Seven Predictions: How 2020 Comes to an End

I’m posting the following because it actually sounds quite plausible — sadly:

7 Predictions: How 2020 comes to an End

Written by: Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a certified behavioral analyst, best-selling author, corporate trainer, executive coach, and columnist. He’s also a veteran and a self-described Christian Libertarian who believes in the principles of free market capitalism – while standing firmly against crony capitalism.

America is at a crossroads with revolution on our doorstep. On one side are the Patriots; those who seek to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. On the other side are Marxist insurrectionists; those who believe that America is evil and the cause of so many problems in world.

The Marxist-friendly side is pulling for Joe Biden to be ushered into the White House. They don’t call themselves Marxists, but as the saying goes, if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck.

I’ve been writing since January that the Globalists don’t care if there’s bloodshed in America, and in March I wrote that the Left is waging a scorched-earth war against Trump.

At the risk of sounding like I’m saying, “I told you so,” I told you so.

If you’ve been reading tea leaves from the news lately, you may have already figured out what’s coming at us in the next few months. If so, the following may simply affirm your observations. But I wanted to put this out there so everyone knows what to expect and therefore won’t be surprised.

My seven predictions for how 2020 comes to an end:

Prediction 1: Trump will win the election in a landslide. I know, the media is telling you the polls are tight, but just look around. Trump rallies are packed to the gills while Biden can’t fill the bleachers at a high school football field. Trump supporters hold huge boat parades while we see NONE for Biden. Trump supporters hold freeway caravans around that country that take up all lanes of a freeway, while an attempted caravan for Biden in Las Vegas drew only 30 people. Just like in 2016, pollsters today are making it look like it’s a close race. This is gaslighting – they’re telling you something that runs directly opposite of what your own eyes are telling you, but they’re expecting you to believe what they say.

Prediction 2: On the evening of November 3, Joe Biden will not concede the election, even though the vote will clearly be for Trump. Hillary Clinton has publicly stated that Joe should not concede, so the seed has been planted in our minds to expect this. And, because we’re expecting it, we won’t be shocked by it.

Prediction 3: Massive mail voter fraud will create confusion and Marxists (e.g. Democrats) will insist that “every vote counts.” They know Americans want to be fair so Marxists will play on that. They will cry and wail and plead that every vote needs to get counted, so they’ll ask for sympathy for voters who didn’t follow confusing new election rules about how to cast their mail-in ballots. That will be their story, but many votes will be fraudulent. As they’ve demonstrated on America’s streets, Marxists don’t care about following laws; they care about power.

Prediction 4: Because of massive mail fraud ballots showing up late, election results WILL be delayed. The deceptive Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and the clearly biased Jack Dorsey at Twitter have already announced they will flag any posts or tweets that claim a victory for Trump. They KNOW Trump will have more than enough votes to win, but as Zuckerberg already told us, we should expect results to take “DAYS OR EVEN WEEKS.” In other words, Facebook and Twitter are well-aware of the planned mail-in voter fraud, and they’re already providing cover for it. The planned vote count confusion will be dragged out as long as possible. The Marxists’ intention is to keep confusion swirling at least until December 14 in hopes that the electoral college won’t be able to identify a winner. Expect ballots to keep showing up out of nowhere.

Prediction 5: If Marxists cannot keep up the façade until December 14, some states will obfuscate the electoral process by choosing not to follow the rules laid out in the 12th Amendment. In fact, both may happen. Either way, by attempting to throw the electoral college into confusion, Marxists (again, the Democrats) will make a push for the electoral college to be eliminated. Believe me when I say you don’t want this. Students of the Constitution know that if the electoral college is eliminated, the Republic will be gone.
Prediction 6: Expect Nancy Pelosi to be acting all patriotic and concerned about the Constitution during the chaos, but rest assured, it’s a passive-aggressive act. She is among the Marxist vanguard in both houses of Congress orchestrating the whole mess. You will also see some Marxist-friendly governors making a lot of noise.

