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Showing posts with label Political Correctness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Political Correctness. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Polish PM Offers to Save John Paul II Statue after French Court Orders Removal of Cross

The bronze statue of Pope John Paul II in Ploërmel, France (Getty Images)
She offered to move it to Poland to save it from 'political correctness'

Poland’s prime minister has stepped into a row over a statue of Pope St John Paul II in Ploërmel, a town in Brittany.

France’s top administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, has ruled that a large cross over the nearly-25-foot high statue of John Paul in prayer must be removed, because it contravenes a 1905 law banning any “religious sign or emblem” in a public space, upholding France’s strict separation of Church and State.

Beata Szydło, prime minister of Poland, has offered to have the statue moved to Poland, to rescue it from “the dictates of political correctness”. She said that religious censorship is undermining the values of Europe.

Read more at Catholic Herald >> 

 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rush and the New Blacklist

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The original "Hollywood blacklist" dates back to 1947, when 10 members of the Communist Party, present or former, invoked the Fifth Amendment before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The party was then a wholly owned subsidiary of the Comintern of Joseph Stalin, whose victims had surpassed in number those of Adolf Hitler.

In a 346-17 vote, the Hollywood Ten were charged with contempt of Congress and suspended or fired.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Christianity the Last Bastion Against European Secularist ‘Totalitarianism’: Austrian Think Tank

By Hilary White

EU president Herman Von Rompuy
An Austrian think tank and non-governmental organization is warning that freedom of religious expression is “at risk” in Europe from secularist intolerance on the left. While Islamic extremists continue assaults on Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and around the Middle East and Asia, restrictions on public expressions of religious belief by Christians are growing in Western Europe, the cradle of Christendom. 
 
“You cannot compare injustices here with the situation in, for example, North Korea, India or Pakistan,” observed Gudrun Kugler, a lawyer and director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe. “The Christians who are there in spite of fierce persecution are our great models.”  

Nevertheless, in Europe Christianity is hated because it is “the last obstacle to a new vision of secularity which is so politically correct that it verges on totalitarianism,” she said.

“Christians are increasingly marginalized and are appearing more often in courts over matters related to faith. So I think that we are heading for a bloodless persecution.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

Middle School Football Coach Fired for Anti-Obama Song




The song above was co-written by Bryan Glover, a 26 year-old, Christian football coach who was, until recently, employed by Grassland Middle School in Tennessee. Unfortunately, Bryan was unaware that First Amendment rights are no longer protected in Obamunist America, and his lyrics are repugnant to the thought police who manage the government schools. Glover has been fired for expressing his political views.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Colonel Allen West Answers A Marine's Question on Islam


Oorah! The question of Muslim terror was never so succinctly answered as here by Allen West. (Courtesy of The Hudson Institute's Reclaim American Liberty Conference)



Thursday, April 1, 2010

American Street Preacher Arrested in Britain for Declaring Homosexual Behavior a Sin


From LifeSiteNews
By Hilary White

An American street preacher has been arrested and fined £1000 in Glasgow for telling passersby, in answer to a direct question, that homosexual activity is a sin. Shawn Holes was kept in jail overnight on March 18, and in the morning pled guilty to charges that he had made “homophobic remarks…aggravated by religious prejudice.”

Holes, a 47 year-old former wedding photographer from Lake Placid, New York, was in Glasgow as part of a preaching tour of Britain with a group of British and American colleagues. He said, “I was talking generally about Christianity and sin.”

“I only talked about these other issues because I was specifically asked. There were homosexuals listening – around six or eight – who were kissing each other and cuddling, and asking ‘What do you think of this?’” A group of homosexuals approached police with a complaint. Holes later said that the situation seemed like a “set-up by gay campaigners.”

“When asked directly about homosexuality, I told them homosexuals risked the wrath of God unless they accepted Christ.”

The charge, under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003, has angered freedom of speech advocates in Britain and has even been criticized by homosexualist campaigner Peter Tatchell who called the £1,000 “totally disproportionate.” Local Christians supporting the preaching ministry took up a collection and paid the fine.

Tatchell told the Daily Mail, “The price of freedom of speech is that we sometimes have to put up with opinions that are objectionable and offensive. Just as people should have the right to criticize religion, people of faith should have the right to criticize homosexuality. Only incitements to violence should be illegal.”

Holes relates that at the same time he had been asked for his views on Islam and had said he believed there is only one true Christian God and that the Prophet Mohammed is a “sinner like the rest of us.”

He said that two men who were listening spoke to police officers who approached him and said, “These people say you said homos are going to Hell.”

“I told them I would never say that, because I don't use the term homo. But I was arrested.”

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Glasgow told the Scotsman, “We supported [hate crime] legislation but it is very difficult to see how this man can be charged for expressing a religious conviction.

“The facts of this case show his statement was clearly his religious belief. Yes, it is strong language he has used, but it is obviously a religious conviction and not a form of discrimination.”

Gordon Macdonald, of Christian Action Research and Education for Scotland, said, “This is a concerning case. I will be writing to Chief Constable Stephen House of Strathclyde Police for clarification of the guidance given to police officers in these situations.”

In related news, a district judge has thrown out the case against another street preacher, Paul Shaw, who was arrested on February 19 in Colchester over comments he made about homosexual activity. Shaw, who did not plead guilty, said, “I’ve preached regularly for about three or four years without incident.

“In four years, I’ve only dealt with homosexuality about twice.” Shaw told the judge that he was obliged to act according to his conscience and that homosexuality was a significant issue in Britain today. The case was dismissed through lack of evidence and written testimony from complainants.

Shaw said, “My reasons were twofold. Firstly, there is a consequence for the country and society if society does not appreciate the difference between right and wrong, particularly noticeable by homosexuality.

“As a nation, we are coming under God’s judgment not very far away in the future and there will be terrible consequences for this if it is not made unlawful again. Secondly, on a personal level, as with all other sins, it needs to be repented of in order to enter the Kingdom of God.”

District Judge David Cooper told Shaw, “There are other sorts of ‘sins’. Do you think you could concentrate on those for a bit?”

