Saturday, December 21, 2002

Segregation Bad, Public Education Worse?

Nooner's latest drivel contains a cryptic comment:
Some of us have put our reputations in jeopardy by supporting programs like the school liberation movement because we want to help people who don't have much and need a break. Or we've put ourselves in jeopardy by opposing racial preferences, or any number of other programs, for the very reason that we believe completely in our hearts and minds that all races are equal and no one should be judged by the color of his skin. And then some guy comes along and speaks the old code of yesteryear and seems to reinforce the idea that those who hold conservative positions are really, at heart, racist. We are indignant, and we have been for a long time.

In the Lott scandal our indignation reached critical mass. A lot of conservatives, many of them 50 and under, decided enough is enough, let's end this, let a new party be born. And by the way, in the particular case of Trent Lott, it didn't start yesterday. Stanley Crouch just surprised me by sending me a column he wrote almost four years ago for the New York Daily News. It was about a Lott appearance before the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white-supremacist group. I said it was springtime and it's time to throw out the garbage, and Mr. Lott should go. Go to the archives of conservative journals and see what they've been writing and thinking for a long time about race. This is a good time to get real conservative thinking out there and known for what it is.
I probably will be the seven thousandth person to point out the contradiction between Peggy's "long time" "indignation" at conservative racism and her "surprise" at learning of Lott's ties to the CCC. If prolific Peg's indignation at conservative racism is so longstanding, I guess she will have no trouble pointing us to previous examples of such moral outrage.

What's really interesting here Nooner's reference to the "school liberation movement." At first, I took it to mean that old crock of crap, "school choice" aka vouchers. In this column, Nooner refers to the school liberation movement as "the most hopeful proposal of our time to make government schools better." As an example, she cites "people like Teddy Forstmann [who] cough[ed] up their own money to make $100 million in voucher scholarships available for kids, the ambitious disadvantaged...." Now, a program involving a rich guy giving money to disadvantaged grade school children to attend private schools is the exact opposite of "vouchers," which involves taxpayer subsidies of private schools. And, of course, there is nothing whatsoever controversial about a wealthy private citizen giving his or her own money to help poor kids pay for private school. So, Nooner either (a) is blowing smoke up our collective asses about "the jeopardy to her reputation," (b) is delusional about the same, (c) or means something other than Forstmann's program when she refers to the school liberation movement.

Now, Peg has already made the case that she is both delusional and deceptive, but let me suggest a possible alternative. The term "school liberation movement" is used by groups which advocate the abolition of all public schools and all taxpayer funding of public schools. Marshall Fritz, the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of Church and State, describes the movement as follows:
Our job in the "School Liberation Movement" is to restore the conviction that parents must determine and provide for the education of their children. This means infusing into the American soul the belief that we must separate schools from politics. It means infusing this as deeply as we now hold that chattel slavery is wrong.
A search of the site does not reveal Nooner as one who signed the petition supporting Fritz's movement. (Many of the usual wingnuts -- including Randall Terry, Joseph Sobran, Marvin Olasky and Tim LaHaye -- are.) But Google searches of the phrase "school liberation movement" lead only to Fritz's organization and back to Nooner's column itself.

Peg complains about Lott speaking in code. But what code is Peg speaking in when she refers to the school liberation movement?

Update (12/22): penalcolony has a critical (in both good senses) analysis of my comment here.

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