Prediction 7: While Marxists in Congress are messing with the electoral process, Marxists on the streets (Antifa and BLM) will intensify their violence by burning, looting, and murdering even more than what we’ve seen to this point. There’s already a movement that seeks to lay siege to the White House. Not only do the puppet masters want all the street chaos to distract our attention from what’s going on in the electoral process, the street Marxists see this election as their only chance to either grab power or put up with Trump for four more years. The protestors have been trained to instigate violence, and copy-cat wannabes will want to join in. Street Marxists will view these riots as the fight of their lives: it will get intense.

To perpetuate the riots, puppet masters like George Soros will continue pouring money into organizations that fund them. Also remember that Antifa and BLM have threatened to go into the suburbs. Their purpose for doing so is to trigger the Soccer Moms who wants peace at all costs. Marxists will hope that these suburban moms will apply pressure on their elected representatives to give in to the Marxists so the violence will end. Life on American streets will be unpredictable and dangerous.
How does it end?

The Marxists are desperate, so the fighting will be like nothing the country has ever seen before. I predict we’ll see horrific things happening in our cities and on our streets, and traditional media (read: Marxist-friendly media) will be spewing twisted truths and lies about everything listed above. And we can’t forget that social media giants favor the Marxists in this revolution, so they will be squelching debate in whatever ways they can.

The final months of 2020 will be an emotional roller coaster, but in the end, I predict Trump prevails. It’s not going to be pretty, and many who are now thinking life will return to normal after November 3 will be sadly mistaken. They will be wondering what happened to the country they once knew.

Whether the Democrats implode or not after all this happens remains to be seen, but it is my prayer that when the dust settles, all the Marxists plotters and schemers be exposed and truth will be recognized as truth. And then … maybe then … Trump can get on with his promise to drain the entire swamp.

The Dangers of Politicized History

We are now seeing the consequences of 50 years of the Left’s academic malfeasance.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” a “woke” racialist rewrite of American history, is just the latest in the decades-long track record of leftist distortions of history. Like everything else corrupting our culture, its roots lie in Cultural Marxism and its assault on social institutions, especially education, as the means for achieving the Marxist paradise that the proletariat had betrayed by not rising up against their capitalist taskmasters and collectivizing the means of production.

The universities, of course, have been the seed-bed of such propaganda. A seemingly silly spasm of outrage over Israeli movie actress Gal Gadot (pictured above) being cast as Cleopatra illustrates how fake history and “cancel culture”­­­­––their roots in an academic fashion from decades earlier that at the time was dismissed as the typical hijinks of egghead professors––have infected people’s minds with patent nonsense.

The “woke” mob are put out with Gadot and her director, Patty Jenkins, because Gadot is a “bland” and “too pretty” white woman, whereas Cleopatra was Egyptian and hence presumably swarthy and more “exotic” looking. More noxious to critics is that Gadot is an Israeli. Journalist Sameera Khan on Twitter huffed, “shame on you, Gal Gadot. Your country steals Arab land & you’re stealing their movie roles.” The sheer ignorance of this observation is staggering. Christian Egypt didn’t become an Arab nation until 645 A.D. with the Muslim conquest. Today’s Arab Egyptians, then, with the exception of the minority Christian Copts, are the descendants of conquerors, occupiers, and colonizers. So who has a much longer record of “stealing” land?

But assuming Cleopatra was ethnic Egyptian is another historical solecism. She was a Macedonian Greek, descended from Ptolemy, Alexander the Great’s general who in 305 B.C. seized the rich territory of Egypt during the “game of thrones” over Alexander’s conquests after his death. The Ptolemies, as the dynasty is called, adopted much of the ceremony and iconography of the pharaohs in order to make their rule over a culturally, ethnically, religiously, and linguistically different peoples more manageable. But ethnically they were Macedonians, who tended to be fairer even than the southern Greeks, let alone Semites.

As for Cleopatra’s ethnicity, Professor Emeritus of Classics and Archaeology, Duane W. Roller, author of Cleopatra: A Biographywrites on the Oxford University Press blog: “To sum up: it is quite possible that Cleopatra was pure Macedonian Greek. But it is probable that she had some Egyptian blood, although the amount is uncertain. Certainly it was no more than half, and probably less. The best evidence is that she was three-quarters Macedonian Greek and one-quarter Egyptian. There is no room for anything else, certainly not for any black African blood.” In other words, Gal Gadot is more likely to resemble the historical Cleopatra than a modern Arab actress.

