30 November 2015

Just in Time for Christmas

Robert E. Lee's Memorial
Lee Chapel - Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia

John Paul Strain recently announced the release of his latest painting and has granted me permission to post the announcement, along with the descriptive text here . . .

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. I am excited to announce the release of my latest painting, in time for Christmas.

Robert E. Lee's Memorial
Lee Chapel - Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia

Many thought of him as the realized King Arthur. Revered and loved by his soldiers, Robert E. Lee became one of the greatest generals in American history. A visiting British woman wrote "General Lee is the handsomest man of his age I ever saw. His manners are most courteous and full of dignity...he has none of the small vices...and his bitterest enemy never accused him of any of the greater ones." Perpetually faithful to his wife, he neither drank, swore or smoked. He prayed for guidance from the Almighty long and often. As a cadet at West Point he did not receive a single demerit. His class mates affectionately referred to him as the "Marble Model".

He was born to one of the first families of Virginia. His father, Light Horse Harry Lee, had been a friend and favorite cavalry commander of George Washington. In 1831 Robert married Mary Custis, Martha Washington's granddaughter.

Lee's military career was distinguished like no other. He was appointed to the prestigious Corps of Engineers. In the war with Mexico, he was brevetted three times for bravery, and played a key role in the victories achieved in battle. Becoming Superintendent of West Point, he commanded the Marines who captured the insurrectionist John Brown at Harper's Ferry.

As hostilities began to break out, the north needed a new field commander. General Winfield Scott pronounced, "If ...the President of the United States would tell me that a great battle was to be fought for the liberty or slavery of the country, and asked my judgement as to the ability of a commander, I would say with my dying breath, 'Let it be Robert E. Lee!'" Lincoln offered Lee total field command of the entire Union Army. Lee pondered the greatest dilemma of his life at his Arlington estate across the Potomac from Washington. At midnight on the 20th of April, Lee wrote his letter of resignation from the United States Army. Lee wrote to General Scott, "Save in defense of my Native State, I never desire again to draw my sword." He then took the train to Richmond never to see his beloved Arlington home again. On April 23rd Lee accepted command of the Army of Virginia. And so began his defense of not only his native state but the entire South.

After the end of the war Lee moved to Lexington Virginia accepting the position of President at Washington college. For the next 5 years Lee worked tirelessly to build the college physically and financially. In 1866 Lee requested a larger church chapel be built. With the help of his son Custis and architect Col. Thomas Williamson from the VMI the chapel was constructed during 1867-68. Lee regularly attended services there upon its completion.

When Robert E. Lee died on Oct 14, 1870, a funeral procession took his remains to the chapel. VMI Cadet honor guards stood watch through the night. He was buried beneath the chapel, where he remains to this day. A year after his death, the sculptor Edward Valentine was commissioned to create a life size marble sculpture of General Lee in uniform asleep on his cot. The completed work entitled "Recumbent Lee" is reminiscent of Medieval sculptures of the Knights of Old England. In 1933 the United Daughters of the Confederacy were granted permission to display original Army of Northern Virginia battle flags with the sculpture. Two brass standards holding eight original flags and later exact reproductions would be part of General Robert E. Lee's memorial for over 80 years. Today General Lee's spirit can still be felt there, along with the soldiers who served with him.

A moving tribute. Thank you Mr. Strain.

27 November 2015

St. Paul's Episcopal Church Takes a Seat on American History

Will they remove the pew?
Surrendering to political correctness is not "taking a stand." Taking a stand involves going against the tide, doing something very few others are doing - even if unpopular. That is not what is happening at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, though one Civil War blogger states:

"What we do need to dispense with are the tired cries that history is being erased or that the St. Paul’s community is judging the past by modern standards or values." 

Suggesting that the church's decision to remove "many of the objects that venerate the Confederacy" is "taking a stand" is a classic example of Orwellian doublespeak. It is the exact opposite. And dispensing with the "tired cries"? Yes, I'm sure the criticism is tiring to those pushing their agenda of eradicating the landscape of any Confederate symbolism. These Puritan-like moral reformers would prefer to silence their critics, like they're doing on college campuses. They want their critics to just shut up and stop exposing their hypocrisy and silliness. They want to limit opposing views and speech. That does seem to be all the rage these days now doesn't it? More groupthink. Fortunately, we do have real examples of folks taking a stand against PC groupthink:
A group of Princeton University students is pushing back on campus protesters, saying that their demands will “contribute to the politicization of the University and facilitate groupthink.” . . . “If we cease honoring flawed individuals, there will be no names adorning our buildings, no statues decorating our courtyards, and no biographies capable of inspiring future generations,” they wrote.

