Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Students taught government is a caretaker that should be obeyed

original article: Students taught that government is ‘family;’ a caretaker that should be obeyed
September 1, 2013 by Police State USA

Pledge child
(Source: lannomworldwide.com)

SKOKIE, IL — A homework assignment was given to children at a public school which revealed the true nature of this nation’s education model: to condition impressionable young people to accept the paternal role of the state; trusting, accepting, and obeying the state’s wishes as you would your own family.  This familial role of the state has been formally advocated since the onset of public education in America.

Fourth-graders at East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois, were distributed an assignment titled, “What is Government?”

The assignment was prefaced with a statement that caused a stir with some parents.  The worksheet stated:

“Government is like a nation’s family.  Families take care of each other and make sure they are safe, healthy, educated, and free to enjoy life.  Families encourage children to be independent, hardworking, and responsible.  Families make and enforce rules and give appropriate punishments when rules are broken.  Government does these things for its citizens, too.”

The worksheet goes on to make a series of analogies between the state of families in the form of questions.  It can be viewed below.

Assignment given to children in compulsory government schools. (Source: TheBlaze)

This worksheet, while shocking to some, is completely in line with the foundation and intent of the American public education system.  To illustrate this, we must review some forgotten (buried) history.

Few people realize that the American Public Education System was directly imported from Prussia (modern day Germany).  This model of “free and compulsory” education was designed by the Prussian Emperor, in order to generate obedient workers and soldiers who would not question his authority.

The man most directly credited for the system we now know so well was an educator and lawmaker by the name of Horace Mann.  He is often titled the Father of American Public Education.

In the 1830’s, Horace Mann visited Prussia and researched its education methodology.  He was infatuated with the emperor’s method of eliminating free thought from his subjects and designed an education system for Massachusetts directly based on these concepts.  The movement was then eagerly spread by statists across the country.

John Gatto — a notable two-time winner of New York State’s “Teacher of the Year” award — has written some remarkable articles speaking out against the current education system.  In one analysis titled, The Prussian (German) Educational System, Gatto informs us of the model America adopted:

The educational system was divided into three groups. The elite of Prussian society were seen as comprising 0.5% of the society. Approximately 5.5% of the remaining children were sent to what was called realschulen, where they were partially taught to think. The remaining 94% went to volkschulen, where they were to learn “harmony, obedience, freedom from stressful thinking and how to follow orders.” An important part of this new system was to break the link between reading and the young child, because a child who reads too well becomes knowledgeable and independent from the system of instruction and is capable of finding out anything. In order to have an efficient policy-making class and a sub-class beneath it, you’ve got to remove the power of most people to make anything out of available information.

Harmony, obedience, freedom from stressful thinking, and how to follow orders.  These are the pillars of the Prussian — now American — public education system.  Its American founder, Horace Mann, said, “The State is the father of children.”

It should come as no surprise when that same system blatantly promotes the government as some kind of paternal entity that cares about your health, safety, and education.  And of course, something that makes rules that should always be obeyed.

children, culture, education, elitism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, socialism

Filed under: children, culture, education, elitism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, marxism, nanny state, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, socialism

MSNBC: This Thing that Might “Turn Into a Human”

original article: MSNBC’s Sick Anti-Science: “This Thing” that Might “Turn Into a Human”
March 27, 2017 by Peter Heck

There was a time when the left pretended to be people of science. Always a vacuous claim, it still stuck to some degree because of the false dichotomy progressives created between religious faith (a trait attributed to the right) and the scientific method. Unfortunately for them, the façade is collapsing because of their rigid, dogmatic obsession with abortion.

Take for example what occurred on MSNBC with contributor Melissa Harris-Perry. Going on a rant about her love of abortion, Perry actually said this:

Look, I get that that is a particular kind of faith claim. It’s not associated with science. But the reality is that if this turns into a person, right, there are economic consequences, right? The cost to raise a child, $10,000 a year up to $20,000 a year. When you’re talking about what it actually costs to have this thing turn into a human, why not allow women to make the best choices that we can with as many resources and options instead of trying to come in and regulate this process?

Leave aside the incredibly morally repulsive price tag Perry is placing on human life, and concentrate on her reference to unborn life as “this thing.” As though the developing baby in the womb is some grand mystery object that could potentially morph into something other than human.

As much as leftists committed to this death cult want to believe otherwise, this isn’t difficult. The terms adolescent and elderly do not refer to nonhumans, or “potential” humans. They refer to humans at a particular stage of development. In the same way, the terms embryo and fetus do not refer to nonhumans, or “potential” humans. They refer to humans at a particular stage, albeit an early stage, of development.

Just because some human functions have slowed, malfunctioned, or ceased due to old age, that does not make a “fully functional” adult more human than the old lady in the nursing home. Similarly, just because some human functions are underdeveloped, developing, or yet to be fully formed due to young age, that does not make a “fully functional” adult more human that the baby girl in the womb.