Roller’s reference to Cleopatra being black brings us to the academic controversy from several decades ago that illustrates an early example of politicized history that was defended by trying to “cancel” a critic of its manifest errors. In 1987 Martin Bernal published Black Athena, the first of three volumes arguing that ancient Greek culture had “Afroasiatic roots,” as the subtitle had it. The most famous claim derived from Bernal’s book was that ancient Greek civilization was the product of African Egyptians. Thirty years later, an American classicist claimed that one of the book’s purposes was to “effectively combat today’s use of Greece and Rome by white nationalists.” Presumably, the “grandeur that was Greece, and the glory that was Rome” had been hijacked by racist “white supremacists,” who ignored the Classical world’s “Afroasiatic” roots in order to racialize its achievements. The history of Classics comprised a “stolen legacy.”

Bernal’s book became widely known when it was used by Afrocentrism, a movement to correct allegedly racist, Eurocentric history by restoring the role played by peoples of African descent. Much of the work produced is closer to identity politics propaganda than to historical fact––an early example of the same activist history one sees in the “1619 Project.” Also similar is the production of Afrocentric curricula for schools. One can judge the intellectual seriousness of Afrocentrism from a remark by Al Sharpton in a 1994 talk delivered at, horribile dictu, a college: “We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”

Nor can such a comment be dismissed as the vicious rhetoric of a professional race-baiter. But then as now, corporate America, eager as always to cultivate brand loyalty, quickly got on board the Afrocentrism train. Not long after the Afrocentrism controversy, I recall walking through a university history building and noting its hallway walls covered with posters celebrating Black History Month. One depicted Cleopatra sporting a big Afro redolent of Seventies blaxploitation movies. Another showed the Carthaginian Hannibal, a descendant of the Semitic Phoenicians who colonized today’s Tunisia, looking like soul singer Isaac Hayes. The posters had been donated by Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser. No one seemed concern that fake history was being promoted by the history department of a California State University, with the help of a corporation that wanted to sell more beer to college students.

At the time of Sharpton’s comment the historiographical flaws of Bernal’s thesis had been meticulously laid bare a year earlier by esteemed Wellesley classicist Mary Lefkowitz in her article “Not Out of Africa,” and later in books like Black Athena Revisited (1996) and Not Out of Africa (1997). Her thorough research undercut one of the major arguments of Afrocentrism, that ancient Greek culture was a “stolen legacy” filched from African peoples, a thesis based on egregious mangling of historical facts. For example, at a 1993 lecture at Wellesley by Yosef A.A. Ben-Jochannan, author of the Afrocentric classic Africa: Mother of  Western Civilization, Ben-Jochannan claimed that Aristotle had plagiarized his philosophy from the Library of Alexandria in Ptolemaic Egypt. During the Q&A, Lefkowitz asked Ben-Jochannan how would that have been possible, “when that Library had only been built after his death.”

The subsequent assault on Lefkowitz, documented in her 2008 book History Lessons, was an early example, of today’s “cancel culture,” and taking on the powerful black-identity politics academic lobby with such biting criticism was personally costly for Lefkowitz. Black studies professors and Afrocentric ideologues leveled against her vicious attacks, ranging from being dismissed as an “obscure drudge in the academic backwaters of a Classics department,” by the truly obscure black studies professor Wilson Jeremiah Moses; to the antisemitic smear of Lefkowitz as a “homosexual” and a “hook-nosed, lox-eating . . . so-called Jew,” by Khalid Abdul Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, whose active support of Afrocentrism was welcomed by many black studies professors.

Lefkowitz’s experience in defending history from political propaganda should have alerted both the academy and larger society to what was happening to higher education. But as we see today with the “1619 Project” and the nonsense of “white privilege,” Critical Race Theory, and “systemic racism,” politicized history has entrenched itself in the universities, and escaped from the rotting groves of academe to pollute K-12 curricula with Black Lives Matter and “1619” propaganda. Moreover, such fake history is poisoning our politics with an illiberal “cancel culture” that violates the First Amendment and the long tradition of academic freedom enshrined in the “1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” promulgated by what’s now known as the American Association of Colleges and Universities. Worse yet, federally mandated policies based on ill-written civil rights laws have provided campus ideologues with powerful weapons to intimidate and silence any voice not singing in harmony with the “woke” identity-politics chorus.

