28 February 2011

You Call This A Peaceful Protest?

**Update: Yes, there is evidence of teachers encouraging students to come to the Madison, WI protests. I'd call film footage and statements from students at the protest credible, wouldn't you? For the willfully ignorant:

A post at Civil War Memory attacks fellow blogger, Chris Wehner, for calling the degrading spectacle in Madison, Wisconsin for what it is. Kevin Levin calls the protests (which have become violent and are now openly embracing socialists, communists, and anarchists) a "peaceful protest." Talk about being "totally unaware."

Social Justice on display (Yet more anecdotal evidence?):

Reporter assaulted by one of the peace-loving protesters:

“One thing I think should make clear – the people coming after us from every live shot here, these people hate,” Tobin said. “These are people who don’t respect diverse viewpoints. In fact, they’re so afraid I’ll present a diverse viewpoint, that’s why they try to heckle me and shut down every live shot. They’ve made it clear, that what they want to make it harder for me to do my job. They are proud of that when they disrupt a live shot, when they really trample over the First Amendment rights or the First Amendment’s obligations of a reporter."

This is just a very small sampling. There's plenty more available for those with an open mind. Do your own research.

Many thanks to Chris Wehner for having the courage to go public with his criticism over this spectacle. It is public school teachers like Chris who give parents and grandparents like me some hope. Thanks Chris - you are not alone. I know other teachers read this blog. It is my hope some of you will offer your views on what you're seeing not only in Wisconsin, but in other parts of the country as well.

26 February 2011

A Regional Party

A recent Gallup poll, once again proves that the left and the experts are so often wrong in their analysis of events--both past and recent. After the last election, we heard that the Republican Party was in danger of becoming a "regional power." Uh-huh. Actually, it's the Democrat (Progressive) Party that's in danger of becoming a regional party - in the Northeast and the left coast. 

The top 10 rankings make clear that conservative identification is much more common than liberal identification, with each of the top 10 conservative states at or above 45% identification and only the District of Columbia exceeding 31% liberal identification. In the nation as a whole, Americans are about twice as likely to identify as conservative as they are to identify as liberal, a pattern that has persisted for many years. Americans are also more likely to say they are conservative than moderate.

More here

25 February 2011

Please, Read The Rules Before Posting Comments

Just a reminder for those new to this blog who wish to post comments: Read the Blog Rules first.

Two of the more frequently abused rules:

  • Unlike some blogs, I don't post comments which contain profanity. 
  • Your syntax has to at least reach the level of semi-coherency.
Thank you.

Now This Is A Dedicated Teacher

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:13

What Amateur Historians Can Accomplish

John Huffer grew up in the same neighborhood where I spent many youthful days staying with my grandparents - the Tree Streets of Waynesboro. His contribution to local history in collecting and cataloguing artifacts (Native American as well as Civil War) cannot be underestimated. Not bad for an "amateur" historian.

When John Huffer was eight years old, his father showed him a small collection of arrowheads kept in a cigar box. Since then, Huffer has spent decades searching for arrowheads and Native American artifacts after rain showers in muddied grounds around Waynesboro . . . “People here like John go out and do these things that we never hear about much,” said Councilman Mike Harris. “They go out and build an exhibit like this to showcase. This community has a lot of people like that who are unsung heroes, doing great things that we don’t even know about.” A Waynesboro native, Huffer grew up in the Tree Streets on Pine Avenue.

More here.

What's Most Important To The NEA

It's all about power and money and protecting the interests of educating children teachers. Anything else would be "too high a price to pay."


24 February 2011

America's Favorite President

On Reagan, "the amiable dunce" -

"Yeah, right . . . Ronald Reagan only performed successfully in six different careers: radio sportscaster, movie actor, trade union president, corporate spokesman, two-term governor and two-term president of the United States. Lucky for him he wasn't hampered by Jimmy Carter's intelligence!" ~ Edmund Morris

And now, we're seeing a rerun of Carter's presidency (on steroids).

23 February 2011

Leftist Thug

First they lie, then they turn violent. Keep it up, you're exposing your true identity to all of America. Where's the condemnation of this type of violence from professional educators?

