Education or Indoctrination?

by James A. Bacon

No question: The Holocaust was one of the defining events of modern history. An estimated six million Jews and five million others (Poles and Roma, mostly) died under the Nazi regime’s genocidal programs. No question: Ignorance of the Holocaust among American youth is startling and dismaying. A 2018 survey of Millennials found that 66% could not identify the Auschwitz death camp. No question: Virginia schools need to incorporate teaching of the Holocaust and other genocides into their history curricula.

But does Virginia really need a Holocaust and Genocide Advisory Committee?

Does Virginia really need to develop, as called for in HB 916, a “robust model curriculum and teacher training module” to provide instruction on the Holocaust and other historical genocides for the purpose of providing “anti-bias education for public school students in the Commonwealth?”

Under the bill introduced by Del. Mark Sickles, D-Alexandria, the Advisory Committee would go beyond just teaching about the Holocaust. He envisions a broader initiative in which case studies and instructional lessons in public schools would explore the Holocaust and other genocides “in the context of how lower levels of hate, ridicule, and dehumanization” led to wider acts of violence. Anti-bias education also would provide “tools for responding to different forms of racism, bigotry and discrimination,” and explore “slavery and other forms of historical dehumanizing injustice.”

Wow. I guess Virginia’s public schools aren’t politically correct enough. Now we need a formal program of indoctrination in which legislators not only dictate which subjects to teach but how to teach them.

This bill isn’t really about the Holocaust. It’s about “anti-bias education,” and it’s about using the horror of the Holocaust to legitimize and impose leftist thinking in public schools across the state.

The Virginia Standards of Learning for history already mandate the teaching of the Holocaust. Under the topic of “The Modern Era,” 11th graders learn about World War II and its global impact, including, specifically, “the Holocaust and other examples of genocide in the twentieth century.”

There was another 20th-century genocide that most Americans have never heard of: the Holodomor. The what? Most Americans have never heard of it. Holodomor is the name given to Stalin’s mass collectivization and state-induced famine of Ukrainian farmers. An estimated seven million died — more than the number of Jews in the Holocaust. But if 66% of American youth could not identify Auschwitz, I feel fairly safe in saying that 99% could not identify Holodomor. At least the Holocaust is remembered in popular American culture. There has been no lack of movies and books about the Jewish genocide. Last year Haaretz.com published a list of “18 of the best” Holocaust movies — not including Schindler’s list.

Would a Holocaust and Genocide Advisory Committee include Holodomor in its list of “other forms of historical dehumanizing injustice” emanating from leftist ideologies and regimes? Would the committee discuss the 15 million Chinese who died from starvation, overwork, and famine during the Great Leap Forward? Would it mention the Cambodian genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge? For that matter, would it acknowledge the Turkish genocide against Armenians, the ISIS genocide of Christians and Yazidis, or the Hutu genocide against the Tutsis of Rwanda?

Or will the Advisory Committee focus overwhelmingly upon on the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust and Africans in the slave trade as an adjunct to the indoctrination of a leftist perspective on contemporary anti-Semitism and race relations?

I’m not optimistic. Virginia already has a Council on Environmental Justice, which views every environmental issue through a lens of race, and Governor Ralph Northam has implemented a wide variety of “social justice” initiatives in the Virginia Department of Education. I have no idea what he thinks of the bill, but if HB 916 were enacted, Virginians have every reason, based upon experience, to fear that he would turn a Holocaust and Genocide Advisory Committee into another tool to impose his post-blackface views of race and bias upon the citizenry.

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42 responses to “Education or Indoctrination?

  1. The answer is no, we don’t need this advisory committee. History teachers have enough on their plate now and, as you point out, the SOL specifically mentions the Holocaust and other genocides. If this advisory committee is approved, what be the reason for not creating advisory committees on other specific aspects of history, such as the roles of religion, women, agriculture, or technology, for example?

    By the way, I was aware of the widespread deaths resulting from the state induced famines in Stalin’s Soviet Union, but I have never encountered the term “Holodomor”. Now, I know.

  2. Seems like Virginia’s own history of slavery ought to be , ought to have been all along, in the curriculum , right?

    yeah, I agree we don’t need to know about EVERY atrocity in the world in detail – but young people SHOULD know that they are not artifacts of the past – they continue right now today in some countries.

