Conservatives in Liberals’ Clothing

An opinion published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal argues that there is nothing surprising about Trump era populism. It is a natural consequence of liberal democracy. This is a strange argument considering the fact that the same article portrays conservatives and their populist supporters as representatives of the liberal tradition. The argument goes something like this: In liberal democracies an ‘imperious ruling elite’ imposes laws, norms and practices that radiate disdain for the people’s beliefs and endanger their way of life. These ‘elites’ conspire across party lines against the less educated and the less wealthy. Their efforts are fostered by the mainstream press, social media, the entertainment industry and universities. Furthermore, all of these institutions are dominated by progressive elites and so they have contempt for conservatism. As a consequence, “…conservative elites and many regular voters find themselves bound together by a common political opponent.”

The solution, according to this article, is a ‘restoration’ of liberal education—by conservatives. The author actually states that the task of a liberal education is to furnish a lively appreciation for the origins of modern conservatism! How have they been able to pull this off, you ask? Are Americans completely crazy? Well, no. Americans are in a maze constructed by some very clever people. One of their tactics in the building of this maze has been pseudo-historical. They ignore everything that happened before the French Revolution. The author of this article traces conservatism back to 1790 when Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke mounted a campaign against the influence of French revolutionaries, who he accused of trying to perfect politics by eradicating tradition and transforming humanity.

“Burke replied that the British people were fine. Their traditions and communities nurtured political freedom, which gave tradition and community room to develop and flourish.”

And the story moves resolutely forward from there. More than 150 years later, William F. Buckley ‘renewed’ this relationship between the Right and the people. He was a classical liberal who favored free markets and limited government; he was also a traditionalist dedication to Christian morality.

At this point we begin to suspect that this alliance between the Right and the people is a top-down arrangement, with conservative elites persuading the people that liberty and limited government advance their long-term interests. This is not propaganda invented by the writer of the Wall Street Journal article. It is a true-to-life snapshot of America’s history through the eyes of conservatives. However, the conservative timeline the article describes is revealing.

The political foundations of classical liberalism go back much further than those of conservatism. The Encyclopedia Britannica article that I cited in the previous article traces liberalism to events that took place in the 16th century.

Due to a slow process of commercialization and industrialization, the feudal stratification of society began to dissolve. This process, together with the influence of the Renaissance and the spread of Protestantism, led to social instability. A remedy was needed and that remedy was monarchical absolutism. Under this system, each ruler tried to unify his realm by enforcing conformity to Roman Catholicism or some form of Protestantism. This worked for a while, but it eventually it culminated in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48), which destroyed much of Europe.

In countries where neither faction was victorious, there was the gradual acceptance of toleration as the lesser of two evils. In countries where one creed dominated it was widely accepted that prosperity and order were more important than the citizens’ beliefs. In this way order was reestablished. But because the economy remained highly centralized and hierarchical, prosperity was limited to the princes.

Under absolutism the economic system was controlled by the ambitions of national rulers who based their policies on mercantilism. Mercantilism was a school of thought that advocated government intervention in a country’s economy to increase state wealth and power. Because this intervention served established interests and inhibited everyone else, it led to a challenge by members of the new middle class. This challenge was a significant factor in the great revolutions that took place in the 17th and 18th centuries in both England and France, including the English Civil Wars (1642-51), the Glorious Revolution (1688), the American Revolution (1775-83), and the French Revolution (1789). Classical liberalism is a result of those revolutions.

So you see, revolutions had already transpired in Burke’s England. There were differences in the French Revolution, but they can be explained by the differences in French and English history, mainly regarding the Reformation. The point is that the English did experience violent revolutions.

In the English Civil Wars, the forces of Parliament defeated and executed Charles I. Subsequently, the Glorious Revolution led to the abdication and exile of James II and the division of power between the King, his ministers, and Parliament. Over time, this new structure of the English government became the model for liberal political movements in other countries.

The political ideas behind these revolutions were given formal expression in the work of the English philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Locke in particular believed that revolution is justified when the sovereign fails to protect the person and property of individuals and to guarantee their natural rights to freedom of thought, speech and worship. It is likely that he began writing his major political work, Two Treatises of Government (1690), to justify the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

By 1690, the year Locke published his Treatises, politics in England had become a contest between two loosely related parties, the Whigs and the Tories. These parties were the ancestors of Britain’s modern Liberal Party and Conservative Party, respectively. (Locke was a Whig.) Locke and the early liberals worked to free individuals from two forms of social constraint—religious conformity and aristocratic privilege—which had been maintained and enforced through the powers of government.