Again, this isn’t rocket science. It’s just science. Something Melissa Harris-Perry chooses to ignore for the sake of her political agenda, and that MSNBC gives her free air time to do.

Incidentally, for those who didn’t know (given that it is MSNBC, which boasts a nightly viewership slightly below reruns of the Jetsons on Cartoon Network), Harris-Perry recently lost her own program on the network. Why? She accused the “lean forward” organization of racism:

Harris-Perry refused to appear on her program Saturday morning, telling her co-workers in an email that she felt “worthless” to the NBC-owned network. “I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,” wrote Harris-Perry, who is African American. “I am not a token, mammy or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by [NBC executives] or MSNBC. I love our show. I want it back.”

Call me crazy, but given the rest of its regular programming, I think the anti-science ramblings of Harris-Perry that bemoans those “things” in the womb would fit nicely with their apparent organizational standards.

abortion, babies, children, extremism, ideology, indoctrination, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, science

Filed under: science, abortion, babies, pandering, propaganda, political correctness, ideology, children, extremism, relativism, indoctrination, progressive

Students instructed to write essay on 9/11 from terrorists’ perspective

original article: Students instructed to write essay on 9/11 from terrorists’ perspective
March 27, 2017 by NATHAN RUBBELKE

A recent assignment in an international studies course at Iowa State University asked students to write a historical account of the 9/11 terrorist attacks from the perspective of Al-Qaeda.

“Write a paper that gives a historical account of 911 from the perspective of the terrorist network. In other words, how might Al-Qaeda or a non-Western historian describe what happened,” stated the assignment, a copy of which was obtained by The College Fix.

“Don’t worry about the fact you don’t agree with the terrorists, the point of the exercise is to consider completely different perspectives,” the assignment adds.

A university spokesman told The Fix the assignment doesn’t diminish the “tragic events” of 9/11 and equates the essay prompt to work undertaken by America’s diplomatic and intelligence agencies.


The assignment is part of an International Studies course taught by lecturer James Strohman, who’s taught multiple political science and public administration courses at Iowa State over the years.

The assignment aimed to view history from “different contexts.”

“Let’s focus on the 911 terrorist attack and how it might be interpreted differently by different people around the world,” the instructions read. “For this exercise, you have to ‘get out of the box’ of our thinking about what happened on 911 and view it from a completely different perspective.”

The assignment tells students this may be difficult to do, but that it’s an exercise examining the differences of people, cultures and historical perspectives.

Students were encouraged to use their imagination and make their papers as interesting as they’d like in the 500-word minimum assignment, and that there’s no correct answer, “just your ability to look at what we consider a heinous action from other perspectives.”

Strohman, a Democrat, former member of the Story County Board of Supervisors, and current member of the Iowa Employment Appeal Board, did not respond to The College Fix’s requests to discuss the pedagogical reasoning behind the assignment.

A university spokesman provided a statement on his behalf.

“As you can see, the assignment was in no way an attempt to diminish the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Nor was it designed to support the goals of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations,” said Rob Schweers, ISU’s director of communications, in an email to The College Fix.

Schweers added the assignment is simply an exercise in expanding critical thinking skills and analyzing international events through a “different lens.”

“This is similar to the vital work being performed in our nation’s diplomatic and intelligence operations, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, or the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research,” he said.

According to the course’s syllabus, the goals of the class include teaching students about globalization and “to develop a basic understanding of broad contemporary themes of the world. Among these are issues involving the environment, economies, technology, communication, socio-cultural change and conflict.”

MORE: College students taught America created ISIS, war on terror worse than 9/11

MORE: UNC’s ‘Literature of 9/11’ course sympathizes with terrorists, paints U.S. as imperialistic

bias, corruption, culture, diversity, education, ethics, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, scandal

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Muslim professor challenges Christianity, student responds and gets suspended

original article: Christian student suspended after challenging Muslim prof’s claim that Jesus wasn’t crucified
March 27, 2017 by WILLIAM NARDI

A student says he was suspended from Rollins College for challenging his Muslim professor’s anti-Christian assertions, including her claim that Jesus’ crucifixion never took place.

Twenty-year-old Marshall Polston, a sophomore at the private, Florida-based four-year college, said that the professor of his Middle Eastern Humanities class also told students that Jesus’ disciples did not believe he was God.

Polston, an avid traveler and self-described Christian, has toured the Middle East and is familiar with the Muslim culture.

“Honestly, it reminded me of some of the more radical groups I researched when abroad,” Polston told the Central Florida Post about his professor’s comments on Jesus.

“Whether religious or not, I believe even those with limited knowledge of Christianity can agree that according to the text, Jesus was crucified and his followers did believe he was divine… that he was ‘God,’” he continued. “Regardless, to assert the contrary as academic fact is not supported by the evidence.”

Polston, in a message to The College Fix on Saturday, said he stands behind his assertions in the Post article. He said he is upset he was suspended and has hired an attorney.