Greedy Teachers

The total compensation package for Milwaukee teachers is $100,000. This is for working eight months per year. So when most other Americans are struggling with cutbacks, lay-offs, business downturns, etc, etc . . . these teachers have the gall to go on strike when they're asked to sacrifice?

I can tell you this much, they're not doing much for their public image. In the eyes of a growing number of Americans, they look like a bunch of spoiled, undisciplined, radical brats.

22 February 2011

Admitting Bias

A while back, I commented on another Civil War history related blog about the left's history of violence. I believe the comments followed some discussion about the Tea Party movement. My comment upset one of the historians who posts there and he suggested it was actually the right which was to blame for most of the violence in modern America.

We witnessed numerous false allegations against Tea Party members last year and outrage expressed at some of their signs, comments, etc. How quickly the tables can turn. Funny, I'm not hearing the same outrage expressed by educators and those in academia over what's going on in Wisconsin. However, at least some in the media have now admitted "liberal bias" against the Tea Party movement. If we could just get some historians to do the same.

What Is The Purpose Of Education?

“You can’t make Socialists out of individualists — children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.” ~ John Dewey (1859–1952), co-author and signer of Humanist Manifesto, head of the prestigious Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City; considered by many to be the father of "modern" education.

The left despises individualists, which is why they want to put everyone into groups.

21 February 2011

Don't Confuse Them With The Facts

It's their religion. Senator Inhofe takes some non-thinkers to school.

By the way, the individual who claims to be a reporter from the Politico lied. He does not work for, nor with the Politico. What is it about these leftists who can't seem to tell the truth? First we have school teachers in Wisconsin calling in sick when they're not (setting a bad example for the children they teach), and doctors providing these same liars with fake excuses - making them liars as well. So why should we trust them in anything else they say - a liar is a liar. I'd say the left's credibility gap is widening at a rather speedy clip.

20 February 2011

Social Scientist or Historian?

I've long believed that many modern historians are, in actuality, little more than social scientists who are simply using history as their vehicle for pushing or promoting certain politically correct social views and theories. It's poor history, but it does get you invited to speak at all the right seminars and conferences; as well as interviewed in the rapidly dwindling circulation mouthpieces of leftist academia and big government. Several historians and blogs come immediately to mind. Recently, I was giving this view some thought and was reminded of what Kenneth Stamp wrote in his introduction to the 1974 edition of The Causes of the Civil War:

In recent years some historians have attempted to solve the problem of historical causation with the analytical tools of modern social scientists.

Other noted and respected historians have alluded to this same approach in regards to history. Robert Krick has referred to this "social science" approach as "psycho-babble." I would tend to agree. In Krick's classic and wonderfully insulting--as well as accurate--style, he skewered the faddish social science model with these words from his book, The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy: The Death of Stonewall Jackson and Other Chapters on the Army of Northern Virginia (page 236) :

It wonderfully suits the Zeitgeist by appealing to the sempiternal yearning to smash idols, which inevitably afflicts a noisy segment of the race.  The itch to fling dead cats into sanctuaries usually does more good than harm.  In this instance, it also affords a limitless appeal in a smug way to the political-correctness wowsers.

As we are well-aware, ruling class academics and big government types like to focus the majority of their "idol smashing" on certain southerners; most notably Robert E. Lee and other Confederate leaders. For example: A Confederate History Month proclamation by the Commonwealth of Virgina which honors Confederate soldiers and leaders, yet fails to mention slavery is unacceptable, while a bicentennial proclamation by the United States Senate honoring Abraham Lincoln which fails to mention his colonization efforts doesn't even get a critical mention in the press, the CW blogosphere, nor among the rest of the self-annointed  "objective scholars." Why? Would anyone seriously postulate that the orchestrated outrage of the former and the utter silence regarding the latter was mere coincidence? Again, agenda-driven social science, not historical analysis.

Call it the Saul Alinsky approach to critical thinking - Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. This rather shallow perspective on the Civil War, of course, also applies to more than the personalities. Stating the obvious, it also extends to the causes. One such recent example is the Virginia Historical Society's exhibit on the Civil War. You will see at the link that the caption under the video notes:

Why Did the Civil War Happen? is the subject of the introductory video for the VHS blockbuster show, An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia. Slavery caused the war, but the war did not begin to free the enslaved. Throughout the 1850s, slavery had kept the free North and the slaveholding South on a collision course that could end in dissolution of the Union or a war to preserve it. (Emphasis mine.)

