Your hosts in the Hall of Super Justice:

Conservator: The Red-Blooded, Blue-Collared American Hero
Captain Capitalism: Valiant Protector of a Free Market
Libertaria: With her Bureaucratic Shrink Ray
The Dynamic Uno: A Lone Force Against Idiotarian Evil
Senator Stupendous: Mild-Mannered Page by Day

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Captain: Ion Pacepa, former Spin Doctor for the KGB, says that the Anti-War rhetoric spouted by Kerry in the 70's comes straight from the KGB propaganda department.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Captain: National Review has a big section about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, and this great article about a real anti-Semitic movie to come out of Syria.

Captain: No one gives a better reason not to vote for the marriage amendment than Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Republican Senator from Colarado:

"Senator Campbell believes the decision to ban gay marriages should be left up to the states, and feels we should not tinker with the Constitution," said Campbell Press Secretary Kate Dando. "As a Catholic, Senator Campbell believes that marriage is between a man and a woman. He is against gay marriage, but is not opposed to civil unions. He will carefully study this if it comes to the Senate floor for a vote."

Visit OxBlog to see where the other Senators stand.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Conservator: Oh boy. What has gone wrong with America?

Perhaps you've heard the story about the kid who got suspended for bringing in a Sports Illustrated? We all know the Swimsuit Edition and its pics of near naked women. Thats the key though, near-naked. Like the kid said its no Hustler or Playboy. Why 3 days? Just take the magazine away if its too hot and heavy for the other students.


Monday, February 23, 2004

Captain: Mike Adams is my hero. Today he takes on the fact that, among other things, UNCW is considering placing a quota on Christian organizations.

See if you can catch the subtle joke in this passage:

When asked to apologize for his misrepresentation [of the UNCW College Republicans], the tenured English professor who accused the CRs of trying to keep out "blacks" and "Jews" refused. He said it was just a satire. I guess he really isn't that Swift.

Oh ho.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Helen Rittelmeyer: I agree with the good Captain on this one. One man, one vote, no matter what.

And I don't mind saying, Conservator, that advocating literacy or civic knowledge tests puts you in some pretty bad company: racists, Millard Fillmore, and other historical disreputables.

What kind of aptitude test? Like, "Who was on the Democratic ticket in 1876?" Or, "What does GAO stand for?" Or, "Solve for 'x'?"

There isn't really any kind of aptitude test that screens for morons (as anyone who has been to an Ivy League school can tell you). Besides, results today show that most people who would be disqualified by a literacy test aren't voting anyway. Only 38% of citizens who never completed high school voted in the 2000 presidential election, compared with 77% of those with a bachelor's degree or higher. And that's the real point: Try to disenfranchise people outright, and you'll have a fight on your hands. Leave them to themselves, and they'll stay away from the polls all on their own.

The brilliant P.J. O'Rourke called this the "dictatorship of boredom" : "The last one left awake gets to spend all the money."

Lastly, Conservator, I leave you to ponder whether or not the idea that we need to "get rid of the apathetic" vote makes any kind of sense. Hint: Not really, no.

Captain: I think that's a pretty bad idea.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Conservator: I've always thought that the best tihng that could happen to government in America is if the franchise was limited. I think an aptitude test that tests knowledge of current members of government as well as what those positions do would suffice. You would have to take it every 4 years. Not only would this get rid of the idiots voting but it would also get rid of the apathetic who have no right to vote in the first place.

Hi, I'm James: Am I the only one who thinks, whenever I hear about low voter turnout rates among youth, "Good, more power for me?" I'm more than happy to make decisions for people who won't do it themselves. Reall, I am.

Speaking of voting, I just finished a very provocative and apparently, in its day, quite controversial book, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. The book is less of a sci-fi thriller as it is a political treatise of sorts, an exploration of what it means to be a citizen. In the universal government of the future is that, in order to vote, you must serve in the military (or work for the government doing other stressful or unpleasant work). According to some characters in the book, this is better than our current government because the people who vote have proved that they are willing to put the needs of the community over their own (you can't choose what branch of service you go into, so anyone could potentially wind up as a front-line soldier). A character also argues that this franchise limitation is simply an improvement on the limitations that our government has now (limits based on age and if you were born in the United States or to citizens).