    This is only about political correcting except in the most ideological. Right now, today, we have sex traficaning and worse.

  3. I have mixed feelings on this topic. Adult-focused research suggests that anti-bias training is easily “gamed” and forgotten, and can sometimes create a backlash. Harvard Business Review’s “Why Diversity Efforts Fail” summarizes the risks. Other recent papers* suggests that well-done diversity interventions can have meaningful effects for some. If the Advisory committee includes education, psychology, and inclusion intervention experts, I anticipate it could offer some helpful guidance to classroom teachers.

    * Mixed Signals: The Unintended Effects of Diversity Initiatives

  4. “using the horror of the Holocaust to legitimize and impose leftist thinking in public schools across the state.”

    Really? If knowing about, and abhorring, the genocide perpetrated by Hitler is Leftist … then what is Rightist?
    How about this? … During the potato famine in the Scottish Highlands the government had restrictions that forbade it from aiding the starving if they were actually capable of working.

    This leftist thinks the proposed committee is not the right solution to the problem … if 66% of students can’t identify Auschwitz, something is wrong with the way we are teaching history.
    How about revamping the history books, or writing new ones? Plus, maybe they still contain some Civil War nonsense that needs to be eliminated. Textbook publishing is cost controlled, and doesn’t always produce the best results.

    Tolerance is best learned through interactions in non-threatening settings … another approach that might do better than ‘diversity training’

    I too had never heard of the Holodomor … and to think Ukraine still needs help to escape the Russians.

  5. I am not surprised that 66 percent of Millennials could not identify the Auschwitz death camp. Surveys have shown that Americans in general are appallingly ignorant of history. I feel that the increasing emphasis on STEM and other “career” oriented education and the general downgrading of the importance of the humanities, along with the increase in “screen time” at the expense of reading books, are some of the factors contributing to this ignorance.

  6. I’m with Jane – teaching the Holocaust is a “leftist” thing?

    Good Lord!

  7. Stalin and Mao were worse than Hitler, so why limit the teaching to Hitler? The biggest problem is teaching why these atrocities were wrong. Is the criterion how people feel or is there an objective moral standard.

  8. It is not always fair to judge the legislative process by what bills are introduced. A better basis is which bills actually pass…..It is pretty hard to say no to a constituent who walks in asking for something like this, and if the constituent had a tattoo on their forearm, I’d given them anything they wanted.

  9. Fred Costello –

    Thank you for getting to the central truth of this entire discussion, namely that the leftist are just as odious and dangerous as fascists. The great tragedy of the 2oth century is that we were unable to take down Stalin and his leftist regime when we took out Hitler and his fascist regime.

    Similarly, the idea that leftists teach our school children morals, civility, good government, and the evils of genocide and social justice is totally absurd.

    Have we lost our minds? Are we that ignorant and lost? Does history mean nothing to us? Why otherwise would we doom our children to lives of abuse and despair, tyranny and lies, and suicide?

  10. Good question Fred … but isn’t that moral standard in our laws? Harming others, murder, assault etc., And wasn’t the structure of our government, created by the Founders, designed to not allow the accumulation of power in one part of the government, giving the people a measure of protection?

    History shows what we reacted to as a society, but also leaves out ‘stuff’ we might have better left alone. Daylight on it all makes for good discussion and maybe challenges thinking as a lesson in the humanities, which are most probably taking a back seat to STEM these days.

    This Leftist thinks the Unitary Executive was not the Founders vision and actually is a threat to the people, and that the accumulation of power by our major corporations was also not envisioned and needs to be curbed. The harm that they purvey, on the people, the environment and the economy, has become more and more visible and is being be addressed in the Courts.

    • Why the Holocaust ? Because thousands of American citizens died in addition to 6 million Jews AND NOW, we have folks who say it did not happen.

      Truth and facts are not debated!

      This does not preclude teaching other atrocities at all.

      But the point is that young people should KNOW that this kind of evil does exist in the world AND we are not immune from it. We see it in our own country.

      Why is it bad to teach kids these realities?

      • Larry, your illogic is impeccable. You asked, “Why is it bad to teach kids these realities?”

