The below article details today’s education failings and how we as Christians can offer the better solution.
Fri, Mar 12, 2021 | By John Schroeder
Been quite the week in education. We started with the host briefly discussing a piece in City Journal by Bari Weiss entitled, “The Miseducation of America’s Elites.” Written from a right-leaning perspective the piece examines the invasion of critical race theory into America’s exclusive, private secondary schools and how it is eroding any meaningful meritocracy.
On Friday the host devoted virtually the entire show to urging listeners with children of the proper age to use their stimulus payments from the bill just passed to put their kinds into reasonable, private education like that offered by Catholic or Lutheran schools. The host’s point is a good one because the public school system is moving into the dumper even faster than the elite preps, but more importantly the Dems own-goaled in this stimulus deal by effectively creating vouchers.
The week was then topped off by a piece in The Atlantic by Caitlyn Flanagan called “Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene.” Ms. Flanagan writes very much from the left and is even more damning that Ms. Weiss of these expensive and exclusive schools. Being of the left Ms. Flanagan excoriates such schools for their hypocrisy – playing at “woke” while being incredibly exclusive. She quotes an anonymous Instagram account formed in response to the woke initiatives at one such school in Southern California:
On the one hand we can laugh at this latest example of HW’s comical embrace of Radical Chic. But on the other, our kids are being taught terrible values: that hypocrisy and dishonesty are fine so long as you virtue-signal the right fashionable politics. And that those fashionable politics are basically meaningless—they are just for show, a way to make being privileged and wealthy truly guilt-free.
The invocation of “guilt” caught my eye. It called to mind a Victor Davis Hanson piece from mid-week in which he examined the fall out of the Oprah and Meghan/Harry interview:
The woke privileged certainly are not willing to give up their own insatiable appetites that are the fruits of their one percent existence. So they play victims and strain to invent interaction with the authentically poor to remind us of their common-man bona fides—and relieve their guilt.
I found it fascinating that Hanson, a man of the right was pointing out in wokeness the same hypocrisy that a woman of the left was noting. Why do these people feel guilty? There is no inherent evil in accomplishment or in having wealth. What is there to make these people feel so guilty? There are a couple of possibilities.
C.S. Lewis once wrote an essay entitles “Bulverism.” In it he discusses an effective, if unreasonable, form of argumentation he calls “Bulverism.” He attributes this unreasonable line of aregument to an interestng combination of Freudianism and Marxism:
The only line they can really take is to say that some thoughts are tainted and others are not – which has the advantage (if Freudians and Marxians regard it as an advantage) of being what every sane man has always believed. But if that is so, we must then ask how you find out which are tainted and which are not. It is no earthly use saying that those are tainted which agree with the secret wishes of the thinker. Some of the things I should like to believe must in fact be true; it is impossible to arrange a universe which contradicts everyone’s wishes, in every respect, at every moment. Suppose I think, after doing my accounts, that I have a large balance at the bank. And suppose you want to find out whether this belief of mine is “wishful thinking.” You can never come to any conclusion by examining my psychological condition. Your only chance of finding out is to sit down and work through the sum yourself. When you have checked my figures, then, and then only, will you know whether I have that balance or not. If you find my arithmetic correct, then no amount of vapouring about my psychological condition can be anything but a waste of time. If you find my arithmetic wrong, then it may be relevant to explain psychologically how I came to be so bad at my arithmetic, and the doctrine of the concealed wish will become relevant – but only after you have yourself done the sum and discovered me to be wrong on purely arithmetical grounds. It is the same with all thinking and all systems of thought. If you try to find out which are tainted by speculating about the wishes of the thinkers, you are merely making a fool of yourself. You must find out on purely logical grounds which of them do, in fact, break down as arguments. Afterwards, if you like, go on and discover the psychological causes of the error.
In other words, you must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method [Note: This essay was written in 1941.] is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became to be so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going the write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father – who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third – “Oh, you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume your opponent is wrong, and then explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.
Clearly critical race theory is Bulverism, writ increasingly large – it presumes racism “inherent in the system” (there’s your Marxism for you) before racism has been actually demonstrated.
But does that really explain the guilt that seems to be driving us towards this nonsense? Certainly there is a feedback loop of a sort. The more you hear about critical race theory, the more you start to question yourself, from which can develop a sense of guilt. But typically for that to work there has to be some guilt present for that feedback loop to play upon. Most people are smart enough to see through this fallacious reasoning; there must be some other factor that gives it traction.
Therein lies the second possibility for explaining this guilt, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to examine it.