I was really intrigued by the concept, but I see several key objections to it as well: 1) the government would have a tendency to stay at the status quo, since only those who have worked for the government can vote; therefore, you'd have to make sure the government started out working incredibly well, and 2) without some kind of chaotic revolution (which did happen in the book's universe) you could never get to a system of that kind under the one we have now. Nevertheless, the book does make you think - is the electoral system we are all taught to believe in, the one we have now, really the best way of choosing our leaders and defining our policies?

Captain: I know one person and one person only who can write these words and really mean it:

The teleconference itself was interesting, in a CSPAN sort of way.

Helen Rittelmeyer: Today, eight students from Enloe High School (myself included) attended a national teleconference "dialogue on civic engagement" at Meredith college. For someone whose politics tend to the libertarian, being surrounded by so many earnest activists was an enlightening (but not entirely persuasive) experience.

The conference was intended as a sort of followup to the Wingspread Summit, a student convention that produced a Statement on Student Civic Engagement that includes quotations like this:

We were sold out in the cradle, and now we're expected to counter the most widespread, pervasive and well-founded monolith that mankind has ever seen. We were raised to believe that the monolith was as the world is. It is all that there ever has been. When we realize that a good portion of humanity is being crushed beneath it we don't know where to begin chipping away. Service is a small hammer.

The title of the Statement is "The New Student Politics." Under this new system, according to the panelists at the teleconference, 82% volunteerism among college students is proof of a politically active youth, despite a 28% voter participation rate. As the Wingspread Summit students say, "What many perceive as disengagement may actually be a conscious choice." They don't actively discourage voting (" . . . through service politics, many students make the shift towards more conventional forms of political activity"), but the hostess of the conference at Meredith (Meghan Griffith, '04) made it clear that what many perceive as voter apathy is in fact the students' way of working "outside of the system."

All this celebration of the 82% vs. 28% figures was in the brochure, which means that I entered the conference already skeptical. How can low voter turnout among young voters be evidence of political activism? How can you have political activism without the politics?

The teleconference itself was interesting, in a CSPAN sort of way. (In fact, I had heard that it would be broadcast on PBS, that star-making machine, but there were no cameras in the room where I was.) The panelists included Dr. John Keiser, a college president who said several times that the word "citizen" should be on all diplomas (he was very adamant about it, perhaps unnecessarily so), Fabricio Rodriguez, the Co-Chair of Young Democratic Socialists who had hair like a broom, Sara Long of Americorps, Piyali Nath Dalal of Minnesota Campus Compact, and Emily Yee, a USC student who was unhappy that most students see their time at college just as a way to study a subject or learn a profession, and not as a time to learn civic action. I actually remember (roughly) a quote of hers in which she criticized professors who "spend all their time talking about the subject of the class, instead of getting out there and making a difference with their students." (I leave any mockery of that statement to the rest of the Social Justice Friends; I'm sure they won't let me down.)

My fellow libertarian Eric Johnson (who, judging by the atmosphere of the conference, may have been the only other one there) and I were passing notes during the conference. (Bad us.) Here is the text:

"Helen, What'd you ask?" [We were allowed to write questions on notecards, and I had just passed one to the moderator.]
"Paraphrase: 'Altruism works at turning out volunteers, but not voters. Doesn't this suggest that if you want to turn out voters you have to appeal to self-interest instead, if you want to be effective?' Did you ask anything?"
"Good question. I wanted to ask why it really matters if people that don't want to vote aren't voting, but I asked how they can expect pols. to pander to a 'youth vote' when there's no set political agenda for young people. Our politics are all over the place. How can we be a real interest group?"

What followed the teleconference, after the satellite feed was turned off, was a discussion session, where Eric and I got to ask our questions, and respond to those posed to us. (Eric's response when asked to name an issue that might unite younger voters into a legitimate interest group the way the draft did during 'Nam: "Lower college tuition.") The talk was lively, and I have no criticisms, except that one lady kept referring to community service requirements (at high schools and colleges) as "forced service," which led another lady to refer to "forced servitude," which, frankly, reminds me of an "institution" more "peculiar" than even Meredith College. (They were selling beads in front of the auditorium. And there was a bake sale. Ah, small liberal arts schools.)

"'Forced servitude?' They really need to work on their semantics," said Chad Keister, our teacher.