Meanwhile, a new study conducted on behalf of religious think-tank Theos has shown that nearly 1/3 of British people think that Christians are being marginalized and religious freedom has been restricted. The report’s author Professor Roger Trigg, wrote, “A free society should never be in the business of muzzling religious voices, let alone in the name of democracy or feigned neutrality.”

“We also betray our heritage and make our present position precarious if we value freedom, but think that the Christian principles which have inspired the commitment of many to democratic ideals are somehow dispensable,” Professor Trigg said.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Controversial U.K. Mayor Cuts Gay Pride Funding, Pledges End to Political Correctness in Government


"His agenda, against all the tenets of consensual British politics, consists of doing what the public wants."

From LifeSiteNews
By Hilary White

The recently elected mayor of Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, has infuriated Britain's politically powerful homosexualist lobby by attempting to withhold local funding for this year's Gay Pride celebrations. The funding for this year's event in June went through, but Mayor Peter Davies, a member of the English Democrat party and the father of Tory MP Philip Davies, has scrapped all future funding for the annual Gay Pride event.

"I'm not a homophobe," he said, "but I don't see why council taxpayers should pay to celebrate anyone's sexuality."

Davies is only the second mayor of Doncaster to have been elected directly by a popular vote rather than by council members. He campaigned on a popular platform, that has reportedly alarmed the political classes on both the Labour and Tory sides of the House, in which he pledged to "stamp out political correctness" in every area of Doncaster's local government.

To accomplish this, Davies has recruited the group Campaign Against Political Correctness (CAPC) to consult on his planned reforms. A spokesman for the CAPC, John Midgley, said that "people are crying out" for an end to the wave of politically correct policies in Britain. "We commissioned a survey by ICM," Midgley said, "that said 80 per cent of people are fed up to the back teeth with it."

Davies promised to end council funding for "politically correct initiatives" and to "scrap politically correct non-jobs" such as "community cohesion officers" and "encourage the former employees to seek meaningful employment."

In his first week in office, Davies fulfilled his promises by cutting his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000; reducing the number of councillors from 63 to 21, saving the town £800,000 a year. He immediately announced plans to reduce council tax by 3 per cent and got rid of the mayoral limousine. He ended a "twinning" arrangement with five towns around the world, which he described as "just for people to fly off and have a binge at the council's expense."

While campaigning earlier this year, and in the midst of a national pandemic of violent youth crime, Davies, who is a retired school teacher, called for harsher punishments for "young thugs." As a founding member of the Campaign for Real Education, Davies has pressed for restoration of traditional methods in schools that he says will reduce crime and restore Britain's once-legendary public order.

He also called on the government to withdraw Britain from the European Union "in order to save billions of pounds each year and return control of the country's affairs to our own parliament."

Calling him the UK's "most gloriously un-PC" mayor, the Daily Mail's Robert Hardman asked, "Who should be most worried about his success: Labour or the Tories? Because his message threatens both."

Hardman commented, "To the shock and dismay of many local councillors and MPs, most of Westminster and the entire Government, the assiduously straight-talking Mr. Davies has just become one of the most powerful politicians in Britain."

Columnist and pundit Gerald Warner, writing for the Daily Telegraph's blog, called Davies's tenure "the beginning of the end for political correctness" and a sign that "the counter-revolution has begun." His agenda, Warner wrote, "against all the tenets of consensual British politics, consists of doing what the public wants."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Goodbye, Columbus


The death of a holiday at Brown

How are things elsewhere in the academy? Well, last month the faculty at Brown University voted to rename Columbus Day “Fall Weekend.” What do you make of that? Rather lacking in poetry, “Fall Weekend.” But from the perspective of the tenured elite, that anodyne moniker has the advantage of ideological neutrality. “Fall Weekend” does not commemorate a European explorer. It therefore does not honor the memory of the settlement and cultivation of the American continent and, by implication, withholds approbation of the ultimate fruit of that settling and cultivation: the founding of the United States. As Fox News reported, the Brown faculty acted in response to the clamoring of students, hundreds of whom had petitioned the university “to stop observing Columbus Day, saying Christopher Columbus’s violent treatment of Native Americans he encountered was inconsistent with Brown’s values.”

“Christopher Columbus’s violent treatment of Native Americans,” eh? How about the violent treatment Native Americans meted out to each other (and to Europeans, when they could get their hands on them)? Is that consistent with “Brown’s values”? Need a refresher course about all that? Here is the historian Keith Windschuttle, in his book The Killing of History, on “the widespread practice of human sacrifice which prevailed at the time of the Spanish conquest.”

Human sacrifice was practised by the Aztecs of Mexico, the Mayas of Yucatan, the Incas of Peru, the Tupinambas and the Caytes of Brazil, the natives of Guyana and the Pawnee and Huron tribes of North America. In societies that had developed urban settlements, such as those of the Aztecs and Mayas, victims were usually taken to a central temple and lain across an altar where priests would cut out their hearts and offer them to the gods. In the less technologically developed societies of Guyana and Brazil, victims would either be battered to death in the open and then dismembered, or tied up and burned to death over a fire. The early Europeans were shocked to find that sacrifice was often accompanied by cannibalism. In Tenochtitlan, the remains of sacrificed victims were taken from the temples and distributed among the populace, who would cook the flesh in a stew. In Guyana and Brazil, limbs of victims were skewered and roasted over a spit before being consumed. The Caytes of the Brazilian coast ate the crew of every wrecked Portuguese vessel they found. The American anthropologist Harry Turney-High writes: “At one meal they ate the first Bishop of Bahia, two Canons, the Procurator of the Royal Portuguese Treasury, two pregnant women, and several children.”

