Sunday, February 16, 2020

Warrior's Forgotten and A Nation Lost


There’s a patch that’s commonly seen on the back of old veteran’s biker jackets, or sometimes hanging at a local V.A. hospital. The patch has a quote that always rung in my head with a certain truth because so many people disregard our nations warriors, and our country is so much the worse for it. The patch reads “A nation that forgets its defenders is a nation soon forgotten.” Our government has sent them off to foreign wars under the lie that they are defending freedom and then, leave them to rot, or label them as terrorists when they return.

In Wisconsin a combat vet named Rich Clewien is experiencing this now, as I write this article. Rich has no criminal record and was discharged honorably from the United States Army. He purchased ten acres of land in rural Wisconsin where him and his wife both work for the state corrections department. Rich built a makeshift shooting range on his property which is perfectly legal to do. His neighbors however were offended and called law enforcement. Despite officers finding no evidence of wrongdoing and filing no charges, his neighbors continued the unnecessary harassment by filing a civil suit against him. The suit alleges that Rich is creating a public nuisance which is a complaint that is nearly impossible to defend against. Again, it should be noted that Mr. Clewien has broken no law at this point.

We live in a time where constant propaganda has created an environment of irrational fear and mistrust of people who own firearms. Most of us remember being eleven or twelve and taking hunter safety classes at the local rod and gun club. These days, children are suspended from school and mass chaos ensues when children bite pop tarts in gun shapes. In Colorado, a teenage boy was suspended from school for going to a shooting range with his mother.

The country’s attitude towards firearms certainly has changed. There is a concentrated effort to manipulate the young minds of America into an anti-gun mindset. Eric Holder, Obamas former attorney general, said that people need to be brainwashed into thinking differently about guns. America has traditionally been a warrior culture where firearm ownership has been considered our birthright and as much a part of American heritage as apple pie. If they want to disarm us, then they must first change our minds. This is being accomplished in any number of ways. The schools are continually running shooter on campus drills which, along with the spectacular media coverage of actual school shootings, creates a state of panic in our children. These children will grow up being tomorrow’s gun control advocates.

Without a doubt the most dangerous development of the gun control agenda is the spreading plague of red flag laws, or extreme risk protection orders. Ever since Donald Trump said on live television, “take the guns first go and then go to court,”, states have been passing them at an increasingly alarming rate. Many of these states are headed up by republican majorities as well. Under most of these laws a person can have their guns confiscated on the mere suggestion that they may pose a danger to themselves or others. There is no forewarning, no trial, no charges filed. Just an accusation based on fear. The term “a threat to themselves or others” itself is so vague and is ripe for abuse. Some of these laws even consider a recent purchase of a gun or ammunition to be a warning sign. Ultimately, the goal of red flag laws is to do exactly what Eric Holder suggested, create a constant fear of gun ownership to the point where simply owning a gun can have one labeled as potentially dangerous.

Wisconsin does not currently have a red flag law, though one has been introduced in 2019. This doesn’t matter for Mr. Clewien because the state is acting as if they do. Marquette County Judge Chad Hendee, on behalf of the suing party, has ordered him to release his V.A. medical files, which are protected by federal HIPPA laws. The judge has also order Mr. Clewien to provide an inventory of his firearms and all receipts for purchased ammunition. The judge cannot do this, it is a violation of the fourth amendment. If Mr. Clewien fails to provide this information by March first, he will be held in contempt of court.

Judge Hendee says that “a good judge listens well and treats all people fairly and equally without drawing immediate conclusions” (Allen, 2019). It seems to me that he is extremely biased against war veterans. Mr. Clewien has broken no laws and served his country honorably under the sincere belief he was defending their freedom, unaware of how the country has slowly changed. He is being treated like he is dangerous simply because he was in the service and he likes to shoot. With today’s increasingly hostile attitude towards the constitution, the bill of rights and gun ownership; along with the engineered mistrust brought about by divide and conquer tactics, this could happen to any one of us at any time.

The Plight of the American Vet….

Warriors in search of honor,
     in a war where there was none.

     Home to the ungrateful,
    labeled, they took his gun.

    A soldier in search of faith,
    his religion been replaced,
    Comes home from all the fighting
             To a completely different place.

              Fighters search for peace,
              war rages in their head.
              Goes back to those that sent them,
              homeless without a bed.

             Young men search for truth
              among men who only lie.

              We fought your war, yet you forsake us,
              may I ask you why?

















Friday, February 14, 2020

In A World Not of Our Making


Trapped in a world not of our making,

Glimpses of the future, our hearts sadly aching.



What happened to freedom? Where did our country go?

Where did these tyrants come from? Whom to liberty they say no?



I have hopes and my children their dreams.

My wife wants to sail in the brisk ocean breeze.


I want to share joy, fancy the world’s wonder.

I love to write poetry in storms of roaring thunder.



Our freedom is slipping, being ripped away.

No not tomorrow, it is happening now, it is happening today.



