Texas conservatives screw history

By Phil Plait | March 14, 2010 7:04 am

I recently posted that Don McLeroy, a Texas conservative creationist buffoon on the State School Board of Education, lost his re-election bid. That was good news, but I also warned that in his last months on the BoE, lots of damage could still be done.

Sometimes I hate being right.

In a 10-5 party line vote last week, the BoE rammed through a vast number of changes to the Texas state history standards, all of which conform to the über-far-right’s twisted view of reality. In these new standards, Hispanics are ignored, Black Panthers are added to provide balance to the kids learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., and get this, Thomas Jefferson was removed*.

It’s insanity, pure and simple. The absolute and utter denial of reality generally is.

In typical McLeroy nutball fashion, he said:

"We are adding balance," said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. "History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left."

"Balance". Feh. As Colbert once said, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

The problem here isn’t one of balance, it’s of revisionism. As one of the more reality-based members of the BoE said, "They are rewriting history, not only of Texas but of the United States and the world." As another example, the new history standards downplays and questions the separation of Church and State. And this was no accident by the religious zealots on the Board; when a more moderate Democrat tried to insert language about why the Establishment Clause was put in the Constitution, it was voted down by the Republicans.

There’s tons more. And there’s one that totally blows me away. I hope you’re ready for this — they added apologetics for the McCarthy hearings.

Yes, you read that right. They added to the standards that America was being infiltrated by Communists, and therefore McCarthy was right.

Holy crap.

So, is Texas doomed? Well, I can hope that teachers across the state will see through this sort of revisionist garbage, but I also know that bucking the standards is very difficult for educators, especially when those standards guide how tests are made, both in the schools and in statewide standardized testing.

And even worse, Texas has such a huge school system that textbook publishers will base their books in large part on the Texas standards, and these books will then be sold in other states. So these handful of ultra-conservative rabid far-right lunatics will actually be affecting the way children are taught all over the country. That means my kid. Your kids. All of them.

Congratulations, Texas State Board of Education. And thanks for dragging the rest of us down with your insanity.

texasandallofus_doomed

My thank to everyone who sent me links about this.

[* Update: It was Jefferson’s contribution to the Enlightenment that was removed, not Jefferson himself. Sorry for any confusion there.]

MORE ABOUT: Don McLeroy, Texas

Comments (168)

  1. Jon

    So is there a difference between Texas rewriting history and Soviet Russia or Communist China or Nazi Germany rewriting history?

  2. Jan

    Perhaps it’s not all bad. Perhaps there could be a way to use this (and similar nonsense) to teach children that not all that is written is truth, and that it’s important to think for yourself and be critical. But of course, I’m probably being overly optimistic.

  3. Kaptain K

    Makes me sad to be a Texan!

  4. grapes

    Thomas Jefferson wasn’t removed entirely. Or, at least, according to the link: it says that he was removed as an author of the Enlightment, in the World History course. That might be appropriate, I dunno. The wiki article on the Enlightenment only mentions Jefferson in the long list of authors at the end: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

  5. Anton P. Nym

    I’m waiting for the Texas BoE to add Sam Houston’s launch of the Apollo program into the curriculum. Jon is right; this is no different than the Soviet Politburo airbrushing inconvenient people out of photographs.

    Filtering out Jefferson? Are they going to white out Washington next because he stopped attending church during his presidency?

    — Steve

  6. Daniel J. Andrews

    Interesting timing on the McCarthy explanation. Inhofe’s latest actions have been likened to the new McCarthyism. At the moment he’s mostly obstructionist, but should the Republicans get into power again he may very well be in a position to actually prosecute scientists who tell him things that run counter to his ideologies.

    Right now he’s seeking to prosecute climate scientists (“I have in my hand a list of 17 climate scientists…”*), and if that is successful he, or people like him, will start pushing to prosecute evolutionary scientists and biologists, and by extension, any scientist whose work demonstrates that the earth and the universe is billions of years old (astronomers, cosmologists, geologists–well, maybe the geologists might get off easy because they’re also useful for finding oil and ores).

    I wonder if the dumbing down of the education standards has resulted in this very strong anti-science attitude, and if so, how this next generation of children being educated under this new ideology will try and alter the system in favour of their learned ideologies in another 30 to 40 years. (????)

    This is so discouraging and a bit frightening, and I’m not even an American (up here, I’d even be considered conservative which probably makes me a flaming liberal if I moved to the states). :-)

    Next big revisionist project: Remodeling of Mt. Rushmore. Can’t have the Jefferson fellow up there anymore.

    *that’s not verbatim, btw

  7. JohnW

    That’s really strange, we conservatives generally hold Thomas Jefferson in very high regard.

    But I got news for you Phil – communists were infiltrating the US! There’s really no doubt of that now after the fall of the Soviet Union.

  8. T_U_T

    When I declared that I think that your country is spiraling towards civil war/totalitarian theocracy no one believed me, and called me a troll.
    .
    Now another step is taken towards that. Lot of children will be taught a completely other version of history and current state of affairs than you. They will in fact learn that they live in a completely different country than you and governed by completely different philosophy. And completely different history and basic principles give the legitimacy to completely different governments. So it is only a matter of time till they stop recognizing other side’s government as legitimate. And because they will not have any access to objective, non partisan facts, there will be nothing that could moderate their radicalism/fanaticism, and civil war is almost inevitable.

  9. matteus

    As if so-called progressives haven’t been doing this for decades. The cretins on the Texas BoE have the upper hand now, and the progressives see the subversion of their careful subversion of the education system. It will balance out.

  10. doxastic

    This, incidentally, is why people should be making their support known for the national guidelines recently outlined by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (created in collaboration with representative from every state except–drum roll–Texas and Alaska). First, support for federal guidelines will remove this sort of dictatorial power from individual states. Second, while the guidelines do not narrowly specify content, they aim at developing abilities–so long as students are learning how to research, judge credibility of evidence, reason and think critically, conservatives can insert as many silly factoids into the curriculum as they would like.

    Also, the Texas School Board’s focus on factoids instead of learning processes and capabilities indicates that they have a very silly understanding of how education works, which shouldn’t be surprising given that these are shallow activists and not serious pedagogues. Let them exhaust themselves tilting at McCarthyite windmills–the correlation between greater tendency towards liberalism and education has nothing to do with the individual facts being hastily memorized in history class. Rewriting history is certainly abhorrent in principle, but if the Texas school board actually thinks that the only thing standing between them and a permanent Moral Majority is a paragraph on Phyllis Schlafly in AP US History, they are deluding themselves. These changes will not have the societal effect that their advocates believe it would have–and opponents should stop taking the claims of raving idiots who don’t know jack about pedagogy so seriously. Better to advocate FOR education reforms that empower students to draw their own conclusions and build their own perspectives.

  11. TW

    They should just teach Howard Zinn’s People’s History…

  12. Certainly depressing to see creationist nonsense pushed along with the hilariously anti-factual claims that the USA was founded as a ‘christian country’ but some of the other changes do seem to add balance.

    The McCarthy era should indeed be seen in context – there were communists and traitors in the USA and the only reason McCarthy is cursed and accorded such a prominent place in the modern consciousness is that the section of society he most inconvenienced was the rich, left leaning Hollywood establishment who have demonised him since. It always amuses me to hear people describe the McCarthy hearings as a ‘witchhunt’ – there are no, were no, and never have been such things as witches but there were communists a plenty and many (if not the majority) of those he targeted were either already known as communists or would later admit to having been communists or having communist sympathies.

    I see that they’re also going to expand and balance out the way in which economics is looked at with liberal (liberal in the original and correct anti-socialist/big state sense) economists like Hayek and Friedman being studied in addition to Adam Smith and the authoritarian big statists/socialists like Keynes and Marx.

  13. bigjohn756

    The Texas SBoE does not require facts to make decisions. Wishful thinking twisted by delusional religious bigotry is sufficient to make up their minds. They apparently do not even realize that Jefferson was one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence. These idiots cite that document as proving that the US was founded as a Christian nation simply because it uses the word ‘Creator’. So, now they feel good expunging the main author from the history books?
    I am hoping that the publishers can find a way to give the rest of the nation real books while supplying Texas with their desired fictional ones. Perhaps there is a way they could form a class action suit and sue the state of Texas or its state board of (religious) education. I’m just dreaming now.
    I’m so ashamed to be a Texan.

  14. dddave

    Welll.. it is true that communists were infiltrating the US. McCarthy was a bit of a kook, but he wasn’t totally making up things out of the blue.

    And i can think of a lot from my history eduminicaiton in grade school that had a pretty major liberal bias. For example, i thought that the gred depression was causes by hoover’s free-market policies, and roosevelt fixed it by massive government intervention, when the facts of the matter are so out of phase with this idea, it’s only fair to call the version i was fed ” ‘progressive’ revisionism”.

    It would be great of we got facts, and not one party’s versions, but i never heard the left complaining when the books were slanted “their” way.

  15. “As if so-called progressives haven’t been doing this for decades.”

    Indeed. The answer, of course, is to take the power to form student opinion and push propaganda completely out of the hands of politicians and bureaucrats by doing away with state run ‘public’ education. But this is the last thing either side in this issue want given that they do not disagree with each other over methods used in forming curriculum or indeed whether or not they have a right to push opinions on students – they only disagree over who should have the right to indoctrinate chlidren en masse.

    “It would be great of we got facts, and not one party’s versions, but i never heard the left complaining when the books were slanted “their” way.”

    Right again. ‘Liberal’/leftist anger over this issue is in no way rooted in principle but simply in the furious reaction to the idea that anyone might have the gall to do precisely what they also do and abuse state education system to push a particular point of view or bias.

  16. Franklin

    That’s the thing, though. McCarthy didn’t know who the Communists really were, or the number of people on his list of Communists wouldn’t have changed from day to day. Face it, he ruined a lot of innocent peoples’ lives. To quote President Truman, “We prosecute people for the crimes they commit, but never for the opinions they hold.”

  17. Tensor

    @costello
    there were communists a plenty and many (if not the majority) of those he targeted were either already known as communists or would later admit to having been communists or having communist sympathies.

    And this was a problem, why? If they wanted to be communists, I don’t remember anything in the constitution that prohibits anyone from voicing any political opinion. The could even voice inflammatory speech unless (by decision of the Supreme Court) it is likely to incite imminent lawless action (see Brandenburg v Ohio). That people were being targeted and punished just for being or even just associating (some time long in their past) communists, is where McCarthyism jumped into “Which Hunt” territory. Exactly how many of the thousands accused in the McCarthy era were actually convicted of espionage, sedition, or spying for the Soviet Union?

  18. Mooney

    Communists infiltrated the U.S. in the 50s the same way fascists infiltrated the U.S. in the 30s, and the same way quakers infiltrated North America in the 1700s… by living here and having freedom of thought.

    Of course, we didn’t have witch-trial-style condemnations of the Fascists at the time, or even later when we were fighting a world war against fascism, because most of them were powerful, wealthy industrialists. No, we saved the witch-hunts for the communist screenwriters, what with their strong ability to influence government and social policy and thinking.

    Didn’t matter if it was communists, socialists, or fascist anarchists, the crime of McCarthy is that he shat all over the inherent American Freedom to be an idiotic asshat in the pursuit of his personal boogey-man fear.

  19. Tensor

    sorry double post

  20. Madame Furie

    Well, I see this article has brought out the Libertarians. But then again Phil, you expected that didn’t you?

    The problem with McCarthyism wasn’t that he was chasing ghosts, it was the fact that supposedly this is a free country and holding a certain political ideology is not sufficient grounds for state-sanctioned public inquisition, loss of one’s career, etc. I hate to get all ad hominem on yo’ asses, but you’re a dumbass if you are going to defend McCarthy or his tactics.

  21. Mooney

    @Costello:”Right again. ‘Liberal’/leftist anger over this issue is in no way rooted in principle but simply in the furious reaction to the idea that anyone might have the gall to do precisely what they also do and abuse state education system to push a particular point of view or bias.”

    Well, I’ve been called liberal and leftists, despite my actual personal political stance, and I’ve been working for the better part of a decade and a half to get at least some of the most egregious “new age” style moronity out of schoolbooks. Stuff like the “noble savage” myths regarding American Indians and even one guy who wanted the local curriculum to include clear language stating that All of the Founding Fathers were deists and (this is the important bit) that Deists are not Christian.

    And my hatred of this happening we’re talking about here has far more to do with the brain-mashing stupidity of countering “liberal bias” by taking things so absurdly far in the opposite direction as to qualify as a Monty Python sketch.

    This is the educational equivalent of fighting the building of a ski resort in pristine wilderness by burning down the forest.