What appears to be just another attempt by “woke” activists to bully an industry and indulge its anti-Semitic bigotry against an Israeli actress should not be lightly brushed off as the politically correct hysteria du jour. Nor should we forget the academic scandal from nearly thirty years ago that helped to institutionalize this particular variety of fake history and illiberal assaults on free speech. Today we all can see the consequences of such negligence, as intellectual and professional malfeasance once confined to the university classroom is now fueling violence in our streets and furthering the corruption of our K-12 and university curricula.

The Jesuits used to say, give me the child, and I’ll show you the man. The left has had several generations of our children now for over fifty years, and their men and women are rampaging through our biggest cities, controlling our corporate boards, censoring social media, polluting our culture, demagoguing in our legislatures and courts, and actively working to dismantle the Constitutional order that protects our unalienable rights and political freedom.

It’s time to start seriously reforming our schools.

Like Schools Everywhere, They are Dumbing Down Test Results to Hide Racial Disparities

NAEP’s changes might cause better test results, but they fundamentally alter the meaning of reading comprehension, which would hurt students.

Much like the SAT adding an adversity score and the ACT allowing specific subject retakes, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the “nation’s report card,” is easing its standards to improve its numbers. As with the SAT and ACT, these changes carry significant implications for the way English is taught in American schools.

This year, the NAEP’s governing board plans to change testing to “optimize the performance of the widest possible population of students in the NAEP Reading Assessment.” To do this, it will first expand the test to include not only reading passages but also applying the reading through creative tasks such as “making a recommendation” or “developing a website.”

Additionally, it will make sure to account “for students’ differential knowledge by providing necessary background knowledge on novel topics and administering short probes to determine test-takers’ knowledge about topics they will read about.” Presumably, this means students will receive an informational video or audio clip on the test that explains a certain topic in each passage.

Finally, the governing board wants to feature “digital forms of text that are dynamic and multimodal and that require navigation as well as comprehension skills.” Thus, in addition to reading texts, students will demonstrate their literacy by clicking on links in a website, opening files, and understanding the basic functions of a web browser.

NAEP Changes Would Destroy Reading Comprehension

While these changes might cause better results, particularly for a generation of students who have grown up in an image-based, computerized environment, they fundamentally change the meaning of reading comprehension. No longer does reading mean translating, imagining, and contextualizing a piece of text. It now means doing other cognitive tasks, such as “navigating,” “developing,” and “recommending” with things that aren’t really text, such as images, videos, and websites.

Furthermore, these additions essentially turn testing into teaching. Mark Bauerlein and David Steiner point this out in their criticism of the NAEP changes. In particular, they believe these efforts remove a key factor in assessing a student’s reading ability: “An effective reading assessment … should reveal the gaps in knowledge among students.” Directly compensating for the differences in background knowledge on the test will prevent the test from revealing the possible deficiencies in English instruction.

Instead of changing the NAEP, Bauerlein and Steiner recommend changing the way reading is taught in class: “Our current mediocre results are a signal that English language arts teachers should focus instruction on the study of content-rich texts.” They argue students in an English class should not only understand and analyze a text, but also learn from it.

They would require teachers to pick texts that broaden their students’ ideas and experiences, which they believe would help students to better connect with any text they might encounter on an assessment. In other words, students need to know more so nothing in a text is so unfamiliar and distant that they cannot even begin to comprehend it.

This is a good suggestion, but on its own, it is incomplete. Asking for an overhaul in the way English is taught by switching from a skill-based model to a content-based model will not happen unless the test changes. Simply, if it isn’t tested, it isn’t taught — and as the San Diego Unified School District demonstrates, if it isn’t taught, it eventually won’t even be graded.

If a test features random texts with random subjects for which teachers cannot really prepare students, there’s little point in trying. It’s much easier and more popular to offer content-light, accessible texts that reinforce student experiences, then blame the standardized tests for being biased and unfair.