Quiet soul shudders, my eye sheds a tear.



The day that would never come, drawing dangerously near.



This life is mine by virtue of God, and freedom is my right. It is not I who is picking, this senseless needless fight.



For the tyrant is here and we know what is to come.

For this life we hold dear, we can never turn and run.


The Warrior's Poet

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Trained for Social Change: Creating Social Activists Through Operant Conditioning


The Western Journal recently ran an article detailing a New York Times initiative called the 1619 project. The aim of this project is to build upon the racial tensions exacerbated by the modern social justice movement by teaching elementary school children that the Revolutionary War was fought to protect the institution of slavery. There are several reasons why this is factually incorrect; however, if our children are continually exposed to this type of propaganda, they will grow up believing it. According to The Western Journal, 3,500 schools across all fifty states have adopted this lesson. Donald Trump was praised for his state of the union address, where among other things, he boasted that children shouldn’t be forced to go to failing government schools.  The truth is that the federal department of education controls the curriculum across the board. It doesn’t matter what school children go to ̶ they will be exposed to the same lessons. Why would the federal department of education allow such a lesson to be taught? The answer is simple; the school system is a catalyst for shaping young minds and conditioning children to be agents of social change. Children in elementary school today will be tomorrow’s change agents for social justice.

The goal of education is not to create free thinking individuals, but a compliant citizenry that accepts government control over their lives. This is achieved through operant conditioning techniques, a process otherwise known as stimulus response conditioning. Founded by B.F. Skinner, operant conditioning works on the premise that behavior can be controlled and modified by manipulating the environment and reinforcing acceptable behavior through negative or positive reinforcers. Positive reinforcement means awarding behaviors by adding a stimulus, and negative reinforcement means removing certain stimulus which may lead to the acceptable behavior. In other words, our children are either being praised for going along with the program or ridiculed and punished if they don’t. In 1969, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare released a booklet entitled “Reducing Behavior Problems: An Operant Conditioning Guide for Children,” where operant conditioning is defined as the following-

“In its simplest form, operant conditioning involves the systematic use of consequences to strengthen and weaken behaviors under specified stimulus conditions. Operant behavior is strengthened by some consequences called reinforcers and weakened by other consequences called punishers. Withdrawal of reinforcing consequences will also weaken behavior. This procedure is called extinction.”

Behaviorists such as Skinner have been studying human behavior for decades. They have known how to produce compliant behavior and are developing new ways to do so. In Skinner’s Beyond Freedom and Dignity he highlights how behavior can be manipulated through people’s natural tendency to want to fit in. “People who get along together well under the mild contingencies of approval and disapproval are controlled as effectively as (and in many ways more effectively than) the citizens of a police state (Skinner, 1971). What he is saying is that through the techniques of operant conditioning, children in our schools, out of fear of standing out or causing problems will go along with what they are taught. This behavior will be reinforced through reinforcement schedules to the point it becomes ingrained in who they are. In other words, this is how our children are growing up to be social justice activists, through behavior modification techniques.

"Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled, they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished ... The social psychologist of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen." -----Bertrand Russell quoting Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the head of philosophy & psychology who influenced Hegel and others – Prussian University in Berlin, 1810[16]

John Dewey, known as the father of modern education, believed that public schooling should be used as a means of socializing students and creating the type of citizenry that fits societies needs. In other words, education should focus on creating a work force and not free-thinking individuals. This is very much in line with the type of education system we have today. Dewey also believed that reading and high literacy rates were detrimental to this agenda and schools should focus on reducing curriculums focused on the development of reading and writing skills. Today, America is facing a literacy crisis where 30 million Americans cannot read or write above third grade level.  Many of the problems facing the teaching of writing are highlighted in this writer’s paper “The State of Writing in American Education.” One example is the fact that the English language itself is being taught as a form of white supremacy and systematic oppression. This is being done to condition students with the belief that America needs to change while reinforcing the misperception that our nation was founded on racism and slavery.

The Department of Education is also founded on the same ideals that Dewey believed in. In fact, much of Dewey’s vision for education was motivated by the Soviet system. In the book “Toward Soviet America,” Communist party chairman William foster espouses his vision for a federally controlled education system ̶

"A U.S. Department of Education; implementation of a scientific materialist philosophy; studies revolutionized, being cleansed of religious, patriotic and other features of the bourgeois ideology; students taught on the basis of Marxian dialectical materialism, internationalism and general ethics of a new socialist society; present obsolete methods of teaching will be superseded by a scientific pedagogy. The whole basis and organization of capitalist science will be revolutionized. Science will become materialistic, hence truly scientific. God will be banished from the laboratories as well as from the schools.

Does this not explain the current state of American education? Does this not give some understanding of why so many kids are coming out of public schools begging for socialism and hating their own country?

