Harmony Science Academy is a “Charter School” with several branches, including one in Austin. According to Wikipedia: “Charter schools are primary or secondary schools in the United States that receive public money (and like other schools, may also receive private donations) but are not subject to some of the rules, regulations, and statutes that apply to other public schools in exchange for some type of accountability for producing certain results, which are set forth in each school’s charter. Charter schools are opened and attended by choice. While charter schools provide an alternative to other public schools, they are part of the public education system and are not allowed to charge tuition.” (June 5, 2010).
My son was born on August 23, 1992, during the onset of Hurricane Andrew in Palm Beach, Florida, so he had just completed 17 years and 9 months of life on Sunday May 23, 2010. The following Saturday he graduated High School at Harmony Science Academy with a National Honor Society cowl/hood/ribbon around his neck with about 30 other students. I was there, like many other proud and happy parents. My son had survived a rather strange childhood fraught with weird traumas of which his mother and I were the primary, material and efficient, causes, although I would submit perhaps neither of us were the formal and final causes—because those higher levels of causation are to be found outside us and in the socio-political structure of our society.
Rites de Passage shape us, and many people hold that graduating from High School is the key rite of American life (as evidenced in the hundreds or thousands of movies, TV shows, and books—and ranging in each category from the good, to the bad, to the truly awful—-which focus on the difficulty or angst of adolescence and high school).
But adults have a role in the rites de passage of their children, also. My son wanted me to be there for his graduation and so I was. What was peculiar was that this was the first event at Harmony Science Academy which I had ever attended (and Graduation Commencement wasn’t actually “at” Harmony Science Academy, but at a Marriot Hotel in Round Rock about 12 miles north of the actual school in one of those large expandable or dividable conference rooms that most modern hotels have these days).
Yes, I was there, with Charlie’s mother Elena and Greek Grandmother Nina, but I had never met any of Charlie’s fellow students before. Charlie had started Harmony Science Academy in Sixth Grade, and on the damnable advice or directions of Williamson County Guardian ad Litem Laurie J. Nowlin I was never “officially” told about Charlie’s enrollment—although the officers of Cedar Park Middle School had informed me immediately, much to their credit. I had sought Laurie J. Nowlin out to act as an attorney ad litem for Charlie after his mother and I separated in Late July/August 2002. Laurie J. Nowlin had immediately affirmed to me that Charlie wanted to live with me and that his feelings on the subject were fairly intense. Money may have passed hands between Elena and Laurie—I’ll never know—there was evidence to that effect but of course bribery is an awfully ugly word (even when most relevant statutes of limitation have long since run).
But the simple truth is that Charlie, with whom I had been best friends up until age 10, as well as a reasonably good father, was not only placed against his express wishes and fears in his mother’s custody by Judge Michael Jergins of the 395th Judicial District of Williamson County, but was completely isolated from me for two full years (Memorial Day, May 2003-June 5, 2005), and I was excluded from his school life at Harmony Science Academy until his graduation day (except for a couple of e-mail communications with an English teacher sometime in 2006-2007, and occasionally Charlie let me see his report cards and help with homework, especially in 2008-2010). Judge Michael Jergins and his acolytes Laurie J. Nowlin, James Randall Grimes, and Michael P. Davis had an amazingly brutal custom, practice, and policy of determining, against both men and women, that the unchallenged truthful exercise of freedom of speech regarding basic questions of happiness and conditions of living between a father and son constituted “felony child abuse” (yes, those were Judge Jergins’ words). Judge Jergins routinely included “prior restraints” on speech in all of his domestic relations orders, and had jailed at least one woman, Rhonda Moe, for 90 days for discussions with her son. The licensing of speech, expression, petition, and associative activities which existed in England and her colonies prior to the Revolution was banned in the Early Republic, but has gradually crept back in under different guises and forms. Nebraska_Press_Association_v_Stuart_1976 (Before any judicial prior restraints can be imposed on First Amendment activities, certain specific findings of fact and conclusions of law must be made, and of course, neither Judge Jergins nor any other family law judge in Texas ever bothers with these constitutional requirements). See also Gregg Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, and James Carlton Todd, a Texas Deputy Attorney General, defended Jergins vigorously in litigation that I filed and pushed forward from 2003-2008.
Anyhow, Harmony Science Academy was a perfect place, in so many ways, in and from which to watch the destruction of the American Way of Life, Constitutional Democracy and World Culture in general as exemplified by Charlie’s life, Judge Michael Jergins, and Laurie J. Nowlin.
Now, to start off with, Charlie is half-Greek, on his mother’s side, and the Greeks historically live in enmity with the Turks, who conquered Greece and the Greek-ruled Byzantine Empire in the 15th century, almost reaching the gates of Vienna in the mid-16th century. So, the first irony about Charlie attending Harmony Science Academy was that this Charter School was run by Turks. (How so many Turks ever arrived in Austin, Texas, is quite beyond me, but many of them seem to have immigrated to the U.S. during the massive influx of South Asians that seems to have been a special Bush-Clinton project of the late 1980s-1990s, which brought Indians and Pakistanis into ownership or management of most motels and gasoline stations nationwide, cf. e.g. Patels’ Motels and Dhando, which traces the origins to about 1973 and the end of the India-Pakistan war over Bangladesh). I always applauded French Presidents Giscard d’Estaing and Nicolas Sarkozy for opposing Turkish membership in the E.U., even as I recall driving along the highways of Serbia and Macedonia (and before that Yugoslavia) and Bulgaria, packed with Turks migrating by bus, car, and truck to guest-worker status in Austria and Germany. These Turkish legal immigrants into Central Europe far outnumber the Ottoman warriors of the 14th-17th centuries who tried to conquer Europe by force (and did in fact dominate Southeastern Europe until the late 19th century).
