29 June 2013

Pioneers And The End Of The Traditional University?

Regular readers here know that I, as a committed homeschooler, post often about problems and issues in American education, as well as current and future trends in education. The stunning success of the homeschooling revolution has impacted the educational establishment in ways much deeper and profound than most of the "inside experts" are willing (or even realize) to admit. It is now common knowledge that parents can do a better job (and at a fraction of the cost) than can the inefficient, bureaucratic behemoth that is public education. This fact has altered even the psychology of Americans' views on what more be done outside the traditional model. We can credit 3 things for this: Christians (who first ventured out into homeschooling due to the Darwinism influence in public education), freedom and liberty in America to homeschool and, lastly, technology.

Let's think about the technology aspects of all this for a moment. Look what Amazon and technology has done to the publishing world and local bookstores. 20 years ago, there were 2 thriving independent bookstores in my area - both had been in business for decades. They're both now closed - have been for several years. That's not necessarily a good thing, but it is a fact. I buy 95% of my books from Amazon. Used ones at a discounted price - the free (freedom) market at work. The failure of the education establishment and parents to instill a love of reading in children has also played a role in the demise of the local bookstore - but that's another topic for another day.

All pioneering movements have phases. Homeschooling is no different. There are always those first brave souls - the ones who "take the arrows" so to speak. (No offense to my wife's Indian heritage intended.) My wife and I were one of those pioneers back in the early '90's. We were mocked and made fun of - even by those with whom we attended church. I was actually on board with homeschooling several years before my wife, but she was hesitant, more cautious. I can't blame her. She was the stay at home Mom and would be doing all the heavy lifting of homeschooling 4 of our 6 children. Then we had the opportunity to meet homeschooling guru Mike Farris when he was running for Lt. Governor of Virginia. We approached him after a speech and told him that we were thinking about homeschooling but my wife was unsure. She didn't think she could "do it." Mike took a sincere interest in us and our questions and rattled off some facts regarding his own experience with homeschooling - he and his wife homeschooled 9 children. His words and advice hit home with my wife. I was looking at her face when the light came on. As we thanked Mike for his time and counsel and turned to walk away, my wife said to me, with great confidence, "Let's do it." It is one of the best decisions we ever made in regards to our family. And it continues. All but two of our 16 school-aged grandchildren are now, or have been at some point, homeschooled.

As pioneers in movements begin to see success, others follow and then the establishment and those who hold a stake in the "old model" take notice and dig in their heels to stop the "amateurs" from taking "their turf." They persecute, they lie, they lobby corrupt politicians to enact freedom-restricting laws (ostensibly to protect others, but actually themselves),  and they intentionally mischaracterize and malign the movement they oppose. We see this pattern repeated over and over again throughout history. The dinosaurs died, but I'm quite sure they didn't go willingly.

Look at what's happened to the publishing world. Anyone with a $200 computer and access to a local McDonald's that offers free wi-fi can be published, quite literally, overnight. The dreaded "rejection notice" is  a thing of the past. You can bypass the issuers of rejection notices and self-publish. I was reminded of this last week when I heard of the passing of author Vince Flynn. Flynn was a fascinating man but this is what I found interesting about him:
Mr. Flynn was supporting himself by bartending when he self-published his first novel, ‘‘Term Limits,’’ in 1997 after getting more than 60 rejection letters. After the book became a local best-seller, Pocket Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint, signed him to a two-book deal — and ‘‘Term Limits’’ became a New York Times best-seller in paperback.
The St. Paul-based author also sold millions of books in the international market and averaged about a book a year, most of them focused on Rapp, a CIA counterterrorism operative. (Source here.)
I had a similar experience - though unfortunately not on the same scale as Flynn. After receiving a kind "no thanks" from a very well known publisher (I am rather well-acquainted with the executive editor), he referred me to a self-publishing, print on demand company which would help with limited editing, cover design, and distribution. I kept all rights and was paid a much higher royalty rate. That book was The Maxims of Robert E. Lee for Young Gentlemen. It did OK for my first effort - I believe I sold around 1500 copies before Pelican Publishing picked it up. Since then it's sold an additional 7000 copies and the folks at Lee Chapel tell me it is one of their best-selling titles. It was also a featured offer in a book club. Since then I've written and published 3 other books via the traditional route. And am working on a 4th, with plans for more after that (I plan to self-publish again at some point). But it was self-publishing and technology that gave me a leg up. Technology and the free market has put authors in more control over their work and decentralized the whole industry. It's quite breathtaking when you really think about what's happened over the last 20 years.

