Monday, December 13, 2021

Dangerous Distinctions without a meaningful difference: SEL, DEI, CRT, CT

The proponents of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) promote it as a way of providing students with new skills for managing confusing and conflicting feelings in a difficult world. Having conveniently framed the matter in that way, it's not too surprising that many parents, and even conservative teachers - especially those with experience in trying to manage students who have issues with anger,
The last of five posts making up the substance of a presentation I gave to parents in the Lindbergh School District
manners and trust - accept the assertion at face value, with something like:
  • …kids are coming into school with poor social skills – ‘so we must teach the whole child’
Unfortunately, as detailed in the previous four posts (here, here, here, and here), the proponents of SEL use that face value as cover for doing whatever they feel like doing - SEL claims to be based upon science, yet it repeatedly ignores any science that conflicts with its claims; where CASEL declares that their new 'CASEL 5 Competencies’ innovatively enhances child development, the only thing new it brings to the table is an image of Character with all regard for truth, ethics, and morality, sucked out of it; as for SEL being "an integral part of education and human development", as we've seen over the previous posts, it's far more integral to a system of replacing educational content with grade level expectations for social and political activism which begin at kindergarten. In recapping some of those key points in this final post, we'll see how deeply rooted they are in issues plaguing us today, and how important it is to pull them out by those roots.

SEL uses the appearance of 'lived experiences' to distract from substance, uses 'Diversity' to ensure thoughtless conformity, uses Equity to force compliance upon all, and Inclusivity to restrict the freedom of speech and actions of everyone. SEL's endless surveys of students and parents are less for the benefit of the child, than for the activists, Govt, and corporations, who stand to gain in profit, power, and control of those student's future (and to some extent, even their parents'), all for the low, low price of their demoralization and corruption. The end result of all of this, is that far from helping kids to learn more 'social skills', SEL actively encourages students to deride what is real and true, in the pursuit of Social Justice ideology, while feeling empowered to bully those who don't echo their rabid virtue signaling.

If history's best advice for cultivating a sound mind and body, were to be rewritten by an Artificial Intelligence that was riddled with bugs & viruses, it could hardly turn out worse than that of our modern educational system, and the insanity and abusiveness of our current policies & programs are the culmination of those ideas that've gone into developing and driving it. As we've looked into what the nature of SEL is, and how it's been developed, and who has been promoting it, I hope you've begun to see that treating SEL and its companions as standalone programs is itself a semantic deception - the pretense that these theories are discrete objects which can be stepped between, through, and around, without being affected by them, also gives them the ability to advance under the cover of saying "Oh, you've made a mistake, we're teaching SEL, not CRT", while curtly dismissing both you and your concerns.

Getting the point
It is not a careless mistake to notice that SEL and DEI are related to CRT through Intersectionality, and reinforced through Culturally Relevant Pedagogy or Culturally Responsive Pedagogy, etc.. The fact is that what is truly careless, and reckless, is assuming that these different acronyms and terms somehow indicate distinctly different ideas - a minimal effort of reading through their theories and the purposes behind them, reveals the claim of separate theories to be making distinctions without a difference - not one of them is meaningfully different from the others. While CRT, SEL, Intersectionality and DEI, etc., do vary in their outward appearances, their functional differences are more akin to those of the pommel, hilt, cross guard, double-edged blade and deadly sharp point of a sword - yes, they are distinct, but no they are not separate in either structure or purpose, and are derived from a common ideology that is being wielded with deadly force at the same targets - the Greco-Roman/Judeo-Christian culture of Western Civilization, America, and you.

Thanks to decades of these influences, matters have progressed to the point that when parents attempt to push back against SEL & CRT at school board meetings today, they're met with everything from silence, to insult, and now even to being threatened by their govts, and with no more attempt to conceal the nature of what they're doing, than with the fig leaf of a rhetorical evasion that:
'CRT is a law school class that's taught in college, not middle school!'
, which is itself a purely semantic deception. Once upon a time an aspiring teacher once studied rhetoric and logic in college so that no matter what subject they went on to teach, from math to art, they would teach it in a logical manner that emphasized the importance of being reasonable and methodical in thought and action, without ever teaching any college level classes in rhetoric or logic. By the same token, when the aspiring teachers of today study the many variations of CRT in Teachers Colleges, it is so that every subject they go on to teach your children will be infused with how to view everything through the lens of race and power, and how to manipulate society through social justice activism. The 'CRT is a college law course!' evasion, is a feeble attempt to distract, deceive and disarm you, and it speaks volumes about what they think of you, that they employ it. Not only is the claim worthless, but even a brief examination of the facts behind their narrative, will destroy it by revealing what their narrative depends upon remaining hidden.
CRT: From Art to Math