        Of course, no one said it was bad to teach about the Holocaust. In fact, the post specifically stated that it was good and necessary to teach about the Holocaust. Indeed, public schools already require teaching about the Holocaust.

        What’s bad is subordinating the teaching of the Holocaust to the mission of indoctrinating kids about the social-justice-warrior version of “bias.”

        Is my argument too subtle for you to understand?

  11. Improving the factual content and promoting the understanding of history is essential for the expansion of knowledge. The ignorance of the holocaust and the rise of antisemitism is factually documented. There are any number of Nazis and white supremacists expected to march or protest in Richmond on Monday. Education and the promotion of education is not a “leftist” thing, unless a conservative is seeking to defend ignorance as a political strategy.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/rise-in-anti-semitic-incidents-goes-beyond-recent-violent-attacks-11576611407

    • The rise of antisemitism here and abroad can be traced directly to the leftist theories being taught at today’s elitist universities here and in Europe where it has become a growing Scourge that we must counter vigorously. Leftist theory and Fascism end up in the same vile place, the totalitarian state that must punish people deemed different if such states are to remain in power. Hence the rise of leftist inspired riots and antisemitism, often intended to trigger fascist responses, to create mayhem, and ignite culture wars.

      See, for one smaller example Jim’s post and my comments found here on Bacon’s Rebellion at:

      https://www.baconsrebellion.com/wp/moderation-protection-liberty-no-virtue/

      • Please provide me an example of a “rightist” university or a non-leftist university where factual history and science is taught that is superior to what is taught at Stanford, Harvard or UVA? I think you may have crawled out on a branch on this argument and are clearly sawing as hard as possible. Students are welcome to join the Young Republican’s club and then come together en masse to lobby for the fossil fuel industry. Others join environmental groups and lobby for clean fuel. No one need silence statements from either right or left, nor do I know of any right or left professor who teaches that students should foment violence or shut up the other side (there are probably some on both sides)…but we know of some groups that are aggressive in that manner. I expect that some aggressive groups from both right and left will be confronting each other in Richmond on Monday, hopefully in an appropriately regulated situation.

        My son attended Stanford, where he was exposed to many viewpoints and economic theories and graduated with an interest in business. He also learned about the holocaust and the history of the Native Americans. Would you consider that a “leftist” education? Stanford prides itself in its diverse student and teacher population, and is also renown for its renown conservative leaning Hoover Institute, which I carefully follow. Is that leftist or rightist?

    • J. Abbate, please refer to my response to LarryG’s comment above.

      • Thanks, James. I appreciated that post and response. It’s that very bias against diverse viewpoints that we should work to address in anti-bias training. The best of education provides us access to a wide bandwidth of perspectives.

  12. Leftist, schmephtist! Libertarian or doctrinaire! Today’s sacred cow can easily become tomorrow’s object of scorn; just as easily the reverse. What matters is the education of our youth to a modicum of civic responsibility, the preservation of a vigorous free press to investigate and publish the facts; the ability of the electorate to learn, to change their political and social minds, to throw out those with a vested interest in the status quo. Yes, I already hear the chorus of “OK, Boomer!” — may the next generation do as well.

    • I agree totally. But the reverse is happening. Elite universities have shredded the humanities, turning them into leftist indoctrination centers for students.

      Now these leftist professors are going after our K-12 schools, spreading their newly trained little leftists students out over the countryside to train our young kids in what they must think, instead of educating them how to think for themselves, and act independently.

      UVa’s Curry School is a leader of the pack. So full hubris and zeal, it now calls itself a school for human development. Don’t let our kids near these leftist mind trainers.

      • All of these new leftist mind trainers to be funded by Northam and his new General Assembly’s proposals, yet another way for the leftist to stay in power in Virginia for several more generations of ill educated and captive citizens.

  13. As compassionate as ever. I hope B’nai Brith rips you a new one.

  14. The fact that many kids in Virginia and a lot of older folks know little about how slavery was practiced in Virginia, Jim Crow and Massive Resistance is indicative of a problem that we have now with adults.

