James Hodgkinson and the zeitgeist of faux heroism

So earlier today, a man from Illinois marched his way to the Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in Alexandria, Virginia, where several Republican congressman were something called the Congressional Baseball Game. He opened fire and shot five Republicans, including the house majority whip Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip, but thankfully is still alive. Eventually the gunman was identified as one James T. Hodgkinson, who was revealed to be a hardcore progressive who supported Bernie Sanders’ campaign, vindicating anyone who guessed that he had a political motive for trying to kill them. As a matter of fact, he was a member of a number of left-wing Facebook groups, including the far-left “Terminate the Republican Party”, a partisan Democrat group whose members will undoubtedly deny condoning violence against conservatives.

Of course, some of us on the right have learned to expect this sort of thing to happen at some point or another. The media has spent nearly two years casting Donald Trump as the cream of evil, the next Lord Voldemort if you will, and his Republican cabinet as a shadowy cabal of assorted villains. No doubt many leftists young and old have swallowed this narrative wholesale, and now see themselves as #TheResistance. The new Dumbledore’s Army, the last hope in the mythical battle of love versus hate. Such delusions inevitably give these leftists power fantasies of rising up against the government and hopefully killing Donald Trump, or at least as many Republican politicians as possible. So it’s no wonder why you have a number of Democrat supporters going violent, or at least calling for it, and yet it’s the Republicans who are supposed to be hateful.

Consider for instance Kathy Griffin’s recent stunt, in which she posted an edgy photo of herself holding the bloodied, decapitated head of an effigy of Donald Trump. People were naturally outraged, and when people found out that Trump’s youngest son Barron thought it was really him, not even CNN wanted anything to do with her, and she was promptly barred from appearing in their annual New Year’s Eve program. Some have said that Mr. Hodgkinson may have been inspired or at leased incensed by Kathy Griffin’s stunt, but because he’s now dead, there’s no way we can ever know for certain, and so it’s basically a coincidence. I only brought it up because she has become a prime example of the hatefulness of the left today. They are so fixated on Donald Trump, and how they’d like to kill him. It reminds me eerily of how the British left during the 1980’s treated Margaret Thatcher, and then someone tried to kill her in 1984.

We live in a time where many of us grew up with a black and white view of the world, as reinforced by pop cultural artefacts such as the Harry Potter films, along with the tribalism of contemporary politics as interpreted by the mainstream left-wing media. In such a culture, the leftie college student may consider himself a hero simply by joining the campus branch of Antifa. After all, through their pop culture-addled leftist lens, Donald Trump is the ultimate bad guy now, and anyone who opposes him is a friend in the “fight against evil” (evidently they’ve never known true evil). It used to be that said tribalism was confined to heated arguments and the odd filibuster. Now you have Democrats calling for bloodshed out in the open, and people honestly wonder where people like James Hodgkinson came from? They came from the anti-Trump frenzy that the neoliberal establishment has created.

When the US media spends nearly two years painting Donald Trump as the next Lord Voldemort, it’s only a matter of time before the lunatic left casts themselves as Dumbledore’s army, and forget that this isn’t Hogwarts. This fake sense of “heroism” is merely a guise for the left’s rampant narcissism, and 2017 has so far has been the year in which such narcissism is leading to terrible consequences. I know Hodgkinson was a man in his 60’s, but he clearly inculcated himself into the worldview of a child. Usually people abandon the notion that the people you disagree with politically are automatically the villains when they get older, but this is what far-left ideology does to people. It turns you into an adult toddler, at least in the mental sense.

So it should be no surprise that America now has progressive assassins potentially waiting in the wings. They’re delusional worldview has been validated by the establishment media and Hollywood celebrities who are telling them it’s okay to wish for the death of conservatives. After all, we’re the new Little Eichmanns aren’t we? Those willing accomplices in the transformation of the republic into a fascist dictatorship by the hands of a Cheetoh man in collusion with the Russians. That’s how they want people to see us, and in their minds, that justifies people wanting to kill Republican politicians.

I take two things away from this. Firstly that we need to a better job at raising the next generation, so that they don’t succumb to the fatal narcissism that the left prescribes as it loses its way. Secondly, assuming progressive ideology was Mr. Hodgkinson’s prime motive for the attempted attack, we must now come to the conclusion that progressivism has become a thing of pure malevolence – an ideology that requires its adherents to kill in order to preserve its existence. At least we know for sure that the progressive apple doesn’t fall very far from the Marxist tree.