Neither are SEL's lessons and surveys simply misguided or inept, but follow from the deliberate ideological purposes that its theorists have openly stated for decades - when & where they think that 'you' won't hear them, that is. When the likes of a Gloria Ladsen-Billings ( most referenced author in teachers' colleges for decades) think that 'you' might hear them, they remark, as she said to NPR::
'I don't know that it [CRT] does apply to the classroom...'
NPR of course was fully aware that Gloria Ladsen-Billings was the author of 'Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education', which she explicitly wrote in order to inject CRT into the common pedagogy that teachers are taught to use in forming all of the lessons that they'll one day be teaching their students, and yet they allow her to evade the nature of it, with,
"...But from an educational policy standpoint, it applies to things like suspension rates, assignment to special education, testing and assessment, curricular access - you know, who gets into honors and AP, who doesn't..."
How it is applied to 'access', and why someone 'gets into honors and AP, who doesn't' based upon 'the lens of race and power', is allowed to be brushed off as an unimportant technicality. Neither did NPR mention that Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, and 'Culturally Responsive Teaching', which are two of the most popular classes in Teachers Colleges, were largely derived from Ladsen-Billings' theories. IOW: They are teaching Critical Race Theory to those who are learning how to teach, in order to teach the ideas of Critical Race Theory in everything that teachers will go on to teach... they would just rather that you didn't learn that, so that they can dismiss your concerns with the "CRT is a college level class!".

Amongst themselves, however, they state those things openly, they strategize how best to smuggle their theories into common practice, and how to perfect the semantic deception of leading parents to think one thing, while they teach something else to their children. The reason why they do that, is because for them, Education is not about teaching content and sound habits of character, but is what they see as being an Archimedean fulcrum that gives them the power to 'move the world' through, by changing students' beliefs, and actions, so as to alter the fundamental roots of our society, so that they can better manage our lives for our own good. Today those hopes of theirs are being realized outside the 'educational system', as can be seen in Joe Biden’s issuing of an Executive Order on his first day in office to require mandatory DEI 'professional development' programs for all federal employees.

One former teacher and author, Peter Green, in recognizing the darker potential behind these acronyms, warned of their far more probable downsides,
"...SEL at its worst is about emotionally engineering humans. It's about imposing someone else's values on a vulnerable human being, essentially stripping that human of their autonomy and will. And worse, from re-education camps to certain cults, we know that it can be done. Because the power and wealth attached to such a massive endeavor are so great, the entire business is guaranteed to be warped and twisted by those who stand to profit. At its worst, we are talking about crafting human beings to order and harvesting both them and their data in the service of those with power. We are talking about pushing them to be the people that someone else thinks they should be. This is not just bad policy, inappropriate pedagogy, or culturally toxic-- this is evil."
Reach past the stem to pull the weeds out by its roots
If you asked your child to weed your garden and they just quickly plucked the weeds off at the stems, would you congratulate them? Probably not, because the point of weeding the garden isn't just to get the weeds out of sight, but to stop them from spreading throughout your yard, right? Similarly, while it's fantastic that parents are waking up and taking action against what's happening in their schools, simply plucking the stems of an acronym or two from the school's curriculum is not weeding the garden, it's practicing a semantic self-deception upon themselves that leaves the roots to spread throughout their children's lives.

Unfortunately, generations of parents & politicians have not wanted to bother putting in the extra time and effort it takes to get at the weeds in our educational system, which is why it has become as infested as it is today - we need to put in the effort to get at the roots. On hearing the Marxist sounding rhetoric of CRT, SEL, etc., today, simply plucking what's visible from the classroom and wiping our hands of it, is losing sight of at least two important facts that helps the underlying weeds to spread:
  1. Marx himself was a remarkably unoriginal thinker, whose true talent lay in repackaging other people's ideas into a more rhetorically effective and marketable form.
  2. If CRT is being taught to students in school, without their actually teaching a subject called CRT... how is banning CRT going to remove it from classrooms?
#1 above is less an insult to Marx, than a warning to us: that banning Marx leaves the ideas and the thinkers that he swiped those ideas from, like Hegel, Kant, Babeuf, deTracy, and Rousseau, free to be taught without even the (hopefully) negative association with Marx, to be presented as bright lights of the Enlightenment, despite many having worked to put out whatever light the period actually had.
#2 Should remind you that if there's no stem to grab the weeds by, you still need to dig into the soil to remove them.
That requires learning to identify what these ideas are and mean, and why they are a threat - simply removing them or calling them 'bad' will contribute nothing of value to their being uprooted, and so they will spread further and deeper into all of our lives.

The thing is that those 'old' ideas are at the root of what is bedeviling us today - the ideas behind the CRT & SEL programs are not new, and they didn't originate with the likes of Linda Darling-Hammond, Gloria Ladsen-Billings, Kimberle Crenshaw, Derek Bell, Giroux, or even from their predecessors in Bloom, Glazer, Gramsci, Dewey, but stretch back in an unbroken line of exasperated etceteras that continues on back even past Marx, to the misosophers of the late 17th Century, whose ideas, intentionally or not, undermined our ability to know what is real and true, and wise to do, and served to leach away the rightful power that individuals should have over their own lives, into the collective hands of 'those who know best'. If we don't put more attention on what ideas are being taught in our schools, and why, we'll continue to be poisoned with them, again, and again, and again, as we have been before, during, and after, every previous 'educational reform effort' that parents have attempted over the last 100+ years. Those poisonous 'Marxist' notions, by any other name, will continue to sicken us all the same, through our ignorance of what's behind their names - J.S. Mill is presented to us as a defender of freedom and liberty, was a socialist long before Marx became well known - and it is our ignorance of the roots of those weeds, that their power grows and spreads through our society.

