How the Teachers’ Unions and Democrats Scam Taxpayers

Charles Lane, in the Washington Post:

By now, you’ve probably heard about the urgent teacher layoff crisis that threatens public education across America. Due to shrinking state and local budgets, up to 300,000 teachers could be laid off, with devastating educational consequences for our children, such as burgeoning class sizes. The only cure is $23 billion in fresh federal deficit spending, rushed through Congress as part of a bill to fund U.S. overseas military operations. “The urgency is high,” President Obama warned congressional leaders in a June 12 letter.

Don’t believe the hype.

Start with that scary number of 300,000 teacher layoffs, which has been bandied about in numerous newspaper articles. The sources for it are interested parties: teachers unions and school administrators, whose national organizations counted layoff warning notices that have already been sent out this spring and extrapolated from there. Notably, however, even these sources usually describe the threatened positions as “education jobs” – not teachers. That’s because the figures actually include not only kindergarten through 12th grade classroom instructors, but also support staff (bus drivers, custodians, et al.) and even community college faculty. And 300,000 is the upper end of a range that could be as low as 100,000. Nationwide, there are about 3.2 million K-12 public school teachers.

Moreover, springtime layoff notices are a notoriously unreliable guide to actual job cuts in the fall, because rules and regulations in many public school systems require administrators to notify every person who might conceivably be laid off — whether they actually expect to fire them or not. As the New York Times recently reported: “Everywhere, school officials tend to overestimate the potential for layoffs at this time of year, to ensure that every employee they might have to dismiss receives the required notifications.”

Given these facts, it’s unclear how the bill’s supporters came up with its $23 billion price tag. It works out to about $77,000 per job saved in the 300,000-layoff scenario, but $230,000 per job if only 100,000 jobs are at risk. Maybe that’s why the bill’s fine print allows states to spend any excess funds left over from education hiring on other state employees. By the way, the bill distributes funds to states according to how many residents they have, not how many threatened layoffs.

Read the rest here.

Christie Rising

Mona Charen’s recent column on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is well worth a read:

At a New Jersey town meeting, Gov. Chris Christie, the newest YouTube star for the limited government set, was reproached by an unhappy teacher. The governor, facing a budget shortfall of $11 billion, has proposed, among other economies, a one-year salary freeze for New Jersey teachers. Her voice raised in anger (that’s a normal speaking voice in my home state), Rita Wilson protested that she should be paid $83,000, the only reasonable compensation in light of her “education and experience.” Christie’s reply got an ovation: “Well, you know what? Then you don’t have to do it.”

Meet the newest conservative hero: The Trenton Truth-Teller!

That exchange with the teacher, along with other greatest hits available on YouTube of the blunt yet friendly governor’s first five months, highlight a political opportunity for Republicans.

First, the problem: How can smaller-government Republicans win elections when more and more Americans are receiving government benefits while fewer and fewer are paying taxes? In 2010, 47 percent of Americans paid no income taxes at all. Among those who do pay taxes, most pay comparatively little. Both parties have agreed to make the tax code more steeply progressive in the past two decades, to the point where the top 20 percent of earners, those with incomes above $100,000, pay 70 percent of all taxes. Accordingly, the tax issue has lost some of its political purchase.

But as Christie is demonstrating, voters are open to a new fairness argument.

Read the rest here.

Strauss Derangement Syndrome?

There’s a discussion thread on Free Republic about one of my recent Paul-centric NewsReal posts, in which commenter Conimbricenses notes my background as a Hillsdale College student and concludes: “I bet he’s also one of Tom Krannawitter’s lapdogs…er…lapcats?”

First, some background: Thomas Krannawitter is a former Hillsdale political science professor, Claremont Institute fellow, and author of several books, most recently Vindicating Lincoln.  I have never taken one of his classes; hearing him speak briefly twice (once commemorating 9/11, another discussing the school’s DC internship program) and reading his latest book (which I thought was very good, though I would have liked more time spent on Lincoln’s exercise of executive power) are the full extent of my familiarity with him and his ideas.