President Oprah?

oprah winfrey

Oh God no.

By now leftists are still trying to figure out ways of defeating the Donald (they can’t, but it’s both entertaining and frustrating to watch them try), but one fundamental problem is that there is no Democrat that has anything close to the kind of charisma that can allow him or her to match up to Donald Trump. However, there’s a chance that the Democrats’ prayers may yet be answered, as the shrill reality TV host Oprah Winfrey has hinted that she may yet run against President Trump, presumably as a Democrat.

I can guarantee that there will be clueless leftist salivating over this very possibility (indeed, somewhat at Salon did write about this), but am I the only one who thinks an Oprah presidency is a retarded idea? After all, I’m sure many leftists seemed to object to the very idea of a TV star running for President, and now they’re going to throw their support for another TV star, let alone the kind of personality who, believe it or not, is even more of a lowest-common-denominator candidate than they perceive Trump to be (her show was literally vapid daytime TV, there’s nothing worse than that). Still, at least the left has finally accepted that you don’t need political experience to run for office, if only because reality hit them hard.

All that aside, I sincerely doubt that Oprah Winfrey would be a viable candidate, even if the DNC decided to run her against Donald Trump. The way I see it is that Oprah will make the same mistake Hillary did, by running on her gender. The Winfrey campaign would be focused almost entirely on identity politics, and why not? As a black woman, Winfrey would automatically gain favour amongst race-baiting progressives, but that’s about it. If she did run, she would probably be the favourite candidate of a media class that doesn’t want to get out of the 1990’s, when cable news and wedge-issue politics were actually effective.

Also, if they did run Oprah, I think it would be a sign that the Democrats have officially given up, that they are utterly incapable of thinking outside the box. Not that I’d have a problem. I want the Democratic Party to sink like the Titanic, that being the only adequate punishment for its years of corruption. However, it’s bad for anyone who wants the Republican Party to have any meaningful election. The way Trump’s going, he might stay in power until 2024. Hell, we may be in for a full repeat of the 12-year reign the Republicans enjoyed starting in 1980.

I can’t help but think that Oprah would be the candidate for the few Obama worshippers left in America, the people who want to forget all of Obama’s failings as a president, and the fact that nothing really improved for the working class under Obama. Winfrey, to put it bluntly, would be another candidate for the rich and powerful, another corporatist Democrat. That, I think, is why she will be doomed to failure.

Winfrey may have the establishment media, celebrity culture, and name recognition on her side, but it won’t make a difference. The establishment media is dying, as evidenced by its naked attempts to attack the alternative media (let’s face it, the PewDiePie ruckus was conjured up by the Wall Street Journal just to try and sink his career), and celebrity culture is becoming increasingly irrelevant (as evidenced by the Oscars’ low ratings). Name recognition can also be a double-edged sword. Hillary Clinton had plenty of name recognition too, because of the many skeletons lurking in her closet.

That’s not the only thing that might sink Winfrey’s chances. If Trump can do a good enough job during his first term, and it looks as if he is, he’ll likely be handed a second term on a silver platter. It wouldn’t be the first time. In 1984, Ronald Reagan won all but 15 electoral votes against a weak Democratic candidate. Given the historical precedent, I think that no Democrat candidate, let alone Oprah Winfrey, stands even a remote chance of winning, and yet there are people there who think that Oprah would make a better President than Donald Trump.

Still, I can partially understand the fantasy behind a Winfrey presidency. The contemporary left is beaten, broken and battered, presently shackled to an unashamedly corporate party that pretends to represent left-wing values, only to run an extremely corrupt candidate for President, and select yet another corporatist as its chair. If only they had a candidate with the kind of celebrity status that Trump has, maybe then they would have had a fighting chance. The truth is that the Democrats are finished unless they are willing to change. If they actually run Oprah against Trump, then that will just prove to everyone that the Democrats are the same old party that they’ve been for years, and they’ll continue to lose until they either reform or collapse. Yes, the Democrats are in an existential crisis, but Oprah is certainly not the answer.

An open letter to Gary Johnson

gary johnson

Dear Gary,

I may be a British national, but I have a profound love and appreciation for America, and partly because of that I have a noticeably keen interest in American politics. I’ve been observing the US election cycle for the past 15 months now, and at this point, I think it’s fairly obvious that your country is experiencing the most turbulent time in its history in many years, particularly as the two-party system is unravelling before our eyes.

