Friday, October 16, 2009

Conservative fightback on U.S. campuses

This semester Tyler came back to live in Wilmington after a summer of training at LI. He had been helping LI develop and promote their new Campus Reform project. I asked Tyler via email what they intended to accomplish with the new program. Here’s the written statement he sent back to me:

“Campus Reform is allowing conservative and libertarian students to break the stranglehold that the left has had on academia for decades. It provides all of the necessary tools and resources that the right needs to stand up against the leftist indoctrination on college campuses. Simply put, is an online community organizer for the right, allowing students to network and find other like-minded students that want to affect the political discourse on their campus.”

I logged on to the website just a few days ago and was stunned to see what some young activists are now doing. On one public university campus in Kentucky, students were required to receive university approval for any political flier posted anywhere on campus. In other words, they were not allowed to speak without prior government approval from agents seeking to ban potentially “offensive” speech. Next thing you know, they’ll require prior approval for all political thoughts.

But the students fought to defeat that policy and then turned their attention towards an unconstitutional speech zone policy. The policy in question actually banned free speech on 99% of the public university campus. The kids from Kentucky announced their plans to protest the patently illegal policy – outside the parameters of the speech zone! (Who says being a conservative is boring?). I used Campus Reform to contact the kids and let them know I could secure free legal representation for them, if necessary. The protest went off without incident.

As I write the closing lines of this first installment in my “Profiles in Courage” series my mind goes back to 2002. That was the year I stepped out and began trying to educate people about what I called a “constitutional crisis” in higher education. I was often alone back then. When I told stories about speech zones and speech codes many people thought I was making them up. Even my own mother thought the stories were too bizarre to be true.

Now, seven years later, everything has changed. Everyone knows what I’ve been saying is true. Some lie in order to discredit those of us who are trying to do something about it. In fact, tenured faculty and staff members sit at their desks every day looking for my columns. When they see one on the internet they spend the entire day posting remarks attacking me and trying to undermine my assault on leftist indoctrination on college campuses. It’s as if they have nothing better to do. And, in their twisted narrow minds, they really don’t.

But now there is a whole army of young activists like Tyler Millage. The army is growing every day. I taught many of them. But now many of them are teaching me. And I’m learning there has never been a better time to be a liberty-loving American at the dawn of a new conservative era. Before long, it will be morning in America again.


Constitutional Ignorance in an Arkansas school

Will Phillips, a 10-year-old fifth grader at West Fork Middle School, has taken a courageous stand for his beliefs, and it landed him in the principal's office after an argument with a substitute teacher over his refusal to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Young Master Will balked at saying “with liberty and justice for all,” because he didn't think there was equality for everyone. Imagine the insolence of refusing to say what you are told by the authority of the state and a substitute teacher!

The idea of compelling school children to salute the flag and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance was declared unconstitutional in 1943. You would think that, even in West Fork, a substitute teacher would have known about that and caught on after three score and six years. Instead, she told Will that his mother and grandmother would want him to stand and pledge. He replied, "With all due respect, you can go jump off a bridge." That does seem like all respect due to such a teacher, but it earned him a trip to the principal's office, an order to apologize to the teacher, and an additional research assignment on the pledge of allegiance.

If anyone is owed an apology, it is Will Phillips. He was exercising a well-established First Amendment right and was jerked around for doing so. The West Fork School Board, the middle school principal, and all of the teachers should be given an additional research assignment to read the United States Supreme Court decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.

It is no excuse, as principal Becky Ramsey said, "Any school where I’ve ever been in Arkansas, they say the Pledge of Allegiance first period,” but at least she admitted, "We cannot mandate that every child says the pledge." The Supreme Court said more eloquently:
If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. …We think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on their power and invades the sphere of intellect and spirit which it is the purpose of the First Amendment to our Constitution to reserve from all official control.


Home education vs. the British bully-boy state

The presumption of guilt is eating it`s way into our lives: Home Education is the latest victim.

As a parent you are a suspect in the crusade against child abuse. That is the message to Home Education from this government.Through a staged Review and now onto a Select Committee, the drive has been to find ways to justify an assault on Home Ed., taking away parental rights, enforcing child interviews alone and invading the family in a way that singles out Home Ed. as a "prime suspect".

Yet the very idea that Home Education could be harbouring child abuse is one manipulated from Local Authorities because the Government wanted to hear something that would enable it to invade Home Ed. Certainly, cases like Baby P. have made the system determined to seek out and stamp-out child abuse whatever the cost, but such cases have not been anything to do with Home Ed., so why single out one group for inspection?

The drive to stamp out child abuse should not cause abuse of children, or their parents, yet this is what compulsory interviewing of childen will achieve. Home Ed. is a sanctuary of love and good education, it nurtures children and allows them to learn and develop at their own speed. Many children are bullied in school and parents deregister their kids to protect them from further harm. We can only imagine what harm will be done to these kids when they are forced into interview alone, not to mention the damage if the National Curriculum is imposed along with government educational standards.

Currently, Local Authorities are widely acting ultra vires in regard to Home Ed. They are lying to parents, purporting to have powers under the law that they do not have, trying to bully children into returning to school. This really is a bully-boy State.


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