Skip to comments.Kyle Williams: Homeschoolers: Political force of the future
Posted on 03/16/2004 1:04:30 AM PST by JohnHuang2
Homeschoolers: Political force of the future
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted: March 13, 2004 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
The judiciary continues to work outside its intended boundaries. The legislature continues to ignore its boundaries, and many of its members do anything for power. The executive, too, has stepped out of its intended role and continues grow in power. As members of the three branches ignore the law, bureaucracies illegally rise in power and authority.
Since its members disregard the law, there is no boundary on government power, except instable opinion polls.
The abuse of power has hit a low point in history, where judicial activism is everywhere, where, as former Rep. Tom Coburn documents in a recent book, principles are sacrificed over political expediency in the legislature, and where the executive can commit many crimes but cover its tracks, as we saw with Bill Clinton. It's all climaxing to a transparent power grab.
That's just the government side of the coin, but the culture war is worse.
Despite this threat, I'm optimistic about the future. There is great cause for all like-minded Americans to be optimistic. A new political force is rising up that will prove to be extremely powerful.
The "vast right-wing conspiracy" is indeed growing and becoming more organized, as an unlikely group of political activists arise. Homeschoolers are a group that will soon be a force the left will have to contend with.
Unfortunately, in the past, conservative organizations have always fallen short of the effectiveness of liberal groups. The biggest problem with conservative Christians is not their ideas, but their leadership and organization. The culture wars have been fought by highly organized liberal groups and by dozens of unorganized conservative groups lacking commitment and strength.
Yet, that is changing, and homeschoolers are leading the charge.
This week, I went to a program at the state Capitol called TeenPact a homeschool program dedicated to educating young people about state government. This organization is an unprecedented opportunity for young people to grow in their knowledge about government and interact with lobbyists, representatives, senators and offices around a state's capitol.
If change in America must be founded upon understanding and education, TeenPact is a prime example of how it should be done.
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is another organization that not only represents homeschool families and fights legal battles in court, but has also begun to spearhead the movement of homeschoolers in politics. Furthermore, with HSLDA's new political action committee, the force will become more relevant in politics.
Another group is the highly organized Generation Joshua, which is headed by Ned Ryun, former presidential speechwriter and the son of Rep. Jim Ryun.
One of the objectives of this organization is to educate homeschoolers on the way government should work. They will be sponsoring a teen camp on the campus of Patrick Henry College this coming summer and has available courses of civic study on the member website.
The second objective of Generation Joshua is about activism. The new organization will be putting together "Student Action Teams" that, funded by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association's PAC, will travel to key races across the country, working on campaigns. In 2002, such groups were put to together and helped six of seven conservative leaders take office, including Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo.
Patrick Henry College in Virginia is at the forefront of the objective of this movement, as their mission statement reads, "To train Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding."
Founded by Michael Farris of HSLDA, the college offers classic liberal arts, history, literature and government, with the purpose to affect America within a student's respective field. PHC will also be working toward offering a law school, degrees in film, broadcast and television journalism, music and other influential fields.
All these groups are unprecedented in their organization and their approach in affecting the future of America. As the tool of homeschooling activism is refined and grows in effectiveness, it will begin to change the political landscape of America.
Liberals everywhere should be scared of such as prospect.
Thus, the growing political role of homeschoolers is the hope and future of the conservative movement. A new generation of young people is rising, and the energy and strength of conservatism will rise with it.
Force and support must be put behind this movement and homeschooling and its activism must be encouraged.
Force and support must be put behind this movement and homeschooling and its activism must be encouraged.
I agree. Real education reform is happening in and because of home schools, especially in pre-secondary education.
We need to get the federal government out of the way, cut the federal department of education spending, and return the tax savings to families so they can have more freedom to provide and guide the education of their children in a school environment of their choosing.
This particular reply of yours was allowed here.
Even if I grant the premise that he's generally an insightful and thoughtful writer - which I'm not about to do - it's impossible to avoid admitting that even the best writers have off days, and occasionally produce substandard work. In the most generous reading, then, this is one such substandard effort. I could be less generous, and suggest that this is typical of his output, but there's no need for that in order to point out that this is a superficial piece of fluff that does not stand up to serious contemplation. In any case, he can either take his lumps like a real writer, or he can get a pass because he's only fifteen - which do you prefer?
Please explain all of this.
Patience. I suspect that nothing less than a detailed description of my complaints will suffice, and so here you go ;)
The problem with people with whom we are predisposed to agree is that, very often, in our haste to agree with them, we wind up signing on to some surprisingly weak premises. Take this, for example:
The biggest problem with conservative Christians is not their ideas, but their leadership and organization.
