A Place to Start By Amanda S. Green
Yesterday, we celebrated the 243rd anniversary of our nation’s independence. The road here hasn’t been easy and there are a number of people, including a number of politicians, who would dearly love to see this be the last anniversary we celebrate.
Too many want to erase our past because it isn’t “convenient” or “comfortable” by today’s standards. Works of art are being painted over in major cities because they might make someone feel uncomfortable. The names of authors and literary innovators are being stripped from awards because they acted within the norms of their day, norms that are no longer “accepted” today.
This attempt to erase history doesn’t cure the so-called problems of the day. All it does is bury it and prevent us from learning from past mistakes. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, we should be taking a hard look at what happened and why and find the best way to prevent it from happening again.
It means standing up to the loud voices of the vocal few who demand the sanitization of our history and looking long and hard at their motivation. It means often putting ourselves out and taking stances that might not make us any friends in the other camp but that will spark those who have yet to make up their minds to think about the issues and the facts behind them. This is something Professor Thomas Sowell does very well, and we would all be better off if we’d follow his example.
But how do we do this? That’s the million-dollar question and one I’m still looking for the “right” answer to.
What I do know is this, we have to take that first step. We have to read him and others who share his world view. The problem is it is easy to be scared away from many of Professor Sowell’s writings if you aren’t already familiar with his work. After all he writes about—gasp—economics. If you’re like me, your eyes glaze over and you get terrible flashbacks to bad college Econ classes at the very thought of reading anything dealing with economic theory.
Honestly, that was one of the reasons I didn’t start reading him sooner. Then I lucked into reading some of his newspaper columns. I’d missed them because they weren’t hitting the press down here, at least not the newspaper my family took. Once I found his articles, I started searching for more of his work to read. That lead me to his books and, well, the rest is history.
I guess this is all a way of saying I have a starting point for you if you’re a little intimidated at the thought of starting off with one of Sowell’s other books. That starting point is a collection appropriately titled “Controversial Essays”.
This collection lets you pick and choose what topics you’re interested in. Professor Sowell covers everything from economic to racial to education to social issues and everything in between. Also, these are shorter essays than you will find in many of his other books, making for quicker reads. And that is what makes this an excellent starting point if you haven’t yet begun reading Professor Sowell.
So I will start with the end of the book, entitled “Random Thoughts”, to point out not only how astute Professor Sowell is but how keen his sense of humor happens to be.
The first big Washington scandal of the 20th century was the Teapot Dome scandal of 1921, which led three members of the Harding administration to commit suicide. Today, they would just consult their lawyers and spinmeisters, and then start making the rounds of the talk shows in order to confuse the issues. (CE, p. 301)
Ain’t it the truth?
Take HRC’s e-mail scandal. Before instant media coverage and spin—please, take media spin and preferably bury it far, far away—there is little doubt Clinton would have resigned and left the public eye. Instead, with media backing (not to mention the support of the DNC), she ran for president. She came too close to comfort to being the person sitting in the Oval Office.
Politicians use scandal as a springboard for their future plans instead of actually taking responsibility for their actions and withdrawing. While I don’t advocate that they kill themselves, think about how much better our political scene would be without these SOBs and the media spin that keeps trying to “rehabilitate” them.
In a democracy, why should one group of citizens carry more weight than a similar number of other citizens, just because they are willing to take to the streets and block traffic? (CE, pp 301-302)
When I read this quote, I thought about some of the BLM protests that shut down major roadways, putting who knows how many people in danger because they couldn’t get to medical help, etc. I thought of some of the Antifa protests as well. Why do certain local governments allow them to get away with behavior that is against local and possibly state law and yet crack down on their more conservative counterparts? Why does the media allow this inequity to go unchallenged? (I know the answer but these are questions we need to be asking just as loudly as the other side screams it is their right to act this way.)