Captain: The Fantastic Felder draws my attention to a Washington Post article by Jay Mathews that asks the question, "Is high school too hard or too easy?"

One of the problems, the report says, is that most states describe their high school graduation requirements in very vague terms, such as "three years of mathematics" or "four years of English." The course menus of many American high schools make it easy to meet these requirements with just a year of algebra, plus an assortment of cotton-candy offerings such as "Business Math" or "Statistical Concepts" or "Modern Media" or "Forensic Science."

The American Diploma Project says the states must get much more specific and require that all graduating seniors have passed first year algebra, geometry, second year algebra, data analysis and statistics and a regimen of English courses that build strong speaking and writing skills. Those abilities should be tested on a statewide level, they say, and high schools should not let anyone put on a cap and gown without having completed a major research project of the sort usually required only in private schools.


The American Diploma Project has inspired heated opposition. "Chanting the mantra, 'raise the bar,' while pressing for ever-higher requirements for high school graduates is wrong-headed for at least three reasons," said Bob Schaeffer, public education director for the FairTest: the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. "First, it grossly exaggerates the skill level required for most future jobs, according to economists who study labor market trends. Second, it assumes there is a one-size-fits-all high school curriculum appropriate for all students, no matter what vocational, artistic or academic path they plan to pursue. Finally, it diverts energies from solving real educational problems by failing to focus resources on the schools and communities where low performance is a genuine issue."

Based on what I've quoted, I've got to lean toward the latter crowd just on the issue of class choice. I think the American Diploma Project mentality is waht leads us to too-narrow regulations on what classes we must take--does that mean I have to take a class on "data analysis and statistics?"


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Captain: Michael Novak is keeping it real. Go Capitalism!

Conservator: On the "Sex Week" Theme, this is a headline on Foxnews.com

Strippers Said to Be Commonplace at Football-Recruit Parties

So? It's a party. It's with guys. It's connected to football. I'd be worried if there weren't strippers somewhere. This story is coming off controversy of the alleged rape of ex-kicker for the University of Colorado, Katie Hinda. An investigation found that this practice of parties was a commonplace at UC but also at other major colleges. Again, who cares, its no big surprise. These parties are not sponsored by the colleges. The money that the students get is not "party money" but instead re-imbursment for food etc. If they spend it on strippers, so be it, its helping an aspect of the economy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Captain: Now, i go to a college preparatory school, but I don't think my college counselor's told me anything about Sex Week at Yale.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Captain: February, Saturday 21st the National Socialist Movement (read: Nazis) will hold a rally in Raleigh near the State Capital. I blame it on our overactive tourism board.

This would be a great time for those who oppose such rallies to exercise your free speech and form or join an opposition rally.

On a side note: Looking at the bottom of the page, I wonder, where are all the pictures of Hitler looking warm and hopeful? How did this guy get to be such a PR genius by looking so mad all the time?

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Captain: And now, a new subject.

In France, a ban that will prevent students from wearing conspicuous symbols of faith in schools, particularly Islamic headwear, has passed 494-36. The Fantastic Felder has this to say:

It strikes me as being at the very heart
of the distinction that Lieberman drew: "The Constitution guarantees
freedom *of* religion, not freedom *from* religion."

Of course, Lieberman's talking about our Constitution, not France's. But the informal MSNBC poll on that page tells us that 40% of those polled believe that the same measures should be instituted in the United States. What's the difference, exactly? Well, the Constitution is even more distinctive on the subject, saying only that Congress may pass no law establishing a state religion or prohibiting free exercise.

But ever since Jefferson, the way our courts have interpreted that clause is that there is and should be a barrier between church and state--that one should try as hard as possible not to interfere with the other.

But weeding out religious symbols from schools doesn't do much toward separation. What on the surface might appear as keeping government and religion in different spheres is really the French government doing just the opposite--exerting their authority over religion. In the case of girls' Islamic headwear, this would be a blatant violation of the free exercise clause in the United States.

It's not only not fair to prevent kids from wearing symbols of their faith--especially when such symbols are necessitated by religious law--but it's unnecessary. What's the reason that the French government gives?

Some said the debate helped expose the danger of Islamic fundamentalism and will help roll back radicalism.

