We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we usually omit the writer’s full name and city. But there’s no problem with this one. The letter-writer (or guest columnist) is Chuck Norris, who needs no introduction. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
He spends the first half of the column on the tale of a student in a Connecticut high school who discovered that his school’s internet service blocked him from visiting conservative websites like the National Rifle Association, the Republican Party, the National Right to Life website, and even the Vatican. But he was allowed to freely access pro-gun-control websites, the Democratic Party website, the Planned Parenthood website, an LGBT website, and an Islamic website.
We agree with Chuck that this was flat-out wrong. But that’s not what concerns us here. Then he says:
True education doesn’t fear alternative views or even falsehoods, though they should be couched in age-appropriateness and a venue where options are presented with evidence. At least, that was the educational belief of our founding fathers.
No problem so far, although we’re dubious about falsehoods. But get this:
Consider alone the words of one of the greatest American minds and educators and one of the pillars of our republic, Thomas Jefferson, who vehemently fought for the broad education of common Americans. As he founded the University of Virginia, he wrote this about his philosophy and goal of education on Dec. 26, 1820: “This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of (its) contemplation.”
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Jefferson created the University of Virginia to be a secular institution. Wikipedia says:
Other universities of the day allowed only three choices of specialization: Medicine, Law, and Religion, but under Jefferson’s guidance, the University of Virginia became the first in the United States to allow specializations in such diverse fields as Astronomy, Architecture, Botany, Philosophy, and Political Science. An even more controversial direction was taken for the new university based on a daring vision that higher education should be completely separated from religious doctrine.
Jefferson even went so far as to ban the teaching of Theology altogether. In a letter to Thomas Cooper in October 1814, Jefferson stated, “a professorship of theology should have no place in our institution” and, true to form, the University never had a Divinity school; it was established independent of any religious sect.
Chuck didn’t do too well with that. Here’s the end of his column, and it’s the best part:
An open education is about presenting every side of the coin. That is why teaching about “intelligent design” and religion should be an integral part of every curriculum. There is also no doubt about this: When we fear alternative views to the extent that we eliminate them, we have reduced education to nothing more than tyranny and indoctrination.
Good luck, Chuck. But don’t count on Mr. Jefferson to help you with that one.
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