Is this the end of another great institution?

Boy Scouts propose lifting ban on gays, but only for youth

The statue of a scout stands in the entrance to Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas, February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Sharp

By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian

NEW YORK | Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:33pm IST

(Reuters) – The Boy Scouts of America on Friday moved to partially lift its long-standing ban on gays, with a decision that would allow openly gay youth members but continue to bar gay adults in one of the largest youth serving organizations in America.

If the resolution is approved in a nationwide vote in May, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.

The report found religious groups linked to the Scouts were concerned with homosexual adult leaders not with youth and concluded “a change in the membership policy specific to youth only would be consistent with the religious beliefs of the BSA’s major chartered organizations.”

Gay rights groups want the ban lifted for youth and adults and the proposal immediately drew criticism.

“By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy,” said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

The resolution is the result of a study Smith called “the most comprehensive listening exercise in the history of Scouting” that found parents in three of four U.S. regions opposed the current membership policy.

…more from the article at the link below:




From the words of a witness

This video is from a survivor of Cuban Communism.

This mad is just allowed, almost encouraged, to leave.  No questions or acknowledgement really.  
Original story first seen here.


Are these towns people holding pepper-spray?


mexico thugs

A group of 1,500 Mexican vigilantes arrested the Tierra Colorado police chief this week and took over the town. The vigilante group said the chief was working with local drug gangs.
The AP reported, via The Westerner:

Hundreds of armed vigilantes have taken control of a town on a major highway in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, arresting local police officers and searching homes after a vigilante leader was killed. Several opened fire on a car of Mexican tourists headed to the beach for Easter week.

Members of the area’s self-described “community police” say more than 1,500 members of the force were stopping traffic Wednesday at improvised checkpoints in the town of Tierra Colorado, which sits on the highway connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. They arrested 12 police and the former director of public security in the town after a leader of the state’s vigilante movement was slain on Monday.

A tourist heading to the beach with relatives was slightly wounded Tuesday after they refused to stop at a roadblock and vigilantes fired shots at their car, officials said.

The vigilantes accuse the ex-security director of participating in the killing of vigilante leader Guadalupe Quinones Carbajal, 28, on behalf of local organized crime groups and dumping his body in a nearby town on Monday. They reported seizing several high-powered rifles from his car, and vigilantes were seen toting a number of sophisticated assault rifles on Wednesday, although it was not clear if all had been taken from the ex-security director’s car.

“We have besieged the municipality, because here criminals operate with impunity in broad daylight, in view of municipal authorities. We have detained the director of public security because he is involved with criminals and he knows who killed our commander,” said Bruno Placido Valerio, a spokesman for the vigilante group.

Here’s video of the vigilantes.

If we only know one thing, how can we expect to teach another?


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15 Year Old Wisconsin Conservative Meets Bullying From Teachers

By Benji Backer on March 28, 2013
As a 15 year old, I never imagined my activism in politics would translate into controversy for me at school.

My name is Benji Backer and I attend a public high school in Appleton, Wisconsin. I have always supported the public school system and plan to do so for the rest of my life. Many Americans who stand up for the public school system and the unions believe there is no attempt to sway opinion or that students with opposing beliefs are singled out. Unfortunately, experiences I have had with harassment and bullying prove that wrong. This is a timeline of the most extreme cases of harassment and indoctrination I have had in the three different public schools I have attended over the last three years.

I am currently in my freshman year of high school and the incidents are happening more frequently and I believe are more severe.  As you can imagine, the ongoing pressure and bullying has been disturbing to me, my friends and my family.

Just before the 2010 Midterm election, I was on the front page of the local newspaper for my political volunteer work and my teachers noticed. One of my seven teachers made it very clear that she dissaproved of my civic engagement. In a period of two months, my Geography teacher frequently would take me aside after school for a few minutes and tell me how stupid, wrong and misguided I was for being Republican. The harassment with this specific teacher got so bad, I had to switch schools halfway through the year.  At this time I was only 12 years old. To my knowledge, this teacher was not disciplined at all for her actions.

Two months after I switched to my new school, Scott Walker passed the controversial Budget Repair Bill. Most of the teachers at my new school were more than upset. A couple of my teachers wore red every day while crying, protesting and providing a one-sided perspective on the reforms and making it clear to us just how bad they believed Scott Walker was. One teacher even said she wouldn’t be able to have another child because Scott Walker was cutting so much money from her pay.