The Federal Department of Education, under the Trump administration no less, has recently signed on to the United Nations sustainable development initiative. This puts the global agenda at the heart of all education initiatives, particularly dealing with the faux issue of climate change. President Trump is the head of all federal agencies and has it within his power to ensure our schools are teaching the constitution and American values. “No parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school,” The President remarked in his state of the union address. If behavior modification continues to be the goal, all schools will be failing our children. With each passing generation we are moving further and further away from liberty and closer to Communism. Except, it won’t have to be implemented by force. They have us begging for it.

“The most controversial issues of the twenty-first century will pertain to the ends and means of modifying human behavior and who shall determine them. The first educational question will not be what knowledge is of the most worth? but what kinds of human beings do we wish to produce? The possibilities virtually defy our imagination.” (Goodlad, 1997)

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


I want to be a poet,

Free my mind to wander

Forget about the politics

For there is so much more to ponder

The human soul so trapped in strife,

Blinded to the beauty in this one and only life,

Crawling through blackness to set ourselves free,

Frantically searching, for meaningful certainty.

We all want to matter but we’re spiritually deceived.

Led astray from the one, and only true eternity.

It is God that gave us this life to live,

And it is to him I wish my soul to give.

I want to be a poet and let my mind wander,

Forget about the politics for there is so much more to ponder.  

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Plight of the American Vet


There’s a patch that’s commonly seen on the back of old veteran’s biker jackets, or sometimes hanging at a local V.A. hospital. The patch has always rung in my head with a certain truth because so many people disregard and disrespect our nations warriors, and our country is so much the worse for it. The patch reads “A nation that forgets its defenders is a nation soon forgotten.” Our government has sent them off to foreign wars under the lie that they are defending freedom and leave them to rot, or label them as terrorists when they return.



The Plight of the American Vet….



Warriors in search of honor,

In a war where there is none.

Home to the ungrateful,

Labeled, they take his gun.



A soldier in search of faith,

His religion been replaced,

Comes home from all the fighting

To a completely different place.



Fighters search for peace,

war rages in their head.

Goes back to those that sent them

Medication leaves them dead.



Young men search for truth

Among men who only lie.

Alone they ask of them

We fought your war, yet you forsake me. May I ask you why?

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The State of Writing in American Education


Something is wrong in American education. America was at one time the most educated country in the world; however, over the last several decades we have seen a dramatic decrease in literacy levels (Carter & Harper, 2013) among higher education students across the nation. The focus of higher learning in America seems to have taken a shift from the academic to focusing on emotions and political activism with the main objective of solving social issues and pushing political agendas. The result has been the creation of a mob type mentality in American culture with many college graduates understanding very little in the way of researching facts, but ready to shout down anyone who expresses views which they may consider less than desirable. How did this happen, and how will this affect America’s future as a leading economic power and free society?

Literacy rates in America have declined over the past several decades. According to a study released by The National Center for Education Statistics, between thirteen and twenty percent of American adults lack the most basic of reading skills. (Kunter, Greenberg, Jin, Boyle, Hsu & Dunleavy, 2007) These people, who according to the Journal of Learning Disabilities are deemed low literate, (Sabanti, Sawaki, Shore & Scarborough, 2010) understand only the most basic meaning of what they are reading and are therefore unable to reach reading levels necessary for achieving higher goals in employment or education. (Sabanti, et al., 2010) Adults that achieve higher levels of reading comprehension tend to struggle less with full time employment and generally earn more money than those who have difficulty in understanding what they read. (Kunter, et al., 2007) How did we reach the point where such a large portion of the population is illiterate?

Mina Shaughnessy, author of the book Errors and Expectations: A guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing, makes the simple suggestion that after the cultural revolution of the 1960’s colleges began accepting students that she considered to be, less than college ready. Freshman classes, she writes, were leaning in favor of those students unprepared to be there. (Shaughnessy, 1977) This reflected a dropping standard in American education. In 1970, The City University of New York began guaranteeing everyone with a high school diploma an opportunity to attend their school. (Shaughnessy, 1977) Today, there is a massive push to increase college enrollment under the false pretense that it will automatically improve the economy and lift everyone out of poverty. There are arguments to be made however, that not everyone is college material.

