8/30/2002 12:00:00 AM - Mona Charen
Most Americans can provide a list of threats facing the United
States. They might begin with nuclear terrorism, pause to mention smallpox
and anthrax, and end with car bombs. Most Americans -- I'll go out on a limb
here -- are probably utterly unconfused about the identity and nature of our
But liberals are out to change all that. They want, above all,
to prevent Americans from feeling any sense of righteous fury. How dare we,
when we were responsible for slavery, imperialism, racism and an inadequate
minimum wage? The liberals have cultural hegemony on their side, but neither
logic nor facts.
The National Education Association has weighed in with
suggestions to guide teachers on the first anniversary of the terror
attacks. "Do not suggest," the NEA advises, "that any group is responsible.
Do not repeat the speculations of others, including newscasters. Blaming ...
is especially difficult in terrorist situations because someone is at
fault." Well, yes, someone is always at fault. And unless those "someones"
are right-wing radio hosts, liberals just hate to see them blamed for
In New York (the NEA would like this), a teacher was suspended
merely for telling her class that all of the individuals who attacked this
country on Sept. 11 were Arabs. Liberals have done their best, in the months
since the attacks to make it unseemly to notice this, as if with the
smallest rumor, the mob mentality that characterizes the average American
would make him charge off, pitchfork and torch aloft, to murder and
terrorize innocent Arab Americans.
National Public Radio has done its best to convey a state of
siege for Muslims in America. Almost daily reports stressed the fear,
courage and sense of alienation of American Muslims. But while there were
some ugly episodes, including the death of a Sikh who was mistaken for an
Arab, the notion that we've lived through some sort of reign of terror
against Muslims is pure fiction. The figures on "harassment" circulated by
Arab groups turned out to be exaggerated.
The NEA also tells teachers to say: "We have no reason to
believe that the attacks were part of an organized plan of any other
country. The terrorists acted independently, without the sanction of any
This is false. Did Afghanistan not fully participate in the
terrorists' attacks? The whole world acknowledges this reality -- with the
exception of the NEA. As for the terrorists acting "independently," this,
too, is pure drivel. We are only beginning to learn of the ties governments
all over the globe maintain with terrorists. In the case of Saudi Arabia,
discovering its smarmy under-the-table deals with bin Laden is one of the
things that has soured a previously cordial relationship. And Iraq and Iran
have been on the State Department's list of terror-sponsoring nations for at
least two decades.
But just in case teachers do all of the above and their little
charges nevertheless say something "intolerant" about terrorists, the
teachers are encouraged to "discuss historical instances of American
Some students will yawn, since they've heard little else in
public schools for a couple of decades now. But others will swallow it whole
and emerge from their miseducation as "men without chests," as C.S. Lewis
prophesied. They are learning so little about what America has done right in
its history, so little about what made generations of our ancestors lay down
their lives for this nation; this experiment in ordered liberty. Can most
students tutored by the NEA think of a reason Abraham Lincoln would call
this "the last best hope of Earth" when we held slaves and mistreated the
Indians? We call the passengers on Flight 93 heroes, but do the kids
understand why the White House or the Capitol is worth a battle with
cutthroats? Do they realize that tolerance is not the only virtue?
The liberal hold on our education system amounts to a kind of
moral disarmament of the nation. Before there can be an army, navy and air
force capable of protecting us, there must be a citizenry that believes we
are worth defending.