“Our university should be a place where free-speech flashes and ideas can be spoken of without punishment or fear of retribution,” Polston told The College Fix. “In my case it was the total opposite. … I came forward with the story because I know so many other students like me suffer under today’s liberal academic elite.”

The professor, Areej Zufari, as well as a campus spokesperson, could not be reached by The College Fix late Sunday. However, the Central Florida Post reports that it tried numerous times to obtain comment from Rollins College and Professor Zufari to no avail.

Polston claims the situation began after he challenged Zufari’s assertions about Jesus and his disciples. Polston said this challenge led Zufari to file a complaint with a campus dean, claiming he made her feel “unsafe.”

Next, Polston received a 52 percent on a major essay.

“I was upset, understandably. I’ve never gotten anything less than straight A’s, so I was really interested in figuring out how to possibly improve or at least understand the grade,” Polston told the Post.

On another day during the course, Zufari led a discussion about the application of Sharia Law. Polston claims that during this discussion, a male Muslim student said gays and adulterers should be beheaded under Sharia Law.

“I spoke out to the professor about the grade and subsequently the decapitation comments made by the student,” Polston told The Fix. “The statement by the conservative Muslim student met such fear by some that one of the students reported it to the FBI. Later, I was reported by the professor to the dean of campus safety. The situation was surreal. We’ve already had one too many attacks in Orlando and as an avid traveler I realized this was the perfect example of ‘see something, say something.’”

Zufari, for her part, posted on Facebook to the ACLU of Florida, complaining about an unnamed student that is “making my life hell this semester. This one is spewing hatred at me, de-railing class, and just sent me a hateful email threatening me…I want to know if there is a way to hold the individual responsible for his harassment and hate speech. Any ideas? Thank you!”

According to the March 24 suspension letter, Polston’s “actions have constituted a threat of disruption within the operations of the College and jeopardize the safety and well-being of members of the College community and yourself.”

Those alleged actions are not spelled out within the document. Nonetheless, Polston was given strict directions not to set foot on campus or have any contact with Zufari in the letter.

However, claims that Polston violated the terms of his suspension and came to harass the class this past Thursday were lodged. A campus safety report obtained by The College Fix states:

“Student ______ stated to me that she looked out the back glass door of the classroom and saw Mr. Polston staring into the room. He briefly stopped then proceeded on his way. Campus safety was immediately notified and responded at 19:36 hours. A search was conducted but Mr. Polston was not found. Ms. Zufari’s students were upset and did not feel comfortable being in the class. Ms. Zufari dismissed her class early at 20:07 hours.”

Polston has completely refuted these claims, however, offering video footage of his whereabouts — at a restaurant over a half-hour away from the school.

As for Rollins College, this isn’t the first time its officials have acted unfavorably toward Christian students.

In 2013, college officials kicked a Christian group off of campus for their conservative beliefs and threatened to pull funding from Christian student groups that would not allow non-Christian students to be in the club’s leadership. Later that year students were told that they could not hold private Bible studies in their dorm rooms, Fox News reported.

abuse, bias, bullies, christian, corruption, culture, discrimination, education, ethics, extremism, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, islam, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, religion, scandal, victimization

Filed under: abuse, bias, bullies, christian, corruption, culture, discrimination, education, ethics, extremism, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, islam, left wing, liberalism, oppression, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, religion, scandal, victimization

College ‘diversity council’ posts FAKE racist flyers

original article: College ‘diversity council’ posts FAKE racist flyers
March 23, 2017 by Anthony Gockowski

  • The “Diversity Leadership Council” at Gustavus Adolphus College has admitted to posting racially offensive posters around campus after the school’s Bias Response Team received multiple reports on the matter.
  • The signs urge “all white Americans” to report “any and all illegal aliens” because “they are criminals,” saying “America is a white nation” and it is the “civic duty” of such Americans to turn in illegal immigrants.

The “Diversity Leadership Council” at Gustavus Adolphus College has admitted to posting racially offensive posters around campus after the school’s Bias Response Team received multiple reports on the matter.

The signs, which are now being labeled a social experiment, notified “all white Americans” to report “any and all illegal aliens to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” because “they are criminals,” saying “America is a white nation” and it is the “civic duty” of such Americans to turn in illegal immigrants.

Many Gustavus students and alumni reacted angrily to the white nationalist signage, with some inquiring “what the fuck” in disbelief, others calling it “disgusting,” and one succinctly stating “Fuck. That.”

One alumna even posted on Facebook that her cousin had discovered the signs at Beck Academic Hall and reported it to the school’s Bias Response Team, remarking that “it isn’t much of a surprise something like this was posted” at that particular building.

She then goes on to urge alumni to express their disgust with professors they know who have class in Beck, and even asks faculty members to “take five minutes from tomorrow’s lesson plan to talk about how fucked up this is with their students.”

