Playing the Indian Card

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Renaissance of the British Empire

Bigger than a breadbox.
The recent exclusion of the UK from the latest deal to rescue the Euro moves us a big step closer to seeing the Anglosphere reunite--Britain is visibly and definitively pulling back from the EU now.

But then, a guest on the BBC was just quoted as saying the Euro itself is now doomed; it is only a matter of time. And the EU itself is likely to break up when this happens.

England may then not be the only European country interested in chipping in instead with NAFTA. Among those shopping for some new association might well be Ireland, Spain, and Portugal--all turfed out of the Euro as bad financial risks. All three have powerful New World connections.

I can see a possible reunion, not just of the old British Empire plus the US, but this also combined with the old Spanish Empire plus the old Portuguese Empire, for a that much more formidable free trade area. This free trade area would be far stronger than the EU, because it would combine areas with a great diversity of resources and economic strengths, along with greater unity of language and culture. It could include two important emerging powerhouses, India and Brazil.

It would permanently dwarf China.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

During an air raid.

Here is the peroration of one of Churchill's most celebrated speeches, made in 1940:

What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'”

I quote it because it makes clear what was understood as the two sides to the conflict at the time: on one side, the Allied side, “Christian civilization.” On the Nazi/Fascist side, “perverted science.” I think this is worth pointing out and remembering, because in recent years this has been falsified. Many fashionable writers have tried instead to claim that “Christian civilization,” (viz John Ralston Saul), or even, absurdly, the Catholic Church (viz Christopher Hitchens), was responsible for Nazism. But Nazism was openly anti-Christian, as Churchill notes.

The Karsh portrait

Nor was Fascism, as I have seen claimed, anti-science. No, science, or rather, scientism, as Churchill says, was at its core: Darwin and the theory of evolution was obviously and directly appealed to by Hitler as the essence of human life, and Einstein's Theory of Relativity was used by Mussolini to claim that all values were culturally relative. Nazism was not a conservative movement, in any sense, but a “progressive” creed. It appealed to science for its justification, and held, like the “progressives” of today, that science had superceded old moralities.

Those who do not study history are condemned to relive it. And not as the guys on top.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fourteen Reasons to Homeschool

Bullying kids.

Bullying was always a problem at schools. It is quite possibly made worse by the current “self-esteem” movement.

Bullying teachers.
    The job of teacher is tailor-made for bullies, control freaks, and terminal bores who cannot otherwise get anyone to listen to them. Unfortunately, we have created no defenses against this. To the contrary, the culture of the public school seems to promote bullies and control freaks.

    Current public school teaching methods don't work.

    See “Operation (aka Project) Follow-Through,” for proof; and the many studies that show that both private schools and homeschooling produce better results on a number of measures. We are at best simply wasting our children's time by sending them to public school.

    Our system of public school teacher selection ensures the worst.

    We know that certain teachers can make a huge difference to scores on standardized tests, and we further know that the best teachers are those who are best at learning and who know the subject best. But our system of teacher certification values courses in education over subject knowledge. Further, we know that those who enter ed schools have lower SAT scores than for virtually any other subject, and almost nobody fails. We are selecting for those who are worst at learning and who know the subject least.

    The public school curriculum has been stripped of the culture. It has become culture-hostile.

    A solid grounding in one's culture—in the wisdom of one's ancestors--is almost the entire point of education. However, the current attitude in schools is that culture is oppression by “dead white males.” This amounts to a systematic attempt to prevent children from becoming educated.

    The public school curriculum has been stripped of essential skills.

    Besides culture, children need facility with certain useful life skills: the proverbial “reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic,” not to mention logic, foreign languages, and such. The problem, however, is that all such skill acquisition requires memorization. Current educational practice is actively prejudiced against memorization and drill as supposedly “uncreative.”

    The public school curriculum has been stripped of all religious references.

    So currently public schools don't teach any culture, and they don't teach basic skills. Is there anything left? Indeed there is. But they don't teach that either. Even more important than such basic skills for employability and cultural context, the core of any real education is religion. Religion is systematically banned from the public school classroom.

    The public school system does not teach any coherent set of morals.
      This goes with the last point. It is essential that children be taught the difference between right and wrong; the public school is not even prepared to accept that there is a right and a wrong. To the extent that there is a morality taught, in any public school class, it will conflict with any known moral code, confusing and subverting any child being raised with one.

      The public school system is designed to produce employees, not leaders or independent thinkers.

      In response to the accusation that they fail to teach either important information (culture) or basic skills, I expet many defenders of public schools would claim that they instead teach students to think. That, at least, is supposed to be what the resistance to memorization is in favour of. But this is demonstrably false. To teach someone to think, you teach them formal logic, logical fallacies, philosophy, the rules of debate, and the rules of parliamentary procedure. Private schools teach this; public schools rarely do.