A few months later, I expected things to die down and be over with; it didn’t. Almost four months after Walker’s budget was passed, I walked into choir to find a substitute teacher showing us a 5 minute video about how great unions were and then she talked for an additional 10 minutes about how bad she believed Scott Walker to be.  At the end of the class, I stood up, defended the governor and told her how inappropriate her behavior was. I was told she didn’t do that to another class for the rest of the day.

During my 8th grade year I received more attention for my political activity. I had become known in the community because of newspaper, radio and TV interviews and was aware that this would possibly make me a target. Not only was I a volunteer for Governor Walker, but I was a very vocal supporter of him as well. While there were some minor instances of teachers complaining about Walker and a few mentions of my media appearances and such, the rhetoric seemed to be dying down.

It was a short-lived reprieve.  Things have deteriorated again this year, my freshman year. I came into the year with the knowledge that some teachers would already view me negatively because of my political views and I was correct.

Right after Scott Walker won the recall election, I started helping out candidates for November. I was named Young Americans for Mitt Romney Co-Chair in Wisconsin and once again, my teachers took notice; my English teacher in particular.  In one of the first weeks of school, he had us write about an article we had read for homework. The article was about political campaigns “mining” into the personal lives of the American people. He asked, “other than Facebook and phone calls, how do campaigns mine into personal lives?” I raised my hand and replied: “well, you can check who signed the recall.” Immediately after, he said “I signed that!” That was the trigger to the last 40 minutes of class. He spent the remainder of that period lecturing us about how much he hated Scott Walker and explained all the reasons why. He said, “most small business owners and workers take off Fridays and summers”.  According to him, small business owners go golfing every Friday. He also said many businessmen work fewer hours than teachers. He explained how his pay was too low to support his family. He told the class his pay was so bad he had to paint houses in the summers. During this discussion, he was swearing and saying how wrong it was for anyone to support Walker. Students were telling him to stop, and he wouldn’t.

I decided I would not argue with him. Past experiences had shown me that arguing with someone like him would only make things worse and inflame the situation. Since no one was debating him, these students were being presented a very biased view and placed in a very uncomfortable situation. By the end of class, some students had a completely negative view of Scott Walker.

A couple of days later, he took me into the hall and apologized. He said he had felt bad about it all weekend. He then gave me a book to read about Abraham Lincoln. He told me that “good politicians read a lot.” Then he said, “I don’t think Scott Walker likes to read.” The indoctrination and conversations with the class dropped off for a while after this incident, but in mid-October, it started up again. On a regular basis, he would talk about politics in front of the class or in private with me.

The harassment got particularly bad one day in late October, about a week after I was featured in USA Today for my involvement in the upcoming November election.  Again, this video and article was sent throughout the school and was even played in several classes. The same English teacher who had lectured to almost 30 students about a month earlier took me aside during class again. He started talking about Mitt Romney and Scott Walker and his views on them. He reiterated how much harder he worked compared to my dad, a small business owner, which he had no knowledge of. He went on to ask how much my parents made because he wanted to compare it to his salary.

Later, I looked up this teacher’s salary. He had been making over $100,000 with benefits for the 2010-11 school year, the same year Walker’s reform bill passed.  For a few more days, he talked to me in class about his feelings about Walker and Romney. I decided to tell my parents about the two incidents. My parents thought it was very inappropriate and decided we needed to talk to the principal about it. The principal at my school was very upset with the situation. He was disappointed in my English teacher and he told me I needed to talk to my teacher one on one. After I talked to the teacher, my principal said he would meet up with him to follow up. When I went during my lunch hour to talk to my teacher, he apologized and took ownership for everything. Later during the apology, he started to talk about Walker again and how much he hated him. He just couldn’t stop. At the end of the conversation, my teacher asked “you know how you went down to the principal’s office?” I said yes, and he said “I don’t give a sh*t.” I asked why, and he went on to explain that he was friends with the principal so it didn’t matter to him and he wouldn’t get in trouble because of their friendship.

My principal called me into his office the day after to see how it went. I told him what my teacher did and said. He then told me if there were any more incidents with this teacher there would be serious consequences.  He also told me if there were any more incidents like this with other teachers, I was to report it right away. I felt as if it was being properly addressed and had hoped I had seen the end of it. Unfortunately, the relationship between the teacher and I turned out to be worse than before. Since I reported these incidents, he has stopped talking about politics in the classroom, but sadly, he has not treated me the same as he did before I reported him.

