- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 18, 2006

In days of old, when teaching right from wrong was the responsibility of parents, schools exclusively taught the basics and neither teachers nor parents could be charged with a crime if they disciplined unruly children.

Not only was a public education worth something, the country was a civilized place — with ethics, morals and values.

Today, the “village,” governmentally empowered to educate and look after our children, is producing arsonists and anarchists. Civility is nowhere to be found. Oh, happy day.

It’s ironic that “evolved” liberal institutions of learning such as our universities and increasingly, our high schools, complete with accelerated courses in the humanities, sociology and ethics, are increasingly producing graduates with no ethics, no understanding of morality and no mastery of the skills that can reasonably be described as the basics of education.

Today’s focus is to instill in a child an undeserved, positive — dare I say “progressive” — self-esteem, moving away from the tenet that good self-esteem is earned by hard work and that success is achievable through that work ethic. George Washington’s “Rules of Civility” has been replaced with “The Hitch-Hooker’s Guide to Applying a Condom” as required reading in our classrooms and the “village” is OK with that.

There is, however, a price to pay for deference to narcissism and inflated self-esteem — not to mention inflated grades — over a solid, basic education and instilling a fundamental commitment to self-responsibility.

Three college students from Birmingham, Ala., were arrested recently and charged with setting nine churches on fire, burning each to the ground. The arson spree, which started Feb. 3, terrorized both black and white congregations, depriving them all of the ability to gather to practice their faith.

These young men better hope the prosecutor isn’t creative. The thought of multiple charges for violating First Amendment rights to freely practice religion is quite enticing.

In court papers filed at the time of their arrests, the three collegians — two of them sophomores at Birmingham-Southern College, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church — described their acts as “a joke that got out of hand.”

Who in their right mind would find burning a church down to be funny? Adjusting the intelligence curve, I will ask the question another way: Who besides the mentally challenged, ignorant, pointy-hat wearers — and perhaps the more hate-filled human secularists — could possibly find funny the act of burning down a house of worship, a place where people go to celebrate and join in love for their fellow man?

Humor is odd. Just a few decades ago, people preferred well-crafted, witty and intelligent humor. Sure, there were flatulence jokes, but by comparison they were sophomoric. It seems three students from Alabama have redefined sophomoric humor.

Then there is the issue, still mulled on the University of Washington campus, about whether a Medal of Honor recipient meets the “standards” of the UW’s student senators.

In debating whether Medal of Honor recipient and former prisoner of war Col. Greg “Pappy” Boyington is worthy of a statue in his honor on the UW campus, student senator Jill Edwards asked if it was appropriate to “honor a person who killed other people.” As a rule, I usually try to refrain from name-calling, but I am compelled here to use the word “twit,” which means a foolishly annoying person.

One has to wonder how Miss Edwards — a mindless twit for her statement and inability to understand any situation that does not directly affect her — would feel about a U.S. soldier who shot dead an al Qaeda terrorist about to saw off her head?

Or how she would feel about a police officer who shot dead a lunatic holding a gun to her head? Would she still be predisposed to asking such an incredibly ignorant question?

Of course, there are a few large questions we all should ask.

How did our education system — the “village” — produce such incredible stupidity? How is it college sophomores don’t know burning down a church is wrong, especially in the South, given its history of hate-motivated church burnings?

How is it today’s university students don’t understand there are evil people in the world, people so filled with hate they would slaughter in the name ideology, religion or both in the blink of an eye?

How can allegedly educated minds be ignorant of the character and selflessness, the sheer courage, required to risk one’s life for another’s? How is it students now are capable of denying honor to someone directly responsible for their freedom?

We have to ask ourselves how public education transformed itself from a system that produced some of the greatest thinkers in world history to an institution dedicated to the promotion of multicultural globalism and anti-Americanism, catering to the lowest common denominator.

Then again, the answer is quite clear. Our “progressive” education system — the “village” — thinks Jay Bennish, the Coloradan who likened President Bush to Adolf Hitler, is one heck of a teacher.

FRANK SALVATO

Managing editor

The New Media Journal.us.

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