The notion that "slavery caused the war" is problematic, simplistic, and extremely shallow. Did slavery cause the WBTS? Yes, but so did a number of other factors. To quote an analogy I used before:

Did the United States invade Iraq over WMD’s? That’s what we were told. Did we invade because Hussein would not permit UN arms inspections? That was the “official reason” but does it tell the whole story? No, it does not. Did we invade Iraq over possible terrorist threats to the United States? Yes. Did we invade Iraq because we wanted to establish a strong presence in the Middle East to guarantee the free flow of oil at market prices? I believe so. Did we invade Iraq in order to establish a pro-Western government that would ostensibly have positive, long term consequences? Yes. Did we invade Iraq to rid the region of a mad man like Hussein? Yes. Did we invade Iraq because the United States government wanted revenge over Hussein’s plan to assassinate Bush’s father? Yes. All of these were reasons for going to war with Iraq. (You may disagree with all of these "reasons" - that's not the point, just that there were ostensibly multiple reasons.) It is extremely naïve to take the public, political statements and documents of politicians at face value when it comes to giving the reason for invading Iraq. It is ridiculous to claim one reason for our invasion of Iraq, just as it is with most wars; there were multiple reasons and tensions that built over decades for a whole host of reasons. It was no different with the WBTS.

Moreover, since so many of these self-consciously, smartest-people-in-the-room historians, social scientists like to lecture the rest of us that we should focus on "more recent scholarship," perhaps they should take their own advice when it comes to causation and the WBTS. Professor Marc Egnal's Clash of Extremes - The Economic Origins of the Civil War serves as an example. As Egnal notes in his introduction:

A focus on slavery also explains little about the divisions within the North and the South. It assumes unity in each of these regions when in fact there was fragmentation . . . There is no question that some individuals in the South felt that Lincoln's election posed a mortal threat to slavery, but more did not . . . In sum, the current emphasis on slavery as the cause of the Civil War is fraught with problems. It does not clarify the sequence of events, the divisions within the sections, or the policies and actins of the Republican Party. It is these problems that a new interpretation must address . . . It argues that more than any other reason, the evolution of the Northern and Southern economies explains the Civil War. (Emphasis mine.)

So, the next time you read a simplistic, politically motivated, narrow-minded, one-sided view and perspective of the WBTS, just remind yourself that, you are, for all practical purposes, reading the work of a social scientist, not a historian.

*Note on comments: Comments on this post will be purposely and selecitively screened. If you're critical of this post, your comment will only be posted if you wish to address the historian vs. social scientist aspect. I'm not going to post comments meant simply to deflect or obfuscate. 

18 February 2011

History Repeats

Jimmy Carter 2.0

Links from the Drudge Report

But, not to worry, the "experts" told us what to do. It they can't interpret history in their own life time, how in the world can they claim to interpret it from 150 years ago, 200 years ago?


Chestnut Ridge/Turner Ashby Update

Doug Hill sent me another angle of what's been done at the Turner Ashby/Chestnut Ridge site . . . 

Right of center of the image is where Ashby's monument stands, I think everything to the right of the power line cut is gone, and everything to the left where the horizon levels out. This was taken [June 2010] looking north from the Food Lion parking lot across Port Republic Road. They've cut into the ridge big-time to level the land.
Click to enlarge

JMU & Battlefield Preservation

I would like to think that an academic institution like James Madison University would be a bit more concerned with historic preservation of a Civil War site than what is represented by these photos and what I've heard. I'm not sure what, if anything could have been done, but this just seems like a callous disregard for the significance of this Civil War site.

Chestnut Ridge Marker - 2008

Chestnut Ridge Marker - 2010    

Chestnut Ridge View - 2008

Chestnut Ridge View 2010 

Friend and fellow SCV member, Douglas Hill noted in an email to me:

The remaining little plot of Chestnut Ridge owned by the UDC is now an island surrounded by what is now destroyed/removed battlefield. It was the tip of a peninsula of woods, but that peninsula too is forever gone.
The construction seen in the background is that involving a new athletic field for JMU. Perhaps the marker piece containing the text was removed to protect from blasting, I don't know. I don't want to pass judgment here, maybe some of my readers can shed some light on this. More here.