Whatever barbarities European explorers visited upon the indigenous populations of the Americas pale in comparison with the barbarities the natives visited upon others. Moreover, the European settlers have this large achievement in the credit column of their moral reckoning: they brought civilization, spiritual as well as material, to the various backward populations they subdued. They also joined together to create a society that grew into the richest, mightiest, and freest country in the history of the world. We mean the United States of America. No, it is not perfect. But for all its faults it remains, as Abraham Lincoln put it, “the last best hope of earth.” Recognizing that, of course, is really what is “inconsistent with Brown’s values.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thought Police Muscle Up in Britain


From The Australian
By Hal G. P. Colebatch


Britain appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely.

There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent.

Nikolai Bukharin claimed one of the Bolshevik Revolution's principal tasks was "to alter people's actual psychology". Britain is not Bolshevik, but a campaign to alter people's psychology and create a new Homo britannicus is under way without even a fig leaf of disguise.

The Government is pushing ahead with legislation that will criminalise politically incorrect jokes, with a maximum punishment of up to seven years' prison. The House of Lords tried to insert a free-speech amendment, but Justice Secretary Jack Straw knocked it out. It was Straw who previously called for a redefinition of Englishness and suggested the "global baggage of empire" was linked to soccer violence by "racist and xenophobic white males". He claimed the English "propensity for violence" was used to subjugate Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and that the English as a race were "potentially very aggressive".

In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.

Countryside Restoration Trust chairman and columnist Robin Page said at a rally against the Government's anti-hunting laws in Gloucestershire in 2002: "If you are a black vegetarian Muslim asylum-seeking one-legged lesbian lorry driver, I want the same rights as you." Page was arrested, and after four months he received a letter saying no charges would be pressed, but that: "If further evidence comes to our attention whereby your involvement is implicated, we will seek to initiate proceedings." It took him five years to clear his name.

Page was at least an adult. In September 2006, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Codie Stott, asked a teacher if she could sit with another group to do a science project as all the girls with her spoke only Urdu. The teacher's first response, according to Stott, was to scream at her: "It's racist, you're going to get done by the police!" Upset and terrified, the schoolgirl went outside to calm down. The teacher called the police and a few days later, presumably after officialdom had thought the matter over, she was arrested and taken to a police station, where she was fingerprinted and photographed. According to her mother, she was placed in a bare cell for 3 1/2 hours. She was questioned on suspicion of committing a racial public order offence and then released without charge. The school was said to be investigating what further action to take, not against the teacher, but against Stott. Headmaster Anthony Edkins reportedly said: "An allegation of a serious nature was made concerning a racially motivated remark. We aim to ensure a caring and tolerant attitude towards pupils of all ethnic backgrounds and will not stand for racism in any form."

A 10-year-old child was arrested and brought before a judge, for having allegedly called an 11-year-old boya "Paki" and "bin Laden" during a playground argument at a primary school (the other boy had called him a skunk and a Teletubby). When it reached the court the case had cost taxpayers pound stg. 25,000. The accused was so distressed that he had stopped attending school. The judge, Jonathan Finestein, said: "Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? There are major crimes out there and the police don't bother to prosecute. This is nonsense."

Finestein was fiercely attacked by teaching union leaders, as in those witch-hunt trials where any who spoke in defence of an accused or pointed to defects in the prosecution were immediately targeted as witches and candidates for burning.

Hate-crime police investigated Basil Brush, a puppet fox on children's television, who had made a joke about Gypsies. The BBC confessed that Brush had behaved inappropriately and assured police that the episode would be banned.

A bishop was warned by the police for not having done enough to "celebrate diversity", the enforcing of which is now apparently a police function. A Christian home for retired clergy and religious workers lost a grant because it would not reveal to official snoopers how many of the residents were homosexual. That they had never been asked was taken as evidence of homophobia.

Muslim parents who objected to young children being given books advocating same-sex marriage and adoption at one school last year had their wishes respected and the offending material withdrawn. This year, Muslim and Christian parents at another school objecting to the same material have not only had their objections ignored but have been threatened with prosecution if they withdraw their children.

There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.

Permissiveness as well as draconianism can be deployed to destroy socially accepted norms and values. The Royal Navy, for instance, has installed a satanist chapel in a warship to accommodate the proclivities of a satanist crew member. "What would Nelson have said?" is a British newspaper cliche about navy scandals, but in this case seems a legitimate question. Satanist paraphernalia is also supplied to prison inmates who need it.

This campaign seems to come from unelected or quasi-governmental bodies controlling various institutions, which are more or less unanswerable to electors, more than it does directly from the Government, although the Government helps drive it and condones it in a fudged and deniable manner.

Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together - and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day - they add up to a pretty clear picture.


Hal G. P. Colebatch's Blair's Britain was chosen as a book of the year by The Spectator in 1999.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Being Annoying Could Become Costly


From OneNewsNow
By Charlie Butts

Brighton, Michigan, apparently wants to stop "annoying" free speech.

The Brighton City Council recently passed a strict code for public conduct, and those who violate the law, including those who annoy someone else, could be cited and fined. LivingstonDaily.com reports Brighton Police Chief Tom Wightman issued the ordinance. Even though the edict features the word "annoy" at least twice, he contends it "is not for somebody that says something annoying" but rather for "some course of action for repeated acts."

Gary Glenn, head of American Family Association of Michigan, disagrees. "I think this ordinance in Brighton is clearly unconstitutional in that it attempts to restrict people's exercise of their free-speech rights based on the content of their speech," he says. "That's clearly viewpoint discrimination."

Police Chief Wightman says the ordinance would apply more to verbal interactions than an upsetting or annoying T-shirt, for example. However, Glen believes it could have a negative effect on individuals and pro-family groups.
Gary Glenn
"If someone dared, in a public place in Brighton, expressed their sincere religious conviction -- for example, that homosexual behavior is sinful -- obviously if someone was offended or insulted or even 'annoyed,' as the ordinance says, they might try to bring charges against somebody for merely expressing their sincerely held Christian beliefs," he points out.

The town is ripe for a lawsuit, says Glenn, if officials try to enforce the new decree.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

David Horowitz on Islamo Fascism Week


Islamo Fascism Awareness Week III is Happening

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week III has begun on over 75 campuses across the country and so have the attempts to suppress it. I’m going to speak on several campuses. Other speakers who’ll be on campus for the Freedom Center these next three weeks include Dick Morris, Daniel Pipes, author and scholar Dr. Andrew Bostom, former Muslim Nonie Darwish, and Middle East reporter Deborah Weiss.

