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The Minotaur of Oppression

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Via Sadly, No…

I don’t know what teachers teach in writing classes these days; I think the first thing a student should learn is “concision is key.” Don’t say in twenty words what you can say in ten. Certainly, there are times when concision is not in order, but when you’re writing non-fiction with the intent to inform, concision is a good thing to keep in mind.

This is a blog entry about  what the author refers to as  “educational guerrilla warfare.” The long and short of it is that he wants people to home school their children because he fears said children are being indoctrinated with…something (he never specifies). This is something he could have said in a paragraph or three, but he chose to blather on for what I can only assume was 30 kajillion words. And he did so  while using fifty-cent words I’m fairly certain he doesn’t  understand the meaning of and painting bizarre word pictures that I think would be better served by impromptu toddler poop drawings.

Eschewing concision in favor of florid, flowery language is something people do when they want to seem smarter than they are. This author’s curb-stomping of good, clear, informative writing is a pet peeve of mine: he’s trying to bulk up his thin argument with a style he assumes conveys intelligence. But only regular readers of “American Thinker” are going to nod sagely when they read things like this:

Parents must gradually take back the responsibility for raising their own children, the future men and women who will determine whether progressive authoritarianism is permitted to close the final, innermost gate of its labyrinth, locking our descendants inside to be devoured by the Minotaur of oppression, or whether the monster will be killed at last by a modern Theseus, in the form of millions of free souls prepared to defend themselves as too few today are, and to rebuild their communities — to recivilize — on principles of reason and human nature.

But, my quibbles with his writing style aside, I just find the whole premise of his argument eye-rollingly silly. Besides, I don’t have time to tilt at the windmills of Minotaur oppression when there are so many Centaurs of fascism to fry.

I remember school. I remember things like learning to write cursive letters, learning how to multiply, how to speak French. I remember learning a little about dinosaurs. I remember learning how to diagram a sentence. I remember doing a book report on “Wuthering Heights.” If my teachers were hoping to indoctrinate me with anything, it must have been some semblance of a decent education. Sure, there were was that time in first grade I was strapped to a chair and had to listen to  “Free to Be You and Me” on a loop; but–to be fair– the straps hardly hurt at all and some of those songs are catchy.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk–at least a little bit–about the standard issue liberal-trolling on display in the entry. Anyhoo, the author basically does a Full Jonah with a Twist and nails the landing. In other words, he takes everything libs say about wingnuts and says “YOU ARE, DOODYHEADS!” We think wingnuts are dumb? Well, the author will show us: we’re dumbing down (you’ll be surprised to learn he does not specify in which way) curriculums so kids will be the state’s pliant sheep. Which is great, ‘cuz who doesn’t love soft wool sweater? We think wingnuts have authoritarian leanings? Well, he makes a point of referring to liberals as authoritarians at least sixty-billion times, and I’m not being melodramatic  at all when I say that. He didn’t get around to calling us the real racists, but I’m pretty sure that’s only because he was busy fending off a Medusa of Maoism.

Here’s the thing. I really did listen to “Free to Be You and Me” when I was in first grade. During breaks, we were allowed to play records of our choosing, and I often put it on because, well, it was there. I recall thinking the songs were nice. I may have sung along or danced. I don’t remember, but it seems like something I would do. But I assure you that was the beginning and end of my indoctrination.

Mr Jonescu accuses public schools of erasing individuality. Here’s a description of “Free to Be You and Me” he might find interesting:

The basic concept was to encourage post-1960s gender neutrality, saluting values such as individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity.

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