Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hear No Evil, See No Evil - Learn Nothing

There's a story in the June 27th issue of the New Yorker that is so positively horrifying, so deadly frightening, I hesitate to trouble you with it. But as poor Linda Loman said, "attention must be paid."

You see, there's this "school" called Patrick Henry College. It's a school populated by 85% homeschooled kids, all evangelical Christian, 99.9% white, and oh yeah, it's a training ground for a career in the Republican party. I'm going to cut to some excerpts, but it's going to be lacking in a proper narrative thread. Just read them, or perhaps skip that and just read the damn article, Mr. Lazybones. Then we'll see if we can find some time for scathing commentary at the end of class.

Patrick Henry is a Christian college, though it is not affiliated with any denomination, and it gives students guidelines on “glorifying God with their appearance.”

Patrick Henry’s president, Michael Farris, is a lawyer and minister who has worked for Christian causes for decades. He founded the school after getting requests from two constituencies: homeschooling parents and conservative congressmen. The parents would ask him where they could find a Christian college with a “courtship” atmosphere, meaning one where dating is regulated and subject to parental approval. The congressmen asked him where they could find homeschoolers as interns and staffers, “which I took to be shorthand for ‘someone who shares my values,’ ” Farris said. “And I knew they didn’t want a fourteen-year-old kid.” So he set out to build what he calls the Evangelical Ivy League, and what the students call Harvard for Homeschoolers.

[Students du Mée and Ross] won four of the six national tournaments they competed in. Some of the younger Patrick Henry teams make a point of taking explicitly Christian positions, such as arguing for teaching alternatives to evolution, but du Mée and Ross tend to be more subtle; they focus, instead, on issues like merit pay for teachers. They met during freshman orientation, and before they began spending “exclusive time” together, in junior year, du Mée called Ross’s father to tell him. Last year, du Mée asked if he could court her by writing her father an eighteen-page single-spaced letter that began “My name is Matthew du Mée and I was a good kid.”

Over Christmas break, du Mée drove to Ross’s house, in Evansville, Indiana, to propose in front of her parents and six siblings. She accepted, and gave him a hug—they wanted their first kiss to be at their wedding. They decided to get married right after graduation and move to Phoenix. Ross would look for a job, but only to pay back loans. Eventually, they want to adjust to living on one salary so that she can homeschool their kids.

Then [Professor] Stacey moved on to Machiavelli’s principle that politics is governed by conspiracies and lies. “Come on, we know politicians lie,” he began. “This is a bit sensitive. How about our beloved George W. Bush? Does he deceive us with what he says in public? Does he lie?”

The students, who had been fully engaged on the subject of Machiavelli and Waco, were silent. Bush has been President since they were teen-agers, and the school newspaper’s editorials never deviate from the White House position. Finally, one student said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Stacey, who has a Ph.D. in government from the University of Virginia, told me that he loved Patrick Henry, because the students “really want to be here, which is very satisfying for a professor.” He is an evangelical Christian, but he worries that his students sometimes revert to jargon they picked up from their parents, “that the nation’s founders just fell out of Heaven, that America is a Christian Nation, capital ‘C’ capital ‘N.’

when students enroll at Patrick Henry, they sign a ten-part statement of faith, agreeing that, among other things, Hell is a place where “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.”

Ben Adams, who sent out a nine-page e-mail to the entire student body before the spring formal reminding the girls to dress modestly. “Lust is sin,” it said. “It is sin for you to tempt us. It is . . . unloving. Unsisterly. Un-Christlike.”

The new careerist code of the Joshua Generation can become a problem for the girls, however. Even the most ambitious ones, those who wake up at 3 a.m. to study, told me without reservation that as soon as they had children they would quit their jobs to raise them.
Aside – why go to school in the first place? Why not just place an ad in your church newspaper, "Available: one uterus. Immediate occupancy. No kiss before marriage. Sex for procreation only. Will stay home while you work. Free-thinkers need not apply."
the expectation of most of the guys she knows at Patrick Henry - that wives should just “fade out,” that she should instantly take on the identity of a wife and mother “and consider it a blessing”

Patrick Henry is trying a complicated experiment: taking young evangelicals who have been raised in rarefied, controlled atmospheres and training them to become political leaders without somehow being corrupted by the secular world’s demands.
And that last line. That's the key right there. Rarefied, controlled atmosphere without being "corrupted" by REALITY. These kids have been homeschooled their whole lives, and when they go to this college, it's essentially the same thing. But instead of your mom cramming her dogma down your throat, it's a so-called university doing it with 300 of your fellow automatons. I've gone into this in great detail before, so there's no need to go nuts here, but the only way conservativism thrives is in ignorance. Universities are supposed to be institutions of learning, of knowledge. If kids go to school, they learn about other things, other ideas. If they want to grow up and be full-fledged adults, it's vital that they are exposed to ideas they had never heard before. If it's a stupid idea, they will use their ability to think critically and dismiss it. If it's a good idea, maybe they'll expand on it. That is the true purpose of higher education – to hone your ability to think critically. If they go to a "university" that only caters to a specific narrow worldview, how will they ever be able to live in a society? What happens when confronted with a dirty faggot for the first time? Or, god forbid, a minority! Whatever will they do?

And by the way the secondary, but I would argue almost as important, purpose of college is developing social skills. Did you ever run into a homeschooled kid in high school or something? They're total freaks. I mean, I'm no social mastermind myself, but these kooks make Howard Hughes look like Cary Grant. And here we have an entire college of freaks running around together building their own self-contained freak society. And a society where they think they shouldn't kiss until their wedding night? Is this how we want our future senators to be? I sure as hell don't.

In any case, you see the problem here. The only way conservatives can maintain their hold on power is to bring up a group of clones who have never been exposed to outside ideas, never been challenged in any meaningful way, let's face it – have never lived a real life. If you love somebody, set them free, right? That is unless you want them to mimic your ideas and behavior like a trained monkey, in which case lock them in a cage and program them like robots until they're 22 years old. And maybe, just maybe, we can bring up a generation of Republicans willing to go that extra mile and burn books, outlaw Hollywood entertainment, and crucify the godless sodomites.

It should be considered criminal child abuse to raise a boy or girl so sheltered, so closed off that they are unable to survive in the real world. This "university" should be shut down on the premise of protecting our children from future harm.

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