World issues in the news, past history, and ongoing
wickedness examined in the light of the King James Bible




EDITOR:
Steve Van Nattan

HOME PAGE

 

NOT ALL THE MONICAS ARE AIR HEADS
Speech by John Fund

This speech needs to be considered carefully.  I contend that we have reached the point of no return.  The Federal State system needs to be disassembled and the individual states of the USA need to each set up their own system of life.  This way, there will again be a choice.

 Read the following and see what you think.  Maybe there is hope, but historically, I feel we are over the hill and on the way into the abyss of degenerate life.

In October of 1997 John Fund, who serves on the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal, gave a speech at the Shavana Institute For National Leadership. The speech was entitled, "Politics, Economics, and Education in the 21st Century."

For all those citizens who are concerned with the direction our country is headed, a portion of Mr. Fund's speech should be read and remembered. With his permission, I relate here only the last three segments for your perusal. Please read it in its entirety and pay particular attention to the very last sentence. If this message strikes you as it did me, pass it on to others and ask them to do the same.

STATISM AND PATERNALISM

If such an intention doesn't sound like a serious threat, please recall the example of communism, which springs from the same deadly combination of statism and paternalism. It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my entire life when, in 1984 (the year British novelist George Orwell made infamous), I visited East Germany. You remember East Germany - the Berlin Wall, the border guards, the secret police, the bread lines, the burnt out and crumbling buildings?

That was the Germany I went to visit. I was accompanied by a friend from the American Embassy. On our tour, we stopped by the Museum of History in Berlin. It was an amazing place. I learned things there I never thought I would learn. For example, I learned that television was invented by an East German in 1956. While we were at the museum, a small group of teenage girls approached us. They were about fourteen or fifteen years old, and they hailed from a small town in the remote countryside. This was their first trip to the capital. They asked us what time it was. Clearly, they knew the answer. They wanted to have a conversation. We were the first Westerners they had ever met.

My first question to them was, "How did you know we were from the West?" They replied, "It was simple. We looked at your shoes and noticed that they weren't made of plastic." For some time, we exchanged anecdotes and impressions about East Berlin until their chaperone arrived to break things up. She was a stern-looking woman resembling Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She told the girls, "The museum is closing. It is time to go." It wasn't, but we were clearly a subversive influence.

Three hours later my friend and I were shopping in a downtown department store. What was an East German department store like? Imagine Wal-Mart without the inventory. All of the furniture and most of the other items there were "just for show." But the same teenage girls were there-without their chaperone, who had either decided to trust them or who was just tired of them. My friend and I had been in the capital for three days, so we volunteered to be their tour guides.

We showed them our passports; they showed us their identity papers and told us a little about what it was like to live in a small town in East Germany. One of the girls told us, for example, the economy was so run-down that, when she lost an air valve on a bicycle tire, there was no way to replace it. People didn't have much money, but what was worse, there was nothing on which to spend it.

Our travel visas expired at midnight, so by dusk we were on our way back to the glittering lights of West Berlin. The girls came along to the train station to bid us farewell. They had never seen the Berlin Wall, but they knew it was close. They gradually slowed their pace and stopped on a street corner just before we reached the railyard. One said, "You know, we really shouldn't go any further. We are not Berliners. If we are stopped, the guards will ask us why we are so close to the border zone."

Photo by ingo.ronner at Flickr

As we stood in the growing darkness, a feeling of incredible sadness come over me. Here I was, in my mid-twenties, free as a bird. I wasn't rich, but I could go anywhere in the world from that street corner. They could not go another one hundred yards. Their world ended at the Wall. They could not go any further.

They were trapped in a human zoo. My friend and I were just tourists wandering through their grounds and by their cages. To keep the conversation going, because I didn't want to part from them, I asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. One said a beautician, one said a nurse, and one said a teacher. But the oldest and wisest, whose name was Monica, looked up at me with the most sorrowful face I have ever seen and said very slowly, "It doesn't matter what we become when we grow up. They will always treat us like children."

They will always treat us like children. That sentence really defines Soviet communism in its waning years. There were very few knocks in the dead of night; people were rarely taken away to the gulag. There were very few summary executions. Instead, there was an insufferable and widespread paternalism. It was a dark cloud hanging over citizens. It weighed down their spirits and prevented them from maturing. Worst of all, it kept them from becoming that which was best within them.

We parted almost tearfully. Monica and I exchanged addresses, and every year or so a postcard would come from her, and I would send some little trinket in the mail. She wrote that she had applied to a university, but she was rejected for her unacceptable views. She managed to ger a job in a veterinarian's office.

Five years later, in 1989, Monica turned nineteen and the Berlin Wall came crashing down. I watched the first television broadcast that showed wave upon wave of East Germans crossing over into the West for their first taste of freedom, and I wondered if Monica and her friends were in one on those waves.

