"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Wednesday, May 29, 2002 An indoctrination in wooly-headedness, courtesy of the Public Schools
From the Boston Globe last week, this small item:
SHERBORN: Holliston students to visit Peace Abbey: Pupils from Holliston's Placentino Elementary School will visit the Peace Abbey in Sherborn today as part of a peace curriculum. The pupils, from the first, second, and third grades, will perform a John Mellencamp song for which they wrote their own lyrics. They will dress in the tradition of their family heritages for the performance. The curriculum, [offered] for several years, teaches students about tolerance, peace, and nonviolence.
How nice-sounding. How progressive. And how utterly wrong-headed. (Meantime, just what, one wonders, did these youngsters of the leafy suburbs don for "dress in the tradition of their family heritages"? Pilgrim garb? Viking helmets? Stage leprechaun costumes?)
Pacifism, cultural relativism, moral equivalence: These most decidedly are not the messages to instill in our children, particularly not during the current period in world history. Columnist Michael Kelly had the pacifists pegged (here and here).
Throughout his career, Chesterton was a vigorous enemy of pacifism. What he did believe in was the right, or the duty rather, of self-defense and the defense of others.
Chesterton was also a vigorous enemy of militarism. Both ideas, he argued, were really a single idea -- that the strong must not be resisted. The militarist, he said, uses this idea aggressively as a conqueror, as a bully. The pacifist uses the idea passively by acquiescing to the conqueror and permitting himself and others around him to be bullied. Of the two, Chesterton thought the pacifist far less admirable. In fact, the pacifist, for him, was "the last and least excusable on the list of the enemies of society."
They preach that if you see a man flogging a woman to death you must not hit him. I would much sooner let a leper come near a little boy than a man who preached such a thing.