How about that Dwight Jones? The newly appointed Colorado Education Commissioner, in one of his last official acts as superintendent of Fountain-Fort Carson school district, made sure the students in his 2007 graduating class were protected from such dangerous propaganda as a pocket booklet containing the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Whew, that was close; well done, Dr. Jones. Erin Emery reports in the Denver Post that Jones's District 8 was one of two in the Colorado Springs area that rebuffed the gift offer from El Paso County commissioner Douglas Bruce last spring. Officials in Lewis-Palmer District 38 also stood vigilant against the suspicious stranger offering political candy to kids. At least 12 other districts accepted the booklets for distribution to graduates.
A District 38 spokeswoman explained that the school board, administrators, and principal decided "if they let him hand out something that he thought was innocuous then, of course, we couldn't say no to anyone else." Indeed, what might be next: Hare Krishna tracts, oil industry climate propaganda, perhaps even condoms? Us guardians of young minds had best draw a firm line and keep'em all out.
Now consider: if high-ranking educators made a language blooper like using "us" as the subject of a sentence, everyone might -- might -- notice and protest. But these ignoramuses in D-8 and D-38 have committed a far worse civic and philosophic outrage, and you can bet this story will have no legs at all. A controversial citizen, Bruce, gets the brushoff from a well-credentialed PhD, Jones -- so what? The world yawns.
Do I exaggerate? It truly is a civic outrage when D-38's Robin Adair can damn America's charter of self-government with faint praise as "a lovely document [that] we have[n't] anything against." And it's a philosophic outrage when she can describe the Constitution, on behalf of the people's elected board of education, as "something that he [Bruce] thought was innocuous."
Notice the intellectually fashionable, scrupulously neutral relativism in those words. The school board isn't saying the booklet with our founding documents is noxious, but they're not saying it's innocuous either. The latter is just some guy's opinion -- handled sniffily with rubber gloves and tongs by the antiseptic agents of officialdom. Post-modernists everywhere applaud, while in Beijing and Havana ironic smiles break out: they know quite well how noxious Doug Bruce's little gift really is.
What we're really glimpsing here -- at least in the Lewis-Palmer case, since at Fountain-Fort Carson no reason was given -- is the toxic multiculturalism that now pervades American education at all levels. Prof. Thomas Krannawitter of Hillsdale College defined it well in the Investor's Business Daily the other day:
"Multiculturalism... agrees on balance that there is no objective truth, especially no moral or political truth, to be discovered by human reason.... The real test of multicultural education is whether one has freed one's mind from the trappings of one's own culture -- especially... American culture..." Bingo. Ms. Adair probably had no idea that's what she was voicing. But she was. Shame on her, her employers, and Commissioner Dwight Jones. What over-educated fools they all are.
To end on an up note, though, Coloradans can be grateful and proud that we have in our backyard the Littleton-based Liberty Day organization, a national volunteer powerhouse dedicated to giving students across the country -- you guessed it -- pocket copies of the Constitution and Declaration.
Andy McKean, the founder, is working with high-schooler Jimmy Sengenberger to host a statewide conference for students on Saturday, September 15, at CU-Denver, where a spectrum of speakers (me included) will talk about what the Constitution means and why it's so noxious to tyrants of every size, grand and petty alike. Do you know a teen who ought to attend? Here's the link for more information.