The nations young have been led to believe that a college degree is necessary for financial stability and this isn’t true from any standpoint. In fact, many high skilled labor jobs are lacking qualified employees because too many people are attending college instead. (Not Everyone is College Material, 2019) The unfortunate side effect of allowing everyone the opportunity to go to college is that the standards may inevitably drop or else the failure rate could be too high. (Not Everyone is College Material, 2019) If standards are dropped to ensure success for unqualified students no one benefits, especially society. (Not Everyone is College Material, 2019) The result is a college graduate unprepared to face the real-life challenges their profession presents, and a society that ultimately has lowered expectations. Earning a college degree after all, is more than simply passing a class. It is a demonstration of skills required of higher-level professional careers. (Sobel, 2012) This isn’t to suggest that certain people are not capable of achieving success; rather, there are path’s to success that don’t require a college degree. Also, there is the problem of students obtaining bachelor’s degrees in fields that have proven to be of no use to society and end up in jobs which are less than fulfilling. (Sobel, 2012) For example, Ann Sobel alludes to the idea that many people with bachelor’s degrees have too high of expectations and end up in positions that have little or nothing to do with their chosen field while earning far less than they were led to believe they would. (Sobel, 2012) This problem can be attributed to something referred to as “higher illiteracy.” (Ball, 2016) The term higher illiteracy, according to Terrance Ball, is the inability or unwillingness to understand what is being read and is passed from teacher to student. (Ball, 2016) It is derived from the fact that our higher learning institutions have steered from traditional curriculums of classical education and taken on courses to satisfy a politically correct agenda. (Ball, 2016) Classes focusing on politically balkanizing classes such as women’s or feminist studies, or classes focusing on racial identity do absolutely nothing to improve academic abilities or prepare one for successful employment, no matter how well intentioned. (Bell, 2016) A good example of this idea can be seen at the Oregon Department of Education website. They claim that literacy in the United States has historically been a tool of oppression and that only “privileged white men” were given the opportunity to learn to read. (Crisis Point: The State of Literacy in America) Furthermore, they teach reading as a social justice issue. While it is true that being literate will increase one’s chances for success in life, no one in America is deprived of opportunity. In fact, there has never been a time in our nation’s history when public education, or the opportunity to attend college has been as available as it is now. Yet, we are still left with a declining literacy rate and a portion of the adult population who cannot read.

The University of Washington Tacoma Writing Program has recently stated that teaching proper English is racist because there is an assumption that all people would be able to keep with the constant, flowing changes in the English language.

The University of Washington states the following-

The writing center works from several important beliefs that are crucial to helping writers write and succeed in a racist society. The racist conditions of our society are not simply a matter of bias or prejudice that some people hold. In fact, most racism, for instance, is not accomplished through intent. Racism is the normal condition of things. Racism is pervasive. It is in the systems, structures, rules, languages, expectations, and guidelines that make up our classes, school, and society. For example, linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent “standard” of English. Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English.

Because we all live, work, learn, and communicate within such racist systems, the consultants in the writing center assume that a big part of our job is to help students become more critical of these unjust language structures as they affect students’ writing and the judgment of that writing. In particular, being aware of racism as structural offers students the best chances to develop as writers and succeed on their own terms in an inherently racist society.

Furthermore, by acknowledging and critiquing the systemic racism that forms parts of UWT and the languages and literacies expected in it, students and writing center consultants can cultivate a more socially just future for everyone. Just avoiding racism is not enough because it means we are doing nothing to stop racism at large, and it amounts to allowing racism to continue.



This is an elaboration of the example given at Oregon Department of Education website and explains to a great extent the illiteracy problems our nation is facing. They are suggesting that the teaching of proper English is racist because they believe certain people in the population are unable to learn it. A person’s ethnicity has no bearing on whether they are inclined to understand the English language. Further analysis of the above statement indicates that the writing center is not concerned with proper writing as much as they are convincing their students that society is racist. “In particular, being aware of racism as structural offers students the best chances to develop as writers and succeed on their own terms in an inherently racist society.” (The University of Washington Writing Center) This quote implies that there is no other standard expected aside from understanding the racism inherent in American society. This is right in line with the idea expressed earlier that not all people, regardless of their ethnicity or social status, are suited for college. This is also a perfect example of higher illiteracy illustrated by Terrance Bell. The professors pushing this on their students are setting them up for failure as there is no inherent truth in the idea that speaking and writing proper English is inherently racist. Furthermore, graduating college under this misguided belief while lacking the necessary skills to write properly could go a long way in explaining why many college graduates are having difficulty finding suitable employment.

Another example of how the English language is being viewed as racist and a systematic form of oppression can be found in an article entitled “The invisible weight of whiteness: The racial grammar of everyday life in contemporary America.” From the very beginning of the paper it is argued that the usage of proper grammar constitutes the normalization of white supremacy (Bonilla-Silva, 2012) and that it is just as important as the other “more visible” aspects of racial domination. (Bonilla-Silva, 2012) Furthermore, the author of this paper is seeking to conclude that racial domination using “proper grammar” is something that must be fought on all levels if racism in America is to be defeated. An example given by this author illustrates not only the ridiculousness of such assertions but the consequence of allowing education to become politicized and agenda driven. As an example of racist grammar, the author refers to a time when at a weight watcher’s meeting the scale told him he was fifty pounds overweight. He then concludes the whole system is racist because weight watchers are not considering the possibility that African Americans in America tend to be big boned. (Bonilla-Silva, 2012) This is an example of achieving success on his own terms, as described by the University of Washington Tacoma. There is no inherent racism in the English language, rather the author, already inundated with the belief that American society is racist has interpreted something as simple as a scale telling him he was overweight into racism because he didn’t like what he was told. This is an academic journal that current college students use for research. There may be a need, as the author later suggests, to fully understand biological differences between different ethnicities, this however does not equate to racial discrimination. A serious etymological study of the word racism is in order. Racism used to imply the hatred of a man simply due to the color of his skin. The word itself has been redefined to fit whatever purposes are politically and socially expedient.

