Monday, September 07, 2009

The Problem With American Education

So now the pompous Curmudgeon accuses President Obama of arrogance ("arrogant" being the one of the most charitable assessments given by Groothuis on the president.)

Here is the full text of Obama's speech to American's schoolchildren.

Read and decide whether Obama "wants to cast his spell on the children of America by imposing this personality and socialist worldview on the state-run schools", something akin to Hitler or Musssolini in Groothuis' dangerously deranged mind, or whether Groothuis is one pathetic charlatan.

I am sure, being the intellectually honest person we know him to be (?), that Groothuis was equally enraged in 1988 when President Reagan gave a speech to American school children which CNN defined as "politically charged", in that Reagan actually called taxes "such a penalty on people that there's no incentive for them to prosper ... because they have to give so much to the government." You can read the transcript here .

The fact that Groothuis has "never seen anything like this" is a testament to his willful blindness and intellectual dishonesty. The problem is that he is indoctrinating scores of students, albeit ones already predisposed to be led to self-delusion, from the halls of Denver Seminary. Obama's speech to school kids is not the problem with American education. People like Groothuis are.

A Curmudgeon reader, who is privileged enough to be allowed by Groothuis to post comments, wrote the following (emphases added):
I have this strange feeling you won't claim that Bush [in 1991] was trying to brainwash children, cast a spell on them, or indoctrinate them into a political philosophy in that talk.
Rather, I bet you'll think he was just being a good president, using his platform to encourage our nation's students to do well in school.

And you'd be right.
And that's the same thing Obama is doing here. This should not be controversial in the slightest. That is [sic] has been made into a fake-outrage is, sadly, more telling of the state of conservatisim than anything else.

When the conservative "movement" goes looking for a leftist-socialist-conspiracy under every rock, the world stops taking you seriously. When you cry wolf 10 times, we are much less likely to listen on the 11th.

Groothuis responded "Did you read the Herbert Titus article?! There is much more going on than the platitudes. It is an agenda to get Obaha's ideas insinuated into the curriculum." And "Please consider more carefully what I am saying and why I am saying it before jumping to conclusions and accusing me of being an ideologue."

Well, Mr. Groothuis, I have read Titus's article. It is a litany of straw men and red herrings designed to construct the "fake outrage" that BJ the Tornado, your dissenting and discerning reader, warns you against. A few appalling and ridiculous examples of Titus's technique should suffice: "While President George Washington was the father of our country, Barack Obama would be the father to the nation’s children." And "While President Washington was the nation’s first commander-in-chief of America’s armed services, responsible for training America’s army and navy, President Obama would be the nation’s first principal-in-chief, empowered to oversee the education of her boys and girls." It would be bad enough to criticize President Obama for giving a speech to school kids if Bush and Reagan had also been criticized by people like Groothuis and Titus when they did the same. But they were not.

Hey, it's a free country: if you don't want your children to hear the President of the United States encourage kids to work hard and stay in school, send them to bible study or home school them. But if you try to paint the speech as an attempt by a "socialist president" to indoctrinate them and turn them into good nazi brown shirts and fascist black shirts, like Hitler and Mussolini, and then make the argument you are not an ideologue, do us a favor and go fuck yourself, you pathetic, little self-righteous prick!

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