carl william spitzer iv
cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Wed Nov 12 12:47:41 MST 2003
Except in the case of democrats the stupidity is natural. CWSIV
by Thomas Sowell
A recent news story about a teacher who assigned her
students to write anti-war letters may have seemed like just
an isolated episode, but teachers using students for their
own little ego trips is by no means uncommon.
Perhaps the worst recent example was a teacher who
unleashed her venom on the children of military personnel
who had gone off to fight in Iraq.
Just last week I received a bundle of letters from
students who have apparently been given an assignment to
write to me by a teacher in an English class in Flat Rock
High School in Flat Rock, Mich. This was occasioned by a
column of mine that said some things that were not politi-
The first of these letters was from a girl who in-
formed me, from her vast store of teenage wisdom, of things
I knew 30 years ago, and closed by telling me I needed to
find out about poverty. Since I spent more years in poverty
than she has spent in the world, this would be funny if it
were not so sad.
With American students consistently scoring at or near
the bottom on international tests, you would think our
schools would have better things to do than tell kids to
write letters to strangers, spouting off about things of
which they know little or nothing.
Flat Rock High School's envelopes, in which the stud-
ents wrote their assigned letters, have the motto: "Where
Tomorrow's Leaders Learn." Sadly, they are learning not to
be leaders but to be sheeplike followers, repeating politi-
cally correct notions and reacting with snotty remarks to
anyone who contradicts them.
It is bad enough when someone takes the position that
he has made up his mind and doesn't want to be confused by
the facts. It is worse when someone else makes up his mind
for him and then he dismisses any facts to the contrary by
attributing bad motives to those who present those facts.
Creating mindless followers is one of the most dan-
gerous things our public schools are doing. Young people who
know only how to vent their emotions, and not how to weigh
opposing arguments through logic and evidence, are sitting
ducks for the next talented demagogue who comes along in
some cult or movement, including movements like those that
put the Nazis in power in Germany.
At one time, the educator's creed was: "We are here to
teach you how to think, not what to think." Today, schools
across the country are teaching students what to think
whether about the environment, the war, social policy or
Even if what they teach were true, that would be of
little use to these young people in later life. Issues and
conditions change so much over time that even the truth
about today's issues becomes irrelevant when confronted with
the future's new challenges.
If students haven't been taught to think, they are at
the mercy of events, as well as at the mercy of those who
know how to take advantage of their ignorance and their
Classroom brainwashing is not new. I wrote about it a
decade ago in my book "Inside American Education." Education
Department hearings brought out the same things a decade
When will the voting public get the message? Where are
the parents of these children? Do parents in Flat Rock,
Mich., want their children's time in school wasted on their
teachers' ideological hobby horses, instead of being used to
prepare an intellectual foundation for their further educa-
In the long run, the greatest weapon of mass destruc-
tion is stupidity. In an age of artificial intelligence, too
many of our schools are producing artificial stupidity, in
the sense of ideas and attitudes far more foolish than young
people would have arrived at on their own. I doubt whether
the youngsters in Flat Rock, Michigan, were brought up by
their parents to say and do the silly things their teachers
have assigned them to do.
Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an avowed
enemy can destroy many Americans, but they cannot destroy
America, because we are too strong and too capable of coun-
terattack. Only Americans can destroy America. But too many
of our schools have for years been quietly undermining the
values and abilities needed to preserve any society and
especially a free society.
The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!
More information about the Rushtalk