In another article entitled “The English-only movement in the US and the world in the twenty first century” it is implied that the English language is used to oppress minorities and keep them from “accessing America.” (Pac, 2012) Furthermore, the author of this article is asserting that the English language is and was enforced as a national language by elitists who feared the language of other minority populations and the possibility that they may assert dominance. (Pac, 2012) This is also ridiculous as The United States opens her doors to more immigrants from the third world, legally no less, than any other nation on Earth. Furthermore, with the advent of multicultural education the United States has never been more polarized. The idea that asserting English as the national language is inherently racist is preventing the people of America from communicating effectively with one another which likely, is exacerbating any racial discord which may exist, not solving it. The fact that the United states does not have English listed as an official language also makes this a ludicrous claim.

If this is the way the English language is being viewed, is it any wonder then that we have such problems with illiteracy in America? As the University of Washington highlights in their writing program, racism is the normal condition of things. “It is in the systems, structures, rules, languages, expectations, and guidelines that make up our classes, school, and society.” (The University of Washington Writing Center) How can anyone succeed when being taught this non-sense? There is nothing here that is based on truth but inherent biases. If minority students are being taught that the English language is inherently racist, and the society in which they live in systematically oppresses them, how are they going to have the necessary motivation required for higher learning?

In the article “Diving in: An introduction to basic writing” Mina Shaughnessy suggests that teachers, not just students need to evaluate themselves in the process of writing. Again, the implication is made in this article that sometimes there are people who may not belong in the college classroom. She has come up with a development scale that identifies various ways in which the teacher of writing can help their students. The first, guarding the tower (Shaughnessy, 1976) as she calls it elaborates on the fact that students are entering college level writing programs ill equipped with the necessary skills to be there. Teacher’s have every intention of helping the students become better writers but quickly realizes that many of them are drastically behind. (Shaughnessy, 1976) Shaughnessy goes on to say that during this stage of development the teacher realizes that these students will never make it through college unless “someone radically lowers the standards.” (Shaughnessy, 1976) This is essentially what is happening through the racialization and politicization of the English language. Shaughnessy then proposes a dilemma. What do you do with these students? Do you fail them and what are the consequences of doing so? (Shaughnessy, 1976) By asking this question Shaughnessy is herself, contemplating the justification for lowering academic standards based on what she describes as a “demoralizing contest.” (Shaughnessy, 1976) One where students in the class already struggle with the idea that there is something lacking in their ability to write effectively. (Shaughnessy, 1976) So what are they doing there in the first place? Is the lowering of standards and the politicization of the English language contributing to the illiteracy rates in America? Is it contributing to the mob type mentality we see developing on many college campuses across the country? It is certainly possible.

In an article entitled, “Social Cognitive Theory and self-efficacy: Implications for motivation theory and practice” it is suggested that people, when they believe they can achieve a difficult task are able to do so.

Stajkovic & Luthans observed the following

Unless employees believe that they can gather up the necessary behavioral, cognitive and motivational resources to successfully execute the task in question they will most likely dwell on the formidable aspects of the required performance, exert insufficient effort, and as a result, not do well or even fail on the task. (p. 127)

When it comes to writing how are people supposed to have the necessary confidence suggested in this quote to achieve something if they are being taught the language itself is inherently racist and a form of systematic oppression? That in and of itself is demoralizing and destroys motivation to learn instead of building it. Furthermore, it could be argued that holding people to a higher standard will produce better results. In a study entitled “Higher placement standards increase course success but reduce program completions” it is suggested that imposing stricter evaluations for college level math assessments improved the overall performance of math students but reduced the number of people meeting these requirements. (Jacobsen, 2006) This is the dilemma that Shaughnessy mentions in her own essay mentioned earlier and brings up another important question. Does higher education continue to keep lowering standards for higher enrollments or hold people to appropriate standards?  

Nancy Sommers suggests in her article, “Responding to student writing,” that teachers take care in the way they comment on student essays for fear of the student interpreting the comments in the wrong way. This correlates with Shaughnessy’s concerns of what to do with student’s who do not live up to the current standards and the way the student will view their abilities in writing. Sommers also suggests that students will focus too intently on what the teachers wants in terms of technical writing skills as opposed to the thoughts, feelings and intentions behind what is being written. The larger question that remains here is what matters more? If the student is not demonstrating proper writing skills that coincide with their education level shouldn’t they be concerned about making these technical corrections? This is implying that feelings or intentions are more important than technical skill. While it can be important to take into consideration the intention behind a student’s writing, the student, in the opinion of this author, has an obligation to remember he is the student and chose to be in the program. As demonstrated throughout the entirety of this paper our higher-level writing courses are teaching from the perspective that English standards are inherently racist. If teachers insist on teaching by ensuring no one’s feelings are being hurt or making sure that the thoughts behind a piece of writing are more important than writing properly, will we not end up with more non-sense like Bonilla-Silva’s claim that a scale telling him he is overweight equates to racism? How is it possible to have a functional society adhering to the same ideological and cultural standards if people can’t communicate in a single language because they have all been taught that English represents white supremacy and cultural hegemony? The answer to that question is simple. You cannot, period.