Conimbricenses’s complaint sparks the following exchange:

EternalVigilance: And I’m sure you think it’s terrible that these kids would be influenced by someone who teaches respect for the Natural Law and adherence to the Constitution, right?

Conimbricenses: No. I think it’s terrible that kids are being misled about Natural Law and the Constitution by a pseudo-historian who has an amateur’s grasp of the subjects he purports to be teaching coupled with a near-religious affection for Straussian occultism.

Springfield Reformer: conimbricenses, would you kindly share with the rest of the class exactly what you think is wrong with the “Hillsdale” conception of natural law. That would, of course, require you to explain both their position and yours, and to render an academically sound proof that yours is the correct, “non-amateur,” version. And as the self-professed “professional” among us with respect to natural law theory, I fully expect your explanation to be completely free of ad hominem content. I wait with bated breath.

Conimbricenses: The “problem” with Hillsdale comes from the rapid growth of Straussian occultists there in recent decades. The current president, Larry Arnn, is a follower of this branch of thought and has regrettably populated the political science and philosophy faculties with many of his fellow travelers.

I call the Straussian variety they practice there “amateur” because it simply does not have what it takes to compete on a scholarly level at any place beyond the echo chamber of its own adherents. The stuff they peddle does poorly in the academic peer review process. It is justifiably shredded to pieces by scholars outside of the narrow Straussian occult whenever it pops its head over into the mainstream (witness this recent example, involving a very well known Straussian Hillsdale prof: http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jala/31.1/winger.html ) It doesn’t perform well in other universities – even sympathetic conservative ones – outside of an exceedingly small list of completely Straussian departments that are known for promoting their own from inside (Hillsdale and Claremont being the two prime examples). And in the practical sense, it tends to breed the very worst types of “conservative” government – the George W. Bush-style big spending neoconservative naively idealist “democracy building” variety that ruined the conservative brand name in the 2000’s and gave us our present state of affairs with Obama.

This isn’t the first time Claremont/Krannawitter/Strauss-phobia has arisen in response to my criticism of the Pauls; legend in his own mind “Marcus Brutus’s” complaints touched similar lines—though he couldn’t be bothered to explain how, I was supposedly a “golden-souled Straussian,” concerned “not for the good and preservation of our free society domestically, but instead, the Straussian’s ‘national greatness.’”

Of all the Paulites’ arguments, this one is among the strangest.  First, if sympathy for “George W. Bush-style big spending” exists among the Hillsdale faculty, I’ve yet to encounter it in my three years here.  Second, I have been exposed to the work of Leo Strauss (in particular, On Tyranny) in exactly one class (Classical Political Philosophy); if Straussian ideas—especially “national greatness”—are somehow coloring the school’s broader political science education, neither “Marcus” nor Conimbricenses has done anything to explain how (and the link Conimbricenses provides doesn’t seem to workUPDATE: link works now; hopefully I’ll get a chance to look over the essay over the next couple days). Third, in what I have read of Strauss (though I’m admittedly no expert), I have not encountered any sort of “national greatness” doctrine.

Thomas G. West (I know, another eeevil Claremont-ite) has an interesting look at Strauss’s foreign policy views, and the extent to which they impact “neoconservative” thought, here, in which West argues that “although there is some common ground, Strauss’s overall approach is quite different from that of Kristol, Kagan, and other prominent neoconservatives in and out of the administration.”  Whatever the truth about Strauss may be, this particular line of attack seems to reveal more about Paulite mindset than it does the rest of us.

“If I support Hamas, because your question forces me to condemn Hamas. If I support Hamas, I look really bad.”

David Swindle has the scoop on a disturbing exchange between David Horowitz and a member of the Muslim Students Association at UC San Diego, in which the student refuses to condemn Hamas and says she’s “for” Hizbollah’s efforts to bring about a Jewish genocide:

The murderous, radical tendencies among campus Muslims is one of the most shocking, urgent stories of the decade, and yet today’s pitiful excuses for journalists are instead obsessed with whitewashing them and slandering peaceful Americans in their place.

