Category Archives: Education

Coronavirus, AIDS, and the Politics of Viral Fear, by Peter Van Buren

Fear has a nasty habit of driving logic and common sense out of the room. From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:

In the 1980’s, agenda-driven panic around the HIV epidemic set back the public health response by years.

(Original Caption) Trenton, N.J.: A small group of parents protesting the admission of children with aids to public schools pickets in front of the State Department of Education which has ordered local districts to admit children suffering from aids.

Nothing is more viral than fear. Fear—fight or flight–is a terrible way to make decisions that call for time, science, and rational thinking. Want to screw up a public health crisis? Let fear drive.

Democrats, Pavlovian conditioned by years of believing everything Trump does is “an existential threat,” are about twice as likely as Republicans to say the coronavirus poses an imminent danger. Make a joke of it—pandemic or Dempanic—but one’s political party should not affect how we respond to an epidemic.

“Our hyper-polarization is so strong that we don’t even assess a potential health crisis in the same way. And so it impedes our ability to address it,” saidsaid Jennifer McCoy, a Georgia State political science professor who studies polarization.

“I am not scared of Covid-19,” Abdu Sharkawy, an infectious disease expert at the University of Toronto in Canada, wrote. “I am scared about the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic.”

This is not about downplaying something serious. It is about preventing mistakes that will make things worse. Trump Derangement Syndrome might actually help kill us this time, as fear makes for poor public health decisions. Remember the 1980’s?

In 1981 the CDC reported five cases of a new pneumonia. The disease didn’t even have a name until the next year, and wasn’t isolated in the lab until 1984. AIDS would go on to kill over 500,000 Americans. Yet while a horrible disease and a miserable way to die, in retrospect “the problem with AIDS was really two epidemics—the real health epidemic and the epidemic of the mind,” said Boston’s WBZ-TV station manager Tom Goodgame, quoted in Time. Meanwell, The New York Timesconcluded, “in the 1980’s, fear spread faster than AIDS.” America paid the price in lives.

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The Tiers of Woke Clowns, by Tim Hartnett

CEOs and their companies now have to be “woke.” From Tim Hartnett at lewrockwell.com:

Vivek Ramaswamy is not a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant but he is a man and he did some ‘splainin. It’s not a good sign that it was necessary on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal. Skepticism tends to be looked on with skepticism these days—popular culture is always ripening the harvest for confidence men.

The subject of Ramaswamy’s piece is another enlightened scheme for saving the world—from what we will all find out–as the vision unfolds. This time it goes by the Newspeak name “stakeholder capitalism.” The term is supposed to mean that righteous corporations will be raising the stakes above mere profit for shareholders. What it looks to be saving us from, as Mr. Ramaswamy is wont to point out, is that ever-present peril to democracy known as “one man one vote.”

A new, improved corporatocracy now has plans to look out for you–a guy with no stake in the company–just like Bill O’Reilly does. What kind of fascist could have a problem with that? It’s not like the last few generations have been immune to clandestine arrangements—engineered in opaque conclaves—to fix our broken world. The question is, if any of them are working, who are they working for? People who dare to question high flying priorities—under a banner of noblesse oblige that nobody voted on–are frequently heaved to the political kitchen bin. Anybody who can’t tell the difference between a CEO who stands for goodness itself, and a televangelist making the same claim, might not be employable once Mom and Pop’s finally get wiped out. Where’s the downside of that? What could Vivek, who is a CEO himself, be thinking?

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Socialism in Education, by Jacob G. Hornberger

State education is by definition socialized education. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

It would be virtually impossible to find a better example of socialism here in the United States than the public schooling systems that exist in every U.S. state. Ironically, it is this socialist system that is primarily responsible for the widespread belief among non-libertarians that “the United States has never been a socialist country,” as New York Times columnist Timothy Egan stated in a recent NYT op-ed. (See my two recent articles “A Life of the Lie on Socialism” and “Socialism in America, 31 Years Ago.”)

It is worth noting that public schooling is a core feature of the educational systems in Cuba, North Korea, and Vietnam, all three of which are widely known as socialist countries. That’s because public schooling is a socialist system.

Perhaps it’s also worth noting that while we call it “public” schooling, a more accurate name for it is government schooling or state schooling. That’s because state and local governments own and operate the educational systems. If state and local governments owned and operated churches, would we call them public churches or state churches?

Under public schooling, the government owns, operates, controls, and dictates the provision of education in society. In a purely socialist system, like North Korea, this means that every child in the nation is required to receive his education in a government facility.

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Harvard, Yale, Others on the Take; Unreported Billions in Foreign Nations’ Contributions, by Joe Guzzardi

What kind of influence are foreign nations exercising on US colleges and universities? From Joe Guzzardi at ustechworkers.com:

Harvard

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has opened an ongoing investigation into an aggregate $6.5 billion in unreported cash gifts donated by foreign nations to America’s leading universities. China, Iran, Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are, according to The Wall Street Journal, among the most prominent foreign countries that made gifts that exceeded $250,000 annually, the total which requires reporting to federal authorities.

