26 July 2014

There Are Some Bright Spots In Academia

Yesterday, a new website for college students ranks Patrick Henry College as the number #19 college in the USA. A few days earlier we learned that two more PHC alums were invited to join the Law Review at Harvard Law School. This brings the total to five of the current members of the Harvard Law Review who are PHC alumni.
We prepare students not only to be admitted to the top graduate schools, they excel when they get there. (And it doesn't hurt a bit that the vast majority of our students came to us with the strategic advantage of having been homeschooled.)
~ Michael Farris, Founder HSLDA and Patrick Henry College

25 July 2014

Understanding The Perspectives Of Modern Historians

A broad brush, no doubt, but the overall point is not debatable, though I would welcome the attempt. This overall point can be found in a recent article titled, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer A Leftist written by Professor Danusha V. Goska:
We rushed to cast everyone in one of three roles: victim, victimizer, or champion of the oppressed.
Is that not a laser sharp, to the point analysis of many (if not most) academic historians?

And . . .

Prof. X went on to say that he was wary of accepting a position on this lowly commuter campus, with its working-class student body. . . . Leftists freely label poor whites as "redneck," "white trash," "trailer trash," and "hillbilly." . . . President Bill Clinton's advisor James Carville succinctly summed up leftist contempt for poor whites in his memorable quote, "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find."
Ah yes, can't have trailer-trash, non-academics and those who have ancestral connections to American history participating in the study and adding their perspective. Such is the attitude of the bigoted intellectual supremacists who look down on the rest of the great unwashed as little more than human debris which must be mocked, made fun of, disrespected and, if necessary, jailed - even for having a different perspective. Just shut-up and get in line you working-class hillbilly. But pass the Grey Poupon first.

But they do want you to buy their publications and attend their bore-you-out-of-your-freakin'-mind seminars and conferences where the greatest intellectual challenge will be to stay awake while all the "presenters" read from the same script. Oh, and they'll want you to sit in the back of the room. But don't protest, you'll be glad you did. It's easier to sleep back there.

And . . .

Hang out in leftist internet environments, and you will discover a toxic bath of irrational hatred for the Judeo-Christian tradition. You will discover an alternate vocabulary in which Jesus is a "dead Jew on a stick" or a "zombie" and any belief is an arbitrary sham, the equivalent of a recently invented "flying spaghetti monster." You will discover historical revisionism that posits Nazism as a Christian denomination. You will discover a rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundation of Western Civilization and American concepts of individual rights and law. You will discover a nihilist void, the kind of vacuum of meaning that nature abhors and that, all too often, history fills with the worst totalitarian nightmares, the rough beast that slouches toward Bethlehem.
Leftist historians in a nut (no pun intended) shell. Is there not a detectable, in-your-face sneering at America's (and Western civilization's) Judeo-Christian foundings prominent in many academic history blogs and writings i.e., "leftist internet environments"? You know there is. Just more bigotry and agenda-driven "scholarship."

And . . .

My students do know -- because they have been taught this -- that America is run by all-powerful racists who will never let them win. My students know -- because they have been drilled in this -- that the only way they can get ahead is to locate and cultivate those few white liberals who will pity them and scatter crumbs on their supplicant, bowed heads and into their outstretched palms. My students have learned to focus on the worst thing that ever happened to them, assume that it happened because America is unjust, and to recite that story, dirge-like, to whomever is in charge, from the welfare board to college professors, and to await receipt of largesse.

All this is why American traditions--and anything that symbolizes them--must be torn down and scrubbed from the landscape, our schools and from the national conversation. Patriotism is nothing but jingoism and if you honor your American heritage, you're guilty of
xenophobia

You can read the complete article here at the American Thinker.

And in a somewhat related topic:
"There is no other institution in our society that guarantees fairness and due process more than colleges and universities ..." When I read this line to my classes, they erupted in laughter. ~ Professor Mike Adams
And when reading academic history blogs about claims of fairness and objectivity, I often have the same reaction.

14 July 2014

Arcadia Acquires The History Press

Just got this announcement in an email though I knew it was in the works . . .


More here.

11 July 2014

Another Defeat For Civil War Memory


Posted by Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory. Of course, we know Mr. Levin's suggestion was rejected. Oh well, you can't win them all.

In regards to this whole matter, I'd like to say something about the "proper interpretation" of the flags that have been the subject of this manufactured controversey. I visit Lee Chapel several times a year. I often take friends or family with me and have been doing so, as an adult, for over 30 years. 