The older photos were borrowed from this web page - please see for credits. The present day photos were taken recently by Douglas Hill.

17 February 2011

Education & Progressive Ideology

Just more anecdotal evidence. Isn't calling in sick when you're not, lying? What does that teach children? Move along, nothing to see here.

And more for your viewing pleasure . . .

A Principled Young Gentleman . . .

Refuses to wrestle a girl.

As a boy and teenager growing up in the '60's & '70's, I participated in various organized sports and competions - basketball, the Soap Box Derby, etc. These activities were organized by men for boys. There was an accepted and acknowledged difference between the sexes (imagine that). Boys, especially at those ages, tend to be rough and competitive, which is a good thing and, at that time, the thought of girls competing in the same event with boys would have been soundly rejected. Not so in our "more enlightened" worldview. 

Now comes a young man who, based on his convictions as a Christian, has respectfully refused to wrestle a girl in a high school tournament. 

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," wrote Northup. "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa."

Good for him. Chivalry lives. Not surprisingly, the young man was homeschooled. Complete story here.

16 February 2011

John Jasper Exhibit & Talk

**Updated - see image and text at the bottom of this post.

If you are close enough to Lynchburg, Virginia, I would encourage you to take the time to see an exhibit and attend a lecture which will focus on the life of Virginia's renowned and celebrated preacher, John Jasper. Jasper has been a hero of mine for many years and his best known biography by W.E. Hatcher was required reading for my homeschooled children. It is my opinion that Jasper is one of the most overlooked and unsung heroes of American history. His life story is truly inspiring. Few men in American history have overcome what Jasper did while simultaneously rising to the pinnacle of his profession. Jasper can be counted among the greatest (perhaps the greatest) orators in Virginia history. 

The exhibit and lecture are both open to the public. Benjamin Ross, historian for the church founded by Jasper, will be the speaker. I had the privilege of working on a historical highway marker with Benjamin several years ago. Details of the lecture can be found here. Below the image is the text of a piece I wrote for the Washington Times about John Jasper a few years ago.

From the Washington Times, 7 May 2005:

Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond was a most depressing place to be in March 1865.

The doctors and staff were in dire straits, as were the wounded and dying Confederate soldiers who languished there. Medical supplies were in short supply, especially morphine. The gloom of death permeated the halls and stalked the wounded. Pain was the soldiers' constant companion, and routine sicknesses and infections were often fatal.

Unsanitary conditions made the situation even worse. One of every 10 Confederates brought to Chimborazo with diarrhea or dysentery died. The overall mortality rate was 20 percent -- actually good by 19th-century standards. Mixed with the stench of gangrene was the scent of the day's "medicines" -- turpentine, camphor, castor oil and whiskey.

My great-great grandfather, James Meredith Crutchfield, was one of the Confederate soldiers at Chimborazo in the closing days of the War Between the States. Taken prisoner after being wounded at the Battle of Piedmont the year before, he was taken to Camp Morton, the infamous Federal prison in Indiana. There he suffered along with the rest of the Southern prisoners.

One prisoner at Camp Morton described how he witnessed a Yankee guard take a prisoner outside when the temperature was below zero and give him a bath with a broom. "The fiendish deed was repeated a second time." That prisoner subsequently died.

My grandfather was transferred to Chimborazo on March 10, 1865, and died there March 28, succumbing to his wounds and the ill treatment he had received at Camp Morton. His widow died not knowing what had become of him. **The family still does not know where he was buried or if he was buried.

Yet even in the cruel despair of war and death, a kind Providence often sends hope. In the final days of the war, hope came to Chimborazo in the form of a preacher. This preacher had to get special permission from the Confederate authorities to minister to the wounded at Chimborazo.

Permission was granted, and the preacher roamed the 150 wards of the hospital -- praying with and for the wounded and dying. It was the perfect opportunity for a minister of the Gospel -- the chance to share eternal salvation with those facing eternity. There was something most unusual about this preacher, however. He was black and a slave.

