Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Plight of Privileged Private Education

There's a lengthy article out today by Bari Weiss that's trending strongly. The easiest way to provide a feel for the article is to simply provide the link:

The Miseducation of America’s Elites

Affluent parents, terrified of running afoul of the new orthodoxy in their children’s private schools, organize in secret.

I can't imagine any concatenation of themes to grab the interest of concerned Americans of even moderately traditional views than those that Weiss evokes in her title and subtitle: Education of our children is where we all either live currently or lived in the past; Elitism in this Age of Trump resonate strongly, too; The terror inspired by the organized and Woke Left, in increasing control our lives and on the march in the streets and in the culture (especially the schools). Wrapping all that together with an inside view of how our ruling class itself is increasingly concerned by these trends is sure to get the attention of the rest of us.

Few current writers are more qualified than Weiss to present the concerns of the these affluent, and increasingly concerned, parents. Many readers may know Weiss's name as the ousted editrix at the NYT--ousted by a woke journalistic mob of her co-workers there. In fact there's much more to her career than her tenure at the NYT, so I urge you to read the Bari Weiss Wikipedia page.

What you'll quickly realize is that Weiss is anything but a conservative, herself, and abominates all things Trump. That pedigree allowed her to encourage the parents she interviewed to speak freely--even if anonymously. Before we get into the substance of the article, however, it may be well to paste in here the entire Wiki section on Weiss's political views--no editing:

According to The Washington Post, Weiss "portrays herself as a liberal uncomfortable with the excesses of left-wing culture,"[67] and has sought to "position herself as a reasonable liberal concerned that far-left critiques stifled free speech."[68] Vanity Fair has described Weiss as being "a provocateur".[4] The Jewish Telegraphic Agency said that her writing "doesn't lend itself easily to labels."[69] Weiss has been described as conservative by HaaretzThe Times of IsraelThe Daily Dot, and Business Insider.[70][71][72][73] In an interview with Joe Rogan, she described herself as a "left-leaning centrist".[74]

Weiss has expressed support for Israel and Zionism in her columns. When writer Andrew Sullivan described her as an "unhinged Zionist", she responded saying she "happily plead[s] guilty as charged."[75] In 2018, she said she believed the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but questioned whether they should disqualify him from serving on the Supreme Court because he was 17 when he allegedly committed the assault against Christine Blasey Ford.[72] After backlash in the press, Weiss conceded that her sound bite was glib and simplistic, and said instead that Kavanaugh's rage-filled behavior before the Senate Judiciary Committee should have disqualified him.[4] Also in 2018, she criticized the #MeToo Movement.[76]

Following the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Weiss was a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher in early November 2018. She said of American Jews who support President Donald Trump: "I hope this week that American Jews have woken up to the price of that bargain: They have traded policies that they like for the values that have sustained the Jewish people—and frankly, this country—forever: Welcoming the stranger; dignity for all human beings; equality under the law; respect for dissent; love of truth."[77] In 2019, The Jerusalem Post named Weiss the seventh most influential Jew in the world.[78]

The article begins cleverly, with an ironic portrayal of the privileged parents--whose children attend LA's Harvard-Westlake School (tuition $40K+ per year)--

as "rebels" engaged in an underground guerilla war against their woke antagonists. By day, as it were, they operate in disguise as good liberals, but by night they communicate securely with like minded parents, or meet in secret.

Steve Sailer, from whose blog I got the photo above, provides the setting. Noting some liberal critics of these parents who suggest that they should simply start their own school, one more to their tastes, Sailer writes--and, by the way, please take a moment to follow the link to Holmby Hills:

If you are a Harvard-Westlake parent and you don’t like it getting highjacked by the Woke, just start your own unWoke Harvard-Westlake.

After all, how much could it cost to reproduce Harvard-Westlake’s 12 acre middle school campus in Holmby Hills between Beverly Hills and Bel-Air? 

Holmby Hills is a rather pricey neighborhood: note the ~50,000 s.f. mansion under construction across the street.

Or its 22 acre high school campus in Coldwater Canyon? Or its $65 million endowment? Or its long relationship with 97-year-old billionaire Charlie Munger?

So if the Woke hijack Harvard-Westlake for their own purposes, disgruntled parents can always raise $500 mil and start their own unWoke school.

In the case of Harvard-Westlake parents, this might even be true.

