May Day on Capitol Hill
According to wire reports, May 1 - originally created by the Socialist
International as a day when socialists, communists, workers, and
those generally opposed to this and that take to the streets - turned
into quite an event this year. From Germany to Cuba, from Seoul
to London, people protested, demanded, marched, rampaged.
Presumably, I have already offended decent workers of different
nationalities who have legitimate grievances to air by bundling
them with the gratuitous discontents of the planet. But, arguably,
the date should have been repudiated by decent people once it had
been established as the day when butchers of the world assembled
under Karl Marx's portrait and V.I. Lenin's statue in Moscow and
paraded the weapons they proposed to employ to terrorize and eliminate
the rest of us.
Instead, May Day is still honored. And it was honored with what
amounts to enthusiastic homages to Karl Marx in that most august
of venues: the floor of the United States Senate. The setting was
provided by the debate on education.
It would be preposterous, of course, to accuse properly elected
members of the U.S. Senate of being followers of Karl Marx. Well
- there may be one or two, like Senator Wellstone of Minnesota,
whose language and positions put it out there for all to see. Most
others would be horrified at the very suggestion, and honestly so.
Even Senator Edward Kennedy could probably pass a lie detector test
without flinching, if asked.
And yet, many - way too many - have been working hard, unbeknownst
to themselves, to cause certain provisions of Karl Marx's Communist
Manifesto to become the American reality. That is why the subject
is in urgent need of a broad public discussion.
Few attributes of the latter twentieth century have done more harm
than the layer-upon-layer of deceptions applied to the core tenets
of two competing political philosophies. On the one side, the U.S.
Constitution was infused with the venomous misinformation that it
classified a black person as three-fifths of a human being, and
denied women the right to vote. On the other side, communist prescriptions
were wrapped in fabrics woven of caring, compassion, and "social
justice." The incontrovertible fact that the U.S. Constitution
produced unparalleled freedom, equality, and prosperity for a constantly
growing number of people, whereas communist prescriptions resulted
ultimately in the murder of tens of millions, and enslavement and
starvation for those left alive, has been all but forgotten.
And so, without most of us realizing it, we have arrived at the
conclusion that the U.S. Constitution ought to be treated as a living-breathing
document we may and should change at will, while communist prescriptions
remain valid as written.
The Communist Manifesto, first published in 1848, contains ten points
which its author(s) consider indispensable for the building of a
communist society. The current debate on education invokes the last
of these: "Public and gratis education of all children."
The phrase is nothing less than the unequivocal repudiation of school
choice. And it's all in the wording.
Marx did not propose public education for children. He called for
the public education of all children.
The first formulation would have implied the availability of free
public education for those who needed it. The actual formulation
excludes other forms of education altogether.
The reasons are obvious, and have been on display for most of the
last century. If the state is the only provider of education, it
controls the information funneled to the young during their formative
years. The ability to choose is denied in the communist model as
surely as the American model guarantees it.
And so, the debate truly is about choice. Choice between James
Madison and Karl Marx; choice between types of schools; choice as
a fundamental tenet of being American.
What is fascinating to observe is that the same people who consider
a "woman's right to choose" more sacred than a stack of
Bibles, wish to do away with that same woman's ability to choose
the best education available for the child she had chosen not to
For someone who, like myself, grew up under Nazi and Communist
regimes, the May Day speeches in the Senate were so predictable
one needed only to tune in for the occasional minute to verify all
was on schedule. And so, I stumbled into the speech by Senator Jack
Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island. "Money is not the problem?!"
he exclaimed. Then why, he wondered, does the president want more
money for defense? Why not simply "test and evaluate"
current military readiness, as he proposes we do with schools, instead
of paying for new weapons systems?
It is hard to believe that a United States senator - or indeed
any sensible adult - would draw a parallel between teaching children
to read and military hardware. But we need only to recall that opposition
to America's desire to defend itself comes from the same source
as the call for a monopoly of public schools. Denouncing the "military
machine of the imperialists" was a staple every May Day in
A little while later, I tuned in again. This time it was Senator
Charles Schumer of New York. He, too, was demanding more federal
money for public schools. I set my watch to signal in one minute
twenty seconds. Right on time, Mr. Schumer proceeded to denounce
Apologies for making these points personal. The senators cited
here are not very different from most other Democrats, and some
Republicans. We must presume best intentions, and ignorance of the
destructive tenets they promote. That they remain blind to the latest
statistic, according to which 64 percent of black fourth-graders
cannot read, is puzzling, however.
A popular definition of insanity is to be doing the exact same
thing year-in, year-out, and expect different results. But I digress.
If, as is reasonable to assume, senators are promoting communist
prescriptions because the rhetoric has come to obscure the source,
then it is high time to brush away the camouflage, expose the hard
core, and return to the American model without delay.