Clemson University’s Brad Thompson ponders “the fundamental issue of our time.” (HT George Leef) Two slices:
On September 28, Terry McAuliffe shocked voters in Virginia and around the country when he said in a gubernatorial debate with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Virginia voters understood immediately the meaning of McAuliffe’s statement. The aspiring repeat Governor seemed to be saying that parents do not and should not have a “right” to determine what their children are taught in school, which means that America’s Education Establishment (i.e., the state and federal departments of education, teachers’ unions, teacher-training institutions, school board associations, textbook and curriculum companies) has the “right” to determine the content of your child’s mind.
The moment was clarifying. In an instant, all of the particular education issues that Americans have been debating for the last few years (e.g., mask mandates, online learning, Common Core, CRT, transgenderism, pronouns, bathroom policies, and pedophilic pornography, etc.) became secondary to a more fundamental question: Who should determine the cognitive content of America’s children, parents or government officials? More to the point, the question is: Do parents have an unalienable right to determine how, in what, and by whom will their children be educated, or should the government have that right?
There is no more important question in American politics than this one. Our answer to it will determine the fate of the republic.
The American Left (aided and abetted by some conservatives) believes that the government, not parents, should determine the content of a child’s mind—their ideas, their principles, and their values. A few weeks after McAuliffe’s tone-deaf faux pas, two authors writing in The Washington Post summed up the Left’s position in the title of their op-ed: “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.” Parents should have neither the right nor the authority, according to the Post’s writers, to determine the ideas taught to their children. This task should be left to the “experts”—to the experts of the Education Establishment. The authors go on to claim that “education should prepare young people to think for themselves, even if that runs counter to the wishes of their parents.” The question never addressed by the authors, however, is what happens when young people want to think for themselves and learn about ideas different from those taught by the government?!?! This option is, of course, strictly verboten.
Over the course of the last year or two, recalcitrant American parents have been resisting the government’s efforts to usurp their authority. Ironically, it was the school COVID -19 lockdowns and online (non)learning that gave parents an opportunity to peak beneath the hood to see how the education machine actually works, and what they saw horrified them. All over the country, parents have risen up and stormed their local education Bastille. School board meetings from Savannah to Los Angeles have been taken over by parents exposing and denouncing the various forms of cultural Marxism being taught in the schools. These parents are outraged and they’re angry. What’s taken place around the country in school board meetings is akin to a grassroots intifada of ordinary people demanding accountability, sanity, change, and, most importantly, control over the education of their children.
If the U.S. and the European Union refuse to support an increase in Africa’s power supply, China will. Already 30% of new power plants in Africa are built by Chinese contractors controlled by the Communist government. Some of these are heavily polluting coal plants.
Africans deserve prosperity as much as everyone else, but we can’t get there without significant increases in power generation. A forced and hasty shift away from fossil fuels would cripple the continent’s economies. Not long ago, it was popular to discuss whether trade or foreign aid would help Africa most. The world’s activists now focus on climate instead of inequity, and serious concern about the condition of African people has vanished.