    The fact is, most adults do not realize it was Jim Crow folks who put up many of the Confederate statues and NOW – they are claimed to be “part of history” , history that does not include what actually happened to blacks and slaves – but the Confederate statues are dedicated to “heros”.

    If you are a black person , how do you feel about this and the “history” taught and not taught in Virginia schools?

  15. The history SOL standards will be due for updating and revision soon. I can only wonder what will be taken out and what will be put in. I am not optimistic about the wisdom that will spring from revised 2020 SOL standards and curriculum.

  16. How many kids in Virginia over the last 40-50 years have been actually informed about the actual history of Virginia with regard to slavery?

    is that something that has been in Virginia history books all along?

    my impression is that it has not. SOME mention of it, yes… but the lynchings, Jim Crow era, Massive Resistance…

    If you don’t know these things – this history – what is your attitude about some of the bills in the General Assembly now that get classified as “leftist” or political correctness, etc?

    • I can assure you that they are thoroughly drowned in all of the sin and sorrow of Jim Crow, slavery, and Massive Resistance. Yet there are some important stories and figures that should be highlighted and explored. Few Virginians even remember now that the Danville Riots were the next closest thing to Birmingham. Carter Woodson, Booker T. Washington, and Jennie Dean are important black figures lost from the Reconstruction Era. Everyone always talks about Prince Edward County. Nobody remembers what happened in Warren County and how that moment shaped Front Royal for decades.

      • The great teachings of Frederick Douglass too, have been largely forgotten. Even more remarkable, so have the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. This illustrates the terrible and destructive grip of ideology on our society.

        Strong Education, deep learning, effective liberalism, cannot survive the grip of ideology. Ideology must destroy all three in order to get and keep power in the hands of a few elite.

      • Above I speak to how today dominant leftist ideology has destroyed so much of our memory of the great teachings of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., that have huge critical relevance to events going on in our world today. For an example from an earlier comment here on Bacon’s Rebellion, consider this:

        Reed Fawell 3rd | December 26, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Reply

        Andrew

        One of those of giants on whose shoulders you stand is Martin Luther King, apparently …

        A few snippets of Dr. Kings words found there are:

        “From the very beginning there was a philosophy undergirding the Montgomery boycott, the philosophy of nonviolent resistance … nonviolent resistance is not a method of cowardice. It does resist… (but) is nonaggressive physically (and) is strongly aggressive spiritually … the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding … the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community… so … the nonviolent resister seeks to attack the evil system rather than individuals who happen to be caught up in the system.

        … The struggle is rather between justice and injustice, … so (the struggle) not only avoids external violence or external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. And so at the center of our movement stood the philosophy of love.

        … God grant that as men and women all over the world struggle against evil systems they will struggle with love in their hearts, with understanding good will … But there are some things within our social order to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon you to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to mob rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things …

        The wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King is sorely needed today. Andrew, thank you also for reminding us of that truth back in February of 2016, too.”

        For more see Fewer Young People, More Geezers Working These Days at:

        https://www.baconsrebellion.com/wp/41590-2/

    • To my mind Roger Scruton is the best thinker on these issues. Below is my highly edited, condensed, and paraphased verion “The Left Establishment” one of his essays on the subject.

      “Mrs. Thatcher, Prime Minister of Britain was denied an honorary degree by her own alma mater, degrees earned with ease by left wing politicians. And Robert Mugabe was so honored recently by University of Glasgow. Conservative policians judged “right wing” are sometimes assaulted, usually denied a hearing, and alway in need of police protection. Other academics are similarily abused. These are not isolated incidences. Nor are they limited to universities.

      Ideological conformity has been rigorously enforced in schools too. “Anti-racist show trials” have been used as a weapon.

      The is not limited to Britain. It’s spread to America. The University of Stanford which offers degrees in feminist studies for which ideological conformity is the sine qua non of success, has jettisoned its Western Civilizion Course on the grounds that such “cultural imperialism” is unacceptable in a university which has set its face against racism, elitism, and the Eurocentric worldview.

      So we are confronting for first time in history a full scale left establishment.