I'll spare you a deep dive into the details here (while also threatening you with a future post that will), but just to indicate the problem, maybe I can give you a glimpse at the roots that are hiding just beneath the surface of our common assumptions, by poking a finger into the 'sensible sentiments' we typically hear in the good intentions of those around us:
  • Education should just concentrate on 'the facts' and prepare students for the workforce! - This notion comes from one of our misguided Founders', Noah Webster, the dictionary guy, who wanted to upend the form of education which had produced our Founders generation - including himself - by replacing the gems of Western Civilization - Cicero, Aristotle, Homer - with 'brief essays of fact' in the form of textbooks that key facts could be memorized from (without understanding), and tested to show they 'know the facts', and so speed those students into the workforce to 'get a good job and get a good life!'.
  • Lets focus on teaching kids the STEM skills they need to know to get ahead in life! - this is drawing on Jeremy Bentham's Utilitarianism (as was Noah Webster), believing that it was better to focus on teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills that would be more useful for the 'greater good'. If that seems like a 'good idea', it's due to ignorance of the fact that STEM followed, rather than preceded, that 'other' knowledge being sidelined.
    1 - try defining 'good' on the basis of skills alone (spoiler alert: You can't)
    2 - imagine a generation or two loaded with STEM skills and little or no understanding of the roots those stems grew from
    Hint: Jeremy Bentham derided the individual rights which our constituiton preserves, as being 'nonsense upon stilts', and such useful thinking has led us to college graduates who complain that logic and math are signs of 'whiteness'. Following that line of thought is going to take us over the edge.
  • We need to improve our test scores! - Comes from folks like Elwood P. Cubberly, who was a key designer of our industrial school production plants, and consolidated school district designs, also had a hand in 'IQ Testing', in order to impose a standardized mediocrity, and Cubberly was so encouraged with the progress his plans had already made by 1909, that he enthusiastically wrote that 'Each year the child is coming to belong more and more to the state, and less and less to the parent.'.
  • The heck with history and literature, teach kids 'how to think, not what to think!' - This is channeling the pro-regressive 'Progressive Education' of John Dewey and the misosophy of Pragmatism (which he co-founded), which ridicules the notion of Principles and principled thinking, asserts that truth is nothing more than what seems to work at the moment, and ignores content in favor of outcomes, attitudes, and social and emotional well-being (notice a whiff of SEL there?). But sound thinking does not follow from flowchart skills, but from careful consideration of quality content:
    Q: What sort of thoughts do you suppose a student will think, without the content and understanding of it, to form their thoughts from?
    A: Whatever 'thoughts' seem to please the teacher the most.
    Not surprisingly, Mussolini and his mentors who ghost wrote his ideology of Fascism, were big fans of our '(anti-)American Philosophy' of Pragmatism.
  • We need to stop worrying about 'Culture War' issues and work more on bringing all sides together! This has roots in the outcome based education of Benjamin Bloom (which SEL was spawned from), and his 'Taxonomy of Educational Objectives“, which 70 years of teachers have been trained to teach from, which teaches that students can only engage in 'Critical Thinking' after "...a student attains 'higher order thinking' when he no longer believes in right or wrong", and having 'achieved' that, the amoral bartering of conflict resolution can be engaged in, trading 'an eye for an eye' for a 'a sin for a sin', which to put it bluntly, would have no problem with "In order to get along, I'll overlook your child molestation if you'll overlook my graft & corruption"
  • Just 'let kids be kids' and they'll educate themselves! - This goes straight back to the root of the matter with Jean Jacque Rousseau, and his 'child centered' notions of educating the 'noble savage'. Where 'letting kids be kids' leads to, time and time again, is an absence of Education (what do you mean by that word?) and an abundance of unreasonable desires, which lead right to where we are today.
That last one, Jean Jacque Rousseau, had a talent for turning a pretty phrase, as with the one quote of his which is in everyone's Social Studies books, right next to his smiling face, is the opening line of his 'The Social Contract'
"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains".
, and for that, he's still trumpeted as a champion of 'natural rights', which pointedly requires overlooking the fact that just a few lines below that pretty phrase, he says something much uglier:
"...whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body. This means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free..."
The meaning of his words should have raised more eyebrows than only Voltaire's, who, almost alone saw the dangers inherent in it rather quickly. When Rousseau sent him a copy of his 'The Social Contract', Voltaire replied to him:
"I have received your new book against the human race, and thank you for it. Never was such cleverness used in the design of making us all stupid. One longs, in reading your book, to walk on all fours. But as I have lost that habit for more than sixty years, I feel unhappily the impossibility of resuming it...."
, but few others saw the darkness in Rousseau's thoughts, possibly because few actually gave much thought to what they were reading, or they didn't read beyond the pretty words that seemed to support what they themselves wanted to read into them (looking at you, Thomas's Paine & Jefferson). The fact is that decades before Marx, Rousseau had declared Western Civilization to be an error, private property to be an evil, marriage and family to be a condemnable folly, emotionally passionate ('authentic') desires over methodical reason, and that the human being is a soulless machine mechanically reacting to environmental conditions. His supposed championing of 'Natural Rights!' was the origin of the fascist ideal of a will to power, where experts force entire populations into lockstep agreement with them, for the greater good.

