- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Deadly ideas

“Maximilien Robespierre led the phase of the French Revolution called the Terror. It lasted a little over a year. He gave the orders that resulted in beheading, drowning, shooting, or burying alive about 20,000 men, women, and children. Mao Zedong ruled China between 1949 and his death in 1976. During his tenure, his followers murdered, on a low estimate, 20 million people. These two men were among the handful of great mass murderers of modern times, in the same class as Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, and Stalin. …

“Robespierre was half-educated, Mao not at all. Both were charismatic and fanatical. Robespierre’s ideology derived from Rousseau, Mao’s from Marx. … Robespierre and Mao were monsters, but they exacerbated their monstrosity by sophistical self-righteousness. …

“Ideologies rest on the mistaken assumption that changing political arrangements will change people. But human nature remains what it always was; only the ways it expresses itself change. … The ideologues’ efforts to change human nature aren’t just futile; they’re also calamitous, since they’re marked by the very flaws that they seek to eradicate. The gruesome crimes of Robespierre, Mao, and other despots testify to this truth.”

— John Kekes, writing on “Words to Die By,” Feb. 20 in City Journal Online at www.city-journal.org

Radical education

“Today the gravest threat to American public education comes from educational professionals … who are determined to use primary and secondary classrooms to indoctrinate students in radical ideology and to recruit them for radical political agendas. This indoctrination takes place under the rubric of ‘social justice’ education, which is a left-wing shorthand for opposition to America’s tradition of individual justice and free-market economics.

“Proponents of social justice teaching argue that American society is inherently ‘oppressive’ and ‘systematically’ racist, ‘sexist’ and ‘classist,’ and thus discriminates institutionally against women, nonwhites, working Americans and the poor.”

— David Horowitz, from his book “Indoctrination U.: The Left’s War Against Academic Freedom”

‘Snowball’s chance’

“In the words of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Hersholt Award ‘is given to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.’ …

“The award includes among its honorees Elizabeth Taylor (her work on AIDS), the late Audrey Hepburn (the United Nations), Gregory Peck … and even Charlton Heston in his pre-conservative incarnation. …

“But there’s a name missing from this list, and the fact that it is missing highlights the reason so many conservatives dismiss not only the Oscar but a number of other prominent awards. The missing name, of course, is Ronald Reagan.

“Over the course of a 40-year career in almost 60 films, Reagan served not only as president of the Screen Actors Guild but as a master of ceremonies of the Oscars themselves. Yet the only actor to serve as president of the United States, the man historians now credit with winning the Cold War and freeing millions from bondage, the man who just the other day was rated as second only to Abraham Lincoln in terms of presidential greatness — for this actor there was not a snowball’s chance in hell of being honored by his peers.”

— Jeffrey Lord, writing on “The Trouble With Oscar,” Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

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