DOE documents reveal that, in some cases, the universities actively solicited foreign funding from nations potentially looking to steal research or “spread propaganda benefiting foreign governments.” The foreign donors, the DOE’s probe discovered, showed that “opaque foundations, foreign campuses, and other sophisticated legal structures to generate revenue” have been used to disguise actual funding sources.

Harvard and Yale universities are the DOE’s principal targets. In January, federal authorities charged Harvard’s chemistry department chair, Charles Lieber, with lying about the university’s Chinese grants. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Lieber had established, apparently without Harvard’s knowledge, a research lab in China’s central city of Wuhan.

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Idiocracy Explained – New Study Finds Western Diet Impairs Brain Function, by Tyler Durden

Fat and dumb go together when they have a common source: junk food. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The dumbing down of America was explained in the 2006 movie Idiocracy, where Private Joe Bauers (played by Luke Wilson), is the definition of an “average American,” takes part in a top-secret hibernation program via the Pentagon, wakes up five centuries later to only discovery just how dumb society has become.

Bauers wakes up in the year 2500, and he’s immediately declared the smartest person in the world. Here’s a snippet from the film:

How does America stumble down a path where its citizens are dumber than rocks in the next couple of centuries, or maybe, in the next couple of decades?

Researchers discovered that volunteers in the study performed with high cognitive processes when they did not consume high fat and high added sugar diets, commonly found in many western-style meals.

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Gilbert, Edmund Scientific, and the Post-War Flowering of American Techno-Industrial Virtuosity, A Pre-Enstupidation View, by Fred Reed

Once upon a time kids, particularly boys, played with microscopes and chemistry sets, not iPhones. A fabulous article from Fred Reed at unz.com:

It was 1953 in the white newly prosperous suburbs of Arlington, Virginia, just outside the Yankee Capital. I was eight, having been born, like so many of my small compatriots, nine months and fifteen minutes after our fathers got home from the war. These men, my father anyway, had spent years in the Pacific, being torpedoed at and watching Hellcat fighters screaming off wooden decks, and seeing ships sink. What they wanted now was lawn mowers, lawns, children, and a life as boring as possible. They got them.

We kids did not know that we were at the cusp of an explosion of technological mastery. We were, though. In addition to me there was Michel Duquez, dark-haired, raffish, and of Frog extraction, who would later die fighting for the French Foreign Legion in the Silent Quarter of Arabia. Or if he didn’t, he should have. And there was John Kaminski, or Mincemeat, blond and crewcut, who could spit out of the side of his mouth with casual aplomb the way Humphrey Bogart did, or would have if he had spit much.

American society on North Jefferson Street, and all the burbs for miles around, was everything that today would be thought intolerant or not very inclusive. There was no crime, diversity not yet having become our strength. When we rode our bikes under blue skies, I think the only kind we had then, to the shopping strip at Westover on Washington Boulevard, we could leave the bikes for hours on the sidewalk, or anywhere else, and they would be there when we came back. There were no transgenders. We were little boys and little girls. This seemed to work. For some reason now forgotten, for a year or so we referred disparagingly to each other as “queerbaits.” There were no queers to bait though, and anyway we didn’t know what one was.

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Compliance 101: Gun-Toting Cops Endanger Students and Turn the Schools into Prisons, by John W. Whitehead

The schools are teaching children how to live in a police state. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“Every day in communities across the United States, children and adolescents spend the majority of their waking hours in schools that have increasingly come to resemble places of detention more than places of learning.”—Investigative journalist Annette Fuentes

Just when you thought the government couldn’t get any more tone-deaf about civil liberties and the growing need to protect “we the people” against an overreaching, overbearing police state, the Trump Administration ushers in even more strident zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, greater numbers of school cops, and all the trappings of a prison complex (unsurmountable fences, entrapment areas, no windows or trees, etc.).

The fallout has been what you’d expect, with the nation’s young people treated like hardened criminals: handcuffed, arrested, tasered, tackled and taught the painful lesson that the Constitution (especially the Fourth Amendment) doesn’t mean much in the American police state.

For example, in Florida, a cop assigned to River Ridge High School as a school resource officer, threatened to shoot a student attempting to leave school for a morning orthodontist appointment.

In Pennsylvania, school officials called in the cops after a 6-year-old with Down syndrome pointed a finger gun at her teacher.

In Kentucky, a school resource officer with the sheriff’s office handcuffed two elementary school children with disabilities, ages 8 and 9. A federal judge made the sheriff’s office pay more than $300,000 (of taxpayer money) to the families, ruling that the handcuffing of  the students “was an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force.”

Welcome to Compliance 101: the police state’s primer in how to churn out compliant citizens and transform the nation’s school’s into quasi-prisons through the use of surveillance cameras, metal detectors, police patrols, zero tolerance policies, lock downs, drug sniffing dogs, strip searches and active shooter drills.

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