  22. Scott Smith

    I wonder if he is behind, or part of, a group in Tx who wanted to downplay the parts of George Washington and others and add a couple of Conservative talk show hosts to the curriculum as important political figures who had helped shape the nature of our govmint.

  23. You know, the Texas SBoE is so insane, they even censored the term “capitalism” because they claimed that it was a derogatory term used by liberal professors. That should tell you everything you need to know about their loathing of actual education and how badly afflicted with anti-intellectualism these people really are.

    In their rush to spit in experts’ faces, they decided to substitute political brawn for brain and now the students of Texas will have to pay for their arrogance of ignorance.

  24. the only reason McCarthy is cursed and accorded such a prominent place in the modern consciousness is that the section of society he most inconvenienced was the rich, left leaning Hollywood establishment who have demonised him since.

    What others have already pointed out.

    McCarthy went after Hollywood because that’s where the most press coverage came from.

  25. Plutonium being from Pluto

    “Balance”. Feh. As Colbert once said, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

    Really? It does?

    … Or is that just *your* bias (& Colbert’s too) showing here? :roll:

    Do you truly not see your own prejudices and predispositions here?

    Do you really think you are totally impartial and objective yourselves and genuinely fail to see that the other side also has some merit and some valid points on its side?

    I hate to be contrarian & play “devils advocate” here (well okay maybe not all that much) but frankly I think McLeroy has at least some point here in that the education system has been a bit skewed towards the Left wing view of things and could do with some rebalancing.

    I’ll admit I’m no expert on the area & its been a while since I was in (Australian) high school. Plus I certainly do NOT want Creationist fairy tales taught in science classrooms but, come on, from what I’ve heard and read the proverbial blind Freddy could see the left wing has a death-lock on what is presented to kids at present.

    We do need to step back and balance some of the Left wing, Politically Correct, post-modernist stuff with the alternative side at least a bit more. Don’t you think?

    Because quite honestly, I *do* think so. I think that when it comes to education the pendulum probably has swung too far (politically) Left & needs to swing back some.

    Most importantly of all, I think we need to give children exposure to all major political & cultural perspectives (incl. especially those we don’t necessarily agree with) and the intellectual tools and possibility of thinking and choosing for themselves. Or, in other words, teach them to think for themselves based on each side putting its case as best it can in a balanced, equal time format NOT a one-sided, biased presentation focusing only on one sides pet ideas and accounts of events.

    Just my view ok?

    “I disagree with what you say but will fight to the death for your right to say it.”
    – Voltaire.

  26. Franklin

    A lot of people here are saying that school curricula are liberal or left-leaning. To quote Wikipedia, “citation needed.”

  27. Just saw the #texastextbookfacts on twitter. Let’s see if we can embarrass them even more than they are doing to themselves!

    (As soon as I stop getting the broken robot on twitter that is…)

  28. Scottynuke

    The presence (or lack) of Communists in the United States during the 1950s is immaterial and shouldn’t have been shoehorned into the narrative. McCarthyism was wrong because it trampled on several basic Constitutional and jurisprudence rights, not the least of which was “innocent until proven guilty.” It looks very much to me as if the TX SBoE is following the “end always justifies the means” fallacy. *SIGH*

  29. T_U_T

    Do you truly not see your own prejudices and predispositions here?

    Do you ?

    Most importantly of all, I think we need to give children exposure to all major political & cultural perspectives (incl. especially those we don’t necessarily agree with) and the intellectual tools and possibility of thinking and choosing for themselves.

    Yeah. what about 2 + 2 = 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1.1111, -3.141, 4.5i, INFINITi MICKEY MOUSE, !$#A%, …..

  30. Acronym Jim

    As Greg Fish has already noted, I find it hilariously ironic that the school board replaced the term “capitalism” with “free-market enterprise” because “capitalism” has bad connotations.

    Also interesting is that the board would add the capitalism-centric economist Friedrich von Hayek, but would be unlikey to include Salma Hayek (first Mexican national to be nominated for a best actress Oscar) because of her hispanic background.

  31. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 6. Daniel J. Andrews Says:

    Interesting timing on the McCarthy explanation. Inhofe’s latest actions have been likened to the new McCarthyism. At the moment he’s mostly obstructionist, but should the Republicans get into power again he may very well be in a position to actually prosecute scientists who tell him things that run counter to his ideologies.

    Right now he’s seeking to prosecute climate scientists (”I have in my hand a list of 17 climate scientists…”*), and if that is successful he, or people like him, will start pushing to prosecute evolutionary scientists and biologists, and by extension, any scientist whose work demonstrates that the earth and the universe is billions of years old (astronomers, cosmologists, geologists–well, maybe the geologists might get off easy because they’re also useful for finding oil and ores)

    Well, *IF* the climatologist “scientists” have so little to fear and *IF* they are so totally innocent of any wrong doing then why NOT hold an open and public investigation into their actions?

    If they haven’t done anything wrong then they’ll be cleared.

    If not (as I & most open-minded, eyes-open folks think) don’t you have to face up to the stark truth that they deserve whatever punishment they get for deliberately setting out to mislead the whole world & manipulating & “sexxing up” their “science” for their political cause?

    If the Climategate emails leaked by some whistleblower have such innocent & reasonable explanations then lets hear them, lets get it cleared up!

    One or two examples such as using the word “trick” might be taken out of context – but put *all* the evidence together - FOI requests not merely denied but evidence deleted, peer-review warped, partisan websites (realclimate I’m looking at you here) set up to mislead & suppress dissenting views, “evidence” mysteriously “lost”, ad nauseam & something sure is fishy in CRU- AGW Chicken Little land.

    Sorry, I’m completely on Inhofe’s side here & fail to see how anyone with any interest in uncovering the, y’know, actual truth of the matter wouldn’t be.

    What are the Anthropogenic Global Warming / Climate change proponents SO SCARED of us finding out about if their case is as solid as they pretend it is? :roll:

    Hold the gosh-durn enquiries necessary & lets find out! Mmm’K???

    And if certain prominent “scientists” & other individuals get jailed for fraud and misrepresentation and scientific malpractice – that’s what they brought upon themselves by their actions.

    Honestly, why do those on the Politically Correct Left & why do those so far suckered in by the AGW myth seem to have such enormous difficulty in grasping that notion?

    Oh wait, that’s right – its their un-named-as-such but very much piously & fanatically held religion. :roll:

    Wake up people! Or if you can’t bring yourselves to wake up to the non-Warming un-alarming Reality then at least have the decency to let the others *attempt* to wake you & the rest of the over-taxed, over-exploited public up.

    Or are the Alarmist “Deniers” of the climate change skeptic reality going to have to face your “Lalalalalala ..can’t hear you” approach for X more years ..?”

    How many years without (clear) Global Warming and how much more evidence of scientific malfeasence will it take? Sheesh! :roll:

    No, please, really, tell me how many more cooler than 1998 & 1934 years & how much more evidence you need.

    As for the “slippery slope” strawman – prove it!

    Or, even better, prove that it even matters.

    If the other science is sound – & it is – then (as the Dover trial showed) it has nothing to fear.

    So, again, what does the climate Alarmist “science” have to fear?

    The truth it can’t handle that it just ain’t so?

    I think so. Lets see if I’m right & find out one way or t’other. ;-)

  32. T_U_T

    @Costello:”Right again. ‘Liberal’/leftist anger over this issue is in no way rooted in principle but simply in the furious reaction to the idea that anyone might have the gall to do precisely what they also do and abuse state education system to push a particular point of view or bias.”

    See ? it’s happening already. Every one sees other side’s facts as lies and fraud, there is no nonpartisan way to establish truth. therefore disputes can not be settled in a way accepted by both sides, therefore the only way how to resolve conflicts is force. One side simply forces its way by raw violence. The polarization is reaching breaking point and sooner or later the war starts. Only the sheer inertia of your formerly peaceful society prevents it from starting right now. And we all know, that inertia can only delay things, not prevent them from happening.

  33. Sean H

    There is some good news here: in the piece David Bradely(one of the board members) promised to send 1,000 dollars to a charity of your choice if you can point out where it says there’s a seperation of church and state in the constitution.

    David Bradley (R)
    2165 North Street
    Beaumont, TX 77701
    (409) 835-3808
    sboesupport@tea.state.tx.us

    @Plutonium
    Is it alright if the textbook denies the holocaust or the evils of slavery? I mean… there are some people who believe that they’re taken out of proportion. We do have a responsibility, as you said, to ” give children exposure to all major political & cultural perspectives.”

    Alright, I’m being a little glib but the point stands that this isn’t a college level poli-sci textbook, it’s a grade-school history book. High School textbooks are already twisted up by lies of omission, we don’t need there to be out and out LIES in them. McCarthy DID start a red scare that ruined this country’s political debate for years, there IS a complete constitutional separation of Church and State in the United States that makes England look like a theocracy, and talking about the conservative movement in the 80s isn’t history it’s indoctrination.

    @ Everyone whining about a left-wing slant to textbooks:

    When I was in school in 2004 I remember we got a sidebar on Clinton and a few positive pages on George W. Bush. I don’t think that’s exactly sinister indoctrination of children at the hands of the left. That entire liberal bias line is a myth that needs to be extinguished right now.

  34. Eidolon

    Plutonium:
    Cute emoticon. Please be specific about one particular left wing view that is presently taught that you take issue with. So far, you have only GG( Gross Generalities).

    Tensor et.al:
    Since there was not anything illegal about being a communist, “Tailgunner Joe” and his witch hunt were simply wrong. His stand was that just by being a communist/socialist, the person was a spy and a traitor.

  35. Franklin Says, please, you’re embarrassing yourself. Anybody who can’t see the bias in our educational system has to be fairly biased themselves.

    Indeed, the “noble savagery” of Native Americans and First Peoples. I mean, yeah, we Europeans screwed over a lot of people when we settled this continent…but let’s not pretend that they weren’t people just like us. Many were fiercly aggressive, engaged in slave trade, and certainly did not live in harmony with their environment.

    Many people do not know this. Why?

    Kids in Arizona will condemn the Conquistadors in the same essay that they laud the Apache. Why? In fact, the two groups were contemporary invaders of the region…and no Pueblo peoples were happy to meet either of them. (My personal admiration for the Apache, in the end, is that they gave us a hell of a fight for such a small group. They were a noble enemy, as it were…and Chief Cochise is simply a facinating man.)

    This is just one subject, but this is the manner in which the pendulum needs to swing back to center…not by some biased hacks taking us to the opposite side.

  36. Historian

    Costello – a little fact about McCarthy: of the 150+ people on his list, there were actually only nine that had direct links to the Soviet Union. A big, whopping NINE people. Some of the others may have been communists, but they were not Soviet infiltrators. They weren’t any threat to the US. They were merely practicing their freedom of choice. We don’t destroy the lives of people who sympathise with Muslims, as long as that sympathy is no threat to the US. McCarthy destroyed the lives of countless inocent people. That is why he is demonized. He also specifically targetted high-profile liberals, whether there was any evidence that they were communist or not. This is a direct violation of civil rights guaranteed in the Constitution. He made himself the “thought” police. And his main victims weren’t just from Hollywood. They were from a variety of walks of life. The ones from Hollywood are the ones we hear about more because they have a very good platform for making what McCarthy did known. McCarthy is also directly responsible for the death of an inocent woman, Ethel Rosenberg, who was given the death sentence in order to make her husband talk. You can look that up. The documents relating to her death have been released and the officials all say that her death was a major misscariage of justice. So while you, McLeroy and other fear-mongers are praising McCarthy, I will speak the truth about it. A truth based on FACT. And others will speak that truth. You can’t hide it behind this blind of “Well, there were Soviet infiltrators.” That does not make the wanton destruction of the lives of anyone who did not agree with McCarthy okay.

  37. Ron

    Advocacy of socialism is protected speech under the First Amendment. People have a right to be socialists and to do so free of government harassment.

  38. Egaeus

    Hopefully, the teachers will ignore the idiocy and teach the students actual history.

    In the mid 90’s when I was a high school student, the Lake County (FL) school board voted in the “America First” policy, which basically said that teachers must teach that the US was the greatest country in history, and its values were the best. So my US history teacher did just that. Every time he referred to the US, he appended, “the greatest country ever” to comedic effect.

    My history teacher is still there. Those idiotic school board members are long gone, if not forgotten.

  39. Mike

    Is this The Onion? Please tell me this is The Onion..

  40. T_U_T

    “America First” policy

    Yes, we know that here too. It was deutschland ueber alles. Back then, few decades ago. Not funny at all. A lot of people died. And we had no nukes yet.

  41. Holy crap. And – congrats – I found this through Hacker News! So cool! I was like, “hey, this guy writes like Phi – oh.”

