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Thursday, May 31, 2012

TEACHING SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE K-12 CLASSROOM

(See also: Education and Multiculturalism; Indoctrination in K-12; and Radical Environmentalism in the Classroom)


The leftist tenets of "social justice," founded on the notion that capitalism and economic inequality are evils that must be replaced by a socialist system wherein all differences in wealth have been eliminated, have infiltrated the teacher-training programs in American universities and made their way into a large number of the nation's K-12 classrooms.

Teachers College professor Angela Calabrese Barton, who authored a widely acclaimed book titled Teaching Science for Social Justice, shows how this approach attempts to use classroom techniques as revolution:

“Science pedagogy framed around social justice concerns can become a medium to transform individuals, schools, communities, the environment, and science itself, in ways that promote equity and social justice. Creating a science education that is transformative implies not only how science is a political activity but also the ways in which students might see and use science and science education in ways transformative of the institutional and interpersonal power structures that play a role in their lives.”

In short, “social justice theory” envisions using science instruction to indoctrinate students on the evils of capitalism as an alleged despoiler of the natural environment and thus a threat to all forms of life on earth.

Teaching social justice through mathematics is an even more fully developed discipline. Eric Gutstein, a Marxist education professor at the University of Illinois and also a full-time Chicago public-school math teacher, is the author of Reading and Writing the World with Mathematics: Toward a Pedagogy for Social Justice. This work combines critical pedagogy theory (which depicts the United States as an evil nation rife with injustice) and real-life math lessons that Gutstein piloted with his predominantly minority seventh-grade students.

One lesson, for example, presents charts showing the U.S. income distribution, aiming to teach the concept of percentages and fractions while simultaneously showing students how much wealth is concentrated at the top in an economic system that mainly benefits the super-rich. After the students perform the mathematical calculations, Gutstein asks: “How does all this make you feel?” He has triumphantly reported that in one particular class, 19 of 21 pupils replied that wealth distribution in America was “bad,” “unfair,” or “shocking.” Gutstein’s social justice/math lessons also explore statistical proofs showing how military budgets for the Iraq War deny poor Americans their fair share of resources.

Gutstein’s book and his classroom approach is endorsed by two of the nation’s most influential education professors, Gloria Ladson-Billings of the University of Wisconsin and William F. Tate of Washington University in St. Louis—the outgoing and incoming presidents of the American Education Research Association (AERA). The 25,000-member AERA has moved steadily to the ideological left in recent decades, becoming more multicultural, postmodernist, feminist, and enamored of critical race theory and queer theory. In 2004 the AERA hired its first national Director of Social Justice. In addition, Ladson-Billings and Tate co-edited their own volume of essays on educational research and social justice, wherein they argue for a critical-race-theory approach, advocating that students be taught that institutionalized “white supremacy” remains pervasive in American public education.

An increasing number of the 1,500+ education schools across the United States are embracing the concept of social justice teaching and are requiring their students to do the same—especially since they expect aspiring teachers to possess the approved leftist “dispositions,” or individual character traits, that will qualify them to teach in the public schools. For example:

  • Brooklyn College has declared: “Because democracy requires a substantive concern for equity, the faculty of the School of Education is committed, in theory and practice, to social justice. . . . Our teacher candidates and other school personnel are prepared to demonstrate a knowledge of, language for, and the ability to create educational environments based on various theories of social justice.”
  • The teacher-education program at Marquette University in Milwaukee proclaims that it “has a commitment to social justice in schools and society,” and to using education “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture.” The program requires that all education degree candidates demonstrate a “desire to work for social justice, particularly in an urban environment.”
  • The University of Kansas teacher-education school states that “addressing issues of diversity includes being more global than national and concerned with ideals such as world peace, social justice, respect for diversity and preservation of the environment.”
  • Claremont Graduate University (CGU) in California not only requires teacher candidates to commit to social justice teaching, but screens applicants to make sure they have that essential “disposition.” According to a university publication, “CGU’s recruitment efforts focus upon individuals who have an understanding of societal inequities. . . . By reflecting the cultures and languages of the student populations in area K–12 schools and by caring about issues of social justice, CGU’s teachers are role models to their students in a variety of ways.”
  • At Humboldt State University in northern California, the social studies methods class required for prospective high-school history and social studies teachers best demonstrates the school’s commitment to social justice teaching. The professor, Gayle Olson-Raymer, states in her syllabus: “It is not an option for history teachers to teach social justice and social responsibility; it is a mandate. History teachers do their best work when they use their knowledge, their commitment, and their courage to help the students grapple with the important issues of social responsibility and when they encourage them to direct their lives towards creating a just society.

The National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education, the chief accreditor of teacher-education schools, now monitors how well the schools comply with social justice requirements. According to published reports, Brooklyn College and Washington State University denied some students the right to become teachers after they had run afoul of their education schools’ social justice dispositions requirements.

In 2004, education researchers David Steiner and Susan Rozen conducted a study on the syllabi of the basic “foundations of education” and “methods” courses in 16 of the nation’s most prestigious teacher-education schools. The mainstays of the foundations classes were works by Paolo Freire, the Brazilian education theorist who is considered the “father” of the "teaching for social justice" movement, and the radical education writer Jonathan Kozol. For the methods courses, the leading text was To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, authored by the former Weather Underground terrorist and lifelong Marxist, Bill Ayers, Professor of Education at the University of Illinois and perhaps the most influential promoter of "social justice" education in American schools today.

When Ayers himself was a student at Columbia University’s Teachers College in the 1980s, after coming up from the underground, he was deeply influenced by Professor Maxine Greene, a leading light of the “critical pedagogy” movement. Greene told Ayers and his fellow classmates that they could help change this bleak landscape by developing a “transformative” vision of social justice and democracy in their classrooms. Greene urged teachers not to mince words with children about the evils of the existing social order. She said they should portray homelessness, for instance, “as a consequence of the private dealings of landlords, an arms buildup as a consequence of corporate decisions, [and] racial exclusion as a consequence of a private property-holder’s choice.”

This message resonated strongly with Ayers, who had already failed in his effort to transform America through violent revolution. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in education and became a Distinguished Professor of Education and a Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In March 2008 Ayers was elected (by a large majority of his peers) as Vice President for Curriculum Studies at the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the largest organization of education-school professors and researchers in the United States. From this position, he can greatly influence the content that is taught in the public schools. Specifically, Ayers seeks to inculcate teachers-in-training with a “social commitment” to the values of “Marx” and a desire to become agents of social change in K-12 classrooms. Whereas “capitalism promotes racism and militarism,” Ayers explains, “teaching invites transformations” and is “the motor-force of revolution.” According to a former AERA employee, “Ayers' radical worldview, which depicts America as “the main source of the world's racism and oppression,” thoroughly “permeates” AERA.


Adapted mostly from "The Ed Schools' Latest - and Worst - Humbug," by Sol Stern (July 24, 2006).

Social Justice: Code for Communism

The proponents of social justice always explain away its connection to totalitarianism by blaming demented tyrants. What they can never admit is that totalitarian brutality is the inevitable realization of social justice itself.

