Liddick: Presidential politics and the first-grader (column)
August 8, 2016
"I hate Donald Trump. Nobody at school's going to vote for him."
An unexceptionable if typically hyperbolic statement coming from any college student say, in Boulder. From the mouth of my 7-year-old first-grade grandson, a little jarring. Taking a page from Socrates, there was a question: "Why do you hate him?"
"Because he's mean." Asked for elaboration, "He says bad stuff about Hillary Clinton."
Socrates, again: "Might the mean things be true? Is it okay to call a liar a liar, even though that's a mean word?" There was silence; apparently the thought had never occurred before.
Then: "My teachers say he's a bad man."
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth of the rot at the core of this nation's soul: A political philosophy so debased that it sees nothing wrong with propagandizing children in the name of destroying the republic and replacing it with a progressive utopia.
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You may think that harsh, but the Left has dominated our education process for decades, using it to force social change. We are now at the point of reaping the chaos their diligent — if misguided efforts — have sown.
A 2014 study, opposed by the faculty senate of the University of Colorado, discovered that 59 percent of that school's faculty members consider themselves "liberal," while 13 percent call themselves "conservative." And while UC faculty may point to the 94 percent of students who said their professors were "tolerant of diverse opinions," one probably won't hear them mention that 31 percent of the same students said "they were intimidated to share their beliefs or ideas in class."
The good news? UC is not the worst; among Ivy League schools, the ratio is about 78 percent to 11 percent, liberal to conservative.
The bad news? It is to elite institutions that educational establishments look for guidance when developing things like Common Core curriculums – which broadcast the destructive messages of the Left far, wide and deep. Consider the Common Core Social Studies Element on U.S. history titled "Change is A-Comin'," as prepared by educators of the Durango, Colorado school system for high school use.
The unit description is clear: "Definitions of national unity based on romantic ideals of justice for all are often tested by populations who question the existence and breadth of civil liberties. Through this unit, students will develop an understanding of how changes in the perceptions of civil rights and liberties have led to an infringement on people's civil rights. Students will look at changes over the past 150 years in the United States by studying events such as women's suffrage, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, minority rights, etc. Finally, students will discover how individuals and groups have affected social change in the structures of power and authority through civic engagement."
Individual parts of the unit lard on the heroic struggle of progressive groups and dismiss the vital role of the legal and philosophical foundations that made ours a very unique country.
The result? An impression of our United States not as something unique and precious, founded on the idea that people have indwelling rights separate from government, but as a series of oppressions and depredations, ameliorated only by state intervention under an enlightened elite. It's a crock, but that's the poison being poured into the ears of students of all ages across the land.
Why does it matter? Because republics last only as long as their citizens think them worth preserving. The moment that thought is lost, so is the nation. At the turn of the 20th century, U.S. schools were used to unite, to instill citizens with a sense of pride, purpose and accomplishment. Now, they are being used to do the opposite. Before long, we will reach an inflection, when a majority of citizens will echo the addle-pated young anarchist in Cleveland who, asked the object of his fashionable hatred, replied "Well, America, of course …"
Our condition will then resemble that of France's Third Republic: shot through by indifference, riven by political fault lines, distracted by a million fripperies, with a citizenry firmly convinced the country wasn't worth a damn. Its collapse, and the subsequent fifty months of Nazi occupation, reminded the French that there were worse things than a Laval government dominated by business.
For my grandson's sake and for the sake of us all, may we bestir ourselves to fundamentally reform what passes for education in this country, returning it to its former purposes. If we do not, the next century's specialists in American history may well muse that we needed a similar lesson to realize what boons we had before they were lost in a hurricane of self-loathing, grievance, avarice and petty pique.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.
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