedly agree. General Lee is still much revered in Virginia, Lexington, and at Washington & Lee University. Some CW bloggers and historians don't like that. They call it "celebratory history" or "Lost Cause sympathy" or "neo-Confederate" romanticism. I call it simple admiration of a great man.

Happy Birthday General

18 January 2010

Antiques Roadshow Does Black Confederates

An original of this popular image was just shown on PBS' Antiques Roadshow. A direct descendant of Andrew Chandler shared it, and the appraiser told him it was worth $30,000 - $40,000. The man appearing on the show said that the Black Confederate & slave, Silas Chandler, fought with his master and used a gold piece to bribe Union doctors in order to keep them from amputating his master's leg. According to this gentleman, Silas received a Confederate pension. The families of both men have reconnected and are now friends.

Andrew & Silas Chandler

A New Day In Virginia

16 January 2010

Part of the text of Governor McDonnell's speech . . .

"It was here that Robert E. Lee, the son of a Virginia Governor, was commissioned as Commander of the Commonwealth’s military forces as a young nation split into war."

And . . .

"It was George Washington who noted, in his first Inaugural Address, 'The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected to remain on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.'"

The Governor's speech echoed a theme of reconciliation. You can read the complete text here.

On The Future Of The Internet & Blogging

"It is still hard to understand why we need to regulate something that has been the most successful economic, informational and organizational tool of the past two decades.  But no matter.  On Thursday, the FCC’s comment period closed and the verdict is in. Limited government and free market activists crushed big government fans on the Left . . . Fortunately the American people don’t want government’s heavy hand anywhere near their Internet connections, and the Left’s claim to online dominance is over. The sleeping free-market majority has awakened, not just on health care but across the board, including technology policy."

This is an extremely important issue for bloggers and those of us who believe in free speech.

**I'll post some photos and comments tomorrow about the Lee-Jackson event in Gettysburg where I spoke this past weekend.

16 January 2010

Yeah, I Can Relate

                               Duty Calls (via xkcd.com)

15 January 2010

Honoring Two Great Virginians



, it is fitting to recognize Generals Lee and Jackson as two of our nation’s most notable military strategists, as beloved leaders among their troops, as pioneers in the field of higher education and as faithful and dedicated Virginians; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Timothy M. Kaine, do hereby recognize January 16, 2009 as LEE-JACKSON DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA and call this observance to the attention of all our citizens."

The above text was from Governor Kaine's Lee-Jackson proclamation last year. Assuming he does one,
I'll post a link to this year's proclamation.

14 January 2010

Coming February 1

And brought to you by the same folks who produced Still Standing ~ The Stonewall Jackson Story . . .

More here.

**Update: I'll be reviewing the film here soon.

13 January 2010

Why Don't More Educators Support Charter Schools?

Charters, Most of Which Serve Low-Income Kids, Reach 'Tipping Point' of Popularity as Waiting Lists Expand

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As more low-income and minority parents seek to remove their children from traditional public schools that chronically underperform, waiting lists for America's public charter schools have grown dramatically, a report released today reveals. According to The Center for Education Reform (CER), an average of 239 children are waiting to enter each charter school in America, demonstrating a 21 percent surge in parental demand for charters over last year.

Story here.

Why does much of the political class (and the elites), oppose Charter schools? Because many of them see government as the savior. How's that working out these days?

Maybe Virginia will lead the way out of the wilderness.

12 January 2010

Oh Save Us Anointed Ones

"Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year," laments elitist and counterfeit conservative David Brooks.

So many academics & intellectuals are, in their own legendary minds, "
born and educated to lead the rest of us." Thomas Sowell doesn't think so. Neither do I. And neither does Professor Stuart Schwartz.

10 January 2010

To Gettysburg!

Postings will be slim to none this week as I'm busy in some business matters and preparing for a speaking engagement at a Lee-Jackson banquet in Gettysburg next Saturday.

06 January 2010

Georgetown Academic Would Criminalize Homeschooling

And the Homeschool Legal Defense Association responds appropriately to Robin West's The Harms of Homeschooling. Here are a few excerpts:

While the number of people in academia who are openly critical of homeschooling are few, every now and again an article will be published in a university periodical which attacks homeschooling. The critics in academia come from the far left of the political spectrum. One such critic, Robin L. West of the Georgetown University Law Center, recently published an article titled “The Harms of Homeschooling,” which appeared in the Summer/Fall 2009 issue of the University of Maryland’s Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly

In the article she says, “Education, after all, is typically described as a core, and possibly the core, state responsibility.” We hope you’d agree that anyone who can entertain the idea that education is the core responsibility of the state (even though education is not mentioned as a state responsibility in the U.S. Constitution) and neglect to recognize that defense/national security is the core responsibility of the state is clearly out of the mainstream. 

