Over the years my father Reed Irvine did battle with leftist Colman McCarthy when he was writing for the Washington Post. Yesterday it was my turn.
In a forum sponsored by the Close Up Foundation I had the opportunity to debate with McCarthy on the subject of the First Amendment’s right to assembly. Not exactly a topic that I deal with on a regular basis, but one I felt that I could handle.
McCarthy who spends most of his time teaching a peace studies class at Bethesda Chevy Chase High school in Bethesda, MD came well prepared. Not necessarily prepared to debate the topic, but to use the forum as a platform for his anti-war diatribe. Every time he was asked a question relating to the right to assemble and protest, he would use phrases like “immoral war”, “illegal war” etc? Or he would complain about the media not covering anti-war events. He then coupled that with signaling the students in his class who were in the audience to ask questions or make statements to endorse what he was saying.
In response to a statement I made about the liberal bias of the media he replied that he wished that were only true. I guess it’s just not liberal enough for him.
Unfortunately the host chose not to keep McCarthy on target and let the conversation stray from the topic, which combined with the overwhelmingly number of liberals in the audience led to a pretty lopsided discussion,
I did learn some things about McCarthy though. The high school class he teaches has about 40 students has about 40 students and all but one agrees with him on the war. Every Friday the class holds a demonstration outside the school by a busy road to protest the war. He also doesn’t give homework and tests as he says that they lead to nothing but fear. I bet he wouldn’t even give grades if it wasn’t required. And we wonder what is wrong with the education system.
That’s not all though. Besides the anti-war sentiment of his students in the audience, one even asked why the schools couldn’t teach more about careers instead of the required courses that they won’t use. How does this student know that she won’t use something she learned in a math or history class for example?
In the end even though it was a one sided discussion, I thought it was rather ironic that on the two year anniversary of my father’s death that I was doing battle with one his former foes. Maybe it was just meant to be.