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My new column is up, taking off from this blog post yesterday on the insipid “Operation Respect: Don’t Laugh at Me” curriculum being introduced into the NYC public schools. Intro:

White House senior adviser Karl Rove caused a firestorm last week after observing that liberals favor “therapy and understanding” to fight terrorism in a post-Sept. 11 world.

Rove spoke the truth. But he barely scratched the surface.

The left-wing Kumbaya crowd is quietly grooming a generation of pushovers in the public schools. At a time of war, when young Americans should be educated about this nation’s resilience and steely resolve, educators are indoctrinating students with saccharine-sticky lessons on “non-violent conflict resolution” and “promoting constructive dialogues.”

Peaceniks are covering our kids from head to toe in emotional bubble wrap. They are creating a nation of namby-pambys…

Some readers want to know if I’m opposed to all anti-bullying efforts. Of course not. I’ve written before on the public school system’s utter failure to protect innocent students from harm. But the ultimate solution isn’t to send the brutes to undergo more sensitivity training. The answer is to kick them out of regular classrooms and put them in reform schools. There’s a retro idea.

The danger of peacenik Peter Yarrow’s program–yes, that Peter Yarrow— is that it’s planting the seeds of anti-war activism in young minds under the seemingly unobjectionable guise of fostering “respect.” Some 12,000 schools and camps have now adopted the lesson plans. More from the column:

The teaching materials for “Operation Respect” were created under the direction of Linda Lantieri, founder of something called the “Educators for Social Responsibility’s Resolving Conflict Creatively Program.” Educators for Social Responsibility promotes pedagogical material from the likes of the militant “War Resisters League” to “understand” war and peddles lessons on (hyped) anti-Muslim discrimination in America to “understand” the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Additional guidance for the lessons came from the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center. The program lays the groundwork for children to take a “peace pledge” and commit to non-violent conflict resolution to solve problems.

Take some time to look around the “Operation Respect” website for yourself and you’ll see what I’m talking about: go here, then here, then here, then here. Keep clicking.

The metrosexualization of America marches on.

Who needs enemies…



Brainwashing preschool peaceniks


I mention Sally Satel and Christina Hoff Sommers’ brilliant book, “One Nation Under Therapy.” Put it on your summer reading list if you haven’t already. It will put you in the properly belligerent frame of mind.


Update: RightWingDuck at IMAO spoofs the almost-un-spoof-able. Too funny.


Lots of reader feedback. Here’s a sample:

From J.W.P.:

As a counter-point to this “namby-pamby” training, let’s support the Civilian Marksmanship Program in the schools and among our youth so we can develop some confidence and defense skills of a different sort.

From Eliezer R.:

The article about educating for peace reminded me of the farside cartoon where it shows 2 bears standing over the dead body of a hiker they are about to eat. one bear says (first quotes the hiker’s last words) “I’m a

vegetarian” (to this the bear comments) “yeah, as if we care.”

From Sarah S.:

Michelle, your column made me think of the 1960s ad of the young girl in the flower field and the atomic bomb. Only the 2005 version is the same girl all grown up with a group of friends waving their peace flags and a suicide bomber driving his car toward her, laughing.

From Charles C.:

Reminds me of the joke where Attila the Hun is told that the meek will inherit the Earth…”Good,” he replies, “I’ll kick their butts and take it away from them.”

From Nathan M:

May I suggest a starting point for a cure for namby-pambyism: Make every student over 12 (or so) watch George C. Scott in “Patton.” Or at the very least, make them watch the wonderful opening monologue in front of the huge American flag.

As Scott himself once said, it was impossible for him as an actor to mess up this scene, because the dialogue was “pure poetry.” The scene was apparently shot in a single take. In it, Patton presents us with the essence of the warrior and patriot, and the polar opposite of the dangerous teachings you describe. And it’s filled with some unforgettable one-liners, such as: “No poor dumb bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it, by making THE OTHER poor dumb bastard die for HIS country.”

From Fran F:

Your column gave me a lotta laughs, but I’m also ambivalent over the whole anti-bullying curriculum. I was hugely bullied myself in school. I was learning-disabled and (as many such kids are) socially awkward. There was no safety at home; my mom was mentally ill, emotionally abusive. The whole dynamic was “Keep Anita (Mom) on an even keel at all costs.” If she wanted to bully and ridicule me (she often did), so be it. Mother knows best, etc. Thank God times have changed!