  42. MikeS

    McCarthy apologists don’t seem to be able to hold two thoughts in their heads simultaneously. Those are:

    1) There were communists spies and traitors in the US, as the Venona transcripts show.

    2) McCarthy was still wrong because he threw unsubstantiated accusations around at anybody who looked at him funny, including General George Marshall, and created a climate of fear in which a mere accusation could destroy someone’s career.

    This is not an either-or guys.

    What’s really funny is that they are claimed post Cold-War declassified information vindicates him because a handful of people he accused were working with the Communists (being a Commie is not treasonous, undermining the US in cooperation with a foreign country is). This would be like defending a mass execution because a handful of the people were criminals. And even more so, McCarthy either (a) did not have access to that classified info; or (b) was endangering our intelligence by using that classified info in public. Either way, he was slime and a traitor to the Constitution.

  43. Mike C.

    Perhaps the addition to textbooks of “Yeah verily, Tom DeLay arose from political exile after three days to appear on Dancing With The Stars” does go a bit too far.

    No mention of Chicanos in Texas history? I don’t know what dimension these right wingers reside in, but it appears to be a very, very white and shallow one.

  44. Space Cadet

    Out here in California, where our education system is admittedly nothing to brag about, there’s a lot of talk about the ability of local districts to manage schools. Many districts have been taken over by state controllers because they consistantly fail to meet state standards.

    I tend to favor small government and local control over local issues, but if the locals can’t perform, it has to be time for Big Brother to step in. But in Texas, Big Brother is certainly not the answer. Do you go to your Uncle Sam? A higher authority? (Sorry. Had to go there.)

    Of course, we vote the bums out. But wait a second, we already voted the bums in because we thought they represented what we wanted government to be. I doubt the leopards’ spots have changed since their elections. Do people seek office with hidden agendas? I think we generally know a pol’s point of view pretty well when we elect one.

    Texas IS doomed.

    (And Pogo was right.)

  45. T_U_T

    McCarthy apologists don’t seem to be able to hold two thoughts in their heads simultaneously.

    Seeing the ability to hold two or more ideas simultaneously in your head as something desirable is only your personal bias. And if you insist on forcing it to children, people with differing opinions have the right to do the same thing. /snark

  46. Michelle

    Thanks, Texas, for lowering your standards so much that your students will not longer be competing with studnets from the other 49 states for admission to institutions of higher learning. Seriously, how are they going to pass anything involving critical thinking? You should be beyond embarrassed!

  47. Jim

    Mike (#45) is quite right. The tactics of McCarthy and the fear and suspicion he engendered was far worse than anything the communist agents could have done. Like 1692 Salem, for a time it turned the US into the kind of society we said we were fighting – one where you couldn’t trust your neighbor and had to report on them or your family and few protested because of that fear of accusation…and it is something we’ve never quite shaken. That urge to look for enemeies everywhere but in the mirror.

    Texas has just done its best to ensure a new generation of Teaqbaggers by creating one where their view of the world and reality have no relationship to each other.

  48. Brad

    This comment is about the suitability of unscientific postings such as this at Discover (or at least not under an Op/Ed section.

    I don’t care what side of an issue you fall on–any time you resort to name-calling “…Texas conservative creationist buffoon…”, you’re sacrificing your credibility and making it more difficult for your readers to understand the facts of your argument.

    I come to Discover to learn about science and its application to daily life (like in political issues such as this one), but I do expect Discover and its contributors to adhere to some minimum scientific standard in all its reporting (Op/Ed or not). I can only assume the name-calling, labelling (eg. “insanity”) and other tactics are emotional tactics designed to tell me what you want me to think.

    Just to let you know, I prefer to make up my own mind about things–based on objective criteria whenever possible.

    Personally I think you could have made an even stronger argument for your point without the theatrics.

    Please, Discover, clean up this type of reporting and bring about a decent scientific basis for criticisms that are leveled in your pages.

    -Brad

  49. Kyle Vernon

    I’ve tried to change the SBoE by voting, but alas, it never works. It’s hard to fly with the eagles when you’re stuck with turkeys. I am considering writing my State Rep about making clown suits and make-up mandatory apparel for all SBoE functions – highlighting the important role that clowns have played in history. Also, all SBoE members will be granted the honorary title of “Bozo” with the Chairman being called “The Grand Poobah”

    Honestly, what’s the deal with textbooks anyway? They’re obsolete the second the ink hits the paper. Why not have a virtual textbook complete with relevant media dispersal, videos, and apps. Teachers can print the material out for those less fortunate to own a Internet PC – thus the online version can be updated as needed and added to until every facet of history is covered. It doesn’t mean that the student has to know it all, but it allows for the curiosity factor of children to play a role rather than the traditional ham-fisted approach to teaching history. Put it ALL in there – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let the child be guided by the teacher to key points and highlights. History can be a study of names and dates (mega-boring) or it can be the study of wants, needs, and ambitions (interesting).

  50. Utakata

    28. Plutonium being from Pluto Says:

    “We do need to step back and balance some of the Left wing, Politically Correct, post-modernist stuff with the alternative side at least a bit more. Don’t you think?”

    …like teach fascism?

  51. Rift

    While this is very sad news, I can’t help but being proud of being Kansan right now. Texas has just made Kansas look like the most liberal state in the Union. We voted all our morons out of our SBOE after the two evolution fiascoes. Hopefully this will be a rallying cry for the critical thinkers in Texas and they’ll vote their morons out.

    And Tut, how is this going to start a civil war? And you ARE a troll. Both the Japanese Imperial Navy during world war two and Osama Bin Laden thought their actions would start a civil war. Squabbling between parties and states is how we get things done in the US, sheesh.

  52. Franklin

    50. Ukatata says:

    “…like teach fascism?”

    I think he might be fond of the recent concept that the Nazis were really liberals in the American sense.

    I graduated from a small town in Kentucky only 10 years ago, and we certainly weren’t learning about how the Indians were noble savages, or at least it didn’t seem pervasive. Hell, we were still learning that Columbus discovered America, and that the founding fathers were flawless demigods (what McElroy et all likely actually believe).

  53. kevlar

    “Texas, Bored of Education”

  54. Tensor

    Eidolon Says:

    Tensor
    Since there was not anything illegal about being a communist, “Tailgunner Joe” and his witch hunt were simply wrong. His stand was that just by being a communist/socialist, the person was a spy and a traitor.

    ahhhh, that was my whole point. Wanna go back and reread my post?

  55. T_U_T

    Both the Japanese Imperial Navy during world war two and Osama Bin Laden thought their actions would start a civil war.

    What alternate reality you are writing from ? Care to support your assertions by, well, by evidence ?

  56. Rift

    Sorry I don’t feed trolls especially ones with no knowledge of american history but claim they do…

  57. Timmy

    There is no shame being a Texan, I am a Texan as 4 generations before me.
    There is shame in being stupid with the intent of remaining so.

  58. Gary Ansorge

    The “nobel Savage”(read as: those dad gummed red skins who just won’t bend over and take it), were nearly impossible to turn into slaves, so, to our ancestors, they were useless. They were just folk cluttering up the eco-system we wanted to rape and pillage, so they had to go,,,and we came very close to exterminating them.

    Communists(which variety? The Pure Marxists or those who were pragmatists, like China???).
    Carl MArks original communal philosophy had some great ideals, as in community ownership of the means of production and a fading away of central power(kinda like the “ideal of minimal government” propagated by libertarians and anarchists). Unfortunately, centralized governing power is the norm in a hierarchical society. A transparent democratic society is an historical aberration, one which the “small government” crowd is attempting to undermine. I expect they would replace these cumbersome democratic/socialist institutions with a small, very efficient, KingShip(or dictator), which, of course, these far seeing folk would then direct, because THEY have the right course all planned out for the rest of us.

    Democracy may not be the most efficient form of government, but it’s the only one which works for me.

    We really need to replace old style, paper print school books with electronic media that can be updated on the fly. Between Amazons kindle, the iPad and other burgeoning electronic media, we have the tools to completely negate the centralized purchasing power of any single state, like Texas.
    Texas may go down the tubes, but the rest of the USA should be ok.

    Hey, I never liked the story of the Alamo anyway.

    Gary 7

  59. Eidolon

    Tensor @ 57

    Sorry about that – not sure WTF went wrong in the ol’ cortex…

  60. Timmy

    And Gary 7 ,,,,,,,some of us had family in the Alamo, respect it, like it or not.

  61. Daffy

    Pravda is alive and well in Texas and the Republican party. I would laugh at the irony, but it makes me too sick.

  62. Rick M

    I’m stunned at how many comments there are that say things like, “The McCarthy era should indeed be seen in context – there were communists and traitors in the USA and the only reason McCarthy is cursed…”

    So what if there were communists in the USA? Under our Constitution, a communist has just as much right to gather, run for office, make her voice heard, influence politics, etc., as any one else. Comments like these suggest that McCarthy was right because there actually were communists, and that he’s only maligned by people suggesting he was wrong because there weren’t any. This misses one of the worst things about McCarthyism, not that non-communists suffered because of it, but that *anyone* suffered because of persecution by the government (because they fell into a constitutionally protected class).

  63. Anton P. Nym

    I hope beyond hope that, eventually, American conservatives will figure out that you can’t defend and protect the Constitution of the United States by violating it.

    — Steve

  64. McCarthy? Are you serious?
    McCarthy was a useless drunk who made baseless accusations against people whose names he struggled to remember. He took advantage of the more localized news media of the day, making headlines in small newspapers that didn’t have the ability to fact check, and leaving before the papers could follow up.
    Then he took on that rich, left-leaning commie-ridden organization known as the Army, which slapped him down hard in a very public series of hearings. After which McCarthy crawled into his bottle and died.
    I guess that’s how patriotic heroes are made in Texas.

  65. Utakata

    But that’s part of the point of my question, Franklin of #55…

    …History should never be a part of ideology bent. But instead you teach the facts about History as they rise. Sure the Germans wern’t very nice to PoW’s in World War II, but neither where the Allies to their PoW for example. But you teach both sides of the conflict because the lesson should not be ideology driven. Instead, only about the facts as they happen and their particular context. And let those being taught come to their own informed conclusions.

    This is very different world from what Plutonium being from Pluto wants. He want’s History to be taught from one ideological perspective because he claims the another ideological perspective is being overly taught. Bullsh…I mean crap. History lessons shouldn’t be ideologically driven. Period. And let the uncomfortable doings of human’s’ past should be aired no matter if it’s about The Holocaust, ignoble tribal wars, Republicans doing stupid things or Communist resolve by having everyone who disagreed with them placed up against a wall and shot.

  66. Randy Owens

    @Eidolon & @Tensor: If I may butt in here, it looks to me like what happened is that at #18 Tensor quoted Costello from #12, but didn’t clearly mark it as being a quote, just using an “@costello” before the quoted paragraph. Then, I would assume at #37 Eidolon assumed that Tensor meant that paragraph as his/her own, and used it as an example along with the “et al.” That’s how you came to disagree to agree, or something like that.

  67. MikeS

    One thing I do take issue with, although I realize I’m blowing into the wind, is the description of these nuts as “conservative”. As a conservative myself, my political and scientific views flow from doubt. For example, I might oppose healthcare reform because I doubt a top-down system can work. If you read guys like Oakeshott and Hayek and Bastiat and Adam Smith, you will see people who are intellectually curious and open to ideas. Even Reagan was known to change course when circumstances changed (raising taxes after cutting them; dealing with Gorbachev after defying Andropov). And having spoken to Newt Gingrich on several occasions, I found him intellectually engaging (even if that didn’t always come across on TV).

    These guys are not conservatives, they are pure fundamentalists — on religion, on politics, on history, on everything. They know the answers without having to do any research or thinking or contemplation. That’s anathema to the conservatism I grew up with (although a tragic and prominent feature of the GOP today, which is why I left them).

  68. JMW

    Re: the teaching of history, and McCarthy…

    To mark myself as a complete geek, there was a brief time in the 80s when “shared world anthologies” were in vogue in the science fiction and fantasy literature. One or two authors would set up a world, define the major characters, sometimes major events…and then other authors would write short stories against that background, and the result was published as one or more volumes of anthologies.

    One such series was called “Wild Cards”. I only read the first volume, but the premise was that at the end of World War II, an alien race released a chemical into Earth’s atmosphere, which caused some kind of mutation in some people on Earth, resulting in superpowers. Some people chose to use their powers for good, some for evil, and voilà! Superheroes and supervillians.

    One of the first stories was written by Walter Jon Williams, if memory serves, in which he posited a trio of superheroes who were being managed by a group in the US Army. They travelled the world overthrowing dictators, etc., and they were great heroes back home.