      Why? Is Marsism on the rise? Before returning to Marx, here are two alternatives.
      Do academics need a rigid ideology to gain control from above that no self respecting leftist activist would fail to take? Then once the leftist faculty is in place, critical bureaucrats installed, and conforming textbooks written and a made complusory, the re-education of the intelligentsia would follow as matter of course. This has been shown to have occurred in some disciplines such as sociology where on equality outcomes are demanded. But Marxism also is a system with a political agenda.

      Does this or other possibilties, explain why conservative theories cannot penetate these disciplines even on level of discussions?

      For instance: Equality demands requires controlling groups to enforce them on others. Meanwhile exploitation occurs not in the invisible hand distribution of goods and advantages, but instead making coercive demands upon and between people, and this occurs irrespective of equality. Thirdly, inequality is not resisted or rebelled against by most people, tyranny is. But never are these counter arguements raised, much less discussed in any leftist mandated textbooks, or its ideological foundations and tenets.

      Why not? Why is ideological conformity demanded. And the “invisible hand of the market explanation, simply rejected, never raised or discussed?

      One theory for this rigid leftist ideology called “Public choice” was developed scholars within the Virginia School by Virginia based scholars. It posits that areas of advantage can be liberated from the free economic marketplace by political power. The liberation confers great advantage, including lack of competition, and insulation of failure, including financial failure. This is “rent seeking” with “no skin in the game”. The demands creation of tighly nit special interests groups that insure loyalty, and fend off outside competitors, in actions that power the Law of Bureacratic Expansion that fights to keep and enlarge the rents and advantages gained by special interests from their political power.

      These special interest then can and do reject rival criteria, theories and explanations, otherwise called knowledge, particulary in areas like education, social work, and medicine and the like, plus professional work in other humanities. This in turn shuts out and tries to close down outsider knowledge. In such cases, talent no longer counts, it threatens. Conformity and loyalty is highly prized and essential instead, so demanded.

      Here left wing ideology is very effective in its sustained attack on merit. So it undermines true standards, and erects false standards, thus build false knowledge that masqurades as real learning, so as to protect the jobs and privileges of those in the special interest. This explains the often vicious attacks on outside ideas, competing knowledge and outsiders or insiders to try to promote it.

      All this destroys true education, true knowlege, and the ability to acrquire it and teach it, in all its many facets, complexities, ironies, conflicts, and forms.

      This is my highly edited, paraprased, and condenced version of Roger Scruton’s essay published in Dec., 1988 edition of The Salisbury Review. The essay also comprises Chapter 27 in Roger Scruton’s fine book of essays Philospher on Dover Beach.
      —-

      For my earlier commentary on why scholars destroy knowledge, here is more of on BR from Fewer Young People, More Geezers Working These Days;

      Reed Fawell 3rd | December 27, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Reply

      Acbar says:

      “We’ve learned a lot this year. One thing learned is that thoughtful people are concerned about causation, whereas reactionaries at both ends of the spectrum care only about results. History has no significance, even relevance, for people who don’t care why we are the way we are, but simply wish (demand) that we be different. We see this in the occasional deliberate choice to erase history … Yes, those who ignore history may be doomed to repeat it … But another thing learned is that there is ugliness in our history … God grant us the wisdom to admit the difference, and to deal with the latter as they deserve.”

      I’ve come to believe that learning important aspects of history in a true and meaningful way, and applying that learning to our world today, is far more difficult, complex, and demanding than I had ever imagined. The task demands all of our powers and their immense efforts. For anyone doing such task well, and thus having an impact that might change reality, will encounter fierce resistance from the present.

      This is why so many great books of history (or art or science) are written in varying degrees of code on so many levels, if only to keep the writers neck, or his work, off the chopping block.

      This is also why so much great history (like art and science) has been intentionally destroyed. Or buried, even if its creator lives to die of natural causes. It is the reason so many are in exile.

      The truth is that the present hates to hear the truth about today, and it hates to hear the truths of history that brought us to where we are today. Truth is the perennial orphan, particularity truth having relevance to today’s world.

      Why?

      Much of the truth is very ugly. Most of the truth is novel, quite strange, mostly unknown. Most truth is very uncomfortable, even under the best of circumstances, and it is very significantly different, far different, often quite the opposite, from what the reader may have thought or believed to be the truth before uncovering the truth. Particularly so as the truth is only as good and deep as the searcher powers to uncover, judge, and appreciate it, a journey during which he or she must overcome many obstacles. Even then, the truth will die unless the searcher finds a way to keep that true alive.