Reform the Way We Teach and Test English

Therefore, the tests must also change and start setting a clear goal for English teachers and their students. Instead of end-of-year exams featuring supposedly neutral texts about volcanoes and penguins, they should focus on a set of themes studied that year. As Daniel Willingham points out in his article about how background knowledge plays a role in reading comprehension, “If a child has studied New Zealand, she ought to be good at reading and thinking about passages on New Zealand. Why test her reading with a passage about spiders, or the Titanic?”

Focusing the test on a theme or time-period could better align with traditional or specialized curriculum, which will be a key priority if school choice expands after this year’s election. Students in a classical school could be tested on classic literature, art, traditional math, and history. Students in a STEM academy would be tested on science, technology, engineering, and math. Their background knowledge base wouldn’t hinder their reading comprehension because their curriculum would hone in on this knowledge.

Making tests theme-based would also bring much-needed focus to English curricula, which tend to be a vague mess. As such, these tests would create an equal opportunity for students of different backgrounds and make English more interesting. Besides improving their reading and writing skills, students could learn something identifiable and concrete in their English class.

A move to emphasize content as a means of teaching skills would also transform the role of English teachers. They wouldn’t be the “guide on the side,” helping students condition themselves for the state test. They would instead be a “sage on the stage,” conveying their expertise and directly cultivating their students’ intellectual growth. Instead of helplessly hoping for a set of students who are already good, they would finally have the resources and position to make their students good.

In most schools, reading comprehension is neither taught nor tested properly. Reading well seems mysterious and arbitrary, depending more on students’ background and personal habits than on anything they learn in class. The only way to effectively address the disparity resulting from the NAEP is to dispense with the catch-all reading comprehension tests and curricula. Instead, the NAEP board should pick a theme and assess it, and English teachers should respond by doing the same in their classrooms.

Auguste Mehrat, The Federalist

Pope Francis’ Take on Private Property: It’s a Secondary Right

In Fratelli tutti, Pope Francis defines his vision of what an improved social order would look like, using theological elements, historical misconceptions,1 and political philosophy to create what has been dubbed his “quasi-humanitarian” manifesto. But in an attempt to swim with today’s political current, Francis pushes a “re-envisaging [of] the social role of property,” going against what previous popes have written and completely ignoring sound economic teachings.

As Dr. Samuel Gregg explained, Francis’s insensible treatment of economic questions has been an ever-present trait of his pontificate, making the claims in Fratelli tutti just a continuation of what Saint Peter’s 266th successor has written in previous papal documents. And it is with this reality in mind that we must approach his characterization of property rights.

Property Rights and Natural Law

In Fratelli tutti, Francis first claims that Christian thinkers understood that “if one person lacks what is necessary to live with dignity, it is because another person is detaining it.” In other words, those who are poor are such because someone else is holding the goods that all men require to live with dignity.

He then went on to echo Saint Pope John Paul II, saying that the “right to private property” was never considered “an absolute or inviolable right” in the Christian tradition. Instead, the church has always “stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property,” adding that the common use of created goods is the “first principle of the whole ethical and social order.”

Common good, he concludes, is “a natural and inherent right that takes priority over others,” a claim he links back to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, a document published in 2004 based on documents written by Pope John Paul II. In today’s society, Francis then explained, “secondary rights displace primary and overriding rights, in practice making them irrelevant.”

When Francis claims property rights are secondary rights, he is referring to what Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Secunda Secundae Partis of Summa Theologica.

Addressing those who questioned whether it was “natural” for man to possess things “as his own” when we consider that all things are God’s property, Aquinas wrote that the private possession of goods has practical and moral ends. He then added that the “community of goods is ascribed to the natural law,” whereas the “the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law.”

In other words, natural law in the Catholic tradition sees that men can commonly possess goods but never excludes individual possession.

“The ownership of possessions,” Aquinas continued, “is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.”

To Francis, this is the foundation of the idea that personal property rights are secondary to the communal ownership of goods. But is he right?

In Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, volume 1 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, Murray Rothbard wrote that the right to property comes from man’s need to defend himself.