    Until the officer who was their chief liaison fell afoul of Senator Joe McCarthy, who hauled the officer into a HUAC hearing. Then he hauled the three members of the team into a hearing, separately. Two of them maintained solidarity with the officer and continued to maintain that there were no non-American activities by their group. But day after day, the badgering of the third – not actually being able to answer, being threatened with a gun at his back if he opened his mouth, etc., eventually wore him down, and he knowingly lied and admitted to communist activities. Because he was a “friendly witness”, i.e., he told HUAC what it wanted to hear, he was allowed to go free while his two super-powered friend and the Army officer were jailed.

    The kicker is that Williams, the story’s author, mentioned in an interview getting fan mail asking him if he seriously thought this kind of harassment could ever really happen in the United States.

    They just don’t know.

    And know the kids growing up today will know even less, because there will be an extra layer of untruth between them and reality.

    It could rightly be said that the United States is becoming a Christian version of Iran.

    And no, I don’t enjoy thinking that, let alone writing it.

  69. MartinM

    Well, *IF* the climatologist “scientists” have so little to fear and *IF* they are so totally innocent of any wrong doing then why NOT hold an open and public investigation into their actions?

    Because the only reason anyone is calling for one in the first place is shameless political hackery. Any such investigation would likely be about as trustworthy as the Wegman report.

  70. Timmy

    Excellent MikeS,,,,,,I am neither right nor left, conservative nor liberal, republican nor democrat. Both sides are so institutionalized their leaders wouldn’t recognize a new idea if it bit them in the —>

  71. jcm

    I suppose Compasionate ConservatismTM has come to these. Did they add any clause in the support of:
    Slavery —- Moral because God so ordained it. And, thus permissible and acceptable.
    Genocide of Native Americans —- Because God has told us to murder them. And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:., “… thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:2,5

    Anti-miscegenation: — Because that’s not what God wants. “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.” Deuteronomy 7:3

  72. Timmy

    Native American’s aren’t native. Science says they are Asians. Actually, to be precise, everyone on this planet is from what we today call, Ethiopia (or darned close to it).

  73. In post #36, there is an email address and an address. Please bombard them! From: http://demagoguesanddictators.blogspot.com/2010/03/open-letter-to-texas-board-of-education.html

    Dear Texas Board of Education,

    The state of Texas is one of our nation’s largest — and thus, is one of the largest buyers of textbooks. Therefore, the standards set by the Texas Board of Education may very well dictate the content of all textbooks available for the entire US market. This year, this very board held their once-a-decade revision of standards for their textbooks — and we have many reasons to be worried.

    James McKinley Jr. at the NYT has done an excellent job of covering the facts of the proposed changes to the Texas standards, and I invite you to read his piece. However, the facts do not appropriately outline the danger presented by the board’s decisions.

    The danger is beyond left or right political leaning — it lies between fact and fiction. As a former high school teacher, I can tell you that biased interpretation masquerading as fact is the most detrimental to a young child’s education. While teachers frequently use interpretive analysis as secondary source material, it is to their textbooks that students retreat for their analytical ‘north’ when beginning their analysis of those more biased essays. Perhaps, after the Texas’ board decision, they will not have that opportunity.

    “We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

    Mr. McLeroy’s solution? Swing the pendulum back — past the center — to the right. The Texas board has decided that the past needs a reinterpretation in its textbooks — a bit of conservative revisionist history. The outcome?

    1. A questioning of whether the founding fathers sought a separation of Church and State in the US Constitution.

    From the NYT:

    “I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

    Mr. Bradley, with all due respect, the separation of church and state can be found in Article 6, and the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

    From Article Six:

    “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”

    From the First Amendment:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    Sure Mr. Bradley — the words “separation of church and state” aren’t there — but lets think, just for a second, about this. If religion cannot be a precursor to public office, or to citizenship — and Congress cannot pass laws on the establishment of a state religion, or stop people from worshiping freely — where can religion and state not be separated?

    Maybe we should let Mr. Madison — the original author of the document — say his piece.

    Having always regarded the practical distinction between Religion and Civil Government as essential to the purity of both, and as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, I could not have otherwise discharged my duty on the occasion which presented itself (Letter to Baptist Churches in North Carolina, June 3, 1811).

    Not enough for you sir? Perhaps here:

    Every new and successful example, therefore, of a perfect separation between the ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance; and I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion and Government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together (Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822).

    You see, Mr. Bradley, I got out of school before you textbooks could hit my desk. You can contact me at demagoguesanddictators@gmail.com, and we can hash out what charity you can make the check out to. Simply title your email “eating crow”.

    2. The teaching of sexual identity, eating disorders, and rape as a result “choice”.

    “The topic of sociology tends to blame society for everything,” Ms. Cargill [a conservative board member] said.

    Dear Ms. Cargill — I, and I think all of my readers, are very happy that you never made the decision to be raped. We are glad that you never made the choice to be afflicted with mental illness (as far as we can tell). We feel sorry if one of your family or friends lost connection after they “chose” to become homosexual. But mostly, we are sorry that somehow you got to decide what can be defined as “choice”. I can say that I will happily contribute to anyone willing to challenge you in your next election.

    3. The rejuvination of McCarthyism.
    Texas standards now require that Sen. McCarthy’s story must now include

    “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.”

    Don McLeroy, a school board member, recently sent a memo to curriculum writers with the following:

    “Read the latest on McCarthy — He was basically vindicated.”

    Ah, the Venona Papers are back! The papers detail the findings of the covert operation (code named Venona) to uncover Soviet spies in the United States. While they detail the (gasp) Soviet attempts to penetrate the US government, they fall far short of any McCarthy vindication. I’ll let Prof. Harvey Klehr, the author of Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America cover this one for me:

    Virtually none of the people that McCarthy claimed or alleged were Soviet agents turn up in Venona. He did identify a few small fry who we now know were spies but only a few. And there is little evidence that those he fingered were among the unidentified spies of Venona. Many of his claims were wildly inaccurate; his charges filled with errors of fact, misjudgments of organizations and innuendos disguised as evidence. He failed to recognize or understand the differences among genuine liberals, fellow-traveling liberals, Communist dupes, Communists and spies — distinctions that were important to make. The new information from Russian and American archives does not vindicate McCarthy. He remains a demagogue, whose wild charges actually made the fight against Communist subversion more difficult. Like Gresham’s Law, McCarthy’s allegations marginalized the accurate claims. Because his facts were so often wrong, real spies were able to hide behind the cover of being one of his victims and even persuade well-meaning but naïve people that the who led anti-communist cause was based on inaccuracies and hysteria.

    Have you no decency, Mr. McLeroy?

    4. The emphasis of how Conservatives were responsible for Civil Rights legislation.
    Again, from the NYT:

    Dr. McLeroy, a dentist by training, pushed through a change to the teaching of the civil rights movement to ensure that students study the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers in addition to the nonviolent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also made sure that textbooks would mention the votes in Congress on civil rights legislation, which Republicans supported.

    “Republicans need a little credit for that,” he said. “I think it’s going to surprise some students.”

    Shockingly, I actually agree with Dr. McLeroy here — but only to a point. History should be studied in its exactness. Those Republicans who stood for de-segregation deserve our praise, and those few in the Black Panther movement who undertook violent actions deserve our criticism. But, it is also important to point out that the Republican party of Ida Wells is no more. Will the history books also mention that in the 109th Congress has 43 black Democrats — and not a single black Republican? To make civil rights a partisan fight between democrat and republican is to do history a dishonor — it was a fight between north and south, and any history book that ignores this does so at its own peril.

    I could continue here, speaking about the board’s vote against including more Latino figures in its historical texts, or its declaration that curriculum must subvert the Enlightenment as the motivator for the Atlantic Revolutions. I could talk about the dilemma of voting down a plank that would have students study the reasons that

    “the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others.”

    but requiring the study of the unintended consequences of Title IX legislation.

    The fact is, this is a troubling series of changes to the Texas Curriculum. I say that not as an offended liberal — but as someone who values learning. Textbooks in this nation must be based on fact — not opinion. If people feel that textbooks are too “liberal”, then let us revise those sections to bring them closer to fact, not include more “conservative” talking points in an attempt to balance one type of falsehood with another. This kind of revisionism is merely slapping red BS onto blue. It serves no purpose other than the confusion or mis-education of our youth. As students seek to master the basic facts of history and sociology, they will now be forced into the very grown up world of propagandistic partisanship, without the information to analyse these opinions for themselves.

    I fear times when bias gives way to propaganda — and when that propaganda is taught as fact. In my textbooks I learned that

    “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round”

    That is from Mein Kampf — p. 376

  74. bigjohn756

    Doesn’t the 1st amendment protect the right of the people to be communist if they want?

  75. Muzz

    “I disagree with what you say but will fight to the death for your right to say it.”
    – Voltaire.

    Pluto, Voltaire never said this. This would be obvious enough just by actually reading anything of his. Interesting how its a favourite quote of reactionary conservative types.

  76. Elidor

    Militant morons, shoving their backward views in everyone else’s face. I hope plenty of Texas teachers will devise lesson plans around the controversy caused by all of this, so the students can see the propaganda being catapulted. Replacing education with ideology is a grave disservice to all of the people of the great state of Texas. You deserve so much better from your elected officials. Dammit.

  77. JJ

    For all those that don’t believe the media is biased to the left:

    “A 2005 report[2] by Tim Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo political scientists at UCLA concluded that, based on estimated ideological scores, all of the news outlets they examined, except Fox News’ Special Report and the Washington Times, showed a strong liberal bias (scores to the left of the average member of Congress). Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal. Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

    “I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican,” said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study’s lead author. “But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are.” [3]

    ABC, CBS, and NBC together have unloaded more than a thousand stories on Obama’s presidential campaign but not a single story devoted to examining Obama’s abysmal abortion record. “

  78. Miko

    Are you suggesting that the Black Panthers shouldn’t be covered? While their support for black nationalism early in their history and a small violent sect were unfortunate, overall they did important work in lessening police brutality, providing mutual-aid through non-state anti-poverty programs, and working towards building solidarity among all oppressed people. Plus, J.E. Hoover didn’t like them, and anyone he was against is alright in my book.

    bigjohn @ 77: “Doesn’t the 1st amendment protect the right of the people to be communist if they want?”

    Interestingly enough, no,the 1st amendment actually doesn’t protect the rights of the people at all. Rather, freedom of association is assumed to be a given, but we don’t really know whether we have it or not until we see how much we’re willing to resist when they try to take it away from us.

    Muzz @ 78: That alleged Voltaire quotation is a favorite of revolutionary liberal types. Conservatives by and large favor the repeal of the 1st Amendment and would never even consider fighting to protect the free speech of anyone but themselves. (The quotation, by the way, is really from Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s biography of Voltaire and intended to sum up Voltaire’s views on the subject.)

  79. Miko

    JJ @81: It’s great that you include references to footnotes without the footnotes themselves. It totally doesn’t make it look like you just ripped that from some conservative propagandist without any knowledge of the underlying study. But I’m reassured that you’re approaching this from an objective standpoint through your description of Obama’s record on abortion as “abysmal.” The Groseclose & Milyo study, by the way, was actually just looking at how often think-tanks of various persuasions were quoted in newspapers in comparison to how often they were quoted by different members of Congress. First, quotations by think-tanks are more of a measure of what kind of free food the journalists are getting than on whether they agree with the positions. And second, the study found that while the media outlets are more likely to reflect a view to the left of center in the overall Congress, they reflect a view between the average of the Democrats in Congress and the average of the Republicans in Congress, which suggests that they actually have, if anything, a centrist bias.

    Better yet, look at the studies of Vallone, Lepper, & Ross, which have shown that people tend to see the media as being biased against whatever position they hold. Show the same media report to two people with opposing ideological backgrounds, and both will conclude that it’s biased, but in opposite directions. It’s known as the “hostile media effect.” When you hear someone complaining about the bias of the media, it tells you a lot about the biases of the person making the claim and absolutely nothing about the media itself.

  80. Utakata

    *Notes JJ 0f #81 never includes Fox News in his quotes*

    …bias much?

  81. Des

    Space Cadet said:
    I tend to favor small government and local control over local issues, but if the locals can’t perform, it has to be time for Big Brother to step in. But in Texas, Big Brother is certainly not the answer. Do you go to your Uncle Sam? A higher authority? (Sorry. Had to go there.)

    No, Texans don’t go to Uncle Sam. I live in Texas, though I am NOT from here and the conservatism drives me crazy. The attitude is Texas first, US second. Maybe. A FAR second. If Texas could secede, it probably would. We just had elections, and many of the political ads bragged about how we don’t need the Federal government.

    I am an AMERICAN, not a Texan. I just happen to live in Texas, which is part of the UNITED STATES.

    Ok, rant over.