The signature of modern leftist rhetoric is the deployment of terminology that simply cannot fail to command assent. As Orwell himself recognized, even slavery could be sold if labeled "freedom." In this vein, who could ever conscientiously oppose the pursuit of "social justice," -- i.e., a just society?
To understand "social justice," we must contrast it with the earlier view of justice against which it was conceived -- one that arose as a revolt against political absolutism. With a government (e.g., a monarchy) that is granted absolute power, it is impossible to speak of any injustice on its part. If it can do anything, it can't do anything "wrong." Justice as a political/legal term can begin only when limitations are placed upon the sovereign, i.e., when men define what is unjust for government to do. The historical realization traces from the Roman senate to Magna Carta to the U.S. Constitution to the 19th century. It was now a matter of "justice" that government not arrest citizens arbitrarily, sanction their bondage by others, persecute them for their religion or speech, seize their property, or prevent their travel.
This culmination of centuries of ideas and struggles became known as liberalism. And it was precisely in opposition to this liberalism -- not feudalism or theocracy or the ancien régime, much less 20th century fascism -- that Karl Marx formed and detailed the popular concept of "social justice," (which has become a kind of "new and improved" substitute for a storeful of other terms -- Marxism, socialism, collectivism -- that, in the wake of Communism's history and collapse, are now unsellable).
"The history of all existing society," he and Engels declared, "is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf ... oppressor and oppressed, stood in sharp opposition to each other." They were quite right to note the political castes and resulting clashes of the pre-liberal era. The expositors of liberalism (Spencer, Maine) saw their ethic, by establishing the political equality of all (e.g., the abolition of slavery, serfdom, and inequality of rights), as moving mankind from a "society of status" to a "society of contract." Alas, Marx the Prophet could not accept that the classless millenium had arrived before he did. Thus, he revealed to a benighted humanity that liberalism was in fact merely another stage of History's class struggle -- "capitalism" -- with its own combatants: the "proletariat" and the "bourgeoisie." The former were manual laborers, the latter professionals and business owners. Marx's "classes" were not political castes but occupations.
Today the terms have broadened to mean essentially income brackets. If Smith can make a nice living from his writing, he's a bourgeois; if Jones is reciting poetry for coins in a subway terminal, he's a proletarian. But the freedoms of speech and enterprise that they share equally are "nothing but lies and falsehoods so long as" their differences in affluence and influence persist (Luxemburg). The unbroken line from The Communist Manifesto to its contemporary adherents is that economic inequality is the monstrous injustice of the capitalist system, which must be replaced by an ideal of "social justice" -- a "classless" society created by the elimination of all differences in wealth and "power."
Give Marx his due: He was absolutely correct in identifying the political freedom of liberalism -- the right of each man to do as he wishes with his own resources -- as the origin of income disparity under capitalism. If Smith is now earning a fortune while Jones is still stuck in that subway, it's not because of the "class" into which each was born, to say nothing of royal patronage. They are where they are because of how the common man spends his money. That's why some writers sell books in the millions, some sell them in the thousands, and still others can't even get published. It is the choices of the masses ("the market") that create the inequalities of fortune and fame -- and the only way to correct those "injustices" is to control those choices.
Every policy item on the leftist agenda is merely a deduction from this fundamental premise. Private property and the free market of exchange are the most obvious hindrances to the implementation of that agenda, but hardly the only. Also verboten is the choice to emigrate, which removes one and one's wealth from the pool of resources to be redirected by the demands of "social justice" and its enforcers. And crucial to the justification of a "classless" society is the undermining of any notion that individuals are responsible for their behavior and its consequences. To maintain the illusion that classes still exist under capitalism, it cannot be conceded that the "haves" are responsible for what they have or that the "have nots" are responsible for what they have not. Therefore, people are what they are because of where they were born into the social order -- as if this were early 17th century France.
Men of achievement are pointedly referred to as "the priviliged" -- as if they were given everything and earned nothing. Their seemimg accomplishments are, at best, really nothing more than the results of the sheer luck of a beneficial social environment (or even -- in the allowance of one egalitarian, John Rawls -- "natural endowment"). Consequently, the "haves" do not deserve what they have. The flip side of this is the insistence that the "have nots" are, in fact, "the underpriviliged," who have been denied their due by an unjust society. If some men wind up behind bars, they are (to borrow from Broadway) depraved only because they are "deprived." Environmental determinism, once an almost sacred doctrine of official Soviet academe, thrives as the "social constructionist" orthodoxy of today's anti-capitalist left. The theory of "behavioral scientists" and their boxed rats serviceably parallels the practice of a Central Planning Board and its closed society.
The imperative of economic equality also generates a striking opposition between "social justice" and its liberal rival. The equality of the latter, we've noted, is the equality of all individuals in the eyes of the law -- the protection of the political rights of each man, irrespective of "class" (or any assigned collective identity, hence the blindfold of Justice personified). However, this political equality, also noted, spawns the difference in "class" between Smith and Jones. All this echoes Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek's observation that if "we treat them equally [politically], the result must be inequality in their actual [i.e., economic] position." The irresistable conclusion is that "the only way to place them in an equal [economic] position would be to treat them differently [politically]" -- precisely the conclusion that the advocates of "social justice" themselves have always reached.
In the nations that had instituted this resolution throughout their legal systems, "different" political treatment came to subsume the extermination or imprisonment of millions because of their "class" origins. In our own American "mixed economy," which mixes differing systems of justice as much as economics, "social justice" finds expression in such policies and propositions as progressive taxation and income redistribution; affirmative action and even "reparations," its logical implication; and selective censorship in the name of "substantive equality," i.e., economic equality disingenuously reconfigured as a Fourteenth Amendment right and touted as the moral superior to "formal equality," the equality of political freedom actually guaranteed by the amendment. This last is the project of a growing number of leftist legal theorists that includes Cass Sunstein and Catherine MacKinnon, the latter opining that the "law of [substantive] equality and the law of freedom of expression [for all] are on a collision course in this country." Interestingly, Hayek had continued, "Equality before the law and material equality are, therefore, not only different, but in conflict with each other" -- a pronouncement that evidently draws no dissent.
Hayek emphasized another conflict between the two conceptions of justice, one we can begin examining simply by asking who the subject of liberal justice is. The answer: a person -- a flesh-and-blood person, who is held accountable for only those actions that constitute specifically defined crimes of violence (robbery, rape, murder) against other citizens. Conversely, who is the subject of "social justice" -- society? Indeed yes, but is society really a "who"? When we speak of "social psychology" (the standard example), no one believes that there is a "social psyche" whose thoughts can be analyzed. And yet the very notion of "social justice" presupposes a volitional Society whose actions can (and must) be held accountable. This jarring bit of Platonism traces all the way back to Marx himself, who, "despite all his anti-Idealistic and anti-Hegelian rhetoric, is really an Idealist and Hegelian ... asserting, at root, that [Society] precedes and determines the characteristics of those who are [its] members" (R.A. Childs, Jr.). Behold leftism's alternative to liberalism's "atomistic individualism": reifying collectivism, what Hayek called "anthropomorphism or personification."
Too obviously, it is not liberalism that atomizes an entity (a concrete), but "social justice" that reifies an aggregate (an abstraction). And exactly what injustice is Society responsible for? Of course: the economic inequality between Smith and Jones -- and Johnson and Brown and all others. But there is no personified Society who planned and perpetrated this alleged inequity, only a society of persons acting upon the many choices made by their individual minds. Eventually, though, everyone recognizes that this Ideal of Society doesn't exist in the real world -- leaving two options. One is to cease holding society accountable as a legal entity, a moral agent. The other is to conclude that the only practicable way to hold society accountable for "its" actions is to police the every action of every individual.
The apologists for applied "social justice" have always explained away its relationship to totalitarianism as nothing more than what we may call (after Orwell's Animal Farm) the "Napoleon scenario": the subversion of earnest revolutions by demented individuals (e.g., Stalin, Mao -- to name just two among too many). What can never be admitted is that authoritarian brutality is the not-merely-possible-but-inevitable realization of the nature of "social justice" itself.
What is "social justice"? The theory that implies and justifies the practice of socialism. And what is "socialism"? Domination by the State. What is "socialized" is state-controlled. So what is "totalitarian" socialism other than total socialism, i.e., state control of everything? And what is that but the absence of a free market in anything, be it goods or ideas? Those who contend that a socialist government need not be totalitarian, that it can allow a free market -- independent choice, the very source of "inequality"! -- in some things (ideas) and not in others (goods -- as if, say, books were one or the other), are saying only that the socialist ethic shouldn't be applied consistently.
This is nothing less than a confession of moral cowardice. It is the explanation for why, from Moscow to Managua, all the rivalries within the different socialist revolutions have been won by, not the "democratic" or "libertarian" socialists, but the totalitarians, i.e., those who don't qualify their socialism with antonyms. "Totalitarian socialism" is not a variation but a redundancy, which is why half-capitalist hypocrites will always lose out to those who have the courage of their socialist convictions. (Likewise, someone whose idea of "social justice" is a moderate welfare state is someone who's willing to tolerate far more "social injustice" than he's willing to eliminate.)
What is "social justice"? The abolition of privacy. Its repudiation of property rights, far from being a fundamental, is merely one derivation of this basic principle. Socialism, declared Marx, advocates "the positive abolition of private property [in order to effect] the return of man himself as a social, i.e., really human, being." It is the private status of property -- meaning: the privacy, not the property -- that stands in opposition to the social (i.e., "socialized," and thus "really human") nature of man. Observe that the premise holds even when we substitute x for property. If private anything denies man's social nature, then so does private everything. And it is the negation of anything and everything private -- from work to worship to even family life -- that has been the social affirmation of the socialist state.
What is "social justice"? The opposite of capitalism. And what is "capitalism"? It is Marx's coinage (minted by his materialist dispensation) for the Western liberalism that diminished state power from absolutism to limited government; that, from John Locke to the American Founders, held that each individual has an inviolable right to his own life, liberty, and property, which government exists solely to secure. Now what would the reverse of this be but a resurrection of Oriental despotism, the reactionary increase of state power from limited government to absolutism, i.e., "totalitarianism," the absolute control of absolutely everything? And what is the opposite -- the violation -- of securing the life, liberty, and property of all men other than mass murder, mass tyranny, and mass plunder? And what is that but the point at which theory ends and history begins?
And yet even before that point -- before the 20th century, before publication of the Manifesto itself -- there were those who did indeed make the connection between what Marxism inherently meant on paper and what it would inevitably mean in practice. In 1844, Arnold Ruge presented the abstract: "a police and slave state." And in 1872, Michael Bakunin provided the specifics:
[T]he People's State of Marx ... will not content itself with administering and governing the masses politically, as all governments do today. It will also administer the masses economically, concentrating in the hands of the State the production and division of wealth, the cultivation of land, the establishment and development of factories, the organization and direction of commerce, and finally the application of capital to production by the only banker -- the State. All that will demand an immense knowledge and many heads "overflowing with brains" in this government. It will be the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant, and elitist of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and counterfeit scientists and scholars, and the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense ignorant majority. And then, woe unto the mass of ignorant ones!
It is precisely this "new class" that reflects the defining contradiction of modern leftist reality: The goal of complete economic equality logically enjoins the means of complete state control, yet this means has never practically achieved that end. Yes, Smith and Jones, once "socialized," are equally poor and equally oppressed, but now above them looms an oligarchy of not-to-be-equalized equalizers. The inescapable rise of this "new class" -- privileged economically as well as politically, never quite ready to "wither away" -- forever destroys the possibility of a "classless" society. Here the lesson of socialism teaches what should have been learned from the lesson of pre-liberal despotism -- that state coercion is a means to no end but its own. Far from expanding equality from the political to the economic realm, the pursuit of "social justice" serves only to contract it within both. There will never be any kind of equality -- or real justice -- as long as a socialist elite stands behind the trigger while the rest of us kneel before the barrel.
Further Reading
The contemporary left remains possessed by the spirit of Marx, present even where he's not, and the best overview of his ideology remains Thomas Sowell's Marxism: Philosophy and Economics, which is complemented perfectly by the most accessible refutation of that ideology, David Conway's A Farewell to Marx. Hayek's majestic The Mirage of Social Justice is a challenging yet rewarding effort, while his The Road to Serfdom provides an unparalleled exposition of how freedom falls to tyranny. Moving from theory to practice, Communism: A History, Richard Pipes' slim survey, ably says all that is needed.