Early bitterness

John Jasper was born the 24th child of slaves Philip and Tina Jasper on Independence Day in 1812. John's mother was a devout Christian and prayed that God would call her son to become a preacher. However, as a young man, Jasper became bitter after his master cruelly separated him from his first wife.

Jasper's bitterness caused him to sink deeper and deeper into a lascivious lifestyle. He eventually was purchased by a kindhearted Richmond businessman by the name of Samuel Hardgrove. Hardgrove was known for his personal piety, and his concern for Jasper's spiritual welfare was obvious.

He was a deacon and devout member of the First Baptist Church of Richmond; his obituary in 1862 called him "a great citizen, businessman and Christian."

Hardgrove prayed earnestly for Jasper's conversion, and it was largely because of his kindness that Jasper acquired and retained a love for the white race — even though it was the white race that denied him his freedom.

Jasper would later speak of Hardgrove's piety and kindness toward him and the influence Hardgrove had had on his life. When Jasper was converted in Hardgrove's tobacco warehouse in 1839, Hardgrove immediately sent for him. After hearing John tell the story of his redemption, the two men wept openly together. According to the original biography of Jasper by W.E. Hatcher titled "John Jasper: The Unmatched Negro Philosopher and Preacher," Jasper relates what happened next:

"Den Marse Sam did a thing dat nearly made me drop ter de flo'. He git out uv his chair an' walk over ter me an' give me his han', an' he say: 'John, I wish you mighty well. Your Saviour is mine, and we are brothers in the Lord.' Wen he say dat I turn 'roun' an put my arm agin de wall, an' put my fist in my mouf ter keep from shoutin'."

By now Hardgrove was overcome with emotion and according to Jasper: "Marse Sam's face wuz rainin' tears, an' he say: 'John, you needn't work any more today. I'm giving you a holiday ... go tell your mother, go round to your neighbors and tell them; go anywhere you want to and tell them the good news. It'll do you good and do them good.' Af'er awhile Marse Sam lif' up dem kin' black eyes uv his an' say: 'Keep telling it, John ... wherever you go, tell it!' "

Fall of Richmond

Though illiterate at the time of his conversion, according to Richard Day's book, "Rhapsody in Black: The Story of John Jasper," Jasper was taught by another slave shortly after his conversion and was a much-sought-after preacher — especially for slave funerals. He became a leader among his people, and when Richmond fell and descended into chaos in April 1865, Jasper stood in the streets and (eschewing his black dialect as he was wont to do at times) pleaded with looters: "Richmond has fallen! We are free! But in the name of God let us act like men!"

There, on the streets of the war-ravaged, fallen capital of the Confederacy, at age 53, free for the first time in his life, with only 73 cents to his name, John Jasper gazed at the destruction and despair and wondered how he would support his wife and nine children.

But Jasper was no quitter. From that April through July, he worked for the city of Richmond, cleaning bricks at 50 cents a thousand so the city could begin the long process of rebuilding.

His friends would sometimes encounter him on the streets covered from head to toe with lime dust, and he would laugh, "I'm jes' like Paul: de preachin' business got so bad he had to go back to tent-makin'!"

A new church

Jasper's own enterprising spirit, hard work and sheer determination in the face of what for most men would be insurmountable odds was inspiring to his people. In the winter of 1867, he became the first black minister to organize a church in postwar Richmond.

In another providential irony, Jasper's first church building was an abandoned Confederate horse stable on Brown's Island in the James River.

His first service was organized with nine members, and his salary was $9 per week. After the war, many Richmond blacks sought refuge in the deserted shacks and shanties along the shore of the mighty James. Though emancipated, most of the former slaves were not only unemployed, but unskilled and unemployable.

Jasper's message and example were overpowering and attracted the despondent former slaves to his church. The congregation grew quickly, and after a few short years and several moves, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church occupied a beautiful brick edifice located in what was known at that time as "Little Africa."

The structure contained close to 1,000 seats on the main floor and had modern gaslights. There were 16 windows that extended from the floor to the ceiling. Under the spacious pulpit platform, there was a baptistery, and a large bell in the tower would call all within hearing distance to worship.

For more than 30 years, Jasper preached and ministered to black and white alike from the pulpit of Sixth Mount Zion. The church is still located at the same spot and remains a vibrant ministry to this day. A room at the church is set aside and dedicated to Jasper's memory. It contains many artifacts from his years there as pastor.

