If anyone had read in the newspapers 20 years ago that some teachers’ union had decided to declare war on Sir John A. Macdonald as a racist exterminator of the native peoples, they would have assumed it must be some kind of a joke. Which in fact it is, though the elementary teachers who actually passed such a motion earlier this month expect it to be taken seriously. The public effect, however, is not to question the deeds of Macdonald, but the sanity and historical knowledge of these teachers. Have we actually put such people in charge of our children? How could this have happened?
I had a singular experience last week. I read the longest newspaper story I’ve ever seen. No, it did not concern the assassination of the American president, nor a nuclear attack by North Korea, nor the catastrophic fiscal collapse of the Ottawa government. None of the above.
It’s always a matter for profound satisfaction when some academically hallowed and irrefutable social science agency formally announces the discovery of something you’ve known all along. I was therefore profoundly satisfied last week when the National Divorce Decision Making Project, having studied 3,000 Americans, age 25 to 50, found that about half them a year after a divorce wished they hadn’t done it.
If history should come to recognize the 21st Century as the era which saw the decline and fall of western civilization– something pessimists like me regard as a distinct possibility– it’s good to see that there are some gutsy individuals who risk their all to prevent such a calamity. One of them made his appearance in the Culture War last week.
The luminaries of the Left in Canada’s province of Alberta have had a very bad year.. First, they assured us that Jason Kenney’s plan to return the province to its cultural and philosophic roots wouldn’t work because those roots didn’t much matter to people any more. They were wrong. Then they told us that traditionalist elements in the Wildrose party would oppose and defeat the union. Again, they were wrong. Then they informed us that there was such a residual embitterment among the old Progressive Conservatives against the Wildrose for splitting the Right, that they could never bring themselves to uniting with them. Wrong again.
When Alberta Education Minister David Eggen announced two years ago that his government was about to launch the most sweeping changes ever undertaken in the public school curriculum, it gave rise to an altogether understandable fear, People saw the villainously conniving propagandists of the Left stealthily out to pervert and destroy the pristine purity of Alberta traditionalism. Well, we were wrong. The first version of the new social studies program came out last month, and it reads like something produced by a collection of school children.
Colby Cosh, the dependably interesting columnist in the National Post, scored again last week. He had noticed that Dayton, Tennessee, venue of the famous Monkey Trial in 1925, had erected a statue of Clarence Darrow, defender of the science teacher John T. Scopes, charged with teaching high school students that men were descended from apes. The prosecuting attorney was William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic candidate for the presidency, and a militant Presbyterian defender of biblical accuracy. (The Scopes trial became a nation-wide circus. It is covered at length in our Christian history series, Vol. 12, p. 66)