In both instances - homeschooling and publishing - the centralized, established players could not control what freedom and technology spawned. They were overwhelmed and those unwilling or unable to adapt got left in the dust.

We may soon see a similar outcome for the traditional university. In the last few years, I've read more and more articles about this possibility. Actually, it is already becoming a reality. But like the homeschooling movement and self-publishing, the dinosaurs are scoffing. 

Here's a recent headline at the U.K. Guardian:

Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university?

And here's the lead in:

Publishing, music, shopping, journalism – all revolutionised by the internet. Next in line? Education. Now US academics are offering world-class tuition – free – to anyone who can log on, anywhere in the world, is this the end of campus life? 
The piece goes on to explore how online classes are revolutionizing learning at the university level. Personally, I don't think traditional colleges and universities will ever "go away." Like primary education and the publishing industry - there will still be room for both the old and new models. But I think the writer is actually underestimating what is going on and the ultimate ramifications at the college level. There are other things pushing this revolution beyond technology and tuition costs which the writer does not discuss. You can read the piece and decide for yourself

28 June 2013

Turning One's Back On The Ivy League

Is often a good move . . . 
"Yeah, sure, we could go to college. But wouldn't it be more fun to up-end the airport rental car business?"

They opted for the latter.

So positive were they that they had happened on a better business model than Hertz or Avis, that they turned their backs, respectively, on Harvard, Princeton and MIT -- the three institutions to which they had gained (or been offered) admission.
They'll learn more practical knowledge, that's for sure. More here.

Three Cultures Of Appalachia

As told by three women in their 80's ~ Cherokee, Scots-Irish, African American . . .

27 June 2013

Hope For The Warm Springs Pools?

I've blogged about the Warm Springs (aka: "Jefferson Pools") before. See here.

Today, I read this news from the Friends of the Warm Springs Pools:

In the May 29 Update Report, you may recall that I focused on "restoration." I said that KSL Capital, owners of The Homestead, had asked us whether we would raise money for them to use in repairing the Bath Houses. We had replied that this would not be possible---that individuals and foundations would not be willing to donate to KSL, a firm with very deep pockets, to do the work on the Bath Houses that KSL, exercising responsible corporate stewardship, should have already done with its own funds. This lead to a conversation about the future ownership of the Pools property, which I promised to discuss in the next Update Report.

Well, things happen in a month. KSL has sold The Homestead and four other resort properties to Omni Hotels and Resorts, a privately owned company headquartered in Irving, Texas. Unlike the "venture capital" approach of KSL, Omni has demonstrated an interest in long-term ownership of hotel and resort properties. Many people see better days ahead for The Homestead.

On behalf of Preservation Bath, Lee Elliott and I sent a letter to Michael Deitemeyer, President of Omni Hotels and Resorts, in which we highlighted the endangered Bath Houses at the Warm Springs Pools and also offered to work with him to find the best way to save and properly restore the buildings. We look forward to those conversations and will do our best to keep you informed about our progress.
I certainly hope this means more resources will be made available for these historic structures. If you ever get the chance, the Jefferson Pools are well worth a visit, as is the rest of Bath County, Virginia.
 

