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Volume 13, Issue 3: Similitudes

The Hearing

Douglas Wilson

In a foreword he wrote for a forthcoming book of mine on education (Excused Absence by Crux Press), Marvin Olasky was kind enough to mention an edifying thought experiment which had me, no doubt for sins committed in my youth, nominated for the post of Secretary of Education. He mentioned that some members of Congress might salivate at the prospect of asking certain questions. He did not mention that the impossibility of ever getting to answer said questions is a very deep and abiding grief for me.

SEN. KENNEDY: Your opening comments, Mr. Wilson, were, um, to the point. But I thought I heard in there somewhere that you were opposed to prayer in our public schools. Can I have heard you correctly?
WILSON: Yes, sir. You heard correctly.
SEN. KENNEDY: How is this consistent with the well-known agenda of the Religious Right to return prayer to the public schools?
WILSON: It is not consistent.
SEN. KENNEDY: I have to say that I am surprised and somewhat gratified to hear . . .
WILSON: I am opposed to prayer in the government schools for the same reason I am opposed to drinking fountains, lockers, classrooms and children there. If we take all the children out, as we clearly should, then we have neatly solved the vexing problem of prayer there [catcalls and laughter from the gallery].
SEN. KENNEDY: Well, this explains something. Is it not true that you hail from northern Idaho? Your region, as you perhaps know, has a reputation for extremism—do you plan on bringing an extremist agenda to the Department of Education?
WILSON: No, sir. I consider myself a moderate. Extremists are to my right and left.
SEN. KENNEDY: What sort of education reform proposal would you consider extreme?
WILSON: The famous writer H.L. Mencken once said that there was nothing wrong with our system of education that could not be solved by burning all the schools and hanging all the teachers. This is extreme, in my view.
SEN. KENNEDY: Do you want to be confirmed?
WILSON: Not really.
SEN. KENNEDY: What would you do if confirmed?
WILSON: I would be happy to give the employees three weeks to wrap up various projects, clear out their desks, send out resumes, that sort of thing. I would hope to get the job done and be back in Idaho within a month or so.
SEN. KENNEDY: No more questions. I have heard quite enough.
SEN. CLINTON: What is your view of the president's recent proposed budget?
WILSON: With regard to education, you mean?
WILSON: I am deeply concerned about all the money in it.
SEN. CLINTON: Concerned? Money?
WILSON: In my view, all that money came from somewhere, and most of it wasn't from me. So I think we should return it.
SEN. CLINTON: You should know that we cannot have the kind of educational system we have today without taxation.
WILSON: This is true. If you really want to have government education, in order to rear a child, it takes a pillage.
SEN. CLINTON: Village.
WILSON: Excuse me. Yes, ma'am. That too.
SEN. CLINTON: Do you support the bill recently introduced in the House which calls for federal standards for all homeschoolers?
WILSON: No, ma'am. I do not.
SEN. CLINTON: Do you have a reason? Or do you just repeat whatever you hear on talk radio? Do they even have radio in the century you come from?
WILSON: No, ma'am. I don't listen to talk radio. Rush is a commie.
SEN. CLINTON: I was asking for a reason for your opposition to a bill that sets standards for all homeschoolers.
WILSON: I do not believe that people who are too stupid to educate their own children are wise enough to educate other people's.
SEN. CLINTON: It is obviously pointless to argue with you. But for those who might be swayed by such vicious and hate-filled sentiments, may I ask what you would do with all those children who grow up without an education because of this lack of educational standards?
WILSON: They would get a job with the government.
SEN. CLINTON: Are you aware that what you are doing qualifies as hate speech?
WILSON: That wouldn't surprise me.
SEN. CLINTON: Don't you ever worry about being charged with hate crimes?
WILSON: As opposed to what? The regular run-of-the-mill love crimes?
SEN. CLINTON: Mr. Chairman, I would like to register my formal protest that this man was brought here at all . . .
WILSON: I take it that I am about to be dismissed? I didn't even have a chance to work in a reference to my friendship with Steve Wilkins, and my affection for the Confederate flag . . .
General chaos followed. The nominee was removed and is not really cooperating with the authorities.

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