Couch Potato Leftists

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When
you attack the tax-funded compulsory school system, you are attacking
the single most important tool of the modern State. It is America’s
only established church. The State uses this church to suppress
dissent, preferably before dissent becomes public.

I
published an article, “Whining Parents,” about
a group of parents in Georgia whose children’s study habits had
been undermined by the local public schools. Almost immediately,
I received a letter from a typically nave woman, who criticized
me for being too critical of the parents who had gone on-line to
criticize the Gwinnett County, Georgia, middle schools. I responded
in a follow-up article, “Destroying Your Child to
Save a Buck
.”

It
was clear to me from the beginning that she was not a knee-jerk
defender of compulsory-attendance, tax-funded schools. Her problem
was her misunderstanding regarding where moral responsibility lies
for the education of children: with parents.

A
few hours after I received the first letter, I received a very different
kind of letter.

Subject:
Whining parents? Whining author!

Dear
Mr. North:

I
agree that parents whine too much. But for once, they are whining
for the right reasons in Gwinnett County.

Not
ALL public education institutions are run like that; some actually
hold students accountable for their work, and grade them on their
efforts. I don’t always agree with grades, but they are a motivator.
I teach high school; I should know.

Articles
like yours merely paint all teachers as lazy and myopic, and all
tax-funded schools as evil. How shortsighted. You simply fuel
the already-rampant negativity toward schools. It’s a very ignorant
approach. Maybe you should come teach in a public school for a
year; that might sober you up to harsh reality a bit.

The
problem is not that public schools are tax-funded, it’s that they
are UNDERFUNDED. The government pumps many more billions into
the war machine than it does into the education machine. Society,
it seems, would prefer spending more bucks on bombing babies than
on nurturing them.

Sincerely,

Now,
here was the real thing. Here was someone who is part of the system.
Here is a person who has had formal education and has been certified
to train students at taxpayers’ expense. She teaches in the Marietta,
Georgia city school system. She also included this in a long file
at the bottom of her letter:

I don’t blame Bush for being an idiot and an asshole; I blame
59 million voters for being idiots and assholes.

Not
only is she a high school teacher, she is evidently also both an
amateur psychologist and part-time proctologist.

Her
statement appears to be part of what is known as a signature
file
: words that are automatically appended to every email a
person sends out. Anyone who uses a signature file to attach such
language as hers to every outbound email is not regularly communicating
outside of a small circle of ideologically in-bred people.

Also
included in this long file was her email address: [name]@marietta-city.k12.ga.us.
She makes it clear that she is an employee in good standing. This,
she presumably imagines, adds credibility to her statements regarding
those who voted for Bush. It puts them in their place. It shows
them who is in charge. The red-map voters in Marietta are filling
her wallet with green. (This, I must admit, really is idiotic. It
is like voluntarily digging your own grave to help your executioner
save money.)

She
also pointed out to me that she is a published author. I checked.
She is indeed a published author. Here is what her self-description
states at the bottom of one of her articles:

[The
author] publishes Spew, a ‘zine of socio-political rants, makes
desperate attempts at high school pedagogy, and is a passionate
but peeved homeless activist. She deplores American fascism but
adores American liberalism. Her hobbies include doing nothing,
snoring, and listening to the Cure — all day, all the time.

Spew.
I must admit, I had not heard of this publication before. Seeing
a title like that, a reader has no problem in identifying its degree
of academic seriousness.

If
you click through and read her article, “Conservative Christians: Oxymorons,” you will discover that the lady is
also a budding theologian when she isn’t snoring. She offers this
unique theological insight:

Message to conservative “Christians”: Jesus would love fags.
Indeed, he probably was one, seeing how he was such a sensitive
male and all.

I have written
a pair of lengthy commentaries, one on the Gospel of Matthew and
the other on the Gospel of Luke. Somehow, I failed to notice this
aspect of Jesus’ ministry. Furthermore, as a Ph.D. in history, I
have not come across scholarly articles in peer-reviewed historical
journals that indicate that Jesus “probably” was a “fag.” Her article
fails to cite any academic sources for this remarkable insight.
But, then again, she was not writing for a peer-reviewed journal.
Still, it makes me wonder what kind of information is imparted in
her classroom.

It occurs to
me that an on-line article asserting that Jesus “probably” was a
“fag” is not the best way to impress a school board in the South,
even in the Atlanta suburbs. This sort of thing calls into question
the basic competence of a school district’s ability to screen its
teaching staff, apart from careful monitoring and continual review
by the local school board
. It raises that embarrassing question:
“What’s going on around here?” And this one: “How long has
this been going on around here?”

If asked about
this, she may shrug off her “Jesus, the probable fag” assertion
as a form of satire. If either the school district’s administrators
or the local school board buys that explanation, then I have a bridge
in Brooklyn that I can get for them at a really good price.

I don’t speak
for the “fags,” but I am confident that Christians would not find
her “satire” even mildly amusing. I will say this much, however:
she surely does provide provocative sermon material. Any theologically
conservative pastor in Marietta, Georgia who cannot get at least
one lively sermon out of this incident is in the wrong line of work.

This much is
clear: Christians in the city of Marietta who keep voting “yes”
on every school bond issue had better understand what this ever-increasing
school district debt is buying for their children. Outraged parents
can write letters and even show up at school board meetings, but
the system is not going to change even marginally until its funding
is cut and the bond issues stop passing. If voters reward this sort
of thing with more money, they are going to get more of the same.
Or worse.