25 June 2013

American Exceptionalism & Pride Across Generational & Cultural Lines

I absolutely love this video and the concept of the company. It expresses pride in America and a longing for "things more permanent." It's becoming a popular theme and it gives me some hope for our future. Not all young people wish to throw off the past, but are finding it's values worth preserving - even if it's just clothing. Underneath those value and workmanship lies our American Exceptionalism.

24 June 2013

Like My Father Before Me . . .

It's official, though I'm probably the only teetotaler in the band.




Dr. Walter Williams Has A Question


Update: And, coincidentally, Justice Clarence Thomas weighs in with this observation in regards to an affirmative action case before the Supreme Court:
Justice Thomas also compared affirmative action in education [academia] to segregation in the South:
It is also noteworthy that, in our desegregation cases, we rejected arguments that are virtually identical to those advanced by the University today. The University asserts, for instance, that the diversity obtained through its discriminatory admissions program prepares its students to become leaders in a diverse society... The segregationists likewise defended segregation on the ground that it provided more leadership opportunities for blacks. (Source.)
Justice Thomas seems to be saying that academia took a cue from segregationists.

(End of update.)

What's the difference between a progressive, a liberal and a racist? In some cases, not much. President Woodrow Wilson was a leading progressive who believed in notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He was so enthralled with D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" movie, glorifying the Ku Klux Klan, that he invited various dignitaries to the White House to view it with him. During one private screening, President Wilson exclaimed: "It's like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true." When President Wilson introduced racial segregation to the civil service, the NAACP and the National Independent Political League protested. Wilson vigorously defended it, arguing that segregation was in the interest of Negroes.
 
Dr. Thomas Sowell, in "Intellectuals and Race," documents other progressives who were advocates of theories of racial inferiority. They included former presidents of Stanford University and MIT, among others. Eventually, the views of progressives fell out of favor. They changed their name to liberals, but in the latter part of the 20th century, the name liberals fell into disrepute. Now they are back to calling themselves progressives.

I'm not arguing that today's progressives are racists like their predecessors, but they share a contempt for liberty, just as President Wilson did. According to Hillsdale College history professor Paul A. Rahe – author of "Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift" – in his National Review Online (4/11/13) article "Progressive Racism," Wilson wanted to persuade his compatriots to get "beyond the Declaration of Independence." President Wilson said the document "did not mention the questions" of his day, adding, "It is of no consequence to us." My question is: Why haven't today's progressives disavowed their racist predecessors? ~ Dr. Walter Williams

So, in one day, we have two prominent African-Americans compare academia, and the ideology it embraces (at least institutionally),with segregationists and racists. Not exactly a banner day for the towers of ivory, huh?

21 June 2013

Nullification 2.0?

I've posted about this topic before. (See here.) Now comes this headline today:

Federal Nullification Efforts Mounting in States:
Some states, such as Montana and Arizona, have said "no" to the feds again and again - passing states' rights measures on all four subjects examined by the AP - despite questions about whether their "no" carries any legal significance.
Obviously, this trumps academia's slander that "states' rights" is code language for slavery, blah, blah, blah and further exposes academia's politicization of history to advance their agenda.

More here.

19 June 2013

Senator Elbert Guillory On The 2nd Amendment

 And his family's Southern & American heritage. A proud Southerner speaks truth to power . . .

18 June 2013

Honor Thy Father

One of the best ads I've ever seen.



16 June 2013

Father’s Day – A Special Message For Us & Our Time

Cross-posted from Buffalo Jackson:
Men used to build and create as much for future generations as for their own needs, so their tools have a special message for us and our time. When you hold an early implement, when you close your hand over the worn wooden handle . . . you are near to another being in another life, and you are that much richer. ~ Eric Sloane
I like old things—wood, leather, tools, furniture, pick-up trucks, old axe heads; to name just
a few. I also like to surround myself with these relics of the past. A number of these things adorn my office. These “early implements”, as noted author Eric Sloane points out, connect us with timeless principles and memories of the past. This is especially true when a father or grandfather passes one of these treasured relics to his son or grandson. We all have them, don’t we? A pocket-knife given us by our father or grandfather one Christmas or birthday; an old pocket-watch, worn, but carefully cared for over decades—tucked away safely in a drawer or old cigar box. We often pull these cherished items out when no one’s around and hold them—almost reverently—as we recall the circumstances and the man who passed them on to us. They’re family heirlooms. Sometimes these items may even hold great monetary value but, more often than not, the only value they have is to the one who knows the story behind them.