The angst of these parents, therefore, is very real--$40K+ to have your child brainwashed by Leftists? And, as Weiss quickly points out, the anti-capitalism their kids are imbibing is far from the worst of it, as far as these very wealthy parents are concerned:

For most parents, the demonization of capitalism is the least of it. They say that their children tell them they’re afraid to speak up in class. Most of all, they worry that the school’s new plan to become an “anti-racist institution”unveiled this July, in a 20-page document—is making their kids fixate on race and attach importance to it in ways that strike them as grotesque.

These are the parents Weiss spoke to:

This Harvard-Westlake parents’ group is one of many organizing quietly around the country to fight what it describes as an ideological movement that has taken over their schools. This story is based on interviews with more than two dozen of these dissenters—teachers, parents, and children—at elite prep schools in two of the bluest states in the country: New York and California.

That, of course, is the interest in the article for conservatives. How many of these liberal parents are out there, and how far will they go to fight this racist ideology that masquerades as "anti-racist"? Will they organize to toss their congressman--Ted Lieu--out of office? Will they donate to conservative causes that are leading the fight against the ascendant Left?

To say that these liberals, who increasingly feel as if they're being mugged, feel conflicted is to put it mildly:

The parents in the backyard say that for every one of them, there are many more, too afraid to speak up. “I’ve talked to at least five couples who say: I get it. I think the way you do. I just don’t want the controversy right now,” related one mother. They are all eager for their story to be told—but not a single one would let me use their name. They worry about losing their jobs or hurting their children if their opposition to this ideology were known.

“The school can ask you to leave for any reason,” said one mother at Brentwood, another Los Angeles prep school. “Then you’ll be blacklisted from all the private schools and you’ll be known as a racist, which is worse than being called a murderer.”

One private school parent, born in a Communist nation, tells me: “I came to this country escaping the very same fear of retaliation that now my own child feels.” Another joked: “We need to feed our families. Oh, and pay $50,000 a year to have our children get indoctrinated.” A teacher in New York City put it most concisely: “To speak against this is to put all of your moral capital at risk.”

Parents who have spoken out against this ideology, even in private ways, say it hasn’t gone over well. “I had a conversation with a friend, and I asked him: ‘Is there anything about this movement we should question?’” said a father with children in two prep schools in Manhattan. “And he said: ‘Dude, that’s dangerous ground you’re on in our friendship.’ I’ve had enough of those conversations to know what happens.”

That fear is shared, deeply, by the children. For them, it’s not just the fear of getting a bad grade or getting turned down for a college recommendation, though that fear is potent. It’s the fear of social shaming. “If you publish my name, it would ruin my life. People would attack me for even questioning this ideology. I don’t even want people knowing I’m a capitalist,” a student at the Fieldston School in New York City told me, in a comment echoed by other students I spoke with. (Fieldston declined to comment for this article.) “The kids are scared of other kids,” says one Harvard-Westlake mother.

The atmosphere is making their children anxious, paranoid, and insecure—and closed off from even their close friends. “My son knew I was talking to you and he begged me not to,” another Harvard-Westlake mother told me. “He wants to go to a great university, and he told me that one bad statement from me will ruin us. This is the United States of America. Are you freaking kidding me?”

Right. I can hear the world's smallest violin playing in the background, too. I doubt these parents groups are the place to look for leadership. They're too busy looking out for Number One. And Weiss lets some sarcasm slip through--gently, so as not to burn bridges:

These are America’s elites—the families who can afford to pay some $50,000 a year for their children to be groomed for the eating clubs of Princeton and the secret societies of Yale, the glide path to becoming masters—sorry, masterx—of the universe. The ideas and values instilled in them influence the rest of us.



That is not the only reason this story matters. These schools are called prep schools because they prepare America’s princelings to take their place in what we’re told is our meritocracy. Nothing happens at a top prep school that is not a mirror of what happens at an elite college. 

What does it say about the current state of that meritocracy, then, that it wants kids fluent in critical race theory and “white fragility,” even if such knowledge comes at the expense of Shakespeare? “The colleges want children—customers—that are going to be pre-aligned to certain ideologies that originally came out of those colleges,” says a STEM teacher at one of New York’s prestigious prep schools. “I call it woke-weaning. And that’s the product schools like mine are offering.”

