Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Ave. Photo credit: Jay Paul/Reuters.
by Catesby Leigh
After George Floyd’s fatally brutal arrest, dozens of Confederate monuments were banished from civic settings throughout the South. And their ranks were further thinned last weekend, when Charlottesville’s equestrian statues to Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were finally hoisted off their pedestals after a prolonged legal battle.
But the fate of what may be the most important Confederate statue of all has yet to be determined. The magnificent equestrian tribute to Lee on Richmond’s Monument Avenue — the old Confederate capital’s principal venue for Lost Cause commemoration — is still standing. Its majestically rusticated granite pedestal, 40 feet tall, was hideously defaced with obscenity-laced graffiti during last year’s Black Lives Matter–Antifa agitation. Rings of graffitied jersey barriers and chain-link fencing eight feet high now gird the monument, situated on a turfed circle 200 feet wide. Despite some splashes of paint, the bronze statue itself appears undamaged, and its handsome silhouette, when viewed from a distance, is unimpaired. Continue reading →
TO: The President, the College Board, the Faculty, the Staff, and the Constituents of Northern Virginia Community College
FROM: Dr. A Schuhart (DACCE), Professor of English, NVCC-Annandale
RE: Letter of Dissent
After completing the required DEI training, it is clear to me that the claims of this training are a direct expression of Critical Race Theory (CRT). There is also absolutely no question that CRT is a scholarly claim, not an objective truth; therefore, it is a tentative, constructed truth about which individual Faculty may rightly and legally have professional disagreement, and whose construction and communication is governed by principles of academic discourse; and, that among these principles are:
the individual scholar’s right to determine the truth of any scholarly claim independently,
and, that truth is created through democratic consensus, and it cannot be imposed through process or force or law without invalidating the claim itself, nor can a scholar be required to enact such a truth against individual belief or conscience without infringing on that right of independent evaluation;
and, that the majority opinion cannot impose its view upon the minority using institutional process or force or law, and that the principle of Academic Freedom specifically and intentionally protects minority opinion in every scholarly claim;
and, that these rights are asserted not for the scholar alone, but also for the Citizens in our classes. Continue reading →
Present-day controversies on renaming institutions are often about whether we judge the worth of our historical figures by the singular issue of slave-owning.
One particular controversy needs a referee to call a foul: over a historian’s error in a biography of the English lord, Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1693-1781).
Fairfax lived at Greenway Court, one mile from White Post, Virginia. He had moved from England to manage 5 million acres of an inherited land grant. He resided here, became a part of local history, and was buried in Winchester.
Several decades after the biography was published, the error was unearthed and recently used to justify effacing his name from the local 50-year-old Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC). Continue reading →
Map of South America showing the meridian dividing the new world in Pope Alexander VI’s papal bull.
The University of Virginia in recent years has devoted considerable resources to an excavation of unpleasant aspects of its past, from slavery and Jim Crow to the dispossession of land from the Monacan Indians. Other than the controversy over Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his slave Sally Hemings, the scholarly findings have rarely been disputed. Perhaps this scholarship warrants a closer look.
Steve Adkins, an amateur historian who claims 25,000 hours of independent study, alleges several factual errors in the Encyclopedia Virginia maintained by UVa as well as UVa professor Jeffrey Hantman’s book, “Monacan Millennium.” In the narrative below, he describes the failure of Hantman, the University of Virginia Press, and university authorities to correct them. His account delves into historical minutiae that may enthrall only antiquarians. But his charge that UVa humanities and social sciences are afflicted with “an arrogant facts-be-damned, circle-the-wagons culture” may be of interest to a wider audience. — JAB
The loss of academic freedom on American campuses has been accompanied by the erosion of academic rigor. I offer this outsider’s glimpse. Continue reading →
Perhaps in more ways than any school in the world, Cadets at the Virginia Military Institute are all treated equally and the same in a very structured and systemic environment. Let me explain.
The VMI Honor Code, “A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do,” applies equally to all Cadets. One example, no cheating means that all cadets compete fairly on all tests and assignments. This is one of many examples of systemic and structural equality, fairness, and impartiality at the Institute.
Cadets come from many different states and countries, schools, families, backgrounds, religions, nationalities, and financial circumstances. Some are poor and some are rich. Some have expensive cars and beautiful clothes … at home, but not at VMI. Cadets differentiate themselves through their character and personality, academic, military, and athletic achievements. Like other colleges, VMI offers many academic majors, each with its own unique curriculum; but nearly everything else in Cadet life is the same, equal, fair, and impartial. Continue reading →
School districts across Virginia have been expending resources, directing staff time, and hiring consultants to address “equity” in curriculum delivery and for professional development of teachers and other employees. Fairfax and Loudoun County, the two largest counties in the Commonwealth, have set the lead in driving the changes in education and embracing critical race theory and “anti-bias” in their respective divisions.