Mom Takes on Planned Parenthood

My mother, Peg Freiburger, had an important editorial in Friday’s Fond du Lac Reporter:

A news article in The Reporter (Feb. 12, by Sharon Roznik) on 2009 Assembly Bill 458 requiring changes to our school’s sex education instruction leaves out the most important information.

Planned Parenthood (PPH) has been a strong supporter and has spent much time and money lobbying for this bill.

Why? This bill now allows Planned Parenthood as agents of the state under the Department of Health Services to come in to our schools and teach their version of “healthy sex” to our kids (SECTION 10. 146.89 (3r) (e)).

You know, the same organization that has been caught on video in Appleton, in Milwaukee, and other clinics across the country giving false information to young girls regarding whether her baby has a heartbeat, what the dangers of abortion are, and failing to contact authorities in cases of rape to girls as young as 13.

A recent report from International Planned Parenthood Federation advocates children age 10 and over “be given extensive sex education, including awareness of sex’s pleasures.”

Why does PPH do this? For the money! The more sexually active our children are, the more money PPH makes selling birth control, STD medications and abortions.

In 2007 in Wisconsin alone, more than $5.4 million was taken through our tax dollars and given to Planned Parenthood. Part of this was used so girls as young as 15 could receive free birth control, without their parents’ knowledge or consent.

It is pathetic that in Fond du Lac we have a county health officer and a county board of health member/pediatrician who apparently find this acceptable for our children.

Those who support such a thing should read the bill. Then they could explain to the community why it is OK to have a bill that will not allow school employees to tell Johnny that he shouldn’t have sex with multiple partners (Section 4, 118.019 (2) (a) (9) (b)), why they are supporting an organization that has stated that religious groups, such as Catholics, “deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex,” (Fox News link above), and why they support an organization that had Valentine’s Day cards this year with condoms on the front and “I like playing with you” written on the inside.

Even though this bill is now law, we in Fond du Lac can do something about it. Since the state has deemed it necessary to take away our local control as to what we want our children to learn about sex, we can opt to remove sex education completely from our schools.

Let’s devise other local programs to help our kids deal with the pressures and consequences of sex before they’re ready. Let’s develop a community program outside the schools that reflects the faith and values we hold dear in our community.

Right on cue, our old friend Cobweb1780 (AKA unintentional Daily Kos parody Pan Zareta) responded in the comments with this brilliant insight:

The implication of this comment is the writer would prefer kids be kept ignorant about sex. That ignorance is somehow preferable to knowledge about the reality of sex too young.

Of course, to come to this conclusion, Cobweb has to completely ignore the letter’s main point, all the sleaze surrounding Planned Parenthood – including criminal conduct – and the supporting evidence Mom provided.  “The implication of this comment is the writer would prefer kids be” subjected to the influence of an organization willing to ignore statutory rape and promote dangerous personal behavior to sustain their profits.

Further, Mom doesn’t say she’s against age-appropriate sex education in public schools.  She is arguing for the people of Fond du Lac’s right to decide these matters for themselves, not be dictated to by radical, out-of-touch politicians in Madison.  But if the state insists upon giving our money to Planned Parenthood, and subjecting our kids to their twisted “values,” then looking outside of the school system for their sexual education is the preferable alternative.  Cobweb is free to disagree if she likes, but that doesn’t entitle her to mischaracterize others as believing in “ignorance.”

Educational Malpractice, ObamaCare Edition

Jim Hoft has the story about PBS’s shiny new material to help teachers indoctrinate “educate” children on the “fundamental right” of health care, and government’s “obligation to secure this right for all Americans.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: conservatives cannot save America if we don’t take back the schools.  Vouchers aren’t enough.  Home schooling isn’t enough.  As long as teachers & administrators feel free to pull this garbage without endangering their jobs, as long as school boards allow or promote it without fear of electoral repercussions, and as long as local parents and Republican Parties don’t care enough to scrutinize their schools, the long march of the Left will continue to eat our country away from the inside.