The parents I spoke with for this story are savvy and smart: they realize that it’s bizarre—at best—for a school like Harvard-Westlake to hold forth constantly about social justice as it drops more than $40 million on a new off-campus athletic complex. This is a school that sends out an annual report to every Harvard-Westlake family listing parents’ donations. Last year, the “Heritage Circle” group—gifts of $100,000 or more—included Viveca Paulin-Ferrell and Will Ferrell. A red paw next to Jeanne and Tony Pritzker’s names indicated more than a decade of cumulative giving.

And, Weiss explains, what all this amounts to is establishing "class markers." By raising their children to be fluent in Woke the children will be enabled to readily discriminate against the less than elite classes, using ever shifting standards of Woke-Speak. This explains why those parents feel so conflicted--they want their children to be among those who discriminate, not among those who are discriminated against:

Power in America now comes from speaking woke, a highly complex and ever-evolving language. The Grace Church School in Manhattan, for example, offers a 12-page guide to “inclusive language,” which discourages people from using the word “parents”—“folks” is preferred—or from asking questions like “what religion are you?” (When asked for comment, Rev. Robert M. Pennoyer II, the assistant head of school, replied: “Grace is an Episcopal school. As part of our Episcopal identity, we recognize the dignity and worth common to humanity.” He added that the guide comes “from our desire to promote a sense of belonging for all of our students.”) A Harvard-Westlake English teacher welcomes students back after summer with: “I am a queer white womxn of European descent. I use [ she | her ] pronouns but also feel comfortable using [ they | them ] pronouns.” She attached a “self-care letter” quoting Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

Woe betide the working-class kid who arrives in college and uses Latino instead of “Latinx,” or who stumbles conjugating verbs because a classmate prefers to use the pronouns they/them. Fluency in woke is an effective class marker and key for these princelings to retain status in university and beyond. The parents know this, and so woke is now the lingua franca of the nation’s best prep schools. As one mother in Los Angeles puts it: “This is what all the colleges are doing, so we have to do it. The thinking is: if Harvard does it, it must be good.”

Some of the kids try to navigate through this maze, but the maze-masters increasingly have all angles covered:

One of her classmates says that he tries to take “the fact classes, not the identity classes.” But it’s gotten harder to distinguish between the two. “I took U.S. history and I figured when you learn about U.S. history maybe you structure it by time period or what happened under each presidency. We traced different marginalized groups. That was how it was structured. I only heard a handful of the presidents’ names in class.”


At Fieldston, an elective is offered to high school juniors and seniors called “historicizing whiteness.” At Grace Church School, seniors can take a course called “Allying: Why? Who? and How?” The curriculum includes a ’zine called “Accomplices Not Allies” that declares “the work of an accomplice in anti-colonial struggle is to attack colonial structures & ideas,” alongside a photograph of a burning police car. Harvard-Westlake, in its extensive antiracist plan announced this summer, included “redesigning the 11th grade US History course from a critical race theory perspective,” among many similar goals.

The result is that the kids--those who resist--learn to lie to get by:

So children learn how the new rules of woke work. The idea of lying in order to please a teacher seems like a phenomenon from the Soviet Union. But the high schoolers I spoke with said that they do versions of this, including parroting views they don’t believe in assignments so that their grades don’t suffer.

In Brooklyn, a STEM teacher known to be friendly among skeptical students laughed when he told me the latest absurdity: students told him that their history class had a unit on Beyoncé, and they felt compelled to say that they loved her music, even if they did not. “I thought: they aren’t even entitled to their own musical preferences,” he said. “What does it mean when you can’t even tell the truth about how music affects you?” One English teacher in Los Angeles tacitly acknowledges the problem: she has the class turn off their videos on Zoom and asks each student to make their name anonymous so that they can have uninhibited discussions.

Obviously this is not even remotely education--it's indoctrination plain and simple. And even more tragic than they kids who are forced to live a lie is the fact that so many of these super privileged kids dive into it. And, Weiss notes, it's not as if the parents have no other options for their kids:

The parents in this story are not parents with no other options. Most have the capital—social and literal—to pull their kids out and hire private tutors. That they weren’t speaking out seemed to me cowardly, or worse.

On the other hand, are the government schools any better? You're a fool if you believe that.  There may be some slight difference in the degree of wokeness, but the Left is working relentlessly to eliminate that. And so even these privileged parents feel trapped:

“I don’t mean to get emotional, I just feel helpless,” said one mother through tears. “I look at the public school and I am equally mortified. I can’t believe what they are doing to everybody. I’m too afraid. I’m too afraid to speak too loudly. I feel cowardly. I just make little waves.” Another tells me: “It’s fear of retribution. Would it cause our daughter to be ostracized? Would it cause people to ostracize us? It already has.”

