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Jewish World Review June 15, 2000 / 12 Sivan, 5760

Thomas Sowell

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The war against boys

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- THE OLD SAYING, "Boys will be boys" has long since become obsolete in schools across the length and breadth of this country. Unknown to most parents, there are federally-financed programs to prevent boys from acting the way boys have always acted before.

The things done by those who have taken on the role of changing boys range from forbidding them from running and jumping during recess to having them wear dresses and pretend to be girls or women in the classroom. Whatever the particular mix of things done at a particular school, it is accompanied by a barrage of propaganda prepared by radical feminists for nationwide distribution with the blessing -- and the money -- of the U. S. Department of Education.

The people who are doing this see their role as changing your children into the kinds of people they want them to be -- not the kind of people you want them to be. Parents who somehow learn what is going on in school and object are told that "studies prove" that this is the right thing to do, that "specialists" and "experts" know more about this than parents can possibly know.

A newly published book titled "The War Against Boys" by Christina Hoff Sommers not only reveals what these brainwashing programs are doing, it shows that the so-called "studies" on which these programs are based are either hopelessly inadequate or just plain non-existent. Christina Hoff Sommers is a scholar at the Manhattan Institute and she not only sees through the fraudulent claims of the radical feminists, she is familiar with real studies -- both here and overseas -- which show the direct opposite of what the brainwashers claim.

The people who are promoting the anti-male agenda are experts at nothing except manipulating the media and snowing gullible educators, who are more interested in puffing themselves up as "agents of social change" than in teaching children. Boys in elementary school, or even kindergarten, have been punished for being politically incorrect toward girls.

One nine-year-old boy who reached for a piece of fruit in a school lunch line and accidentally brushed against a girl was arrested, hand-cuffed and fingerprinted for sexual harassment, even though the charges later had to be dropped. A boy of three was punished in school for hugging another child.

The feminist dogma is that such things are precursors of wife-beating, rape and other crimes of men against women -- and so must be nipped in the bud. According to these propagandists, 4 million American women are beaten to death by men every year. That is four times as many American women as die from all causes put together. The actual number of women killed by men is less than one percent of what was claimed.

Purchasing this book
-- linked in 4th paragraph --
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However inaccurate and irresponsible the propaganda, it is very effective in creating the kind of paranoia that gets brainwashing programs and draconian punishment of boys into the schools. Staggering as it is to realize that schools are using materials and creating rules based on sheer dogma and outright lies, the tragic fact is that such tactics have been common in totalitarian countries throughout this century. What is uncommon is their pervasiveness in America over the past generation.

Radical feminists apply the old Hitler-Goebbels doctrine that the people will believe any lie, if it is big enough and told often enough and loud enough. Intimidation and retribution against all who dare to disagree is likewise as much a part of the new agenda as it was in the old totalitarian regimes.

"The War Against Boys" shows where the propagandists have gotten their facts wrong -- where they have any facts at all. But the brainwashers' goals are not accuracy but power. In those terms, they have been an incredible success. They are no more interested in facts than any other power-seekers. Did Hitler study genetics?

Christina Hoff Sommers writes not only as a scholar but as the mother of two boys. Her book is must-reading, not only for parents of boys in school, but for all parents, and should inform any responsible citizen and voter who is concerned about American education.

Tragically, radical feminists are just one of many reckless zealots who have turned our schools into ideological indoctrination centers, instead of places for children to get an education in basic skills. One of the reasons American children do so badly in international tests of academic skills is that our schools are preoccupied with politically correct social crusades.


JWR contributor Thomas Sowell, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author, most recently, of The Quest for Cosmic Justice.

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