Conservatism Must Not Abandon the Cultural Front (Updated)

My NewsReal colleague David Swindle has been debating Pajamas Media’s Mary Grabar on the subject of drug legalization.  I side with the arguments made by Grabar, Ann Coulter, and others against legalizing drugs, but I’ve honestly never cared enough about the issue to explore it in depth.

I know there’s an argument that true conservatives should recognize that arresting people for voluntary drug use goes beyond the proper role of limited government.  But y’know what?  We’ve got plenty of cases of government overreach and violated rights in this country that don’t involve destructive behavior—stolen property due to eminent domain abuses, innocent babies destroyed in the womb, politicians constantly looking for new excuses to paw through their constituents’ wallets—that frankly, the tribulations of potheads fighting for the right to light up register pretty low on my sympathy meter and priority list.

But hey, maybe the Founding Fathers really would side with the libertarians on this one.  I’ll read with open-minded interest David & Mary’s continued exchanges, but I have to strongly disagree with one of David’s assertions:

John McCain lost to Barack Obama because of politics, not culture. Obama was a more exciting candidate who ran a much more effective campaign. It’s that simple.

A conservatism that can win is one which understands itself and defines itself as a political movement, not a cultural one. To do otherwise is to begin to destroy a functioning coalition that has been vital to defending America since Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr., and Ronald Reagan brought it together in the 20th century. Conservatism must take the same approach to culture as the Constitution does — neutrality. Such an attitude worked for the document which has guided and protected our country for centuries and it will work for the Movement who has the same objective.

Far be it from me to read too much into the defeat of John McCain, the poster boy for almost everything a Republican shouldn’t be.  2008 was the culmination of years of GOP incompetence and lack of principle, and for reasons completely unrelated to ideology, Barack Obama was perfectly positioned to seize upon it.

But it’s another thing entirely to assume that culture played no part in Obama’s ascendance.  A culture that worships gratification (particularly sexual) without responsibility or constraints, that believes truth is personal and relativistic rather than grounded in permanent wisdom, that has been conditioned to expect everyone else to provide for their every need and clean up after their every mistake, that sneers at traditional morality and religious belief…these trends and attitudes cannot help but play into the Left’s hands.

Simply put, a narcissistic, relativistic, secular, ignorant culture will always be receptive to a political movement that promises to give them things paid for with other people’s money, affirms their “if it feels good, do it” mentality, and assures them that supporting statism and “environmental consciousness” are the only forms of morality or compassion they’ll ever really need.

A conservatism that disregards our culture will not win; indeed, its political prospects will only diminish further still.  I grew up in a public school system completely dominated by the Left.  I have seen time after time how easily the average apolitical teen, bereft of solid core values and spoon-feed the consensus of popular culture, assumes the Left’s claims on government’s role and conservatives’ evil to be true, to say nothing of every liberal myth from man-made global warming to the military-industrial complex.

More importantly, I have seen the Right’s feeble response.  This is a battle in which the conservative movement is largely—and the Republican Party is completely—AWOL.  How many conservatives are formulating strategies to break the Left’s stranglehold on education, both K-12 and college?  How many are drawing attention to the corruption of Church teachings on compassion?  How many on Capitol Hill are challenging the Left’s poisonous sexual dogma, or publicly illustrating the connection between the Democrat Party and the cultural forces it cultivates and feeds upon?

Republican electoral failures cannot be attributed to a nonexistent emphasis on culture; indeed, it’s far more likely that our woes are intimately tied to our dereliction of duty on this front.  The same old tactics—conservatives talking to the same radio audiences, writing in the same magazines, and posting on the same blogs, all mostly to each other—will win converts to the Right from time to time, but not in numbers that can even begin to compare to how many people are unwittingly fed liberal presuppositions about the world by stealth in their schools, TV shows, music, and churches, all of which form an echo chamber, reaffirming the messages for one another.