Robespierre 'the incorruptible!', was consciously and explicitly putting Rousseau's ideas into action in the Terror of the French Revolution, which, BTW, in addition to turning the Guillotine into the first icon of 'Social Justice', turned churches into bars & brothels, made it illegal for schools to teach anything other than the party line, and initiated genocide against the populace of the Vendee who resisted the party line. And of course those heads which persisted in thinking unapproved thoughts within them, were soon separated from their bodies by the thousands, including, in the end, Robespierre's.

Although the revolution's heroic 'sans culottes!' presented liberté, égalité, fraternité, as if they meant Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood, in practice, as it always must, it meant Liberté only for the protected classes, égalité of outcomes for some at the expense of all others, and fraternité only to those who were 'right thinking', and the Guillotine for the rest. There's a famous quip that 'History may not exactly repeat, but it does rhyme', and well, I do hope that you hear the rhyming between Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and 'Liberte, Fraternity and Equalite!', for the *Woke* surely do, and have. This law journal article is from early 2000, and the author, a French-Canadian jurist, thanks the co-founder of CRT, Derek Bell, for his help in preparing his lecture on "Fraternity: The Unspoken Third Pillar of Democracy", which explains how necessarily:
"...Coupled with the concept of inclusion, this aspect of fraternity results in harsh penalties against those who hold positions of trust and yet abuse that trust. Justice, equity, fairness, and trust operate simultaneously to guarantee the smooth functioning of a community in a way that is in accordance with the community's conscience...."
, which is not only playing the same tune of SEL's DEI, but is playing it to the same beat of Rousseau's 'Force them to be free!'.

Why does this digression into history apply in an examination of SEL? Because in addition to having planted the seeds of fascism, Rousseau is the one who more than anyone else, especially through his fictional novel "Emile", set the stage and direction of modern education, with his ideas on how best to raise and educate a child - this despite the fact that he himself had all six of his own newborn babies, taken from the breast of his 'significant other' of ill repute, and sent off to near certain death in a 'foundling hospital'. In addition to that, the nature of this 'educator' shines through in his 'Confessions' about what he privatly delighted in:
"...My thoughts were incessantly occupied with girls and women, but in a manner peculiar to myself. These ideas kept my senses in a perpetual and disagreeable activity.... My agitation rose to the point where, unable to satisfy my desires, I inflamed them with the most extravagant maneuvers. I went about seeking dark alleys, hidden retreats, where I might expose myself at a distance to persons of the [other] sex in the state wherein I would have wished to be near them. That which they saw was not the obscene object- I did not dream of that; it was the ridiculous object [the buttocks]. The foolish pleasure which I had in displaying it before their eyes cannot be described. From this there was but a step to the desired treatment [whipping]..."
The nature of his 'confession', is what many parents are discovering is not thought out of place in a modern school library, perhaps due in part to the nature of the man whose ideas can be found behind nearly every 'development' in modern educational theory.

Rousseau was also the inspiration behind Immanuel Kant (the only decor in Kant's house was a portrait of Rousseau), whose own convoluted misosophy taught a willing world to believe that we can't ever really know what is real; a foundation which Hegel built upon by teaching that 'mere Aristotelian contradictions' were nothing to worry about (Aristotle's first law of thought is the Law of Non-Contradiction - the understanding that a thing cannot both be, and not be, in the same manner and context, at the same time), and that all we needed to do instead was to merge opposing ideas through his alchemical algorithm of dialectics, dubbed later as: "Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis", so that contradictions could, with a lot of convoluted wordage ('muddy the waters so that they appear deep'), then be transformed into something 'new'.

That deliberate practice of not only admitting contradictions into your thinking, but of embracing them, is almost impossible to overstate their dangerous significance. Whether coming at the matter from the Greco/Roman side of Aristotle’s Law of Non-Contradiction, or from the Judeo/Christian side stemming from Adam naming/identifying what exists within the creation which God said 'is Good' - that sense of identity is the root of Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian - Western - Civilization; the means of perceiving and valuing what is real and true. Embracing contradictions both deforms and destroys the 'new' thing being produced, as well as what it was produced out of, and more to the point it disintegrates your grasp of the reality they came from. That is the switch from epistemic adequacy (it is what it is) to social epistemology (something is what others say it is), and the genesis of what Orwell identified as 'Newspeak' phrases of 'War equals Peace', 'love equals hate', and 2+2=5, which makes any objective truth into the enemy of every aspect of society. Even worse than the Orwellian Newspeak, is the sense implanted in those who've learned to think emotionally, what Orwell described as 'Crimestop', where a person has become habituated to stop thinking as soon as they notice that their train of thought might lead into forbidden thinking:
"Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity." - George Orwell, 1984
Once that's achieved, the 'thought police' will have become privatized.

There was both a European and an American 'backlash' to Hegel's means of muddying the waters, which divided into two streams of thought - not that they rejected muddying the waters, each appreciated having been 'freed' from the constraints of reality - they simply wanted to alter how the waters were to be muddied and why. One stream wanted to make the waters into an impenetrable mud, which was the path of the former Hegelian fan-boy Karl Marx's 'Dialectical Materialism'. The other stream wanted to muddy the waters so as to make them seem more like irrelevant puddles, as on the American side of the pond, with the former Hegelian fan-boy John Dewey and the misosophy of Pragmatism, which he helped formulate and spread.

