Politics Magazine

I'm Against It

Posted on the 05 September 2011 by Erictheblue

Sometimes--frequently--I get so annoyed by stuff I hear or read that I can hardly think of anything else till I've expressed my annoyance, thereby achieving a sort of exorcism.  Thus a blog.  It doesn't even matter if anyone reads it.  I doubt the therapeutic effect could be any greater if my posts were published on the editorial page of The New York Times.

Yesterday the Star Tribune newspaper printed on its editorial page a long, pompous editorial by Mitch Pearlstein, the director of a local conservative think tank.  He really annoys me.  Yesterday's piece was about family breakdown.  Oh woe! woe! woe!  Nobody wants to acknowledge that family breakdown is a leading cause of the gap between "haves" and "have nots."  But he will trod where only big thinkers dare go.  Oh woe! woe! woe!  The sociologists all concur it's terrible!  Oh woe! woe! woe!  We must permit vouchers for private school education.  And so on.

Here's a typical Pearlstein gambit.  Having appealed to reasonable people by fussily charging "liberals" and "conservatives" of different sins on the issue of wealth inequality, he writes:

Might I respectfully add here that it is impossible for me to imagine how liberal friends could not be at least as concerned as I am from the conservative side of the aisle about the thinning of marriage and its straight line to social class rupture.

Emphasis in original.  He is so concerned.  He can't imagine why his "liberal friends" aren't.  Permit him to respectfully point out that he's better than they are.  His actual meaning would be clearer if the italics came two words later. 

You might think that the need for private school education does not necessarily follow from data about wealth inequality and family disintegration.  But Pearlstein has decided that vouchers would be a good thing and consequently every possible social observation attests to the necessity of adopting his view.  Here he is performing the pivot:

I asked [the] principal of a Catholic elementary school in the Twin Cities what her institution's mission was.  "To manifest God's love in every child," she said, or words close to that.  As educational mission statements go, this was one of the briefiest yet meatiest ever drafted.

No, it's tied with a million others for the most meaningless.  "To manifest God's love in every child" is just the empty cant of a dull nun.  It doesn't mean anything.  I hate the way we are all expected to bow down and pay obeisance soon as anyone suggests that their view is supported by religion.  I guess if you disagree with Mitch Pearlstein, then you must be against making God's love manifest in children.

Well, count me among that small group.  No tax dollars should support religious schools.  No God's love manifest in young children.  No taking time out from math and reading for lessons concerning the Virgin Mary.  I'm against it, and I'm feeling better.

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