Such is the case with the wood planer you see here. I was told it was hand-made by my great-grandfather, Charles McGann. He gave it to my father, who eventually gave it to me. Some folks would have thought it just an old worthless piece of junk, something to be discarded. Not my great-grandfather. Not my Dad. Not me. My Dad never used it, but “Mr. Charlie” did. He used it to build his home; a home that still stands. It’s a rather crude tool, the hewn marks still visible in the wood block body that makes up the main part of the tool. The blade has some rust on it, but it could be sharpened to a razor edge. So the tool is still functional if I wanted to use it. It’s probably over 100 years old. The planer has that “worn wooden handle” described by Sloane.

As I hold it, I can picture my great-grandfather rising early in the morning to begin the day’s work on the house. I can see him in my mind’s eye with his shirt sleeves rolled up, sweat on his brow, and wood shavings peeling back on his arm as he pushes the plane forward in a steady rhythm, shaving down one of the oak floor joists before laying the pine floors. He built the house in the very early 1900’s when the now paved streets it sits on were just dirt roads. There he lived with his wife and children until his death in 1953 at the age of 82. Not too long ago, I came across his obituary in one of my files. It reads, in part:
Waynesboro, March 4 -- Charles Lockridge McGann, 82, a resident of Waynesboro for 52 years, died at 4:10 am today at his home, 577 Locust Ave., after a long illness.

Mr. McGann was a familiar figure on Waynesboro streets, taking a daily walk downtown from his home. He retired from active farming and caretaking about four years ago, but continued to work around his home in the yard and garden. He was a lifelong member of the Main Street United Methodist Church and was a member of the church's Baraca Class when it was formed in 1913. He was treasurer of the group for 35 years.
This story is a microcosm of American life in those days. My grandfather died in the home he built with his own hands, the home he lived in for over 50 years, and the home he raised his family in. He went to the same church his whole adult life. He was a fixture in the community. He was honorable.

Those were less complicated times. We look at them nostalgically, wistfully. I even find myself longing for those days, though I never knew, nor can I comprehend, the hardships that men like my great-grandfather endured. Life was harder, much harder. Money did not come easy. Conveniences were few, luxuries even fewer. Yet we often find ourselves envying these men, don’t we? We consider how they lived their lives—simply, but honorably—and what they built from scratch. And we find ourselves wanting. Men like my great-grandfather built things to last: homes, families, tools—for future generations. For us.


I hold this old tool in my hand. I read my great-grandfather’s obituary and I find myself “near to another being in another life” and I am truly that much richer.


Happy Father’s Day.

14 June 2013

Anti-Christian Bigotry In Public Schools

Why did this high school administration bully a valedictorian?
Joshua High School officials didn’t just act like a school bully when they turned off a valedictorian’s speech after the speaker mentioned Jesus. They also violated Texas law and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution . . . when a Christian valedictorian at Joshua High School referenced his faith in his graduation speech, school officials literally turned the microphone off. The valedictorian has been accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy to become an officer, and Principal Mick Cochran threatened to write a letter to the Navy saying that this young man is of poor character, attempting to persuade the Navy to refuse allowing this talented student to attend. . . . legally, Joshua High School and its employees are in serious trouble. [Attorney] Sasser is requesting a meeting with the school board by June 24 to discuss a public apology and a public promise never to do this with another student.
Sounds like a very clear case of attempting to intimidate this student with threats, religious discrimination, and a first amendment civil rights' violation to me.I'd say Mr. Cochran has some explaining to do, possibly before a jury. Were I this young man, I'd be demanding a lot more than just an apology. Story here.