But is that kind of life a life that's worth living? It's certainly not a truly human life.

I think we're seeing the same kind of behavior mod tactics being used society wide in this Age of Covid, the New Normal. What a metaphor--the kids have to wear spiritual masks in their school lives, and the rest of us physically mask up to hide from one another! Doctors' orders or Big Brother's orders--is there a difference? The medical profession--and so many others who were considered leaders--have covered themselves with shame in this past year. Will resentment of all this finally coalesce, as Martin Gurri suggested: How Are Popular Uprisings Triggered?

I'll end on a personal note.

I've never attended a post kindergarten government school (except for a summer school class or two). From 1st grade through law school I attended Catholic schools. The Catholic educational system was one of the real glories of America, in the past. They served far more than just Catholics. In a comparative sense, that system has largely imploded. The reasons are complex, as usual. But those schools, that system, offered a very real and a very viable alternative to what Weiss is describing in those privileged private schools for the elite--as well as in local government schools. That's no longer the case for two reasons. The first is that Catholic schools are no longer as affordable as they used to be--due to the lack of religious vocations for those religious men and women who taught us largely for their room and board. The second is that, beginning even in the mid 60s, many of those schools quickly became CINO schools. My belief is that few Catholic schools below the university or college level are actually "woke" in the full sense, but they no longer offer a strong alternative. How long they can hold up is anyone's question.

Weiss quotes a parent: “The dean said to me, basically, it’s important to change with the times,” said the Brentwood parent. That rang a V2 bell for me. That's what we now know to have been the voice of the Deep Church was telling us back in the 60s. Aggiornamento was the mantra--we need to open up to the modern world, change with the times. No longer would the Church offer itself as an alternative to modernity--much less a sign of contradiction. It didn't take long for bishops to realize that the Catholic school system was probably the most visible and most real sign of contradiction to modernity. That system was in the business of offering an alternative worldview without compromise. It had no other real reason for existing. And so, while the system wasn't necessarily dismantled, it was no longer viewed as an essential pillar for the Catholic people. The schools and even the substance of Catholic education were, at best, allowed to wither.

It was a great betrayal, not simply of the faithful but--as we now see--of America.


  1. Good Lord Mark, I hate the idea that this is such a great article because the subject matter sucks so badly, sigh. Funny thing was that I read both of the articles you cited earlier today and thought to myself that you should link to both and comment...and, voila! Nicely done.

    Though RC like you, I never attended Catholic School and may not be the worse off for it, but I digress. I took a chance with our son in public schools and he ended up with a decent education which allowed him to be accepted at one of the so-called Colonial Colleges where he majored in Economics and otherwise emerged unscathed. Now, I would send him to Catholic School and try to get him admitted to Hillsdale College...I don't know what else would work.

    As for the world ahead, I'm beginning to warm up to the idea of a nice nuclear exchange among nations to cleanse the planet, so to speak, but hey what do I know?

  2. I posted this at Neo and believe it has relevance here.

    To not have your kid in the nomenklatura is a fear for all of these people. These are upper middle class people whose position is precarious. Hence they do anything to cling to where they are. I was there until my company shipped my job overseas. I am happy now in a job I enjoy though making significantly less. It helps that my kids are past college age.

    COVID has shown many that homeschooling is a good option. Here in Michigan there is an established co-op infrastructure that helps too thanks to Engler time where the Republicans passed laws allowing you to do so.

    It will take a brave set of parents to stand up, run for the board and boot the administrators and teachers. They will come to this at some point. I think it will come from the Asians or immigrants when they realize the dreck their kids are being taught.

    The next administration needs to get ahold of the Education Department and start enforcing its civil right regulations. And the student loan spigot has to stop. I believe that since the Federal Government makes the loans they negotiate the tuition level. Cost of instruction plus 20%. Anything over that the school has to chin from their endowments. You will see a whole hell of a lot of administrators become instructors in a hurry. Also any unpaid student loan balance after 10 years is transferred to the college and it has to pay from it’s endowment. You will see a lot of schools find meaningful jobs for students especially after year 6.

    I feel sorry for these bitter clingers.