What? This assessment is, at best, the product of someone who lacks any sort of historical perspective. Have we all forgotten the Lee Atwater machine? Have we all forgotten how ruthlessly effective the RNC was during the elections of 1984 and 1988? Have we forgotten the efforts required to salvage the Clarence Thomas nomination, in the face of the most savage political smear job to come along in a generation? Is there anyone here who denies the organizational skills and leadership of the Christian Coalition? Have we forgotten how quickly and efficiently conservatives and conservative organizations rallied together and swung into action during the disputed period of the last election?
In case Master Williams failed to notice, here's a bit of free insight for him - conservatives in general, and Christian conservatives in particular, are very much a minority in this country, one faction among many. The lad is confusing a lack of results with a lack of organization. But this is simply silly. The historical fact is that organization is the major reason that conservatives are a factor at all - if we were half as disorganized as Master Williams suggests, we'd all be enjoying the fruits of a Gore presidency right now. We are, when the chips are down, far more organized than the left is - we have to be, or else we'll be forever on the outside looking in. But even if we grant his premise, that factionalism is running rampant within and crippling the conservative movement, does anyone seriously believe that the solution to that problem is to promote yet another faction, that bringing some new interest group into the mix somehow promotes unity? At best, this is the screed of a splitter, someone who wants to promote their own faction over and above other existing factions. Color me stupid, but that doesn't serve the goal of unity and organization - if those are our goals, we're far better off funnelling homeschoolers and their associated interested parties into existing organizations, rather than diluting conservatism even more by building yet another wing on to the house.
But I think he really believes what he's saying, that somehow this new thing is a quantum leap above and beyond the old thing. That's one bit of wrongheadedness, probably engendered by a lack of perspective - the boy simply does not remember the past, and it leads him to false premises about the present. More evidence of that lack of perspective rears its head in the salesman's pitch for Patrick Henry College. PHC has, I agree, great potential for the future, but to describe it as "at the forefront" of much of anything is purely wishful thinking at this point - their curriculum is still woefully underdeveloped, as is obvious from their course listings. Clearly, not everyone is in a position to know this, as many people simply aren't familiar with the institution yet, but I assure you that their liberal arts curriculum is not at all up to snuff yet, and suggesting that it will have an immediate impact on the contemporary political landscape is fantasy - if and when PHC has a real influence on the body politic, that influence will not be felt for decades to come. But that's not the point - somehow, Master Kyle has to stick to his theme, which I suppose is good in and of itself, but it leads him into the rather ridiculous assertion that somehow these new groups like PHC and HSLDA are "unprecedented in their organization". And it is an assertion, not an argument - he simply tosses some names out there and claims that they're much more organized than extant groups. Well, they may very well be, but you're not going to discover that from this piece, since Master Williams does not bother to support such a claim in any serious manner.
The problem is not organization, and never really has been. By the same token, the solution is not organizing homeschoolers - these are kids who, by dint of their background, are natural conservatives to begin with, much as Master Williams himself is. Educating them does nothing to advance conservatism - it's preaching to the choir, and the best you get from that is insuring that they don't stray from the reservation. The real problem, the real reason that conservatism is advancing slowly or not at all, is that we're simply outnumbered. And the only way to solve that, long term, is not by organizing and manipulating the system to our advantage - we've been doing that all along - but rather it is to get out there and evangelize among the great masses of the mushy middle, to convert the unconverted.
Outreach is the key - for as much as Master Williams complains that the government is out of control, he fundamentally misunderstands the fact that most people today like the government the way it is, that they want a great big state that does great big things. And why should he be expected to understand that fact? He's fifteen, for crying out loud - he has yet to hit the real world, and he therefore has yet to figure out that his parents and the staff at WND are not representative of a majority in this country. He's simply assuming that most people out there are like him, and are all being tyrannized by some small leftist faction that's managed to worm its way into positions of power.
But that's not how the real world is, and the only way to really change how things actually are is not by organizing and manipulating your way into power - do that, and conservatives will either be unelected for failing to give the electorate that which it thinks it wants, or they will wind up giving away the farm in an effort to retain power for its own sake. The only way to do that is to convince all those other people in the mushy middle that they shouldn't want bread and circuses, because in the long run, it's bad for them. And outreach doesn't begin with homeschoolers - they're in, they're already on board. We need to be getting out there among the folks who aren't predisposed towards conservatism - they're the ones we need to educate and organize.
I suspect that this overemphasis on the importance of homeschooling is a result of the all-too-human tendancy to magnify one's own importance, and the importance of those like you. Kyle is a homeschooler - it's hardly surprising that he should be biased towards other homeschoolers. But the future of this band, if it has one, is not going to be found in rearranging the seating chart and hiring a new conductor - the future lies in bringing more musicians into the band.
