One of our Intoleristas here in Moscow has been Prof. William Ramsey, and he recently posted an article entitled “The Late Unpleasantness in Idaho: Southern Slavery and the Culture Wars.” In said article he attempts an overview of the Fracas here in Moscow, and he gets enough details wrong that I take back anything I may have ever said about him not being qualified to be a modern professional historian. If we calculate by the number of simple factual errors generated in this article, and his subject matter is me, living across town in the same tiny town at the same time, then it should be easy to extrapolate from that number to quite a respectable number of errors when the subject matter is far, far away and long, long ago. So there is now no question in my mind but that Prof. Ramsey is qualified to run with the big boys of historiography.
A sample? “Wilson, it turned out, had cultivated an empire of ‘classical’ schools based on a biblical worldview that included over 165 private academies around the country, all of which purchased educational materials published by his personal ‘Canon Press’ in Moscow, Idaho, or affiliated ‘Veritas Press’ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His empire of private academies paled, however in comparison to his real passion for home-schooling. Wilson’s view of slavery currently services thousands of home-schooled familes around the country with materials published by Canon and Veritas Presses.”
Land of Goshen. I think that I am about to be promoted into a scarecrow for use in fund-raising letters for the Democratic Party, the kind with blood on the envelope. Not that such a promotion would be a bad thing, mind you. But back to the Ramsey issue — three sentences, four major factual errors. Where are these famous refereed journals when you need them?
Ramsey concluded his article by telling how Mark Potok, from the world’s richest civil rights organization, despite that word poverty in their title, read from a sermon of mine during their protest of our history conference, a year ago last February. In that sermon (Dec. 28, 2003) I was explaining the concept of a “decisive point,” which is what you have when a target is both feasible and strategic. Mr. Potok read excerpts from the message that explained that a small town like Bovill is feasible, but not strategic. New York City (with a hats off to my good friend Steve Schlissel) is strategic but not feasible. “A number of audience members gasped as Potok read from Wilson’s sermon.” Oh, well, nothing unusual about that.
But this reason for gasping was probably different. These good folks at the protest were getting panicky about the prospects of us “culture warriors” getting a line of our light artillery up on Paradise Ridge, just south of town, and then dictating our terms to the city council. But what we actually want to do is live out our love for Jesus, educate our own children in terms of that love, share that love with any neighbors who are open to it, do first-rate work, and mind our own business. In short, I was talking about evangelism, and not the imposition of a draconian legislative agenda that would make Hamurabi look like a bleeding heart liberal.
But minding our own business is becoming much harder because our Intoleristas are dedicated to a very public and judicial harassment of any view that starts to threaten their goose-stepping versions of diversity. And the entire time they are filing complaints, instigating bogus investigations, and cooking up zoning challenges, they act like they are the ones being persecuted. They are a sight to behold, and I wish you were here so you could watch.