We have taken the study of the English language in the wrong direction. We must go back and simply teach it for what is, a language. It isn’t a systematic man-made system of oppression to keep minorities down. It isn’t a politically motivated social construct designed exclusively for white privileged men, as Teresa Pac suggests in her paper. It is nothing more than a language, and languages are used for effective communication. Grammar then, is a study of properly using words in sentences for the purpose of effectively communicating. (Debata, 2013) Understanding proper grammar on the part of the student helps them make corrections in writing, (Debata, 2013) and is also a fundamental requirement for the learning of a foreign language. (Debata, 2013) In other words, foreigners coming to the United States, being inundated with the idea that there is no need to assimilate because everything about our society is racist are in truth, being set up for failure.

Why is grammar important? Today, as mentioned earlier in the paper, there is a massive political movement taking place on many college campuses across the country. Almost daily, videos emerge of college students enraged that someone in their presence may be able to articulate a point that they disagree with. This is where the politically correct non-sense is failing these students. Not only are the points they seek to make not accurate, but they are being made from an emotionally driven base predicated on the fact that everything they have been taught about their culture is in some way, bad. America is racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, imperialist, greedy nation that doesn’t care about people’s health care. Even if there was a point to be made it is difficult to have a discussion with these students because they have not been taught proper grammar or effective communication skills. Instead, it seems, and this based on personal experience of this author, that they are being trained to be political activists. If the English language was not being presented as a form of oppression to these students perhaps, they could make better arguments. Proper grammar, according to Debata, is essential in articulating arguments if one wants to do so effectively.

In the past there have been debates on the effectiveness or necessity of including proper grammar in the teaching of the English language. Communicative language teaching was a method of teaching which focused on the importance of teacher’s beliefs in teaching English. (Yousaf, Umar & Habib, 2017) There was a focus on functionality or fluency over proper use of grammar (Yousef et al., 2017) which inevitably resulted in students who had not been instructed in proper grammar not communicating as effectively. (Yousaf et al., 2017) Many teachers using this method believed that teaching students to communicate fluently in real time situations meant that grammatical errors needed to be tolerated because being critical over their use of the English language would inhibit their ability to make their arguments or speak effectively. (Yousef et al., 2017) Here, we see the connection to Shaughnessy’s essay again as she essentially stated the same thing. This is the wrong approach, in this authors opinion.

In another article entitled “The Necessity of Grammar Teaching” (Wang, 2010) notes, and this is a consistent issue, that teachers often choose to neglect proper grammar instruction because it is either old and antiquated or does little in the way of contributing to a student’s communicative abilities. Again, we are alluding to the idea expressed by (Yousef et al., 2017) that grammar mistakes could be tolerated in favor of fluency in communicating ideas. (Wang, 2010) goes on however to state the obvious, that the teaching of proper grammar is in a state of crisis. He cites Rob Bastone’s book “Grammar” by stating that language without proper grammar would be chaotic and pointless, directionless words which would ultimately convey an unclear message.

It has been the popular belief among teachers that there is no documented evidence which suggests that there is a legitimate connection between the teaching of proper grammar and good writing skills. (Jones, Myhill & Bailey, 2013) This is a ridiculous assumption in the sense that if proper grammar is essential for good communication skills how could it not be essential in written communication? Writing after all, is a form of communicating. The research between writing and grammar, according to (Jones et al., 2013) has been limited in the sense that it only focused on “isolated grammar instruction and offers no theorization of an instructional relationship between grammar and writing.” (Abstract)

The determination of whether grammar studies have improved the writing skills of students were done in a completely different context which contrasted studies of the previous ninety years. (Jones, et al., 2013) Other problems with these studies that occurred worldwide with varying degrees was grammar instruction did not  pre-exist within a given curriculum. (Jones, et al., 2013) Ultimately, there have been no official, worldwide efforts to connect the relationship between proper grammar and writing skills. (Jones, et al., 2013) Again, this is difficult to digest because in this authors opinion, aside from given definitions of grammar which have already been examined, proper grammar is essential to writing because if you don’t understand the language how can you possibly write it? It is the opinion of this author that we have reached this state as a result of the over politicization of education agendas and portraying the United States as an oppressive, racist imperialist nation by whatever means necessary. As demonstrated throughout this paper the very language we speak has been used for this purpose. How could you possibly have a literate nation when proper grammar and writing skills are discarded in favor of what some have referred to as, fluency in communicating? Fluency in communication is fine; however, without the proper understanding of language you are left with incoherent sounding arguments.