“The aim of the early liberals was thus to limit the power of government over the individual while holding it accountable to the governed.”

This is not quite the liberty of which American conservatives speak so fondly. Their version belongs to a political ideology called liberal conservatism.

“Liberal conservatism (represented in the United States by the Republican Party) incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy, according to which individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, individuals cannot be thoroughly depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation.”

This mistrust of the average individual is justified within the corresponding political philosophy. Liberal conservatives hold to the idea of natural inequality. This differs from aristocratic conservatism only in its justification. Aristocratic conservatism rejects the principle of equality as something inconsistent with human nature.

In Western Europe liberal conservatism is usually regarded as center-right, and is the dominant form of conservatism, especially in Northern Europe. It can support civil liberties along with some socially conservative positions. This took a slightly different form in the United States, where the founding fathers were among the most dramatic proponents of the liberal assault against authoritarian rule. The result of this extreme opposition to authoritarian rule seems rather counterintuitive.

“In the United States conservatives often combine the economic individualism of classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism that emphasizes the natural inequalities between men and the irrationality of human behavior as the basis for the human drive for order and stability, and the rejection of natural rights as the basis for government.”

Note the contradiction in the claim that natural inequalities and the irrationality of human behavior are the basis for the human drive for order and stability. It seems to refer to two classes of people—those who are naturally unequal, and those with a drive for order and stability. Perhaps it would make more sense if the second mention of the word ‘human’ was changed to ‘elite’: ‘the elite drive for order and stability’.

Progressives often wonder why conservatives vote against their own interests, but now we can see that it isn’t really that surprising. First, there is the confusion of the term ‘liberal’, enabled by the fact that conservative history ignores the events that inspired liberalism. Then there is the conservative program of convincing people that if they vote against their own interests it will be good for them in the long-term.

And there is a third tactic not yet mentioned. If all else fails fear has been proven useful, and the list of enemies is endless: liberals, immigrants, people of color, Jews….

What Are We Fighting For and What Are We Fighting Against?

It appears to be true that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. According to Anton Shekhovtsov, Russia is also responsible for the rise of far-right fringe politicians and ideologues in Europe. In his book, Russia and the Western Far Right: Tango Noir, Shekhovtsov explains how this came to be and how the coalition of Russian politicians with fringe far-right characters, has given each of them influence that they could never have achieved alone.

Before I go on, I should mention a problem I have with this book. This problem can be summed up by the fact that Shekhovtsov supports Ukraine’s entry into NATO. In other words, he tends to interpret the phenomenon from a neocon’s perspective. However he provides copious citations for each chapter and, if that is not enough for progressive readers, please consider the election of Donald Trump and his far-right echo chamber in Europe and South America.

Progressives were correct to reject the expansion of NATO in Ukraine—it was the favorite project of trigger-happy warmongers at the helm of the US government. However, in my view this book demonstrates the futility of a military response. It also makes the case that the return of the arms race has as much to do with far-right ideology as it does with neocon hubris. Neo-fascists have dreamed of a third world war since the 1940s. And now they have a man in the White House.

The most important thing I got from this book, and the best reason for voting today in the midterm election, is that the ultimate goal of this coalition is the destruction of Western liberal democracy. Given his obvious bias in this matter it’s not surprising that Shekhovtsov ignores the part neoliberalism has played in the destruction of liberal democracy, but his approach has had a positive effect on me. It helped me realize that both of our major political parties have lost the true meaning of ‘liberalism’.

It can be argued that in the 2016 election Bernie Sanders was the sole representative of the liberal tradition. This would explain why both the corporate Democrats and the right-wing Republicans were so desperate to keep him down. In fact, they appeared to conspire with each other in this goal. Liberal democracy truly is under attack, but it is no longer embodied by the US government. For example, look at the conservative pundits who actually think the word ‘liberal’ is a bad word. In reality, liberalism is the cornerstone of our republic.

