by Edd Doerr
While I have never been a fan of writer and former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan, I must say that his 4-page piece on Obama, "The Long Game", in the Jan 23 Newsweek is a pretty good defense of Obama's record of accomplishment. I recommend it.
The same issue of Newsweek also contains a rather dumb 4-pager titled "Rich America, Poor America" by conservative British historian and Newsweek columnist Niall Ferguson that features praise for discredited American Enterprise Institute writer ("The Bell Curve") Charles Murray. But what is most peculiar about Ferguson's piece is that in the penultimate paragraph he makes this totally unconnected recommendation: "Finally, end the state monopolies in public education to launch a new era of school choice and competition." In other words, Ferguson is advocating tax support for a growing multiplicity of mostly discriminatory faith-based private schools that would fragment American education along religious, ideological, class, ethnic and other lines. I have been writing on this subject for over 45 years and thus recognize that Ferguson is regurgitating the endless nonsense of the religious right.
Ferguson's weird attack on public education and church-state separation is all the more peculiar because his wife is -- take a breath here -- none other than Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who escaped a forced Islamic marriage by moving to the Netherlands, where she was elected to Parliament. In that position she stirred up an investigation into Islamic "honor killings", which in turn led to threats on her life that required 24/7 police protection. When it was found that she had entered the Netherlands illegally she lost her seat in Parliament and immigrated to the US, where she is reportedly working for the conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute.
So, if Ferguson gets his way with "school choice" and school vouchers (which AEI supports), wouldn't that mean tax support for Islamic as well as other church-related private schools? And how would that square with his wife's antipathy toward Islam particularly and religion generally?
In the same paragraph Ferguson also recommends: "Scrap the failing welfare programs of the '30s and '60s ... [and] Ensure that everyone has a basic income." Will someone please explain how one can espouse the ultraconservative line and its socialist opposite in the same breath.