13 June 2013

The Founding Founders


*Update - the White House blog has been updated/corrected. Hmmm . . . was it just a typo, or . . . ??? ☺
 
I guess the White House just ain't all that into the "Fathers/Patriarch" thing. Gee, you'd think with Fathers' Day being this Sunday, they could make an exception just this one time. Screen shot from the White House blog:


And NRO points out the following:
Meanwhile, notice the first suggestion as to how viewers might use this treasure trove of information:

Here are a few possibilities for using Founders Online:

Assemble the Founders’ views on slavery into a single set of search results in which many of the original documents do not use the word at all.
Well, of course.

Notice To Anonymous Commenters

If you're going to post snarky, sarcastic remarks, you'll need to use a real, identifiable name from now on."Anonymous" ain't gonna cut it anymore. Otherwise, your comment will be rejected.

Thank you.

11 June 2013

New Alternative WBTS History


One of the authors of Stars & Bars over Philadelphia, Mr. David Walter, just contacted me about an alternative WBTS history book he has co-authored - and this one looks quite interesting. Here's the press release:

NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

The 150th Anniversary of the Union Army’s victory over Gen. Lee’s Confederates at Gettysburg is, justifiably, the historical focus of this summer.  The event has, of course, spurred discussion of various “what ifs?”
A new alternative history novel, “Stars and Bars Over Philadelphia,”  advances a case for the Confederate States of America winning “The War for Southern Independence” in the summer of 1863!

A musket mis-fire spares Gen. Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, and he and Robert E. Lee go on to carry out the invasion campaign they had carefully  planned.  Based on historical documents, we now know that Stonewall Jackson had advocated…as early as Oct. 1861…an invasion of Pennsylvania that included destruction of the coal mines and the capture of Philadelphia, then the fourth largest city in the world and a huge cog in the North’s industrial capacity to wage war.  This novel is a realistic look at how Jackson’s plans could have succeeded.

Readers will enjoy such scenes as:

The surrender of the 20th Maine.

The heroism of Hancock’s Charge against Pickett’s Division.

Armistead seals off the breakthrough and gains Division command.

Gen. Lee debates slavery with a prominent Quaker abolitionist.

Jackson’s corps destroys the coal mines with the help of the Molly Maguires.

John Mosby, the “Gray Ghost,” runs wild behind enemy lines.

Battle of the Brandywine Creek on the ground where Gen. Washington fought Gen. Howe.

Custer and Hampton clash at Valley Forge.

An unhinged Lincoln has Meade decimate his Army of the Potomac attacking Longstreet’s defenses.

Louisiana Tigers chew up Buford’s flank.

Jeb Stuart runs the Stars and Bars up on Independence Hall on July 4th.

Lincoln’s cabinet turns on him and demands an armistice and peace talks.

Lee’s farewell message to his victorious Army of Northern Virginia.

And much, much more as the ANV’s three corps steal a march on Hooker and Meade, cross the Susquehanna River, and then inflict defeat after defeat on the Army of the Potomac while laying waste the industrial capacity of eastern Pennsylvania.

Researched and written by historians David Walter and Don Ernsberger.   A donation will be made to battlefield preservation for every copy sold.  Autographed copies are available for $20, plus $3.50 shipping, from Stars and Bars, 937 Thorne Drive, West Chester, Pa. 19382.