Today we're being drowned by those two streams of thought having merged back together in modern wAcademia, so that now, here at the far end of 70 years of Teachers Colleges teaching the Conflict Resolution Theory of Bloom’s Taxonomy (“...a student attains 'higher order thinking' when he no longer believes in right or wrong..."), awash in theories that prefer mud to clarity, made manageable through their new mode of 'Critical Thinking' ( new, as in it only debuted in 1945... don't get me started on that. Yet) which is centered on practical power, rather than unrealistic truth.

Whether by means of Critical Theory, Conflict Resolution Theory, Critical Race Theory or Social and Emotional Learning, modern education is utilizing the Hegelian & Marxist dialectical algorithm of Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis, to give us a new ‘higher-order thinking’, actively taking and merging the morals and standards that students bring with them from home (the Thesis), with the notions of alternative lifestyles, your truth vs my truth, and so on (the Antithesis), through the ‘educational system’s dialectical process which saturates their everyday lessons and leads them to a new ‘more sensible’ and tolerant position (the Synthesis), shorn of the complications of out-moded systems of morality and reality and the objective truth of that.

Anything can dialectically 'become' its opposite by way of a philosophical spin-cycle where lies are mixed with truth to become a useful narrative like the '1619 Project', or the differences between boys and girls are waved in becoming queer or transgender, truly the meaning of Bill Clinton's 'It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is', is', means that anything can become what others what to say it is, in order to bring about a world where the only certainty is that The West must be ended and forgotten.

We’ve allowed ourselves to merely roll our eyes at what we took as simple foolishness in academia, reacting to ‘math is racist’ with a laugh, rather than reacting in horror at the type of society which must follow from such ideas gaining power within it. While most were busy laughing these ideas off, their lessons were busily poisoning the souls of Americans and doing more damage to the heart of our nation (a nation founded upon ideas), than all of our physical wars combined. And now, having injected their ideas into every level of our society, these 'fools' believe that they are in a position to end America, and to end the West, and they are using all of their power to make that so.

I trust you're seeing the problem? Parents need to understand that the moral and intellectual development of their child is not a part of the 'grade level expectations' that such educators have for them, while decolonizing their minds of any Western respect for reality and morality, is. The only way that can seem like an outrageous statement, is if by being unaware (willfully?) of what those who design what our students will be taught, have actually said, done, and are doing today.

What Red flags Should Concern You?
America's motto of 'e Pluribus Unum' - ‘out of many, One’ - is realized through the fundamental ideals that all American's inwardly share in common, and enables our outward differences of race, creed, ethnicity, etc., to be transformed into shared interests which unite us even further, becoming popularly celebrated in the likes of St. Patrick’s Day, the Italian Foods of The Hill in St. Louis, the novelties of the Chinatown’s of San Francisco, New York and L.A., and so much more.

Those fundamental American ideals are indifferent to our non-essential differences, which is what the Left fears most of all about them. Some red flags which signal that those ideals are under attack by CRT, SEL & DEI in your schools & communities, are:
These are signs that intellectual toxic waste have been buried deep within your community. Again, Equity, is not about Equality, it’s about using Power to force everything in our lives to conform to what is *Woke* enough. Inclusion doesn’t mean “Welcoming”, it means imposing ‘authentic’ restrictions upon language & action and seeing ‘language as violence’, and excuses actual violence for wrong-think (think: 'Punch a Nazi’). Diversity is not about bringing unity to a diverse people, but bitterly dividing them over their outward appearances, to the benefit of the *Woke*.

'Diversity, Equity and Inclusion' dwells upon the surface differences between people, in order to submerge an individual's identity in shallow group identities that are more important than you are, inflaming and dividing people into ‘equitable’ factions with the false promise of gains in short term power.

The ideals of SEL teach conformity to the outward appearances of the group, and encourage taking action before (and without) understanding, and its preaching of virtue signaling is an unhealthy, counterproductive 'strategy', which inhibits reasoning, promotes anxiety, instills fear, hostility, and neurotic behavior, rewarding only those with no merit, and penalizes those who do. These strategies are the means of treating all Americans as 'human capital', and as a means for those in positions of power to reap capital & power from your personal information.

SEL, CRT, and the rest of the exasperated etcetera of ideologies (whose powers were once securely confined to government) are the means by which racism and bigotry are being infused into every aspect of our lives.

Why is any of this in your school? To benefit your child? To help them reason better, become more knowledgeable about important content? Reasoning is not learned or strengthened by emotional conformity, but by the clarity of content that the student is led to comprehend; identifying what is real, true, right & wrong, enables the mind, spirit and body to work in harmony - AKA: Reasoning. SEL is fundamentally opposed to all of that, focusing on falsehoods for fraudulent purposes, serves no one but those who can persuade or force your compliance.