At about 10:00 a.m. the next day, the telephone rang. A T & T, already trying to introduce the consumer culture to East Germans, had set up a cellular phone service. As an incentive, they gave prospective customers the opportunity to make a phone call anywhere in the world for free. Monica called me. Her first words were, "John, this is Monica. I am over the Wall."

We talked for a few minutes, and I was reminded of our last conversation on a steet corner in East Berlin. I I said, "Well, does this mean that your country has grown up, and you are no longer going to be treated as children?"

She responded with a laugh, "I think my entire country has graduated from kindergarten to high school overnight."


ACTING LIKE CHILDREN

Over the course of the next year, I learned that Monica had made it into medical school. Today, she completing her internship. A happy ending, to be sure, but one with a bittersweet quality. In 1994, Monica and her fiance came to the United States for vacation. She had only one request: She wanted to speak to an American high school civics class about her experiences growing up in East Germany. Very reluctantly, I arranged for her to speak to just such a class at a high school in California. It was my alma mater, and I had spoken there a number of times since my graduation.

I didn't enjoy these experiences. Each time I met a new generation of America's youth, I discovered firsthand that things were getting worse. The students were learning little or nothing, discipline was practically unheard of, and respect was nonexistent. On the last occasion, I was so distressed that I vowed never to return. But I swallowed my doubts and arranged a talk for Monica. It was a disaster. The student weren't openly disrespectful, but they whispered constantly during her remarks and now and then a spitwad would rocket across the room. Even the quiet students were simply uninterested.

Finally, Monica opened the session up to questions. A girl asked, "Why in the world would someone want to build a wall in the middle of a city?" She clearly had no understanding why this had happened or what historical forces were at work, even after Monica had told her her story.

As we walked out of the classroom, I tried to explain to Monica that not all young Americans were like this. She looked at me, and once again I saw that same sad, pensive face I remembered from a street corner in East Berlin. She said, "John, please don't explain anymore. I've been in America for three weeks now, and I've learned that this is a great and wonderful country. But because you have never lost your freedom, because you have never been conquered, because you have never had all your possessions taken from you, you are now willing to surrender your freedom, independence, and autonomy by inches. You simply don't notice it, but, one inch at a time, it slips away." She continued, "Those students in there-I feel sorry for them. No matter what they do when they grow up, many of them will always be acting like children."

Acting like children. Is that to be the description of our society? I hope not. As I noted earlier, there are so many historical and technological trends working in our direction. But what about our young people? Does it matter if they can run a computer if they don't have an understanding of what this country is all about? We are told that jobs in the future will be marvelous-unskilled workers can get jobs in supermarkets and because of electronic scanners won't have to add or subtract. But that is not the America we want. It is not the America we had; it is not the America we have now.

We have a personal and moral responsibility to ensure that everyone in this country receives a sound education. We can't simply worry about the school across the street either; we have to worry about the schools across the nation. What makes for a good school? It doesn't take a panel of experts or millions of dollars to figure it out. George Roche has proven it at the Hillsdale Academy and Hillsdale College. It takes good parental involvement in the early years. It takes a no-nonsense approach to basics. It takes discipline. It takes love. It takes concern for the individual student. It takes personal responsibility-on the part of students, parents, teacher, and administrators.


THINKING FOR OURSELVES

And it takes freedom. The public school monopoly has to be ended, and genuine competition has to be restored. The National Education Association's number-one priority isn't quality education. It is its members' financial and political power. American Federation of Teachers President Al Shanker, who was one of this century's best labor union presidents, once openly admitted, "I will begin to care about the quality of children's education in this country when they start paying union dues." Now, this may shock you, but it really shouldn't surprise you.

Since 1962, when teachers were first allowed to unionize, the public school system has been a system that benefits and answers to the producers of education, not the consumers. Eighty-eight percent of the schools in America are public schools, and 75 percent of the teachers are union members.

The good news is that in the last few years people have started to make a distinction between teachers and teacher unions. The NEA can no longer get away with saying that its interests are the interests of the nation.

And this brings us back to the story of Monica. She came back to America in 1996. I took her to several charter schools that, although they are still public schools, are free of a lot of bureaucratic regulation. So there is hope.

One of the greatest gifts we can give to suceeding generations is the ability to think for themselves, and that means challenging the government monopoly of thought in education directly. It will be a struggle. All it takes is a trip to the ruins of the Berlin Wall to remind us that governments never give up power voluntary. It is up to us to reassert our rights and recover our responsibilities.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

{note from Jackie: Do any of you notice any similarities to America in here? I sure do. National ID - National Health Care - National Education - STW - Cradle to grave - It takes a village (Hillary's village/ the Government is our parent). I hope this touched you as it did me.}


 

BACK TO THE WORLD MENU

BACK TO ENTRY PAGE OF THE JOURNAL