But the following day, March 21, that same alumna took to Facebook again to explain that a friend of hers, who had also filed a complaint with the school’s Bias Response Team, had received a response from Dean of Students Jones VanHecke explaining that the offensive flyers were actually “part of a series of educational ‘invisible theater’ events taking place this week that have been planned by I Am We Are theater troupe, the Diversity Leadership Team, and the Bystander Intervention Committee.”

“I cannot thank you enough for the action that you have taken by filing a report and making sure that the incident was brought to the attention of the college,” VanHecke continued, saying that taking action “as a bystander demonstrates that Gustavus students care about each other and their collegiate environment and are willing to take a stand against hate and bias.”

In response to the outrage over the flyers, the Diversity Leadership Council published a statement the night the posters surfaced admitting that members of the organization had “posted these signs” in “an effort to help educate [their] peers and campus community about issues of bias, and the importance of being an active bystander.

“We want to help put an end to bias-related incidents that happened on our campus, social media, and in our communities by forcing individuals to have dialogues about forms of hate and bias,” the statement continues. “We hope that members of the campus community will reflect on today’s events and join us in ensuring that no one student or group of students are ever a victim of this form of discrimination.”

[RELATED: College student lied about hate crimes by Trump supporters]

Many commenters, though, duly pointed out in response to the statement that the alleged social experiment likely caused more harm than good.

“Sometimes I walk around crowded theaters yelling ‘fire!’” one person commented sarcastically. “I do it because I want to create awareness; thus no punishment is warranted.”

“You hurt a lot of people, tarnished the college’s reputation, and will be losing alumni donations. I hope it was worth it,” one commenter remarked, while another noted that she found the tactic to be “wildly inappropriate,” saying that “as an alumni” she “won’t be donating…anytime soon.”

Campus Reform reached out to the Diversity Leadership Council’s faculty advisor, Kenneth Reid, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

bias, bigotry, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, ethics, extremism, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, lies, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, scandal, victimization

Filed under: bias, bigotry, corruption, culture, discrimination, diversity, education, ethics, extremism, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, indoctrination, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, lies, pandering, philosophy, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, racism, scandal, victimization

Government worship and deferred compassion

original article: Meals On Wheels Desperately Needs To Get Cut, And We Shouldn’t Stop There
March 23, 2017 by Robert Tracinski

Hey, everybody, the Trump budget guts everything!

Except, of course, that it doesn’t. It cuts about $54 billion from next year’s budget out of a total of $4 trillion in spending—a reduction of a little over 1 percent. It’s kind of a drop in the bucket.

But as part of their program to grow all spending for everything all the time, Democrats have had to find something that makes Trump’s budget cuts look totally radical and draconian, so they have seized on Meals on Wheels, a program that uses volunteers to deliver food to the elderly.

Not only is this factually wrong, but the really radical and dangerous position is the idea that programs like Meals on Wheels have to be part of the federal budget and must never be cut in any way.

First, the facts. Meals on Wheels is supported by volunteers and overwhelmingly funded by private charity. The national organization Meals on Wheels America gets only 3.3 percent of its budget, less than $250,000, from government grants.

Moreover, the money that is supposedly going to be cut doesn’t even come directly from the federal budget, and Trump’s budget doesn’t even mention Meals on Wheels. Instead, it eliminates Community Development Block Grants, some tiny fraction of which—nobody can say for sure exactly how much—is used by state and local governments to support local Meals on Wheels organizations. Apparently, nothing else done with these block grants is particularly defensible, so Democrats have focused all of their attention on Meals on Wheels.

In the meantime, all of the press attention has led to a surge of donations and volunteers. Did you know citizens could do that—take what they think is a worthy program and support it with their own time and money? Apparently, this is a surprise to everyone on the Left.

So the whole “Trump wants to cut Meals on Wheels” story line smacks of—what’s the phrase I’m looking for here?—oh yes, “fake news.”

Yet here’s why it’s important. The outrage over cutting Meals on Wheels from the federal budget implies that it ought to be part of the federal budget and that it ought to be getting more money. That’s the really radical idea here, and it explains why this country is in the deadly budget predicament we are.

Notice that the supposedly devastating Trump budget proposal says nothing about the largest and fastest-growing part of the budget, the big middle-class entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. If we have to fund Meals on Wheels, we definitely can’t make even the slightest changes to any of those programs. In fact, by this reasoning—if a small fraction of indirect support for a charitable venture is sacrosanct—then the assumption here is that anything good has to be funded by the federal government.

By that reasoning, we aren’t just forced to keep spending money for things the government already does. We will have to keep increasing our spending indefinitely, bring into the federal fold more and more programs and ventures. Anything that benefits anybody has to get government money. Not to support it would be monstrous.

If we can’t even say to any program, “You know that last 3 percent of your budget? We think you’ll be okay on that without the federal government,” then the result is going to be exactly what we have seen: vast, ever-increasing, unsustainable increases in government spending and government debt.