Republican strategists tend to think short-term: what will get us back into power in the next couple election cycles? Say what you want about Democrats (Lord knows I’ve said plenty), but they see the big picture, and play for keeps.  Conservatives need to open their eyes to it, as well, and settle in for the long haul. Any real, lasting return to the conservative values of the American Founding will require comprehensive strategies and solid commitments to oppose liberal encroachments on every front.

David invoked President Reagan in his post; let me conclude by doing the same.  In his Farewell Address to the American people, Reagan said:

I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual. And let me offer lesson No. 1 about America: All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So, tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins.

UPDATE: David has responded here. It seems the differences between our positions are less than they initially appeared, and I certainly agree with his central point, that the force of law is not an instrument of value enforcement.  I’ll have more thoughts later, but thanks to David for his thoughtful reply.

In Defense of Hillsdale

As usual, there are a handful of criticisms of my Reporter editorial about free speech, most of them not worth addressing—the usual assortment of illogic & dishonesty (FDL54935—one of the liars referenced in my editorial—is a conservative?  Yeah, right).  One, however, warrants a response, as this isn’t the first time it’s reared its ugly head, and it won’t be the last:

DotingDad: “I wonder: when does he have time to do his schoolwork, since he is constantly writing these long-winded letters to the editor? Maybe Hillsdale is just about right-wing indoctrination, and as long as you subscribe to that, you’ll pass all your courses.”

Yes, Hillsdale College is a conservative-leaning school, but it’s also an honest one.  Its mission is to provide students with a solid grounding in the foundations of Western civilization—Greco-Roman philosophy, Judeo-Christian morality, the political ideas of the English Enlightenment and the American Founding, and classical free-market economics.  To be sure, genuine study of these things generally leads to ideas more in line with American conservatism than with progressivism.  However, that’s a sign not of how biased Hillsdale is, but of what a radical departure progressivism was from pre-20th-century thought, as well as how factually inaccurate much of mainstream education is.

Most public schools are presented as impartial institutions with no aim beyond offering students a well-rounded knowledge base and preparing them for adulthood.  Ideology is disseminated—sometimes overtly, sometimes by stealth—to an unsuspecting, often-apolitical audience, their parents forced to support the school with their tax dollars, the teachers state-approved authority figures in the lives of impressionable minors.

Hillsdale, however, is honest about its mission.  The school’s emphasis on classical thought (which, as anybody actually familiar with the professors and the classes can guarantee, is a far cry from RNC propaganda) is out in the open; anybody considering Hillsdale is free to apply or not with full knowledge of its mission.

At most colleges, you can barely swing a dead cat without hitting some washed-up Marxist or an ex-Black Panther, and odds are he’d have tenure.  K-12 public education has more than a little propagandizing of its own to answer for, too.  Rest assured, if DotingDad is really that concerned about education, he’s barking up the wrong tree.

Review: YAF 2009 Student Conference

Me at the YAF Student Conference in the nation's capital

I’m back from the YAF Student Conference, and it was tremendous experience.  The impressive lineup of speakers covered nearly all the bases—social, economic, and foreign policy conservatism; what to look for in higher education, how to get involved in the conservative movement, fighting back against campus discrimination & indoctrination, and more.  I urge you all to watch most of the videos of the speeches here, but here are some highlights I think are especially noteworthy:

– British statesman Daniel Hannan gave a stirring speech detailing the devastating effects of socialism in his country, and imploring us not to follow down the same road.  Hannan spoke with a sense of clarity, purpose, and urgency that puts every single one of today’s Republican officeholders to shame.  It was clear that the only things motivating him were a deep love for liberty and an understanding of what is at stake—not political self-preservation or some arbitrary rubric of acceptable political decorum.  Further, I can’t describe how compelling it was to juxtapose the heartfelt ode to America’s Founding Fathers given by this Englishman with the tumultuous early relationship between our two nations—Great Britain clamping down on the liberties of thirteen colonies, who committed outright treason leading to bloody conflict in response.  Mr. Hannan is one of today’s finest testaments to the bond of friendship that our two countries have shared since then, and I pray that that bond may once again be restored in full.

