Stay in your hole, little pigeon!
(Guest post by Greg Forster)
As I expected, the nationalizers have responded to our manifesto, Closing the Door on Innovation, not only with weasel words that avoid confronting all the essential issues (and that Jay has already demolished) but also by trying to stigmatize us as “conservative.” Virtually all the coverage of the manifesto describes it, or its supporters, as “conservative” and the nationalizers themselves seem very keen on leveraging that for stigma value.
Apparently nationalization of education, carried out behind closed doors by people who have a direct financial stake in the outcome, is not a scary hidden political agenda, but opposing it is.
A while back, Fordham was trying to convince people that supporting national standards was “conservative.” So much for that! I wonder what Checker thinks, seeing his quotation placed cheek by jowl with Randi Weingarten’s in the official Shanker response, offering the same dodge-and-weave evasive approach that she does, and all as part of a post that treats “conservative” as a dyslogistic term.
This whole line is just cheap, hollow misdirection – “manipulation of the narrative,” as they now say.
The following propositions seem to me to be so obvious that it isn’t even worth the trouble to argue for them.
- There is nothing in the manifesto that is distinctively conservative, although there is much that conservatives can agree with. Conservatives can and should agree with obvious facts and common sense arguments, but just because the manifesto articulates obvious facts and common sense arguments that doesn’t make it “conservative.”
- There are plenty of non-conservatives among the signatories.
- By immediately rushing in to frantically point fingers and shriek “Conservative! Conservative! CONSERVATIVE!” while offering evasive weaseling on the substance, the nationalizers have proven my point that national standards are a great way to reignite the very worst aspects of the culture wars of the 1990s.
Instead of bickering over labels, how about we argue over the substance? Oh yeah, that’s right – I forgot.