“Until now families were alone in fighting fundamentalists, often in the shadows, and at danger to their safety,” said Hanifa Cherifi, mediator for the national education system on the head scarf issue in schools.

The debate “lifted the veil on fundamentalist thinking, which is taking a population hostage,” she said on French parliamentary TV.

You should not ignore the subtle difference between fighting fundamentalism and fighting terrorism. In America, we must be careful not to seem like we are fighting Islamic culture lest we be depicted as cultural imperialists. But the French state it very openly--what they want to quell is not terrorism but fundamentalism, and not just Islamic fundamentalism, but apparently Christian and Jewish fundamentalism, too. They want to destroy a way of thinking and destroy the barrier between church and state in order to create one between church and society. This is, I believe, one symptom in the two-hundred year old dereligionization of European society.

What exactly does Cherifi hope to accomplish by restricting the rights of high school students? Are her stated desires even reasonable--will eliminating headwear eliminate the specter of fundamentalism? I can't believe it would.

This kind of aggressive curtailing of religious rights is... well, "taking a population hostage."

Captain: But taxes don't work that way. Society may create a problem, but people are taxed. To say that it's fair because it pays out for the losers in the social structure we've chosen is flawed. No one chooses a social structure--that is to say that if you and I both decided to put the "losers" on top and ourselves on the bottom, we wouldn't be able to push society in that way. Nobody makes the choice that those people should lose.

It's not moral to take people's money and use it on something that has no bearing on their well-being, no matter how moral it might be if they chose to give their money toward that service or charity.

You're right. A free market is amoral. And that's the point--with an amoral market--a market that is, by definition, without restriction--everyone can make their own choices. Any non-free market will be immoral because it refuses the right of the consumer to spend his or her money in a way he or she sees fit.

Is it possible to have such a market? No, of course not, the fact that we even levy taxes is indicative that our market isn't and can't be completely free. But to say that we have a responsibility to further dilute the mostly-free market we enjoy in order to "balance the scales," so to speak, is a slippery slope I'm sad to say we embrace all too readily today.

How does that old saying go? The ends don't justify the means? Because the most people benefit doesn't mean it's right.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Hi, I'm James: I respectfully disagree, Captain. Pure, free market capitalism without any government intervention would be morally right only in a narrowly defined sense - that is, basically, everyone gets what they deserve as judged by market demand for a service. But I'd argue that a system's level of "moral correctness" is based on its ability to do the most good for the most people (aka what's best for a society overall). The free market does a whole lot of good for a whole lot of people, but it could do better, and one its nastiest features is the creative destruction that is necessary for the economy to advance. For example, when Ford started pumping out Model T's, a lot of buggy whip manufacturers were put out of a job. Overall, this was great for the economy, but lousy for the whip manufacturers. Technology has a tendency to unpredictably take away people's jobs and incomes in order to progress. A society that as a whole neglects the victims of creative destruction cannot be completely moral.

A better, and more moral system would be one in which the few who do not benefit from our economic system are compensated in some way by the same society that chose the system in the first place. And the only way to get "society" to pay for it fairly is by using government taxation - everyone in society pays the "losers" because everyone in society has benefited at their expense. If done correctly (and it is of course very arguable if it is done so now), this will create a small net loss for the tax payers, but an overall net gain for society by drastically improving the ability of those "left behind" to function in said society. One of the best ways to do this is through education, which correlates highly with income level and increase human capita that workers can take with them even if they lose their job. Conversely, direct subsidies to the poor or out of work are probably a very bad way of doing about this system adjustment, since it discourages people from entering our market system as workers in the first place.

After all, the market doesn't care that you were replaced by a low wage overseas worker or a desktop PC - far from being morally correct, the free market in isolation is simply amoral, much like nature. The people who govern societies are the ones who can endow it with moral correctness, and there are many aspects to a truly moral system that they ought to consider. Is it more morally correct to create a system in which everyone has complete control over his or her own property, but in which the unpredictable but very necessary creative destruction of that system causes people to lose their jobs, OR is it better to create a system with slightly less freedom in exchange for much greater security for all its members, especially the ones who need it most on the bottom of the ladder? Speaking of ladders, I side with the latter.