Semantically Striking Back by Reframing Arguments with Reality
They frame matters in the way they do, in order to trip up your ability to think reasonably, and argue against them - don't help them in that. "Race" is not the proper frame for responding to their statements and charges of oppression and injustice- don't grant them the appearance of having used the logic they despise - 'Race/gender/sexuality' form the frame that they want you to be confined with - break out of their frame by focusing on the reality of Individual Rights and Law that are under attack, and refuse to accept their equivocal definitions of terms like systemic, racism, equity, inclusion, diversity, etc., which are intended to deceive you with semantics.

The best reply to the question of "Do you believe that systemic racism exists?!" is not an answer, but a question: What do you mean by racism? And if they slip into the Kendi-circularity, reject it, and if they continue doing so, reject their aping of logic, and reject the pretense that they care about what is objectively true. They do not, they cannot, and they say so. The *Woke* aren't making mistakes, they are making attacks, they know that, and what they dread most is your pointing that out for all to see.

The best reply to the question of "Do you believe that the oppression of [ race/gender/sexuality/etc.] is evil?!" is not to give an answer, but to reply with two questions of your own: What do you mean by oppression? What do you mean by Good? Pursuing those questions through to their answers, will cause their question to explode in their faces.

The best reply to "America is a racist society formed on the backs of slaves!", is not to give an answer, but to pointedly ask several questions of your own, beginning with why is slavery bad? If objective truth is irrelevant and power is what matters to the *Woke*, then clearly having slaves is great for those in power, so why would you pretend that slavery is bad? Why should some people not be enslaved for the benefit of others? Would a Govt that rejects upholding Individual Rights for all, be more or less likely to enslave its people? Would a Rule of Law that upholds and defends the individual rights of all of its people, who are all understood to be equal before the law, be more or less likely to lead to a society where all are at liberty to live their own lives in society with others?

Any reasonable answer will admit that slavery can't be right, that it is a destructive evil because it violates the very real nature and requirements of being human; that for the individual rights of all to be upheld and defended, all must be treated equally before its laws, and that the power and scope of that govt's laws must be limited by law to stringently respect those same individual rights, all of which require respecting what is objectively true.

That is the understanding which made America exceptional.

Similarly, no matter what its practitioners stated intentions might be, racism cannot somehow be made 'ok' by law to achieve 'payback', without treating some (and so all) unequally before the law, which makes a mockery of the individual rights which are only reliable basis for the Justice they supposedly seek, and for that reason alone, all such forms of 'Social Justice' must be opposed by everyone who hopes to be able to live a life worth living, in liberty and in society with others.

Because that is true, the *Woke* are unlikely to answer your questions at all, or to let others even hear them, but it is vitally important that you understand that such answers require asking those questions, and that you refuse to be framed into undermining what all that you care about, rests upon. If you've got a handle on that, here are some excellent questions to bring the *Woke* painfully face to face with the reality of what their own positions actually mean.

The greater good is not a fundamental value - don't put Descartes before the horse - it is not a cause, but a result of individuals at liberty to live in society with each other, and our own history teaches us that such a society cannot be sustained unless reality, truth, and virtue, are valued and adhered to through the habits, customs and laws of the people within that society. The reality of being human is that human beings think in order to live in reality, and the better we order our thoughts to conform to what is real and true, the more effective we are. Born from the union of a man and a woman, we become more than savages by forming families of a father, mother and child, and as they grow and develop into a community, the more that society structures itself to respect its families, and conforms to a philosophy and religion that reflects what is real and true, the more prosperous that society becomes.

No culture has conceived or achieved these ideals as effectively as have the Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian culture of Western Civilization, and none of its societies have done that as well as America, because America held "these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". Striving to live up to those exceptional ideals is what made America the first society in history to realize that slavery is wrong, destructive, and evil, and ultimately to eliminate it by law (and no, Britain was not the first to do so, several American states abolished slavery decades before their estranged parent did).

There are few worse guides for a life worth living, than what being *Woke* provides, and no better guide for respecting and abiding by what is real and true than that found in the Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian culture of Western Civilization in general, and of America in particular.

For all of Intersectionality's focus upon 'identities', which is the dark heart of the *Woke*, it utterly fails to identify the most basic issue of what it means and requires to be human. Its collectivist nature sees only the many sub-groups they've imagined that humanity can be divided into, to be managed by the *Woke*, for the *Woke*, unrestrained by any concern for the facts of human nature or of nature itself, and that is what a dozen decades of public education has prepared us for. As Shakespeare and a recent mini-series warned us: These violent delights have violent ends.

The claim of SEL to be 'the foundation of all learning', to be 'science based', to be effective and beneficial to every student, sounds all very fine, except that each statement and claim is at best a half-truth of lies grafted onto an out of context selection of facts, to serve falsehoods whose only value and purpose is for luring people in through their 'good intentions', to be utilized in a vile agenda of undermining the rule of law, the rights of parents, and the future soundness of mind of the students it is streamed into.

What we shouldn’t do
It is a mistake to view SEL, CRT, DEI, Critical Theory, etc., as separate objects that can somehow be safely and carefully stepped around without being contaminated or harmed by them. CRT, SEL, DEI, are less discrete objects, than the edges and point of the same sword, whose point is to subdue you, and to destroy what The West and America value.

What can we do?

First remember that the priority is not to stand up to government, or to make a point, but to provide our kids with the opportunity to become educated, which more often than not, has little or even nothing to do with getting diplomas and degrees.