    1. I think you are right in that brave parents and teachers will need to take a stand against what is happening in the education system. It may be more possible in states that are not as entrenched in wokeness as California. It is heartening for me to see that some liberals are aware of the problem and I hope that it is more widespread than it appears to be on the surface. The Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum described in the other article in CJ sounds like it must be a joke but it is real.

  3. One helluva article and so far 2 excellent's a heartening. Even the limousine liberals may man-up some day and cal a halt to all of this woke bovine excrement in the classroom.

  4. Thanks Mark for this. Truly depressing though. It reminds me of the Tweet yesterday from Taylor Lorenz (NYT) and the subsequent responses:

    David Burge
    Mar 9
    "I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of 7 billion little people don't amount to a hill of beans compared to the troubles of the NYT's social media tattletale wealthy white girl from a $90k Swiss boarding school"

    Quote Tweet
    Glenn Greenwald
    · Mar 9
    "Taylor Lorenz is a star reporter with the most influential newspaper in the US, arguably the west. Her work regularly appears on its front page.

    Her attempt to claim this level of victimhood is revolting: she should try to find out what real persecution of journalists entails."

    Taylor Lorenz
    "For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I’ve had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life. No one should have to go through this."

  5. Wowie-zowie! Wasn’t aware Harvard-Westlake was such a sewer - it’s right around the corner here in Studio City.

    Think my decision not to sire any kids was the right one.


    1. A local outlandishly priced school is turning kids into woke zombies... therefore... I won’t have kids? Does not compute.

    2. BA - you living under a rock? This re-education @ HW is quickly becoming de riguer nationwide.

      These kids are being inculcated in Marxism & taught to hate themselves, their country, & their history.


  6. I kept thinking these people need to experience a few real problems in life.

    Social shaming and being called a racist by a 50k a year prep school, oh-my!

    Sorry my empathy button is very broken.

    Their ahead of the right though, their at least meeting with like minded individuals and trying to organize a solution. 😒

  7. This may seem off topic but bear with me.

    It occurs to me that America has had to deal with 3 ever more virulent strains of totalitarianism. The first strain was fascism. It was almost purely a military threat and well suited to defeat by American industrial might. Next came Soviet communism. The Soviets understood better than Hitler that to beat America required undermining its societal foundations. The poison of socialism, marxism, and atheism (and tribalism in the form of hyper race consciousness) have worked through American society for 80 years at least. But the Soviets didn't have the staying power, being a weak economy dependent upon satellite states to feed upon. The third iteration, however, seems deadly. The CCP has taken in all of the Soviet lessons and refined them to perfection, using every institution as a mouthpiece for their views and money to corrupt every corner of government. Worse, they don't feed off of satellite states like the Soviets, they feed on us. We fund them and keep their economy afloat.

    If this were one of my kids' video games we would now be playing against the highest level monster, in the fight of our lives. This Harvard Westlake example is the evil fruit of societal poisons and the fact that no one can muster the courage to publicly oppose it is a guarantee of a new Red Guard . Heaven help us.

    1. Let me apologize up front for the following rant -

      I agree 100% with what you just said. I believe the country is already lost. Think about this - if the CCP influence is as far flung across the US as we all think it is, then doesn't it make sense that their earliest, easiest and deepest connections had to start in the west - specifically California? Maybe this is why that state is so f-ed up? Do we really think that they stopped with Swallwell and Feinstein? I wonder how many politicians, Hollywood hacks and academic institutions and their professorial class are actually already owned by the Chinese in California alone? How many more compromised people and institutions, around the country, are being protected by the US deep state IC? What is going on with the Hunter Biden investigation? The DOJ deep state announced 'nothing to see here' after only a month of 'investigating' election fraud. They have now had Hunter's laptop info for at least 15 months and....nothing. Biden's staff and cabinet picks will talk tough on China but they won't produce any actual pushback. BTW, Is Hunter still cashing their checks? Will anyone actually ask that question? Instead - like the Capitol Police - the administration will open the doors, let the CCP come in, and then exclaim 'how did that happen?' TRUMP! Durham has been going for 18 months now and....nothing. The remnants of the GOP are approving almost all of Biden's radical choices to serve in his administration. A lot of these people have connections to the Durham probe! They will never admit they have a problem at the border or with the pork laden bills they are pushing through congress. The media keeps lapping it all up and crapping it out. Then they serve it up to their fellow useful idiots that supported this disaster. Not even 9am where I live and I already need a drink...yeesh!

