Tag: David Hogg

Stop Following Children

By Glenn Verasco | United States

“You’ve got to be oriented towards something. Otherwise, you’re disoriented. You just spin around in circles. And then you suffer, and so do people around you. It’s not a good solution. Orient yourself towards something. You have to figure out what it is. What will work for you? What goal would justify the suffering of your life? Start trying to piece that together, and you’re going to get better at it. But it’s a personal process. And you should use your education to inform that. You need a personal place to stand because otherwise you’re going to be handed a place to stand on a plate. And maybe one that makes you a puppet of someone else’s goals. So, what are the processes? Well, what I’ve recommended to people is clean up your room. That’s a good start. Organize your local landscape. Schedule your time. Start taking control of yourself. Stop seeing if you can say things you know to be lies. That’s not the same as telling the truth. You don’t get to do that to begin with because you’re not good enough at it to even attempt it in some sense. But everyone can stop saying things they know to be falsehoods.”-Dr. Jordan B Peterson

For the past two or three years, I have become one of the millions of individuals to spend hours of my life watching Dr. Jordan B Peterson lectures, interviews, debates, and videos of his own making. Some say that Peterson is turning into a bit of a cult leader. Others refer to him as a prophet. To me, he’s just a well-informed and well-intentioned guy with a lot of important stuff to say.

Beginner Peterson followers often parrot what has become one of his most popular catchphrases: clean up your room. While it sounds simple (and may have been the case for most pre-millennial generations), what Peterson means when he recommends cleaning one’s room is that getting yourself oriented towards a meaningful goal is a slow, personal process. As beginning the journey towards individuality and a meaningful life is likely the hardest part, focusing on a simple task like keeping one’s room tidy is a great way to get started.

I admire Peterson not only because his advice and knowledge are useful and entertaining, but because we have a common craft as educators. While my ESL teaching in Thailand is not nearly as prestigious as being a tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, I, like Peterson, am tasked with the responsibility of transferring knowledge to students and, more importantly, providing them with the intellectual tools they will need to survive and thrive in the world.

Living abroad and observing the progress and events taking place in the USA has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of the ability to analyze situations proficiently. On the one hand, I am not in the United States, and I view my home country through a mass media filter. Mainstream media, alternative media, and social media provide a tremendous amount of information, but all skew reality in various directions. This makes my interpretation of what is going on skewed as well (though each of our interpretations of the world is skewed irrespective of media, to begin with).

On the other hand, observing my nation of birth from the outside gives me a unique perspective and removes certain biases. As events and happenings in the US have a limited effect on my life in Thailand, I am able to analyze with less prejudice than someone directly affected by them. For example, if a new law or regulation winds up providing an American with greater job security, he will probably have a harder time judging the ethics and overall impact of the new rule. If it makes his life better, his confirmation bias will highlight the personal benefits and blur the negative effects the rule may have on others. Since I am outside many of the effects of US policy, I may be better able to analyze them dispassionately.

Based on my exo-observations, I am alarmed at the state of discourse in America, particularly in education and academia. Curricula that view government with rose-colored goggles, policies that value group identity over individuality and rising intolerance of views that counter leftist dogma have given me cause for concern for several years. But nothing has sent a chill up my spine like the current media obsession with the Parkland massacre student survivors.

While I have no issue with allowing these students to share their experience and even express their views on gun policy, a feeling of nausea comes over me when I see how many people are following them on Twitter. They bring them on to major news networks to comment on all sorts of issues and march behind them at political protests.

The media, namely the increasingly pathetic CNN, is certainly favoring the views of the students pushing for gun control over the voices of those who support the Second Amendment. But the Conservative following of the anti-gun control students is equally appalling. I will not publish the names of any of these young people or link to media that feature them because I do not wish to promote it.

By all means, we, as adults, should be encouraging kids to engage in political, social, philosophical, and all other forms of discourse and debate. It is vital that young people expound their views and have them scrutinized. However, we should advise against their undying commitment to agendas and principles, especially in the form of public advocacy, until they have had the time to think them through and defend them from sincere contrarian challenges.

Far more despicable than failing to advise students against premature advocacy is exploiting their passion and marketability in pursuit of one’s own objectives. This is one of the most sinister potentialities of the human condition.

Here’s a picture of Khmer Rouge teenagers rounding up guns in Cambodia.

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Image Source

Like just about every other government atrocity of the 20th Century, which combined to murder over 100 million people, the heart of the Khmer Rouge movement was Cambodia’s impressionable youths.

