Don’t Know Much About History


The Volokh Conspiracy reports on yesterday’s decision by the 9th Circuit in Dariano v. Morgan Hill Unified School Dist. (9th Cir. Feb. 27, 2014) upholding a California high school’s decision to forbid students from wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. This shows a lack of historical awareness all around.

The original purpose of Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the Battle of Puebla which was fought on 5 May, 1862. The Battle was a Mexican victory over an invading French Army. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day. That’s 16 September. It isn’t even a national holiday in Mexico.

I wonder if the Morgan Hill Unified School District allows French flag t-shirts on 5 May?

Tar! Feathers! (Again)


This zero-tolerance lunacy is getting old. Another Maryland school system is inflicting a grossly inappropriate penalty on a child, a 5 year old kid who has an orange-tipped cap pistol in his back pack.

The Calvert County Schools will not expunge the record of the child’s suspension. This after school officials questioned him for two hours before calling his mother.

I’m Not Making This Up, You Know


A California elementary school is running a toy gun “buy back” program for kids. (H/T, Instapundit)

Principal Charles Hill maintains that children who play with toy guns may not take real guns seriously. He’s quoted as saying, “If we want older kids to not think guns are cool, we need to start early.”

Well, as Oscar Hammerstein observed about bigotry:

You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

Non-Joking Legal Questions


A three year old deaf child is having trouble with education bureaucrats because the registered sign for his name violates their weapons policy. (I’m not making this up, you know.)

I ask these questions in all seriousness—Does a person have a Ninth Amendment right to his own name? And a First Amendment right to say (or sign) it?

No Wonder the Maryland Electorate Votes For Democrats


Nancy Pelosi was raised in Baltimore. Here’s the sort of nonsense she learned in Civics Class. Speaking on Fox News yesterday, she said:

We avow the First Amendment. We stand with that and say that people have a right to have a gun to protect themselves …

The last time I checked, the First Amendment had nothing to do with the right to keep and bear arms. That seemed to be in the Second Amendment. If that’s the sort of understanding of the Constitution that a congresscritter with a B.A. in Political Science brings to the issues, imagine the confusion of the vast majority of low information voters reliant on what they learned in Maryland schools.

Sigh.

Tar! Feathers!


The Washington Examiner reports that a 10 year old boy was arrested at school, taken to juvenile detention by police, booked, and released to his parents for the crime of possessing a toy gun at school. (H/T, Instapundit)

One of the greatest dangers our kids face is the cadre of idiots who administer their schools.

UPDATE–Aaron Walker does some original reporting here that provides some more facts. Given the additional information, it is possible that the police response wasn’t over-the-top.

Don’t Know Much About History


I’d better start off by saying that I’ve got nothing against teachers. In fact, I come from a family chock full of them. Both of my grandmothers, my mother, four of my aunt, an uncle, several of my cousins, my father, my brother, and I were at one time or now are teachers at the K through grad school level.

Having said that, it’s no surprise to me that the education bureaucracy forgets the inconvenient lessons of history. The Washington Times has a piece up about Maryland elementary school kids being suspended for playing war or being otherwise armed with an extended index finger and cocked thumb.

[M]y son, who is in elementary school in Howard County was playing “war” with friends when a recess monitor warned them to stop shooting with their fingers “because guns are violent.”

The piece goes on to note how teaching a generation in Europe to “study war no more” set that continent up for the horrors of 1939 through 1945.

Now, I look forward to time when the world will be pacified, but it doesn’t seem to be here yet. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to need those rough men that Orwell wrote of who guard us while we sleep. Even if it could work, any sort of educational alchemy that tries to turn snips and snails and puppy dog tails into sugar and spice and everything nice is the sort of stupid idea that only a public school administrator could conceive.

On Reynolds’ Law


Philo of Alexandria has a thoughtful post up on Reynolds’ Law (yes, that Reynolds). For those Gentle Readers unfamiliar with it, here is Reynolds’ Law.

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

Philo notes this:

Reynolds’ Law thus strikes at the heart of progressivism as a political ideology. Progressivism can’t deliver on its central promise. In fact, it’s guaranteed to make things worse in exactly that respect. It’s not that it sacrifices some degree of one good (liberty or prosperity, say) to achieve a greater degree of another (equality). That suggests that the choice between conservatism and progressivism is a matter of tradeoffs, balances, and maybe even taste. Reynolds’ Law implies that progressivism sacrifices some (actually considerable) degrees of liberty and prosperity to move us away from equality by undermining the characters and thus behavior patterns of those they promise to help.

Read the whole thing, but before you go, let me add a comment of two.

The Progressive approach stems from an ideology that can trace its ancestry back through the Enlightenment back to the Greek philosophers. Part of the foundation of this stream of thought is the idea that if one learns to think the right way then one will begin to act the right way.

Of course, Western civilization is deeply indebted to the ancient Greeks, but there is another ancient people to whom we own a similar debt for their foundational effect on Western Civ, the Jews, and there is a significant difference between the Hellenistic and Hebraic approaches to knowledge. While the ancient Greeks would advocate thinking our way to acting properly, the ancient Jews would tell us to start acting properly and that would, over time, lead to correct thinking. Practice self-discipline. Defer gratification. Save. Invest. Work.

Owning a trumpet didn’t make me a musician. Years of practice did.

Something Has Changed


The neighborhood I grew up in was in the near suburbs of Nashville, close enough to downtown that we were annexed into the city limits while I was still in elementary school. When I was a kid in school back in the ’50s, the doors to the schoolhouse were unlocked from about an hour before class started until a couple of hours after school was out. School violence consisted of a couple of kids squaring off at recess. Most homes had guns and one or more veterans (WWI, WWII, or Korea) who knew how to use them. We kids plinked in our back yards and in the woods with our BB guns.

And no one worried about whether of not we were safe at school.

I suspect that our present school safety problems have a much more profound cause than the politicians are willing to confront.