The Interview That Ended Poorly

Our attention has been increasingly drawn to the growth of classical Christian schools, and so we sent a reporter with National Proletariat Radio to interview Douglas Wilson in Moscow, Idaho to get some background on this important movement.

NPR: Thank you so much for granting this interview.education-cartoon

DW: Glad to do it. Thanks for the opportunity.

NPR: I was surprised to read that you, as a religious conservative, are opposed to prayer in the public schools. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

DW: Well, of course I support prayer in schools as a general rule, and so my opposition to prayer in the government schools has to be taken in a more nuanced way. I am opposed to prayer in the government schools for the same reason that I am opposed to lockers in the public schools, drinking fountains in the public schools, classrooms in the public schools, teachers in the public schools, and pupils in the public schools. If I don’t want an institution to exist in the first place, then of course I wouldn’t want it to be sanctified with prayer.

NPR: Isn’t that position somewhat . . . extreme?

DW: No, an extreme position would be that of H.L. Mencken, who said there was nothing wrong with the public schools that couldn’t be solved by burning all the schools and hanging all the teachers. That is, I will acknowledge, a bit extreme. My position is decidedly moderate.

NPR: Moderate?

DW: Yes. I see no reason why the old school buildings could not be repurposed.

NPR: Let us move on then. Do you not think that your emphasis on the “classics” is too white? Too Eurocentric? The hegemony of dead white males . . . that sort of thing?

DW: No, I don’t think that.

NPR: Because . . .?

DW: Because there is nothing wrong with teaching children to appreciate and to be grateful for their own heritage.

NPR: Won’t this encourage them to despise those who come from a different heritage, a different legacy?

DW: Not at all. You don’t teach children to respect how other children honor their mothers by teaching them to despise their own mothers.

NPR: But your school here, Logos School, is hardly a model of diversity . . .

DW: How do you mean?

NPR: Well, before this interview I looked up all your board members. All of them are men. How would you respond to that?

DW: I would respond with incredulity.

NPR: Incredulity?

DW: Yes. This is 2016 . . . and you asked a question like that?

NPR: Like what? I simply wanted to know why your board is made up of nothing but men. And it seems to me to be a fair question.

DW: I see. And why did you assume that they were all men?

NPR: Well, the names . . . Joe, Ben, you know.

DW: You mean to tell me that this is what you call evidence? Have you talked to any of them? Do you know what pronouns they use for themselves? Do you know how they identify at home?

NPR: Umm , . .  no.

DW: And so you come in here and insult me, and our board, and our school, by simply assuming that our board members were men, and you did this on the basis of . . . stereotypical names? I am afraid that I am going to have to ask for the name of your supervisor.

NPR: Umm . . . Bruno Milchilczveski

DW: Now, see? This should be an object lesson. How bad would it be if I were simply to assume that Bruno was a man with no more to go on that what you have given me?

NPR: Look, I am very sorry. There is no need to call him . . . he is a him . . . my apologies. I am very sorry.

DW: Okay. I’ll let it go this time. We are all still getting used to it.

NPR: Let me frame this as a question then. A most respectful question. How many of your board members are men?

DW: Well, currently all of them are.

NPR: Currently? You mean that because you have elected seats that the composition varies?

DW: No, it has nothing to do with our elections. We switch it around from meeting to meeting. Paper, rock, scissors.

NPR: You switch around?

DW: Depending on the need. But the only time we are all girls is when we have gotten behind on the fundraising quilting project.

NPR: Are you pulling my leg?

DW: No farther than it has already been pulled.

[Sound of scuffling. Recording ends.]

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Dan Kreider
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Dan Kreider

Man, I wish this had actually happened.

rungeeric
Member
rungeeric

Is this real? If so, is there audio available?

Dan Kreider
Guest
Dan Kreider

No, sadly. First sentence: “National Proletariat Radio…”

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Everyone knows it’s “National People’s Radio”.

Chris
Guest
Chris

That is a beautiful piece of writing. :) #MyDayHasBeenMade

Joshua D Jones
Guest

This interview may be used against you at the revolutionary tribunals.

ashv
Guest
ashv

A one-time amnesty for schoolteachers and professors would probably be appropriate.

Suggestions on how we should repurpose these facilities? Some are probably best used for nuclear waste storage.

Arwen B
Guest
Arwen B

I’m sure some of them would be suitable for housing livestock.

That’s very nearly their function now, and poultry don’t care whether your architecture is Brutalist or Miesian.