If you go to
the website of the Marietta schools, www.marietta-city.k12.ga.us,
you get a message from the district superintendent. You also
get a slogan: “The difference is excellence.” What is excellence?
According to Superintendent Barnett, “It’s the never-ending quest
to find the best people and resources to teach the children of Marietta.”

If performance
always matched slogans, we would see more Hudsons on the road.

EVERYONE
ELSE IS A FASCIST!

For Leftists,
the word “fascist” is an all-purpose smear word: six decades after
Mussolini was suspended by his heels.

My critic insists
that I am a neocon and a fascist, too. Why? Because I oppose the
use of taxes to fund education. This fact is sufficient to mark
me forever in the eyes of this tax-funded Leftist teacher.

The common,
run-of-the-mill Leftist cannot make even simple intellectual distinctions
among important contemporary political movements. For a standard-variety
Leftist, anyone to the right of Teddy Kennedy is a fascist. The
label is automatic. I have heard this accusation for over 45 years.
It is slander, and it is universal.

It does not
work both ways. Conservatives are not allowed to call Leftists “Communists.”

I have called
my critic a socialist. She is upset. She writes: “You can brand
me a socialist if you want. That’s your narrow, defensive perspective.
A more appropriate label, if you must label me (and you will), is
social democrat.”

That sounds
innocuous, but only if you know nothing of European political history.
The Wikipedia encyclopedia
says:

Social
democracy
is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed
that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through
democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. It emphasizes
a program of gradual legislative reform of the capitalist system
in order to make it more equitable, usually with the goal of a
socialist society as a theoretical endpoint.

“Social democracy”
has for over a century been a code phrase for “socialism.” But this
public school teacher seems unaware of the connection, or else imagines
that I am.

I am not saying
that there are no people who believe in the tenets of fascism: pro-war,
pro-government regulation, pro-bureaucracy. But they are on the
Left as often as they are on the Right. This is not how Leftists
see things.

Leftists get
through college, yet their idea of intellectual analysis is to accuse
every opponent of being a fascist. If challenged on a written examination
to define the term by summarizing the history and the main ideas
of Italian fascism, most of them would flunk. They are true knee-jerk
thinkers.

They are also
on the payrolls of the public schools. They have been put in charge
of teaching children how to think. Yet they have lost this crucial
skill over the years.

THE
HIDDEN COSTS OF A FREE RIDE

One of the
costs of being a Leftist is that your side controls the mainstream
media, the tax-funded schools, and the textbook companies. The Left
has had a free ride at taxpayers’ expense. This has gone on for
two generations. Almost everything they have read has reinforced
their opinions because they mainly read each other.

In contrast,
we on the Right had to go through their schools, read their textbooks,
and suffer their TV shows and movies. Those of us who survived this
ordeal got tougher.

From high school
until the rest home, the Leftists who control American education
have had a free ride at taxpayers’ expense. Now this is changing.
The Web is undermining their monopoly over the flow of information.
The Left bet the farm on the mainstream media and federal regulatory
control over the airwaves. That investment is going bust, fast.
They do not know what to do. They have never been challenged in
a public forum. They do not know how to respond. They do not know
how to argue.

They have become
intellectual couch potatoes. Their idea of an intellectual powerhouse
is Bill Moyers, who was Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary.

In religion,
a similar free ride led to the current contraction of the mainline
Protestant denominations. The best book on this is The
Churching of America
by Finke and Stark. They show how the
Federal Council of Churches (FCC 1) relied on the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC 2) to create a cozy little radio monopoly. The FCC
2 mandated that licensed broadcasters devote time on Sunday to religious
shows. The FCC 2 for decades authorized only FCC 1-approved broadcasts:
Harry Emerson Fosdick and other liberal preachers. This plan went
to the nether regions when the FCC 2 decided that paid air time
would fulfill the religious broadcasting requirement. Fundamentalist
preachers then bought up all of the available air time. Theological
liberals refused to pay to promote their agenda. This is why there
has not been a prominent liberal preacher on radio or television
for over half a century.

Liberals seek
to pursue their various agendas with other people’s money. They
fall flat when they must finance their agendas with their own money.
The free ride is now catching up with the Left. They have become
intellectually flabby. Most of them cannot effectively defend their
own positions. They do not have the sharpness that comes from years
of debate and outsider status. They grew up, intellectually spoon-fed,
on public school textbooks and tax-funded classroom discussions.
Whether on radio, or on the Web, or in their little magazines with
shrinking subscriber bases, they cannot compete. Only their access
to tax revenues keeps them going.

CONCLUSION

It works both
ways. The level of public discourse among conservatives is falling
rapidly. This is the price of success. But the Right is still on
the defensive in education. The tax-funded education system still
offers a challenge: how to create home school materials and day
school materials that parents, who are products of the tax-funded
school system, are willing to pay for. This is not easy.

As the Left-run
universities get more and more out of touch with reality, and as
the Left-run public high schools decline in quality because of their
guaranteed funding, Leftists are less able to compete where it counts:
in what I call the upstream media.
They are losing the battle for the best and the brightest students.
This is unlikely to change.

The Right will
get stronger. This is the great benefit of competition. The Left
will get weaker. This is the great curse of tax funding.

May
28, 2005

Gary
North [send him mail] is the
author of Mises
on Money
. Visit http://www.freebooks.com.
He is also the author of a free multi-volume series, An
Economic Commentary on the Bible
.

Gary
North Archives

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