“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.”
Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, in the televised debate with Republican adversary Glenn Youngkin
Every now and then one of the crypto-totalitarian Democrats or progressives slip up and rip his or her mask off, and McAuliffe’s sudden outburst of damning truth was a real Jack Nicholson “You’re damn right I did!” moment. I know virtually nothing about Glenn Youngkin, but I know too much about Clinton bag-man McAuliffe, and if God’s in his heaven and there is justice in the cosmos, this outburst will keep McAuliffe, who is corrupt and almost as slimy as the Clintons, out of the Governor’s mansion. It isn’t the reason I won’t be voting for Terry, who was Bill’s fundraiser, only because it doesn’t have to be. There are so many other reasons, as his Ethics Alarms dossier shows and the alarming essay below from my previous platform, The Ethics Scoreboard, amply demonstrates.
But enough of McAuliffe for now, for this post isn’t really about him as much as it is about his quote and what (and who—Terry was also Chair of the Democratic National Committee) it represents. For it expresses fairly the current attitude of the Left regarding public education. Children are in school for progressives, Democrats, Marxists and anti-American activists to indoctrinate. Gabriel Gipes, the so-called “Antifa Teacher” was an extreme case, but lazy parents and apathetic citizens allowed the Left to take over the educational establishment (as well as other institutions) a long time ago. Now they are shocked—shocked!-–with the advent of critical race theory and the “1619 Project’s” pollution of public school curricula—to find that our children have been and are being programmed to accept progressive cant as truth, and even to oppose the Bill of Rights as well as the foundational culture of the nation itself.
Americans allowed this to happen.
My son is nearing 27 now; his mother and I pulled him out of school for good 13 years ago when he was 14, after four consecutive Virginia schools, two private, one public, and one a Catholic school (though we are not Catholic), betrayed our trust. He was home-schooled thereafter, and he missed a lot. I loved public school, but in Arlington, Massachusetts, when I was growing up, no teacher would be able to get away with, for example, showing Al Gore’s climate change documentary in class as “fact,” one of many episodes that drove us to quit Virginia’s school system.
I’m sure the McAuliffe campaign is trying to “walk” back Terry’s gaffe; I haven’t checked, frankly, because McAuliffe is a proven liar, and it doesn’t matter what he says. I’ve seen what he does. However, his statement stands for his party’s now entrenched belief that the government should decide what children should be taught and how, and parents have no say in the matter, because, as in everything else, our elected officials are our betters, our rulers, and they know best. It isn’t really “We the People,” but “We the Smart People Who Get To Dictate To The Little People Who Are Just Too Stupid, Selfish And Racist To Take Care Of Themselves.”
Education is now treated as a means to ideological ends, with the teaching of skills, tools, and facts taking a back seat to preparing the young to take their places in the ideological battle lines. A poll released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings in which 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities were surveyed found that 66% of college students think shouting down speakers to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech. Stopping speech is free speech. Where would students ever get that idea? “War is Peace.” (The Left fervently believes what the 66% advocate, as this attack on Prof. Turley by “Above the Law” nicely illustrates.)
And it isn’t only education where we are seeing this attitude take over.
The schools know best. Three California parents filed a lawsuit accusing the California state school curriculum of violating the U.S. Constitution over an Ethnic Studies lesson that asks students to pray and chant to Aztec gods. Sorry, Terry McAuliffe believes that the parents have no standing. Only ignorant parents would object to a curriculum guide that justified the use of Aztec religious proverbs and chants by explaining, “This section includes several ethnic studies-oriented chants, proverbs and affirmations.These can be used as energizers to bring the class together, build unity around ethnic studies principles and values, and to reinvigorate the class following a lesson.”
But using Christian or Jewish proverbs to “build unity” would be illegal.
There are slippery slopes on both sides of the education issue, and we’ve seen how treacherous and destructive both can be. Parents must have a significant role in deciding what is taught and how; the government’s role is to ensure competence and objectivity in the classroom, and to ensure that a curriculum teaches children how to engage in critical thinking while providing them with the skills to be productive and independent-minded citizens. The problem we are seeing now, and McAuliffe’s quote exemplifies it, is a crisis of respect and trust, core ethical values. The so-called “elites” do not respect the public. Meanwhile, the public increasingly does not trust the elites, who have disgraced themselves and betrayed American ideals repeatedly over the past decade. That a Democratic candidate for governor with ties to the Clinton mob would be so confident of government’s right to dictate its agenda to the young that he would declare it on television should be an epiphany for us.