Nathan Smith
Member

They could be repurposed as actual schools.

ashv
Guest
ashv

Too dangerous. It’d be like building a hospital over a plague pit.

cduncster
Member

The mention of the government (or public) schools brought to mind a couple of quotes — one from Machen, the other from Mencken. Machen: “In the state of Oregon, on Election Day, 1922, a law was passed by a referendum vote in accordance with which all children in the state are required to attend the public schools. Christian schools and private schools, at least in the all-important lower grades, are thus wiped out of existence. Such laws, which if the present temper of the people prevails will probably soon be extended far beyond the bounds of one state, [1] [which… Read more »

Carson Spratt
Member

Doug, I’m dying of laughter. This needs a public health warning for respiratory distress put in at the top.

To be fair, it’s funnier to those of you who have seen your impish grin!

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Wonderful!
I’m not sure if I like this better or the recent news that the FBI thinks there may be evidence on Anthony Weiner’s phone that incriminates Hillary.

adad0
Member

Now I’m conflicted.
The avenues of humor and double entendre’ are rich, but lead to territory’s I don’t normally speak of.
I bet it will turn out that nameless “experts” will say that the Russians made him do it!????

Capndweeb
Guest
Capndweeb

Indeed, “A” dad, there is a rich vein of humor that could be mined here but I’m not going there either. Let us suffice to say that in terms of October Surprise, ladies and gents, we have a WEINER!

Jennie
Member

Wonderful. Lots of great ideas for working with lefties. Answer a fool according to zer’s folly.

Jill Smith
Member

I don’t totally understand the animus against public schools in all instances. I can see why people resent federal or state, as opposed to local, control, but why is a public school inherently bad, especially for children whose parents either are unreligious or belong to mainstream denominations that do not have a problem with them? (I am leaving aside the question of bad public schools, because I am assuming Doug would think that even an excellent public school was undesirable.) In Westerns, I have noticed that when people settled in a new area, one of the first things they did… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

The thing that’s wrong with government schools is pretty much the same thing that’s wrong with government churches. Of course it’s possible for a government church to be good. It does not necessarily have to oppressively promulgate official propaganda. But officious propaganda promulgators would be dying to get their hands on it.

Jill Smith
Member

But wouldn’t local control do away with many of these difficulties? I served on the governance council of my daughter’s charter school, and we had a great deal of local control over the hiring of teachers and school policy. Of course, we had no control over state-mandated curriculum–other than in choice of textbooks from an approved list–although we could add curriculum within certain guidelines. I agree that a more ideal situation would have been to abolish the federal department of education and return decisions about curriculum to the local level. But, if we assumed such local control, would you still… Read more »

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Maybe we could go back fifty years? I’d rather go back a hundred or a thousand. I have nothing against parents pooling resources and doing whatever they want. Make it compulsory though and it’s too tempting a target for bad guys.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

The biggest danger the federal department of education poses is that the schools are its army. We need more militia and less national guard to protect us from tyranny.

Christopher
Member

“But, if we assumed such local control, would you still contend that a school financed by the state but run by parents and teachers must be harmful to the children it serves?”

State finance tends to interfere with local controll.

Jill Smith
Member

She is certainly very pretty! I think that as long as she does not have any resemblance to the Duchess of Windsor, it would be good for the royal family to import some American blood. And if you could think of a lawful way to bypass Charles in the line of succession, I would be very grateful to you.

John
Member

You’d take her in a cage fight though. That would get Harry’s attention. lol

Jill Smith
Member

I am too old and too feeble. I will be happy if Justin T visits me in the old folks’ home, holds my hand, and whispers sweet nothings in melodious French.

Katecho
Member

What would be wrong with a government news agency? This is not a rhetorical question. Why would jillybean be opposed to such a thing (assuming she would be)? What are the dangers?

Now ask how those same concerns don’t apply, even more so, for a government school system.

Jill Smith
Member

I think I can see the dangers. But why would these dangers exist in a public school under local control? I am not being captious; I really don’t understand why the school created in my western scenario, run by parents and an elected local school board, would necessarily be bad.

adad0
Member

Jilly, what with me being as conservative as most around here, I have lived on both sides of the issue. Are govt. roads bad? Is government air traffic control bad? Are government submarines bad? Genearlly speaking, no, they are not bad, they are pretty good. I went to both public schools and private christian schools. My own kids have gone to both types of schools as well, plus home school. To top it off, I help design and deliver public schools. The issue with schools is that they can be “all over the place”, in a way that roads, air… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Thank you! My dear but departed brother-in-law was also an architect who designed schools–and prisons!

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

You said it!

Arwenb
Guest
Arwenb

See, as an architecture student, that kind of overlap bothers me on a philosophical level.

Jill Smith
Member

It bothered my brother in law as well. I don’t think he enjoyed the prison design part of his work, and he certainly didn’t enjoy his tours of prisons when they were being renovated.