  8. O/T

    It seems petty to raise the following topic in the face of the existential issues Mark and the commenters raise in this post. But they are related.

    A few weeks or maybe months ago some of us here reported on our efforts to find service providers and vendors unrelated to the Political Left to spend our time and money with. Here's an update on some of my efforts to date, with some commentary.

    1. Its real hard not to use google. Often a program I'm in automatically transfers to some google service. Nevertheless, for search I am using duckduckgo with pretty good success. When I'm not completely satisfied with duckduck's results I'll sometimes check google and sometimes find a result which duckduck hasn't. But duckduck is satisfactory and I'm sticking with it.

    2. I've never been a big user of gmail, and I use my gmail account pretty much only when required for some commercial reason. For personal email I've moved to, which is encrypted and seemingly independent of political influence. I am trying very hard to avoid using my protonmail account for anything commercial and so far no commercial emails have shown up in my inbox.

    3. I had been using mostly chrome as my browser, but have moved to brave. Brave is very fast (seems faster than chrome) and has the delightful additional benefit of blocking ads. If you want to see the difference try opening on both chrome and brave and compare the experience. However, brave is incompatible with some internet functions and then I may use mozilla or edge (ugh!)...or even chrome.

    4. I had been using amazon a lot since the pandemic began, especially for books. I'm now using alibris ( for books. No free shipping, but in most cases the price is competitive. For items other than books I may search on amazon, but then I try to find an alternative seller (often the actual manufacturer) before buying. I have not found a good substitute for amazon prime for streaming entertainment. We still have a netflix account but rarely use it. We cancelled hulu.

    5. We still have a cable tv contract which includes tv and internet. Our provider is comcast xfinity. I have pared down our cable menu to the next to lowest tier (100 channels) but hardly ever watch any of them. I have installed an OTA antenna (which works great) for the basic broadcast channels in anticipation of cutting the cable. However I haven't cut the cable because the price of internet will zoom up when I do and I haven't yet found a substitute internet provider in our community. When I do, I plan to ditch infinity for cable and internet.

    6. My wife and I often watch Dan Bongino together, and he has brought us to rumble. So we never use youtube to watch Bongino, and now I often search rumble for other video before going to youtube.

    7. At the time of the uproar over social media censorship my wife and I stopped going to facebook, instagram and twitter. I have to admit that here we've more or less failed. We still use facebook and instagram to stay in touch with friends (we post exactly zero political content). But we can't avoid posting pictures and discussing non-political things with friends. Since parler came back I've been clicking on it to see what's there, but there is so much more relevant content on twitter that I still go there first.

    8. I'm too cheap to ditch my still serviceable 7 year old iPhone, but when it goes I certainly intend to find a new smartphone made by someone other than apple.

    Does any of the foregoing make a difference? Who knows? But it makes me feel good (better) and so I'll keep trying to avoid patronizing the crazy Left and doing what I'm doing.

    What have y'all done?

    1. Not petty at all. Useful.

      I've been done with Google for a long time. In addition to DDG I use

      For browsing, why not give Falkon a try when you need an alternative: Not as fully featured, but mostly so, and very light and fast. It has a built in adblocker without some of the annoying features of the Brave one.

    2. I use several browsers, and each has its use. Slimjet is excellent on Linux.

    3. Cassandar,

      I've given up on a lot of my privacy doings because I have, at times, too many irons in the digital fire but I do maintain different devices for different reasons. (Separate PCs, phones, emails, etc)

      Try adding a VPN to your mix, do your research on them. It's not as much about masking "who or where" you are (though possible) it's more about encrypting your digital traffic in everything you do from your ISP and mobile provider collection. Dropping chrome is one thing, but your ISP is still vacuuming up everything anyways.

      When you look at new phones, an Android with a custom ROM can go the distance on privacy protection. You can buy or program your own version. There are phones out there that go the distance of monitoring towers and verifying their validity. This prevents ISDN catchers like stingrays from being effective.

      Another phone hardware thing that is getting hard to find is one with a removable battery, OFF doesn't mean OFF anymore.

      Look into Signal or Silence for a messaging apps for personal or other privacy protection. You however will be in the up hill battle of getting your friends to go along with this idea. E2E encryption on the local devices, message deletion, screen capture alerts, etc are all good features. Never use one that isn't allowing their source code to be reviewed or that uses server side encryption.

      Use a web browser to access things all things possible, don't use apps for Facebook, Amazon or Parlor.