Critical Race Theory (CRT) pushes the distorted concept that the most important thing about a person is his or her race. It divides people by those who are “minoritized” and those who are “privileged” and “oppressors,” advancing Marxist ideology that, by default, all interactions are derived from racism, our history and nation is built on racism, and all inequities are, yes, ascribed to racism. The color of one’s skin defines whether they are racist, not their beliefs or actions.
As a result, to undo the professed mantle of inherent racism in all aspects of society, CRT demands “diversity, equity, and inclusion”, addressing “justice”, and, according to activists like Ibrahm X. Kendi, the Center for Antiracist Research director at Boston University, requires people to become “anti-racist.” Continue reading →
First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, where Vernuccio is Visiting Fellow.
Twenty-eight years after Governor Doug Wilder signed it into law, the Virginia General Assembly lifted the ban on public sector collective bargaining. As of May 1, localities in Virginian could give government unions a monopoly to represent all employees at a particular worksite.
However, the law passed in Richmond is unique from other states as it sets virtually no guidelines on what government unions can bargain over and how they can be formed. Thankfully, it also does not mandate public sector collective bargaining, allowing localities to keep the status quo that the Commonwealth has had for decades.
First and foremost, it should be pointed out that localities can reject public sector collective bargaining. There is good reason to do so, as simply administering the process is expensive. In fact, localities that are considering allowing bargaining are estimating hundreds of thousands or even seven figures for ongoing costs for negotiations and compliance. This spending will not go for better wages or benefits for current public employees or better services for citizens —it is simply to hire more employees to administer the infrastructure of bargaining.
The costs alone could be a large reason that, while the state law allows public employees to petition their local elected officials to vote on allowing bargaining, those representatives will vote no and keep the process that has worked in the Commonwealth for generations. Continue reading →
Image captured by Virginia Beach naval aviators. Image credit: 60 Minutes
by Bruce Majors
If you spend any time on the internet, you will almost daily see geographical rankings: the best colleges, the best small towns, the best places to retire, the cities with the worst drivers, the states with the worst tippers or the rudest residents.
Apparently whoever or whatever is behind the UAPs (the acronym for the new bureaucratese “unidentified aerial phenomena,” what we used to call UFOs) that the Senate Intelligence Committee will soon tell us about also seem to have a list of where they prefer to visit. Former national intelligence director John Ratcliffe hinted that the report will be surprising, telling FOX News anchor Maria Bartiroma, “We are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for or are traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.”
The National UFO Reporting Center maintains a database of reports of UFO sightings and it organizes them by state, as well as by shape of the UFO and other categories. Virginia is 35th on the list. Continue reading →
The Virginia Beach School Board. Photo credit: The Virginian-Pilot
by Victoria Manning
Critical Race Theorists reject colorblindness and equality and they center their goals on equal outcomes (equity) rather than equal opportunity. Merit-based individualism is replaced with group-think collectivism and the dominant white culture is a privileged oppressor.
What the public doesn’t understand is that CRT is already here in Virginia Beach.
Teachers won’t speak on the record but I have spoken to them about what is really happening in their professional development meetings.
In February, more than 50 elementary school teachers in Virginia Beach participated in a mandatory meeting entitled “Advancing Equity Through Continuous Reflection.” In the meeting, a video told the teachers that “One of the most freeing things that white people can do or any human being on the planet can do right now is to say ‘of course I’m racist’. Our society speaks racism. It has spoken racism since we were born. OF COURSE YOU ARE RACIST.” Continue reading →
Alternatively headlined: There Will Be Heat Death in the Universe Before You Read These Quotes in a Washington Post news article.
Carmen Villani, Virginia Military Institute class of 1976, recently compiled a list of perspectives given by African-American alumni as well as actions taken by staff and professors that illuminate the military academy’s record on race. The narrative is far different from the one articulated by former Governor Ralph Northam, himself a VMI alumnus, who declared in October that VMI was guilty of “systemic racism” and then ordered an investigation to prove his point. He submitted the list to members of the VMI Board of Visitors and Superintendent Cedric Wins last week.
In introducing the comments, Villani recounts the words of David McCullough in a 1994 speech at in Charlottesville. Thomas Jefferson, said the noted author, “was an exceedingly gifted and very great man, but like the others of that exceptional handful of politicians we call the Founding Fathers, he could also be inconsistent, contradictory, human.”
We are all “human,” Villani says, and that makes all of us flawed but we strive to be better. That is what should be recognized about VMI. Flawed, yes, BUT it has been a great contribution to society.” The Institute does not deserve the slanders it has endured in recent months.