A frightening conclusion that can be drawn from this book is that Donald Trump never intended to make America great, whatever that means. His affinity with the global far right can be seen in his infatuation with nuclear rearmament, his encouragement of white nationalism, his stance toward China, his tariffs, his desire to abolish NATO, and many other policies. It therefore follows that he shares the far right’s central precept, which is hatred of liberal democracy.

Please see Encyclopedia Britannica’s article on liberalism.. It reveals that our government once had the ability to respond to economic conditions, whereas the current global regime has no intention of responding to conditions of any kind. This may be explained—at least in part—by the influence of non-American and/or un-American actors in our electoral system and in our media.

Kavanaugh’s Hearing and the Incivility of a Conquered People

I would not say the same things about Orin Hatch that I have said about Jeff Flake, but only because I firmly believe he would fly over here and zap me, and he wouldn’t need a plane to do it. As I write, I’m listening to him talk about poor, pitiful Brett Kavanaugh and like everything else that has happened since Bernie’s beautiful campaign it makes my heart hurt.

As I said in the last post, I know that what I am going to say will make no difference in the behavior of our Congress, nor will it undo what has been done to the Supreme Court. Nor will it head off the inevitable terrors that await the human race as a result. Only Divine Providence can do that. I’m writing this because unless someone challenges the reality suggested by this hearing, and by the gloating of the committee members who controlled its course and outcome, it has the potential to destroy the sanity of the American people and the world.

When I began this conversation I assumed the Great Recession and the chaos in the Middle East would inspire contrition. I assumed policymakers would be willing to change course. Clearly I was wrong, but I didn’t fully realize just how wrong until the 2016 election. This election and its aftermath have demonstrated that what we see around us today is preferable in their minds to order and cooperation. Chaos is a choice.

We have been told that the important thing in the Kavanaugh process was civility. We have heard at least one Senator lament that it was tearing us apart. But what we actually see is that rudeness and adolescent hilarity is preferable to civility, as long as it leads them to so-called victory.

We don’t have to re-litigate the Kavanaugh hearing to test this premise. There is plenty of evidence in our elections, in both the political processes and the policies of each successive administration. But of course, the most abundant evidence is in the Supreme Court itself. Corruption in the judiciary of a great republic is the height of incivility.

Civility is not a veneer. It has deep roots, as does incivility. But the grandfatherly men who defended the honor of Brett Kavanaugh today seemed completely unaware that their actions caused this upraor.

Atta Boy Republicans

Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing is the cherry atop Congress’s infernal sundae. We the people don’t dare ask what’s inside those lumpy scoops of ice cream and that oily chocolate sauce, but there is no doubt that the cherry is the most loathsome part of it.

Unfortunately, no one in Congress will bat an eye at my analysis. Anything I might say will roll off their backs just as long as they’re getting what they want. And if they are somehow forced to respond they’ll just look demurely at the floor like Jeff Flake, who recently pulled out all the stops with his long-suffering, hang-dog look. Hey, it’s the best he could do at short notice. He thought he could escape into the elevator but when the door failed to block his constituents he was forced to listen to their outrage. Still, that is a small price to pay for the freedom to ignore voters’ demands while living on a government salary. Now he claims to be in favor of an FBI investigation but I’m not holding my breath. The Republicans probably hope an investigation will improve their chances in the midterm election, but the Kavanaugh appointment will go through just the same.

Flake reminds me of my black Lab. She has a trick of acting like she wants to go outside, and then half-way to the door she gets a sly look on her face and goes back to her kennel. She does this because I taught her to expect a biscuit when she goes to her kennel. To state the obvious, Flake’s pre-vote soul-searching is the fake-out and his vote is the kennel.

A Proposal From Senator Sanders

Today the Guardian published a new proposal from Bernie Sanders.  Sanders’ basic argument is summed up in the title: A new authoritarian axis demands an interntional progressive front.   The most surprising part of this article, in my opinion, is his statement that it is not enough to defend the post-second world war global order as it exists now.
“We must look honestly at how that order has failed to deliver on many of its promises, and how authoritarians have adeptly exploited those failures in order to build support for their agenda.  We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a genuinely progressive global order based on human solidarity, an order that recognizes that every person on this planet shares a common humanity, that we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water, breathe clean air and live in peace. Our job is to reach out to those in every corner of the world who share these values, and who are fighting for a better world. In a time of exploding wealth and technology, we have the potential to create a decent life for all people.  Our job is to build on our common humanity and do everything that we can to oppose all of the forces, whether unaccountable government power or unaccountable corporate power, who try to divide us up and set us against each other.  We know that those forces work together across borders.  We must do the same.”
I agree, and look forward to the ensuing discussion and debate.