A study was conducted in Finland that drew a correlation between what students were taught in grammar about punctuation and writing, because punctuation is used in writing, so there was a relationship between the two subjects. (Hudson, 2001)

Hudson argues that the benefits accrued are because the particular area of grammar taught correlates with the learning focus for writing, punctuation. Effective punctuation is underpinned by grammatical understanding and the teaching helped the students to make connections between the two. (p.1243 paragraph 3)

The same would hold true for proper sentence structure or word usage when writing, in this authors opinion. It is hardly necessary to conduct this type of research to realize that a student who understands proper grammar is likely to be a better writer.

Another study cited by (Jones et al., 2013) highlighted the writing improvements of black students who spoke “Black English Vernacular” when introduced to proper grammar instruction.

(Jones et al., 2013) states the following

This synergistic relationship between writing and grammatical understanding is also evident in Fogel and Ehri’s (2000) study. This is unusual in taking as its starting point an identified writing problem, the tendency of some ethnic minority children to use non-standard Black English vernacular (BEV) in their writing. The study set out to ‘‘examine how to structure dialect instruction so that it is effective in teaching SE forms to students who use BEV in their writing’’ (Fogel & Ehri, 2000,) and found a significant improvement in avoidance of BEV in the group who were given both strategies and guided support. (p. 1243 paragraph 4)

This is a direct contradiction to the beliefs and attitudes held by the University of Washington Tacoma who has stated that the teaching of the English language is racist because certain people cannot be expected to keep up with all its changes. Perhaps, and this is just a simple observation, if this non-sense wasn’t being taught to students there would be no need to conduct these studies. Perhaps if standards were being adhered to, and proper grammar as opposed to “fluency in communicating,” was taught from the beginning there wouldn’t be students writing “Black Vernacular English.” This is the inevitable result of an education system that teaches from a cultural relativism stand point as opposed to teaching a classic liberal arts education, in this author’s opinion. This author would also like to make a connection to the observation made by Shaughnessy at the beginning of this paper. She noted a drop of standards after the so-called cultural revolution of the 1960’s. Has it been a downward spiral since this time?

The way grammar, or language is understood by a writer is going to reflect in the way they express ideas on paper. “The grammatical choices we make, including pronoun use, active or passive verb constructions, and sentence patterns – represent relations between writers and the world they live in.” (Micciche, 2004)

Another study highlighting the use of grammar to prove its relationship to writing was conducted on a group of middle school students. Again, the focus was on making a direct correlation between grammar and what was being taught in writing. For example, the researchers used nouns to determine how it affected descriptive narratives in student writing. (Myhill, Jones, Watson & Lines, 2012) It would stand to reason that the student who understands what a noun is and how it is used in a sentence would have an easier time writing a descriptive narrative. If a student doesn’t understand what a noun is how could they possibly write a description of something effectively? This study showed a significant improvement of writing abilities in writers who were considered able in the group where grammar was embedded in the writing curriculum. (Myhill et al., 2012) The writers considered less than able showed some improvements as well. (Myhill et al., 2012) Another important factor, in this author’s opinion, highlighted in this study is the level of grammatical knowledge held by the teacher. (Myhill et al., 2012) Perhaps there is a correlation between this idea and the subject of higher illiteracy where an unwillingness or inability to understand what is being read or taught is passed from teacher to student. (Ball, 2016)



Conclusion

There definitely appears, in this author’s opinion, to be a relationship between the idea that proper grammar is antiquated or racist and the inability of writers to write and express things clearly. The previous studies show success in embedding grammatical skills in writing curriculums. If educational establishments are taking the position that the English language is a form of oppression, or a tool of “white supremacy” what motivation will there be in students’ willingness to learn it? We saw in Social Cognitive Theory and self-efficacy: Implications for motivation theory and practice(Stajkovic & Luthans, 2003) that when people are motivated properly and believe in their abilities that they can accomplish what ever task lay before them. If students are being overwhelmed with the idea that their culture, and the very language they speak is a tool of oppression how will they possibly be equipped with the proper motivation and confidence to learn it? We reviewed a study entitled “Higher placement standards increase course success but reduce program completions” where it was determined that holding people to academic standards increases academic performance. This reinforces the idea that perhaps not all people are meant for a college education as the introduction of higher standards increased the performance of students already performing well, but reduced student enrollments. A similar result was found in the study conducted by (Myhill et al., 2012) where the introduction of grammar standards was introduced into a writing curriculum. The higher achieving students improved their writing the most while the lower achieving students only showed minimal improvement. Perhaps this shows relevance in the idea that not all people have equal abilities in learning and lowering the standards isn’t going to increase success rates for everyone. Finally, we saw another study where the introduction of proper grammar was introduced into a writing program where black students were speaking “Black Vernacular English” and there was noticeable improvement in their writing skills. (Fogel & Ehri, 2000) Again, this completely contradicts the position taken by the University of Washington Tacoma. The question then remains. What is the purpose of teaching the English language as a tool of social oppression and racism?











































References

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Ball, T. (2016) The higher illiteracy. Academic questions. 29(1), pp. 68

Bastone, R. (1994) Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Bonilla-Silva (2012) The invisible weight of whiteness: The racial grammar of everyday life in contemporary America. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 35(2), pp. 173-194


Crisis Point: The State of Illiteracy in America. (2018) Education News. Retrieved from www.education.cu-portland.edu/blog/education

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Fogel, H., & Ehri, L.C. (2000) Teaching elementary students who speak in Black English Vernacular to write in standard English: Effects of dialect transformation practice. Contemporary Educational Psychology. 25. pp. 212-235.