Pol Pot along with StalinHitler, and Mao were keenly aware of the deadly combination of idealism and ignorance that is most prevalent among the young, who also happen to be the most physically fit and have the least to lose in a radical upheaval of cultural, societal, economic, and political norms. Taking power the way they did would have been impossible without children to prey upon and carry out their misdoings.

These murderers were also aware of how persuasive the illusion of protecting the lives and safety of children can be to the general public. As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

History and common sense teach us that we should provide young people with loving humility and liberal education, not emotional coddling and political clout. They are in search of guidance but lack the judgment to know which guides are leading them in the right direction.

Seven years of teaching middle school and high school have taught me how easy it is to persuade and stimulate teenagers. I remember walking out of an 8th-grade class after a grammar lesson several years ago. After exiting the building, I realized I had made a mistake about something and misinformed the entire class. The embarrassment of my error quickly subsided after I became aware of how easily I could stand in front of my students and fill their heads with anything I wanted to. I immediately felt sick.

Part of my code of conduct as a teacher has always been to do my best to keep my opinions out of the classroom. Being that my students generally trust me and see me as a good man, it would be unethical for me to use my position of authority to promote my views as it would serve as a form of indoctrination, not education. Instead, I teach them to analyze rhetoric, apply logic, and think critically. With these tools at their disposal, they come closer to having what it takes to fend off opportunistic users and abusers and make good decisions on their own.

I hope more adults, especially teachers, will follow my and Dr. Jordan Peterson’s lead instead of putting ignorant children on the front lines.


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Featured image source.


An Open Letter to Young Advocates of Gun Control

By James Sweet | United States

Dear Young Gun Control “Activists”,

Congratulations! You have successfully re-ignited a debate over guns, declaring yourselves the leaders of this debate! While I strongly disagree with your policies, it is nice to see a change in the political climate. You are being hailed as warriors by the mainstream media, with politicians and Hollywood elitists supporting you with strong words, as well as with Federal Reserve Notes. What a wonderful time to be alive, right?

No. You’re not special, and you have shown that you have no idea what you believe in, nor do you know what you’re talking about.

“Stop complaining, they don’t want to take our guns!” Uh, yes, they do, you’re just ignorant enough to ignore the consequences of the actions that many want to be enacted. Let’s look at Cameron Kasky, the founder of March For Our Lives (which should have been called March Against Our Rights). Cameron has a Twitter, like many activists do. Now, for someone who supposedly doesn’t want to take our guns away, he has a blatant disregard for the Second Amendment.

The second amendment was written when African Americans were still considered 3/5ths of a person…

As a matter of fact, if you read it, it didn’t even call them African Americans; it called them “Other Persons”

I really don’t want to listen to 200 years ago for EVERYTHING

Here is the link to his tweet.

There’s one large problem in the logic of this tweet: if we shouldn’t listen to the government that saw African Americans as 3/5ths of a person, why should we allow them to restrict our God-given right to bear arms? The best way to resist unjust treatment that sees certain humans as a fraction of another is through the armed resistance by the people, for the people.

By calling the right to bear arms a God-given right, I am not specifically referencing to the Christian God, but merely the supreme creator of the human race, allowing this to be applied to any religion. One can even say it’s a right from the Gods for the polytheistic religions, or a higher power for an atheistic religion or lack of religion. The United States Constitution is based on the idea of Natural Rights, championed by men like John Locke. The United States Constitution is the legal support for the right to bear arms, but not the moral justification. Morally, whether the constitution had the Second Amendment or not, it would be justified for one to own a firearm for the purpose of defense of one’s life, liberty, and property.

There are some in the nation that would base their justification merely on the Constitution, meaning they would hand over their guns in a heartbeat if Big Brother told them to. The ideas of the people that you (the gun control advocates) follow are based merely that all will hand over their guns, as the law is the final say. To some, including me, my morals are separate from the law, and the principles that I stand upon shall be the final say.

You may believe in the gun control argument based around Australia, except the facts are twisted up by the mainstream narrative.

Also, to those of you that participated in the walkouts, but stayed where your school told you to stay: you did nothing. The walkouts were a protests AGAINST the government’s inaction towards gun violence. So, by following the government’s orders, you did the exact opposite, and showed that you are just kids trying to get on your local news in an attempt to be part of a “movement”. To those students that actually went against what their school’s said: while I disagree with gun control (but also dislike gun violence), I applaud you actually going against what the government said.

The flaws of your little “movement” are evident. Gun control advocates at the March for our Lives were protected by cops and guards.

ARMED cops and guards.

They were protected by guns.

I hope the hypocrisy is evident.

Your “movement” is spoon fed by the media, and you are following what your peers are pressuring to do.

Focus on the facts, and think for yourself.