Captain: I dunno, Senator. Perhaps you're right that society has a responsibility to take care of those that "fall through the cracks," but by trying to fix these problems with taxpayer money eliminates the taxpayer's ability to act on their own responsibilities. Even if it is effective--it's not right.

Free trade and free market aren't the right options just because of their efficacy. They're the right options because they're morally right.

Hi, I'm James: First the Democrats talk about fiscal responsibility, and now this? I seem to agree with them more every day. The jist of it is, the Progressive Policy Institue proposes phasing out farm subsidies and spending the money instead on rural development. To me, anything's better than using tax payer money to prop up industries that are failing because no one wants to buy their products (I'm talking to you, tobacco)! While this proposal isn't perfect, it's a great start, and it will allow that free trade magic to make life better both for American's and people in poorer countries.

This goes back to our discussion in Social Justice Club last week about free trade. Although I'm a big free trader, I do believe that the system is flawed - for example, it means that many people on the lower end of the economic ladder will lose their jobs while the majority of Americans benefit from free trade. My feeling is, if we choose have a system that does that to people, we (society/government) have a responsibility to help the people our system hurts. And the best way to do that is by education (which is part of the proposed rural development in the proposal) and training to get jobs that are relevant to our economy, instead of propping up jobs that are not.

Conservator: I'll tell you what I think. Ryan Jones shouldn't be suspended and neither should the kids who were wearing the shirts. I talked to some Enloe kids on Saturday and they said that kids were already suspended for wearing the shirts. Whether or not this is true, I can tell you one thing, those kids will be suspended and it will be, as Worth Aycock put it, "unconstitutional as shit." Well said.

Schools recently have been cracking down on these sorts of things thanks to zero tolerance. I myself came into a load of trouble for simple rough-housing with one of my best friends. Zero tolerance doesnt work and it never will. Its inefficent as well as total bullshit.

So all this superhero asks is that if you go to Enloe, please consider wearing a shirt and, if you don't, keep Ryan in your thoughts and don't let this nonsense happen to you at your school.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Captain: Free Ryan? A story by hearsay:

Ryan Jones is a student at Enloe High School here in Raleigh. He was suspended for the rest of the year because a broken paintball gun was found in his car, which had been searched because he was allegedly stoned at school.

However, here is the even more interesting story: A bunch of his friends wore shirts that said "Free Ryan" and were told by a school official that they had to take them off, and that if they wore them again they would be suspended.

Now, it's obvious to take this story as an illustration of the ridiculous nature of the zero-tolerance policy. But that's nothing new--we've already heard tons of stories about butter knives, broken guns, toy guns--here's one for guns "small enought to fit into the hands of GI Joe."

But add to that the obvious free speech question. Those shirts aren't threatening or offensive--they simply question the decision of school authority. The students are planning on wearing them tomorrow, despite threats of suspension, and I understand that they've typed up a brief to appeal such a suspension. More to come.

What do you think?

Friday, February 06, 2004

Captain: I've always had a lot of sympathy for Maurice Clarett. The ruling that suspended him was silly. But I think that this ruling is ridiculously intrusive:

A federal judge struck down a National Football League rule that limits participation in the NFL draft to players who are at least three years out of high school yesterday in a decision whose impact could be felt at all levels of organized football...

In a 71-page opinion, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin of the federal district court in Manhattan said that the NFL's rule is a violation of federal antitrust law because it amounts to the exclusion by the league of an entire category of potential players.

Captain: I've always kind of hoped this would come true--this model certainly traces my own opinions better. However, the more I think about it, the less it seems to be a political reality.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Captain: If you like parody blogs, here are some of my favorites:

I Make Sad Faces documents one girl's discovery of her liberal self in high school. It's not very tactful and in places pretty crass, but it's also funny:

Have ya'll heard about that girl in Cali who wants to start a club for Caucasian Americans? If we're such a free country like my history teacher claims, how come people from Caucasia aren't even allowed to have their own CLUB? Where do we live, Nazi Germany? It is so freaking typical how the White Male Patronarchy is making a huge deal out of it. I bet that if she wanted to start a club for white people they'd be all for it. Here is a quote from the news article (SEE A**HOLE I DO READ THE NEWS) that I read about her:

"Her distinct style is derivative of who she is, from her bleach-splashed hair to the red-rimmed glasses she sports without lenses."

I really <3 foreign people from other countries because they always have better style than Americans.