As in the two Islamo-Fascism Awareness Weeks that preceded this one, our effort focuses on the global threat posed by the radical Islamic extremism that fuels the international jihad. But over the past year, as we have attempted to make students aware of the goals of Islamo Fascism, we have become more aware of the “stealth” jihad taking place in our own country under the protection of our constitutional freedoms and civil liberties. This movement is especially strong on our nation’s campuses, therefore, we have made the target of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week III: Stop the Jihad on Campus in general and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in particular.

Hiding under the cover of the campus romance with “multiculturalism,” the MSA falsely presents itself as a religious/cultural organization representing all Muslims when in fact it is a hardcore radical political organization representing Muslims who support the jihad against the West and the destruction of the Jewish state. The MSA receives student funding under false pretenses and should be compelled to make its agendas clear or renounce the jihad and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

Aside from its imposture as a non-political organization, the MSA is also an opponent of free speech and is part of a nation-wide Islamo-fascist campaign to suppress the film Obsession. This campaign is spear-headed by organizations associated with the terrorist party Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and includes the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) in addition to the Muslim Students Association.

Here is a story from the North Carolina Daily Tar Heel about our protest on that campus. The story swallows the jihadist line that we are opposed to the MSA's funding because of its "radical ideas." This is a lie the jihadists have learned to tell from the American left whose strategy is to destroy its opponents by labeling them Islamophobic, racist and McCarthyite. The ideas of the MSA are reprehensible and morally disgusting. But this is a free country and they have a right to say what they want. But lying to student activities boards to get student funds is not a right. Presenting themselves as a religious group when they are political arm of the Islamo-fascist jihad against the West is a form of deception. Allowing them to get away with this endangers the lives and security of moderate Muslims who do not support the jihad, not to speak of the Christians, Jews and Atheists who are infidels and therefore in their path.


When East Tennessee State University (ETSU) grad student Sean Rife tried to bring author Robert Spencer to campus for Islamo Fascism Week III, he wasn’t looking to start a fight. As the president of ETSU’s Society for Intellectual Diversity (SID), a non-partisan student group that champions free debate and academic freedom, Rife was just looking to stir discussion about a subject, Islamic terrorism, which increasingly has come to dominate Americans’ concerns. But a fight – and a lesson in politically correct bullying – is exactly what he got.

It began when Rife presented his request to the school’s Student Government Association. Like any other student, Rifled filled out the required paperwork, and submitted a funding request to a student government committee. Then, on Monday, he went before the committee to discuss his request – and that’s when the trouble started.

First off, Rife was required by a student representative to defend the request. He pointed out that the idea was not to cause offense but to have a reasoned debate. As the author of several well regarded books on the subject of Islam, moreover, Spencer was more than qualified to lead a discussion under the title “Is Islam a religion of peace?” Rife further noted that his organization’s faculty sponsor, Paul Kamolnick, an associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology, had written a letter to Taneem Aziz, the leader of an Islamic community center in neighboring Johnson City, Tennessee, inviting him to attend Spencer’s talk and present his own views. So far from ostracizing Muslims, the idea was to include them in the discussion.

None of this made a difference to the student government committee. Rife’s request to host Spencer was officially rejected. But he was taken a back at the reason for the rejection: “due to the controversial issues that [David] Horowitz’s society condones is degrading Muslims.” Spencer’s name was hardly even mentioned, nor was there any evidence given of Horowitz allegedly anti-Muslim views.

Rife’s knows politics were at play. While East Tennessee is not ruled by the sort of far left political culture that characterizes schools like UC Berkeley, it does share something in common with such bastions of political correctness: the speakers invited to the school are almost without exception from the political Left. In the past several years, the school has hosted such far-Left activists as actors Felix Justice and Danny Glover, the latter an outspoken supporter of Cuba’s dictatorial regime; radical education activist Jonathan Kozol; and black-power filmmaker Spike Lee. Just last week, the school hosted self-described “sex and relationship educators” Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, who delivered an instructional lecture titled “I Heart Female Orgasm.”

Rife doesn’t want East Tennessee students to lose the opportunity to hear about the dangers of Islamo Fascism. He intends to bypass the student government and file a formal appeal with the administration to have Robert Spencer’s speech approved. But he knows the odds he faces. “As long as I’ve been here there has been no major discussion related to Islamic terrorism,” he says. If the student government’s censors have their way, that won’t change anytime soon.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What Was A Liberal Education?

From The New Criterion
By Roger Kimball

The real difficulty in modern education lies in the fact that, despite all the fashionable talk about a new conservatism, even that minimum of conservation and the conserving attitude without which education is simply not possible is in our time extraordinarily hard to achieve.
—Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education”

To be deceived about the truth of things and so to be in ignorance and error and to harbor untruth in the soul is a thing no one would consent to.
—Socrates, in The Republic

Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”
—The Dodo, in Alice in Wonderland


When I ponder the recent itinerary of education in this country—not just college education, but the whole shebang—I often think of that old advertisement for a brand of cigarettes designed to appeal especially to women: “You’ve come a long way, baby!” How right they were. But a distance traveled is not necessarily progress logged. It was not so long ago that Cardinal Newman’s enumeration of the goals of a liberal arts education in The Idea of a University could have been taken as a motto by the American academic establishment. Newman spoke of “a cultivated intellect, a delicate taste, a candid, equitable, dispassionate mind, a noble and courteous bearing in the conduct of life” as being the chief “objects of a University” education. Quite normal in the 1850s. But today? Or consider the observation made by the philosopher John Searle in the 1990s that “the idea that the curriculum should be converted to any partisan purposes is a perversion of the ideal of the university. The objective of converting the curriculum into an instrument of social transformation (leftist, rightist, centrist, or whatever) is the very opposite of higher education.” Until the day before yesterday, Searle’s warning was regarded as common sense. Now it is uncommon, and highly provocative, wisdom.