Islamizing the Temple Mount

Posted By Giulio Meotti On May 31, 2012 @ 12:35 am

It’s the House of God. For centuries, Jews have remembered the destruction of the holy Temple in Jerusalem by crushing a glass at weddings or leaving unpainted a patch of wall in their homes. The Temple Mount is the magnificent edifice that has served the faithful as a symbol of God’s glory for 4,000 years. It’s Mount Moriah mentioned in the Book of Genesis. It’s the site where humanity received the gift of monotheism. It’s where God’s “shechina,” or presence, dwelt. Even the secular imagination, Jewish or not, has been shaped by the “Holy of Holies,” the most sacred site of the Jewish people. It’s there that King David raised a sanctuary for the Ark of the Covenant and King Solomon and Herod built the Temples. The Roman emperor Hadrian covered those ruins with a pagan temple to Jupiter; the Crusaders used it as a garbage dump to defile its Jewish significance and turned the area into a stable for their horses; the Arabs later built their own Islamic holy sites on top of those of their defeated enemy.
Many devout Jews today don’t set foot on the Temple Mount, afraid that they may be stepping on the ground covering the ruins of the Holy of Holies, allowed only to the High Priest on Yom Kippur. That is enough to keep them away. But there are those who believe they have a right to pray on the grounds where the Temple stood, particularly on Tisha be’Av, the anniversary of its destruction (Maimonides too prayed there). Though many respected rabbis forbid praying on the Mount, other very important Jewish leaders permit it. And there is a growing and brave movement, led by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel and Professor Hillel Weiss, which is trying to build awareness among the Israeli public on the Temple Mount. They are leading a historic battle for the rights of the Jews in their most holy site.
In theory, Israel currently controls the Temple Mount. In reality, since 1967, when the Israeli army seized the “holy basin” from Jordanian forces, the Jewish State gave up religious freedom for the Jews. Immediately after the liberation of Jerusalem, then Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan handed over the keys of the Temple Mount to the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that serves as custodian of the site, which includes four Muslim minarets.
Historically it should be noted that only under Israeli rule was the site open for everyone, Muslims, Christians and Jews. The Islamic Waqf is now attempting to deliberately destroy all evidence of Jewish claims to this site, while using terror and intimidation to impose its exclusive claim to the sacred mountain. The Waqf has proceeded on two fronts: de-Judaize the Mount by archeological destruction and to Islamize it by preventing the Jews from praying there.
Freedom of worship for all religions, including free access to the holy places of all faiths, has always been a cardinal principle of Israel. And by and large, Israel has honored this principle, even under extremely difficult circumstances. It is ironic that Judaism’s holiest site should be the only place in Israel where this principle is violated.
Nothing justifies the infringement of religious rights to the Temple Mount. That infringement undermines respect for the rule of law in Israel by making a mockery of the law that guarantees freedom for all faiths. The Islamic Waqf has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the site. At the entrance, an Arab sign says: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard and everything in it is Islamic property.” Today, Jews are barred from praying on the Mount and are not even allowed to carry any holy articles with them. With Muslim clerics supervising visits, Israeli police have frequently arrested Jews for various violations, such as singing or reciting a prayer even in a whisper.
A few days ago Israeli police issued new draconian instructions for non-Muslims who ascend to the Mount. Non-Muslims are now not even permitted to close their eyes while on the Mount or do anything that could be interpreted as praying. Jewish women have been arrested following claims by police and Waqf officials that they were praying on Temple Mount.
Why is it a crime for a Jew to mention God’s name on Temple Mount? And why is the State of Israel complicit in enforcing this anti-Semitic rule?
Lies are obsessive: the Jews, said late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, have never been in Jerusalem and the Temple never existed. This canard has been repeated ever since. Chief Palestinian Justice Sheik Taysir Tamimi declared that the Jewish temples “never existed.” In October 1990, the mere sight of a dozen would-be Jewish worshipers (who had actually been turned away) triggered a blood-drenched Temple Mount riot. The Hebrew language dailies Yediot Aharonot and Arutz Sheva recently revealed that Israel’s “valuable remnants from the two Jewish Temples were thrown away to an improvised garbage dump by members of the Waqf.” Most of the damage was done to the underground space that the Crusaders had termed “Solomon’s Stables.” Located under the Mount’s surface, it was used by ancient Temple priests to store vestments and items. The small room is now used for Muslim prayer. Israeli authorities did not negate the Waqf’s proposal to convert the “stables” into an Islamic praying area, called a “massalam.” An underground chamber with two pillars and an arch from the Second Temple period has already been turned into a mosque, and there are rumors of plans to unify the mosques so as to cover the entire outdoor area. The Waqf also destroyed stonework done by Jewish artisans 2,000 years ago in the underground “double passageway.” The Israeli authorities bowed to the Waqf’s desire to create an emergency exit, only to find that the Islamic body had punched through the outside wall of the Temple Mount.
As early as 1970, the Waqf destroyed the eastern wall of the Herodian Temple complex. Other severe episodes of archeological destruction took place in 1999 and 2007. It was the most massive movement of earth on the Temple Mount in recent times. Remnants of the archeological record have been fished from the Kidron Valley stream bed where the Waqf dumped the earth it removed from the Mount. Instead of working its way down through the site under the close supervision of Israeli archaeologists, the Waqf sent in bulldozers and then trucks to remove the earth by the ton-load. Much of the damage cannot be reversed.
A wall from the outer courtyard of the Second Temple is believed to have been completely pulverized. According to Gabi Barkai, recipient of the Jerusalem Prize for Archaeology, the dirt in the surrounding area is filled with Jewish history from many periods: the Canaanites, the First Temple, the period of the return to Zion from Babylonia, the Second Temple, including the Hashmonaim period and King Herod, and up to now. Finds have included fragments of stone decorated with ornaments from the Second Temple Period, arrowheads from Nebuchadnezzar’s army and also from the Romans, as well as coins and decorations from many periods, jewelry made of various materials, stone and glass squares from floor and wall mosaics. Among the most exciting finds were seal rings, ostracons written in ancient Hebrew script, terra-cotta figurines and a bronze coin dating to the Great Revolt against the Romans bearing the Hebrew phrase, “Freedom of Zion.” The list of the treasures include pot shards, pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings and beads, amulets, icons and statuettes, decorated wall hangings and fragments of decorations from buildings, seals and many other items. The most striking find was a seal impression with letters in the ancient Hebrew script of the last days of the First Temple.
While the Waqf would never allow an archaeological dig on the site, its own destruction continues unabated. The intention is to turn the 36-acre Temple Mount compound into an exclusively Islamic site by erasing every remnant and memory of its Jewish past. It’s an archaeological crime which has been called “cultural Holocaust.” That’s why there is the urgent need of an international campaign aimed to protect Jerusalem’s most holy site. This is the most important battle to any cultured person, regardless of his political and religious identity. It’s the biggest crime against truth.

UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL JUSTICE

"Social Justice" is a code phrase of the left, which believes that such justice can only be achieved by the recognition that capitalism and the economic inequality it produces must be replaced by a "classless" society wherein all differences in wealth and property have been eliminated. The “Social Justice Movement” (quotation marks are necessary because its version of “justice” is political rather than lexical) is quintessentially deterministic, believing as a core principle that people are what they are because they were born into an inflexible social order.

The "Social Justice Movement" is at war with classical liberalism, which defines equality as the equality of all individuals before the law, irrespective of "class" or any other collective identity. In modern terms, the conflict between these two worldviews is similar to the conflict between “equality of opportunity” and “equality of outcome,” which can only be guaranteed and enforced by some structure of authority.

The "Social Justice Movement" endorses socialism as a means of redressing the alleged evils of capitalism and producing a programmatic equality that it acknowledges will be purchased at the price of individual liberty and require the manufacture of what totalitarian governments have called “the New Man.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'Meaningful Work'

By Thomas Sowell

"Education" is a word that covers a lot of very different things, from vital, life-saving medical skills to frivolous courses to absolutely counterproductive courses that fill people with a sense of grievance and entitlement, without giving them either the skills to earn a living or a realistic understanding of the world required for a citizen in a free society.
The lack of realism among many highly educated people has been demonstrated in many ways.
When I saw signs in Yellowstone National Park warning visitors not to get too close to a buffalo, I realized that this was a warning that no illiterate farmer of a bygone century would have needed. No one would have had to tell him not to mess with a huge animal that literally weighs a ton, and can charge at you at 30 miles an hour.
No one would have had to tell that illiterate farmer's daughter not to stand by the side of a highway, trying to hitch a ride with strangers, as too many college girls have done, sometimes with results that ranged all the way up to their death.
The dangers that a lack of realism can bring to many educated people are completely overshadowed by the dangers to a whole society created by the unrealistic views of the world promoted in many educational institutions.
It was painful, for example, to see an internationally renowned scholar say that what low-income young people needed was "meaningful work." But this is a notion common among educated elites, regardless of how counterproductive its consequences may be for society at large, and for low-income youngsters especially.
What is "meaningful work"?
The underlying notion seems to be that it is work whose performance is satisfying or enjoyable in itself. But if that is the only kind of work that people should have to do, how is garbage to be collected, bed pans emptied in hospitals or jobs with life-threatening dangers to be performed?
Does anyone imagine that firemen enjoy going into burning homes and buildings to rescue people trapped by the flames? That soldiers going into combat think it is fun?
In the real world, many things are done simply because they have to be done, not because doing them brings immediate pleasure to those who do them. Some people take justifiable pride in working to take care of their families, whether or not the work itself is great.
Some of our more Utopian intellectuals lament that many people work "just for the money." They do not like a society where A produces what B wants, simply in order that B will produce what A wants, with money being an intermediary device facilitating such exchanges.
Some would apparently prefer a society where all-wise elites would decide what each of us "needs" or "deserves." The actual history of societies formed on that principle -- histories often stained, or even drenched, in blood -- is of little interest to those who mistake wishful thinking for idealism.
At the very least, many intellectuals do not want the poor or the young to have to take "menial" jobs. But people who are paying their own money, as distinguished from the taxpayers' money, for someone to do a job are unlikely to part with hard cash unless that job actually needs doing, whether or not that job is called "menial" by others.
People who lack the skills to take on more prestigious jobs can either remain idle and live as parasites on others or take the jobs for which they are currently qualified, and then move up the ladder as they acquire more experience. People who are flipping hamburgers at McDonald's on New Year's Day are seldom flipping hamburgers there when Christmas time comes.
Those relatively few statistics that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time show them moving massively from one income bracket to another over time, starting at the bottom and moving up as they acquire skills and experience.
Telling young people that some jobs are "menial" is a huge disservice to them and to the whole society. Subsidizing them in idleness while they wait for "meaningful work" is just asking for trouble, both for them and for all those around them.