UN Report Accuses Assad of War Crimes

Fox News has reported that a United Nations commission has accused the Assad regime and affiliated militias of war crimes.  A mountain of evidence is claimed as the basis for these accusations, but sources are not provided.
“The 24-page document by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic focuses on happenings inside Syria between January and July of this year. It is based on hundreds of interviews, satellite images, videos, medical records and government communications during that time period, among other sources.”
All of the incidents are said to have happened between January and July of this year, including an alleged chlorine payload delivered by helicopter on April 7.  Strangely, the report also cites the presence of Syrian government forces on the edge of Idlib and acknowledges it is in preparation for an offensive on the last major terrorist stronghold in Syria. It doesn’t mention that  the Syrians and Russians informed the United States of their  plans and warned its personnel to get out of the area.  The U.S. responded by sending in 500 additional troops. The article ends with the standard warning to the Syrians about using chemical weapons.
The White House warned Assad last week that if he chooses to use chemical weapons in the offensive against Idlib, the U.S. and its allies “will respond swiftly and appropriately.”
It is common knowledge that the Syrian government has no chemical weapons.  If the United States and its allies attack the Syrians, they will be committing a criminal act.

Defending a Friend and Ally

I recently deleted two articles.  In the first one I condemned the Mormon Church for the way it handled a sex abuse scandal.  I realized later that this might seem to contradict my defense of the Catholic Church, so I wrote another article urging the Mormon Church to make amends.  However, I realize now that I wrote them the way I did because I don’t see the two scandals as the same. Now it seems that the difference between the two churches is greater than I imagined.  The Mormon Church isn’t interested in making amends.  It is excommunicating members who demand new policies and procedures to guard against sex abuse.  And yet it’s the Catholic Church, the church who has tried and is trying to make amends, that is under attack.

Israel Bombs Damascus

According to the YouTube channel of Syriana Analysis, Israel is bombing Syria. Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean that a major conflict is going to take place but the numbers for the current date in Syria, September 2, 2018, might look good to these people. The value for September is 1. If you add 1+2+2+0+1+8…

According to the YouTube channel of Syriana Analysis, Israel is bombing Syria. Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean that a major conflict is going to take place but the numbers for the current date in Syria, September 2, 2018 (Syria is 10 hours ahead of us), might look good to these people.

The value for September is 1. If you add 1+2+2+0+1+8 you get 14 or 5. Based on Christine Lagardes  emphasis on the number 7 I didn’t consider this a likely date for a war, but if you add 11, the value for Syria, to the number 5, you do get 7. Also, September 2 is the 245th day of the year, which adds up to 11. Eleven plus 7 is 18, or 9.

We knew they were crazy. I just pray they’re not that crazy.

Can Numerology Predict War in Syria?

It’s happening again. The United States and its allies have encircled Syria amidst warnings of a chemical attack by Assad, and the Russians and Syrians are frantically trying to ward off a possible false flag. The video at the end of this article in which the Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic carefully and thoroughly explains that Syria has no chemical weapons, should dispense with this excuse. Obviously, the actual presence or absence of chemical weapons is not the fundamental issue. The fundamental problem is the determination to follow a well-known agenda for the Middle East. That’s why this threat keeps coming back. Therefore, it might be helpful to look again at numerology to see if we can find an auspicious day for military action. From what I can tell, there are at least two such days in the coming week, August 31 and September 4. If we assume that the number seven is a crucial number for an American war, September 4 would be more likely. If we include the numbers 9 and 11, it could also be August 31.

The numerological value of September is 10 or 1 (1+0=1). Add 1+4+2018 (1+4+2+0+1+8) and you get 16, which reduces to 7 (1+6=7).

The numerological value of August is 12 or 3 (1+2=3). Add 3+3+1+2018 (3+3+1+2+0+1+8) and you get 18, which reduces to 9.

The nine is more meaningful because in Syria’s case there is an additional correspondence. Eleven is the numerical value for ‘Syria’, and eleven is also the numerical value for ‘war’. Robert Eisler mentions this type of correspondence in his book, Orpheus the Fisher, where he uses this system to identify the bishop at Hieropolis, Aberkios, as a ‘fish’ or baptized Christian.