Of course I’m concerned and frustrated by the fact that many Americans are condemned to choose between two candidates who I’m not convinced are fit for the job. On the left corner, we see Hillary Clinton, an incredibly corrupt, self-centred politician who will most likely continue the cultural and economic degradation we have seen under the Obama administration, and worse, will probably start an unnecessary war if it served her interests. On the right corner, we see Donald Trump, who I personally think isn’t nearly as bad as Hillary Clinton (and I can tell that a lot of what the media says about Trump isn’t true), and even though he might give the political establishment a good kick in the ass, I think his lack of political experience is a big concern. I could be wrong, and maybe Trump will turn out to be a good president, but he’s not the kind of candidate I would choose immediately.

In the middle, on the other hand, is you, the Libertarian nominee who is working tirelessly to throw a spanner in the works, and you are certainly making an impression on people who are tired of having to choose the lesser of two evils, as seems to be the case in pretty much every US election cycle. I’m aware that there are other third-party candidates out there, but they are both completely useless. The Greens’ Jill Stein is basically a shrill environmentalist with a race-baiting, anti-Semitic VP, and an all talk and no substance attitude that I find is actually worse than Donald Trump (in fact, I think of her as a far-left Trump). The far-right Constitution Party, meanwhile, has Darrell Castle, a deeply conservative candidate with zero credibility in a party with zero credibility. That in mind, you, Gary, are the last sane man in this entire election cycle, and I think you’re well aware of that.

You’re also the only candidate who I could trust to do the job well. Your credentials are more impressive than the others, being a two-term governor of New Mexico (a state that I’m sure you can easily win in November), and you’re also the only candidate out there who’s offering real, practical solutions to the problems facing America today. Trump has some solutions but I doubt that many of them will much good if at all, and all Hillary can do is call her opponents racist or sexist, as if that actually discourages people anymore. I also prefer you because, if elected president, you will perhaps make the biggest difference out of all them – namely the discrediting of the two-party system which has served to make presidential politics such a tribal affair in the first place.

For these reasons and more, you are perhaps the first presidential candidate I can actually believe in, and that is why I have some concerns with how you’re conducting yourself. I don’t have a problem with your campaign ads. If anything, I think they need to reach a wider audience (I don’t really know if they air on cable TV in your country so its hard for me to discern their reach). The problem, as I see it, is that you’re focused on appealing to the left. Given the awfulness of Hillary Clinton, and the failure of Bernie Sanders, that wouldn’t seem like a bad strategy, but I worry that you aren’t exactly trying to appeal to conservatives who might not like Trump but would vote for him just because of party loyalty.

My first problem is that you’re operating under the mainstream media narrative that Donald Trump is a brazen racist, which is something that can easily be disproven by the fact that he has had support from various members of the black community. You’ve also flip-flopped a few times, not nearly as much as the mainstream candidates, but enough to be concerned. You’ve come out in defence of Hillary Clinton, and then opposed her again. You’ve advocated for a “climate tax” and for mandatory vaccination, and then retracted it later. Worst of all however, is your latest faux-pas. In an interview with Guy Benson of Townhall.com, you got worked up over the use of the phrase “illegal immigrant”, claiming that it is “incendiary to the Hispanic population”, and you gave no reason why other than “it just is”. You sounded very much like a politically correct agitator wagging your finger at somebody for saying the wrong thing, and I worry that you don’t realise that this is part of the problem we’re having. Part of the reason why Trump gained so much momentum is because he didn’t give a damn about who he offended, and the establishment media’s response has exposed the biases of the cultural overclass. That you probably aren’t aware of this is worrying. If you can’t get the conservative vote, then you have no hope of defeating Donald Trump, who will most likely win the election because no self-respecting voter would think to trust someone as corrupt as Hillary, and getting the conservative vote will be nearly impossible if you keep ignoring the issues that have been handed over to Trump because the political establishment doesn’t give a damn about them.