Do you know what happens if we carry this all the way to the end of the road? Take a look at Venezuela, which specifically focused its socialist programs on food banks for the poor, with government taking on an increasingly dominant role in the nation’s food supply. The result? People are starving and reduced to rummaging through trash bins to survive. But no matter how cruel that system ends up being in practice, nobody could ever advocate rolling it back, because that would make you reactionary and cruel and heartless and prove that you hate the poor.

The idea that the government must fund everything, that nothing can happen without it, that it must be the source and impetus behind every initiative, and that it must always expand relentlessly—that is the truly radical notion being pushed in this Meals on Wheels hysteria.

That’s why we have to take an axe to federal funds for Meals on Wheels. We have to do it just to establish that there is some limit, any limit to the scope and fiscal appetite of the federal government—before it yawns its throat open and swallows us whole.

budget, bureaucracy, corruption, culture, Democrats, economy, elitism, entitlements, false, funding, government, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal, socialism, spending, unintended consequences

Filed under: budget, bureaucracy, corruption, culture, Democrats, economy, elitism, entitlements, false, funding, government, ideology, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, reform, scandal, socialism, spending, unintended consequences

What does a progressive consider “righteous anger”?

Allison Stranger, the Middlebury College professor injured by protesters opposing Charles Murray’s appearance on campus, has something to say. The New York Times published her comments on the incident in an article titled Understanding the Angry Mob at Middlebury That Gave Me a Concussion.

Stranger has some straightforward and well justified criticism of the protesters, the extremely illiberal liberals supposedly fighting against hate (by using hate). And yet she also has an odd attitude about the whole thing. Stranger construes the hateful speech and hateful actions of the progressive protests as “righteous anger” and curiously proceeds to build a case showing the exact opposite.

Nearly half way into her article Stranger admits this “righteous anger” was in fact hate: “Most of the hatred was focused on Dr. Murray…” She proceeds to describe what is unavoidably understood as intimidation and terrorism as she states “I feared for my life.”

The problems only continue to mount. Strange proceeds to describe how the well was poisoned long before Murray even showed up on campus.

Part of the problem was the furor that preceded the talk. This past month, as the campus uproar about Dr. Murray’s visit built, I was genuinely surprised and troubled to learn that some of my faculty colleagues had rendered judgment on Dr. Murray’s work and character without ever having read anything he has written.

Once the propaganda began, college progressives were simply uninterested in intellectual (or any other kind of) honesty.

Intelligent members of the Middlebury community — including some of my own students and advisees — concluded that Charles Murray was an anti-gay white nationalist from what they were hearing from one another, and what they read on the Southern Poverty Law Center website. Never mind that Dr. Murray supports same-sex marriage and is a member of the courageous “never Trump” wing of the Republican Party.

There is no excusing what happened at Middlebury, and those who prevented Charles Murray from speaking must be punished for violating college rules. But what the events at Middlebury made clear is that, regardless of political persuasion, Americans today are deeply susceptible to a renunciation of reason and celebration of ignorance. They know what they know without reading, discussing or engaging those who might disagree with them.

It’s true, as Stranger says, “People from both sides of the aisle reject calm logic, eager to embrace the alternative news that supports their prejudices” but we should note it is not the political right who is engaging in and celebrating violent protests: that is the hallmark of the modern political left.

Stranger honorably recommends “We must all be more rigorous in evaluating and investigating anger, or this pattern of miscommunication will continue on other college campuses.” But it would be good for her to take her own advice. Notice how she seems to have blindly embraced the anti-Trump narrative of the left.

Throughout an ugly campaign and into his presidency, President Trump has demonized Muslims as terrorists and dehumanized many groups of marginalized people. He declared the free press an enemy of the people…, and seems bent on dismantling the separation of powers and 230 years of progress this country has made toward a more perfect union. Much of the free speech he has inspired — or has refused to disavow — is ugly, and has already had ugly real-world consequences.

In an effort to “be more rigorous in evaluating and investigating anger” let’s take a closer look at Stranger’s allegations.

No one is claiming all Muslims are terrorists, while the vast majority of terrorist actions in the world today are in fact committed by Islamic extremists (or American progressives). To even acknowledge this plain fact garners the label “Islamophobic”. Why? Because over generalizing and making blanket accusations are fine if the target is Christianity or conservatism, but Islam is to be protected at all costs, even the cost of one’s own intellectual credibility.

Ignoring the influx of violent immigrants and imported gang violence (especially among states bordering Mexico) does no good for the American people despite the gains it provides to the political left vilifying those who acknowledge this. No one is claiming all immigrants are a danger. But pretending there is no danger is downright idiotic especially considering ISIS has bragged about infiltrating other countries with operatives posing as refugees (something that has actually happened).

The American “free press” has chosen sides in political conflict and it is absurd to deny this: it has been the case for decades. With very few exceptions they are an enemy of Trump and were nauseatingly fond (and protective) of Obama and Clinton (either of them). As a single piece of evidence: Stranger accuses Trump of being bent on dismantling the separation of powers and over two centuries of progress in the United States when that dishonor could easily be placed on Obama’s shoulders.