I am not suggesting that in the past our educational institutions always lived up to the ideal that Newman enunciated, or that they always avoided the perversion against which Professor Searle warned. But they aspired to. Indeed, until at least the early 1960s there was robust agreement about the intellectual and moral goals of a liberal arts education even if those goals seemed difficult to achieve. There was, for example, a shared commitment to the ideal of disinterested scholarship devoted to the preservation and transmission of knowledge—which meant the preservation and transmission of a civilization—pursued in a community free from ideological intimidation. If we inevitably fell short of the ideal, the ideal nevertheless continued to command respect and to exert a guiding influence.

The essays that follow provide a series of pathologist’s reports on contemporary liberal arts education in an age when traditional ideas about the civilizing nature and goals of education no longer enjoy widespread allegiance. It would be difficult to overstate the resulting intellectual and moral carnage. Everything about Newman’s description—from its lucid diction and lofty tone to its praise of the dispassionate cultivation of the intellect—is an object of derision in the academy today. Likewise, Professor Searle’s insistence that the curriculum not be reduced to a tool for partisan propaganda, “leftist, rightist, centrist, or whatever,” is now widely derided as hopelessly naïve or insidiously reactionary.

The truth is that despite widespread concern about the fate of higher education, and despite many and various efforts to call attention to and remedy the situation, the situation is in many ways far graver today than it was in the 1970s and 1980s when exotic phenomena such as Afrocentrism, “Postcolonial Studies,” Queer Theory, Critical Legal Studies, and the attack on science by so-called humanists were just beginning to gather steam. And despite the rise of alternative voices here and there, those dominating the discussion at most institutions are committed to discrediting the traditional humanistic ideals of liberal education by injecting politics into the heart of the educational enterprise.

Consider the phenomena of “multiculturalism” and political correctness. (I use scare quotes because what generally travels under the name of “multiculturalism” is really a form of monocultural animus directed against the dominant culture.) The multiculturalists claim to be fostering a progressive cultural cosmopolitanism distinguished by superior sensitivity to the downtrodden and dispossessed. In fact, they encourage an orgy of self-flagellating liberal guilt as impotent as it is insatiable. Hence the sensitivity of the multiculturalist is an index not of moral refinement but of moral vacuousness. Multiculturalism is a paralyzing intoxicant; its thrill centers around the emotion of superior virtue; its hangover subsists on a diet of ignorance and blighted good intentions. As the essay by Alan Charles Kors shows, the crucial thing to understand about multiculturalism is that, notwithstanding its emancipationist rhetoric, “multiculturalism” is not about recognizing genuine cultural diversity or encouraging pluralism. It is about undermining the priority of Western liberal values in our educational system and in society at large. In essence, as the political scientist Samuel Huntington has pointed out, multicultur- alism is “anti-European civilization… . It is basically an anti-Western ideology.” The most ironic aspect of this whole spectacle is that what appears to its adherents as bravely anti-Western is in fact part of the West’s long tradition of self-scrutiny. Indeed, criticism of the West has been a prominent ingredient in the West’s self-understanding at least since Socrates invited his fellow Athenians to debate with him about the nature of the good life. No civilization in history has been as consistently self-critical as the West.

Anti-Americanism occupies such a prominent place on the agenda of the culture wars precisely because the traditional values of American identity—articulated by the Founders and grounded in a commitment to individual liberty and public virtue—are deeply at odds with the radical, de-civilizing tenets of the “multiculturalist” enterprise of political correctness. A profound ignorance of the milestones of American (or any other) culture is one predictable result. The statistics have become proverbial. Huntington quotes one poll from the 1990s showing that while 90 percent of Ivy League students could identify Rosa Parks, only 25 percent could identify the author of the words “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” (Yes, it’s the Gettysburg Address.) In a 1999 survey, 40 percent of seniors at fifty-five top colleges could not say within half a century when the Civil War was fought. Another study found that more high school students knew who Harriet Tubman was than knew that Washington commanded the American army in the Revolution or that Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.

Political correctness also fosters an atmosphere of intimidation and encourages slavish moral and intellectual conformity, attacking the very basis for the free exchange of ideas. Even worse, it encourages a kind of intellectual sentimentality that makes it difficult to acknowledge certain unpalatable realities—the reality, for example, that not all cultures, or indeed all individuals, are equal in terms of potential or accomplishment. It insinuates that “lie in the soul” Socrates warned about in The Republic. The consequence, as Charles Murray sets out in his essay below, is a species of educational “romanticism” that may be motivated by good intentions but has disastrous results.

It almost goes without saying that the tenured or soon-to-be-tenured radicals now controlling nearly all of the most prestigious humanities departments in this country reply that their critics have overstated the case. Really, they say, there is nothing amiss, nothing has happened that need concern parents, trustees, alumni, government, or private funding sources. On the issue of enforcing politically correct behavior on campus, for example, they will assure you that the whole thing has been overblown by “conservative” journalists who do not sufficiently admire Edward Said and cannot appreciate that the free exchange of ideas must sometimes be curtailed for the higher virtue of protecting the feelings of designated victim groups. And the curriculum, they will say, has not been politicized, it has merely been democratized: opened up to reflect the differing needs and standards of groups and ideas hitherto insufficiently represented in the academy.

The aim of such objections is not to enlighten or persuade but to intimidate and pre-empt criticism. The truth is that what we are facing today is nothing less than the destruction of the fundamental premises that underlie our conception both of liberal education and of a liberal democratic polity. Respect for rationality and the rights of the individual; a commitment to the ideals of disinterested criticism and color-blind justice; advancement according to merit, not according to sex, race, or ethnic origin: these quintessentially Western ideas are bedrocks of our political as well as our educational system. And they are precisely the ideas that are now under attack by bien pensants academics intoxicated by the coercive possibilities generated by their self-infatuating embrace of political correctness.

