GOOD PEP TALK MR. PRESIDENT - BUT WERE THERE UNDERLYING CURRENTS?
September 9, 2009
Well, President Obama went to school yesterday and gave a lesson (lecture, pep talk, whatever you want to call it) and for the first time in American history actually succeeded making his class a requirement in many school districts throughout the country. While some districts allowed for parents to opt their children out, there were some in which students were forced to listen to Mr. Obama speak without the option.
Before I say anything else, I must say I was quite pleased at the President's appeal for students to continue their education, give their best to their studies, never give up and take on the personal responsibility to better one's self. Especially moving was the urgency that to stay in school not only guaranteed them good prospects in the job market, but was also for the good of our country. Education is a foundation block for society.
Yet, their was an underlying current which prompted schools across the country to force students to watch it. That current is nothing other than Obama followers in decision making positions in schools, school boards and state education departments around the country.
In South Carolina, many school divisions made it a requirement for students to watch the speech with no opt out option and parents who decided to keep their children home would have to have a medical excuse in order to avoid the absence from being considered "unexcused."
This shouldn't come as a surprise to most American's as it has been a tactic of the far-left since the early 1960s. The classroom, and in particular the universities, have become common breading grounds for radicals and far-left academics to perpetrate their worldview of Nihilism and hatred toward the United States. "Yes, little Johnny, it's only right to hate your country!"
Consider the decline and fall of the American University. The ascendency of sixties radicals in academia transformed the American university's core mission. While academics had previously dedicated themselves to the "disinterested pursuit of knowledge,' the goal of the 1960s cohort was to spread 'social justice" - a clever euphemism that simply means to struggle for a leftwing political agenda. Believing no sphere was off limits to politics, the sixties radicals politicized academic work and hiring decisions; after all, to quote a famous sixties slogan, even "the personal is political."
As a result, the guiding principles at American universities is now multiculturalism, a doctrine that rejects the traditional American notion of the melting pot. Instead of a unified American culture, multiculturalists encourage immigrants to retain their native cultures in order to bring about "diversity" - a magical condition in which the interaction of many different cultures creates some ill-defined state of nirvana removed from traditional Western civilization.
This is why there is an increasing move in most states and school districts to require three, four or perhaps as many as six years of Spanish in order to graduate from High School.
Multiculturalism spread alongside a stifling code of political correctness, which holds that certain "victimized" identity groups - particularly gays, women, and any non-white racial ethnic group - should never be subject to criticism or even jokes. Hispanics and other immigrants (legal or otherwise) should not have to learn English or understand the meaning of the Constitution.
To enforce this orthodoxy, college administrators promulgated an Orwellian system of speech codes in the late sixties and early seventies. This is an ironic outcome for a group that once claimed to be part of a "free speech" movement.
The robust employment of sixties radicals is largely responsible for the expansion of the least serious and substantive college departments, so-called fields, like ethnic studies, critical legal theory, and sociology. Unsurprisingly, these departments are largely dominated by leftwing teacher-activists. In fact, exhaustive studies by Everett Ladd, Jr. Of the University of Connecticut and Seymour Lipset of Harvard University found an inverse correlation between professors' political radicalism and the amount of hard science in their area of study. Those professors in "soft" research fields like sociology are most likely to be far left, while those in more substantive disciplines like chemistry, biology and agriculture are the least likely to harbor anti-capitalist views.
Ladd and Lipset also found that medical school professors were more than twice as sociology professors to have been among the academic minority to have voted for Richard Nixon over George McGovern. They also noted that engineering professors were more than three times as likely to have done so. Sociology and social psychology professors, in contrast, were the most likely to be supportive of student violence on campus, such as that which typified those on the University of California at Berkeley and Kent State.
Now note that since there are few practical jobs for specialists in "gay theory" or "ethnic studies," it is clear enough that these departments exist primarily to find work for radicals and to give them a place to air their views.
From their comfortable professorships and deanships, sixties radicals promote their old agenda - revolution! Their pretensions have become more modest, however, since their youthful heyday when they sought to overthrow the United States government as well as capitalism as a whole. They now work toward overthrowing traditional academic standards and curricula and replacing them with various politicized theories that reflect their own worldview.
We find this in English departments, where the adherents of the New Left launches an all-out attack on the Western literary canon. Denounced as oppressive dead white males, literary greats like Shakespeare and Faulkner were purged from most syllabi.
It was during the 1960s that literary theorist Jacques Derrida became particularly influential among leftwing intellectuals. A consistent supporter of leftwing political causes such as Palestinian nationalism and, later, "justice" for convicted cop killer and death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, Derrida wrote in his native French, adopting a strange style that was deliberately obscure and indecipherable.
His basic idea was clear enough, though: it was an attack on the entire concept of language, which Derrida argues is clouded by the effects of our own biases, racism, sexism, and "ethnocentrism." In Derrida's viewpoint, books and other literature have no inherent meaning, since they can be interpreted in conflicting ways, regardless of the author's intent. Derrida's theory, which he called deconstructionism, spread quickly among the new cohorts of English professors, who were intrigued by the revolutionary implications of a single nihilistic theory that could overthrow all the accumulated knowledge in their field.
Derrida's critics noted that his theory could be invoked to justify crimes or any other act of misbehavior - after all, how can anyone's actions be judged, since a judgment must be expressed through language which will be distorted by the speaker's own prejudices? This "who-are-you-to-judge" kind of nihilism became particularly useful to Derrida when he defended his principal American acolyte, the late Yale Professor Paul de Man. De Man we revealed to have covered up an earlier life as a virulently anti-Semitic Nazi journalist and collaborator in wartime Belgium, as well as a bigamist who had abandoned his wife and children to create a new life in America as a liberal academic.
In any event, a cult developed around Derrida by the of the 1960s, spawning an international cohort of Derrida disciples that came to control the English and literature faculties at Yale, Duke, and dozens of other schools. What's more, off-shoot brands of deconstructionist philosophy soon emerged in seemingly unrelated fields. In law, for instance, a school of Marxist deconstructionist thinking appeared called Critical Legal Studies. Unsurprisingly, these practitioners argue that the Western legal code is really a racist rationalization of economic tyranny.
Radicals never were a majority or anything close to it on American college campuses in the 1960s, but they did get the press! One of the striking - and destructive - legacies of the 60s is that this radical minority has come to dominate American higher education, using this privileged platform to indoctrinate generations of students in hateful, corrosive and absurd ideologies. Barack Obama was educated and indoctrinated by those first generation deconstructionists. Contemporaries and followers of Williams Ayers, Education Professor at the University of Chicago are (not were) close friends and teachers of our President!
It is interesting to me that the old tweed-jacketed absentminded professors who loved the pursuit of knowledge is today, more often than not, an anachronism, replaced by a tenured radical whose heroes aren't Shakespeare and Keats, Goethe and George Washington, Beethoven and Brahms, but Stalin and Mao, Castro and Che, Mapplethorpre and Lennon (and Lenin too).
The President's speech to school students was short, succinct and to the point. In fact, it was timely and justified. However, I suspect in light of the fact that over half of the original speech was cut, that there will be more forthcoming. And the requirements will be "attend and watch or else."
We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.