    As a response to those of you who suggest that the teachers supplement the textbooks with additional material to provide balance, Texas has a very strict standardized test. If you want your school to get money and you want to avoid being fired, your students had better perform well on those tests. I think teaching anything other than the prescribed curriculum will be very far down on the list of priorities for teachers.

    And true, Voltaire did not say “I disagree with what you say but will fight to the death for your right to say it.” It was written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in “Friends of Voltaire”. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s a great quote and is what free speech is all about. If I didn’t believe people had a right to say what they thought and felt, I wouldn’t be reading some of the ignorant remarks on forums…

  82. Travis D

    I’m pretty damned liberal myself but the only thing I find particularly troublesome about this is defending McCarthy by saying that there were indeed Communists. So what?

    As to the other things: are we really supposed to teach our kids that the Black Panthers didn’t exist? And cutting out Jefferson? Haven’t we already gone down the path where we write rich white guys out of the history books (Voltaire was an unimportant nobody apparently) and in exchange we can pretend things like the Tulsa Race Riots and lynchings didn’t happen? Wasn’t that the deal that was struck years ago when it was also decided to turn Cortez into the worst human in history and that no indigenous person anywhere ever did anything bad ever?

  83. scores to the left of the average member of Congress

    Which is overwhelmingly controlled by conservatives and reactionaries, as we’ve seen so blatantly this past year. Quite a baseline there. No surprise that only unabashed right-wing propaganda organizations like Fox News and the Washington Times scored to the right of that one. Gotta keep pushing the Overton window, y’know.

    Are you suggesting that the Black Panthers shouldn’t be covered?

    That depends on what is said, doesn’t it? Do you expect people who think that McCarthy was right to give a balanced history of the party?

  84. JJ

    “Surveys over the past 30 years have consistently found that journalists — especially those at the highest ranks of their profession — are much more liberal than rest of America. They are more likely to vote liberal, more likely to describe themselves as liberal, and more likely to agree with the liberal position on policy matters than members of the general public. The Media Research Center has compiled the relevant data on journalist attitudes, as well as polling showing how the American public’s recognition of the media’s liberal bias has grown over the years (data presented in Chapter 2).

    These surveys of journalists were conducted by professional pollsters, academics or news
    organizations, not by conservatives trying to score a political point against the press. That fact, along with the remarkable consistency of their findings, is powerful proof that liberals are far over-represented in the American media.”

    http://www.mrc.org/static/uploads/MediaBias101.pdf

  85. Also, scoring to the left of the average US voter isn’t the same as scoring to the left of the average American. News organizations aren’t targeted only at voters.

  86. echidna

    Long ago and far away from America, we were taught to read and synthesise for ourselves from the time were about 10 years old from contemporary sources as well as later writings.

    Our history classes did not rely on lists of facts that we needed to know, they relied on looking at primary sources from both sides of a conflict, along with other evidence and opinion, to construct the past in a way that made sense of all the information in front of you, including but not limited to text books. By the way, contemporary sources are much more fun to read than the dry narration that you get from textbooks.

    I would suggest that it is important to not only support national standards that describe detailed content (which is very important too) but also standards that describe and provide resources for rich ways of teaching.

    *Disclaimer: Not all teachers were as good as the ones I had, but it is also true that I was raised in an underfunded country town school, nothing special.

  87. Coriolis

    Since people are freely throwing (mis)quotes from Voltaire around, how about one that applies to this situation more aptly:

    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

  88. Timmy

    Des, there is a North America, a Central America and a South America. Everyone who is a citizen of any of these Americas is an American.
    Think carefully about the origion of The United States and the name we call it. I think the question becomes, what the founders had in mind when they coined the name United States of America. Did they have the idea of a sovern state identity with a collective voice (federal)? I’m referencing this from a purely historical viewpoint. Do we have any history experts out there who are studied in the letters and bios of our founding fathers?

  89. Katharine

    Funny how they just want to gloss over the entire Enlightenment.

    Here’s an idea, too: minimize local representation on schoolboards to one or two members out of the entire lot. Outfit the rest of the board with people who actually have academic training in education and the subjects taught there. (Any of you conservatives ever asked WHY academia is so liberal in the first place?)

    Local representation, yes, but I hate it when school curricula are governed by people who don’t know the first thing about education or how to think critically.

  90. Katharine

    In fact, populism when applied to education in this way often leads the whole local system down the primrose path to crud.

  91. Katharine

    Also, HO NOES COMMUNISTS!

    Really. It’s quite funny how so many people freak out when you say the C-word.

  92. Gueney

    So, what I am hearing is that based on the need to rebalance history and education and to tell the truths of history, that we should even tell the ugly ones. How about George Bush as head of the CIA running drugs into our country and making deals with drug cartels. How about Not releasing the Iranian hostages so Reagan could get elected. How about the really ugly truths behind the Vietnam War. (Before you accuse me of being liberal, I will save you the trouble…guilty, as charged). How about all the ugly truths about The New Deal and how it wasn’t such a good idea after all (that should add balance). How about the rest of it?
    I get it.
    But, what the real truth is here is the motive behind changing these textbooks. That’s where the problem really lies. We are mistaken if we choose to believe that they are truly doing this in the interest of good education. If you want children to learn how to think and reason and to figure out how to make up their own minds, the revision is not in the content anyway.

  93. Utakata

    @ Katharine of 93:

    Communism…

    Many say it exists in the good ol’ US of A…I have yet to see it.

    Many claim Democrats are…I fail to see how.

    Many think climate scientists are…no they just think the world is warming and we’re likely causing it.

    …and lastly, it holds a lot of potential good ideas. Perhaps we should explore those before dismissing it.

  94. Nobody seems to suggest that states can protect themselves from this silliness by adopting credible educational standards. Get involved.

    HJ

  95. Every idiot group is out in force on this one – the losertarians, the “centrists” who are really just wannabe Internet Cool Kids, the far-rights, the paranoids, and the few people who realize that yes, this IS bad, and yes, this IS going to be even worse if it isn’t opposed.

    Amazing how much hate stems from the simple idea of educating with facts, rather than “balance”. Life isn’t “balanced”. Get the F over it.

  96. JC

    BTW note to whatever idiot said this was an inappropriate article for Discover and should be classified as editorial or opinion. you may want to look into the definition of the word blog. There are plenty of factual articles that are free of personal bias in the non blog areas. This is a blog. I would once again highly suggest looking up the definition of the word blog before continuing to use the internet.

  97. Travis D

    “Are you suggesting that the Black Panthers shouldn’t be covered?”

    Naked Bunny with a whip: “That depends on what is said, doesn’t it? Do you expect people who think that McCarthy was right to give a balanced history of the party?”

    Do you think people who don’t think the Black Panthers were radical enough should write their history? Should we just gloss over their entire existence because we’re afraid that someone might think that some black people were kinda nutty? Heck let’s not talk about MLK JR either since someone might write that he was a philander. In fact, let’s go all the way and just preemptively strike from the history books any individual who’s potential characterization might adversely effect some sort of personal philosophy of ours.

  98. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 68. Utakata Says:

    …History should never be a part of ideology bent. But instead you teach the facts about History as they rise. Sure the Germans wern’t very nice to PoW’s in World War II, but neither where the Allies to their PoW for example. But you teach both sides of the conflict because the lesson should not be ideology driven. Instead, only about the facts as they happen and their particular context. And let those being taught come to their own informed conclusions.

    I agree – &, sadly, at the moment I think history is being taught with a particular ideological slant to the left. In Australia it has been a major debate on the “Black armband” vs the “white blindfold” versions one side saying those who settled our nation were all evil imperialists monsters, the other side saying no, they were flawless heroes. Neither vision is entirely accurate & both are extremes with the balance being somewhere in the middle.(See : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_wars )

    This is very different world from what Plutonium being from Pluto wants. He want’s History to be taught from one ideological perspective because he claims the another ideological perspective is being overly taught. [expletives deleted.]

    NO! This is NOT what I’m trying to say or what I want as you’d know if you actually read my post fairly.

    I’m saying & wanting – within reason – to teach both sides and both perspectives and let the children decide for themselves.

    At the moment we seen to have both in the USA and here in Oz a “culture war” scenario which warps the education system. History happened – its not something we should make a political game of re-inventing or post-modernising or politically correcting.

    History lessons shouldn’t be ideologically driven. Period.

    Yes! Indeed.

    That is what I’m trying to say – and at present they’ve been unbalanced by the Politicial Left-wing trying to ram their agenda’s home on everyone and totally ignore the other traditional side and picture. Lets have 50 :50 split not one sidedness here okay?

    And let the uncomfortable doings of human’s’ past should be aired no matter if it’s about The Holocaust, ignoble tribal wars, Republicans doing stupid things or Communist resolve by having everyone who disagreed with them placed up against a wall and shot.

    Or Democrats making a mess of things like Carter did & Obama is doing?

    Or Mao-Tse Tung’s genocidal “cultural revolution”, Mohammad’s marrying (& consummating his marriage) with a 9 year old child & spreading his religion by blood-thirsty conquest, Africans selling other Africans into slavery, Australian Aborigines exterminating the megafauna and making the landscape today through “firestick farming” & so on.

    Lets cut the ideology and moralising and get to the historical facts. The culture wars are incredibly polarising and have helped nobody but a few rabid ideologues who refuse to consider others views equal to their own.

    Can we get over it and start getting back to a more balanced appraisial with reasonable input from both conservative and radical political perspectives please?

    @37. Eidolon Says:

    Plutonium: Cute emoticon. [Thanks -PlbFP. ;-) ] Please be specific about one particular left wing view that is presently taught that you take issue with. So far, you have only GG( Gross Generalities).

    Funny, thought I had specified a few things – oh well :

    1. Political Correctness is a big one. the tedious boring “us & them” victim-celeberating, refusal to call-a-shovel-a-shovel-istic banging on & on about women, indigenous groups, gays and ethnic minorities at the expense of the mainstream, average American or Australian people. The over-emphasising and over-sanctifying of some of these left wing “sacred cow” darlings at the expense of & in away that frequently demonises and turns into the “bad guys” the normal male, caucasian, christian majority.

    2. The replacement of the lively entertainingas well as informative fascinating “great men & women” approach starring explorers and kings and warriors and pioneers and inventors etc .. with dry, dull, overly politicised uninteresting dreck starring post-modern diatribes , more minority worship and impersonal economic and politico-cultural forces rather than vibrant individuals who made a difference. Where great historical individuals are mentioned now seems its usually only in passing as those “nasty, bad imperialists” rather than couragous and decent founding heroes. :roll:

    3. Cultural Relativism & the virtual worship of other foreign cultures & esp. the indigenous tribes and less fortunate people for their “victim” status ignoring the fact that tribal cultures were themselves often patriachal, sexist, seriously messed up & insanely superstitious. These indigenous groups notably the Aborigines were prehistorical in their existence – they built virtually nothing & accomplished virtually nothing except just being. They were the “imperialised” not the “imperialisers” because their cultures & societies failed to produce explorers, engineers, archetects and scientists. (No witch doctors and shamens don’t quite count.)

    Now I’m not saying such indigenous peoples are inferior humans or less human or anything like that – but lets not make more of the “Noble Savage” nonsense and lets not overlook the fact that these cultures had many negative elements and were not successful cultures in terms of developing or acheiveing much in many significant areas – like science &, yes, even empire building aka discovery and creation and advancement in both material and intellectual ways.

    Lets especially not make the “uncivilised tribes” the (plaster) heroes at the cost of forgetting and failing to have pride in our own culture. Lets stop having this bizarre self-destructive sense of shame instead of pride at what Western cultures (from Alexander’the Great’s Hellenic Empire to the modern day United States) have done & built.

    @ 36. Sean H. :

    @Plutonium – Is it alright if the textbook denies the holocaust or the evils of slavery? I mean… there are some people who believe that they’re taken out of proportion. We do have a responsibility, as you said, to ” give children exposure to all major political & cultural perspectives.”

    Of course not – but again there needs to be a balance of this not being the be-all-&-end-all of teaching history.

    Teach them sure but not exclusively & not ignoring all the other cases of man’s inhumanity to man or for that matter man’s humanity to man either. I think we should be taught about the Holocaust (& that there are those who wrongly deny it too) but it shouldn’t be used to justify everything Israel has ever done since however appalling.

    Same applies to slavery – teach it and acknowledge the fact that slavery was a great historical evil definitely, but lets not make it the sole focus and note that it doesn’t mean giving African -Americans some “get-out-of-jail-free-forever” card either.

    Alright, I’m being a little glib but the point stands that this isn’t a college level poli-sci textbook, it’s a grade-school history book. High School textbooks are already twisted up by lies of omission, we don’t need there to be out and out LIES in them.