One of the most depressing features of the long-running epic saga called “educational reform” is how intractable the problems seem. A couple of years ago, I wrote an essay in these pages called “Retaking the University.” One thoughtful internet commentator responded with an alternative that I must have had somewhere in the back of my mind but had never articulated explicitly. This forthright chap began by recalling an article on military affairs that poked fun at yesterday’s conventional wisdom that high-tech gear would render tanks and old-fashioned armor obsolete. Whatever else the war in Iraq showed, he observed, such tried and true military hardware was anything but obsolete. The moral is: some armor is good, more armor is better. “It makes sense,” this fellow concluded, “to have some tanks handy.”

He then segued into my piece on the university, outlining some of the criticisms and recommendations I’d made. By and large, he agreed with the criticisms, but he found my recommendations much too tame. “Try as I might,” he wrote, “I just can’t see meaningful change of the academic monstrosity our universities have become issuing from faculties, parents, alumni, and trustees.” What was his alternative? In a word, “Tanks!” He called his plan Operation Academic Freedom. It has that virtue of forthright simplicity:

We round up every tank we can find that isn’t actually being used in Iraq or Afghanistan. Next, we conduct a nationwide Internet poll to determine which institutions need to be retaken first… .

The actual battle plan is pretty simple. We drive our tanks up to the front doors of the universities and start shooting. Timing is important. We’ll have to wait till 11 A.M. or so, or else there won’t be anyone in class. Ammunition is important. We’ll need lots and lots of it. The firing plan is to keep blasting until there’s nothing left but smoldering ruins. Then we go on to the next on the list. If the first target is Harvard, for example, we would move on from there to, say, Yale. So fuel will be important too. There’s going to be some long distance driving involved between engagements.

Well, perhaps we can call that Plan B, a handy expedient if other proposals don’t pan out. And there have, let’s face it, been plenty of other proposals. The task of reforming higher education has become a vibrant cottage industry, with think tanks, conferences, special programs, institutes, and initiatives cropping up like mushrooms after a rain. I think, for example, of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for the American University, The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, or Robert George’s Madison Center at Princeton University, which has become a model for many seeking institutional reform.

Naturally, many of these initiatives tend to run into stiff resistance. In his melancholy essay below, Robert Paquette tells the sorry tale of attempting to start an Alexander Hamilton Center, dedicated to “excellence in scholarship through the study of freedom, democracy, and capitalism,” at Hamilton College in upstate New York. An obstreperous and politicized faculty intimidated a pusillanimous administration and the center had to be started off campus without college affiliation.

I applaud all of these initiatives. But I wonder what lasting effect they will have on the intellectual and moral life of the university. They are important in any event because, even if they remain relegated to the sidelines of academic life, they demonstrate that real alternatives to reflexive academic left-wingery are possible. I suspect, however, that they will remain minority enterprises, a handful of gadflies buzzing about the left-lunging behemoth that is contemporary academia. Why? There are several reasons.

One reason is that the left-wing monoculture is simply too deeply entrenched for these initiatives, laudable and necessary though they are, to make much difference. For the last few years, I have heard several commentators from sundry ideological points of view predict that the reign of political correctness and programmatic leftism on campus had peaked and was now about to recede. I wish I could share that optimism. I see no evidence of it. Sure, students are quiescent. But indifference is not instauration, and besides faculties nearly everywhere form a self-perpetuating closed shop.

Something similar can be said about the fashion of “theory”—all that anemic sex-in-the-head politicized gibberish dressed up in reader-proof “philosophical” prose. It is true that names like Derrida or Foucault no longer produce the frisson of excitement they once did. That is not because their “ideas” are widely disputed but rather because they are by now completely absorbed into the tissues of academic life. (The same thing happened with Freud a couple decades ago.)

A few years ago, The American Enterprise magazine created a small stir when it published “The Shame of America’s One-Party Campuses,” providing some statistical evidence to bolster what everyone already knew: that American colleges and universities were overwhelmingly left-wing. You know the story: out of 30 English professors at college X, 29 are left-leaning Democrats and one is an Independent while in the economics department of college Y, 33 profs are left-leaning Democrats and 1 is, or at least occasionally talks to, a Republican. Well, that’s all old hat now. A few months ago, the Yale Daily News ran a story revealing that faculty and staff at Yale this election cycle have contributed 45 times more to Democratic candidates than to Republications. “Most people in my department,” said the one doctor known to have contributed to Guiliani’s presidential campaign, “are slightly to the left of Joseph Stalin.”

The key issue, I hasten to add, is not partisan politics but rather the subordinating of intellectual life generally to non-intellectual, i.e., political imperatives. “The greatest danger,” the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski wrote in “What are Universities For?,”

is the invasion of an intellectual fashion which wants to abolish cognitive criteria of knowledge and truth itself… . The humanities and social sciences have always succumbed to various fashions, and this seems inevitable. But this is probably the first time that we are dealing with a fashion, or rather fashions, according to which there are no generally valid intellectual criteria.

Indeed, it is this failure—the colonization of intellectual life by politics—that stands behind and fuels the degradation of liberal education. The issue is not so much—or not only—the presence of bad politics as the absence of non-politics in the intellectual life of the university.

I used to think that appealing over the heads of the faculty to trustees, parents, alumni, and other concerned groups could make a difference. I have become increasingly less sanguine about that strategy. For one thing, it is extremely difficult to generate a sense of emergency such that those groups will actually take action, let alone maintain the sense of emergency such that an outburst of indignation will develop into a call for action.

What’s more, those groups are increasingly impotent. Time was when a prospective hiccup in the annual fund would send shivers down the spine of an anxious college president. These days, many colleges and universities are so rich that they can afford to cock a snook at parents and alumni. Forget about Harvard and its $30 billion, or Princeton, or Yale, or Stanford, or the other super-rich schools. Even many small colleges are sitting on huge fortunes.