Best Option: Pull your kids out of the schools - the entire establishment educational system (public and most private) is infected with it - good schools do exist, but you need to be sure that they recognize and revile the nature of these programs, rather than cozying up to, and virtue signaling alongside them.

Next Best Option: Opt out of related classes, and pay very close attention to what your children are studying and discussing in class.

One last point, and it should be on the minds of every person who is witnessing what is happening in our schools and society, and it comes from Viktor Frankl, who was the author of "Man's Search for Meaning", about his time spent in a Nazi concentration camp, also wrote, something very relevant to the materialistic education our students and society are being subjected to:
“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity, and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.

I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment – or, as the Nazi like to say, of ‘Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.”
If he is as correct as I think he is... you should consider what that means for yourselves and for your children, and if it isn't yet clear to you, that means that their intention is to demoralize your children, and if you take that as seriously as you should, that means that their intention is to destroy your children.

I hope you'll take that seriously.

Happy 230th Birthday to our Bill of Rights - and please God may there be many more!

230 years ago today, December 15th, 1791, our states united in ratifying the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America! How many of the individual rights protected by these amendments as being essential to living in liberty, are what We The People are most divided over, and by, today? 

We should all pay especially close attention to the preamble that I've put in bold below - IOW: if our Founders didn't trust govt led by the Founding Fathers themselves... why should we trust the bunch we've got in our government(s) today?!

It's a convenient turn of providence that the first two amendments originally proposed, weren't ratified at the time (one of those two was ratified in the 1990's), because the keeping of government out of religion and its practice, and barring it from tampering with the freedom of speech, the press (which, BTW, doesn't exclude you), the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances should be the first set of individual rights protected from abuse by governmental powers (even and especially if the We The People are urging it to 'do something!' about something), followed immediately, as it now is, by the right to keep and bear arms in their defense, as the 1st & 2nd Amendments do. 

If you too would like to see our Bill of Rights enjoy many more birthdays, I strongly suggest that you click the links below, and read some of what was in our Founder's minds, when they proposed, debated, and ratified them.

Proposed Amendments and Ratification
1789 Elliot 1:338--40

Congress of the United States;
Begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789.

The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;--

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the legislatures of the several states, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said legislatures, to be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, namely,--

Articles in Addition to, and Amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the Fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Art. I. [Not Ratified] After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred representatives, nor more than one representative for every fifty thousand.

Art. II. [Not ratified... for two centuries, now the 27th amendment] No law varying the compensation for services of the senators and representatives shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

Art. III.[1st] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Art. IV [2nd]. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Art. V [3rd]. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

Art. VI [4th]. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon principal cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Art. VII [5th]. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service, in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject, for the same offence, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Art. VIII [6th]. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right of a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

Art. IX [7th]. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reëxamined, in any court of the United States, than according to the rules in common law.

Art. X [8th]. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Art. XI [9th]. The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Art. XII [10th]. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.
JOHN ADAMS, Vice-President of the United States,

and President of the Senate. 
Attest. John Beckley
Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Samuel A. Otis, Secretary of the Senate.
Which, being transmitted to the several state legislatures, were decided upon by them, according to the following returns:--

By the State of New Hampshire.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the 2d article.
By the State of New York.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the 2d article.
By the State of Pennsylvania.--Agreed to the 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th articles of the said amendments.
By the State of Delaware.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the 1st article.
By the State of Maryland.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve amendments.
By the State of South Carolina.--Agreed to the whole said twelve amendments.
By the State of North Carolina.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve amendments.
By the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve articles.
By the State of New Jersey.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the second article.
By the State of Virginia.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve articles.
No returns were made by the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, and Kentucky.

The amendments thus proposed became a part of the Constitution, the first and second of them excepted, which were not ratified by a sufficient number of the state legislatures.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 5, Bill of Rights, Document 12
The University of Chicago Press
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. . . . 5 vols. 2d ed. 1888. Reprint. New York: Burt Franklin, n.d.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Remember to Re-member December 7th, 1941, with Our Today

Just a thought for those of us preoccupied by our various issues of economies and the consequences of elections, viruses and variants... remember that while those are real, and important - they don't really amount to all that much, at least not in comparison to what we should remember can happen, as it did happen, eighty years ago today.

Remember that December 7th, 1941 dawned as just another morning, when a world of change suddenly came upon the world from out of a clear blue sky.

Sometimes you need a bit of perspective... today, the 7th of December, is a fine day to get it. Don't just recall, which we all so routinely do, but mentally, spiritually, put them back together - Re-member, remember, or you may be doomed to repeat history again after all.

Remember that days like the 7th of December can bring with them a very different sort of crisis, than the sort of thing which our media calls a crisis, today, and every other day. A real clash of cultures rang out eighty years ago today, that truly should live in infamy - but it can do so only if we remember to re-member that it was a day that saw two thousand four hundred and three people slaughtered, and which led us into four years of war and the loss of millions of lives worldwide.

Remember that the smoke that rose over our ships December 7th, 1941, led to the smoke over Hiroshima and Nagasaki four horrifically bloody years later, as well as the age of nuclear war that hangs over our heads still today.

Remember that things can become infinitely worse than they are right now, in an instant.