You may also purchase the book from Amazon here

Two Examples Of The More Robust

As a follow up to yesterday's post, I recalled something I read in one of my favorite books of recent years - Lost Gold of the Republic. The excerpt below is in reference to the two men who made one of the most amazing and richest discoveries (both financially and historically) in American history:
While the differences between the two partners were obvious to all, including them, they were also developing immense trust in each other. Both shared a common bond: a willingness to travel unconventional paths. John [Morris] had left college after three semesters for lack of interest. As he put it, they didn't have anything to teach him that he wanted to know.
And then there's Morris's partner, Greg Stemm:
He dropped out of college at the age of 20, and “took care of a sailboat for a gentleman in the entertainment business”. This was how he ended up working with Bob Hope, for whom he worked as a personal assistant-cum-location scout. “He was a bright guy and very kind to me. That’s what sidetracked me into advertising and marketing.”
By the mid-Eighties Stemm was still in advertising when, with a group of likeminded businessmen — including the Apple founder Steve Jobs and Michael Dell of Dell Computers — he set up the Young Entrepreneurs Organization, a network for fledgeling tycoons. Today YEO has 6,000 members in 70 countries. Stemm, though, still felt the call of the sea and when, in 1986, he met a shipbroker in a *bar in Grand Cayman, an opportunity arose that seemed too good to miss.
*As I discovered in college, I often learned much more valuable information and received a better education by skipping class and hanging out at the local bar - though I'm not comfortable recommending that course for others. ☺

Here's some video about this amazing discovery.





10 June 2013

Are You More Robust?

“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”~ Doris Lessing

08 June 2013

Homeschooling Is Exploding

With the daily barrage of absolute lunacy going on in public schools - from a child being expelled for chewing his pop tart into the shape of a gun, to schools scanning the iris's of students eyes without the knowledge of their parents - Americans are voting with their feet.
. . . the number of children whose parents choose to educate them at home rather than a traditional academic setting is growing seven times faster than the number of children enrolling in grades K-12 every year. As homeschooling has become increasingly popular, common myths that have long been associated with the practice of homeschooling have been debunked.
Just as amazing is the cost efficiency of homeschooling:
Recent studies laud homeschoolers’ academic success, noting their significantly higher ACT-Composite scores as high schoolers and higher grade point averages as college students. Yet surprisingly, the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students.
As is the case 99% of the time, local control with less bureaucracy and centralization produces a far better result than does centralized power - and you can't get any more "local" and less bureaucratic than parents teaching their own children.

The homeschooling movement is truly one of the most revolutionary, grassroots, successful, and innovative things taking place in American education today. I am so very privileged to be a part of it. Virginia is one of the friendliest homeschooling states when it comes to legalities. And all of this is being done without the elitist "experts" in academia - in fact, it is being done in spite of their desire to shut it down, or at least control it. More here.

07 June 2013

It Worked For West Virginia . . .

Several Colorado counties that strongly oppose increased regulation of the oil and gas industry say they want to form their own state. They are planning on calling it North Colorado or Northern Colorado.
Story here. Speaking of West Virginia - It might not be a bad idea for southwest Virginia and western Virginia to leave Virgina and join West Virginia and leave much of the the rest of the state to it's own follies. Why not?

06 June 2013

Mini-Review Of Lexington, Virginia & The Civil War

From fellow blogger Peter MacHare . . .


    Richard:
    
    Thank you very much for Lexington, which I enjoyed very much. I tend to think of every little thing as providential, so the first check being lost enabled you to inscribe the book "on the 150th anniversary of Stonewell Jackson’s ‘crossing.’"  Well!
    
    I did notice the synergy from page 10 (your "basement office") to page 141 (Fishwick’s "offices are silent biographies") and have always appreciated your good clear prose (I taught legal research and writing for 15 years, so, believe me, I know bad prose when I see it and here I didn’t see it).
    
    If I might be permitted to ramble a bit more, understatement was well employed in pointing out that Hunter was "not devoid of all compassion." If that’s the best we can say, then Hunter was a beast and no mistake. You beat me to Lexington by four years. I first visited in 1972 as a senior in high school, looking to confirm that Washington and Lee was for me. It was my first time in the South and I never left.
    
    There is one thing that I missed: at page 79, you point out that Fannie Wilson died a year after writing her letter, but I couldn’t find the circumstances, so I hope you will tell me. I thought I hunted through the book pretty well, but may have just missed it.
    
