OK, this got me angry in the New York Times story about Patrick Henry, the college designed for far-right home-schooled youth:
The Home School Legal Defense Association, which now counts 81,000 families each paying about $100 a year in dues, was founded in 1983 by Mr. [Mike] Farris, a lawyer who had been a protege of Tim LaHaye, the conservative Christian political organizer and best-selling author. Mr. Farris and his wife home-schooled their own 10 children. Like Mr. LaHaye, Mr. Farris is a novelist. He has written three legal thrillers involving conservative Christian issues. His latest, "Forbid Them Not," begins with a Democratic landslide in the 2004 elections that leads to a nightmare of laws blocking parents from spanking their children, teaching their children fundamental Christianity or schooling them at home.
What is this if not a sort of "Protocols of the Elders of Liberalism"? I know many right-wingers love to believe that we just want to go house to house confiscating their Bibles (and their guns) and engaging in other horrific acts of totalitarian repression, but it's a monstrous lie, and I don't see a huge difference between it and the real "Protocols."
As for the school itself, my initial reaction was that it's a free country and -- up to a point -- you have a right to teach your kids any damnfool thing you want. But this school does seem like the first American madrassa. It's disturbing to read, in a sidebar, that
Every student takes a course called "Foundations of Liberty," which teaches that democracy rests on biblical principles, traditional sex roles, limited government and private property rights
a notion right-wingers just grow fonder and fonder of, especially the part about "biblical principles," even though it's utterly at odds with reality. And then there's this:
Aside from the issue of slavery, the course suggests, early America was nearly ideal
-- which I'm sure would be rather a big surprise to Indians.
On the other hand, what this reminds me of is The Truman Show -- except that instead of keeping just one guy in blissful ignorance of the nature of the utterly circumscribed world he lives in, Patrick Henry College wants to keep hundreds of young people at a time in such ignorance. The main story suggests that these kids will be fed from far-right home schooling directly to Patrick Henry, and from there directly to the right-wing Washington establishment, without ever setting foot in what you and I know as the real world. And I guess they could easily live their whole lives that way, and who are we to judge? Except that that far-right establishment is our government:
Of the nearly 100 interns working in the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four-year-old Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville. An eighth intern works for the president's re-election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern now works on the paid staff of the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove. Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according to the school's records.
I care less about the fact that this school exists than I do about the fact that the executive and legislative branches of the federal government are controlled by people who think the school isd the bee's knees. That's what we have to change.
(P.S. to Naderites: Please e-mail me with any evidence of Patrick Henryites in the Kerry campaign or on congressional staffs. I know it's an article of faith for you guys that the two parties are essentially the same, so show me how it's true in this case.)