Who wrote the following: "We must learn to welcome and not to fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about 'unthinkable things' because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless."
A "right-wing extremist" didn't write these words, nor did a cable TV or radio talk show host. Sen. J. William Fulbright, the late Arkansas liberal Democratic senator and Bill Clinton mentor, wrote them in his 1966 book, "Arrogance of Power."
The arrogance of power and disdain for average Americans is what fueled much of the dissent expressed in town hall meetings. Growing numbers of people see a small cadre of government, academic and media elites caring nothing about them, except when it comes to their tax dollars. Many, especially those who are conservative and even worse, religious, are viewed by these elites as enemies of progress and sophistication. They are mocked as NASCAR-loving, flag-waving, God-worshipping trailer trash. The people are getting the message and properly expressing themselves by peacefully (and loudly) assembling and petitioning government for a redress of their grievances.
The latest of many examples of government arrogance has come in New Hampshire, of all places, where the state motto is "Live Free or Die." A state judge has ordered a girl who was being educated at home by her mother to begin attending a public school because of the "rigidity" of her mother's religious views. The judge, Lucinda V. Sadler, said that the 10-year-old girl "needed to consider other worldviews as she matures."
The case developed as part of what appears to be a nasty fight between the girl's mother, Brenda Voydatch and her father, Martin Kurowski. Kurowski filed a lawsuit asking the court to place his daughter, Amanda Kurowski, in public school. The father doesn't share the mother's religious views.
There are a number of issues in this case, not the least of which is the court's attempt to define what represents an "extreme" religious view and what is more "mainstream." A growing number of parents, including some in my family, home-school their children. My personal experience is that these kids get a better education, are better adjusted and easily gain entry into college because of their superior grades and seriousness of purpose, not to mention their character.