Copyright 2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Islam Killed Greco-Roman Civilization

Posted By Fjordman On May 18, 2012 @ 12:03 am

A number of books published in recent years have demolished the myth of an allegedly tolerant Islamic culture that preserved the Greco-Roman heritage. Ibn Warraq’s book Why the West Is Best is among the better and more accessible titles in this field. As I concluded in one of my earlier essays, the only part of the ancient Greek heritage that proved to be more compatible with Muslim than with Christian European culture was slavery, and possibly anal sex with young boys in certain parts of the Islamic world.
In early 2012 the historian Emmet Scott published Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy. If you have any interest in the subject of the Greco-Roman legacy and Islam as they relate to medieval Europe, I strongly recommend that you buy this book. For those who are interested, Scott has published some excerpts from this work online at the New English Review.
Many books claim to be groundbreaking, but rather few of them actually are. Emmet Scott’s Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited falls into the latter category.
He shows convincingly that archaeological excavations paint a very clear picture of devastation brought by the Arab conquests throughout the entire Mediterranean region, from Syria to Spain, in the seventh century AD.
The Belgian historian Henri Pirenne in his work Mohammed and Charlemagne, published posthumously in 1937, suggested that Islam and the Arab conquests constituted the real dividing line between the civilization of Greco-Roman Antiquity and that of medieval Europe. Moreover, Islamic raids in the Mediterranean partially cut Europeans off from their Classical roots. Scott supports this hypothesis but goes even further than Pirenne — who focused on Europe — by showing that the Arab conquests and Islamic repression largely destroyed Greco-Roman Classical civilization in North Africa and parts of the Middle East, which were more urbanized than Europe.
In short, rather than preserving the Classical heritage, as their apologists like to claim, Arabs and Muslims did more than anybody else to wipe out Greco-Roman civilization. The modest contributions they made by preserving certain Greek texts through Arabic translations cannot in any way make up for this massive wave of destruction.
Scott demonstrates that by cutting off the normal trade of Egyptian papyrus to Europe, leaving Europeans only with expensive parchment made from animal skins as a viable alternative, the Arabs essentially doomed much of the Classical literature to oblivion due to a chronic shortage of good writing materials. Sadly, the heroic efforts made by medieval Christian monks in Europe for centuries could only partly make up for this loss.
The author also describes how certain ideas such as an early version of the Inquisition, the concept of Holy War and other often negative innovations were spread due to Islam. The first massacres of Jews in Europe were carried out in Spain by Muslim mobs early in the eleventh century; in 1011 (in Cordoba) and 1066 (in Granada).
He rejects the distorted and romanticized view of Muslim tolerance. On the contrary, with the Arab conquest of North Africa and Spain, “a reign of terror was to commence that was to last for centuries.” After the appearance of Islam, “the Mediterranean was no longer a highway, but a frontier, and a frontier of the most dangerous kind. Piracy, rapine, and slaughter became the norm – for a thousand years!” Yet this fact has been almost completely overlooked by historians, especially those of northern European extraction. As Scott concludes in his book:
With the arrival of Islam, Mediterranean Europe was never again at peace – not until the early part of the nineteenth century, anyway. Muslim privateers based in North Africa, the Barbary Pirates, terrorized the Mediterranean until after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. In the centuries preceding that, Muslim armies, first in the form of the Almoravids and later the Ottomans, launched periodic large-scale invasions of territories in southern Europe; and even when they were not doing so, Muslim pirates and slave-traders were involved in incessant raids against coastal settlements in Spain, southern France, Italy, Dalmatia, Albania, Greece, and all the Mediterranean islands. This activity continued unabated for centuries, and the only analogy that springs to mind is to imagine, in northern Europe, what it would have been like if the Viking raids had lasted a thousand years. It has been estimated that between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries Muslim pirates based in North Africa captured and enslaved between a million and a million-and-a-quarter Europeans. Although their attacks ranged as far north as Iceland and Norway, the impact was most severe along the Mediterranean coasts of Spain, France and Italy, with large areas of coastline eventually being made uninhabitable by the threat.
Because of this constant Islamic threat for more than a thousand years, the Mediterranean coastal lands of southern Europe from Spain to the Balkans had to live in a state of constant alert, with fear of pirates and Jihadist slave raids never far removed. A similar pattern can be detected in the Black Sea region, from Romania to Russia.
Scott’s book does have a few weaknesses. Among the minor ones, Scott occasionally gives too much space to describe fringe hypotheses such as the one positing three missing centuries during the Early Middle Ages that supposedly never happened.
My most serious objection to Scott’s book is that, with some minor exceptions he seems to take traditional Islamic history at face value, and accepts that the Islamic expansions took place the way Muslims claim that they did. Robert Spencer’s recent book Did Muhammad Exist? presents a very different view on this matter.
It must be treated as a serious possibility that when the Arab conquests began, Islam as we think of it today simply did not exist. If that is the case, this creates some gaping holes in the apologia about the allegedly “tolerant” nature of the Arab conquests. We know both from archaeological evidence and from comments by conquered peoples that the Arabs were quite brutal conquerors. Furthermore, if Islam did not exist in recognizable form then it was not possible for the Arabs to forcibly convert the conquered peoples to Islam at this date.
Nonetheless, the single most positive thing to be said about Emmet Scott’s book is that Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited is truly groundbreaking. This is especially so when Scott explains how the archaeological evidence clearly indicates a sudden wave of massive destruction throughout the entire Mediterranean region in the seventh century of our era that can hardly be attributed to anything other than the Arab conquests.
While there are a few minor flaws in this work, the central thesis of the book is convincingly demonstrated: The decline of Greco-Roman civilization seems to coincide with the rise of Islam. That is hardly coincidental. The historical pattern is very clear: Where Islam enters, civilization soon exits.

Faber: Forget Greece - China Poses Biggest Threat to Global Economy



By: Forrest Jones
A slowdown in China poses the biggest threat to the global economy and not a Greek exit from the eurozone, says economist and investor Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report.

Greece is teetering on abandoning the eurozone, which could roil global markets.

Big deal, Faber says.
"I think the biggest risk is actually China because if you look at Greece, it's an insignificant economy," Faber tells CNBC Asia's "Capital Connection."

"Yes, they owe money, but the market knows that it's bankrupt."

European Union countries have been able to prop up the Greek economy but China, home to the world's second-largest economy, could majorly disrupt the global economy should it continue its cooling

"This has a huge impact on the economies of countries like Brazil, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and Australasia, so these countries could slow down meaningfully," Faber says.

China is the largest single contributor to global economic growth, contributing 31 percent of worldwide gross domestic product expansion from 2010 through 2013, according to IMF data, up from 8 percent in the 1980s.

Chinese industrial output and retail sales data have disappointed recently, prompting the Beijing to cut the reserve requirement ratio on the country's banks to get them to lend more and stimulate the economy.

"That is a real and serious problem," says Xiang Songzuo, chief economist for the giant China Agricultural Bank, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

"The real demand for bank lending has been slowing down quite obviously," Xiang adds.