      And why not? There is a historical reason. The public schools were consciously designed at the beginning of the last century to produce reliable workers for industry, not leaders. This was a way to preserve the ascendancy of that class that could afford to send their children to private schools. Woodrow Wilson said as much.
      The public school system dehumanizes. It treats kids as objects to be molded to conformity, instead of individual souls.
        The modern school was more or less consciously designed on the model of the assembly line, to produce workers for industry. This is one reason for the elimination of the old one-room schoolhouse—it did not fit the factory model. The “scientific” approach to teaching necessarily objectifies the students.

        The public school system is hostile to boys.

        Boys and girls have very different interests and learn in different ways. Thanks to feminism, almost everything that might interest boys has been banned from the modern classsroom. Boys are commonly told they are no good. This is exacerbated by the fact that elementary teachers are almost overwhelmingly women, who think like women and give boys no role model. Indeed, few men dare teach, because it makes them sitting ducks for career-ending charges of sexual harassment or child abuse, from which women are largely exempt.

        The public school system is hostile to very intelligent kids.

        The system, in the name of “equality,” is invariably more interested in raising the achievement of the slow than in raising the achievement of the quick. Given big classes and big schools, one size must fit all, and the quick are the ones who end up round pegs. They can have little in common with teachers who are not themselves very bright, and may, being control freaks, resent children who are.

        The public school system indoctrinates into a specific political viewpoint.

        Departments of education are commonly hotbeds of radical left-wing politics; a lot of teachers are quite open about their main objective being to indoctrinate. This, of course, works directly counter to the objective of teaching students to think for themselves.

        The public school system is resistant to the new technology with which it is crucial for students to become familiar.

        Because they essentially cannot be fired, having tenure, and face no competition, there is nothing impelling public school teachers to adopt new technology or new methods, other than a personal sense of responsibility or personal desire. Unfortunately, matters are very different in the real world of work most students will face. There, it is essential to keep up with the latest technological innovations in order to compete. This disparity leaves schools lagging further and further behind.

        Sunday, December 04, 2011

        Revolution Truths

        Taking it to the streets.

        Denial is more than just as river in Egypt, they say. It may not be a popular thing to say in all the euphoria around the Arab Spring, but among the popular delusions of our day is the common notion that revolution is good. The cult of revolution is everywhere: on campus, and among the clerical class generally. It forms part of the national ideology of both America and France, not to mention China, Mexico, and on and on.

        But really, when has a revolution ever brought more good than evil? The Russian Revolution brought us Stalin. The Chinese Revolution brought us Mao. The French Revolution brought us Robespierre, then Napoleon. The English Revolution brought us Cromwell. The Iranian Revolution brought us Khomeini and Ahmadinejad. There is a pattern: power goes soon to a strongman, not to the people. There is less liberty, not more liberty; and despite Potemkin villages, there is relative economic stagnation, not greater wealth.

        This result is, moreover, perfectly logical and predictable. A full revolution more or less by definition kicks down the basic law, the nation's constitution, whatever it is. Everything is up for grabs in the street. Without law, what one has left is not freedom, but the law of nature: a natural struggle of all against all. And laws, in the end, are there to protect the weak. Inevitably, where there is no law, the strongest and most ruthless will benefit, and the weak will be crushed. Think "Lord of the Flies": after much spilling of blood, some organized group with weapons will emerge to dictate. They will have triumphed by sheer ruthlessness and lust for power. They are going to be in the mood to exercise it.

        Sounds like a good idea?
        Unfortunately, the American Revolution can be pointed to as a counterexample. Unfortunately, because it gives revolution a cachet of morality and progress. But to see the American struggle as a revolution, rather than a war of independence, seems arbitrary. At state and local level, those in power before the revolution, remained in power after the revolution, as did all the state laws. That makes a crucial difference. Government never descended into the street.

        And even then, did the American struggle for independence really produce more good than harm? For, besides the blood shed at the time, it surely set the precedent of a right to secession which then led directly to the American Civil War, not to mention that fuss over in France in 1789, and further tumult throughout the Americas. And for what, exactly? To avoid ending up like Canada? 

        Can one name a single nation that went directly and peacefully from a genuine revolution to a liberal democracy? For one can cite many who went from a military junta or absolute monarchy to a liberal democracy without internal conflict. 

        Of course, this is a bitter pill for those saddled with a genuinely oppressive and corrupt government—a Muammar Ghaddafi, for example; himself, note, the product of a prior revolution. One might argue that a truly bad government makes revolution necessary. But any glorification of revolution for its own sake? Be careful what you wish...

        Comrades in arms.