Also, it is common place for politicians to portray their agendas as the will of “the American people” so there no point in denying this when Trump brands the press as the enemy. It would be easier to reject his claims if the press weren’t so hell bent on pumping any and all criticisms and accusations Democrats throw at Trump when they worked so hard to refute or dismiss Obama’s critics.

And so what if a lot of the free speech of late has been ugly? Falsely accusing the political right of various forms of bigotry (something that has been done for decades) is also ugly, but that doesn’t stop the political left doing so. Stranger is doing that very thing even here in unquestioningly regurgitating the left’s narrative on Trump. Did you notice how Nazi comparisons were treated as distasteful when Obama was president but were perfectly fine when Bush was president, and are once again in vogue with president Trump?

Intentionally misconstruing the political right’s comments provides an excellent example for Stranger and the rest of the political left to “be more rigorous in evaluating and investigating anger”. With very few exceptions Stranger’s criticism of hate is an apt description of the common progressive, and even more apt of left wing activists. It looks like Jonathan Haidt is proven right once again.

abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, culture, Democrats, discrimination, education, extremism, free speech, hate crime, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, news media, oppression, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, scandal, tragedy, victimization

Filed under: abuse, bias, bigotry, bullies, culture, Democrats, discrimination, education, extremism, free speech, hate crime, hate speech, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, news media, oppression, pandering, political correctness, progressive, propaganda, relativism, scandal, tragedy, victimization

Middlebury showed us how colleges today punish blasphemy

original article: The Dangerous Safety of College
March 11, 2017 by Frank Bruni

The moral of the recent melee at Middlebury College, where students shouted down and chased away a controversial social scientist, isn’t just about free speech, though that’s the rubric under which the ugly incident has been tucked. It’s about emotional coddling. It’s about intellectual impoverishment.

Somewhere along the way, those young men and women — our future leaders, perhaps — got the idea that they should be able to purge their world of perspectives offensive to them. They came to believe that it’s morally dignified and politically constructive to scream rather than to reason, to hurl slurs in place of arguments.

They have been done a terrible disservice. All of us have, and we need to reacquaint ourselves with what education really means and what colleges do and don’t owe their charges.

Physical safety? Absolutely. A smooth, validating passage across the ocean of ideas? No. If anything, colleges owe students turbulence, because it’s from a contest of perspectives and an assault on presumptions that truth emerges — and, with it, true confidence.

What happened at Middlebury was this: A group of conservative students invited Charles Murray to speak, and administrators rightly consented to it. Although his latest writings about class divisions in America have been perceptive, even prescient, his 1994 book “The Bell Curve” trafficked in race-based theories of intelligence and was broadly (and, in my opinion, correctly) denounced. The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled him a white nationalist.

He arrived on campus wearing that tag, to encounter hundreds of protesters intent on registering their disgust. Many jammed the auditorium where he was supposed to be interviewed — by, mind you, a liberal professor — and stood with their backs to him. That much was fine, even commendable, but the protest didn’t stop there.

Chanting that Murray was “racist, sexist, anti-gay,” the students wouldn’t let him talk. And when he and the professor moved their planned interchange to a private room where it could be recorded on camera, protesters disrupted that, too, by pulling fire alarms and banging on windows. A subsequent confrontation between some of them and Murray grew physical enough that the professor with him sought medical treatment for a wrenched neck.

Middlebury isn’t every school, and only a small fraction of Middlebury students were involved. But we’d be foolish not to treat this as a wake-up call, because it’s of a piece with some of the extraordinary demands that students at other campuses have made, and it’s the fruit of a dangerous ideological conformity in too much of higher education.

It put me in mind of important remarks that the commentator Van Jones, a prominent Democrat, made just six days beforehand at the University of Chicago, where he upbraided students for insisting on being swaddled in Bubble Wrap.

“I don’t want you to be safe, ideologically,” he told them. “I don’t want you to be safe, emotionally. I want you to be strong. That’s different. I’m not going to pave the jungle for you. Put on some boots, and learn how to deal with adversity.”

“You are creating a kind of liberalism that the minute it crosses the street into the real world is not just useless, but obnoxious and dangerous,” he added. “I want you to be offended every single day on this campus. I want you to be deeply aggrieved and offended and upset, and then to learn how to speak back. Because that is what we need from you.”

The liberalism that Jones was bemoaning is really illiberalism, inasmuch as it issues repressive rules about what people should be able to say and hear. It’s part of what some angry voters in 2016 were reacting to and rebelling against. And colleges promote it by failing to summon a rich spectrum of voices.

“Certain things are not to be discussed,” said John McWhorter, a Columbia University professor who teaches linguistics and philosophy, speaking of a rigid political correctness that transcends college campuses but that he is especially disturbed to see there. Campuses are supposed to be realms of bold inquiry and fearless debate.

Reflecting on Middlebury, he told me, “Anybody whose approach to ideas that they don’t like is just to scream bloody murder has been failed in their education.” It hasn’t taught them that history is messy, society complicated and truth elusive.