I’m aware that you aren’t exactly the most popular among libertarians (in fact, you’re more progressive positions have made you rather divisive even for pro-Libertarian outlets), but you’re the best candidate we’ve got, and even then you’ve got to start upping your game. I still believe that America is greatest country in the world, and I believe that you, Gary, are the only candidate capable of making sure it remains that way for generations to come, but you can’t do it by appealing to the left alone. You need to convince the people most likely to vote for Trump that you are even better. Of course, I’m aware that your best chance can only come if you manage to get into the debates, and at the moment it looks doubtful, but I think you could do so much better. America needs you right now more than ever, and I think you can do so much more than appealing to left-wing sensibilities.

Good luck in the election Gary, you’re going to need it.

Sincerely,

Stefan Grasso

Gary Johnson: A new hope?

gary johnson

With Bernie Sanders unlikely to win the Democrat nomination, the only options left in the presidential race are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, which basically means having to make a choice between two of the worst presidential candidates in all of American history. For many, this signifies just how broken the American political system is, but I advise you not to give up just yet. After Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the Republican race, Google searches for the Libertarian Party and its frontrunner Gary Johnson skyrocketed, and yesterday, the Libertarian Party nominated Gary Johnson as its nominee for the presidency.

Prior to his campaign for the presidency, Johnson worked as a door-to-door handyman during the 1970’s, and also founded a company called Big J Enterprises, which grew into one of the largest construction companies in the state of New Mexico. In 1994, he ran successfully for Governor of New Mexico as a fiscally conservative Republican. During his time as governor, he upheld libertarian principles, and even advocated for the decriminalisation of marijuana (which he still does to this day), though he also became known for vetoing more bills than any governor in the United States. Now a member of the Libertarian Party, he is promoting himself as the rational alternative to the two mainstream candidates.

From what I’ve seen and heard of him, I can tell that he really is the alternative that America needs. Unlike Trump and Clinton, who would continue expanding the power of the state, Johnson advocates for a smaller government, wants to end the war on drugs, and is a strong supporter of civil liberties, something the other two candidates couldn’t give a damn about. He also appears to be enough of a moderate political candidate that some media outlets speculated that he may be able to attracted disaffected Republicans and Democrats. Indeed, even before the explosion of pubic interest in the Libertarians, some media outlets speculated that Johnson and the Libertarians would seek to capitalize on popular resentment towards Trump and Clinton.

Of course, due to the prevalence of the Republican/Democrat dichotomy, it probably seems unlikely that a third-party candidate could win the presidency, but I think Gary Johnson might have a chance. Instead of focusing on identity and outrage, Johnson focuses on the issues. Granted, Bernie Sanders focused on social issues as well, but Bernie failed spectacularly, and with careful scrutiny, you could easily deflate Sanders’ socialist platform. Besides, what Johnson wants is extremely reasonable. He wants to end the war on drugs, legalize marijuana, suspend US involvement in foreign countries, and put an end to crony capitalism, which has allowed the current political climate to fester.

Even though I once said that I would support Jill Stein if I lived in the USA, I have to concede that, compared to the other candidates, Gary Johnson is the most reasonable presidential candidate we’ve had in years. He’s also doing quite well in the polls, trailing at 10% of the national vote, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a start. Given the amount of people who absolutely despise the two major candidates, I believe that, if done well, the Libertarians could feasibly win the election, finally raising a middle finger to the old party political dichotomy. Best of all, Johnson could offer a silver lining for those who thought that a Trump presidency is inevitable. With all that in mind, I think America now has three options.

  1. Electing a third-party candidate who has actual principles and could competently bring America back from the brink.
  2. Electing the first woman president just for the sake of it, while glossing over her history of corruption and deceit.
  3. Electing a businessman with no political experience (unless you count a failed Reform Party candidacy in the year 2000) who may end up making the country worse.

I highly doubt that a Trump presidency will accomplish anything other that rattling the cages of the establishment momentarily. As for Shillary, she’s bankrolled by corporate interests, and because of that she’ll probably keeps things the way they are, momentarily making ripples in the same unsatisfying way that Obama did. My message is that if you don’t want another four years of the status quo, but worry that Trump will destroy America, then logically the only sane option left is to vote Libertarian, because at least Gary Johnson actually has a vested interest in changing America for the better.

When we make monsters

Last year we thought Donald Trump was little more than a joke candidate, but then he went on to become a serious contender, to the point that he’s now the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency. Interestingly enough, nothing has dented his momentum. No matter how many times he’s been caught lying, or how many times he’s outraged the public (and the Twitterati), or how many times his political enemies try to warn you about how dangerous he is, his fans are still loyal to him, and strengthens his campaign.

donald trump

Not the face of somebody who gives up easily.