In human nature, the right of self-preservation implies the right to property, and any individual property in man’s products from the soil requires property in the land itself. But the right to property would be nothing without the freedom of using it, and so liberty is derived from the right to property. People flourish as social animals, and through trade and exchange of property they maximize the happiness of all.

As noted by Rothbard, when private property rights are in place and a man can possess things as his own, the happiness of all men is maximized as a result.

It is the protection of property rights that secures the common good.

The very tradition of natural law we observe today is based on medieval and postmedieval Scholastic natural law, Rothbard noted. But it was the eighteenth-century Enlightenment version of natural law, in which “the individual’s rights of person and property [are] deeply embedded in a set of natural laws that had been worked out by the creator and were clearly discoverable in the light of human reason,” that helped us better understand what Aquinas wrote in the thirteenth century.

Francis’s Agenda

Despite being the Holy Father, Francis was never shy about his political leanings.

In Fratelli tutti, his love for the poor isn’t just described as a deep caring for those with less access to certain services and goods. Instead, he uses poverty as a means to advocate against free markets.

Ignoring the encyclicals of his predecessors such as Pope Leo XIII, who once wrote that socialists, “working on the poor man’s envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies,” Francis openly advocates against putting too much stock in one’s love for his or her own culture and nation, claiming that instead we should be looking at “a universal horizon,” a “global society” of sorts. In light of this, it is hard to see his claims regarding property rights as anything but an attack against the idea that communities can and should self-govern and that persons can and should have a right to own the fruits of their own labor.

As Pope Leo XII explained in Rerum Novarum, those who subscribe to socialist or related philosophies “[endeavor] to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large.” This, he added, “[strikes] at the interests of every wage-earner, since they [socialists] would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.”


Alice Salles

Alice Salles was born and raised in Brazil but has lived in America for over ten years. She now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband Nick Hankoff and their three children.  

Creative Commons Licence

Censors are not Very Smart

Censors are sometimes skillful, but never wise. The more they suppress stories like Hunter Biden’s emails or the questionable seriousness of the COVID virus, the more we talk about the very things they would rather suppress to advance their own political narratives. Even government censors, in the end, learn that no matter how hard you try, you cannot extinguish truth–or reality.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos: Families, not Government, are the Heart of American Education

In a speech at Hillsdale College, Sec. DeVos conveyed that in American education, the fight has just begun to restore choice and freedom to every family.

As most of the nation is transfixed on the looming presidential election, Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos remains laser-focused on the job at hand. “Education is the means by which we secure the God-given blessings of liberty,” DeVos told a gathering of more than 250 at Hillsdale College, in her home state of Michigan. Whether she has three months at her post, or the possibility of another four years, will be determined in the coming weeks. Regardless of the outcome on Nov. 3, however, DeVos has made it clear that while she’s happy with what the administration has accomplished, there is still work to be done in the fight to restore America to its founding principles.

“The COVID crisis has laid bare a lot about American education,” DeVos said. “Parents are more aware than ever before how and what their children are — or are not — learning. And far too many of them are stuck with no choices, no help, and no way forward.”

DeVos vowed to fight for America’s students and their parents, and to fight against anyone who would seek to have government usurp the role of the parent.

The solution to much of the current problems facing America, argued DeVos, is to embrace the family as the sovereign sphere that it is, remembering that the family predates government altogether. “The family is not only an institution,” DeVos said, “it’s also the foundation for all other institutions. The nuclear family cultivates art, athletics, business, education, faith, music, film — in a word, culture. And just as the family shapes its culture, it also shapes its government.”

After making it clear schools exist to supplement families and not to replace them, DeVos laid out her vision for the next major initiative she’d like to champion: an expanding and robust school choice program across the nation. “I like to picture kids with their backpacks representing funding for their education following them wherever they go to learn,” DeVos outlined.

The main thrust of the program would be parents having control over how their tax dollars are spent on the education of their children. Ideally, education spending should follow their children wherever they want to learn — a position most Americans now agree with. Indeed, a recent RealClearOpinion survey found 3 out of 4 families with children in public schools sought full school choice, including 73 percent of black families and 71 percent of Hispanic families.