“Indeed, first of all, the name Aberkios itself is an isopsêphon or numerical equivalent for ‘fish.’ ΙΧΘΥΣ=9+22+8+20+18=77=1+2+5+17+10+9+15+18=ΑΒΕΡΚΙΟΣ (In other words, the letters may be different but they add up to the same value), implying that—according to the expression of Tertullian…Aberkios himself is a ‘fish’ or baptized Christian after the image of the ‘great Fish’ Jesus.”

I don’t know if it would be necessary to carry the Syrian calculation further, but if we add eleven (the value of Syria) to the value of August 31, 2018 (9), we get eleven. Furthermore, August 31 is the 243rd day of the year (2+4+3=9).

If we add eleven to the value of September 4 (7), we get 18, which reduces to 9. September 4 is the 247th day of the year (2+4+7=13).

Of course these are not just the dates of national disasters. Numerology has a biblical basis. Theologians have recognized numerological meanings in the Bible—positive and negative. Augustine thought the number 11 represented transgression of the law because it exceeded the number of the decalogue. The Hebrews thought 11 was a bad number as well. There are no Hebrew names with eleven letters.

The fulfillment of the number 11 is 66, the number of evil (1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11=66). On the other hand, Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob and Rachel and although he was betrayed by his brothers he was the rescuer of his tribe.

The number 9 is also said to derive its meaning from the Bible, but through a diabolical reversal which associates it with destruction. Jesus ‘gave up the ghost’ at the ninth hour.

Keep in mind, this article is not proof of anything. It is a pitiful attempt at mind reading for the purpose of heading off war. However, the numerological aspect makes it clear that this is not just a battle for worldly supremacy.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Monetary Genesis of the Child Sex Abuse Scandal

I’m going to say something that will shock you: The sexual abuse of children is not centered in the Catholic Church. I’m not Catholic, but I find that I have a stake in this drama—the American media has imposed its biases on me. It is beyond creepy that a person can hold conflicting opinions about the Catholic Church, or any other subject, without realizing it, but that is the power the media has over its subscribers. I didn’t even realize I was sharing in this bias until reading David F. Pierre Jr.’s book Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church.

I have learned that the Church is not standing by and allowing abuse to happen, as the pundits claim. In the 80s medical experts discovered that the only way to protect children from pedophilia is to separate the offender from children. At that time, appropriate procedures and safeguards were put in place. They have been part of Church policy since 1983. Before that time, it was common practice both in the Church and outside the Church to treat the offender. Today the Church’s safeguards have proved effective, which explains why the cases in the Pennsylvania investigation are decades old. Current offenses are few and far between.

Clerical celibacy may be the main reason so many people accept the Catholic Church’s ownership of this problem, but there is no evidence for this connection.

…“[B]ased on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue”;

…“Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations”; and

…”Insurance companies that cover all denominations…[do] not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. ‘We don’t see vast differences in the incidence rate between one denomination and another,’ says [an insurance company vice president]. ‘’It’s pretty even across the denominations.’ It’s been that way for decades.” (23)

And yet, even though surveys suggest that accusations of sexual abuse across all American churches since 1993 have averaged 70 a week, the Catholics get all the media attention. (Christian Science Monitor, 2002, as cited by Pierre)

Pierre’s book identifies another culprit in this phenomenon: financial gain. However, it should be noted that Church leaders and spokespeople don’t make excuses. They accept responsibility for the devastation caused by the behavior of priests and bishops. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged that the ‘greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church…The Church thus has a deep need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice.’ Today, Pope Francis continues to focus on the victims.

Pierre’s focus is different. It is based on the concern that media bias has resulted in a false understanding of the entire phenomenon. I agree. I am also concerned about the Pennsylvania cases, where repeated mentions of the statute of limitations are an ominous sign for the Church.