      ISP, Starlink looks promising but I'm holding off on the $500 hardware buy in until the second gen comes out.

      Keep your data on your local devices and encrypt your storage / backups. Most don't realize they completely write off their 5th amendment rights in cloud storage.

      People laugh at me when I say this but not so much if you've paid attention to the Jan 6th mess! Pick up a couple of Baofeng uv-5r (or equivalent) hand held ham radios. Extended batteries, good antennas, and programming cable are must haves. They are too cheap not to have 2.3.4 or 5 of them as a fall back in the closet. I can give you a frequency programming file that will work well in your area(s).

      I've been on a 6+ month programming and R&D mission with a few other center, right and left minded individuals to build a different type of social media to compete with FB, Parlor, etc.

      Our goal is to offer the same features with emphasis on free speech, user data protection and if users choose, non fee based verified memberships (blue checks).

      Our funding will driven by a market place + small business software vs selling user data. (Think FB mixed with Ebay, digital content, Paypal and SAP / QuickBooks).

      We believe users should be able to have their voices online, but also be able to control their own content. If you don't like what's on TV, just change the channel or don't use our service. But short of illegal activities or spaming, it's not our business to control others.

      It's tricky because there are so many 3 party services mixed into web based development that will cut your access. (Think Amazon to Parlor, payment processors, banks, credit card companies, ISP, app stores, verification services, etc, etc) So we're having to focus on proprietary development and security vs 3rd party dependencies. Or we'll just be cut off like gun retailers or hacked like GAB. It's costly, frustrating and painstakingly slow but needed in today's world.

      The other tricky part is facebook works so easily because they capture so much of your data. People demand that level of "ease of use / function" but they don't consider the vacuuming of data that drives it. It makes data collection a double edged sword.

      Our hope is that conservatives and privacy advocates will see what were doing and why, and support us in kind. Maybe, maybe not, but we believe in the idea / concept. Our aim is to stay private as a company and our board made up of hardcore data objectors vs money driven investors.

    4. @devilman

      Thanks for all the info. I've been primarily focused on not exchanging my $ for the products and services offered by the Left.

      You properly remind me that I should also be concerned about protecting my privacy and my freedoms. Good advice.

    5. Good ideas. Perhaps since Cassander has already switched to Protonmail he's also bundled their VPN service.

      Couple of questions, if you don't mind. For that Baofeng I've read various accounts of whether or not you need a license. Hard for non-techies to figure out.

      Is there any security/privacy benefit to using cheap non-iphone non-android non-smart phones?

    6. Baofeng... Like all things radio related the correct answer to licensing is BOTH yes and no. Hang with me on that, the FCC makes everything difficult.

      Baofeng's are dual band 136-174 MHz and 400-480MHz (there are triband models as well). Meaning they CAN be used on BOTH licensed HAM (general radio license) frequencies AND non licenced frequencies in those ranges. You need to know the difference to use them responsibly or program them to make it easier to use.

      Frequencies are a memorization game and my short term memory isn't great anymore. For those reasons I have all 100 channels of mine programmed with both "a meaningful frequency" (to me) and "the text" of what that frequency is. A nice feature of Baofeng radios.

      That said, here's how I have mine set up and why'ish.

      First 7 channels local weather repeaters, it's useful without TV / internet. (FL hurricanes) In my programming I lock out the ability to accidentally transmit on these (and a few other frequencies).

      Next 22 channels are FRS frequencies. FRS (family radio service) which is what all of the little personal 2 way "walkie talkie" handhelds use. You don't need a license (call sign) on FRS to transmit up to 5 watts.

      To make "radio" even more confusing to explain. The first 7 channels of FRS are "shared" with GMRS (licenced) users.

      When I say I "label" my frequencies with text an example would be as follows.

      Channel 8 462.5625Mhz the radio says "FRS-1"
      Channel 9 462.5875Mhz the radio says "FRS- 2"

      Next 10-20'ish channels are marine and other local freqs for places I frequent. Marine is another example that does not require a licence to transmit on that the Baofeng is capable of.

      All of the remaining channels I program on are local "HAM" repeaters in my area. (Or reprogrammed for an area im visiting). If you were to start transmitting on those without a licence (call sign) someone is going to jump your butt for it, it isn't legal, but more to me, it's rude.

      Those HAM frequencies in your area however are good to listen to for information purposes. Most times it irrelevant conversation, in an emergency however a repeater could be life saving.