A Liberty Loving Teenager

Being a Victim Does Not Make You a Policy Expert

By James Sweet III | USA

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day all about love and enjoying those that are close to you. It’s not supposed to be a day of survival. Not a single person at Stoneman Douglas High School expected to be hiding and praying for survival that day. Yet, Nikolas Cruz decided to kill seventeen students and staff, while also injuring fourteen more.

The deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook was bound to spark an endless debate, and indeed did a gun control debate begin. This time, however, the charge for gun control was not being led by career politicians, but by victims of the shooting. Mainstream media, the left, and other groups have been revolving their efforts around these students, gaining large support from the masses. What makes these students, as well as their followers, believe that they’re experts on the matter they are debating over?

Recently, CNN held a town hall over the gun control debate currently raging in the country. Victims of the Parkland shooting, parents of victims, Senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D), Representative Ted Deutch (D), Sheriff Scott Israel, and an NRA spokeswoman, Dana Loesch, participated in an intense discussion over the future of the nation’s gun culture. At the town hall, Ryan Schacter, a senior at Stoneman Douglas High whose 14-year-old brother, Alex, died in the shooting, asked Representative Deutch:

“My friends and I are worried that we are going to be murdered in our classrooms. What reassurances can you give me and what specifically are you going to do to make sure that we can’t have this fear?” The representative responded with, “What am I going to do? Well, as a starter, next week when we go back to Washington, we’re going to introduce legislation to make sure that assault weapons are illegal in every part of this country.”

 You would think this would answer the question Ryan Schacter asked, and that the next sentences that came out of the representative’s mouth would explain how this would help quell the fears the students held. The exact opposite happened when Representative Deutch said:

“But, that’s not going to help you when you go back to school and all I can tell you is that we stand with law enforcement in Broward County. We stand with the administration and the teachers in your school to provide as much security, as much comfort, as much as can make you feel that you’re in a safe place.” 

Is this the same Broward County whose deputies failed to enter the school when the gunshots rang out? Certainly, the victims of the shooting, as well as their congressional representative, wouldn’t support a policy that would do nothing, right?


That response was met with applause.

Solutions are, evidently, not being provided, yet they’re being supported by many, with the sentiments of the victims being used as reasoning for these policies. Don’t believe me? Just read CNN’s article on letting younger kids vote, using the student activists as examples of kids that should be able to vote. Still think that doesn’t mean anything? How about an article titled “Adults should stop attacking young people over gun control”? The advocates of gun control want to use the social status of the young victims to their advantage, disregarding any that attack the students because the students are younger and throwing away any legitimate argument due to the fact that the students are also victims.

David Hogg, a leading activist in the #NeverAgain movement, who also happens to be a victim of the Parkland shooting, has been touted around by gun control advocates as a perfect example of a young adult who has been speaking out. It is true that he is causing waves in American society, but why is that? Is it because he is correct, or because we are told not to refute a young person over their beliefs? I mean, after all, he supported the cowardice of the Broward County deputies and their choice not to enter the school during the shooting. Hogg advocates for a ban on assault weapons as well, while also supporting those that abandoned their duties, letting seventeen innocent students and staff die.

Proper refutations have been provided by the gun rights advocates, yet they are disregarded for the silly reasons previously mentioned. If you go back to the town hall hosted by CNN, you can see a perfect example of these refutations. Senator Marco Rubio was answering a question from Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter died in the tragedy. Guttenberg described “assault weapons” as “weapons of war” and “weapons of choice”. Senator Rubio proceeded to state:

“I want to explain to you for a moment the problem with the law that they call the Assault Weapon’s Ban. And if you’ll give me — and indulge me for a minute to explain to you the problem. First you have to define what it is. If you look at the law and it’s definition, it basically bans 200 models of gun – – about 220 specific models of gun…  it allows legal 2,000 other types of gun that are identical. Identical, in the way that they function and how fast they fire and the type of caliber that they fire and the way they perform. They’re indistinguishable from the ones that become illegal. And the only thing that separates the two types – – the only thing that separates the two types is, if you put a plastic handle grip on one it becomes banned, if it doesn’t have a plastic handle it does not become banned.”

Do you want to know what Mr. Guttenberg said?

“Good. Good.”

Cheers. Applause. The crowd went wild.

They are trying to ban our guns, and these kids are exploiting their status as victims in an attempt to get their agenda across. Not only are they exploiting their own status, but gun control advocates are exploiting it as well. They refuse to listen to anyone that’s not on their side, regardless if legitimate points are brought up or not.

The truth of the matter: no matter what you go through, the facts do not care about your status in society. They do not care if you were the victim or the aggressor. These students are not the only activists, and the media needs to stop acting like it.