Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Debauching children

A new report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation is advocating that children as young as 10 be given extensive sex education, including an awareness of sex's pleasures. The report, "Stand and Deliver," charges that religious groups, specifically Catholics and Muslims, deny their young access to comprehensive sexual programs and education.

"Young people's sexuality is still contentious for many religious institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups — the Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic Schools) for example — have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people, particularly, from obtaining information and services related to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex." the report states.

The report demands that children 10 and older be given a "comprehensive sexuality education" by governments, aid organizations and other groups, and that young people should be seen as "sexual beings."

"Young people have the right to be informed about sexuality and to have access to contraceptives and other services," Bert Koenders, the Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation, wrote in the foreword to the report. It was his organization that helped fund the report. The report argues that sex education should be "recast" to show sexuality as a "positive force for change and development, as a source of pleasure, an embodiment of human rights and an expression of self."

Much like a U.N. report released last August that advocated teaching masturbation to children as young as 5, "Stand and Deliver" has set off a wave of protest among religious and conservative groups. Ed Mechmann, spokesman for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, charged that Planned Parenthood was "trying to teach children sex without values and that sex is a matter of pleasure and done without consequences." He said religions like Catholicism and Islam teach sex as part of a much bigger picture and that Planned Parenthood was trying to de-link sex from traditional values. "It is part of an effort to get children to reject traditional values and accept a liberal American-European view," he said. "In many traditional countries — Catholic and Muslim — it won't work and should be seen as cultural imperialism."

Mechmann also charged that Planned Parenthood's report was compromised because it has a financial stake advocating the changes. "The difference between Planned Parenthood and us is that we don't make money off what we teach and say. They do. They make money off contraceptives and abortions," he said.

Michelle Turner, president of the Maryland-based Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, said Planned Parenthood was simply trying to eliminate parental say. "What are they trying to do? They are trying to eliminate the role of mom and dad in the family," Turner said. "For Planned Parenthood to decide that governments, private organizations and religious organizations should make decisions about kids' sexuality is just going too far." "It is part of a bigger push to change the way we think about sex," she said. That sex is all about pleasure and there are no consequences. They are wrong. No matter how much we teach children, some will make mistakes. They will forget. And Planned Parenthood doesn't want to deal with that," she said. "They see religious groups, especially those that counsel abstinence and waiting until marriage, as bad guys," she added. "We aren't."

Planned Parenthood said it was unable to comment because the report was issued by its European office and it was unable to contact them.


Fracking the Academic Left

By James Lewis

Two seemingly unrelated stories this week came together in my mind:

* Howard Zinn is dead.

* "Horizontal fracking" will produce much larger-than-expected amounts of clean, inexpensive natural gas over the coming decades.

What do those headlines mean? Well, Howard Zinn was the mendacious professor whose Marxist People's History of the United States is now a principal indoctrination tool of the college Left -- our "progressives" -- in order to turn out the likes of Barack Hussein Obama and other people who think the United States is a malign force that should go around apologizing for itself.

Howard Zinn, who just gave up the ghost, was the Barack Hussein Obama of American historians, at least in the Audacity of his Mendacity. His book has been assigned to tens of millions of students, making him a wealthy man.

Once upon a time, historians used to try to tell the truth. Professor Zinn was more the medieval kind of moral fabulist, whose self-appointed role it was to collect the mortal sins of the people -- or at least the American people -- and turn the entire history of America into one long catechism of grievances. Oh, well...whatever floats your boat.

The trouble is not so much the existence of obsessive grievance-mongers like Howard Zinn as it is his enormous popularity among the towering intellects of the Left and the enthusiastic adoption of him by thousands of mind-molding pseudo-historians on the campuses of America in order to crank out even more thousands of P.C.-washed young minds ready to be guilt-tripped by the national Organs of Propaganda for the rest of their lives. The Democrats then give more money to the campus indoctrination machine so that even more tenured professors can cut and paste more prefab Lefty fantasies onto the brains of their helpless subjects. It's a sort of perpetual motion scheme, except that nothing productive comes out. Howard Zinn industrialized the anti-American propaganda machine, like some colony of national brain parasites living off its host.

The result is visible on all our campuses, where free speech has now gone up in smoke. If you are caught saying a politically incorrect thought out loud, you may find yourself witch-hunted and fired -- just as Larry Summers was driven out of his job by the harridans of Harvard University before Obama picked him up. If they can destroy the president of Harvard for saying an Evil Thought out loud, they can get anybody. That's why they did it -- to scare all the other Incorrect Thinkers at Harvard.

I sometimes talk with friends who teach in such places, and rumor has it that the well-oiled P.C. apparatus is bigger today than ever. Every once in a while, there is another public witch-hunt; the evil non-P.C. meanies are punished or humiliated, or they just leave. Everybody is now thoroughly guilt-tripped, far more than any old-fashioned Catholic peasant going to weekly confession with the parish priest. At least Catholics would receive absolution for their sins. There is no absolution for the sins of whiteness, or maleness, or heterosexuality -- just a lifetime of taxes and mental drudgery.