It is bad enough that so many of our public schools offer nothing to challenge smart students. What adds insult to injury is that, when these students become bored and restless, this boredom is given the fancy name “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” and the students are drugged with Ritalin. (CE, pg 302)
This hits one of my hot buttons. I know, I know, I have more than my fair share of hot buttons, but education is right at the top. I was one of those smart kids. In those classes where I got bored because the district would rather dumb down the curriculum than give teachers the ability to adapt to meet each student’s needs, my grades went down. I got in trouble in some because—duh—bored and acting out. Why? Not all those teachers would let me read when I finished the assignment. I had to sit there and “act like a lady”. SNORT!
Fortunately, this was before the knee-jerk reaction of educators and counselors was to label a kid ADD or ADHD. We got detention or more work assigned to us. Our parents were called in for meetings with the teacher. But at least we weren’t drugged.
Unfortunately, the desire to move standards to the lowest common denominator continued and that is when the labeling and medicating began. Our public school system has fallen when it comes to quality, mainly because the state and federal governments have pushed themselves further and further into what should be a local issue. We’re not talking funding, we’re talking test result requirements, someone in Austin telling a district in El Paso or Blue Mound how to teach students they’ve never seen. If it doesn’t look good on paper, it must not work. That is the attitude these pencil pushers have and it has ruined more than one generation of students as a result.
Because of the neglect of history in our educational system, most people have no idea how many of the great American fortunes were created by people who were born and raised in worse poverty than the average welfare-recipient today. (CE, pg 302)
Not only duh, but DUH!!!
Of course, if we actually taught this, it might undermine the welfare state we’ve been moving toward for most of the last century. The liberals don’t want that and the media, the liberal mouthpiece all too often, obviously doesn’t want it either. We, as conservatives and libertarians, have been silent too long on this issue.’
Sure, we’ve taken steps to protect our own kids from this form of brainwashing. We’ve either homeschooled or we’ve supplemented their education with materials to counter the propaganda they get in school. But that doesn’t help those who aren’t in a position to get the same benefits as our kids. Instead of simply withdrawing from a system that is broken, we need to find ways to fix it. It means getting involved with our local school districts, with finding out about state school boards/boards of education/whatever and it means letting our voices be heard.
The other day someone—and I’m looking at Sarah because I think it was her—made a comment that these loud voices we keep hearing belong to a relatively small number of people. It reminded me of the “silent majority” speech from my childhood. Or to put it another way, it is time for us to stand up and let our voices be heard.
More than that, it is time to stand and demand we be heard. We are not just old white men. We are people of color. We are female and male, gay and straight and everything in between. We simply happen to not believe in the propaganda that everything from the past is evil and we have to erase or rewrite history so it conforms to today’s so-called standards.
Ask yourself who sets these standards. Now ask yourself why we stand by and let them do so unchallenged. Then remind yourself that it isn’t really unchallenged. 2016 showed that. A large group of our fellow Americans stood up and let their voices be heard at the polls. The liberals are still trying to erase that election because it didn’t go the way they wanted it to.
Are they pushing us toward a second American civil war? The answer is yes. What is uncertain is how far things will go. Will it turn into a shooting war or will it be one determined at the polls and in the courts? Time alone will tell for certain. In some ways, I feel they won’t be happy until shots ring out. But then I look back a few decades and see that as bad as things are right now, it is nothing like what we saw in the 60s in parts of this nation. It certainly has nothing on what parts of the country saw in the 20s and 30s. The difference is the media and social media.
So we act now. We act by reading authors like Sowell. We spread their work as far and wide as we can. We learn from them, not only when it comes to facts and theory but in how to present them. But most of all, we speak out. We let our voices be heard. We show up at the polls, not just to vote but to be watchdogs. We use social media and conservative media outlets to shed light on the tricks and antics of the other side. We use boycotts of program sponsors the same way liberals do and let’s start with Nike (okay, that’s my pet bitch right now. I’m tired of seeing them giving in to Kaepernick and giving him more and more credibility).
Next week, I’ll be off the meds from my surgery and better able to give Professor Sowell’s work the attention it deserves. I’ll spend a couple of weeks discussing his “Controversial Essays”. After a brief interlude for something a lot less palatable (and there’s a lot to choose from), I’ll return to Sowell’s latest book.