Dr. Burt Folsom, Professor of History at Hillsdale College
Dr. Burt Folsom, Professor of History at Hillsdale College

– Irish filmmaking couple Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney screened two documentaries: Mine Your Own Business, a look at the environmentalists’ anti-mining crusade; and Not Evil, Just Wrong, a rebuttal to liberal lies about global warming and DDT.  Both films are devastating indictments of the Left, not only offering effective & accessible explanations of the falsehoods in environmental hysteria, but also revealing the very real suffering caused by Al Gore’s & Co.’s chosen policies.  I defy you to watch these films and walk away believing that the Right’s biggest problem is that we’re too “negative.”

– One of the most powerful events of the week was Friday’s “Socialism Rebuffed: Young People’s Experiences with Tyranny” panel, in which representatives from Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union shared their experiences living under socialist rule.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and these four offered a chilling vision of what happens when not even the good intentions are left.  While listening, I could not help but wonder how many times mankind will have to run the same failed experiments before the lesson sinks in and we finally relegate socialism to the ash heap of history, and leave it there.

Me meeting Ann Coulter
Me meeting Ann Coulter

– A panel on the current state of the young conservative movement showed more cause for concern within the movement than was probably intended, thanks to a few words from Zach Howell, chairman of the College Republican National Committee. He stressed the importance of presenting ourselves as “calm and rational,” rather than “shrill and loud and, frankly, not too educated.”  In theory, this is defensible advice (and he was right about the example he gave—a few college conservatives celebrating Earth Day by idling their cars & wasting electricity for hours)—of course our message needs to be intelligent and clear, though it’s worth noting that it ain’t Buckley-style editorializing that has turned the tables on public support for ObamaCare, showing that while reason and prudence are important, passion is also important, as is recognizing that sometimes anger is not only warranted, but necessary, as in the cases of policies that hurt people or dishonesty from politicians.  It also begs the question: who on our side is shrill and irrational?  When asked to defend his assertion that “there’s a lot of shrillness and anger that comes from the right wing,” Howell took the coward’s way out, saying he wouldn’t “get into naming names,” yet there are “a lot of voices on our side” who are shrill and detrimental.  Why not name names?  Howell’s claim is only meaningful and useful if it can be substantiated with examples so that we can evaluate its substance.  Otherwise, it’s empty smear-mongering more suggestive of wanting to win the good graces of non-conservatives than clearly & honestly identifying problems on the Right.  One would hope for better from the leadership of the College Republican National Committee, but we shouldn’t be surprised to see this instead.

The main message I took away from the conference: Reports of conservatism’s demise are greatly exaggerated.  I saw last week a smart, vibrant assemblage of young conservatives.  Across America, scores of patriots are working to educate their communities, beat back the forces of liberalism and restore America’s founding principles.  But we need more.  No matter how much you see somebody else doing, no matter what the polls may say or how they change, no American should be content to sit on the sidelines.  The old adage that one vote can’t make a difference shouldn’t be an excuse for apathy but a clarion call to ensure that your contribution to your country doesn’t begin or end in the voting booth.  To quote Abraham Lincoln, “How hard, oh how hard it is to die and leave one’s Country no better than if one had never lived for it.”

The future
The future

The Liberal Playbook: Gay Marriage

The Reporter has published my latest commentary on civil unions in Wisconsin, predictably bringing angry liberals out of the woodwork.  It’s interesting to note how predictable, one-note, and disinterested in what’s actually said, these guys generally are, and it’s important for conservatives to know what logical fallacies, sleights of hand, and personal attacks to expect when stepping into the ring with a liberal.

Take, for instance, the assumption that religion plays a leading role in my opinion, despite never being mentioned.  Liberal orthodoxy dictates that virtually no conservative opinion, especially on social issues, can possibly be held in good faith, so there must be an ulterior motive—in this case, hatred of gays and religious dogma.  Liberal orthodoxy further dictates that the slightest hint of religion (real or otherwise) in an opinion or discussion is something to be feared and immediately disqualified from consideration.