Rise to prominence

Jasper's influence on the life of old Richmond is impressive. To this day, the mayor of Richmond opens City Council meetings with a gavel fashioned from wood taken from Jasper's home after it was torn down.

It was Jasper's preaching style and passionate love for his God that served as the principal attraction through his years as pastor of Sixth Mount Zion. John Jasper set an example of perseverance, faith and humility and was a shining example of the power of Christ's forgiveness and love.

Though Jasper was often treated unjustly, he never harbored bitterness toward anyone. He rose to prominence and preached to legislators, governors and other men of renown.

He once preached before members of the Virginia Legislature and stated, "I've read in the Bible that Pharaoh was an awful liar, just like they tell me most politicians are!"

Jasper's wonderful sense of humor often brought smiles to visitors' faces. When asked why Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church was named "Sixth" — were there five other Mount Zion Baptist Churches in Richmond? — Jasper answered, "No suh, we jes' liked de name."

On many occasions, white pastors in Richmond could find their missing members at Jasper's church, their faces streaked with tears as Jasper preached a red-hot Gospel message filled with love and compassion.

Jasper struck an imposing, dignified figure. He stood 6 feet tall and weighed 175 pounds. He was bald most of his life and wore a beard that was white in his later years. Neatly dressed in black coat, white shirt and white tie, with silver spectacles tied on top of his head with white string, he had an air about him that, while demanding respect, revealed a humbleness of spirit.

Final sermon

On Sunday, March 28, 1901, at age 88, the tired old man mounted his pulpit for the last time. His congregation sensed something was amiss, and many wept openly at the sight of their beloved pastor, who would soon pass from the scene.

Jasper himself sensed the end was near. But this battle-hardened Gospel warrior who had overcome slavery, lack of education and prejudice and had accomplished more in 30 years than most men accomplish in a lifetime, did not shrink from the final enemy.

"My chillun, my work on earth is done! I'se no mo' skeered uv death dan uv a hossfly." He preached his final sermon, walked slowly back to his home and went to his room to rest. Late in the afternoon, the ebony soldier of the cross stirred and whispered his last words: "I have finished my work. I am waiting at the River, looking across for further orders."

Exactly 36 years to the day earlier, my own great-great grandfather had crossed that same river from Chimborazo Hospital. Perhaps John Jasper was there with him when he crossed. I am confident that the black slave preacher and white Confederate soldier were reunited on the far bank.

** As a result of this piece being published in the Washington Times, an SCV member who was involved in researching and documenting buried Confederates at Chimborazo contacted me to let me know my ancestor was buried there. Later this evening, I'll post an image of my ancestor's headstone and grave, which he shares with 2 other soldiers. 
**John Meredith Crutchfield, Company F, 60th Virginia Infantry. Wounded at the Battle of Piedmont, taken prisoner to Camp Morton Indiana, transferred to Chimborazo Hospital in a prisoner exchange in early 1865. Buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond. This is his gravemarker. He is #91.

15 February 2011

Education "Experts" Wrong - Again

* Since the modern homeschool movement began to grow, . . . Questions have been asked about the extent to which they would one day be engaged in civic life, be an active part of public discourse, develop their own worldviews, and treat the values and beliefs of others. Negative critics have claimed, for example, that adults who were home educated would shy away from civic involvement, not be a part of public conversation and debate, not be exposed to values and beliefs different from those of their parents, and end up being intolerant of allowing others to express their viewpoints. Advocates of homeschooling, on the other hand, have long held that the homeschooled would one day be engaged in their communities and civic life and learn to properly function in the adult social, political, and philosophical world.

* These adults who had been homeschooled were much more civically involved than the average adult in the United States.

* Findings from this study also indicate that the home educated think that they can understand and affect society and government more than does the general public.

* The evidence from this study also suggests that adults who were home educated have a commitment to or tolerance of free expression of viewpoints or beliefs that is about as strong as that of the general public.

* Based on the findings of this study, the concerns stressed by Apple (2000), Franzosa (1984), Lubienski (2000, 2003), the National Education Association (2002), and Reich (2001, 2002), that homeschooling would somehow interfere with home-educated adults participating in essential societal activities or that homeschooling inhibits public debate, have no foundation.