      Take for example Plato’s Book VIII of The Republic. This book cost Socrates his life.

      How many died in Rome citing that book as the authority for what was in fact going on in Rome for 500 years after the fall of the Roman Republic? Ask Cicero how many before they chopped off his hands. No, the better question is who cited Book VIII and lived to see the sun rise again.

      The truth that Socrates (through Plato) taught mankind about itself brings to us just as much bitterness today. And it is just as misunderstood today as it was in ancient Rome. Thomas Jefferson despised the book. John Adams “built his Church up its rock.” Disputations over its meanings and conclusions fueled perhaps the most vicious and vitriolic presidential campaign in American history. That between Jefferson and Adams in 1800. During those bitter times, it unfairly damaged and destroyed reputations of fine men up until this very day, and indeed threatened our Federal form of government in its infancy.

      This morning, I read Book VIII for the first time in a decade, seeing it in new light.

      Why?

      Because the Book helps to explain much of the ugliness of history and how it is borne along through time on the wings of the dark aspects of human nature, and the systems that men and women build and operate to promote and protect those dark instincts of their human nature.

      There is a great paradox here, one that is the great gift of history. The more the searcher for the truth of history uncovers the more he must confront the ugliness of history. But here to is where the great gift arises. For the more ugliness he or she can confront and work through and appreciate, the more he or she comes to appreciate the good and noble acts of men and women who endure that ugliness with their goodness intact and so often overcome it in ways large and small, and even reverse that dark side of history and human nature.

      Then also comes the second great gift, that is one that Martin Luther King shines his light on – how also the searcher for the truth so often comes to see that the real evil is often built into not only “the systems within human nature, but also the systems that human nature builds and operates to generate so much evil in the world we all must live in and deal with.

      Some people far more than others must deal directly with and confront this dark reality. This is why the good warrior, the good teacher, and the good scholar are so precious to us all. Our Civilization depends on these good people to an inordinate degree, and we, the rest of us, reap the great benefits the bestow on us.”

      —-

      Here is my earlier related commentary on events at UVA found here at Speaking Truth To Power:

      Reed Fawell 3rd | August 18, 2017 at 10:13 am | Reply

      UVA has been flooding my in box with emails for more than a week. Each UVA email says the same thing, over and over again, in slightly altered form as if a contrived Madison Avenue advertisement campaign:

      Urgent protestations, announcements, proclamations and claims from the UVa.’s President, UVa.’s Rector, UVa.’s Alumni Association, UVa.’s Miller Center, UVa. Magazine and UVa. Daily and now from student leaders, all shouting almost the same thing:

      “We have been invaded by the evil of white nationalists and white supremacist terrorism. But we will not be intimated and we stand in solidarity and virtue instead. Hate has no place here. We choose Love.”

      That is the tenor of the main message. The underlying message is also clear and unambiguous, namely that:

      UVa., an innocent victim, has found the devil it so desperately needs to deflect attention away from itself – and onto more white men to demonize instead – this time Fascists and Neo-Nazi white supremacists from out of town. UVA thus grabs the perfect target to stand in solidarity against, and to hate, so as to falsely claim to heal the violation of UVa.’s virtuous and loving community, while UVA compounds and deepens the problem instead.

      How easy it is to hate white fascists neo-Nazi white supremacists. I want to hate them too, who does not? But where is the wisdom and maturity in that?

      How easy and convenient it is to claim the violation of one’s innocence by the evil white man in Charlottesville. How good and reassuring of one’s own virtue it is to hate the Other. Particularly during these feverish times in C’ville Virginia, and all over the nation. It’s the 1930’s in Germany all over again, this time playing out on the Grounds of Mr. Jefferson’s University.

      How habit forming it was then and is here now to hate and demonize others rather than to understand and forgive and to confront other harsh facts that compounded this tragedy, including one’s own faults that require serious introspection and correction. How easy it is to avoid introspection and self- examination by holding endless mass torch lit rallies to build group emotional solidarity with the thousands of vulnerable and malleable young students in your care instead of doing the hard work of effective leadership.