In my Health class, also this year, our very first homework assignment included writing down four activities you do as a person currently and four things you want to do in the future. We were also assigned to present in front of the class. In one of my four boxes, I wrote down that I was a conservative speaker. When I presented in front of the class, he asked if I supported the Tea Party. I said yes. He rolled his eyes and told me believing in the organization was “weird.” He also told me he knew nothing about the Tea Party. This teacher then told me to explain, in front of the class why I supported the Tea Party, so I did. When I left the class, I thought about what had happened. Why was I being called “weird?” Why was I being questioned so much? The simple truth reveals that some teachers want to obstruct and block my personal views from looking valid. If a teacher asked why someone was homosexual, Atheist or Muslim and called what they believed “weird”, there would be serious consequences. I decided not to report this to the principal because I realized it wouldn’t help. I had experienced the fallout from reporting prior instances and I didn’t want a repeat situation.

The latest incident involved another substitute teacher in my civics (government) class. Every day we watch a ten minute show called CNN Student News. The substitute asked us to recap the show and discuss it in class. The first part of the show had to do with gun control. Instead of having us discuss the topics as she said she would, she decided to share her views. She talked almost twenty minutes. In those twenty minutes, she said the recently released picture of Obama shooting a gun was forced out by the conservative and far-right members. She explained how she believed Obama’s birth certificate was forced out, therefore this was too. For about five minutes, she called all Republicans racist. According to her, she had never seen such discrimination against a president and President Obama has been the most ill-treated president in the history of the United States, all because the Republicans don’t want a black man in the White House.

I believe that the majority of my teachers (and teachers in general) are professional and leave their personal political views out of the classroom. There are a few teachers that have been extremely inspirational to me. Unfortunately, most is not enough. Teachers that do bring a one-sided view of politics into the classroom are attempting to influence students’ opinions. They want to teach us what to think instead of how to think.

The intimidation has not swayed me or made me cowar from my beliefs, but I worry about the other students. I’m certain I am not the only one that has experienced this sort of intimidation.  My teachers have always talked about bullying, including bullying homosexuals and how wrong it is. I agree one hundred percent. They shouldn’t be bullied, nor should anyone else. But if homosexuals can get equal treatment, why can’t I?  Why can’t my conservative friends? If teachers want bullying to end with homosexuals, other races or religious beliefs, they should want it to end with every type of bullying possible, including political views.

One-sided political conversations are happening in the classroom with impressionable students at a young age. This has gone on for decades. The problem is, not enough students speak up and speak out about it. The more educated I become, the more I realize the indoctrination that happens is very subtle and may not be noticeable to most students. Slowly but surely, these views seep inside a student’s head.  Only a year and a half ago did I realize our country was a Republic, not a Democracy. Why is that?  I had been taught otherwise for years prior.

Teachers presenting a one-sided political view are a problem and they need to be stopped. A school should be a place students can comfortably and safely express their beliefs, learn, grow and form their own opinions. If we want an educated Republic, we need to educate our students in a fair and balanced way.

For the Blog’s sake…



James Kalb writes at Crisis Magazine a cogent article about what ills the world, besides myself of course.  (An ode to GKC)

But these speaks directly to the intent of hopefully content of this blog.  We can’t teach what we don’t know and we can’t give what we don’t have.

If to reform is not to conform, how can we move from where we are to where we want to be? We need to recognize the gaps, and fill them with the things we need.

As this article reflects, the Catholic Church is a good place to start, in understanding human nature and thus understanding how we live within this world and what we are likely to do, or gravitate to.

The full text of the article is below:

Stupidity: A Malady of the Cultural Elite

by James Kalb

dunce-capWe live in something of a meritocracy, and our rulers believe they are by far the most enlightened and well-informed people who ever lived. For that reason they feel entitled to make the aspirations of the present day, or what they consider such, the compulsory standard for public life. They view the claim that there are principles that transcend those aspirations as the sort of thing that led to 9/11, and treat the past as worth considering only as something to escape from or a foreshadowing of the glories of the present.

Nonetheless, a variety of conditions, from the state of education and the arts to that of political discussion, makes it evident that Western society is growing less and less able to think clearly and effectively. That’s a big problem, and one that’s hard to deal with, because it is difficult to cure oneself of mindlessness. Still, we should do our best to understand what’s going on.

A basic part of the problem is that the kind of meritocracy we have leads to stupidity. Its effect is that local and subordinate groupings are deprived of talent and respect, and the leadership at the top becomes unable to think or function outside established understandings. The people at the top mostly went to the same highly competitive schools, where they were all told the same things, and it’s taken all their effort and devotion to get where they are today. The result is that they’re absorbed in their social function and setting, and would find it very difficult to adopt an independent perspective if the desire to do so ever entered their heads.

The results are evident in our public life. How often do our leaders say or write anything that would be of interest if a different name were attached? Can anyone imagine Hilary Clinton thinking something she isn’t supposed to think? And to get to the bottom line, do our rulers give the impression that they know what’s going on or what to do about it?