Ways to Talk about the Firing of Naomi Schaefer-Riley

By Robert Oscar Lopez


If you are not a complete nerd like me and obsessed with the inner workings of American universities, you may not be aware that someone named Naomi Schaefer-Riley was fired in early May, from a publication known as the Chronicle of Higher Education. You can find out some of the details here and here and here and here.
As you can see from this link, the Chronicle hosts twenty families of blogs, of which Brainstorm is only one. Brainstorm contains twelve bloggers now that Riley is gone. Now there is no visible right-wing female voice in the entire publication.
Keep in mind that the Chronicle lacks not only ideological diversity. Browse through the blogs and you will see a parade of old, white, liberal faces, all of whom have the dainty air of Elizabeth Warren, our purportedly Cherokee darling from Harvard. I have nothing against old white people, but the Chronicle is far worse than the Republican Party at fostering racial class diversity. At least we have Nikki Haley.
Because higher education has been dominated by people on the left for the last four decades, and the Chronicle is seen as the gold standard of the field, Riley's firing can be described as traumatic for conservatives who care about education.
The ironies and hypocrisies in the situation abound: Riley's married to a black man and has two biracial children, but that didn't matter to the 6,500 academics who signed a petition demanding that she be fired for being racist.
The supposedly delicate graduate students offended by Riley were allowed to publish a reply letter in the Chronicle in which they accused Riley of trying to "not to be out-niggered by her right-wing cohort," something that is not only unprofessional, but also particularly offensive, given that Riley's two children are half-black.
The contradictions are dizzying, but leftist academics don't see contradictions. To them, this all makes sense. That's what is so scary.
Mere days after Riley's firing, Jacques Berlinerblau, one of the other Brainstorm bloggers, reacted to a New York Times article and rushed to offer analysis about conservatives' likely intentions to drag up the Jeremiah Wright scandal.
Berlinerblau's analysis was disproved almost immediately when both Romney and Joe Ricketts distanced themselves from the supposed plans to redirect discussion to Wright. Berlinerblau's bad analysis is arguably worse than Riley's, because he formed an incorrect viewpoint based on only one article, and his viewpoint had nothing to do with higher education, and Berlinerblau is not a political scientist, and he was shown wrong within hours of printing his opinion, and his wrongness reflected his longstanding tendency to misread conservatives from his Georgetown perch, and he did this immediately after someone got fired within the same blog cluster for being sloppy and off-topic.
Riley did the rounds in the Wall Street Journal, on Fox News, and in friendly right-wing corners of the blogosphere, but realistically speaking, I don't see any route of redress. Conservatives are so scarce in the academy, and those on the inside so terrified for their jobs, that Riley's fate as a commentator on higher education is hopeless. Luckily, her husband has a solid job, and she can work outside the academic realm. Career scholars who get trashed like this end up on food stamps or drunk in back alleys (seriously) or worse.
Conservatives can fume and counterblog and protest all we want. Within the world of academics, the left has what we call "hegemony."
It is easy to feel lost and powerless, especially when you have lost and you have no power. But the Riley Affair gives us, perhaps, a chance to reflect on our rhetorical strategies as a movement still in exile. Here are some ideas I'd like to offer:
1. Let's stay true to our standards. It was wrong to fire Riley, but her column had a lot of problems. It is not right to dismiss an entire field like Black Studies based on three dissertations that aren't even available for review yet. As painful as it might be, we must hold other conservatives accountable even if it means acknowledging that we are aligning ourselves with critiques from the left.
2. Let's not become the stereotype the left projects, especially when it comes to race. Some right-wing responses to the Riley Affair move beyond Black Studies and start to dismiss black culture and history. African-Americans were forbidden to read and write during the slavery era, yet they produced a rich fount of narratives, music, and folklore. The tradition of black intellectuals (starting with Phillis Wheatley in 1773 and moving forward to today, comprising thousands of volumes of incredible literature) is enough to constitute an entire field known as Black Studies. Black conservatism, which I study extensively in my book (see below), has been extremely important to the Republican Party's history. This fact is all the more impressive given how little black Americans started with; few ethnic groups in the world have accomplished such an enormous cultural turnaround. And do not forget that Classics is another loosely organized interdisciplinary field. The debates among black intellectuals are as rich as the debates between Cato and Caesar, even if many Black Studies scholars don't do their field justice.
3. Let's critique the structural problems of academia itself. The alienation of conservatives comes largely from the priestly structure that the academy inherited from the Middle Ages. Universities in the U.S. still follow the lead of Harvard and Yale, which were patterned after Oxford and Cambridge, where scholarship was a mysterious activity entwined with ecclesiastical authority. Academics like to form cliques and submit to high priests; they expect chastity, poverty, and obedience from newcomers and thrive on emotional torture and ostracism as punishment for apostasy. Not only does this allow for a lack of ideological diversity, which affects us as conservatives, but it also produces an underclass of adjunct labor -- virtual slaves who do most of university teaching while pampered elitists doing "important research" get light teaching loads, sabbaticals, and disproportionate fanfare. The vast majority of American college students eke out their degrees on a tight budget while elite colleges grow fat on untaxed endowments earmarked for special privileges.
4. Let's distinguish between resisting academic injustice and embracing anti-intellectualism. Tom Friedman of the New York Times is hardly an ally to conservatives, so beware when we start to sound like him, extolling the virtue of depersonalized, computerized instruction between super-professors and hundreds of thousands of faceless students getting cheap certificates. The answer to the left's control of intellectual institutions is not for the right to rush to online vocational programs and dismiss outright the role of museums, libraries, and classics. It's hard to feel invested in education when educators are so hostile to us, but we cannot let go yet.
The best we can do at this point is stay watchful and keep trying to strategize our triumphant return to the academy. It will happen one day -- just not now.
Robert Oscar Lopez teaches American literature and Classics at CSU Northridge. His book, Colorful Conservative: American Conversations with the Ancients from Wheatley to Whitman, came out in 2011.

How to Write Democrat Autobiographies (or Naked Came the Kenyan Cherokee)

By Clarice Feldman


Maybe it was just a dream, but I feel certain that I read an essay titled "How to Write Democrat Autobiographies (or Naked Came the Kenyan Cherokee*)," authored by Barack H. Obama and Elizabeth Warren.
I can't remember the name of the publication it was in, or even the entire text, but certain things stand out about it and are as clear as if the article were in my own hands right now.
The authors advised that to really advance in life, it helps to make your background as exotic as possible. Warren suggested checking the Native American box or other ethnic preference boxes on all school and employment applications and went so far as to suggest that the reader submit recipes to ethnic cookbooks to provide "evidence" of one's claim to priority based on ethnic identity.
For "Pow Wow Chow," which billed itself as an American Indian cookbook, heavy on recipes using Wonder Bread, baloney, Velveeta cheese spread, and mayonnaise, Warren offered up her Cherokee family's traditional crab omelet. All right, so those recipes were Pierre Franey's...but heck, maybe he was from some French Cherokee tribe.
Obama said he had tried sending in his family's mbaazi, dog, and millet recipe, but no one would take it, so he told his literary agent just to say he was born in Kenya, figuring no one would scramble to Africa to see if the claim were true.
Don't worry about being called out on your ancestral fable-making, they advised.
Warren said the trick is to pretend that you knew nothing about who checked off those boxes and that you never heard your school bragging about the native Indian woman they just hired when you were the only hire. "If that doesn't work, just act indignant at the suggestion that those irrelevancies had a thing to do with your hiring," she added. What could be more sexist and racist than challenging an obviously fraudulent claim to a double-special elevation up the academic ladder?Clarice's Pieces.png
Obama added that one could always get others to take the fall more directly if needed. "I told my literary agent to say I was born in Kenya when we were looking for publishers to give a huge advance to me at a time when I'd done nothing but graduate from law school." It worked, and then, in 2007, when he was running for president, he said he simply had the publisher drop that from the promotional booklet 'cause it might create a "birther" claque.
The agent took the fall when those busybodies from Breitbart got onto it. At first I was worried that some crack reporter -- say, the Washington Post's Maraniss -- might see that and give me trouble during the campaign, but they all shut up about it. Why would that surprise everyone? I mean, I cannot make my verbs match the subjects and yet those morons go along with the pretense that I wrote my own books. Let Jack Cashill amass as much evidence of fraud as he chooses, who's going to believe him?
When people started questioning my literary representatives about the Kenyan birth, right on cue my agent stepped up and took the blame. Now all those reporters know enough about the literary business to know that the information for the author's biographical information comes from the author and he clears all the promotional material, but they aren't saying a word about this. And how realistic is it to believe that an agent just pulled the Kenyan birth tale out of the ether? But those sycophants don't even report the story let alone question the excuse.
Heck, I remember them laughing at anyone who ever questioned the place of my birth. Is there anyone easier to hoodwink than the members of the academia and the press?
(Have they even reported that the birth certificate he provided was an admitted forgery? Didn't the make-believe genealogical backup for Warren's claim get more coverage than the admission that it was false?) In sum, if you're a Democrat, you can just make stuff up about yourself. No one in the press cares. If they don't report it, who'll ever find out?
"It's such a sweet gig," added Obama. "If you're a Democrat, even if you slipped up and told some unsavory truths about yourself, the press loves you, and they will ignore the admissions."
I said I ate dog, and yet the press forgets about that and still claims Romney's a dog hater cause he transported Seamus in a carrier on top of his car.
I said in "Dreams of My Father" I created such a mess the Hispanic maids at Occidental college cried when they saw how much filthy work I made for them, but you'll never hear that -- just the make believe tale of Romney's "bullying" some kid in high school.
But Obama tacked on a caveat. Just because the press is in the tank for you and won't tell readers that it's clear you lied through your teeth most of your life and -- in rare moments of candor -- admittedly engaged in behavior that might turn off voters, you may need to do more, he advised, offering up the Wright example.
I pretended I was a Christian and pointed to the 20 years I was a member and regular attendant of Rev. Wright's church in Chicago. When his racist and unchristian remarks became more widely known, I pretended I never was at those sermons and didn't hear them. Then, as author Ed Klein reports, I sent Dr. Whittaker to him with a $150,000 bribe to keep his mouth shut until after the election. It didn't work. He still kept yapping and it would have been troublesome except the press never really reported it anyway so I saved the $150,000 and the bad news stayed buried anyway.
"Even though I often slipped up about my Islamic upbringing and sympathies the Rev Wright cover worked," Obama continued. "I expect there will be no change on that even though Wright is now publicly saying he made it 'comfortable' for me to 'accept Christianity without having to renounce my Islamic background.'"
But just in case the Breitbart and Klein revelations prove problematic to my re-election, I'm personally going through the presidential biographies on the White House website and adding my estimate of my accomplishments compared to theirs. I come out very well, if I say so myself. Just in case there's any slippage though, I'm also following Elizabeth's example and whining that it's really hard for someone named Barack Hussein Obama to be elected to the presidency.