And that's simply the beginning of the errors of substance. Stylistic errors are the other half here. The piece opens with "government expanding...blah blah blah...this is bad...state abuse of power...blah blah blah." And then you get, almost as an afterthought, "That's just the government side of the coin, but the culture war is worse." Come again? Planning on discussing that...oh, well, I guess not. It just gets tossed out there without discussion and without comment, as though we're all supposed to know what he means.
Well, we do all know what he means, right? I mean, everyone here knows what he means by the culture war, and what he's referring to in a general sense. Everyone here knows what he means, but as advocacy for general consumption, you can't simply leave that sort of thing hanging. Either back it up, or leave it out, but don't take the low road of assuming that everyone knows what you're talking about - the only ones likely to know what he means by that are the people who are already in agreement with him. No wonder he thinks preaching to the choir is the answer - it's his own preferred method of polemic!
"....where the executive can commit many crimes but cover its tracks, as we saw with Bill Clinton" - I think we have successfully established the gender of Bill Clinton, and hence there is no need to refer to him as "it". Any doubters can contact Miss Lewinsky.
"Founded...with the purpose to affect America within a student's respective field" - what on earth does that mean? Affect America within a field?
"Force and support must be put behind this movement and homeschooling and its activism must be encouraged" - and, by the way, the passive voice must be avoided.
Yes, we all know what he's trying to say, and these may seem trivial things, but generally speaking, in the hands of a competent editor, there might be some things worth extracting from this pile. Not that he's in the hands of a competent editor - I suspect that his columns are printed exactly as they're submitted to WND, with precious little editing at all. Which is a real shame, to tell the truth - in the absence of any critical feedback, and without the guidance of a real, experienced editor who can challenge him to produce worthwhile output, lazy habits of the sort that young Master Williams is falling into will only be reinforced, not eliminated. The world already has one Vox Day, and one is already too much when it comes to advocacy.
That's why I get bleary-eyed at yet another "homeschooling will save America" piece. Home schoolers are a tiny minority of American students (probably under 2%), and that number drops even more after grade 8.
Nor does bringing more students into homeschooling automatically raise the number of conservatives. Homeschooling was a "liberal" movement initially (through John Holt, Growing Without Schooling, etc.) It was going for a good 15 years before Christians flocked to it after the US Supreme Court in the early 1980s issued the ruling against racial segregation (originally directed at Bob Jones University) which closed many whites-only "academies" in areas affected by forced bussing. In many parts of the country homeschooling is divided between liberal and conservative/Christian factions, which is one reason why we still have some horribly rigid state laws in various states.
The part about slamming the ability of Christians to "organize" was interesting, seeing as the Home School Legal Defense Association is not properly a grass-roots homeschooling organization at all, and in some cases (see back issues of Home Education Magazine) has actively worked at cross-purposes with far-longer-established state and regional homeschool organizations.
Amen to that. One of the first things I realized, way back when, when I first got online, is how really bad most people are at writing. I still expect more from someone who is, at least in theory, a semi-professional writer. Obviously, even that might be too much to expect any more ;)
Interesting. I admit I'm not familiar with these cases you refer to, but I have to wonder if Kyle omitted mention of them because he wants to gloss over it, or if he omitted them because he simply doesn't have all the facts at hand. Either way, if it is as you say, it looks bad...
I don't think it's necessarily bad that homeschooling has a big liberal as well as conservative wing. Homeschooling liberals are just as opposed to state intervention as most conservatives.
Count me as a secular homeschooler who doesn't fit the conservative mold - (I fit more into the "libertarian" category) - but this is the first I've read that homeschooling was "going for a good 15 years before Christians flocked to it" or that a "ruling against racial segregation" sent Christians flocking to it. Do you have a source online? I'd like to read more about it.
What I remember reading is that homeschooling was first recommended to "inner-city parents" as an alternative to failing public schools, but "conservative Christians" were the ones who were more willing and organized and therefore better able to take advantage of it. (Just giving credit where credit is due).
In our area, the homeschooling community seems to be split 50/50 with one-half "conservative Christians" and one-half in the "other" category (secular, or Jewish, or not-so-conservative-Christians, etc.). But we all tend to stick together when a law threatens to remove our rights.
Bingo. Along with being possessed of that characteristic arrogance that is a common affliction of fifteen year olds. What is surprising to me are adults who are pretty clearly operating on the belief that youth bestows a particular acuity of perception. It doesn't, and anyone who thinks otherwise has managed to not learn anything from the process of growing up - I don't know about you, but I was certain that I knew everything at fifteen. I was full of fertilizer, of course, but the point is that I didn't realize that fact until later on. I was also lucky that I didn't have a place like FR to parade my idiocy in public, since I would have surely had my butt handed to me on a plate by older and wiser folks, and deservedly so ;)
He can't be expected to know entire chunks of the history of homeschooling.
Perhaps. But the bottom line is that either he knows what he's talking about, or he doesn't.
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