With all the furore over Donald Trump, the one thing that remains clear is that nearly all of his critics (including the general public) focus on condemning his outrageous character, and nobody makes any attempt to try and understand why Trump’s supporters feel the way they do, or why Trump became a phenomenon in the first place.

Everywhere I look I see that most of the discussion about Trump is dominated by his gross character flaws, and the fact that he wants to build a giant wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. Nobody cares about how such a buffoon become popular, and I think that’s the main problem. What Trump’s critics neglect to understand is that his candidacy is a sign of a broken system. Trump is responding to the people who are tired of being lied to by the political establishment that exploits them and treats them like ignorant toddlers in need of their political enlightenment. They’re also tired of their entire demographic being labelled as racists even though many of them aren’t. If you watch interviews of ordinary people attending Trump rallies, you’ll often find white people alongside black people in support of Trump (and yet people claim Trump supporters are racist). There’s even a group Hindus professing their support for Donald Trump, so even if Trump himself is racist, it’s useless claiming that Trump’s supporters are all racist idiots. Trump is literally that popular, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand why (though some, like in this video by a YouTuber called Sargon of Akkad, can explain this much better than I could).

I can’t help but feel like I understand why Trump would gain such momentum. What Bernie Sanders is for the Democrats, Donald Trump is for the Republicans – an outsider candidate who has achieved more popularity and memetic recognition than either party’s mainstream candidates, and that bothers the establishment deeply. Why else would the mainstream Republicans and media outlets spend their time and effort trying to stop him? Furthermore, why else would the Economic Intelligence Unit label try to convince you that the prospect of Trump’s presidency is as dangerous as Jihadi terrorism? Of course, no matter how much they can discredit him, it doesn’t matter. We know he’s an idiot, we know he’s a racist, and we know that he’s the worst possible choice for a president, but even if that’s obvious, that doesn’t stop him at all, and that certainly doesn’t deter his followers, many of whom are voting Trump to stop Hillary Clinton from winning.

Of course, I wouldn’t want Hillary elected either, and I can see why people hate her so passionately. As a neoliberal career politician, she represents the political establishment. With her as commander in chief, we would essentially have a repeat of the disappointing Obama administration, wherein things would only change if her corporate masters don’t have a problem with that. There are legitimate reasons why Clinton isn’t trusted by much of the American electorate. She’ll say literally anything in order to sit in the oval office, to the extent that she changes her opinions almost as quickly as Trump, and has been stealing borrowing some of Sanders’ platforms (including Sanders’ support for a $15 minimum wage) in order to snatch some of his supporters. On top of that, Clinton has a number of skeletons in her closet, including the revelation that she used her family’s private email server for official communications, or the time when she illegally obtained files on her enemies, or the supposed suicide of Vince Forster.

The fact that many American voters don’t trust Hillary, coupled with the fact that Bernie Sanders is unlikely to win the Democratic Party nomination in July, may ultimately prove to be the reason why a Trump presidency, as bad as it sounds, could be an absolute certainty, and I believe that the political establishment is in part responsible for this. Obama failed to provide the change he had promised, and the Clinton presidency offers much of the same as the previous candidates. To me, the fact that the establishment is so scared of a Trump presidency is nothing other suspicious. What would the political establishment in America have to lose from Donald Trump getting elected? Furthermore, what’s wrong with having a presidential candidate that many Americans actually want in office?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Trump supporter. In fact, if I could vote, I’d rather vote for Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein (and I say this knowing the politics in this town), but I can’t help but come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to stop a Trump presidency. I do, however, believe that there are at least two consolation prizes. At least if Donald Trump becomes president and fails to “make America great again” (or turns America into a dictatorship), it might teach America the error of its farcical political discourse. The other consolation is that, if Donald Trump gets elected, it’ll at least prove that democracy still works, because he’ll at least you can be sure that he was elected by the popular vote.

Whatever the outcome, Donald Trump’s campaign is a monster of our own making. The rise of social justice warriors, political correctness and identity politics, coupled with the constant lies coming from the establishment and the mainstream media have created the perfect environment for Donald Trump to thrive, whereas in the year 2000 he would have merely been a fringe candidate. As the road to the election continues, I think we should take some time to think about the gravity of it all. Me on the other hand, I argue that what we’re seeing is a classic case of the establishment creating a problem and trying haphazardly to get rid of it, while blaming the people for it. You can’t create a monster and then whine when it stomps on a few buildings. Unfortunately, the best we can do is ride it out, and wait until it starts raining Trump steaks.