*In memoriam: Mike McGrady

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chinese Trolls and Chen's Abusers

By Wendy Wright


As events unfold in the gripping saga of Chen Guangcheng's desperate bid to flee Chinese oppressors, trolls for the Chinese government have posted comments on websites that, unwittingly, remind us why he is persecuted: Chen dared to expose the brutal reality of China's population control program.
This ought to unnerve groups like UNFPA, the U.N. population agency, and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Both helped implement China's one-child policy.
Yet they appear unfazed. Their top priority right now is pressuring countries to adopt population policies at Rio+20, a U.N. global summit in Brazil in June. They intend to get world leaders to deal with "population dynamics" and achieve "sustainable development" by agreeing to reduce the number of human beings through reproductive services like abortion.
Chen's case is a timely warning of what this can mean.
China's central government sets national population targets and expects local officials to meet them. Chen revealed that local officials, whose careers hinge on attaining goals, forcibly abort women and terrify their families.
Chen's transgression was insisting that national officials hold local officials accountable. For that, he's been jailed, beaten, and imprisoned in his home. His family members are under house arrest.
The message is clear: population control takes precedence over human rights.
Investigations of population control policies reveal an invisible hand of Western elites. Great Britain recently gave $268 million to India even after being warned that the program commits mass coerced sterilizations. UNFPA, whose grants paid for training and equipment like computers to calculate birth quotas, praised China's one-child policy. Gill Greer, director of IPPF, which includes the China Family Planning Association as a member, said adopting the population "policy is very conducive to China's development."
They absolve themselves by arguing that their agencies don't directly commit coerced abortions and sterilizations. Of course not. The national agencies that they fund and equip do the dirty work.
Why do they continue the partnerships? Here is where the Chinese trolls come in. Check out this striking response to a column by Jonathan Kay:
Here's a comment in support of China's one-child policy, that all you dimwitted weirdos can get excited about. In the first place, China's one-child policy is the law in China. Enforced abortions and sterilizations in very rare extreme cases are legal in China. Yes, naturally, these exceptional events are tragic and ugly, and of course no sane person wants to publicize them. On the other hand, reputable organizations estimate the number of enforced abortions and sterilizations in China over the past 20 years as a few thousand, far below 10,000, not the millions that liars like Kay cite. The overwhelming majority of Chinese couples, far more than 99.9 percent of the population, are much too smart and self-disciplined to selfishly break the law. The number of enforced abortions and sterilizations in Linyi over the 10-year period described was approximately 22. Of course the Chinese government made an example of officials as a PR gesture. Only a sicko would expose such sad and unpleasant events in the first place.
Even so, aiding and abetting common criminals, and accessory to criminal acts, are crimes in virtually every nation, and Chen, probably the most narcissistic, vain, and conceited person ever born on Earth, was fairly tried, convicted, and leniently imprisoned for his crimes. He remains nothing but a common criminal. The one-child policy of China, which almost all Chinese agree is a good and necessary law, merely demonstrates yet again how superior the Chinese are to all other people on the planet, and how superior the Chinese national government is to all other national governments. People who cringe from the facts and the truth merely demonstrate their inferiority.
Fears of overpopulation can drive people, to varying degrees, to justify "necessary" population control.
(Note that publicizing -- not committing -- forced abortions is the greater offense that drives guys like this batty. In light of that: here is Chen Guangcheng's report on victims of China's one-child policy. Jonathan Kay highlights a few cases and elegantly explains the link to decriminalized abortion.)
Not all one-child defenders are Chinese mouthpieces. Believers in overpopulation, or the latest iteration of environmentalism, insist that we must cut down the number of human beings -- chiefly those poor and unborn.
UNFPA, IPPF, and their government allies overlook horrific abuses in the greater quest to legitimize abortion and reduce populations.
UNFPA claims it has persuaded the Chinese government to change its ways and adopt voluntary family planning. Chen's work dramatically proves that UNFPA's presence in China has not translated into a gentler one-child policy.
Justice for Chen will not end with rescuing him, his family, and associates like He Peirong. It carries on his work to combat population control -- both its brutal implementation in places like China and surreptitious policies that legitimize and fund it through the U.N. and international agencies.
Wendy Wright is interim executive director for C-FAM, an institute focused on international social policy.