      This running away from reality and this constant circling of wagons against the OTHER, this closing of a university’s collective mind – this is the sure sign of an unhealthy community dependent on mass hysteria to hold itself together against adversity and different opinions and kinds of people.

      Making it worse is that those who are tasked to instruct and lead UVA students are manipulating their students instead. Imagine it. The people whose sacred obligation at UVA is teach their student’s introspection, rational thought, and the rich complexities of their past, and thereby tasked to encourage their students’ emotional and spiritual growth, these professors and Administrators and Board are actively engaged in doing precisely the reverse, turning their students back into ill tempered and overly wrought children unable to confront their rightful future

      I am reminded of the Jackie controversy. All its pain, deceit, and confusion.

      The Jackie controversy, best I can discern, was born and nurtured within the hot house of the now chronic hysteria at UVa. Back then, in 2014 as I recall, UVa. leaders also madly rushed out onto the Grounds to proclaim their solidarity with their students by demonizing a group of UVa. students.

      That time it was WHITE FRATERNITY BOYS. Thus UVa.’s leaders hoped to shift all the blame for Jackie’s violation onto an ENTIRE group on campus. One they thought they could easily demonize so as to avoid confronting the real problems at UVa., and feed their own twisted bias at the same time, while escaping all responsibility for their own negligence that in substantial part caused then fueled the controversy in the first place.

      What were those real but hidden problems? The hysteria, particularly among young women students, brought on directly by a rampant hook-up sex culture that had infected UVa.’s student body for decades. A plague that UVa. leadership had refused to confront and deal with for decades.

      Now it is all happening again. This chronic failure of mature courageous leadership to see, appreciate, understand, and properly deal with, the real issues that afflict Mr. Jefferson’s academic village. The deep seated problems that UVA’s leadership has not only allowed to infect, but has too often encouraged to feaster, for so long to the great detriment of its students.

      It is all quite remarkable.

      UVa. still cannot honestly confront its problems. Instead its leaders manipulate their own students – young men and women who struggle daily to learn how the think clearly for themselves, so that they might stand up as strong and independent young adults, young people who have been liberated from hysteria’s self destructive and childish acts.

      And now, here this time, it happens all over again. For example:

      Why does UVa. hide the disorderly group of students who, yelling obscenities, pushed and shoved their way into a Board of Visitors meeting recently, demanding that Thomas Jefferson’s statute be removed from the Grounds of UVa?

      Why no consequences for this mob?

      Or for the professors who taught them?

      Or the endless obsessive wailing and preening over slavery ended by a Civil War the killed on 600,000 Americans 150+ years ago.

      Is hate or twisted versions of history being preached in the classrooms at UVA?

      Instead of asking these questions and acting like effective leaders must, UVa. officials fired one of the police officers who quelled the disturbance. What was his offense? As best I can tell, his offense was that he was a white man security guard who uttered the words “Make America Great Again.”

      Wake up UVa!

      What do those recent events in and outside your board room have to do with last weekend’s riot, including their impact on the local police, as well as on your own students who surely were involved in the fracas.

      Love, virtue, and understanding, is not happening in Charlottesville.

      Nor is it happening at UVa. Where are its leaders? Why can’t they and their students act like the grownups did in Charleston, South Carolina.

  17. Jane Twitmyer wrote, ” isn’t that moral standard in our laws?” The answer is “sometimes.” Laws are set by the governing people whose ideas of morality can change — or the governing group can change. Not long ago, directly killing an innocent human being was considered evil: murder. Now it is considered a good, a right. “Moral standards” that are that inconsistent cannot be consider moral standards at all.

    • re: ” Laws are set by the governing people whose ideas of morality can change — or the governing group can change. ”

      well… the “governing group”, at some point must reflect the sentiment of a super majority 2//3 or 3/4 of voters – even “Constitutional issues, it just takes longer to happen but we do have a process for changing laws and the Constitution.

      As Jefferson said:
      “Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.”

      For a long time, Virginia did not teach school kids about its own slave history, lynchings, Jim Crow history and now those adults think Confederate monuments are legitimate history and we have others who disbelieve the Holocaust.

      In addition, racism and bullying are still rampant – in schools and on social media, even in religion.

