- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2003

Back to Prussia

“Our educational system really is Prussian in origin, and that really is cause for concern.

“The odd fact of a Prussian provenance for our schools pops up again and again once you know to look for it. William James alluded to it many times at the turn of the century. Orestes Brownson, the hero of Christopher Lasch’s 1991 book, ‘The True and Only Heaven,’ was publicly denouncing the Prussianization of American schools back in the 1840s. Horace Mann’s ‘Seventh Annual Report’ to the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1843 is essentially a paean to the land of Frederick the Great and a call for its schooling to be brought here.

“That Prussian culture loomed large in America is hardly surprising, given our early association with that utopian state. A Prussian served as Washington’s aide during the Revolutionary War, and so many Germany-speaking people had settled here by 1795 that Congress considered publishing a German-language edition of the federal laws. But what shocks is that we should so eagerly have adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens — all in order to render the populace ‘manageable.’ ”

John Taylor Gatto, writing on “Against School,” in the September issue of Harper’s

Taking sides

“The Founding Fathers delegated only limited powers to the federal government. The core retained by the state is the ‘police’ power — the power to legislate on public health, safety, and morals. Yet there is not a word in the [Supreme Court’s ruling against the Texas sodomy law] to indicate that the Court gave a moment’s thought to the constitutionality — or even wisdom — of arrogating to itself those core powers to legislate on issues deeply connected with moral standards. …

“The Court’s sonorous generalities are so broad that all laws regulating sexual conduct or morals are now up for grabs. The tenor of the opinion is that the state cannot regulate any private sexual conduct, so long as it is consensual. …

“As Justice [Antonin] Scalia said in dissent, ‘the Court has taken sides in the culture wars.’ The barbarians are within the gates, and anything goes.”

Spence Roane, writing on “Moral Idicracy,” in the August-September issue of the American Spectator

No ‘dream girl’

“When I was a Hollywood madam, I had between 20 and 70 girls working for me and once made $97,000 in a single day on commissions. My take was 40 percent of whatever fee my girls received and of any tips over $1,000. …

“When I was in the sex trade, I ran an 85 percent cash business. I dealt with the richest people on earth — men who run countries and this country’s top businesses. Most of them preferred to pay in cash. The actor Charlie Sheen was one of my few customers who wrote checks, but looking back I now realize he was a class act. …

“I didn’t get involved in prostitution because I needed money. I had the kind of childhood that everyone dreams about, with five brothers and sisters, camping trips, pillow fights, and marathon Monopoly games. … My mother showered me with love and my father, a pediatrician, would ask me at the dinner table, ‘What did you learn today?’

“At 19, I began dating a 57-year-old multimillionaire. The relationship was good, but when it ended I realized that he had won every fight we had because I had no career, nothing to stand on. …

“I’m glad I learned the business in the trenches, but my career as a hooker was short-lived. I’m not the California dream girl, and sexually, I’m lazy. The profession didn’t play to my strengths, which lie in business, not bed.”

Heidi Fleiss, interviewed by Nadya Labi, in the September-October issue of Legal Affairs

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