Protests aren’t the problem, not in and of themselves. They’re vital, and so is work to end racism, sexism, homophobia and other bigotry. But much of the policing of imperfect language, silencing of dissent and shaming of dissenters runs counter to that goal, alienating the very onlookers who need illumination.

It’s an approach less practical than passionate, less strategic than cathartic, and partly for that reason, both McWhorter and the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt have likened it to a religion.

“When something becomes a religion, we don’t choose the actions that are most likely to solve the problem,” said Haidt, the author of the 2012 best seller “The Righteous Mind” and a professor at New York University. “We do the things that are the most ritually satisfying.”

He added that what he saw in footage of the confrontation at Middlebury “was a modern-day auto-da-fé: the celebration of a religious rite by burning the blasphemer.”

The protesters didn’t use Murray’s presence as an occasion to hone the most eloquent, irrefutable retort to him. They swarmed and swore.

McWhorter recalled that back when “The Bell Curve” was published, there was disagreement about whether journalists should give it currency by paying it heed. But he said that it was because they engaged the material in detail, rather than just branding it sacrilegious, that he learned enough to conclude on his own that its assertions were wrong — and why.

Both he and Haidt belong to Heterodox Academy, a group of hundreds of professors who, in joining, have pledged to support a diversity of viewpoints at colleges and universities. It was founded in 2015. It’s distressing that there was — and is — even a need for it.

But according to an essay in Bloomberg View last week by Stephen Carter, a professor of law at Yale, the impulse to squelch upsetting words with “odious behavior” is so common “that it’s tempting to greet it with a shrug.”

“The downshouters will go on behaving deplorably,” Carter wrote, “and reminding the rest of us that the true harbinger of an authoritarian future lives not in the White House but in the groves of academe.”

I wouldn’t go that far. But I worry that in too many instances, the groves of academe are better at pumping their denizens full of an easy, intoxicating fervor than at preparing them for constructive engagement in a society that won’t echo their convictions the way their campuses do.

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Too many feminists in the West are reluctant to condemn cultural practices that clearly harm women

original article: On This ‘Day Without a Woman,’ Don’t Leave Women Oppressed by Sharia Law Behind
March 8, 2017 by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March are holding another protest. This one is called A Day Without a Woman, in solidarity with those women who have lower wages and experience greater inequalities.

The protest encourages women to take the day off work, avoid shopping other than in small women- and minority-owned stores, and wear red.

The problems being protested against Wednesday—inequality, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity—are all too real for many disadvantaged women, but the legal protections for them are in place here in the United States. Women who are unfairly treated at work or discriminated against can stand up, speak out, protest in the streets, and take legal action. Not so for many women in other parts of the world for whom the hashtag #daywithoutawoman is all too apt.

Around the world women are subjected to “honor violence” and lack legal protections and access to health and social services. According to Amnesty International’s recent annual report, throughout the Middle East and North Africa, women and girls are denied equal status with men in law and are subject to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and killings perpetrated in the name of “honor.”

The relationship between the sexes in Muslim majority countries is inspired and often governed by a mix of tribal, traditional practices and Islamic law. Algerian author Kamel Daoud recently referred to this system as entailing “sexual misery” for both men and women throughout the Islamic world.Daoud favors the full emancipation of Muslim women, yet many commentators criticized him as being guilty of “Islamophobia,” a term increasingly used to silence meaningful debate.

International Women’s Day should be a day to raise our voices on behalf of women with no recourse to protect their rights. Yet I doubt Wednesday’s protesters will wave placards condemning the religious and cultural framework for women’s oppression under Sharia law. As a moral and legal code, Sharia law is demeaning and degrading to women. It requires women to be placed under the care of male guardians; it views a woman’s testimony in court as worth half that of a man’s; and it permits a husband to beat his wife. It’s not only women’s legal and sexual freedoms that are curtailed under Sharia but their economic freedoms as well. Women generally inherit half of the amount that men inherit, and their male guardian must consent to their choosing education, work, or travel.

In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and parts of Nigeria, where Sharia law underpins the judicial system, women’s rights suffer greatly.

There is a growing trend among some feminists to make excuses for Sharia law and claim it is nothing more than a personal moral guide, and therefore consistent with American constitutional liberties. Yet the rules that such “Sharia-lite feminists” voluntarily choose to follow are also invoked to oppress women—to marry them off, to constrain their economic and human rights, and to limit their freedom of expression—who have not consented to them. The moral conflict between Sharia and universal human rights should not be dismissed as a misunderstanding, but openly discussed.

Many Western feminists struggle to embrace universal women’s rights. Decades ago, Germaine Greer argued that attempts to outlaw female genital mutilation amounted to “an attack on cultural identity.” That type of deference to traditional practices, in the name of cultural sensitivity, hurts vulnerable women. These days, relativism remains strong. Too many feminists in the West are reluctant to condemn cultural practices that clearly harm women—female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, marital rape, and honor violence, particularly in non-Western societies. Women’s rights are universal, and such practices cannot be accepted.