In all my times visiting the Shrine of the South and stopping at the Recumbent Lee and listening to the docent explain the history of the Chapel, along with the Valentine statue and the flags,  never once did a docent fail to explain the context and historical significance of the flags. Never once was there any glorification of the Confederacy or the flags or, for that matter Lee. Never once did a docent exhibit any speech or attitude other that than of factual representation of the history of that place. Respect for the Chapel was always evident, but that is proper given the caretaker status of those in charge of such a historically significant location and building.

Those suggesting that the flags need to be in the museum so that they can be "properly interpreted" have absolutely no idea what they're talking about and, most likely, have never even visited Lee Chapel. The flags were already being interpreted and were displayed in a historical context. If you want to present the argument that the flags were added "later" and don't belong, - so was the Recumbent Lee, as well as General Lee himself - first in an area now occupied by the museum, later in the family crypt. Those making the argument for the relocation of the flags for the purpose of "proper interpretation" are simply displaying their ignorance and serving up a distraction (intentionally or not) from what this whole issue is really about - illogical emotion, modern politics and political correctness.

As I stated previously, the protests over Confederate imagery will not stop with the flag removal. Those who have expressed sympathies with the removal of these items properly set and interpreted in context have backed themselves into a corner. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to extract themselves when the next set of demands are made - and there have already been hints that those demands are eventually coming.

08 July 2014

Did Washington & Lee Cave To Political Correctness?

Some will say yes, others will say this is a reasonable  response:
. . . we will remove these reproductions from their current location and will enter into an agreement with the American Civil War Museum, in Richmond, to receive on loan one or more of the original flags, now restored, for display on a rotating basis in the Lee Chapel Museum . . .
I find the response disappointing, but not surprising; although I must scratch my head over a handful of students forcing a university to remove the flags from what is arguably a historical context and proper setting. Prediction: The issue will not end here. I think I already know what the next target will likely be. Like the compromise over the Confederate flag above the South Carolina state house, this will not be enough in the minds of many. 

But along those lines, don't those who find the flags offensive find the *Recumbent Lee even more so, given Lee's obvious connection to the "offending" flags? After all, the Recumbent Lee shows Lee in a Confederate uniform. I see a glaring inconsistency here, which is why I don't think this is over.  


Update: While I disagree with the decision to remove the flags, I commend W & L President Ruscio for this part of his announcement:
In five years as president of Washington College (and in three as superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy), Robert E. Lee displayed his estimable skill as an innovative and inspiring educator. I personally take pride in his significant accomplishments here and will not apologize for the crucial role he played in shaping this institution. Affection for and criticism of historical figures living in complicated times are not mutually exclusive positions, however, as the scholar Joseph Ellis concluded after his study of Thomas Jefferson. Ellis found it difficult to "steer an honorable course between evisceration and idolatry" when it came to Jefferson. As I have listened to and read comments about Lee these past few months, I have felt the same way. Lee was an imperfect individual living in imperfect times. Lee deserves, and his record can withstand, an honest appraisal by those who understand the complexities of history. His considerable contributions to this institution are part of that record.

Given today's political climate, along with the fact that some of the more vocal critics of Lee and others from our Nation's past DO NOT, "understand the complexities of history", that statement took some courage. 

Update #2:  Some Boston bloggers are deflecting some of the criticisms about this issue by trumpeting the fact that W & L will be displaying the original flags in the museum below Lee Chapel.  So? That could have been done without removing the other flags. Nice try. Note how these folks believe THEY are the ones to determine what is the "proper" way to exhibit these flags. Rather elitist, wouldn't you say?

*I don't believe the next target will be the Recumbent Lee, but for fear of giving someone some ideas, I'd rather not mention it - just in case I'm wrong.

05 July 2014

More From Wackydemia

Headline:
University offers female students extra credit for not shaving their armpits.
Arizona State University. Your tax dollars at work. What can one add? Well, we can add this:
“The experience helped me better understand how pervasive gendered socialization is in our culture. Furthermore, by doing this kind of activist project I was no longer an armchair activist theorizing in the classroom.” she said.
Correct: "no longer an armchair activist." These students are now armpit activists. Excellent use of resources. I'm sure this "experience" will serve them well in the real world. Nothing like a university education to prepare one for the important things in life.

04 July 2014

Happy Independence Day

Lest we forget . . .



And Francis Scott Key helps us remember . . .

03 July 2014

Pew Research Indicates Liberals Are Less Likely To Be Proud Americans & Place Less Emphasis On "Honor & Duty"


And would that, by extension, apply to most members of academia? Now, before going off on me, notice that I've done two things:
  1. I've cited a respected polling and research organization.
  2. I've followed with a question about possible connections based on other polls, along with empirical evidence.


More here.