What our schools are getting wrong

school

Years ago, I would hate going to school in Britain, mainly because I didn’t see the point of it, and my experience of how things were done in school served only to vindicate those feelings. To be fair, I was quite optimistic about going to school during my time in America, so it’s mainly British schools that I’m concerned with here, but I’ve heard about the way things work in American schools. In Britain and America, school is generally seen as a drag, and though the adults may say otherwise, the children are absolutely right to complain.

To understand why, let’s take a good look at how schools deliver education. In school, children are given homework, graded on their work, and they’re expected to remember information from books that they would rather not read. No matter how hard teachers will try to rationalize that, I cannot see how that is of any benefit to children. In fact, homework does nothing other than create unnecessary stress on children who are way too young to handle it. However bad that sort of stress is for children, it’s even worse on teenagers, who, as scientific research has proven, experience stress more profoundly than adults do. Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, grades do nothing other than turn education into an obscene form of competition, and hold no link to a person’s intelligence whatsoever.

One of the major blunders of our education system is the very concept of homework, where a teacher asks you to do tasks that he or she couldn’t be bothered to get you to do in class, and punishes you for not doing it. We adults tend to make the assumption that homework betters students, when in actual fact, it is the educational equivalent of holding a kid at gunpoint and forcing him fill out otherwise meaningless pieces of paper. As my childhood experience has taught me, homework does nothing other than create a punishing regime that kills your enthusiasm for learning. No wonder there are so many morons in the world, because when you’re enthusiasm for learning gets killed during your childhood, you won’t have any interest in learning when you’re older, especially as your teenage years see you screaming for it all to end.

There’s something about school life I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, and that’s the outdated concept of starting the school day at 9am sharp. To this day, I have never heard anyone come up with an intelligent defence of a practice that so recklessly endangers the mental health of young children. Sometimes what makes a school day start badly is that the kids haven’t gotten enough sleep. If students were given more sleep, then that would give them more time to concentrate in class and plan their day before they arrive in class, and it would also give them more time to finish their homework if they didn’t finish it the night before. There are far more benefits to starting school an hour later than sticking to the old, outdated way of doing things, and once again, nobody I know has come up with an actual reason for showing up at 9am.

Oh, and another thing, art class in school is a joke. They act like they’re teaching kids how to draw, but more often than not, they’re teaching you how to draw the way they want you to.  We all know that kids are naturally creative and love to draw from an early age (Pablo Picasso once said that “all children are born as artists”), but to say that school encourages creativity would be extremely naive. In fact, from the start of primary school, children are punished for making mistakes, despite the fact that making mistakes is an essential part of learning. If you’re not prepared to be wrong, then you’ll never be able to conceive original ideas, and you have no hope of being an innovative thinker. Instead of encouraging creativity, we subject our children to a plethora of subjects that mean nothing to them. By the way, who thought it was a good idea to make kids learn algebra at an age when they’re too young to handle any other form of advanced maths? I remember doing algebra when I was 14-16, and after I stopped doing maths in the sixth form, I forgot everything I ever learned about algebra, and I’m still reasonably good with numbers. All that advanced maths was pointless to me then, and it’s pointless to me now.

The final thing I want to mention about our horribly dysfunctional education system is its obsession with testing and exams. Every year, children and teenagers end the school year with some form of exam that you have to remember a shedload of information to pass. Exams are perhaps the single worst part of our education system, since they force you to memorize a thick book full of facts (which you’d much rather learn from the internet), and you are primarily graded based on how well you do on an exam that you are almost never prepared for. When you finally get you’re grade, you’re never told what you did right and what you did wrong, so no learning actually took place in those pointless, stress-filled hours of cramming. By the time I finished school, I couldn’t help but wonder, what was the point of it all?