The Indoctrination Campus is a reactionary and regressive institution, something the Saudi King would love. That is why Islamism is making such strides on the P.C. Campus -- it has exactly the same sort of dogmatic medieval outlook, it's just as historically ignorant, it's just as self-indulgent, and above all, it blames the same "enemy" -- America and the West, which are directly responsible for the prosperity and well-being of their reactionary parasites.

Indoctrination should have no role on a university campus. But the last jihadi suicide bomber to nearly make it to Paradise flying over Detroit was a big man on campus at University College, London, where he headed the Muslim Student Association. Panty-Bomber was a pure product of the modern university, with a little AQ thrown in. He could learn all his basic ideas just by listening to the BBC, and now even bin Laden is blaming the West warming. At his college campus, the Christmas Day bomber certainly learned nothing positive about Western civilization -- such as the idea that we don't wantonly kill innocent men, women, and children for the greater glory of Allah. Somehow he never got that basic point in his expensive education.

We can see from twenty years of global warming fraud in our "educated media" how the most basic principles of science and scholarship have suffered on campus. No one is more ignorant and mentally fixated than the old media gatekeepers. No one has less basic education in science, the humanities, mathematics, or real history. No one is less capable of elementary reasoning. Our media peasants are just as mind-numbed as their millions of placid victims.

Some time ago, David Brooks, the rumored conservative at the New York Times, said that "the educated class" is at odds with the regular folks of the United States -- the vulgar mob, in other words. But Brooks has it exactly backwards, as you might expect from someone who has to spend his waking hours in durance vile on 42nd Street. The "educated class" is just the indoctrinated class today -- the mass of P.C.-whipped, totally predictable minds. If you want to see individualism -- if you want to see courage, creativity, and original thought -- don't look at the college-educated class. They all march in mental lockstep, even as the WaPo marches to the drum and fife corps of those brainiacs at the NYT.

On the P.C. campus, science and scholarship have withered right along with education. I've spent decades trying to teach college students, and I think I can say after all these years that I've never succeeded in educating anyone. Not even one. Occasionally education has been seen to happen in my classes, or at least I would like to believe so. But education always comes from within. Students bring their eagerness to learn with them; you can't make them educated any more than a parent can "grow" a child. People aren't carrots. You can't "grow" them. They either grow due to some fortunate concatenation of circumstances, or they don't. Education happens sometimes, and you can stand by and cheer when you see it, but you can't take the credit. That's why our colleges don't turn out people who are better-educated than their parents who never went to college. The dreary procession of years sitting in a schoolroom does not an education make. College-trained Americans are so easily suckered that most of them voted for the last Democratic candidate for president. Can you believe that? I still can't. The election of 2008 proves the utter failure of our "education" system.

A politically correct campus is incapable of educating students because it suffocates free thought. The kids know that. They get their real education elsewhere, or they just allow themselves to be brain-stomped. Indoctrination is not education. The only kids to be really educated on the P.C. campus are the young conservatives, because all that brainwashing forces them to think for themselves. The others just end up reciting the catechism.

A college student I know boasted that he voted for Obama "because Hillary was just too white." Years of "education" have taught him to be a racist, if even only a reverse racist. For that we have to thank the Howard Zinns of this world. Thank you, Howie, and don't let the door slam on your way out. You left the United States worse than you found it.

If Howard Zinn is reason to despair, horizontal fracking is a reason for hope. H.F. is a wonderful new technology, a genuine step forward in recovering natural gas bubbles embedded in hydrocarbon-bearing shale. It's a way of drilling horizontally into carbon-rich rock and using high-pressure water to dissolve the rock so the natural gas can be collected in trillions of cubic feet.

H.F. is going to save our cookies, even with all the mendacious eco-madness we see from the politically correct meatheads of our media. Natural gas is the cleanest hydrocarbon fuel. It can be utilized for all the same purposes as oil, and it is many times more efficient than the scientifically wacky "green energy" schemes that Barack Obama seems to love. That means that we can manufacture aspirin tablets from it as well as fuel to keep the world alive. And because vast reserves of clean natural gas are available in Canada and the United States, we stand a chance of surviving the mad oil monopoly of the Saudis and the Twelver Suicide Cult in Tehran.

That is honest progress. The Left will never, ever discover anything as wonderful as horizontal fracking. They can't. They are too reactionary, too stuck in the past with old Karl Marx.

All the preening "progressives" are Zinnian reactionaries, and all the engineers, chemists, and honest scientists -- there still are a few left -- are just keeping the world moving toward a happier and healthier future. If only there were some way to drill into the layer of left-wing intellectuals spread over higher education and frack it to release the academic gas trapped therein.


More On Espenshade On Affirmative Action

I have written a number of times about the recent research on the racial achievement gap and affirmative action by Princenton Professor Thomas Espenshade and various co-authors: here, here, here, here, and most recently here. He is also one of the new scholars writing about "diversity" that Peter Schmidt mentioned in an article I just discussed here.