    I couldn’t agree more. :-)

    The bitter feminazis and socialist left wing nutcases should NOT be allowed to lie in textbooks – and nor should bitter right-wing extremists and uber-religious zealots either.

    So far the former have been getting away with it as the established “norm” while attempts by the other side of the political spectrum to put their agenda in have been rightly condemned. But the Right does have reason to be angry if the Left is getting away with doing what the Right are not allowed to do. That’s double standards.

    I think we need to be even -handed and take out the bias already there before getting too het up about this.

    @ 101. The Panic Man :

    I was looking for something in your post that wasn’t an ad hominem attack or rude insult against those who disagree with you & couldn’t find anything. :roll:

    Care to actually say something constructive or even halfway rational & not just name-calling here? Go on surprise me.

    @ 85. Des. :

    And true, Voltaire did not say “I disagree with what you say but will fight to the death for your right to say it.” It was written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in “Friends of Voltaire”. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s a great quote and is what free speech is all about. If I didn’t believe people had a right to say what they thought and felt, I wouldn’t be reading some of the ignorant remarks on forums…

    Okay, thanks I didn’t know that & had only ever heard that quote (one of my faves) as attributed to Voltaire. Now I know. Still seems like his philosophy – and something I too strongly believe in. :-)

  99. The way to bring our educational system back to center on religious issues is simple. As part of the social studies program, you include a unit that looks at the major theologies of the world; their history, tenets, accomplishments, and conflicts. This is such an important part of understanding human nature that it’s ridiculous that we don’t make such learning part of our grade school education.

  100. OrionsSword

    I took great pleasure in supporting Ratliff in his bid to unseat the zealot McLeroy, and am thrilled at the result.
    Not noted here, recent discussion on the effect of texas in setting trends of national book purchases and choices is being severely limited by financial pressures, and our right wing governor just hurt his own agenda by turning down federal aid for education, thereby limiting the effect last ditch efforts by McLeroy will have.
    Like the corsets of old, the emphasis on books is heading to the “bindings which last” over “content” as criteria.
    With the puffy paged new print books coming out, we should be seeing a continuation of rational thinking for some time to come.
    Kudos to Ratliff on his win.

  101. Aaaaw, are you going to cry now, Plutard? Here’s some hints for you so you’ll quit embarrassing yourself: Stop trying to play cute with your endless emoticons (PROTIP: Only trolls and children use those), stop screaming OMG AD HOM where there’s none, and – wait for this one, kids – don’t you DARE use the word “rational”, considering you’re a screaming denialist troll/idiot.

    Go back to whatever troll-hole you crawled out of and stop commenting here. You are not welcome, and that is final.

  102. Eidolon

    JJ@88

    “These surveys of journalists were conducted by professional pollsters, academics or news
    organizations, not by conservatives trying to score a political point against the press. That fact, along with the remarkable consistency of their findings, is powerful proof that liberals are far over-represented in the American media.”

    This is a Poe right? I mean your link to a right wing web site does little to support your claim that these are not conservatives with a political ax to grind. Founded by L. Brent Bozell III and funded by conservative organizations, are you surprised that the Media Research Center finds a liberal bias everywhere they look? Faux News excepted, of course.

  103. “So is there a difference between Texas rewriting history and Soviet Russia or Communist China or Nazi Germany rewriting history?”

    The difference is that the Texans (and most other Americans) honestly believe—so ignorant are they—that they live in the most free and democratic society the world has ever known. It’s the hypocrisy which is the difference.

    Thinking back at the first election of W., I’m reminded of a quote by Stalin: “Those who vote decide nothing; those who count the votes decide everything.”.

    With regard to McCarthy: The point is not whether “communists really were infiltrating the U.S.” (even apart from the fact that they weren’t inflitrating since most on the list were U.S. citizens, so it’s more a matter of some U.S. citizens supporting a particular point of view). The point is that a society which calls itself a free and democratic society shouldn’t intimidate those who have a different opinion than the majority.

    Reminds me of a documentary about the Vietnam war. A soldier said “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” and didn’t even realise the irony.

  104. Katharine

    “Communism…

    Many say it exists in the good ol’ US of A…I have yet to see it.

    Many claim Democrats are…I fail to see how.

    Many think climate scientists are…no they just think the world is warming and we’re likely causing it.

    …and lastly, it holds a lot of potential good ideas. Perhaps we should explore those before dismissing it.”

    No worries, I’m a liberal and think anyone who thinks our president is a communist is a bloody nutbag who doesn’t know the first thing about political science nor previous communist governments and how they actually stacked up to Marx’s and Lenin’s ideas and how they stack up to modern socialism. (Incidentally, almost every modern communist I’ve ever heard of has actually genuinely been kind of nuts, although in the PeTA-thumping munches-too-much-granola-and-smokes-too-much-pot anti-vaxxer off-the-wall-philosophy-majors-wacko kind of way.) And most conservatives – well, most people in the United States – are generally pretty irrational and more led by their emotions than their brains, if you check the literature about political psychology. The unfortunate thing is that conservatives are better at playing off people’s emotions than liberals because conservatism is inherently more about emotions than liberalism is, considering their placing of importance on ingroup-outgroup status and ‘purity’-‘impurity’ status and their elevation of tradition even in the face of the need to change (‘but this is the way we’ve always done it!’ – yeah, but what has that gotten you, eejits?)

    Yes, the broader concept of where socialism and communism intersect, which is economic liberalism (as far as I know, socialism is socially liberal, whereas communism is socially conservative), can give us a lot of good ideas. We need tighter regulation of certain industries. The question is how to apply that regulation.

  105. Katharine

    Really, a lot of society’s problems these days boil down to the fact that the biological evolution of the human being isn’t occurring as fast as the cultural development.

  106. Timmy

    (sarcasm) I just can’t understand why the rest of the world thinks we are a bunch of uneducated lunatics(/sarcasm)
    My kids are both going to Catholic school and staying far away from the public school system. Catholics seem to have a much better idea of how the world works. Take evolution for instance. The Catholic stance is that if there is overwhelming physical evidence that evolution is real, then it must be real and part of God’s plan. That works for me. The Catholic school system has a great track record and teacher/student ratio. I trust that they will get a good education, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I will be reading all of the textbooks they bring home!

  107. Scott B

    Is there a simple list of changes out there? The only places I can find this news is on liberal blogs and newspapers where I do wonder if they are simply commenting on those things they find objectionable.

    Out of the issues listed here:

    1. Hispanics ignored. If I understand this, they were already ignored and the BoE turned down some suggested additions. I’d have to see the specific additions requested to really comment further.

    2. Black Panthers. Don’t have much of an issue here if it’s taught accurately. Students should know that there was some groups that were more radical in their opposition to racial injustice.

    3. Jefferson. Would need specifics to comment further here too.

    4. Changing “capitalism” to Free-market economics. OK, here I do have a problem. If capitalism has a negative connotation (and I’ve never had this feeling), maybe there’s a reason for it? Maybe we should teach our children that reason and teach the the real word for the system instead of using our kids to rebrand capitalism?

    5. McCarthy. Do have a problem here to. If anything is taught about McCarthy other than his using our consititution as toilet paper and lessons on how popular fear can cause the public to support subversions such as this (maybe tie in our recent terrorism fears), there is a big problem.

  108. Heh...

    I think that Mao Tse Tung’s diddling and deflowering of little girls should be put in the text book.

  109. Steve

    Re Scott B (114)

    http://tfninsider.org/2010/03/13/the-list-of-shame-in-texas/#more-6030

    This blog covers everything well, even if it’s slightly slanted to the left.

  110. banging on & on about women, indigenous groups, gays and ethnic minorities at the expense of the mainstream, average American or Australian

    Whawhawha-? Math fail.

    Last I looked, women were about 50% of the population. Combined with male indigenous, gay and ethnic minorities, that’s a majority. Suggests the ‘average’ (whatever that means) person – mainstream, if you will – is what you say it isn’t.

    normal male, caucasian, christian majority

    Nope, still wrong. In fact introducing religion slices your ‘majority’ even further.

    Oh, and ‘normal’ is an inappropriate word to use in connection with any human being. There is no normal: just billions of individual examples thrown up by evolution. It isn’t just Pluto that’s corrupted your mind, it’s Plato.

  111. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 108. The Panic Man Says:

    Aaaaw, are you going to cry now, Plutard? Here’s some hints for you so you’ll quit embarrassing yourself: Stop trying to play cute with your endless emoticons (PROTIP: Only trolls and children use those),

    Stereotype much? :roll:

    My style is my style & – get used to it. :-P

    … stop screaming OMG AD HOM where there’s none, and – wait for this one, kids – don’t you DARE use the word “rational”, considering you’re a screaming denialist troll/idiot.

    Gee, sure ain’t no ad hominem there eh? :roll:

    Go back to whatever troll-hole you crawled out of and stop commenting here.

    Or there too .. :roll:

    Ever thought of taking your own advice PanicMan?

    You are not welcome, and that is final.

    This is NOT your blog Panicman, and thus you have NO right whatosever to say who gets to comment here or not – & that is final.

    The troll here as anyone can see is Panicman – what exactly has Panicman ever posted that is anything more than abusing others?

    BA – if anyone deserves to be kicked out of here its him not me.

    I may disagree with you on some issues but I keep it civil and, yes, rational and reasonable. Panicman does not as you can tell from his boring and offensive comments # 101 & #108 on this thread.

  112. First – Most of these changes are moronic. Some I can see, such as including violent elements of the civil rights movement in the course of history. Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. is extremely important, but there was an entire more radical and violent movement of the civil rights era that gets brushed over. The McCarthy era changes sound a little less appropriate. I think it would be appropriate to give an accurate view that the Soviets were engaging in business of trying to gain intelligence assets in the US, however the McCarthy Hearings did little if nothing to expose these true spies. I personally hate the idea of revisionist history, that said, historical perspective changes and we often find out new information. It would be silly to say “don’t change history”, rather we must advocate for only changing history to include new peer reviewed factual information.

    Secondly – I personally hate when people like McLeroy are referred to as “far right.” I’m a conservative/libertarian mix. I’m pretty solidly right of center on most issues. People like McLeroy have nothing to do with “conservatism.” They are so far right that they fall into another category all together. Calling these people “far right” is like calling Stalin and Marx “far left.” People to these extremes fall completely off the political norms.

  113. It is an awful shame that some members of the State Board of Education are using the education of our children to push their political and religious agendas. Enough is enough! This is why I’m running for Texas State Board of Education in District 5. Visit http://www.voterebecca.com for more information.

  114. Plutonium being from Pluto

    @ 116. vagueofgodalming Says:

    “banging on & on about women, indigenous groups, gays and ethnic minorities at the expense of the mainstream, average American or Australian” [Me -PlBFP- ed.]

    Whawhawha-? Math fail.

    Last I looked, women were about 50% of the population. Combined with male indigenous, gay and ethnic minorities, that’s a majority. Suggests the ‘average’ (whatever that means) person – mainstream, if you will – is what you say it isn’t.

    “Average” used by me here in the colloquial sense – not a feminazi, not an extreme liberal or extreme conservative, not African -American, Native American, LBGT or any of the other overly lauded activist minorities.

    BTW. Women are 50 % of *Westerners* – but in China you’ll find female infanticide has taken its toll and the gender ratio is much distorted against women and similar situations exist elsewhere in the world.

    Anyway, I suppose I could’ve been more clear but the sort of thing that is “banged on about” is a particular man-hating feminist extreme philosophy which few normal mainstream Western women even subscribe to fully. Which does make them (or at least the feminazi sub-set) a priviledged minority at the expense of, y’know, normal people.

    “normal male, caucasian, christian majority” [Me again]

    Nope, still wrong. In fact introducing religion slices your ‘majority’ even further.

    Not historically or globally.

    Christianity is the world’s largest religion and America’s largest too – you can’t deny that’s a fact.

    Our culture is drawn from a Judaeo-Christian cultural background intermixed with some Hellenic (greek) and Roman threads too. These have combined to form Western civilisation which – despite claims by its knockers & the self-hating Western left-wing “liberals” – has proven better in terms of accomplishing things and advancing Humanity than its rivals.

    After all, just look at the alternatives it has already beaten and /or still competes against :

    * The indigenous stay-at-home-& just-survive- as -subsistence-tribes (Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Maori, Ainu, Tibetans, etc ..) that left few if any remarkable monuments or even written epics let alone expanded to find new frontiers & knowledge.

    * The Chinese Communist or Russian Communist totalitarian societies sustained by massive human rights violations and brutality & from which their oppressed people seek to escape to find any opportunity to make their lives better?