Naturally, meritocracy isn’t the only culprit. There are other factors at work that also stem from the nature of a society ruled by technology and technocratic ideals. Their effect is that the understandings that guide thought are becoming increasingly nonfunctional:

  • Electronic diversions train people out of the habit of consecutive thought. Tweets, texting, and multitasking mean discussions never get to the point and are hardly discussions at all.
  • Rejection of transcendent standards leads to denial of the good, beautiful, and true in favor of rhetoric and power. That means the subordination of thought to politics, propaganda, and partisanship.
  • Bureaucracy, commerce, and the media absorb functions once performed by individuals, families, and tradition. Instead of the arts of life, which require thought, we have consumer goods, social programs, and industrially-produced pop culture. The result is that thought becomes less important as a day-to-day matter.
  • Thought requires engagement with reality. Electronic entertainment and the distance between cause and effect in a complex globalized society mean people do not engage reality, while skepticism as to truth means they consider it theoretically impossible to do so.
  • A technological approach to society means mechanical unity of components, and thought and discussion are not mechanical. Common histories, understandings, and commitments, as well as freedom of association, are necessary for complex and subtle activities such as scholarly inquiry and speculative thought, and technocracy disrupts such things.
  • Thought depends on recognizing and applying patterns, and technology rejects pattern recognition in favor of simple relations of cause and effect. To make matters worse, relating individual cases to patterns means stereotyping and discrimination. Ideals of diversity and inclusiveness, which draw their institutional strength from the technocratic desire to turn people into interchangeable components, thus require suppression of the habits of mind that make thought possible.
  • Thought also depends on standards of cogency, which are disfavored because they are at odds with diversity. People want to include marginalized voices, so they feel called upon to treat thoughts nonjudgmentally, as long as they are politically acceptable.
  • In any event, standards require effort, so they’re at odds with consumerism, comfort, and lifestyle libertarianism, and the technological outlook makes those the goals of life. Such an attitude may help explain the recent startling decline of academic achievement among thoroughly assimilated Jewish and Japanese Americans.

If America and the West are getting stupider as a result of the basic nature and tendency of our society, including the measures that have been adopted to increase the intelligence with which it is run, we have to ask about the future. Some say that the no-nonsense Chinese will take over everything, others that genetic engineering will save the day, still others predict a period of general disorder, something like the Middle East but on a global scale.

It seems unlikely the Chinese will take over, since they have their own problems. For starters, selective abortion and the one-child rule mean they’re going to have a huge population of young men with no prospect of marriage, and an even huger population of elderly people with no one to support and look after them. Nor does genetic engineering look like a cure-all for stupidity, if only because the problems are mostly cultural and grow out of an understanding of man and society that reduces human life to an engineering problem. So the obvious outcome of present trends in the West is growing incoherence of thought, leading to nonfunctional public life and a retreat into inward-turning networks of survival. We’ve tried to turn Iraq into Minnesota, but it’s more likely we’ll turn Minnesota into Iraq.

What’s needed, then, is a basic change of cultural direction that allows better things to develop. That’s not impossible. Intelligence is more functional than stupidity, and cooperation works better than chaos, so why shouldn’t they have a competitive advantage?

What’s caused the problem is the habit of viewing the world exclusively as a mechanical system. That approach has been fruitful in the physical sciences, but it has no place for intelligence, meaning, or agency, so it defeats itself when applied to the world as a whole. It can deal with protons, but not with physics as a science carried on by intelligent human beings, so in the long run it undermines even science.

Man is rational, at least to the extent that if he drives intelligence and meaning out of his understanding of the world he will eventually drive them out of his way of life. What we need, then, is a fundamental change of understanding that makes intelligence and meaning integral to how things are. To be functional and stable the new understanding must be concrete enough to give determinate results, and to deserve confidence it must have a way that can be counted on to settle disruptive questions.

That sounds a lot like Catholicism. Things haven’t been going well for the Church lately, but we’re not the only ones with problems. In the long run basic principles determine results, so if we can remain true to what we are then even from a purely this-worldly standpoint we have advantages that the forces of secular modernity can’t match. The conversion of the Roman Empire became final when thinkers like Augustine found they needed the Church to make sense of life and the world. What works best wins out, so there are reasons to expect something similar to happen again.

Editor’s note: Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Tagged as: Cultural DeclineDiversityEducationintelligencemeritocracyStupidity

The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

James Kalb

By James Kalb

James Kalb is a lawyer, independent scholar, and Catholic convert who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command (ISI Books, 2008).

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