Please read those posts for a more thorough discussion than I will provide here, but an un-nuanced (though not, I think, unfair) summary of Espenshade's research on data from eight elite colleges is that he and his co-authors find a massive racial achievement gap, correspondingly massive racial preferences in admissions that benefit blacks and Hispanics and bar large numbers of Asians, combined with a commitment to "diversity" that causes them to refuse to recognize the discrimination against Asians for what it is and even to lament what they see as the imminent demise of the race preference regime.

For example, as I noted here, Espenshade and Alexandra Radford noted in a recent article that
[c]ompared to white applicants at selective private colleges and universities, black applicants receive an admission boost that is equivalent to 310 SAT points, measured on an all-other-things-equal basis. The boost for Hispanic candidates is equal on average to 130 SAT points. Asian applicants face a 140 point SAT disadvantage.
Thus, not surprisingly,
[d]oing away with racial preferences for underrepresented minority students would substantially reduce the number of such students at selective colleges.
And, by doing so, it would also substantially increase the number of Asian and Asian-American students at those selective colleges.

I bring all this up, again, because Prof. Espenshade steadfastly continues, either obstinately or obtusely, to acknowledge what his numbers, charts, graphs, and statistical analyses clearly reveal: that "affirmative action" as practiced by admissions officers at elite colleges results in massive discrimination against Asian-Americans. (I discussed an earlier example of this refusal here and here.) He professes, lamely, in a recent interview about his new book with the Princeton News Service that he can't conclude that
because I've never actually sat in on an admission committee. But I'm convinced they don't have an equation like this and say, "OK, if you are Hispanic, you get a certain number of points; if your SAT scores are in this category, you get a certain number of points," right down the list.
In fact, his refusal to recognize the discrimination against Asians that his research clearly reveals is worse than lame; it is silly, as in:
People may read this and want to say, "Oh, because I'm Asian American, my SAT scores have been downgraded." That is not really the way to interpret these data. Many times people will ask me, "Do your results prove that there is discrimination against Asian applicants?" And I say, "No, they don't." Even though in our data we have much information about the students and what they present in their application folders, most of what we have are quantifiable data. We don't have the "softer" variables -- the personal statements that the students wrote, their teacher recommendations, a full list of extracurricular activities. Because we don't have access to all of the information that the admission office has access to, it is possible that the influence of one applicant characteristic or another might appear in a different light if we had the full range of materials.
If this passage means anything, it means that those Asians may look good on paper (grades, test scores, etc.) but for all Espenshade knows they may all share an inability to write admissions essays that can compete with those written by blacks and Hispanics and a similar inability to garner enthusiastic letters of recommendations from their teachers.

This is neither lame nor silly; it is both dumb and offensive.


85% of British young people want more grammar schools created

British "Grammar" schools are academically selective schools that are taxpayer supported. The Labor party hates them, even though they are a highroad to social mobility, which the Labour party claims to support

There is huge support for grammar schools among recent school leavers and first-time voters, a poll showed yesterday. Eighty-five per cent of those aged 18 to 24 would like to see more created, the ICM survey found. And 76 per cent of all age groups would support new grammars, more than three decades after many of the schools were replaced by comprehensives.

The findings prompted fresh questions over David Cameron's decision to abandon the Conservatives' historic support for selective education. The 164 existing grammars already face the threat of closure due to a lack of Government support for the system. Grammar school chiefs said that under Labour their schools were liable to be forced to join with comprehensives to form 'comprehensive academies' or merge with groups of less successful schools. But they said they were also vulnerable in Tory-controlled areas because of a lack of 'top-level political support'.

The poll, commissioned by the National Grammar Schools Association, found that support for grammars is strongest among 18 to 24-year-olds, followed by 25 to 34-year-olds. Seventy per cent of the 1,015 adults surveyed supported retaining the existing grammar schools in Britain and Northern Ireland. Among 18 to 24-year- olds the figure was 75 per cent. Seventy-six per cent are in favour of the introduction of new grammars, especially in urban areas where there are none. This rose to 85 per cent for 18 to 24-year-olds.

Grammar schools across most of the country were converted into comprehensives during the 1960s and 1970s or forced into the fee-paying sector.

Mr Cameron has insisted that selective education is 'unpopular with parents', who 'don't want children divided into successes and failures at 11'. He has pledged to protect the remaining grammars but in 2007 he ruled out creating any more except in existing selective areas with a rising pupil population.

Robert McCartney, chairman of the NGSA, said this did not go far enough. 'The popularity of politicians is at an extremely low level and a general election is due very soon,' he said. 'It's unbelievable that none of our three largest political parties seriously supports either existing grammar schools or the idea of opening new ones where there's parental demand. 'If they want our votes, they should offer what the public wants.'

He said the 'effectiveness and existence' of many grammar schools was threatened by Government initiatives such as the drive to 'federate' neighbouring schools together in formal partnerships. There are also examples of grammar and non-selective schools being forced to merge. 'Such measures usually mean that fewer 11-year-olds are offered the opportunity of a grammar school education,' said Mr McCartney.

A Tory spokesman said: 'We set out our policy on grammar schools in 2007 and it hasn't changed.'


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