Consider tiny Hamilton College again. When Hamilton tried to hire Susan Rosenberg, the former Weather Underground member whose 58-year sentence was commuted by Bill Clinton on his last day in office, I reported the fact in The Wall Street Journal. The story appeared on the day that Hamilton kicked off a capital campaign in New York. My article was highly critical, and it generated a lot of comment. Donations to Hamilton, I am told, simply dried up. But so what? The college sits on an endowment of some $700 million. That is more than half a billion dollars. So what if the Annual Fund is down a few million this year? Big deal. They can afford to hunker down and wait out the outcry.

Some observers believe that the university can not really be reformed until the current generation—the Sixties generation—retires. That’s another couple of decades, minimum. And don’t forget about the self-replicating engine that is tenure in which like begets like. Deep and lasting change in the university depends on deep and lasting change in the culture at large. Effecting that change is a tall order. Criticism, satire, and ridicule all have an important role to play, but the point is that such criticism, to be successful, depends upon possessing an alternative vision of the good.

Do we possess that alternative vision? I believe we do. We all know, well enough, what a good liberal education looks like, just as we all know, well enough, what makes for a healthy society. It really isn’t that complicated. It doesn’t take a lot of money or sophistication. What it does require is patience, candidness, and courage, moral virtues that are in short supply wherever political correctness reigns triumphant. In large part, those who want to retake the university must devote themselves to a waiting game, capitalizing in the meanwhile on whatever opportunities present themselves. That is Plan A. Of course, it may fail; there are no guarantees. But in that case we can always avail ourselves of the more dramatic Plan B outlined above.


Roger Kimball is co-Editor and Publisher of The New Criterion and President and Publisher of Encounter Books.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

HOW BRITAIN HAS DESTROYED ITSELF: THE LAST TESTAMENT OF FLASHMAN'S CREATOR

Gloriously politically incorrect: Flashman, the rogue 'hero' of Fraser's novels


By George MacDonald Fraser

When 30 years ago I resurrected Flashman, the bully in Thomas Hughes's Victorian novel Tom Brown's Schooldays, political correctness hadn't been heard of, and no exception was taken to my adopted hero's character, behaviour, attitude to women and subject races (indeed, any races, including his own) and general awfulness.


On the contrary, it soon became evident that these were his main attractions. He was politically incorrect with a vengeance.

Through the Seventies and Eighties I led him on his disgraceful way, toadying, lying, cheating, running away, treating women as chattels, abusing inferiors of all colours, with only one redeeming virtue - the unsparing honesty with which he admitted to his faults, and even gloried in them.

And no one minded, or if they did, they didn't tell me. In all the many thousands of readers' letters I received, not one objected.

In the Nineties, a change began to take place. Reviewers and interviewers started describing Flashman (and me) as politically incorrect, which we are, though by no means in the same way.

This is fine by me. Flashman is my bread and butter, and if he wasn't an elitist, racist, sexist swine, I'd be selling bootlaces at street corners instead of being a successful popular writer.

But what I notice with amusement is that many commentators now draw attention to Flashy's (and my) political incorrectness in order to make a point of distancing themselves from it.

It's not that they dislike the books. But where once the non-PC thing could pass unremarked, they now feel they must warn readers that some may find Flashman offensive, and that his views are certainly not those of the interviewer or reviewer, God forbid.

I find the disclaimers alarming. They are almost a knee-jerk reaction and often rather a nervous one, as if the writer were saying: "Look, I'm not a racist or sexist. I hold the right views and I'm in line with modern enlightened thought, honestly."

They won't risk saying anything to which the PC lobby could take exception. And it is this that alarms me - the fear evident in so many sincere and honest folk of being thought out of step.

I first came across this in the United States, where the cancer has gone much deeper. As a screenwriter [at which Fraser was almost as successful as he was with the 12 Flashman novels; his best-known work was scripting the Three Musketeers films] I once put forward a script for a film called The Lone Ranger, in which I used a piece of Western history which had never been shown on screen and was as spectacular as it was shocking - and true.

The whisky traders of the American plains used to build little stockades, from which they passed out their ghastly rot-gut liquor through a small hatch to the Indians, who paid by shoving furs back though the hatch.

The result was that frenzied, drunken Indians who had run out of furs were besieging the stockade, while the traders sat snug inside and did not emerge until the Indians had either gone away or passed out.

Political correctness stormed onto the scene, red in tooth and claw. The word came down from on high that the scene would offend "Native Americans".

Their ancestors may have got pieeyed on moonshine but they didn't want to know it, and it must not be shown on screen. Damn history. Let's pretend it didn't happen because we don't like the look of it.

I think little of people who will deny their history because it doesn't present the picture they would like.

My forebears from the Highlands of Scotland were a fairly primitive, treacherous, blood-thirsty bunch and, as Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote, would have been none the worse for washing. Fine, let them be so depicted, if any film maker feels like it; better that than insulting, inaccurate drivel like Braveheart.

The philosophy of political correctness is now firmly entrenched over here, too, and at its core is a refusal to look the truth squarely in the face, unpalatable as it may be.

Political correctness is about denial, usually in the weasel circumlocutory jargon which distorts and evades and seldom stands up to honest analysis.

It comes in many guises, some of them so effective that the PC can be difficult to detect. The silly euphemisms, apparently harmless, but forever dripping to wear away common sense - the naivete of the phrase "a caring force for the future" on Remembrance poppy trays, which suggests that the army is some kind of peace corps, when in fact its true function is killing.

The continual attempt to soften and sanitise the harsh realities of life in the name of liberalism, in an effort to suppress truths unwelcome to the PC mind; the social engineering which plays down Christianity, demanding equal status for alien religions.

The selective distortions of history, so beloved by New Labour, denigrating Britain's past with such propaganda as hopelessly unbalanced accounts of the slave trade, laying all the blame on the white races, but carefully censoring the truth that not a slave could have come out of Africa without the active assistance of black slavers, and that the trade was only finally suppressed by the Royal Navy virtually single-handed.

In schools, the waging of war against examinations as "elitist" exercises which will undermine the confidence of those who fail - what an intelligent way to prepare children for real life in which competition and failure are inevitable, since both are what life, if not liberal lunacy, is about.