In 2002, SNAP helped lawyers in California petition for a new law (SB1779). The goal was to lift the statute of limitations of abuse claims. Never mind that the statute of limitations only existed because of the problems involved in defending against accusations that happened so long ago, when exculpatory evidence, such as written schedules and witnesses, no longer exist. It was a barrier to suing the Church for these older offenses, so it had to go. The proponents of the bill claimed it was not designed to target the Catholic Church, but that’s exactly what it did. Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Laurence Drivon, who already had experience suing the Church, helped to craft the bill. Then they were called in as ‘technical experts’ during hearings on the legislation. The author of the bill, state senator John L. Burton, a Democrat from San Francisco, publicly stated that it was focused on ‘deep pocket defendants such as the Catholic Church, and his press secretary admitted the bill was prompted by calls from people who claimed to have been molested by Catholic priests. (116-118) Shortly after the law was passed Jeff Anderson said,

“We got a new law passed in California that opens up the statute of limitations for all victims of sexual abuse. It’s something we’ve been trying to do in several states for years. And I’m not waiting for it to click in. I’m suing the shit out of [the Catholic Church] everywhere: in Sacramento, in Santa Clara, in Santa Rose, in San Francisco, in Oakland, in L.A., and everyplace else.” (118)

Under this law, the target had to be an employer or other responsible third party who knew or should have known of the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. However, in practice any ‘credible’ claim of abuse, no matter how long ago, became eligible for a law suit.

The national director of SNAP is David Clohessy. He claims to have been molested by a priest from 1969 to 1973, and to have repressed the memories until he was about 32 years old. (Memory recovery therapy is another controversial part of this story.) He filed a lawsuit but the statute of limitations had expired. Nevertheless, the accused priest was removed from the diocese in 1992. The priest reportedly resigned from the priesthood and now works as a flight attendant. (81)

Under Clohessy’s leadership, SNAP refuses to acknowledge the Church’s efforts at reform. In public statements, he emphasizes that church officials failed to protect children and calls on the Church to report abuse (which it has been doing). Clohessy is the brother of a priest who was accused of child abuse in 1991. He knew about the allegations against his brother during the time he was a spokesman for SNAP, but he couldn’t bring himself to report it.

Meanwhile, child sex abuse in the society at large goes largely unreported. In 2004, Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft wrote a report for the Department of Education, Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature.(8) This report included the results of a 1994 study in which 225 educators admitted to sexual abuse of a student. None of these abusers was reported to authorities. In addition, only 1 percent of them lost their license, and 25 percent received no consequence or were reprimanded informally and off-the-record. Nearly 39 percent chose to leave the district, most with positive recommendations or even retirement packages intact.

Shakeshaft’s findings were confirmed in 1998, when Education Week published a three-week study on educator misconduct in public schools. One of the articles in the series chronicled the practice of transferring an abusive teacher from one school to another, or cutting a deal in which the school promises to keep quiet if the employee resigns.

Dr. Shakeshaft later harmonized a number of large-sample studies of the nation’s public schools and concluded, “more than 4.5 million students are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12 grade” She adds that it is likely that the findings underestimate educator sexual misconduct in schools. The most accurate data indicates that 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career. There are roughly 50 million students in America’s public schools. She concluded that between the years 1991 and 2000, United States educators sexually victimized 290,000 children. By contrast, individuals who allege abuse by Catholic clergy dating back to 1950 number approximately 11,000.

Days after the study was released a Google search revealed that only four publications had mentioned it, and two of them were Catholic outlets. The other two, the Christian Science Monitor and the Indianapolis Star, published brief mentions. The study was ignored completely by the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. (16)

Three years later, the Associated Press published a three-part series on sex abuse in public schools, with similar findings concerning the practice of transferring accused molesters. It also found that between 2001 and 2005, the number of educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned was 2,570. And then there are the awful details. In one case, a teacher kidnapped “more than 20 girls, some as young as 9. Among other things, he told prosecutors that he put rags in the girls’ mouths, taped them shut and also bound their hands and feet with duct tape and rope for his own sexual stimulation.”

The major American media was silent again, including the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.(17) However, lesser-known outlets, like the Oregonian and the Seattle Times, did investigations in subsequent years. Their shocking findings can be found on pages 18-21 of Pierre’s book. It is important to note that all of the school instances are recent. Abuse and coverups are happening today on a massive scale.

And in comparison to the court’s generosity to victims of abuse by Catholic clergy, the court system opposes victims who seek damages from a school district for the harm they have suffered. Public schools have a special immunity from being sued in most abuse cases, unless the victim can prove that the school system undoubtedly knew that a teacher was a molester. Apparently it is not enough that the molester was the subject of faculty gossip. In other words, there is no monetary reward for suing a school system.