I always wondered why the education system is like this, and as it turns out, it doesn’t even have to be this way. Finland consistently beats out all the other countries in terms of its education system, and not only do they not use grades, they also don’t use standardized tests (or at least not in the way we’re familiar with), and they’re considering replacing traditional school subjects with a new concept of “teaching by topic” (which includes vocational topics such as “cafeteria services”). If that’s not enough, in Finland, children don’t have to go to school until they’re 7, while we typically send our kids off to school when they’re 3 or 5, at a time when they might not necessarily be ready. Also, there’s a new school in Espoo, Finland, which eschews the bland, depressing look of the traditional school with a light, airy, and open school building that seems more akin to an art museum than a school, in they’re replacing the traditional blackboard with laptops. That’s exactly the kind of radical thinking that we in Britain and America desperately need.

Anyone will tell you that education is important, because it’s how we prepare our children for life. Hence, and I rarely say this, we have a moral duty to get it right for our children. We’ve been getting it wrong for so long, and the consequences are all around us. Many people grow up with a very grim outlook on life, and often grow up misinformed, are more or less open to misinformation, and I believe that at the core of these problems is a broken, dysfunctional education system built on raising children as brainless labourers rather than learned, intelligent, and active participants in society. How do we sleep at night knowing that our education system has children in tears because they can’t keep up with the draconian standards of people who couldn’t give a damn about their feeling, their dreams, and their passions in life. How can we expect our children to grow up right if we don’t teach right to begin with? Our education system needs a serious overhaul, for as long as we have an education system that kills any enthusiasm for learning, then our schools will continue to produce generations of morons, and thus the cycle of stupidity choking our society is kept going for at least another year at a time.

Hitting an all-time low

In America, the Republican party is in serious trouble. Many Republican figures have degraded into lunacy as they struggle in vain to maintain their stranglehold on the American conciousness, but perhaps nothing shows the true character of the Republican party in better ways than their willingness to defend the Duggars, a family who covered up the perverted antics of their eldest son. Most damningly, we have Mike Huckabee, who I remember for being a complete and total moron who wants to destroy the constitution, leaping to the defence of Josh Duggar, in spite of the fact that he confessed to having molested several underaged girls. So, let me see if gotten this correctly. We have Republican politicians and fundamental Christians, some of which include members of the extremely misogynistic Quiverfull movement, and somehow the Republican party, let alone Mike Huckabee, is okay with this? While we’re there, how are we okay with Mike Huckabee running for president while he’s defending a child molester?

mike huckabee

“Good people make mistakes” shouldn’t even apply here.

For those not familiar with what’s going on here, I’ll briefly clear this up. The Duggars are a large, close-knit partriachral family of fundamentalist Christians who were well-known for being the stars of a reality TV show called 19 Kids and Counting. Last week, it was revealed that the eldest son of the family, Josh Duggar, had been accused of being a sexual predator, but the family had covered it up until recently. The ensuing scandal caused their show to be pulled from the air, and advertisers to cut their sponsorship (and with good cause). I should also add that the Duggars are adherents of the Christian patriarchy movement, which advocates that the men are the highest authority and main providers after God (or Christ), and that women are treated like subservient homemakers and breeders. Apart from sounding eerily like Taliban philosophy, it just sounds like an appalling aberrance from all that is good and natural, and it gets even worse. Christian patriarchs don’t believe in public schooling, probably because what children learn in public schools would negate the influence of their foul propaganda, thus rendering their outdated belief system arbitrary. If that’s not enough, they also believe that having a large family is some kind of Biblical mandate. People like them are the reason America’s population is so huge, and yet when one of them if outed as a child molester, the Republicans defend him? For me, the Republicans have sunk an all-time low by choosing to defend a confessed child molester, and they are potentially undermining their credibility (assuming they had any left) in the eyes of the American public. However, the most significant aspect of this whole scandal is that it reveals just how obsessed with sex the Republicans and their allies are. They’re the same people calling for anti-abortion laws, demonize LGBTQIA people, and put both above all other legislative priorities, even above counter-terrorism. They’re so obsessed with sex that they treat women like walking wombs. If they had their way, women would be treated as literal sex objects, and predators like Josh Duggar would walk freely among the streets. Is this the world Christians want? If not, why aren’t they doing anything about it? After all, their religion is being abused to justify these horrible shenanigans. More importantly, the Duggars, the Quiverfull movement, and the Republicans who defend them are all a collective disgrace to the philosophy they stand for. If the Republicans and the church hope to survive, then the best course of action would be to distance themselves from them as far as possible, otherwise they will be forever associated with the scandal, and their image, credibility and values will be forever tarnished.