The revival of part of the women’s movement, catalyzed by the election of Donald Trump, has deeper roots than can be seen on the surface. Like Wednesday’s protest, a large portion of Western feminism has been captured by political ideologues and postmodern apologists. Rather than protecting women’s rights, many feminists are focused on signaling opposition to “right-wing” politics.

One of the organizers of the Women’s March movement recently tweeted: “If the right wing is defending or agreeing with you, you are probably on the wrong side. Re-evaluate your positions.”

I’m all for dissent, but that “us vs. them” mentality has caused political gridlock, even on humanitarian issues where the left and right should work together. Hostility and intolerance to others’ views have made rational discussion on important issues taboo. A robust defense of universal women’s rights should welcome support from both the left and the right, overcoming domestic partisan divisions in order to help women abroad attain their full rights.

This International Women’s Day, we should protest the oppression of women who have no access to legal protections. We should support those Muslim reformers, such as Asra Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser, and Irshad Manji, who seek to reform Islam in line with full legal equality between men and women. And we should strive to overcome domestic political divisions to defend the universality of women’s rights.

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Was I raped?

original article: How colleges muddy the waters on sexual-assault accusations
March 6, 2017 by Naomi Schaefer Riley

“Was I raped?” This is the question Yale sophomore Ayla Besemer spends several thousand words exploring in a recent issue of her school’s newspaper.

The story: Besemer got very drunk one night during her freshman year. She brought home a guy she knew but doesn’t remember anything that happened next. She woke up with a bruise on her thigh and a used condom on her floor. Yale requires an “affirmative consent” for sexual activity to be considered truly consensual, but Besemer acknowledges she may well have said yes. She blacked out, meaning she might still have been “fully operational — talking, laughing, drinking more and, indeed, having sex as if [she were only] minimally drunk.”

There are clearly some women out there who are deeply confused about what it means to be raped, and they are, in many cases, being misled by the adults around them.

As Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson document in their new book, “The Campus Rape Frenzy,” the Title IX coordinators, whose jobs on campus often involve digging up rape allegations or helping to gather evidence to adjudicate them, encourage young, impressionable women to call every incident of regrettable drunken sex “rape.”

But it would be wrong to suggest that these women are all just confused about sex and sexual assault. Many of them know perfectly well what they have done and are using the system to make excuses for their behavior or even to manipulate the men around them.

Take Nikki Yovino, the 18-year-old Sacred Heart University student who has been charged with falsely claiming she was sexually assaulted by two football players because she didn’t want to lose the interest of another guy. Yovino is a reminder that even in our age of gender enlightenment, women know enough about human nature to get what they want from men.

That was certainly the conclusion from the elaborate hoax perpetrated by “Jackie” at the University of Virginia a couple of years ago. She not only made up a rape allegation, she made up the assailant in order to get another guy jealous.

Columbia graduate Emma Sulkowicz, a k a “Mattress Girl,” accused a fellow student of rape. But the school exonerated him and Sulkowicz declined to press charges. She managed to turn herself into a celebrity and even get course credit in performance art for carrying a mattress around campus. (All while the accusations were destroying the life of the guy who claims she was attacking him after he rebuffed her professed love for him.)

In a case at Appalachian State University, a woman accused two football players of rape even though witnesses saw her inviting them into her room. At Amherst, a woman actually texted a residential adviser about her “stupid” decision to have sex with her roommate’s boyfriend before she accused him of rape. The student was expelled, but is suing Amherst for violating his rights. Last month, a judge seemed sympathetic to his claim against the school.

And then there are the times that seem a bit more clear-cut. A University of Michigan student, for example, allegedly used a rape accusation to explain certain things to her mother, who was upset after reading diary entries about her daughter’s wild life on campus.

Women actually used to employ such tactics more regularly. A pregnancy was not so easily avoided, ended or hidden. And, well, folks used to be bigger sticklers for marital fidelity. So having sex with the wrong guy meant women had some explaining to do.

But these days, the reasons for falsely claiming rape have much more to do with the campus soap opera and the sexual politics of one’s peer group than any concern that families will disown you or church communities will banish you.

And the false claims — both on campus and off — are much more prevalent than the media would have you believe. A 2012 Urban Institute report found that of 227 men convicted of rape, 15 percent of them could be eliminated by DNA evidence alone. A study of 351 cases in a Southeastern police department found that 17 percent of the allegations were fabricated and another 66 percent were uncertain.

Though we may not always treat them as such, female college students are adults. It’s true that in many cases, bureaucrats have manipulated them into believing that they were raped when by any reasonable standard, they weren’t. Besemer’s counselor and Yale’s Title IX coordinator told her that her experience could definitely be considered assault.

But we also shouldn’t discount the notion that many of these women knew exactly what they were doing. When you decide to ruin a man’s life and reputation in order to cover up your own mistakes or get what you want from others, you’re not a victim — you’re a sociopath.

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