The other main objection is that, without civil unions, gays are denied equal rights.  I reject this premise entirely, for several reasons, the short version being just as I said in the article: “Many of the so-called rights gay couples are allegedly denied, such as hospital visitation and power-of-attorney related issues, are either already available to gays, easily achievable without creating new government relationship statuses, or were created to aid couples raising children on just one parent’s income, and are thus irrelevant to gay couples (as well as to dual-income straight couples).”  Moreover, I say “so-called rights” because most marriage benefits are not “rights” at all, but rather provisions offered as part of a contract.

I made clear that same-sex marriage was not the issue at dispute in my letter—the main topic was this measure’s constitutionality.  However, you’ll find that same-sex marriage advocates tend to struggle with the concept of “staying on topic,” and will completely skip your argument, instead jumping straight to why you’re evil for not supporting gay marriage.  If you refuse to let them change the subject and insist on staying on topic, you will be mischaracterized as either ducking the question or admitting defeat.

Regardless of whether or not you actually said anything demeaning towards homosexuals, no matter how much you insist you also want gay people to be able to visit their ailing partners in the hospital, you should still expect condescending lectures about how gays are people too, how homosexuality is predetermined (both propositions I accept, by the way…not that these armchair psychiatrists care), etc.  You will be psychoanalyzed with utter certitude, your opinions attributed to fear, hatred, or ignorance.  References to violence against gay Americans, black segregation, and even al-Qaeda will be thrown about with reckless abandon.

How do they know?  They just do.  They care, you don’t.  Bigot.

Also be prepared for raw hatred & childishness, such as casual references to “half-baked turd[s] of imflammatory mush” (this gem, incidentally, is from the author of the Daily Kos entry linked above, and once responded, badly, to another of my letters, noteworthy for its hypocrisy: she claims she doesn’t “want to write in anger.”).

You may even have outright lies told about you, and you may see long-simmering grudges boil over—bravely aired behind veils of anonymity, naturally.  “FDL54935” says:

Mr. Freiburger got his 15 seconds of fame since his parents went WAY overboard on a school issue. The man (Calvin) is one of the weakest writers in this community. If my sources are correct, he is barely making it through community college. I know times are tough and this is an issue that needs to be debated, but please limit editorials to those with an IQ over 75.

The issue to which our zip code refers is the case when a Fond du Lac High School teacher complained about my saying “God Bless America” over the school intercom, which the administration subsequently lied about.

Now, maybe Mr. Code was misled by news outlets that falsely reported my family was angry over the school’s speed in handling the matter, rather than their dishonesty.  Maybe he’s been lied to by propagandists whose sham reporting completely distorts the incident.  Then again, perhaps he’s the one doing the lying…after all, he’s angry enough about it to lie about my education, citing “sources” that probably don’t exist.  The real school I attend isn’t a community college, is nothing to sneeze at, and I think making Hillsdale’s Dean’s List for the second year in a row is a little better than “barely making it through.” (By the way, if you have the audacity to defend yourself by citing such facts, you can probably expect to be accused of bragging at some point, too.)

Hmm, it almost makes you wonder whether or not FDL54935’s got some kind of personal connection to the Fond du Lac School District…(crazy thought, I know.  The educational community is much too professional for that sort of thing, right?)

Hatred, anger, condescension, childishness, demonization, and persecution are all the rage (no pun intended) among the modern American Left, including the gay marriage movement.  For some liberals, I suspect, the root cause may be an insecure need for self-affirmation; for others, it is a manifestation of the liberal impulse to delegitimize opposing speech as soon as possible, to give it as little consideration as possible.  The Left wants to intimidate, not deliberate.

Don’t let them.  Don’t let yourself be shamed or silence by a movement that’s not exactly pure as the new-fallen snow itself.  Never apologize for believing that marriage matters.