By acquiescing to current faddish trends involving American history (which is being driven by extreme political correctness and the accompanying agenda ) and removing artifacts from what is certainly a historic setting in this church; erasing history and "judging the past by modern standards or values" is exactly what is going on here

The church's idea of erecting a memorial to honor slaves in Richmond is an excellent one. (I've personally sponsored, financed and written text for two similar projects myself - the first one over 14 years ago. I'm glad to see others joining the effort. See here and here). But there's no need to erase the church's existing history in order to do so. Of course, as I've predicted, this fanaticism has moved beyond attacking Confederate symbolism to calling for the removal of Thomas Jefferson's statue. So all this comes as no surprise. And I suspect Honest Abe is at risk as well.

Dress it up and call it whatever you want. I'm sure those involved in the incestuous conversations of academic historians will all agree. Many of the rest of us see this for what it is. 

And to further illustrate for those who are "historically challenged", the soldiers driving the tanks in the iconic image below are not the ones "taking a stand." Got it?

26 November 2015

Reflecting on Thanksgiving, William Bradford & My "Renegade Ancestor", Roger Williams

Per the History Channel:
The Plymouth churches were overwhelmingly Congregationalist and Separatist in form, but Presbyterians like William Vassal and renegades like Roger Williams resided in the colony without being pressured to conform to the majority’s religious convictions.
Source. Ah, yes, the apple did not fall far from the tree.

I posted this on a previous Thanksgiving . . . 

The Pilgrims are generally credited with starting the Thanksgiving tradition (actually, the first Thanksgiving was in Virginia). What many people forget to attribute to them, however, are business and political practices that would've set America's future on a much different path. America, in fact, would be a very different place today, if not for the actions of one brave man.

It is common knowledge that the Pilgrims settled in America in 1620 for religious freedom. Driven by a desire to worship their Creator free from the decrees of mother England, they risked all they owned to establish a colony at Plymouth and further of the gospel of Jesus Christ. William Bradford left no doubt as to the Pilgrims' intentions:

"…they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least of making some way towards it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work."

Bradford was born in the small English village of Austerfield in 1590. His parents died when Bradford was a young child. Bradford's grandparents, along with some uncles, raised the young orphan and taught him the trade of "husbandry." William was a sickly boy and, in addition to studying history, philosophy, theology, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, the young lad looked to the Scriptures for comfort. Bradford embraced Christ and, as he grew, he increasingly came under the influence of the Separatists. Despite the disapproval of his family, Bradford fully accepted their beliefs. He united with the Separatists and, due to the persecution in England; he fled with the sect to Amsterdam in 1608. It was from Amsterdam, at the age of 30, that Bradford and the Pilgrims decided to strike out for the New World.

The Pilgrims knew that the new Colony would need a means of support—an economy. King James I of England also knew this. As the late and renowned free-market economist Kirk Russell noted:

"When the Pilgrim leaders sought from the king of England, James I, his permission to settle in America, James asked his chief secretary, 'What profit might arise in the part they intend?' 'Fishing,' the secretary replied. 'So God have my soul,' declared King James, 'tis an honest trade. 'Twas the Apostles' own calling.'"

So the Pilgrims' plans were to catch fish, dry them, and ship them back to England—hopefully at a profit. This group of highly intelligent and highly motivated men presented their plans to a group of British merchants known as The Virginia Company. The Pilgrims were able to secure from these merchants an investment of 7,000 English pounds—a large sum of money in those days. With this money, the Pilgrims were able to purchase supplies, seed for crops, tools, and also hire a ship to carry them across the Atlantic—the Mayflower.

On December 16, 1620, the tiny ship loaded with "tools and weapons, a stock of dried and salted foods, a few goats, pigs, and chickens" landed at Plymouth Rock. Their hardy Christian faith and work ethic enabled them to hang on with tenacity, despite battles with the elements and Indians. The Pilgrims also experienced the devastating "Starving Time" when half of them perished from malnutrition, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. This time of want was due primarily to their unbiblical economic system.

For the first two years of the settlement, the colonists labored under an economic system that they called, "The Common Course and Condition." This was a primitive and simple form of socialism. The family households commonly shared whatever products they could produce. If one family worked diligently, rising early, working hard until sundown, and produced a bumper crop, while his neighbor lay in bed until noon and produced little, they shared equally the sum of both. There was no incentive to work hard and apply one's God-given talents and abilities. This system produced consistent shortages. There was never enough food for everyone. It also produced squabbles among the colonists. There was resentment and envy—predictable results in socialist economies. Fortunately, the colonists had elected a young, but wise and godly governor for the colony—William Bradford. In 1623, Bradford recognized the failure the "Common Course." Bradford would later write that this failed economic system "was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment."

Bradford had a better plan. Each family would be given a piece of land based on the size of their family. Larger families received larger tracts. Each household was allowed to grow corn for their own families and to do with it what they wished. The results were phenomenal.