Chen Guangcheng: An Inconvenient Activist

Posted By Faith J. H. McDonnell On May 18, 2012 @ 12:02 am

Chen Guangcheng has never lacked courage. Until his daring Sunday, April 22nd escape from house arrest was announced to the world, the 41-year-old blind Chinese activist was not well known in the West except to China-watchers and human rights activists. But those who regard Chen as a hero range from peasants in his home province of Shandong to other celebrated Chinese dissidents. Members of Congress and the British Parliament knew of Chen’s bravery long before he climbed over the back wall of his home in the dead of night and began a journey which he trusts will eventually lead to freedom.
The Obama Administration is just beginning to reckon with this courageous man. Although Chen was pressured out of the Embassy, at suggestions that his wife would be beaten to death, and his extended family would suffer, his trust in the Americans had already created a diplomatic nightmare for the Obama Administration. They have been reticent in their remarks on Chen Guangcheng.
On the other hand, members of Congress have been vocal in their support for Chen. In the past three weeks, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Chair Christopher Smith (R-NJ) has held two hearings on Chen. Remarkably, Chen has phoned in and made statements at both the Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing on May 3 and the Subcommittee hearing on May 15.
At the May 3 hearing, U.S. Representative Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) declared, “The most generous read of the administration’s handling of this case is that it was naïve in accepting assurances from a government that has a well-known and documented history of brutally repressing its own people under this government.” Witness Michael Horowitz, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow, remarked that one of the “great things we could do for the pursuit of American interests” would be to “replace the State Department with the AFLCIO.” “This is an issue of bargaining,” said Horowitz. “Anybody at the Teamsters Union would have flunked every one of these people who were bargaining for the life and freedom of such a world hero.”
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers’ President Reggie Littlejohn stressed the underlying issue that set the Chinese Communist government against Chen and that has been left out of much of the discussion in the mainstream media: “he was the one person in China who dared to stand up against the One Child policy.” Not many in the media or the Administration were eager to reveal that Chen’s crime was exposing the brutal practices of forced abortion and sterilization of Chinese women, and the “gendercide” practiced against baby girls. Surely, part of the Obama Administration’s uneasiness over Chen stems from the awkwardness of defending an anti-abortion activist. Vice President Joe Biden has even defended the One Child policy.
Chen is called a “barefoot lawyer,” because he provides free legal services but has no law degree. The blind were previously denied college admission in China, so Chen, who has been blind since childhood, was only permitted to audit classes. He started giving legal advice to disabled people in his home province of Shangdong, Dongshigu Village, in 1996. But in 2005, his activism shook the entire country and beyond. Chen went from village to village in Shandong Province collecting testimonies of tens of thousands of women who had been rounded up and forced to be sterilized or have abortions, even in the eighth month of pregnancy. Neither Chen’s blindness nor his lack of a degree prevented him from exposing some 130,000 forced abortions that took place in one year in that one province and filing class-action lawsuits on behalf of the victimized families.
Chen presented his findings in a class-action lawsuit against the Lin Yi City bureau of the Family Planning Commission. He also exposed this hidden horror to major international media when he traveled to Beijing in June 2005 to file a lawsuit there. A year later, Chen was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2006. In her tribute, journalist Hannah Beech said, “He may have lost his sight as a child, but Chen Guangcheng’s legal vision has helped illuminate the plight of thousands of Chinese villagers.”
In September 2005, Chen was placed under house arrest by Lin Yi City officials. Beech related, “three hours after meeting with Time in Beijing to discuss the issue, Chen was shoved into an unmarked vehicle by public-security agents from his hometown. They bundled him back to his village, where he was held under house arrest for months.” In March 2006, he was removed from home and taken to detention. At his trial in August 2006 he was sentenced to four years and three months’ detention on trumped-up charges of “damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic.” Chen’s attorneys, some of the most well-known Christian human rights attorneys in China, were also subjected to abuse of various forms for their defense of Chen Guangcheng.
In February 2009, British Parliamentarian Lord David Alton provided an update on the imprisoned blind activist. Alton and his colleague, Baroness Caroline Cox, had just returned from China where they met with Chen’s attorneys. Alton reported that Chen was “gravely ill” and being denied medical treatment in prison. He told how Chen’s attorney, Li Fangping, a member of the Chinese Christian Rights Defense Association, had been assaulted and severely beaten when he traveled from Beijing to Linyi to meet with Chen at the time of Chen’s arrest. Li, who later participated in a pro-life demonstration in front of the U.S Supreme Court in October 2008, was also forcibly “disappeared,” tortured, and detained for five days in April 2011.
While Chen Guangcheng was in prison, his wife, Yuan Weijing, was rarely given permission to see him. During their 2009 visit she told Alton and Cox that Chen shared a cell with seven or eight other prisoners who were told not to speak to him. He survived mostly on bread and water, with an occasional vegetable. Chen’s attorneys told Alton that in spite of his physical condition, Chen was “very strong in his resolve” and would not give up. They said that if he would “recant his previous statements” he would be released “immediately.” But Chen refused to betray those families who have suffered through China’s one-child policy, and he refused to remain passive to the injustice he himself was facing.
On September 9, 2010, Chen finished his prison sentence and was sent home. He and his family were kept under heavy surveillance. In December 2010, LifeSiteNews quoted a report from Liberation, a French magazine, saying that Chen’s entire village of Dongshigu had been converted into a prison. Liberation’s China correspondent, Phillipe Grangerou, wrote that “The picturesque hamlet, situated close to a national highway, might resemble thousands of others in that part of the northeast of China,” but that no one “is authorized to enter Dongshigu, nor to communicate with its inhabitants.” Grangerou added that telephone lines were cut, surveillance cameras were placed around the perimeter, and the town was guarded by about “forty armed men dressed in military garb, who maintain a checkpoint for the few people permitted to come and go.”
Chen and Yuan are feistily defiant towards the Chinese Communist government. This is demonstrated in a smuggled out video China Aid received in February 2011. On the video Yuan showed how she piled cornstalks outside the window to make it more difficult for the officials to see in. “So they took a ladder and stand on it to keep watching now,” she said. Sure enough, a man’s face pops up above the cornstalks. Then the video shifts to Chen, who says, “In the twinkling of an eye, it is already over ten weeks since I walked from a small prison to this grand prison (house arrest).” He thanks both Chinese human rights lawyers and international activists for their support and provides details of the vast security team monitoring them. “Only my mother can go to get something for us to eat and stay alive,” he says. Chen accuses the officials of breaking the law and demands, “Can this Party Committee be above the law?”
Soon after the video surfaced, Yuan sent China Aid a letter telling how “led by the vice secretary of the Communist Party of Shuanghou Town, Zhang Jian and some National Security Policemen,” a group of 70-80 men beat and tortured them for more than two hours. “More than 10 men covered me totally with a blanket and kicked my ribs and all over my body,” she wrote. Chen was also beaten unmercifully. Meanwhile, other men plundered the house and confiscated their computer, video camera, tape recorder, all of their battery chargers, and even flashlights. The officials confiscated toys and books from their five year-old daughter, Kesi. In her own words Kesi lamented, “I am such a girl to be pitied. They robbed everything from me.”
It was from this difficult existence that Chen sought to deliver his family. But after his escape was revealed, trouble began. On April 27, The Guardianreported the detention of He “Pearl” Peirong, the woman who helped Chen escape and drove him to safety. According to Bob Fu, she was under arrest in an undisclosed location and her blog had been erased. In a Washington Post opinion editorial, Fu said that Pearl told him “she is willing to die with Chen because he is such a ‘pure-hearted courageous person.’”
On May 2, Chen left the U.S. Embassy for a Beijing hospital. Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner assured Bob Fu that the U.S. remained committed to Chen’s family’s safety and freedom and that the agreement reached by both governments would ensure “Chen’s work, function and legal advocacy can be maintained.” But Fu also received reports telling of the threats to Chen’s family if he did not accept the Chinese government’s offer. Security officials had tied Yuan to a chair for two days and threatened her. On May 10, Chen told Reuters that Chinese officials were launching “crazed reprisals” on his family. Chen’s nephew, Chen Kegui, had been arrested and charged with “intentional homicide,” for defending his parents when officials broke into their house in the middle of the night following Chen’s escape.
The Guardian on April 27 quoted Human Rights Watch’s Sophie Richardson declaring, “None of these people will have gone into it without a pretty clear idea of what might happen to them as a result. That shows extraordinary courage on the part of activists who are extremely vulnerable to exactly these kinds of reprisals … In my view, the least other governments can do is stand with them.” Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney agrees. Romneyurged that President Obama should “take every measure” to protect Chen. “Our country must play a strong role in urging reform in China and supporting those fighting for the freedoms we enjoy,” Romney said in a public statement.
On May 4 a State Department press release announced that the Chinese government said that Chen Guangcheng had “the same right to travel abroad as any other citizen of China.” The statement said Chen had been offered a fellowship at an American university and that they understood that China would approve his request to leave. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) warned “U.S. officials made a mistake by escorting Chen away from the safety of the U.S. embassy and into an uncertain fate. To avoid another harmful error, the State Department must press China to carry out its commitments. We cannot assume that this saga has been resolved.” But thanks, it seems, to the May 15 hearing, resolving it may be. Less than 24 hours after the hearing Chinese officials brought travel application forms to Chen’s hospital room and collected passport fees for the couple and their two children. Bob Fu reported that Chen was told that passports would be issued in 15 days. He looks forward to the Chen family’s coming to America.
When Chen Guangcheng does indeed arrive in America, the U.S. government may look forward to further disturbance. Chen will no more be silent about the issues of forced abortion and sterilization in China while in America than he was in China. He and his family will probably participate in the same sort of pro-life events that his former lawyer, Li Fangping, did during his short visit to the United States. The Chens may cause some people to rethink long held convictions. Some disturbances are good for the soul.