Jacobson, E. (2006) Higher placement standards increase course success but reduce course completions. The journal of General Education. 55(2), pp. 138-159 https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/stable/27798044?pq-origsite=summon&seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents


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Myhill, D., Jones, S., Watson, A., & Lines, H. (2012) Playful explicitness with grammar: A pedagogy for writing. Literacy. 47(2), pp. 103-111

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Infiltration tactics and the staged dialectical trap


It seems we have arrived at the long-anticipated day so many Americans hoped would never come. Despite the abundance of information, the warning signs and the self-evident truth that something was amiss, the majority went about their daily lives believing everything was fine and that “it would never happen here.” Some even proclaimed that it wouldn’t happen in their lifetime while acknowledging the obvious dangers ̶ therefore, they believed they didn’t have to worry. Things are not fine. We are on the verge of yet another carefully orchestrated event that has the potential to change the country forever. The hard left has made their move and the patriots are responding in kind.

The tensions are building in Virginia as the Governor has declared a state of emergency. A fenced in area has been built for the lobby day protesters to be herded into.  A so-called free speech zone if you will. People on the ground are reporting that Antifa plans to attend the rally dressed up as Trump supporters intending to commit acts of violence against others posing as peaceful anti-gun activists. There was also an ad for crisis actors on a webpage called Virginia is for Film Lovers that went out on the fourteenth of January. All the pieces are in place for another false flag event designed to discredit gun owners and potentially, label us all as domestic terrorists.

This isn’t a crazy conspiracy theory. Even Virginia state senator Amanda Chase is exposing this agenda. Gun owners, veterans, Christians and anti-abortion activists have been considered potential “right-wing extremists” by the federal government for a long time. The developing situation in Virginia, which surely will be televised for the world to see, is a stage show designed to demonstrate the need for gun confiscation by portraying American gun owners as dangerous and unhinged.

Many Americans, even when presented with hard evidence, will refuse to believe that the government, whether it be state or federal, would deliberately do this to their own people. In May of 2012, the Obama administration passed the national defense authorization act which, to put it simply, legalized the use of misinformation campaigns directed at the American people. This was a mere six months before the alleged tragedy at Sandy Hook, which many claimed was also a hoax to push gun control. Sandy Hook was the first of many mass shootings to come, all accompanied by hysteric calls for gun control before any information was even released.

Another example of a staged event was the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville. The man responsible for organizing the rally, Jason Kessler, was an Obama supporting Occupy Wallstreet organizer who allegedly switched sides after a so-called political awakening. The event was designed to lure in right wing Trump supporters and make it look like they were violent, uncontrollable extremists. The man never switched sides; he was an agent provocateur.  

Unfortunately, our government has a long history of doing this. In the 1980’s, when the militia movement was strong, the FBI formed a group called the Veterans Arayan Movement for the explicit purpose of trying to recruit so-called right-wing extremists into committing acts of violence. Despite believing that the right posed an imminent threat to national security no intent to commit violent crimes was ever uncovered. They did however, under the program name COINTELPRO, try to invent some. In 1996 FBI agents planted bomb making material onto the property of Georgia militia members, attempting to portray them as terrorists. During the recent Oregon mining standoff, FBI agents were allegedly exposed posing as militia members and breaking into the local national guard armory,  trying to give the impression that right wingers were intent on starting a violent revolution. In 2017, the parents of man diagnosed as schizophrenic exposed the FBI recruiting and grooming their son to commit a bombing at an Oklahoma City bank. The man allegedly clung to the three percenter ideology that so many patriots identify with. The parents claim the FBI knew their son was schizophrenic but drove on with their operation to frame him anyway. These are just a few examples of what can be called infiltration tactics.

The protests in Virginia will undoubtedly be egged on by extremists posing as right-wing conservatives to justify a need for gun confiscation. The goal is to create fear and uncertainty. A sense of unease among our neighbors and friends that the man wearing an American flag shirt or flying his Gadsden flag is a potential extremist. Worry over the man across the street who is commonly seen loading his rifle into the back of his truck for a day at the range. More importantly, it is simply being staged to create the necessary chaos to get the ignorant masses to demand something be done to keep us all safe. The trap of the Hegelian Dialectic.