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: But why would these dangers exist in a public school under local control? I am not being captious; I really don’t understand why the school created in my western scenario, run by parents and an elected local school board, would necessarily be bad. There are two major concerns. One is the problem of sphere jurisdiction, which I’ve mentioned before. The government is a sword bearer, and simply has no mandate, or permission to impose. However, parents are the ones given the education mandate to raise and disciple their children in the fear of the Lord. Not even the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

Do you think, therefore, that Scottish Covenanters were wrong in urging Scotland’s parliament to establish parish schools at the expense of local landowners? This was done in the Education Acts of 1633, 1646, and 1696. And when Calvin established a tuition-fee public school in Geneva (albeit not at taxpayer expense), was he acting as head of church or head of state? Would the same argument apply to the establishment and operation of publicly funded hospitals? Would there be circumstances in which a pandemic required the government to provide hospitals as a matter of public health and to maintain order?

Katecho
Member

If the Scottish Covenanters sought to impose an education system through a coercive tax, then they were wrong. The power to tax is a sword-bearing function, but the civic sphere that goes with that authority is very specific, and does not include general education. Calvin never acted as head of state, in spite of some people’s notions of his authority in Genevan civil affairs. To the extent that Calvin funded his college and academy through tuition, gifts, donations, and endowments, rather than government funds, those schools were legitimate. As leader in the Church, Calvin could also designate some of God’s… Read more »

Conserbatives_conserve_little
Guest
Conserbatives_conserve_little

Don’t look to the westerns for historical accuracy. Many immigran groups, especially Germans built ethnic language schools affiliated with their churches. I know that is not shown in Westerns.

ArwenB
Guest
ArwenB

Part of it, I think is the gradual encroachment of school time on every other part of a family’s life. When families first moved out west and set up schools, children didn’t usually start in school until 8 years of age, and they stopped at age 16, unless they were going to become teachers, doctors or lawyers. That is what age group was encompassed by the proverbial “8th grade education”. So, under the old system, parents taught and molded their own children for the first 7 years of their lives, before turning them over to the schools, where they learned… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member

I agree with you that school goes on for far too many years, and we seem to keep adding more at either end. Some of the European countries whose students outperform ours don’t start formal education until the age of seven, which makes good sense to me. We are not thinking about how many years of schooling is needed to make sure a child has been adequately educated; we are thinking about schools as daycares and as mechanisms to keep kids out of the labor force and off the streets. Every time new studies show that our children are struggling… Read more »

Arwenb
Guest
Arwenb

Agreed. What I’ve been told is that children are literally incapable of learning to read until… some part of their brain develops more, the myelin sheaths maybe?…. That this happens anywhere from age 4 to age 6, on average, and that boys tend to finish this development later than girls, which means that if you start expecting kids to read too early, they’ll be convinced they’re too stupid to read. And then the girls start to be able to read, and the boys still can’t which only exacerbates the problem. To say nothing of the old “Give me a child… Read more »

carandc
Member

“DW: You mean to tell me that this is what you call evidence? Have you talked to any of them? Do you know what pronouns they use for themselves? Do you know how they identify at home?” Doug – you were prescient earlier this year about the whole pronoun business: Here: https://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/110104.html and Here: https://dougwils.com/s7-engaging-the-culture/misbehaving-with-pronouns.html In the first post, especially, as you linked to my state’s restrictions on free speech. Wanted to know if you’ve been following Jordan B. Peterson’s stand at University of Toronto and how his arguments hold up in your estimation. Any thoughts? Seems like this whole… Read more »

Luke Pride
Guest

Government run schools would be a moral outrage even if they weren’t opposed to the Faith, same as a Government run church. I have heard people defend it on Romans 13 (anything the state does is fine, no matter how extreme) and than when asked about our giving to spiritual causes not being under compulsion, according to Paul, they respond that I could move to another country if I wanted to.

Qodesmith
Guest
Qodesmith

I had to google National Proletariat Radio before I realized. Haha. This is great. And accurate.

Sarah L. Culbertson
Guest
Sarah L. Culbertson
Jill Smith
Member

An interesting article. But the vast majority of even Christian Americans don’t believe that the government is Biblically prohibited from providing education to their children. Nor is our system predicated on Biblical law (as opposed to Judeochristian values). I can see people voting for major changes in how public schools are governed, whom they hire, and what they teach, but I find it very unlikely that a large number of people would vote for their abolition.

Rob Steele
Guest
Rob Steele

Is it any surprise that the system produces supporters of the system? That’s its primary function.

Stephen Rowe
Member

Irony alert!