      On abortion – it’s an abhorrent practice but as long as we restrict birth control to young women, it will continue. Under strict abortion laws, the rich will fly their kids to legal places to have it done – anyhow – and the poor will continue to populate with kids they often do not want or cannot care for without public assistance.

      We cannot force “morality” on 13 yr old girls/women. Not even the parents can. It’s a human condition – with consequences.

      There are no easy, simple answers to this but the reality is our policies to restrict birth control – actually lead to abortion. Pick your poison.

      We deny reality and pretend that parents can or should be able to prevent their kids from having sex thus deny birth control. It’s totally mindless. One can argue that it’s the parents right but what is the reality? We refuse to deal with it.

      https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2003/10/contraceptive-use-key-reducing-abortion-worldwide

  18. LarrytheG: I agree with you that what is right/good is NOT determined by the majority (e.g., slavery). I disagree with Jefferson that what is right/good can be found by “the progress of the human mind”. The human mind is too effective at rationalizations that justify its passions. We can see the effectiveness in recent politics, where feelings rule over reason — the reemergence of the Calvinist idea that reason is unreliable. Your support for abortion-for-everybody is an example. You dare not reason that, given the proper incentives, people can be taught to control their sexual behavior. You surrender to present conditions under the term “reality”, whereas your “reality” is only what present conditions are, not what they could be.

    • Fred … Some sorting is needed … Morality can be “a body of standards or principles derived from a code of conduct from a particular philosophy, religion or culture” … The standards can be personal, religious or societal. My answer to your comment related to what is taught in school. You asked … “The biggest problem is teaching why these atrocities were wrong. Is the criterion how people feel or is there an objective moral standard?”

      I said … “We are talking about societal morals here and it seems to me they can be defined by our laws.” You are talking about your particular religious/moral standard when you bring up abortion. The Supreme Court ruled and many agree that a fetus that is not viable is not a protected life. You are entitled to hold your different personal “moral/religious” view, but it is not today’s societal behavioral standard and the facts of those differences should be taught too.

      Putting people in concentration camps could not happen here as it did in Germany. Genocide is a moral wrong by our standards, and today, so is slavery and a variety of other discriminatory actions. Call it ‘leftist’ if you want but I think Jefferson would be happy to see that we have become more tolerant of personal differences. The Founders gave us a framework to allow for that change.

  19. Jane, with respects, the u.s. government has put people in concentration camps such as japanese american citizens and native american citizens and in a sense, slavery.
    Jim, Stalin’s forced starvation of ukrainians and de-kulakization has been long known but apparently not to you.
    Reed, your tie between mass killings as leftist is absurd beyond belief.

    • Oh dear! After I posted I knew someone would bring up the Camps in CA. They were certainly a questionable thing to do, but I did know someone, a CT architect, who grew up in one, so we can’t really equate them to the German Concentration Camps of the same war.
      That said … I guess I really meant to add ‘now’. The US has and continues to do bad ‘stuff’, but I hope that outright genocide on our shores would cause loud outrage today.

      • Peter, I take back my comment that the US could not do GIANT bad stuff anymore …

        Watching TV these days leaves me depressed and questioning just what could possibly happen in our country. Winning and power are evidently the only important things … facts are gone.

        I have read this morning about the CIA black sites, about the surge of black lung in coal miners who have not been protected as they work, the EPA and the FDA who have not done their jobs, but work on a corporate cost basis, and this morning that ½ the waters of the US will no longer considered ‘waters’ to be regulated even though they are part of a watershed. Watersheds redefined.

        If we can toss our amazing Constitutional balance of power who knows what else will get blatantly tossed?

  20. Jane Twitmyer: Scientists tell us that the DNA of the human embryo or fetus is that of a unique human being, differing from the mother’s and the father’s DNA. Abortion kills a human being — an innocent human being. That abortion kills a human being is not matter of opinion or religion, but a matter of science. I hope that you would admit that killing an innocent human being is immoral. The immorality can be deduced from reason alone. There is no need to appeal to religious beliefs — yours or mine.

  21. Btw, the “holodomor” refers to an artificial famine in Ukraine. There were similar famines in Kazakhstan and parts of Russia about the same time that went by other names.

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