PC also demands that "stress", which used to be coped with by less sensitive generations, should now be compensated by huge cash payments lavished on griping incompetents who can't do their jobs, and on policemen and firemen "traumatised" by the normal hazards of work which their predecessors took for granted.

Furthermore, it makes grieving part of the national culture, as it was on such a nauseating scale when large areas were carpeted in rotting vegetation in "mourning" for the Princess of Wales; and it insists that anyone suffering ordinary hardship should be regarded as a "victim" - and, of course, be paid for it.

That PC should have become acceptable in Britain is a glaring symptom of the country's decline.

No generation has seen their country so altered, so turned upside down, as children like me born in the 20 years between the two world wars. In our adult lives Britain's entire national spirit, its philosophy, values and standards, have changed beyond belief.

Probably no country on earth has experienced such a revolution in thought and outlook and behaviour in so short a space.

Other lands have known what seem to be greater upheavals, the result of wars and revolutions, but these do not compare with the experience of a country which passed in less than a lifetime from being the mightiest empire in history, governing a quarter of mankind, to being a feeble little offshore island whose so-called leaders have lost the will and the courage, indeed the ability, to govern at all.

This is not a lament for past imperial glory, though I regret its inevitable passing, nor is it the raging of a die-hard Conservative.

I loathe all political parties, which I regard as inventions of the devil. My favourite prime minister was Sir Alec Douglas-Home, not because he was on the Right, but because he spent a year in office without, on his own admission, doing a damned thing.

This would not commend him to New Labour, who count all time lost when they're not wrecking the country.

I am deeply concerned for the United Kingdom and its future. I look at the old country as it was in my youth and as it is today and, to use a fine Scots word, I am scunnered.

I know that some things are wonderfully better than they used to be: the new miracles of surgery, public attitudes to the disabled, the health and well-being of children, intelligent concern for the environment, the massive strides in science and technology.

Yes, there are material blessings and benefits innumerable which were unknown in our youth.

But much has deteriorated. The United Kingdom has begun to look more like a Third World country, shabby, littered, ugly, run down, without purpose or direction, misruled by a typical Third World government, corrupt, incompetent and undemocratic.

My generation has seen the decay of ordinary morality, standards of decency, sportsmanship, politeness, respect for the law, family values, politics and education and religion, the very character of the British.

Oh how Blimpish this must sound to modern ears, how out of date, how blind to "the need for change and the novelty of a new age". But don't worry about me. It's the present generation with their permissive society, their anything-goes philosophy, and their generally laid-back, inyerface attitude I feel sorry for.

They regard themselves as a completely liberated society when in fact they are less free than any generation since the Middle Ages.

Indeed, there may never have been such an enslaved generation, in thrall to hang-ups, taboos, restrictions and oppressions unknown to their ancestors (to say nothing of being neck-deep in debt, thanks to a moneylender's economy).

We were freer by far 50 years ago - yes, even with conscription, censorship, direction of labour, rationing, and shortages of everything that nowadays is regarded as essential to enjoyment.

We still had liberty beyond modern understanding because we had other freedoms, the really important ones, that are denied to the youth of today.

We could say what we liked; they can't. We were not subject to the aggressive pressure of specialinterest minority groups; they are. We had no worries about race or sexual orientation; they have. We could, and did, differ from fashionable opinion with impunity, and would have laughed PC to scorn, had our society been weak and stupid enough to let it exist.

We had available to us an education system, public and private, that was the envy of the world. We had little reason to fear being mugged or raped (killed in war, maybe, but that was an acceptable hazard).

Our children could play in street and country in safety. We had few problems with bullies because society knew how to deal with bullying and was not afraid to punish it in ways that would send today's progressives into hysterics.

We did not know the stifling tyranny of a liberal establishment, determined to impose its views, and beginning to resemble George Orwell's Ministry of Truth.

Above all, we knew who we were and we lived in the knowledge that certain values and standards held true, and that our country, with all its faults and need for reforms, was sound at heart.

Not any more. I find it difficult to identify a time when the country was as badly governed as it has been in the past 50 years.

We have had the two worst Prime Ministers in our history - Edward Heath (who dragooned us into the Common Market) and Tony Blair. The harm these two have done to Britain is incalculable and almost certainly irreparable.

Whether the public can be blamed for letting them pursue their ruinous policies is debatable.

Short of assassination there is little people can do when their political masters have forgotten the true meaning of the democracy of which they are forever prating, are determined to have their own way at all costs and hold public opinion in contempt.

I feel I speak not just for myself but for the huge majority of my generation who think as I do but whose voices are so often lost in the clamour.

We are yesterday's people, the over-the-hill gang. (Yes, the old people - not the senior citizens or the time-challenged, but the old people.) Those of ultra-liberal views may take consolation from this - that my kind won't be around much longer, and then they can get on with wrecking civilisation in peace.

But they should beware. There may well be more who think like me than the liberal Left establishment likes to think. When my views were first published in book form in 2002, I was not surprised that almost all the reviewers were unfavourable. I had expected that my old-fashioned views would get a fairly hostile reception, but the bitterness did astonish me.

I had not realised how offensive the plain truth can be to the politically correct, how enraged they can be by its mere expression, and how deeply they detest the values and standards respected 50 years ago and which dinosaurs like me still believe in, God help us.

But the readers' reactions to the book were the exact opposite of critical opinion. I have never received such wholehearted and generous support.

For the first time in 30 years as a professional writer I had to fall back on a printed card thanking readers for writing, apologising because I could not reply personally to them all.

Most of the letters came from the older generation, but by no means all. I was made aware that among the middle-aged and people in their 20s and 30s there is a groundswell of anger and frustration at the damage done to Britain by so-called reformers and dishonest politicians who hardly bother to conceal their contempt for the public's wishes.

Plainly many thought they were alone in some reactionary minority. They had been led to think that they were voices muttering to themselves in the wilderness.

Well, you are not. There are more of you out there than you realise - very many more, perhaps even a majority.


Edited extract from The Light's On At Signpost by George MacDonald Fraser (published by Harper Collins)