* Second, [name of critic of homeschooling withheld] presumes that tax-funded, state-controlled education is good for both individuals and the whole in a nation that was built on principles such as liberty, justice, freethinking, and freedom of religious (and other) expression and practice. Third, he commits the fallacy of false choice; he implies that not committing one’s children to state-run schooling or removing one’s children and family from state-controlled schooling is the same as withdrawing more from common endeavors than if one had joined or remained involved in state-run schooling. And in this he is perhaps also guilty of the slippery slope fallacy, suggesting that if a person removes himself from one form of community (common) activity then he will because of that then remove himself from more community (common) activities.

* There is evidence in this study that negative critics of homeschooling should be concerned if they want themselves or the state to have a stronger influence, and the parents a weaker one, on the education and upbringing of the children, which always involves the development of values, beliefs, and worldview.

* The findings of this study indicate that adults who were home educated are clearly engaged in their local communities and civic activity and will likely do so with a personal philosophy that is very similar to that of their parents and an attitude toward life that are different from the philosophy and attitude they might have learned in a state-run or private institutional school.

The parents of children who are homeschooled are the real education experts and nation builders. Quoted material above is taken from this source.

14 February 2011

13 February 2011

Historians Embarrassed By Lincoln?

According to Eric Foner, yes.

". . . historians find Lincoln's embrace of colonization embarrassing." 

(Foner makes this observation in a 2000 review of Lerone Bennett Jr.'s not so complimentary book about Lincoln.)

Now why would a historian be embarrassed by facts about a 19th century President of the United States?

11 February 2011

American Exceptionalism - A History Of Heroes

I've always given books about American heroes to my children. Here's an example why every parent should do the same.

10 February 2011

Abraham Lincoln The Great . . . Colonizer?

From a piece in the Washington Times yesterday:

"The Great Emancipator was almost the Great Colonizer: Newly released documents show that to a greater degree than historians had previously known, President Lincoln laid the groundwork to ship freed slaves overseas to help prevent racial strife in the U.S. Just after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Lincoln authorized plans to pursue a freedmen’s settlement in present-day Belize and another in Guyana, both colonial possessions of Great Britain at the time, said Phillip W. Magness, one of the researchers who uncovered the new documents."

Historians have debated how seriously Lincoln took colonization efforts, but Mr. Magness said the story he uncovered, to be published next week in a book, “Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement,” shows the president didn’t just flirt with the idea, as historians had previously known, but that he personally pursued it for some time.

“The way that Lincoln historians have grappled with colonization has always been troublesome. It doesn’t mesh with the whole ‘emancipator,’ ” Mr. Magness said. “The revelation of this story changes the picture on that because a lot of historians have tended to downplay colonization. … What we know now is he did continue the effort for at least a year after the proclamation was signed.” (Emphasis mine.)

You can read the complete article here. So maybe we can expect a call for an interpretive plaque here? Some historians have suggested "interpretive plaques" at Confederate memorials and statues, so if they wish to be consistent, they should now call for one at Lincoln Park. 

Lincoln scholar and biographer, Brian Dirck (Whom I've met and once shared a book signing event with in Gettysburg) said this about Professor Magness's new book:

"A first-rate, well-researched book. The authors have a very firm command of the literature and the complex primary sources surrounding this topic, and I was impressed with their ability to trace the sometimes labyrinthine course of colonization policy"

The book, published by University of Missouri, is set to be released on Valentine's Day - a cruel irony for those who have fallen in love with the Lincoln myth.

(We had another recent post which featured Professor Magness here.)

09 February 2011

College A Waste Of Time For Most?

"A report based on the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses found that after two years of college, 45% of students learned little to nothing. After four years, 36% of students learned almost nothing."

Hmmm . . . seems like the longer they stay, the less they learn . . . or, perhaps better stated - they learn plenty - it's just that most of what they learn is wrong. ;o)
More here.

08 February 2011

Over-Simplification At The Virginia Historical Society

Sometime later this week I hope to post some comments about the Virginia Historical Society's new exhibit, An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia.

