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SCOTT DREYER: Questionophobia (II)

The person who tells one side of a story seems right,

until someone else comes and asks questions. –Proverbs 18:17 (EXB)


The important thing is not to stop questioning. 

–Albert Einstein



Last weekend marked the end of my thirty-third year of full-time teaching. 

Over the years my methodologies and knowledge base have changed. The technological changes have been revolutionary. During my first year of teaching in suburban Richmond, I typed up tests on a typewriter. Now, I teach students around the world via computer. 

However, one aspect of the teacher toolkit has remained unchanged: encouraging students to ask questions.

Author Jostein Gaarder explains: “It’s not a silly question if you can’t answer it.” 

This is why the June 8 “Questionophobia” questions our culture’s reluctance to, well, ask questions. Frankly, “reluctance” is an understatement. Many people, when you ask questions, get downright ornery. 

On May 25, WJLA, a TV station in the Washington DC suburbs of Arlington, hosted the only televised debate featuring the candidates for the June 8 Virginia lieutenant governor Democrat primary. Dave Lucas, a veteran journalist with WJLA, was a moderator and asked Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) about campaign finance.

Rather than believe the hyped headlines, here is Lucas’ question verbatim, so you can judge for yourself:

“My question is to Delegate Rasoul. The Washington Post reported your fundraising effort is ‘category leading,’ because of some out-of-state donors connected to Muslim advocacy groups. There’s nothing wrong with that” (Hands raised for emphasis), but that was the case.  Talk a little bit about your fundraising and, can you assure Virginians if you’re elected, you’ll represent all of them, regardless of faith or beliefs?”


Almost immediately, there were howls from the Left branding that question as unfair. Within hours, WJLA issued an apology…the kind we now see with distressing regularity when the angry, woke, “cancel-culture” mob puts someone in their trigger hairs.

Recently some on the Left have admitted and even bragged that one of their favorite ways to dominate the culture over the past three decades is to use public shaming to silence and intimidate anyone who dares to disagree with or even question their agenda. 

Is that what happened to WJLA? 

The ancient Socratic Method, the foundation of the Western pedagogical tradition, is based on all members of a class asking questions of each other. In that spirit, let us ask more questions, not fewer. 

To contribute to a spirit of open mindedness and free inquiry, here are a few other questions, in no particular order.

  1. Why did a pharmacist in Florida give over $74,000 to Rasoul’s abortive bid for lieutenant governor?


2. Does that pharmacist have any personal connections to Virginia or the Roanoke Valley?


3. Is the fact that the pharmacist is on the board of the controversial Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) connected to that large gift?


4. For years many on the Left have used the phrase “chilling effect.” Will the recent firestorm over Lucas’ question about campaign finance have a “chilling effect” on future reporters asking probing questions and holding politicians accountable?


5. In February 2019, Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA) became the focus of national shock and derision over his racist photo and infanticide scandals. Yet, over two and a half years later, he is still refusing to resign. To paraphrase Lucas’ wording, how can Northam claim to still represent Virginians of all faiths and beliefs?


6. Northam, despite his scandals that made him a national laughingstock, even endorsed his preferred candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. All three publicly welcomed the endorsements. Of his three endorsements, two won the June 8 Democrat primary. Why did those candidates welcome his endorsement, and why does Northam still have such sway in a party that claims to repudiate racism?


7. Governor Northam just signed legislation to offer in-state tuition to students who are in the US illegally. At the same time, US citizens and legal immigrants in the other 49 states will keep paying higher tuition and face increased competition to get a spot at a Virginia college. Why are Northam and his party so eager to reward those who break the law and punish those who obey it?  


8. Why did Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) live and raise his family on CONFEDERATE AVENUE in Richmond for 28 years?


9. If the Democrat Party claims to repudiate all forms of racism, why did party top brass turn a blind eye to Kaine’s outrageous address for almost three decades?


10. Other than The Roanoke Star, have other news outlets made you aware that the Kaines lived on CONFEDERATE AVENUE for 28 years? 


11. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is the richest member in the Senate, with an estimated net worth of some $300 million. As a supporter of capitalism I respect his success, but to rephrase Lucas’ question, can Warner represent all Virginians, including single moms and working families? During Warner’s re-election campaign last year, did any journalist ask that question?  


12. Do you think these questions are reasonable and deserve answers, especially since Virginia has elections this November? 




Shaming and Targeting as ways to push Cultural Change

Socratic Method

Virginia to offer reduced tuition to illegal immigrants and discriminate against US citizens

Sen. Mark Warner net worth $300 million 


Scott Dreyer in his classroom.

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