March 16, 2010

A Conservative Betrayal Of America

Social conservatives made a concerted effort to take over the otherwise-obscure government body that sets standards for schoolbooks and lesson plans for the state of Texas.  With the result that, much like the perverse effort to edit out the liberal parts of the Bible, American History is being rewritten by fiat so as to eliminate the unpleasantly liberal portions of its heritage.  For instance, where once the intellectual history of the European Enlightenment stood in the curriculum now is taken up with a study of Richard Nixon's leadership role in the Cold War, and all of Thomas Jefferson's political philosophy, to be replaced by Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, and William Blackstone.  Because Jefferson, hey, what did he ever do for the country?

Now, it's certainly true that the intentional manipulation of knowledge and education for the purpose of ideologically molding an entire generation of children is not something confined only to conservatives.  Liberals, however, have tended to sin in this regard by overinclusion -- by including so many obscure and fragmented points of view so as to lose the ability to see the big picture of what is being taught.  This, however, is an exercise in redacting history.  Well, it's hard to imagine what else to expect from a group under the leadership of a lame duck who said of mandatory disparagement of evolution in Texas biology classes: "somebody's got to stand up to experts."

It would be laughable if it weren't so damned scary.  Those kids are going to get a huge shock when they get to college and learn that they've been taught a sanitized version of "alternative" history.  Or maybe one day Jefferson will be as roundly and unfairly condemned by amateur know-nothing historians as Woodrow Wilson is being disparaged today.

2 comments:

M1rth said...

Sigh.

When I was in high school, we were treated to "inclusive" books that included (among other things) a full wasted page on a black "pioneer" who founded a mountain pass town during the gold rush... which was a ghost town again 3 years later. All to give the black kids something to be "proud" of.

At the same time, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are barely studied any more. No notice of the precedents Washington set, such as the two-term presidency, or the President not actually bothering to ask the "advice" of the Senate after the first botched attempt to get anything but squabble out of them.

Of course, this is a backlash. In previous years, the left wing crap pushed into the books has gotten stupid. Christopher Columbus the "genocidal murderer"? The fact that the Republicans passed civil rights laws, not even mentioned? The violent movements - Farrakhan, Black Panthers, etc - left conveniently out?

In addition, your source has their own garbage spin. Hardly reliable.

The Left has been pushing garbage into the educational system and into textbooks for decades, so I'd say a little backlash is warranted. If you want to quibble with specifics, that's fine, but maybe if there weren't a major issue of concerted liberal effort to bias textbooks and brainwash kids, we wouldn't see the backlash hit things that they shouldn't otherwise hit.

It reminds me of two kids arguing over a favorite shirt/sweater, pulling on either end till the damn thing rips right down the middle. Congratulations for being one of the idiots pulling on only one end.

Transplanted Lawyer said...

In high school, I learned that Republicans, not Democrats, passed the origianl civil rights laws in the 1870's, and that both parties were split on the second round of civil rights laws in the 1950's and 1960's.

I also learned in high school that the spread of disease by European colonists to native Americans was inadvertent since the Europeans didn't know anything about germs. I was never taught that Columbus was a genocidal murderer.

I was, however, taught that American history was the result of an interplay between competing schools of thought, which trace down through history to current political struggles going on today. Learning about the gradual metamorphases and interplay of those ideas helped inspire my career, mature my understanding of my nation, and deepen my patriotism.

And you're hardly in a position to condemn me as "one of the idiots pulling on only one end" when you "say a little backlash is warranted." I did point out in the original post that liberals are also guilty of using the educational system as a cultural football for purposes of indoctrination; apparently, I wasn't sufficiently shrill in making that remark to please you.