Messrs. Randolph And Gore, VMI Class Of 1972
“’We had bigger fish to fry in our minds,’ Randolph said. ‘We were dealing with something that everybody has trouble dealing with — not black people, not white people, everybody — and that was being a rat at VMI.’ ‘I just kind of had it,’ he said. ‘VMI’s a great school — it’s just not for everybody.’” Continue reading →
Richmonder Doug Monroe is the founder of The Praxis Circle. an organization that explores philosophical and theological world views, primarily though not exclusively from conservative and Christian perspectives. Doug has interviewed dozens of literary and philosophical giants in the United States and United Kingdom and distilled key insights into short, digestible video clips. He also publishes a blog highlighting the work of his contributors. In his most recent post, Doug discusses the work of Mary Eberstadt, the Washington, D.C.-area author of “Primal Scream: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics,” which could not be more timely. — JAB
by Doug Monroe
A few weeks ago Mary appeared on a British program, Triggernometry (see the YouTube clip above) to explain how her theory in Primal Screams helps explain the violence we saw last year in America and Europe. It’s a fascinating interview that clearly had the favor of her religiously agnostic, engaging, and off-beat British hosts, Konstin Kisin and Francis Foster. Mary summarized her argument in the introduction she gave to our Praxis Circle class linked here.
What we can say is that the events of last summer involving over 10,000 incidents of violence nationwide and over 500 incidents of serious damage or injury were unprecedented since the 1960’s, and that they made Mary look like a prophet with Primal Screams clearly on record in 2018. Continue reading →
Richmond’s Jewish Community has watched the developments in Israel and Gaza with sadness, empathy and trepidation. The suffering of innocent Israelis and Palestinians is unacceptable. We are pained by the ways in which this conflict is being misunderstood and mischaracterized by some members of the media and our communities. They cling to a mistaken belief that the Israelis are the aggressors in this situation and that blame for the current hostilities can be laid squarely on Israel. This has led to an increasing sense that conflict abroad is contributing to increased hatred and attacks on Jews here at home – to an
In the recent op-ed “We Can’t Breathe” in the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Michael Paul Williams repeats falsehoods and longstanding canards that don’t reflect the realities on the ground and diminish the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis. Additionally, he works to undo decades of strong, collaborative connections between the Jewish and Black communities in Richmond. Continue reading →
Three Card Monte is a classic short con. The Dealer places three cards face down and the Shill, who is in on the con, attempts to pick the money card. They play boisterously, hoping to catch the attention of some poor sap, the Mark. Thinking himself quite good at following the money card, the Mark puts his money down. Using sleight of hand and misdirection, the Dealer makes sure the Mark never finds it.
A similar game is being played in the media’s coverage of the Virginia Military Institute racism investigation. Call it Three Card Media.
Like its street-hustling counterpart, Three Card Media has three actors in the con: the media (the Dealer), politicians (the Shills), and the public (the Mark). Here’s how it works: In reporting news, the media picks the facts and quotes that fit its narrative. Politicians comment upon the “news,” adding their own spin and distorting the picture even more. The politicians’ quotes become news, and the distortions are amplified. Unable to follow the sleight of hand, the public is gulled into believing a story starkly at odds with reality.
Virginia Republicans embark today upon their bizarre, COVID-safe, convention-like proceedings to select candidates for statewide office. Bruce Majors, an active Republican, writes how he has experienced the run-up to this unorthodox event. — JAB
by Bruce Majors
Back in March, I listened to Virginia conservative talk radio from John Reid’s excellent morning show in Richmond to Larry O’Connor’s afternoon show in northern Virginia and D.C., and I got the impression that this Glenn Youngkin fellow was a left-“liberal” wolf in GOP sheepskin.
Coverage focused in particular on Youngkin’s donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which, beyond its far left politics, is charged with being a con game to enrich its founders while (paradoxically) discriminating against some of its African-American employees.
Right-of-center folk also were not so happy with Youngkin’s long career with the Carlyle Group, an investment firm usually described as a Beltway Bandit, a cog in the political class, and even as an arms merchant or a funder of arms merchants.
By now, Virginia voters have heard from many candidates running for Attorney General making sweeping promises about policy changes they will implement as AG or talking about being the chief prosecutor for Virginia. With due respect to the other candidates in the race, I feel compelled to reiterate what is and what is not the role of the Virginia Attorney General.
The Office of the Attorney General is established in the Virginia Constitution with a clearly defined role. That is to defend the state in criminal appeals and suits against the state, provide legal advice and representations in court for the state and the Governor, provide legal counsel and official opinions to the General Assembly, and defend the constitutionality of state laws. This Attorney General is intended to be the Chief Advocate for the state of Virginia.
This is not a policy-making role. I have heard my fellow candidates talk about everything from their vision for health care to policing reform – all of which are functions of the legislature, not the Office of the Attorney General. One candidate also seems to be under the impression the Attorney General is a prosecutorial role, when in reality it is not. Continue reading →
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