Steve Balch Responds to Ad Hominem Newspaper Attack

Steve Balch

Last Tuesday, NAS Chairman Steve Balch presented testimony before the Texas House Higher Education Committee in Austin. His speech addressed this charge to the Committee: "Study the feasibility of offering an optional curriculum that emphasizes ethics, Western civilization, and American traditions to satisfy portions of the Texas core curriculum." To read the transcript or watch the video of his remarks, click here.

University of Texas Professors Daniel Bonevac, Robert Koons, and Lorraine Pangle gave additional supporting testimony, as did former Austin Community College President Richard Fonte and John de Castro, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Sam Houston State University.

Two days later, the Austin American-Statesman published an opinion piece by Ken Herman in which Herman writes, "Why is it that words as nonloaded as 'American heritage' and 'American traditions' can sound so loaded coming from some folks' mouths?" He cites wording from the NAS website on racial preferences and on sustainability, making no mention of the other presenters. Dr. Balch's response, which he has sent to the American Statesman, is below:

Ken Herman apparently likes the ad hominem. He's okay with teaching Western civilization, but gee, isn't it strange that all those making the case before the Higher Education Committee happened to be knuckle-dragging cranks. I suppose I could vindicate my intellectual credentials by citing the many distinguished academics who have supported the National Association of Scholars over its twenty-three years of existence. But I'd rather simply, and sadly, note the extent to which civilized discourse about cultural issues has become so hard to sustain. This fact makes the case for a more serious study of civilization, ours and others, perhaps better than anything else.

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