    * The Islamofacist Muslim world with its crushing theological squelching of women and science and progress and its sick worshop of ranting suicide bombers and strongmen demagogues like the Ayatollah in Iran and the Saudi Kings. A stagnant and decaying “civilisation” for which the ideal of everything was set sometime back in the Dark Ages & is not to be questioned at all – let alone in cartoon or beauty pagent form!

    * The Incan mass-human sacrificers or Nazi mass murders or Mongol mass-murderers and city levellers, etc ..

    Ask yourselves this :

    Would you rather live in the West in a Western “anglospheric” nation and lifestyle with freedom and opportunity and flushing toilets and science and democracy or in Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, etc.. ??

    Then try telling me “Cultural relativism ” is anything but nonsense.

    More so look at the nations & governmental systems that people are fleeing *from* and the ones they are trying to flee *to* – & why.

    Western civilisation is superior to all others in history & modern times. Period. This isn’t racism – just reality. (IMHON.)

    Please note : I’m NOT saying that individual people living in or from other cultures and countries are inferior to us at all – just that the alternative politico-cultural systems to Western capitalist democracy are.

    So, no I’m not ashamed to be Western and “Imperialist” & I’m very sick of those who try to tell us we should apologise for bringing the rest of the World egalitarian ideals, the notion of freedom and the right for all to express themselves and pursue happiness and prosperity as they choose! Along with bringing those other civilisations – which have demonstrably fallen short of our standards – Westerrn medicine, sanitation, technology, opportunity, knowledge, etc ..

    Oh, and ‘normal’ is an inappropriate word to use in connection with any human being. There is no normal: just billions of individual examples thrown up by evolution. It isn’t just Pluto that’s corrupted your mind, it’s Plato.

    Yes, we’re all individuals but come on, using “normal” here as a relative term makes sense and clearly isn’t meant to demean people but simply to say “normal” people are mostly just that. Yes, there’s variety and individuality which I’m in no way denying – that’s quite correct and, well, ..normal! ;-)

    What I am saying is that the mainstream traditional Western anglo-population of British-American caucasian heritage deserves to have its position, its achievements and culture respected too – after all it is proven to be the best historically. Does it have its flaws? Sure. But then all groups and philosophies do. Why does it seem like the only group it is legal to discriminate against today is the Caucasian Western and, yes, normal one?

    I’m not disrespecting all the minority ethnicities and politico-cultural groups but come on they are exactly that – minorities! So why not focus on the majority values and history and not get into PC “affirmative” action that knocks the traditional Western values and cultures down in its attempt to promote & pander to the minorities ones whose values and histories haven’t been as successful or, dare I say, desirable to adopt?

  115. “Would you rather live in the West in a Western “anglospheric” nation and lifestyle with freedom and opportunity and flushing toilets and science and democracy or in Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, etc.. ??

    Then try telling me “Cultural relativism ” is anything but nonsense. ”

    I agree that cultural relativism is nonsense. But so is the idea that the good ol’ darn tootin’ U S of A is the best dadgum nation on the planet.

    I would prefer to live somewhere where democracy is not just a word (hint: two-party system, electoral college, gerrymandering, campaigns financed privately), where religion doesn’t have a huge influence on society, where there is much more individual freedom than in the “land of the free” and at the same time a more caring, encompassing and big-government state, where I don’t live in fear of crime. In fact, I do.

  116. Mik C.

    Plutonium being from Pluto — To take just one example from your wistfully meandering and suspiciously defensive tome:

    “Why does it seem like the only group it is legal to discriminate against today is the Caucasian Western and, yes, normal one?”

    Just what in the wide wide world of sports are you talking about?

  117. Katharine

    Amusing how Plutonium equates feminism with bra-burning separatists. No, really. I’m tempted to laugh here at how much he doesn’t know about it. It’s sort of a no-true-scotsman argument turned on its head. And “banging on & on about women, indigenous groups, gays and ethnic minorities at the expense of the mainstream, average American or Australian” is not equal to female separatism. The average American and Australian, who you are talking about, is in fact somewhat more female than male, since these two societies have more women than men; the average Chinese, perhaps, might be male, but then you didn’t say “at the expense of the mainstream, average Chinese wharrgarbl wharrgarbl wharrgarbl”. No, it’s just noting that your vaunted white Christian straight dude is a minority all to himself, just the one that happens to be in control in the countries you’re referring to.

    ““Would you rather live in the West in a Western “anglospheric” nation and lifestyle with freedom and opportunity and flushing toilets and science and democracy or in Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, etc.. ??

    Then try telling me “Cultural relativism ” is anything but nonsense. ”

    The West isn’t just the United States. In fact, the United States is currently the laughingstock of the West in many ways; Canada, the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, and Western Europe routinely laugh at its lack of socialized medicine, its widespread creotardery and global warming denialism, its large amounts of fundies, et cetera.

    Dude, do you READ?

  118. Dude, do you READ?

    It’s not what’s in front of his eyes that’s the problem here.

  119. AC

    Too much is being made out of the Texas Schoolbook Board. I would like to see much more info from all angles. Let people debate, argue, dialogue. It is the evolutionist pseudo-scientists and atheists who run the National Science Foundation, PBS (Nova), Discovery, etc. and clearly CENSOR all other opinions. The far left has now become mainstream. I certainly disagree w/ the extremes on the far Left and far Right. But the mainstream media and the “science” establishment has a stranglehold on opinion and interpretation.
    Our university held a debate a few decades ago between the naturalist atheist evolutionists versus creationist scientists/professors from the university. A crowd of nearly 6,000 or more pack into the theatre and the moderator asked the college students–who believes evolution is true based on facts–over 95% raised their hands.
    Top scientists such as the late Dr Thomas Barnes, writer of a college physics textbook and other tenured professors said they would not mention or refer to the Bible or religion even ONCE.
    They presented quotes and thots from top evolutionists and naturalists, past and present and how one can interpret a fact one way versus another–half full versus half empty. They pointed out how fossils are dated and how layers of sediment are interpreted. Each side went on for hours…most had heard the evolutionist view in Jr high, High school, and college but had NEVER heard contrary EVIDENCE. After the fair debate, the Mod asked the students to raise their hands if they were convinced naturalistic evolution alone explained life’s and man’s origins. NOW only some 20 to 25% raised their hands.
    Sagan, Gould, and others were scared to debate “know nothing” creationist BUFFOONS as the ‘enlightened’ sic writer wrote earlier. As a fan of astronomy, research, Coast to Coast, and NPR I say let’s include Hindu cosmology, ZECHARIAH SITCHIN opinions, Hebrew creation myths, DESIGN THEORY, and fundamentalist rantings.
    As our Founders and Martin Luther King said– “We are CREATED equal.”

  120. Katharine

    Really, vagueofgodalming, it’s kind of gotten to the point where I don’t consider the fringey wackos even human anymore, because any reasonable modern human, I think, with access to the internet and a desire to know things should at least have the capacity to say ‘I’d rather refer to the scholarly literature on this, thanks, and defer to those who know what they’re talking about’ and hold nuanced opinions that reflect the fact that life, the universe, and everything are even hard sometimes for smart people to keep in order and out of our control for the most part and that humans will never stay in the same place; we won’t always even be human.

    I’m not sure whether half the stuff in the newspaper these days was bought from the Onion or not.

  121. Katharine

    Then again, the rude awakening of the notion that the vast majority of the species is to some extent about that stupid is… well, have we speciated yet?!

  122. Darth Robo

    Beware teh Commies, teh Commies are coming! OH NOES!!!

    Who ever said that Cold War paranoia isn’t alive and well in 21st century America?

  123. tbeauchamp

    Being a “Glass Half Full” kind of a guy, I have been trying to think of anything positive that could possibly come from this. And I finally have:

    Maybe, this will raise the high school graduation rate, since critical thinking is no longer a prerequisite.
    Hollow, isn’t it.

    Maybe, another state can adopt an addendum text that teaches, specifically, things that were left out or sk(r)ewed in the Texas directed textbooks.

  124. D S Shepler

    When will we finally admit that standards-driven curriculum is nothing more than legitimatized propaganda – no matter who writes them. Let education be done by calling out the best in our youth by allowing THEM to learn the tools of discovering the data, the truth, and the ways of manipulating it. Equipping them to educate themselves is the best public education we can offer them – and probably the most American. Where are the parents in this truth-forsaken state????

  125. Roy Diaz

    Repainting McCarthy as anything but the monstrous Fiend that he was is like taking a dump on a plate, adding some parsley and then calling it a prime cut Ribeye steak.

  126. Scott Larson

    There’s one advantage to teaching kids nonsense: some kids will see they’re being fed false information and become far more interested in finding the truth than if they had no reason to question what was being taught.

    Back in 9th grade a social studies teacher who was a rabid environmentalist taught our class that carbon monoxide generated from combustion remains in the atmosphere forever. The year before my chemistry teacher thought me that atmospheric CO eventually breaks down to more stable carbon dioxide.

    I asked my 9th grade chemistry teacher to verify this. He said that the only way to oxidize CO is to burn it. It’s true that you can oxidize CO this way but he implied that the social studies teacher was correct. I still didn’t believe it. I had to call the teacher from the previous year to have him quote from a book that carbon monoxide in the atmosphere does eventually oxidize into carbon dioxide and doesn’t pose a permanent threat to our health. He also gave me the name of the text so I could read it myself.

    That experience thirty years ago made me question everything I was taught in school. I had one teacher telling me something that was wrong and another who didn’t know the answer but couldn’t be bothered to look it up or even admit he wasn’t sure. Being taught false information was actually beneficial in my case! That chemistry teacher gave me the only D I’ve ever gotten in my life, mainly because he taught things that were wrong.

  127. Gary Ansorge

    105. PBFP

    “These indigenous groups notably the Aborigines were prehistorical in their existence – they built virtually nothing & accomplished virtually nothing except just being. They were the “imperialised” not the “imperialisers” because their cultures & societies failed to produce explorers, engineers, archetects and scientists. (No witch doctors and shamens don’t quite count.)”

    Just as an aside, a short quote from one of my hippy friends: “There’s no crime in just being.”

    “their cultures failed to produce,,,”

    Let’s get this straight; all these other cultures weren’t PRIMITIVES, they were LOW TECH vs HIGH TECH, which is the real reason we white, fat, hairy , old guys rule the planet. Because we were the first to embrace high technology and build the most efficient killing devices ever known.(ie, give us what we want or we’ll kill you).

    Low Tech societies just don’t stand a chance against a high tech culture. THAT’S history.

    ,,,by the way, PBFB, you use a lot of disparaging nomenclature in your posts, so those who lose patience and yell at you are quite understandable in their piq.

    Plus it would probably help if you used a spell checker.

    GAry 7

  128. Cory

    Anyone who can’t get an opinion/comment in in a paragraph or so is trying way, way too hard – you listening Plutonium? Quantity doesn’t mean quality.

  129. Katharine, the really important thing to take away from this is that thousands of glorious years of cultural development embracing Judaism, Christianity, the ancient Greeks, and, of course, the English-speaking world, have culminated in that pinnacle of wisdom for our age, that great hope for the future of our planet and beyond, Don McLeroy.

  130. Darth Robo

    D S Shepler, great idea! Why not let KIDS decide what science and history is?

    And I’m sure Donny “We must take a stand against the experts!” the Dentist McElroy is really helping kids along with their journey of discovery…

    …uh… how old does he think the Earth is again?

  131. JJ

    “Yes, the broader concept of where socialism and communism intersect, which is economic liberalism (as far as I know, socialism is socially liberal, whereas communism is socially conservative), can give us a lot of good ideas. We need tighter regulation of certain industries. The question is how to apply that regulation.”

    Socialism and communism are actually very similar. There’s nothing conservative about them, by today’s definition of conservative (small government, personal responsibility, individual rights, free markets). Also, conservative doesn’t mean conservative Republican, as many seem to think here. Conservatism applies to Democrats and Libertarians as well. Libertarians and Conservative Democrats are generally socially moderate/liberal, and fiscally conservative, biggest difference being Democrats favor larger government. However, social conservatism is often labeled as “facist”, most commonly because the far right likes to push religious ideals onto society, but not necessarily force people to become Christian, that’s a fundamental difference. Facists, like Hitler, resort to extreme measures to eradicate society of differing views. I’d argue today’s conservatives are not nearly that extreme.

    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-socialism-and-communism.htm

    @Eidolon: the evidence speaks for itself.

  132. JJ

    *I’d argue today’s conservative Republicans are not nearly that extreme.

  133. “There’s nothing conservative about them, by today’s definition of conservative (small government, personal responsibility, individual rights, free markets).”

    Errmm, no. First, one has to have at least two axes: an economic one (should the government get involved in the economy, or should the free market be allowed to do what it does?) and a personal one (should people be allowed to do what they want, as long as they don’t prevent others from doing so?).