      Most of that programming is location specific. Weather, repeaters, local emergency, etc you do by zip code searches.

      Yes to dumb phones, there are many who use them for security purposes. They are not as susceptible to hacking, e.g. no data service, do not take or store photos and all of the other things that get people into trouble data'wise. For a long time they didn't have GPS chips in them. For our safety the Government did fixed that "missing" feature a few years ago. (you can probably drill the chip and still use the phone)

      Prepaid ) burner dumb phones are very popular with the federally employed as well. I have friends that buy a new one every time they travel or get assigned temporarily and then destroy them before going home. It isn't infidelity, it's actual security.

    7. OK, thanks very much. The reason I was asking about the Baofeng was because not too long ago my DIL was suggesting it might be a smart idea in case of emergency. The ones I had seen were much more expensive.

  9. There are still a few good independent Catholic schools out there - independent meaning not affiliated with any diocese or parish. I know because my children attended two of them - the boys one, mostly just for high school, the girls another for middle school and high school, where a couple of my granddaughters are now also students. These schools have not and will not adopt the woke ideology, If they did the parents, alumni/ae and other friends of the schools including myself who contribute to keep them going would immediately cut them off. I believe there are also a number of very good non-denominational Christian schools out there as well, but I don't have any first-hand knowledge of those.

    I think the local parish elementary school that all of our children attended for at least some of their elementary education is also still pretty good, though not as good as the Catholic elementary school in New England that my brother and I attended when we were growing up. (Tuition there was $10/family/year; teachers were all religious sisters.)

    BTW, parents of families that wanted a better alternative were instrumental in actually creating the schools I am referring. It is not easy to start a school. I know some parents who have been involved with starting one for the last 3 or 4 years. Aside from the cost there is the big problem of finding the right kind of teachers who can accept the inevitably lower income from a private school, especially one that is just getting started. But as time goes on I think this will happen more often due to the absolutely despicable situation that has been developing in many public and private schools.

    One thing that I do worry about regarding these schools, however, is that Biden and the progs will attempt to impose their sexual orientation and "gender-identity" mandates wrt to their hiring and admissions practices. With the current state of SCOTUS as well as the threat of packing the court I don't know how that will play out. But if I were running one of these schools that would be the one thing that might keep me awake at night.

    Al C.

    1. All true. This is the kind of hard, culturally revolutionary, work that needs to be done. Winning a few elections is helpful but ultimately won't be the game changer unless it's backed up by real personal conversion.

  10. Nothing new under the sun.

    I'm just watching a movie made in 1944, telling a story that takes place in 1870, during the Franco-Prussian war (Mademoiselle Fifi)

    It's a story that shows the upper classes (French), together with the enemy (Prussians), trying to keep their privileges, and a laundress and a priest are symbols of the resistance and rejection of the enemies.

    One character says "there is no more honor, it was lost a long time ago"

    People never change.


    1. Human nature doesn't change. Plato thought he could change it, and now the Woke Elite think they can change it. Education, behavior mod, whatever. Human hubris.

  11. I've been thinking today that our economy depends (both for its success and its survival) upon the work, investment, and efforts of about half the country (probably more) who the Left has labelled as deplorables and hopeless racists and who the Left tries to cancel when the deplorables and hopeless racists offer opinions which conflict with Woke Ideologies.

    Where I'm heading is that it is the deplorables and hopeless racists who pay the lion's share of taxes, operate the lion's share of businesses, and employ the lion's share of workers in this country.

    What happens when the deplorables and hopeless racists decide that they are about done being insulted, discriminated against, lied to and about, and cancelled?
    What happens when the deplorables and hopeless racists decide that they are done with our woke schools, our woke companies, our woke media and our woke entertainers?

    And how long do you think it will be from now before the deplorables and hopeless racists decide they are in fact done?

    I began to think about this earlier today when I was writing a comment about my attempts to find alternatives to google, chrome, amazon, youtube, comcast, facebook and twitter. What happens when we eventually succeed and are no longer supporting these monopolies and oligarchies? What happens when the formerly Woke have withdrawn their children from Harvard Westlake and Fieldston schools and moved out of increasingly insolvent New York, Illinois and California?

    If the Left thinks it can shame deplorables and hopeless racists into accepting more lies and insults and discrimination and cancellation, what happens when the deplorables and hopeless racists stand up and say...