"This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use."

While under the original system, the women of the colony had complained that they were "oppressed." The Pilgrims experience proved that a biblically based economic system could provide liberty and a "family-friendly" means of production: "The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn." Bradford had recognized that "the primary agency of economic planning is the family, as the primary owner of property." Bradford realized that the family and ownership of the means of production were an unbeatable economic formula. This recognition caused the economy of the fledgling settlement to flourish and when 60 more settlers arrived in 1623, there was more than enough food for them as well. And despite continued challenges from Indians, pirates, and sometimes harsh weather conditions, the little colony prospered as God blessed their steadfast faithfulness.

Bradford's unwavering faith in God amazed even the Indians. During one particularly dry season, the colonists had no other option but to pray for rain. Bradford would later write how God abundantly answered that prayer:

"The rains came, without wind, or thunder or any violence and by abundant degrees it wetted the earth and soaked the crops. Within a quick period of time, the decayed corn and other fruits began to wonderfully revive. Even the Indians were astonished to behold the transformation. And afterwards all through the hot summer months, God sent seasonable showers. Through God's blessings, He caused a fruitful and liberal harvest to our comfort and rejoicing."

A group of Puritans would also establish a colony in Salem in 1630 and the economic foundations laid by these two groups would eventually make America the financial powerhouse it is today.

William Bradford went to be with his Savior on May 9, 1657 at the age of 68. The lessons Bradford and the Pilgrims have taught us have allowed them to become "stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work" and made America the primary source of funding for missionary endeavors around the world. It is a lesson our nation so desperately needs to revisit.

25 November 2015

Colonel Littleton - An American (and Southern) Success Story

New Addition to the Old Virginia Blog Library

Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History  

Holiday reading that combines 2 of my favorite topics: Thomas Jefferson and Pirates. And the subject matter is most timely.

Political Correctness is Dangerous

As are the academic historians and history bloggers who deny it's reality and advance the accompanying agenda.
During his time in NYC Kelly [Police Commissioner Ray Kelly] was instrumental in setting up the Demographics Unit, which later became the Zone Assessment Unit. Kelly insists that the unit’s work was vetted through several high quality lawyers and everything it did was “Constitutional, legal, (and) effective.” That didn’t stop the Left-leaning NY Times from attacking it, nor did it stop current mayor Bill de Blasio making it into a campaign issue.

Kelly blames purely political concerns for the closing of the highly effective unit that helped keep NYC safe for years. Mayor Bill de Blasio shut down the unit early in his term; however, Kelly said given recent events in the world de Blasio now seems to be talking tougher on terrorism – most likely out of political experience, as opposed to conviction.
Deal with it.


24 November 2015

Anti-Semitism Rising on College Campuses

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


23 November 2015

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

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

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

Another Projected Fantasy in Wackydemia?

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

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

20 November 2015

Indirectly Related to the Teaching of History

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

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

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

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

And here's a great quote from the Drudge linked piece:
“The discourse of catastrophe is a campaigning device,” Hulme wrote to the BBC in 2006. “The language of catastrophe is not the language of science. To state that climate change will be ‘catastrophic’ hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions which do not emerge from empirical or theoretical science,” Hulme wrote.
“Is any amount of climate change catastrophic? Catastrophic for whom, for where, and by when? What index is being used to measure the catastrophe?” Hulme continued.
Lindzen singled out Secretary of State John Kerry for his ‘ignorance’ on science.
“John Kerry stands alone,” Lindzen said. “Kerry expresses his ignorance of what science is,” he added.
Lindzen also criticized EPA Chief Gina McCarthy’s education: “I don’t want to be snobbish, but U Mass Boston is not a very good school,” he said to laughter.
And I loved this quote as well:
“If plants could vote, they would vote for coal,” Happer declared.
Happer also rebutted the alleged 97% consensus.
“97% of scientists have often been wrong on many things,” he said.
Indeed. One could make a similar argument about historians as well. Groupthink is always problematic, particularly when it's based on emotion and an agenda, rather than the facts.

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

Today is National Thank a Farmer Day

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

19 November 2015

The Harvard Law Record: Fascism at Yale

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

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

More projected fantasies professor?

18 November 2015

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

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

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

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

16 November 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 November 2015

Who Coined the Term, "Activist Historian"?

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

Just wanted to make sure proper credit was given.

13 November 2015

What is Not Education

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

"I’m media, can I talk to you?" 

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

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

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

Perfect. Your student loan debt at work.

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

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

12 November 2015

What is Education?

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

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

11 November 2015

Veterans Day & Our Unique National Character

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

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

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

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

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

10 November 2015

The Political Correctness Monster Is Eating Its Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

09 November 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

06 November 2015

My Latest Article in Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine

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

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

05 November 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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