    Thanks again, Richard.
    
    Peter
Thanks Peter! As I informed Peter, I did not find out what caused Miss Wilson's demise. Time and other projects did not afford me the time to research; though I'm sure the information is out there somewhere.

04 June 2013

Southern Soldier - Alvin York

Alvin York & His Mother
Alvin York was, at one time, known by every American boy and a household name in practically every home in America. A quintessential American icon and hero from Tennessee who experienced a dramatic conversion to Christianity York was, initially, a contentious objector during WWI. His views changed during the war and he single-highhandedly "killed 20 of the enemy, silenced 35 machine guns, captured 3 officers and 129 enlisted men, and broken up a battalion that was about to launch a counterattack against the Americans."

The unbelievable accomplishment led to General Pershing calling him the "greatest civilian-soldier of the war." And, so, it was a delight to read Brett McKay's piece about Sergeant York this morning at Art of Manliness. McKay discusses the lessons men can learn from York's difficult decision regarding what he initially saw as a conflict: his Christian faith and war.
“Mother,” Alvin began, “I promise you tonight that I will never drink again as long as I live. I will never smoke or chew again. I will never gamble again. I will never cuss or fight again. I will live the life God wants me to live.” It was just past midnight on New Year’s Day, 1915, and Alvin York had begun a brand new chapter in his life.
It's a great article and I highly recommend it to readers

I'd also recommend John Perry's book about York. An easy, but good read. And, of course, who can forget the 1941 film classic about York's life which starred Gary Cooper as Alvin York and Walter Brennan as York's mountain preacher. Here's a clip featuring one of my favorite scenes - York being confronted with his conflict of faith and sorting it all out on a mountain top in Tennessee. Classic.



And here's an old newsreel reporting the death of Alvin York.



York's ancestors fought for the Union during the War Between the States.

03 June 2013

Piedmont (VA) Battleifeld - 2 June 2013

Where my great-great grandfather, John Meredith Crutchfield, was wounded fighting for the Virginia 60th Infantry.


02 June 2013

American History Is "Pretty Much About Slavery"

I've posted many, many statements here about how most mainstream academic and professional historians go out of their way to focus on "America's national sin" - slavery. They're absolutely obsessed with it. Just peruse most history blogs - particularly those which focus on the WBTS. Many on the inside (including Eugene Genovese) have admitted that academia - "canting ideologues", as he calls them - uses the subject to advance their political agenda.

The honest academics admit this. The ignorant and lying ones deny it; which is why I found this comment by a recent college graduate quite interesting:
But in specific terms, what did these students learn about American history?  Or citizenship? One student said the content of his assigned studies was “pretty much about slavery.”
And, following another frequent theme on this blog, I also found this statement quite interesting:
“Although some classes in my degree are going to help me with the general outline, on-the job training and part-time jobs [taught me] exponentially more than what I’ve paid for,” one former student said.
A couple of years ago, I recall reading a comment by an academic military historian on another Civil War blog who said that "book learning" was far more useful than experience. I wonder if he'd prefer a heart surgeon fresh out of "book learning" medical school, or one who's got a few thousand surgeries under his belt? But don't confuse him with reality - that would require thought. His comment was actually quite condescending toward those without college degrees. I don't think this person has ever held a job in the private sector, so he's led a rather sheltered life. 

Of course, none of this comes as a surprise to me. I've known it for years. Is it any wonder I don't trust a lot of academics?

Just to be clear, there is no one in America who values knowledge and wisdom, and who possesses more of a yearning to learn, than do I. But the monopoly (now being successfully challenged, by the way) that the left and the government has had on our education system has failed miserably.  

01 June 2013

Educated & Ignorant

It is the left's great ruse. A student can graduate with a 4.0 GPA in U.S. history and know less about history than the "uneducated" citizen who buys and reads good history books on his or her own time.  

So writes AWR Hawkins, who holds a Ph.D. in U.S. Military History from Texas Tech University.