Censoring mine. That's probably not everybody's cup of tea, but I hope that we can all enjoy Kim Jong-Il's Livejournal:

Dear diary. Bush still doesn’t ‘get it.’ I tried making my feelings clear but he’s too busy ignoring me, he is such a jerk. Everything in his life is just Saddam, Saddam, Saddam and I am sick of it.

On the plus side, I think my hair looked pretty good today. Also I went frolicking at Paektu Mountain and the rainbow came out again. After dinner some of my subjects sang me a song because I invented Outer Space.


Captain: What is a WMD? Is it a ...seven pound block of cyanide salt?

Captain: Maybe once I see The Passion I'll be able to understand what the controversy is.

A scene in the film, in which the Jewish high priest Caiaphas calls down a kind of curse on the Jewish people by declaring of the Crucifixion, "His blood be on us and on our children," will not be in the movie's final version, said the Gibson associate, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

This is what Matthew 27:24-25 of the KJV says:

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but [that] rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed [his] hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye [to it].

25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood [be] on us, and on our children.

The difference? In Gibson's version, it's the Jewish high priest. In the Bible's, it's just someone (or someones) from the crowd, which was probably 90% Jewish. What's the accusation here?

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Captain: Don't mean to harp on the subject of college speakers, but here's a good look at them by Mike Adams.

Captain: I don't think calling them "phantom problems" is quite fair.

At some point in their lives, everyone is going to have a reason to feel victimized. Conservatives and liberals alike. The difference, however, is that we do feel slighted, we don't seek governmental restitution to balance the scales.

Anyway, you can trivialize it all you want, but conservative "victimhood" is truth in academia. I'll gather some good top-down examples (there are many right in our own backyard) of bias and "victimization," if we're going to call it that, of conservatives on academic turf. In the meantime, this should be enough to at least give you the idea that there is a definite animus against conservatives going on: Campus-Watch talks about the response to conservative speakers on campuses nationwide.

Do these student-led groups threaten free speech? No, they do not. And we recognize that--Conservatives aren't clamoring for a Constitutional correction to their problems in academia. But marginalizing them, or pretending like they don't exist or are justified by their current power in government, just isn't fair. We also recognize that it's not as bad as it once was, and we're happy about that.


1.) I don't think that quote as as tasteless as you'd like to make it seem, and
2.) Trent Lott is half-right. A lot of people don't like Christians (or Mississippians, I suppose, but I'm not going to start to tell you about what people think about Mississippians, Libertaria), and they're exposed to prejudice and hate just like everybody else. However, the real trap he fell in was not being well liked by his conservative peers.
3.) I did not post about Tim Beuler because I agree. He is a nut.

Helen Rittelmeyer: They way I interpreted the ostracized student's story, it was her fellow students and not her teacher who ridiculed her for her right-of-center views.

The only instances she cites in which her teacher spoke against her were 1) when she said that modern feminists were "overly concerned with their uteruses" and her teacher laughed, and 2) "I earlier was miming/mocking liberal colleges by saying, 'Poor black kid, lets let him in because of his race---.'" In the first case, the line might seem to an outsider to have been done for comic effect. As for the second, she admitted that her tone was mocking, so I think that the student is jumping to conclusions when she says that the teacher was shocked because a student dared to "say 'poor' and 'black' in one sentence," or because of "the verboten politically incorrect word 'b-l-a-c-k.'"

If we accept that the teacher did not scold the student for the content of her views (if anything, for the admittedly mocking way in which she expressed them), then defenders of "freedom of thought" in education should accept the way Cecile's classmates treated her as their right to their own opinions. (Certainly, if any violence had come of it, that would be a different matter.)

This much seems evident, which leads me to believe that this incident and the blogosphere's reaction to it is a symptom of a much larger ill: conservative victimhood. It is ironic that the party that so condemns blacks and other minorities for their "culture of victimhood" (which, among other things, leads them to demand affirmative action) should be the one to complain about underrepresentation in the media and among university professors.

I offer this post, featuring Charlotte Lloyd's view of anti-conservatism in high school education, from our own Dynamic Uno as further evidence of this mentality.

This is not to say that conservatives, young or old, don't appreciate that they control all three branches of government. Uno in fact says that she knows it's a bit unfair to paint herself as part of a "poor, oppressed minority."

