Monday, June 22, 2009

American Academics: Never let the facts get in the way of your agenda!

In a ridiculous and meaningless gesture, the elected representatives of this country apologized on my behalf as an American for slavery. The impotency of this gesture is highlighted by the Oval Office being occupied by a black man. What makes this even more interesting was a quote in the Washington Post’s report on this event.

Even among proponents of a congressional apology, reaction to yesterday's vote was mixed. Carol M. Swain, a professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University who had pushed for the Bush administration to issue an apology, called the Democratic-controlled Senate's resolution "meaningless" since the party and federal government are led by a black president and black voters are closely aligned with the Democratic party.

"The Republican Party needed to do it," Swain said. "It would have shed that racist scab on the party."

So in other words, she is not calling for America to apologize for slavery, she is calling for Republicans to apologize for slavery. Apparently America is only “racist” when Republicans are in power.

As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal pointed out in his “Best of the Web” column, not only is this gesture meaningless but Professor Swain conveniently ignores historical facts when making her assertion.

The Republican Party came into existence in the 1850s as an antislavery party. It was the first GOP president, Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, ordering slaves in Confederate states freed. Republican Congresses proposed the 13th Amendment, along with the 14th (granting former slaves citizenship and equal protection under the law) and the 15th (giving them the right to vote). Republicans pushed for Reconstruction only to be thwarted by Democrats.

Segregationists remained a core component of the Democratic coalition well into the 20th century. No Democratic president before Harry S. Truman made any significant moves to expand civil rights for blacks; and although President Lyndon B. Johnson was instrumental in pushing the Civil Rights Act through Congress, a greater proportion of Republicans than Democrats supported it.

Although the South is now solidly Republican, back in the days of Jim Crow laws and the horrors of lynching and disenfranchisement it overwhelmingly elected Democrats. My point here is not political but rather a question of “education” in America. You would think Carol Swain, a law professor at prestigious Vanderbilt (which by the way is in the South), would know better. I am sure she is not merely misrepresenting historical facts to push her own political agenda, I mean she is an academic after all! Perhaps Professor Swain should walk down the hall and borrow a couple of books from the History department. On second thought, given the kind of books you get along with a history degree, that might not help.

I took the liberty of looking up the cost of getting an “education” from people like Professor Swain. If you send your kid to Vanderbilt next year to get a world-class education from people who are unfamiliar with the history of the region they live in as well as the United States, it will set you back (just for tuition) $37,632. Add in all the various fees not covered by tuition, plus room and board, and Vanderbilt says you can expect to pay $54,718 ( in addition there is something called the “First Year Experience Fee” of $620. No idea what that is. My “First Year Experience” in college consisted of $4 pizzas from Gumbies Pizza in Columbus). So for a four year degree from Vanderbilt, assuming your kid lives on campus all four years, you are looking at $218,000. Almost a quarter of a million dollars for an undergraduate degree.

We hear the drumbeat constantly that we need to spend more on education, in spite of the evidence that shows that states that spend the most on education like California actually have some of the worst results. Vanderbilt University and professors like Ms. Swain are proof that spending more on “education” not only doesn’t guarantee students come out of school more “educated” but in fact they might just be hampered educationally. Secular colleges are not about education, they are about indoctrination and hammering a particular worldview into the heads of college students. I wonder if anyone offers a one year “deprogramming” to help college graduates undo all of the nonsense they have been fed for four years, kind of like a cult deprogramming.

As Christian parents, we need to ask some hard questions when it comes to college. Is it really good stewardship to either spend over $200,000 or go into an enormous amount of debt for our kids to get an “education” somewhere where they will be told the Bible is a lie, that God doesn’t exist and that man is descended from apes not to mention the generally shoddy scholarship that professors have produced for decades? Part of the “American dream” is that we are able to send our kids to college, but as Christians we need to be sure that we are sending our kids to a) the right college and b) for the right reasons. College is not like summer camp, it is far too expensive a proposition in money and time for us to cavalierly send our kids out to a school where they will get an expensive and poor education just for the sake of meeting societal norms. I am not saying Christian kids shouldn’t go to college, but I am saying that we should give it prayer and thought before we do and I certainly would question the appropriateness of a four year degree from a secular school regardless of the cost.

1 comment:

Steve Scott said...

As a descendant of a WHITE slave in the colonial South, I'm not quite sure what to make of this.