But imagine coming to school with that as a background. Like animals sniffing blood, kids pick up the scent. Even non-bullies often fear peer pressure. How many adults, let alone kids, are profiles in courage?

On the other hand, this “therapeutic” response is rooted in school shootings, especially Columbine. School people are at a loss. Ignoring it can have tragic consequences as the victims, pushed too far, can and will shoot tormenters and innocent alike, just to even the score.


I can understand the rage of living in an unsafe, unresponsive world. What kid can function academically, let alone socially, in such an atomosphere? I was at the very bottom of my high school class academically. I’m now a university grad, but it took years to catch up. In forty years, I’ve never gone to a h.s. reunion. My relationship with my family is tenuous and distant. I escaped the old-fashioned way: thru a good marriage, now almost 37 years old.

Having said that, the current programs aren’t the right way to go, either. My younger son’s in middle school. He says that the funniest part of the week is the anti-bullying segment. “Bears {school mascot} Don’t Bully” is a laugh line among the kids. He also says that these programs actually promote bullying by teaching kids new methods for doing so. The cliche that prisons are schools for crime applies here.

By all accounts he, as well as his grown older brother, isn’t a bully. Both sons have had the guts to help those who are. But they don’t do so by mouthing platitudes. (Neither’s in-group popular).

Sometimes, it takes good old-fashioned fisticuffs to settle the matter. But how does a principal deal with parents who don’t even want playground dodgeball games, fearing physical or mental injury? Fear of lawsuits is well-grounded.

School officials swing from Responsive Classroom to Zero Tolerance and back again because they’re at a loss as to what is the right answer.

Kids have a right to attend school without fearing bullies. Teachers should be able to teach without walking on eggshells. In an atmosphere of very real lawsuit fears, what are school officials to do? Therapy and Zero Tolerance aren’t working. I don’t know what will.

From Ken F.:

I am a teacher in a public middle school. Our school system has be inundated with a character education program called ITI. Its focus is elementary school children. It teaches all of the “life skills” that the program developer feels are necessary to become a sensitive, caring, successful, emotionally well-adjusted person.

The program is a philosophy that borders on a religion. The people that teach it and incorporate it into their classrooms “believe” in it completely. The goal is to create a safe classroom environment where children can feel free of absolutely any pressure, conflict or ego bruising encounters. The result: children in the 7th and 8th grade that are completely knowledgeable about sex, but have the emotional maturity of a seven year old. The least little insult leads to hurt feelings, crying, parent calls, etc. In other words, the kids really don’t learn how to deal with personal relationships that are threatening or hurtful. All they do is whine.

So, what is the outcome? More fights than you can imagine. And guess who fights more? The girls by almost two to one. The girls have conflicts that used to be reserved until their late teenage years. But not anymore. Sex is the leading cause of these conflicts. The boys play girls against each other then watch what happens. And why not, they are getting what they want in the form of Rainbow Parties and various other sexual activities…

…parents are a huge part of the problem. Many do not teach their children respect for others. Their children are spoiled at all levels. Those children and parents are the ones who complain the most about being treated unfairly. After all, everyone else is to blame–not them (the parent) or their little darling.

American society wants schools and especially teachers to fix the problem. We are told better test scores will do it. Teach them character. Teach them about sex. Teach them whatever the latest fad is from the ivory Towers of Babble that are the modern education colleges. The simple fact is that schools cannot do it… EVER! Of the twelve years they attend school student will only spend about twelve percent of their time there. That’s right, twelve percent. Yet, the schools and their teachers are supposed to correct all that is learned during the other eighty-eight percent of their lives!

Michelle, I do not blame parents for wanting to send their children to private schools or home schooling. In fact, if the parents are motivated and capable I whole heartedly encourage them to do so. I support vouchers. I am not afraid of change brought on by the demands of parents looking for quality education for their students.

The namby pamby nation is a frightening thing. You are right to be concerned. Our upcoming generations will have no stomach for sacrifice, discipline, or enduring burdens. If the WWII generation was the Greatest Generation, then I shudder when I think of the next one hundred years.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Karl Rove