I hope it is.
And now for your enjoyment and edification, here is my Ethics Scoreboard post from 2009 on the ethics of Once and maybe Future Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, written the first time he ran:
“Terry McAuliffe, former Clinton ally, former DNC Chair, political fundraiser extraordinaire and all-round wheeler-dealer, ran to fill the vacated Governors chair in Virginia. Out of the blue, Ralph Nader suddenly reappeared and revealed that McAuliffe, when he was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2004, offered him an undisclosed amount of money to pull out of 19 battleground states in the Presidential election, so that he wouldn’t pull crucial votes from Senator John Kerry. The story actually had been told before, in a post-election book by a Nader staffer. McAuliffes camps immediate reaction was to brush aside the accusation as old news, much the way ex-slugger Mark McGwire kept telling Congress that he didnt want to talk about the past when he was asked if he had used steroids. Later, a spokesman said that McAuliffe never offered Nader any money to drop out of the race, which, coming from a Clintonite, could easily mean that he did offer money to Naders campaign to leave the race in certain states. Since Nader, for all his faults, delusions and excesses, has never lacked for integrity, and since Naders description of McAuliffe as slipperier than an eel in olive oil would be probably be endorsed as accurate even by McAuliffes best friends, the Scoreboard would tend strongly to believe Nader.
“Assuming that the story is true (and we will probably never know), let us do a little ethical inventory:
- Is such an offer illegal? Almost certainly not: federal election laws permit parties almost unlimited discretion in using campaign funds. Is it unethical? Of course, just like paying your daughters sweetheart, whom you regard as beneath her, a large sum to move to France so shell marry the son of the tycoon next door is unethical. Voters have a right to have options, and the big parties shouldn’t be using their superior wealth to buy off the competition rather so they wont have to subject themselves to democracy. If it would be all right for the Democratic Party to pay to have Ralph Nader not run, why wouldn’t it be just as legitimate for the GOP to pay Barrack Obama not to run?
- Does this incident tell Virginians anything important about Terry McAuliffe? Sure. It tells us that hes a committed utilitarian, who will violate basic principles of openness, process, citizenship and fairness to achieve objectives he thinks are important. The password is ruthless. Does it tell them anything new? No.
- Does McAuliffe think paying a candidate not to run is a legitimate political tactic? Because he can figure out that it wouldn’t be a popular tactic, I doubt that McAuliffe would give a straight answer to that question. Someone should ask him, though.
- Was Nader being ethical by revealing this now? Tough question. Nader felt that the Democrats did him dirt in 2004 by trying to keep him off some state ballots and clearly holds McAuliffe responsible, so his revelation carries the odor of vengeance about it. And if this bribe attempt happened, why didn’t Nader reveal it immediately?
- Is this just politics as usual? Sadly, the answer is probably yes. Rod Blagojevich claimed that his attempted auctioning of the Illinois Senate seat was only unseemly because it ended up on tape, that what he did was just old-fashioned political horse-trading and that his critics were doing impressions of Claude Rains in Casablanca (as in, Im shocked! Shocked!!) Maybe. Even probably. There are some political junkies who think voter fraud and collecting votes from the cemeteries are part of a grand old tradition too, but wrong is still wrong. When someone with a lot of money tries to use it to limit my voting options without my knowledge, that is ethically indefensible, and constitutes an attempt to apply the methods of totalitarianism to democracy.
Politicians like Terry McAuliffe—and they include the Clintons, Tom DeLay, Nancy Pelosi and many others in both political camps—really dont think in terms of ethical or unethical. Their entire orientation is acquiring and wielding power: what works, and doesn’t send you to jail, is good. What doesnt, or breaks the law, is bad. Whether you think such people make trustworthy public servants or not is up to you, as it is currently up to Virginians whether they want someone of this orientation as their governor.
I do not.