Remember that on December 7th, 1941, in the midst of negotiations to preserve peace, those we negotiated with, attacked us. Remember that sometimes negotiations for peace are simply preparations for war.

Remember and re[member, the 7th of December, for if history becomes only about the past, it will lose all of its meaning, and your children will have to learn its lessons anew.

Remember also that those who serve in our military are always at risk of having the ultimate price demanded of them - and they have agreed up front to pay it for you.

Remember that at Pearl Harbor 80 years ago, Americans were reminded that the freedom to be on the left or right, is not free.

Remember to honor them, and to honor that which you share with them, the liberty and freedom of being an American.

These are lessons to learn, and to remember.

Remember... because it matters that you do.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Better a strict Bill Of Wrongs to bind schools down with, than to risk the unforeseen consequences of a Parents Bill Of Rights?

Warning: a possible unpopular opinion here, that I'd like to run by parents and politicians: I have some concerns about this rush for a Parents Bill of Rights , and not about the motivations for why parents think it's needed - few concerns are more obvious and justifiable than those - but for the unforeseen consequences of it's being passed, as well as a serious question about why one seemingly obvious alternative, has not been proposed.

I get the good intentions of those proposing it,
but I question the ability and motives of
 those who will someday be enforcing it
To touch on my concerns first, they run along the lines of those reasons why James Madison, the Father of our Constitution, and the chief drafter or our Bill of Rights, was originally opposed to having a Bill of Rights, and that was partly because such a bill is too easily turned into a restrictive list of privileges. It is not unusual for Govt to behave as if it not only granted the people those rights that they've enumerated in their laws, but that their law covers the full extent and limits of 'rights' that are available to those they've graciously granted them to. 

Is it really so hard to imagine a situation such as this in the near future:
"Oh, we've already passed laws protecting your rights, and this new issue that you've brought up, as you can clearly see, is not one of them."
, or:
"Yes, we did pass a law protecting your right to do [insert unforeseen situation here], but this issue that you've brought up today, as you can clearly see in the record of the debates over this law, were never mentioned as an issue it would apply to, and so, sorry, no... please submit, and have a nice day."
, and in either case you can rest assured that for those with power and influence, loopholes would soon abound.

James Madison finally set his concerns aside (thankfully) when he came up with the idea for what eventually became our 9th & 10th amendments, that gave some protection to the people's Individual Rights and the Powers through the Ninth Amendment,
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
, and to the powers of the states through the Tenth Amendment:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
But... as brilliant an innovation as the 9th & 10th amendments were, their thinking, and the Americans who voted to ratify them, are nearly lost even amongst 'Constitutional Conservatives' today, who've been known to refer to them as having no more substance than "inkblots on the Constitution", even conservative stalwarts like Judge Bork, as I noted a few years ago,
"... the same Judge Bork who famously referred to the 9th Amendment as having no more meaning than 'an inkblot on the Constitution'. Let's be clear: what that doesn't tell you about Judge Bork, is that he was a Leftist - he certainly was not, and it certainly doesn't tell us that he meant to betray the Constitution - I've no doubt that he'd rather have cut his right hand off. But what that should tell you, and me, and Hammer, about Judge Bork, is that he didn't understand the essential concepts that drove the Founders to formulate and ratify the 9th Amendment, which should tell us that that understanding was not present in his judicial judgment - unless of course, you think that those of the Founders' era who wrote and ratified the 9th Amendment, intended it as a means of splattering the Constitution with meaningless inkblots!..."
Keeping in mind that James Madison feared such shenanigans in our Founders time, I'm in no way confident that either our politicians, or ourselves (and Justice Thomas is the only one on the SCOTUS today that I wouldn't be concerned about... and maybe Gorsuch (in most situations)... possibly Alito too, but much less so, and none of the others, Left or Right), can be trusted to not be hoodwinked by such measures today.

And given that, I'm not at all eager to put such a dangerously manipulatable tool as a 'Parent's Bill of Rights', into the hands of those in Jefferson City (or Washington D.C.), that might later be able to be used to further limit what parents can do in regards to something as important, and something as greedily and deliberately targeted, as our children.

So those being some of my concerns, here's my question:
  • Why are these bills attempting to define what parents can do, rather than targeting what schools are forbidden to do (and should be penalized for)?
Why risk potentially limiting what actions that Parents can take by saying that they have a right to, for instance, demand to see curriculum (and does that mean only textbooks explicitly referred to in curriculum frameworks? And which kind of frameworks? What about teacher's worksheets?...Websites referred to...?), instead of stating something like:
"No school shall deny a parent [or tax payer] the ability to freely examine any materials presented or recommended to students - failure to comply will result in $___ fine on the first instance, and loss of [some valued feature] on repeated offences"
, and so on. For myself, I'd much rather bind our schools down with a strict Bill Of Wrongs (backed with significant penalties), than to risk restricting everyone else's actions, with a 'Parents Bill Of Rights' that might unintentionally go wrong at some point in the future.

For those who have been to the various townhalls discussing the matter (mine was yesterday, and I [insert feeble excuses here] missed it), or who have talked with their reps about these proposals, I'd very much like to hear from you if such questions and concerns have been raised, and if so, how they might have been answered.