Still, the sentiment itself is a popular one, and not all conservatives are as sensible as Uno. Some, it would seem, are un-sensible enough to express their views as tastelessly ("miming/mocking liberal colleges by saying, 'Poor black kid, lets let him in because of his race---'"?!) as Cecile Dubois did.

After all, something inside Cecile made her feel like the teacher was oppressing her when it doesn't seem to me like the teacher was. I suspect it was the same idea that keeps the zombie of the "Myth of the Liberal Media" stomping around popular opinion (feeding on lack-of-brains, it would seem), the same idea that made Trent Lott say, when under fire for his comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday party, ''When you're from Mississippi and you're a conservative and you're a Christian, there are a lot of people that don't like that. I fell into their trap."

The Tim Beuler story came out last month. It involves a high schooler in California who was mocked by students and scolded by teachers for publishing a pamphlet ostensibly against illegal immigration. Tim, like Cecile (although Tim reports being called a "bigot" by a teacher, which gives him more room for complaint than Miss Dubois), attributes this painful ostracism to anti-conservative bias, and many pundits and ditto-heads picked up on the story and held the boy up as a hero.

The truth is that Beuler and his pamphlet were criticized not for any opinions on illegal immigration, but for asking that the government put a stop to "every Muhammad, Jamul and Jose who wishes to leave his third world state to come to America." Not because he was a conservative was he threatened by his fellow students, but because he was a nut.

One blogger who says that they know Tim personally says, "Tim is a good kid who has bought into Michael Savage's hateful diatribes as a way to rebel." Any conservative, or liberal for that matter, who adopts their ideology in order to rebel wants to be ostracized or oppressed. The fact that the media accepted the boy's story and reasoning so readily (most of them have backed away from it now, including the blogger linked to above) is further concrete evidence of this inexplicable idea of conservative victimhood.

I don't intend to merely whine about the problem (though, as a liberal these days, I have reason to whine!); I have a solution. Let's put a Democrat in the White House! That'll give conservatives real problems to worry about instead of phantom ones.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Conservator: For those of you who go to Raleigh Charter then you all know the Fantastic Felder. He's a guest blogger from time to time and an excellent teacher of mathematics. He once had a classwide discussion about the way students and teachers interact in high school and likened it to the segregation way back in the 50s. That speech/ debate still rings in my head daily as does this line from it. "Look at the chair I sit in and look at yours. Don't you want to sit in my chair?" Yes I sure do.

What does this have to do with anything? Well I wholeheartedly support the student and while I think teasing has its benefits, teachers ostracizing? Unacceptable. Last time I tried to nail a teacher on one of their opinions I was thrown out of class. If I can't then they can't and thats the way it should be. I'm not worried about RCHS but shame on those jick teachers in that girls school.

Captain: This student blogs about how she was ostracized in her class, by both students and teachers, for expressing her opinions on affirmative action.

It's a harsh reminder for those of us who go to schools were all opinions are honored that somewhere freedom of speech in the academic world is hard to come by--and that counts for all stripes of ideologies. Send her an e-mail and tell her you support her right to speak her mind in school.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Dynamic Uno: A student at Marshall University in West Virginia caused an uproar by instituting opening prayers at Tuesday evening meetings of the student senate. Ardith Michaux of Marshall's chapter of the ACLU said, "We elect these senators to represent us. We do not feel the prayers are right. They are a violation of the Free Exercise clause." When asked if opening prayers at the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress are unconstitutional, she replied: "Yes, they are."

This reminded me of an old Jewish joke about a young boy who had to deliver a message to his father who was in the synagogue on Yom Kippur night. He tried to go in but he had no ticket for a seat. (On the High Holy Days, seating is reserved for ticket holders who pay for the privilege--the only way synagogues can raise money in order to function since they don't take collections as churches do.) The boy explained he wouldn't be going in to stay; it was just for a moment that he needed to speak to his father. The usher grudgingly admitted the boy but then gave him a stern warning: "I'll let you in, but don't let me dare catch you praying."

The people protesting this student senate are like the usher in the joke: "We believe in the Free Exercise Clause. But don't let us catch you praying!" As long as the prayers are student-organized and not required for any student, I don't see what's wrong with them.

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