Later in the article Ms. West says, “Homeschooling is now such an entrenched practice, recriminalization is not a viable option in any event.” It appears that Ms. West is suggesting that she would not oppose regarding homeschoolers as criminals?

The level of ignorance, misinformation, and a heavy-handed, statist mindset revealed in West's comments is astounding. Fortunately, HSLDA's response sets the record straight. You can read their response here.

(What is it about certain academics who want to put everyone who disagrees with them in jail? It seems that those who would think outside the box or challenge the status quo are viewed as a threat. What is it they fear? The loss of their monopoly? I thought one of the cornerstones of higher learning was diversity and free expression. Not so according to the the control freak, authoritarian statists.)

05 January 2010

The Five Happiest States - Most In The South

"Except for Hawaii -- presumably blissful for its island breezes, yearlong flora, and an prevalent pineapples -- all of the top five happiness states are located in the South or desert Southwest. In fact, of the happiest fifteen states, all but Hawaii and Maine are traditionally "red" states. As for the bottom fifteen, all but Missouri and Nevada are located within the coastal blue-state culture. . . New York has the distinction of being the least happy state in the country."

Hmmm . . . what does this tell us about American society and culture? What does it reflect about some of the issues surrounding our history, the WBTS, and so-called "Lost Cause" mythology. Is there a connection? I'm just asking the question.

". . . a spirit of "community colonization and control" . . .  -- what today might be termed communalism or collectivism -- originated with the settlement of New England and spread to the "northern plateau" of New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A very different culture of individualism dominated the southern colonies and advanced with the frontier throughout the Southern, Western, and lower Midwestern regions. "The spirit of individual colonization, resentful of control" . . . , characterized this vast heartland region."

Question - is this why so many more folks leave the North and come South - are they searching for happiness as in, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?" Do they find the utopian philosophies which dominate the "unhappy" states aren't so utopian after all? Then why, pray tell, do they immediately set upon trying to implement them in their new homes?

"It is that kind of unhappiness that the political Left is attempting to force on those of us who still believe in liberty, and who, for the moment at least, are still happy.

You can read some interesting and thought provoking analysis on a recent study here at The American Thinker.

04 January 2010

Economic Downturn Impacts The Stonewall Jackson House

Many museums and historic sites throughout the Nation are experiencing a reduction in traffic. So it comes as no surprise that the Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington is cutting back its hours . . .

"The Stonewall Jackson Foundation announced that starting Sunday, the Stonewall Jackson House will be closed to the public during the months of January and February, except for group tours of 10 or more scheduled at least 48 hours in advance."

I try and support many of these sites/museums whenever I can. Those that offer memberships, like the Museum of the Confederacy, receive my support that way. Some time later this week, I'll be traveling to Lee Chapel in Lexington to sign a few books and I always try to purchase a little something in the gift shop there. Many of the people who work these gift shops and historic sites are volunteers and supporting them by purchasing a book or souvenir helps to keep the doors open. Although Christmas gift-giving is over, perhaps the next time you need a birthday, anniversary, or other gift item, you might consider a purchase from one of your favorite historic sites or museums.

God Has A Sense Of Humor

From the Drudge Report . . .

Temps Plunge to Record as Cold Snap Freezes North, East States...
Vermont sets 'all-time record for one snowstorm'...
Iowa temps 'a solid 30 degrees below normal'...
Power outage halts flights at Washington Reagan National Airport...
Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years...
Peru's mountain people 'face extinction because of cold conditions'...
Beijing -- coldest in 40 years...
World copes with Arctic weather...

How's that man-made global warming theory working out these days? Here in the Breadbasket of the Confederacy, we're having 20 degree weather during the day and single digits at night. Many parts of the Shenandoah Valley, once again, smell of wood smoke as folks supplement their heat.  Most of the snow from Christmas Eve is still on the ground. This is the kind of winter I remember as a child . . . we could still sleigh ride on the street in front of our house days after a major snowfall. I think we're simply back into a normal winter weather cycle . . . but what do I know? I'm no expert.

03 January 2010

A Fitting Close To The Holiday Season

I hope all of you had a blessed Christmas and enjoy a healthy and prosperous New Year. Thanks for reading and contributing to the discussions here in 2009. God bless you.

01 January 2010

Currently #1 On Amazon - History & Theory Category

"One of the most surprising aspects of this study is how often intellectuals have been proved not only wrong, but grossly and disastrously wrong in their prescriptions for the ills of society—and how little their views have changed in response to empirical evidence of the disasters entailed by those views." ~ Amazon.com

"Surprising?" Maybe to Amazon.

Thomas Sowell's

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!