While I am completely aware of the impact of political correctness in historiography and moderns' love affair with conformity, even I was a bit surprised that part of the exhibit is so overly simplistic as to be embarrassing. 

I hasten to add that the VHS has done some wonderful work in preserving and promoting Virginia's rich history and cultural heritage, but it is quite apparent that they failed miserably in at least one aspect regarding this exhibit.

04 February 2011

Economics & The Civil War

John H. Reagan

There has been some discussion here recently regarding whether or not economics played a large role in the secession of the Southern states. The discussion followed in the comments in reaction to a recent post about tariffs. One person responding to this post made the following comment: 

"I've never found even one primary source (something written at the time, not a memoir or a reminiscence) that ever stated that tariffs were a major source of contention."

So, as a follow up to that original post, I thought I'd post some additional commentary, speech excerpts, etc. to continue the discussion. Here's the first *excerpt and installment:

"You are not content with the vast millions of tribute [tariffs] we pay you annually under the operation of our revenue law, our navigation laws, your fishing bounties, and by making your people our manufacturers, our merchants, our shippers. You are not satisfied with the vast tribute we pay you to build up your great cities, your railroads, your canals. You are not satisfied with the millions of tribute we have been paying you on account of the balance of exchange which you hold against us. You are not satisfied that we of the South are almost reduced to the condition of overseers of northern capitalists. You are not satisfied with all this; but you must wage a relentless crusade against our rights and institutions . . . We do not intend that you shall reduce us to such a condition. But I can tell you what your folly and injustice will compel us to do. It will compel us to be free from your domination, and more self-reliant than we have been." ~ Texas Congressman John H. Reagan, 15 January 1861 in a speech resigning his seat to support secession. Reagan later became Confederate Postmaster General and served in Jefferson Davis's Cabinet.

This speech should be no revelation. It's cited in Kenneth Stampp's The Causes of the Civil War, but I thought it timely, given the direction of the comments in the previously mentioned post.

*This post was put up rather hastily and I did not have time to do a good search to see if the full text of Reagan's speech was available online. If anyone can find it, I'd appreciate a link.

02 February 2011

What The Founders Intended Matters

I'm sure everyone reading this knows that a federal judge has, this week, ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. In his ruling Judge Vinson made the following observation:

"It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended." 

With various leftist historians and other misinformed folks attacking the "Tea Party", while ignoring the increasing lawlessness of the current administration, one thing is becoming crystal clear - The Tea Party's vision of America is much closer to the Founders' vision than is the current administration's. By the way, approximately 2/3 of the American people agree with Judge Vinson. You can read the full text of the ruling here.

Yes, a proper and accurate view of history will influence your political philosphy - which is how it should be, not the other way around.

01 February 2011

Tariffs & Slavery - Some Balance

As has been discussed here before, the simplistic and intellectually dishonest notion that the WBTS had a single cause (whether that cause be slavery, tariffs, or sectionalism), more often than not reveals one's agenda-driven view of this part of our history. Whether the single view theory comes from a self-righteous academic bent on demonizing the South, or from the descendant of a Confederate soldier attempting to justify the South's secession, single issue causation has become little more than a tug of war for modern political and ideological reasons. Attempting to have a discussion with someone from either view is usually fruitless as they really don't want to be confused by the facts. They have their version of the truth, thank you very much. 

With that in mind, I would recommend a piece written by Phil Magness who is a professor of political science at American University. The piece is titled, Did tariffs really cause the Civil War? The Morrill Act at 150

Here's Professor Magness's bottom line:

"A measured and factually grounded take of the tariff issue reveals its dramatic resurgence between 1858-61 as the national political climate collapsed and pre-war sectional divisions reached a fever pitch. The issue directly contributed to those divisions, particularly as it arrived in the Senate during the 'Secession Winter' to add its own havoc to a rapidly growing perfect storm. Though it is not a complete or full explanation of the Civil War itself, it should be viewed as an indicator of the war's complexity. Simplistic, single-issue explanations of large political and military upheavals seldom work under scrutiny, and the tariff is one such sign of how the economic dimensions of secession overlapped and intertwined with the Civil War's moral questions about slavery and political questions about sectionalism." (Emphasis mine.)

You can read the complete piece here.