DeVos is bolstered by the rising public support for school choice, education freedom scholarships, and vouchers, but still yearns to further “devolving” of the Department of Education, believing that states and localities can best determine how to address the educational needs of their communities. “When I took on this role, I said from day one that I’d like to work myself out of a job. That I’d work to empower parents, not politicians.”

In the meantime, DeVos recalled the good that has been done during the last four years:

We restored state, local, and family control of education by faithfully implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, by ending Common Core, and by urging Congress to put an end to education earmarks by consolidating nearly all Federal K-12 programs into one block grant. … We expanded the in-demand D.C. voucher program by 50 percent … supported the creation of more public charter schools … [and] reformed the tax code so families can use tax-preferred 529 savings accounts for expenses related to K-12 education.

DeVos reiterated her support for the bipartisan School Choice Now Act put forth by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., that would directly fund families and empower them to choose the best educational setting for their children. For DeVos, Scott’s inspiring story “demonstrates how education can change lives.”

The secretary explained how scholarships could be used to enhance distance learning, pay for costs tied to educating children at home, or help cover tutoring, technical education, or transportation to a different school. “Scholarships could support students attending the school that best meets their needs or matches their values. At the end of the day, we want parents to have the freedom, the choices, and the funds to make the best decisions for their children,” DeVos explained, adding, “The ‘Washington knows best’ crowd really loses their minds over that.”

In her speech, DeVos conveyed the value of English language arts, math, or science in education. A large and purposeful focus, however, was devoted to how schools teach history. Rekindling the spirit of 1776 and 1787 is, in many ways, the key battleground in the effort to have a citizenry able to defend liberty and stand up against encroaching tyranny.

“It’s ignorant to hate capitalism when you don’t really know how communism hasn’t worked. It’s ignorant to hate freedom when you don’t really know how tyranny hasn’t worked,” DeVos said. “The unholy mob thinks our economies need redistributing. It thinks our Constitution needs rewriting. It thinks our families need restructuring.” As DeVos would later remind the audience, these dangerous beliefs aren’t entirely new, but taken “right from the old Marxist playbook.”

When questioned by The Federalist for an update on President Trump’s 1776 Commission to promote patriotic education and counter the revisionist history of the dangerous and ahistorical 1619 Project, DeVos assured that work on the Commission continues. “We’re working through putting the ‘meat’ on that. Stay tuned.”

Instead of giving in to the temptation to rewrite American history or to cancel culture, DeVos charged those in attendance to challenge the culture with education. “Instead of rewriting our Constitution, let’s return to its timeless words, and restore the power of “We the People,” Devos said. “We don’t believe in retreat. We believe in redemption.”

The great work still to be done in reforming and restoring a healthy, vibrant, and educated American populace, begins, as DeVos argues, by reasserting a fundamental truth: the family is the “first school.”

“If we recognize that, then we must also reorder everything about education around what the family wants and what the family needs. Make no mistake: America cannot win the future if we lose the rising generation,” she said.

Academic Teachers and Political Activists

Public concern about higher education is clearly widespread. The causes are many: ugly treatment of visiting speakers, a stifling political uniformity resulting in ideological extremism and hatred, and fringe radical ideas seeping out of the campuses into the wider world. Less publicly visible are numerous recent studies that tell us how little most recent graduates have benefited from higher education. They record astonishing deficiencies in reasoning, writing, reading, basic knowledge, and civics. 

But with all this, the public is still uncertain. Most see the symptoms but don’t quite know what to make of them, and so continue to send their children to college. Because they don’t have a firm grasp of the extent or nature of the rot, they pay up and hope for the best.

Yale University (photo credit: Ad Meskens, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

How then can the public reach the clearer understanding of what is going on that they need to make sensible decisions? They can start by grasping the enormous difference between two kinds of people.

The first is the academic teacher. His job is to get students to think independently and analytically. Analytical thinking means looking at all sides of an issue so that students get the habit of examining both the strengths and weaknesses of an idea, always comparing them with those of competing ideas. Analytical thinking must be flexible thinking, always ready to respond to new evidence. It can’t be static: it’s always on the move. To power this constant movement, a motive force is needed: intellectual curiosity. That’s what academic teachers must instill in their students. It’s the force that will keep them exploring with open minds. That’s how genuine academic teachers operate.