01 July 2014

History Teachers "Shocked & Dismayed"

Now that the 2013 – 2014 school year is in their rearview mirrors, thousands of AP US History teachers are focusing for the first time on the College Board’s new “redesigned” APUSH Framework. Many teachers are shocked and dismayed by what they are discovering. A number of teachers have written us letters expressing their concerns about the new Framework. . . . “Balance” has disappeared. Students will learn a great deal about American oppressors and exploiters but little about the dreamers, innovators, and heroes who built our country.
So what's to be so shocked about? This simply reflects much of academia's perspective, as I've been cataloging for several years now--and they've been denying. As Richard Weaver once wrote, "ideas have consequences." The "enemies of American Exceptionalism" offered their ideas, academia embraced them and now there are consequences. Story here. More "anecdotal" evidence I suppose?

30 June 2014

Battle Of Waynesboro Manuscript Complete

Finally. The Battle of Waynesboro manuscript for the History Press's Sesquicentennial series is finished. From HP's website:
This series honors the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States. Each book is a concise illustrated history of an epic battle, a critical turning point, a pivotal campaign or a hallowed location. Authors are respected Civil War scholars who condense their research into accessible volumes of 40,000 to 50,000 words and 60 to 70 images. Successful subjects have on-site visitor centers with retail operations that support the books.
The initial draft has been sent to the editor, along with the photographs to be included in the book. It has been an honor to write a history of a battle which occurred in my hometown and on ground I not only grew up on, but on which I was actually born. It's also an honor to have the book slated for the HP's Sesquicentennial series. The timing is perfect, as the book is to be released some time this fall; just in time for the BoW's 150th anniversary on 2 March 2015.

28 June 2014

Putting People In Boxes

Update - some critics are, believe it or not, already referring to this man as a "racist Tea-bagger." This proves, along with other evidence, that there are a lot of folks who attempt to put people in a box.

This is, in my opinion, a brilliant ad by a black Republican running for the state house in Alabama. He refuses to be put in anyone's box. Good for him. Outsiders so often misunderstand the South.



27 June 2014

More Wild & Crazy News From The Whacky World Of Academia

A controversial, outspoken law professor who frequently bashes Republicans and specializes in poverty issues as a self-proclaimed champion of the poor earns $205,400 per year – for teaching one class per semester.
Sweet. But there's more.
. . . in the past he served as president of the College of William and Mary from 2005 to 2008, that is, until his contract was not renewed following a string of controversies. Among them, he allowed a sex workers’ art show on campus and removed a cross from permanent display in the chapel of the historic Christopher Wren building, citing the facility’s use for secular events.
 You really can't make this stuff up. More details here.

St. Paul, Virginia

More of the Virginia I know and love . . .



26 June 2014

The Population Of A Dozen States Want To Secede?

So says Google Autocomplete:
Google Autocomplete is notorious for taking a standard search and anticipating something completely ridiculous.

In the style of Tumblr user Gaysquib, we conducted our own experiment and created a map of what each state wants (according to Autocomplete). The resulting map reads like a list of New Year's resolutions made by Civil War veterans. [Emphasis mine.]
Story here

20 June 2014

Hometown Speaking Opportunity

Last night, I had the privilege of speaking about my new book at the Gateway in downtown Waynesboro, Virginia. I'll post some comments about that next week, along with some photos and comments of a recent battlefield tour I enjoyed here in the Valley. Manuscript is due Monday - wall to wall at the keyboard all weekend!


18 June 2014

Dr. Walter Williams Weighs In On Reparations

Slavery was a horrible, despicable violation of basic human rights. The gross discrimination that followed emancipation made a mockery of the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. So I agree that slave owners and slave traders should make reparations to those whom they enslaved. The problem, of course, is that slaves, slave owners and slave traders are all dead. Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living.

Punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is not what reparations advocates want. They want government to compensate today's blacks for the bondage suffered by our ancestors. But there's a problem. Government has no resources of its very own. The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- confiscate that dollar from some other American. Therefore, if anybody cares, a moral question arises. What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday?
There's another moral or fairness issue. A large percentage, if not most, of today's Americans -- be they of European, Asian, African or Latin ancestry -- don't even go back three or four generations as American citizens. Their ancestors arrived on our shores long after slavery. What standard of justice justifies their being taxed to compensate blacks for slavery? For example, in 1956, thousands of Hungarians fled the brutality of the USSR to settle in the U.S. What do Hungarians owe blacks for slavery?

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/06/17/5655086/walter-williams-reparations-are.html?sp=/99/728/#storylink=cpy
You may read the balance of Dr. Williams's article here.

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/06/17/5655086/walter-williams-reparations-are.html?sp=/99/728/#storylink=cpy