- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Slippery slope

"A clear majority of the American public opposes same-sex marriage, a social reform already making headway in a number of states. And yet this opposition, though real, is by and large silent… .

"Although most Americans are indeed opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage, large numbers of these same Americans do not consider homosexuality itself a sin, and they welcome greater tolerance for homosexuals. Favoring equality, they do not wish to see anyone denied rights. It is the seeming ambiguity in this position that has been seized upon by activists to stigmatize any opposition to same-sex marriage as evidence of homophobia, or prejudice against homosexuals per se.

"But a fairer way of putting it would be to say that we have allowed a muddled understanding of democracy to subvert our capacity to speak on behalf of those human forms and traditions upon which democracy itself crucially depends… .

"Once gay male couples with open sexual relationships or lesbian couples with de-facto families are legally married, the way will be open to even more imaginative combinations. On what grounds, for instance, could the sperm donor and aging rock star David Crosby be denied the right to join in matrimony with both the lesbian rock singer Melissa Etheridge and her lover Julie Cypher, the 'mothers' of his child?"

Stanley N. Kurtz, writing on "What Is Wrong with Gay Marriage," in the September issue of Commentary

Education clique

"Education, at the top, is a very small world, resembling nothing so much as an American high school where rival cliques vie for power and prestige.

"Everyone knows everyone else, having served at some point on the same blue-ribbon panels, attended the same academic conferences or even taught in the same schools.

"For more than a century, writes Diane Ravitch in her new book, 'Left Back,' the 'in' crowd has been the 'progressive' educators, the inheritors of a tradition that began with John Dewey… .

"Opposing them has been a smaller band of conservatives who have set up their own clubs and think tanks. The animosity between the two has often rivaled that between the jocks and the nerds… .

"As a matter of theory, Ravitch's case against progressives is persuasive. 'Time and again,' she writes, 'experts urged the schools to de-emphasize reading, writing, history, mathematics and science; to drop foreign languages; to replace history with social studies; to eliminate high-quality literature and substitute for it uninspired scraps from textbooks; and to teach only what was useful and immediately functional.'

"Her method is to hang prominent theorists with their own words … as they describe in sometimes shockingly undemocratic terms how the country's 'army of incapables' can't be expected to achieve even basic literacy or numeracy."

Sara Mosle, writing on "The Fourth R," in Sunday's New York Times Book Review

Rudy's wisdom

"The hardest part is hanging around with all these young kids. I don't even know what MTV means, you know… . Trying to keep them all shut up is hard. If they'd listen to me, they'd all have haircuts and … we'd be in formation in the morning and all that kind of stuff. But they're not going to do that. I gotta fit in, not them, you know, there's more of them that there is of me… .

"I don't agree with, uh, babies out of wedlock, that kind of garbage, you know. Half of the problem they got in this country today, there's no family life, and then they're blaming the schools. It starts way before them kids go to school. They need a family. They need somebody beatin' 'em in the head."

Rudy Boesch, of the CBS hit "Survivor," quoted in the Sept. 1 issue of Entertainment Weekly

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