The second type — the political activist — is the polar opposite of all this. He doesn’t want students to evaluate ideas, but instead to accept his and not question them. He doesn’t want them to examine the strengths and weaknesses of competing ideas because for him there is no competition: one is right, the others wrong. He doesn’t want intellectual flexibility but instead a firm adherence to an ideology. Greater understanding is not the point — political loyalty is. Intellectual curiosity? Seeing things from different perspectives? All of that would be dangerous because it might lead to independent thinking that strays from the political ideology he is promoting. 

It’s hard to imagine anything farther removed from the mindset of an academic teacher than the political activist’s. And herein lies the core of the problem of present-day higher education, the fundamental reality that the public needs to grasp: where fifty years ago the first type were the overwhelming majority among college faculty, today the controlling majority is of the second type. And since those are the very last people we should ever want as college faculty — because what they want of students destroys higher education — we have before us a national crisis.

In theory, an academic teacher could be politically left or right-of-center and still excel at teaching students to think for themselves, and a political activist could be either left or right oriented. And so, in principle there’s no reason why both liberals and conservatives shouldn’t want their children to be taught how to think productively and independently. This ought not be a partisan issue. But in today’s world it is radical left activists who have successfully colonized the campuses to promote their ideology. Senseless radical ideas (e.g., defunding the police) are becoming mainstream in large part because academia breeds and exports them to the wider world. The colleges are doing real social damage.

The campaign trail and the ballot box are the proper place for political activists, not the college campus — so what are they doing there? Long ago, the radical left despaired of succeeding at the ballot box, and so decided to cheat; they’d infiltrate the campuses and shut down the intellectual development of immature students in order to recruit them to their cause. It took about fifty years to realize that goal. To do it, they had to dismantle higher education, but political radicalism has no conscience: all that matters is its imagined Utopian goal — the one it never reaches because all attempts so far have produced hell on earth.

What is to be done? Some have suggested new rules to protect visiting speakers from abuse, or to stop classroom politicizing, but those remedies have a fatal flaw: they leave in place all those anti-academic political activists who now hold academic positions. The essential sickness of the campuses would remain untouched. Once you have grasped the stark difference between the two kinds of people who are involved, it’s clear that there is only one way to restore higher education. The wrong kind of people must be replaced by the right kind. Political activists must be replaced by academic teachers. We can’t keep paying huge sums for something we are not getting. We need higher education. We must stop funding the grotesque travesty that it has become and return that funding to its proper use.

John M. Ellis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at UC Santa Cruz and the author of The Breakdown of Higher Education: How it happened, the Damage it Does, and What Can Be Done (Encounter Books).

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The Artful Dilettante’s Reading List: Part II


Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary EditionJohn Taylor Gatto
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A School Teacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory SchoolingJohn Taylor Gatto
The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher’s Intimate Investigation into the Problem of Modern SchoolingJohn Taylor Gatto
A Primer on Libertarian EducationJoel Spring
Inside American Education Thomas Sowell
Education: Assumptions and History Thomas Sowell
Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to RealityCharles Murray
The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting AheadCharles Murray

Ayn Rand on Aristotle

If there is a philosophical Atlas who carries the whole of Western civilization on his shoulders, it is Aristotle. He has been opposed, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and—like an axiom—used by his enemies in the very act of denying him. Whatever intellectual progress men have achieved rests on his achievements.

Aristotle may be regarded as the cultural barometer of Western history. Whenever his influence dominated the scene, it paved the way for one of history’s brilliant eras; whenever it fell, so did mankind. The Aristotelian revival of the thirteenth century brought men to the Renaissance. The intellectual counter-revolution turned them back toward the cave of his antipode: Plato.

There is only one fundamental issue in philosophy: the cognitive efficacy of man’s mind. The conflict of Aristotle versus Plato is the conflict of reason versus mysticism. It was Plato who formulated most of philosophy’s basic questions—and doubts. It was Aristotle who laid the foundation for most of the answers. Thereafter, the record of their duel is the record of man’s long struggle to deny and surrender or to uphold and assert the validity of his particular mode of consciousness.