At Charlie’s Harmony Science Academy graduation, there were two costumed ethnic dances: one Turkish and one Mexican. The entire graduation was translated (either by immediate live translators or on screen by written texts) into Spanish as a “second but very nearly equal” language. I speak Spanish fluently myself, and am not exactly opposed to bilingualism, but I couldn’t help but think of the contrast with my own high school ceremonies 36 years ago in California, where all the music was American and the language was uniformly English.
Harmony Science Academy was one of the most diverse and heterogenous groups of students I have ever seen. Harmony Science Academy IS the Brave New World, much more than even horribly, artificially, self-conscious modern Harvard where Charlie and I had hung out for the past two summers.
What is the connection between Judge Michael Jergins, Laurie J. Nowlin, and Harmony Science Academy is formal and final causes of the socio-cultural and political configuration of the world today? All are aiming at one single goal: the destruction of traditional Anglo-Saxon and European culture in the United States. Anglo-Saxons make very uncooperative slaves, serfs, and servants of large corporate-governmental enterprises, I think, and for that reason their culture must be diluted. The National Anthem can be sung, but it must not be sung in a proud defiant style, as a kind of cross between a Church-militant hymn (like “Onward Christian Soldiers” or “Come Labor On”) and a straight out war song, but in a soft, toned-down, mellow-yellow “pop” style with no strident defiance of anything. In this connection I will never forget when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997 and Queen Elizabeth Winced as “God Save the Queen” was likewise reorchestrated as a “pop” tune rather than a nationalist hymn as Blair announced his Brave New World “Cool Britannia” mode of government, kicked the hereditary lords out of the upper house of Parliament, and generally transformed the original Anglo-Saxon nation of the world into a colonized outpost of all the former “Imperial” Colonies’ immigrants.
The socio-cultural and political functions and roles of tradition, family and ethnic-folk-identities, and cultural continuity cannot be maintained when the state in effect pressures families to break up through the Family Court system, and especially when the court system, unsatisfied with merely breaking up families, also seeks to suppress free speech within the family.
In the name of “the General Welfare” and of Title 42 of the U.S. Code in particular, all aspects of child-rearing, Education, Family, Freedom of Speech, and the conduct of litigation are all essentially First Amendment protected activities, and yet all, in essence, are now controlled and licensed by the state. Such licensing is contrary to the root purpose and history of the First Amendment, and Americans must stand up and assert their rights in opposition to the governmental takeover of private life. Charter Schools are designed to insert more creativity and diversity into the American educational system, and Harmony Science Academy, at least with regard to some aspects of education, certainly seems to have produced an “above average” set of students. I cannot say that the vision of the American present or future I saw at my son’s graduation was reassuring to me. We live in a very insecure country where the governmentally inspired and fostered separate but related fears of self-government and expression of personal identity are related to the suffering many students have experienced as a result of their parents’ divorce and custody proceedings.
Charlie had wanted to follow his Dad and other family members to Harvard, but it was not meant to be. Only one student at Harmony Science Academy in Austin made it into an Ivy League College at all, a girl named Ashley who was admitted to Colombia. In one of the awful ironies of graduation day, Elena was concerned because Harmony Science Academy had sent out a warning that the Williamson County Courts had ordered Ashley’s mother to stay away from graduation—apparently Ashley’s mother had offended some one of the Brave New World’s norms, and would be arrested on the spot if she showed up to her daughter’s high school graduation. Charlie, Elena, and I have somehow transcended the threat of governmental intervention in our lives, but the damage was already done, 2002-2009. I never had any participation in my son’s middle or high school life except occasionally helping him with homework projects.
When we were first breaking up in April-July 2002, my wife Elena never said anything more hurtful and vicious than, “We are not a family, there is only cancer in this house” (although she said it in Greek, “Oxi Hycogenia eki, Karkinos in sto ‘ospiti.” Elena was right, of course, our lives were infected by a kind of social cancer, but the cancer that ultimately ate Charlie’s teenage years was the cancer of governmental engineering trying to break up all families and isolate individuals not just from their relatives but from their heritage by this strange religion of global merger and fusion of all cultures and way of life into one great cultural amalgam or “shake and bake” world of uniform people with uniform lives, uniformly disposed to move the global-corporate-and-governmental entities forward. I am now exhausted after this week of assessing and realizing all that has happened, of trying my best to be sociable and friendly with Elena and her mother Nina who inflicted so much misery on my life and Charlie’s over the past ten-fifteen years, and yet now seem anxious, at the least, to enjoy a “peaceful co-existence.” We are currently shaping our lives without state assistance, but the scars left by state-mandated “welfare services” run deep indeed.
To challenge what Cass Sunstein (back in my University of Chicago Law days) used to call the “command and control” aspects of regulatory government and the administrative procedures which have, to a large extent, extinguished our constitution, must be among the top priorities of all Patriotic Americans. The provisions of U.S. Code Title 42 have all but supplanted every one of the provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and merged state and federal government in one rather hellish enterprise. Charter Schools have special tax status as do contributions to their support. They are part of the weird merger of state-federal-and-corporate functions which has become the key Hallmark of modern American life. Harmony Science Academy is both a microcosm of this process, and emblematic of the injury suffered by my family in particular, and inflicted on the American population and citizenry in general. Harmony Science Academy did not destroy my son’s mind or life. Charlie will now go to a fine college, St. John’s in Annapolis, Maryland, which is libertarian and traditional in spirit, refuses to be “rated” by Newsweek etc. “St. John’s College | News & Publications | Press Releases |” This college continues the “Great Books” tradition of classical education, eschewing textbooks of all kinds, and encouraging students to think and study for themselves. I am very much hoping that St. John’s is in fact NOT completely infected by and absorbed into the Brave New World…..