    In any sensible definition of the terms, what you describe is a classic LIBERAL attitude. Liberal comes from liberty meaning freedom: individual freedom, free markets, small government (and hence freedom from it), personal responsibility (hence freedom, though recall that freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose). Why do you think of it as “conservative”? See below.

    First thing to note: in the US, the differences between Republicans and Democrats are much smaller than the differences between various parties in, say, western Europe.

    Second thing to note: the US has a two-party system, so the third-largest (and other) groups get marginalised.

    Third thing to note: the meanings of “conservative” and “liberal” have changed through time, often creating confusion when reading old stuff or wondering why parties have the names they do. I am here using the terms in the modern sense.

    Traditionally, there are parties which are liberal in both the economic and personal sense, the libertarians (get rid of big government but it’s fine to be gay and/or carry a gun if you want to); those economically liberal and socially conservative (the market is free, but we want to determine what you think, e.g. the Republicans); those economically conservative and socially liberal, e.g. the Democrats (individual freedom is important, but the economy needs to be regulated); and those both economically and socially conservative (state control of the economy and of individuals, e.g. totalitarian regimes). Again, in the US the differences between the parties are, compared to parties elsewhere, rather small. In the US, liberal and conservative apply traditionally to only the individual aspect, i.e. the Republicans are conservative because they are the “family values” party and the Democrats are liberal because they are more interested in the rights of minorities. However, in an economic sense, the Republicans are liberal (free market) and the democrats are conservative (control the economy). This becomes clear when one thinks of the libertarians, who advocate a liberal attitude in both areas, i.e. free market and individual freedom. The fact that the terms in the US are used to refer to the individual aspect, together with the two-party system, has led some people to believe that “liberal” means “big government” and “conservative” means “free-market economics”.

    Additional notes: Originally, back in the days of absolute monarchies, the government was conservative in both senses: it controlled how people behaved and controlled the economy. The liberal movement was an opposition to monarchy in both respects. This is associated with the “left”, since such people sat on the left in Parliament and the monarch’s supporters sat on the right. Since the liberals were opposed to the status quo, some people have focused on this, with liberals wanting to change the status quo, whatever it is, and conservatives wanting to keep it as it is. However, this is a bad definition, since it depends on what the status quo is. In a country with a long tradition of individual freedom, someone who supports this could be called conservative, since he wants to keep this status quo, though by the more sensible definition he should be called liberal, since he supports freedom.

  134. Katharine

    LOL, AC brings the unscientific creotardery.

    Apparently, you don’t know much about how science works.

  135. Katharine

    Philip Heilbig, I was under the impression that the meanings of economic liberalism and conservatism were switched around from the ones you refer to.

    ‘Least that’s what the polisci literature tells me.

  136. Katharine

    Conservatism, as I have learned the definition of the term, is somewhat less ‘status quo’ than a movement largely based on preserving tradition (often detrimentally) and a distinct aversion to change (often even when it is needed). Part of the problem with conservatism (besides the other reasons I have a deep and abiding hatred for it) is the fact that it sucks at adapting. There are only five constants, and those are change and the four elementary forces; people have far less control over certain aspects of their fate, such as the collective fate of humanity, than they think, because it is influenced by the universe and by the Earth, which have come close to wiping out humanity before and will do so again, if they don’t utterly wipe it out. Even on a more global or personal level, you can’t really control very easily what your boss is going to think, what other countries are going to do, and how you recover from disease. Nobody knows when they’re going to die; in a few million years, there will be no such thing as ‘human’ anymore.

    Existence is precarious. Embrace that fact; don’t fear it.

  137. Katharine

    “Socialism and communism are actually very similar. There’s nothing conservative about them, by today’s definition of conservative (small government, personal responsibility, individual rights, free markets).”

    Today’s definition of conservative, as practiced by the parties that label themselves as such around the world, does not bear this out – let’s use, as examples, the American Republicans and the British, Canadian, Australian, and Romanian Conservatives. American Republicans, as evidenced by the RNC’s new ten-point platform which requires any candidate who wants endorsement from it to conform to at least eight of the points, don’t exactly stand for individual rights:

    “(1) Smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill
    (2) Market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
    (3) Market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
    (4) Workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check
    (5) Legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
    (6) Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
    (7) Containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat
    (8) Retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
    (9) Protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
    (10) The right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership”

    Focus on points 8 and 9 first. The Defense of Marriage Act infringes on the rights of gay individuals and the actual actions of Republicans with respect to ‘health care rationing’, which they seem to favor at least with respect to rich people, run counter to what respects individual rights, which includes the right to healthcare, and the lack of government funding of abortion would infringe on the lives of actual vulnerable persons, such as poor women and people whose contraception failed and people who got raped (honestly, if you think a ball of cells without a nervous system is a person, you don’t really understand biology or the ethics debate too well, and if you don’t understand who else gets hurt in a lot of situations where access to an abortion is denied, you’re sticking your fingers in your ears and going “LA LA LA I DON’T WANT TO BE ASSAILED BY FACTS AND TRUTH I JUST WANT TO SIT IN MY LITTLE PRECONCEIVED NOTION OF REALITY”. In addition, a whole lot of conservatives don’t like birth control, either. Points 1, 2, and 3 ignore the fact that there are responsibilities that are somewhat higher, I think, than reducing the national debt, namely providing basic necessities for human beings such as healthcare, which includes living in an environment that isn’t totally shot to crud. Personal responsibility doesn’t stretch quite as far as the conservatives think; some people end up in positions where they need the things that conservatives would deny them through no fault of their own. Points 6 and 7 just sound like a lot of testosterone-fueled wangling which has way too much collateral damage; the situation in at least Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran is way more complex than many of them appear to think, combining tribal rights, history, and more irrational stupid stuff such as religion – on both sides, honestly. The Republicans suffer from a great deal of denial of evidence.

    Conservatives elsewhere hold many of these positions, though not with as much of a sense of wharrgarbly quasi-cultic anti-intellectualism, though they’re getting there. Except for Romanian conservatives, who have largely led the wacko charge in Romania to rid the school curriculum of evolution, who have maintained the Romanian Orthodox Church’s position as the state religion, who are attempting to ban abortion, and who are, and I’m surprised that this is possible, possibly more batpoop insane than American Republicans.

    “Also, conservative doesn’t mean conservative Republican, as many seem to think here. Conservatism applies to Democrats and Libertarians as well. Libertarians and Conservative Democrats are generally socially moderate/liberal, and fiscally conservative, biggest difference being Democrats favor larger government. However, social conservatism is often labeled as “facist”, most commonly because the far right likes to push religious ideals onto society, but not necessarily force people to become Christian, that’s a fundamental difference.”

    LOL, here’s one: Mike Huckabee saying people should trash the constitution as it is; prominent Republicans arguing sans evidence that there shouldn’t be freedom of belief; Charlie Crist publicly ripping a GOP sticker off an atheist in red-faced anger after the atheist said they were an atheist; the whole bloody party being homophobic; the huge influence of theocrats within the party, et cetera et cetera. As I said, denial of facts.

    “Facists, like Hitler, resort to extreme measures to eradicate society of differing views. I’d argue today’s conservatives are not nearly that extreme.”

    ‘Extreme’ is largely subjective. I would also add that fascism has, according to the polisci literature, a much looser definition that is based largely more around attitude; there are articles about the ‘fourteen points’ of fascism floating around somewhere. I wouldn’t argue that the majority of conservatives around the world have gone fascist, but I’d say many of the people in power within the GOP in the United States are trending heavily that way.

  138. Steve in Dublin

    AC @ #126:

    It is the evolutionist pseudo-scientists and atheists who run the National Science Foundation, PBS (Nova), Discovery, etc. and clearly CENSOR all other opinions.

    And:

    They pointed out how fossils are dated and how layers of sediment are interpreted. Each side went on for hours…most had heard the evolutionist view in Jr high, High school, and college but had NEVER heard contrary EVIDENCE.

    Hahahahaha. I’m afraid you have this all backwards. It’s not the ‘evolutionists’ who are pseudo-scientists. It’s the creationists. And the creationists do not have one single shred of your so-called evidence to support creationism. If they do, then why don’t they publish their ‘evidence’ in a respectable peer-reviewed journal like Nature or Science? Hmm? Nobel prize awaiting the first person(s) to present scientific evidence for creationism, or that refutes any substantive portion of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

    And, BTW, a debate proves nothing. Debates are all about rhetoric and appealing to emotions, and nothing to do with science! That’s why the creationists love to debate real scientists. It lends them a false credibility, and makes the creationists look like they actually have a case, when all they can do in actuality is try to pick holes in the ToE using lame arguments that were refuted 50 years ago. Look up ‘gish gallop’ sometime.

  139. @143: See my post for the reason why these terms are often used with reversed meanings in US politics.

    @144: I also addressed this point. Originally, conservatism was preserving the status quo, and the status quo then was government control of both the economy and of society (back in the days of absolute monarchies). It then took on the meaning of being in favour of this sort of control, the “libertarian” (etymologically, freedom) viewpoint being the opposite, both with respect to the economy and to individual freedom. These are actually better definitions, since they define a programme, rather than just “should we change the status quo, yes or no”. Note also that the original definition (preserver, or “conserve”, the status quo) could be applied to a state where there is a long libertarian tradition and someone wishing to preserve that status quo could be called conservative; this just confuses things.

  140. JJ

    @Philip 143, well said. I agree with those points and the fact that Liberal, in the traditional sense, is not the same as Liberal today, and such. I tried to say it similar to that, but obviously failed to do so in such a clear manner. I didn’t feel like typing a novel there. Libertarian and Conservative are often confused as being alike, when they are not. I consider myself Libertarian and often get ridiculed as a tea partier, right wing extremist, etc. Libertarian is the social opposite of Conservative Republican, even though they share the free market economic principles of the Republicans. For all of you that want to gain a better understanding of where you stand politically, see the Nolan chart link below. Many people that identify themselves as Liberals or Democrats may be surprised to learn they’re actually Libertarian or Centrist. It also explains all the different standings on the political map.

    http://www.nolanchart.com/

  141. JJ

    My last post didn’t send for some reason. In short, good post Phillip, 143, I agree, I was generalizing there. Also, Katharine, if you’re confused about the political map, see the link below and take the quiz to learn where you stand. Modern Liberalism, as it is today, is not the same as the traditional Liberalism.

    http://www.nolanchart.com/

  142. JJ

    My last post didn’t send for some reason. In short, good post Phillip, 143, I agree, I was generalizing there. Also, Katharine, if you’re confused about the political map, see the link below and take the quiz to learn where you stand.

    http://www.nolanchart.com/

  143. Close, AC, but no cigar. A proper Poe has to have some faint air of plausibility about it. If it too batty, no one will believe it is serious.

  144. stdwdh16

    Many of you need to read the constitution. Amendment 10: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This meeans that Texas can set its educational standards as it sees fit. Additionally it may mean that a federal education standard is unconsitiutional. Some of these changes may, in fact, be detrimental, but I agree with posters above who state that this is simply conservatives skewing the ecuational in the reverse of liberals who have been skewing it for years.

  145. I believe this is appropriate for the Texas State Board of Education (or lack thereof.)

    http://xpda.com/bs.jpg

  146. JJ

    Why don’t we ever see a “Liberals Screw History” blog on this website? We all know they’ve been doing it for years.

  147. Neil

    Conservative denial of reality is so hard, diamonds couldn’t cut through it. I keep reading all these posts about the heavy liberal influence in education, about how inserting far-right politics and creationism into the schools is just the pendulum returning to center…

    …what a crock. Perhaps a majority of educators are democrats, but people conveniently ignore the fact that our democrats are hardly all that liberal(compared to other countries, or our own history), but in fact are mostly somewhat conservative centrists, and that the republican party has been dragged to the far right(socially and economically) over the last couple of decades. You are comparing the fanatical lunatics and fantastic propaganda of one side with the most central and reasonable elements of the other, and calling it all equal.

    It’s b.s. and everyone knows it.

    All this ridiculous blather about liberal bias, and the only evidence offered is one poll from a right-wing wank-tank and a bunch of harping on the “noble savage” myth…which really is a myth, because no one was ever taught that the victims of European Imperialism were particularly noble or perfect. It was simply suggested that they were human beings, who perhaps didn’t deserve to be extincted to satisfy the greed of others.

    “Liberal bias”, “the democrats do it too!” This seems to be the dominant myth of modern American politics. It’s always a false equivalence, always stacked in favor of the powerful and the status quo. Conservatives try to violate the constitution and force the bible down everyone’s throats, ignore minorities, rewrite history, put Limbaugh on the same level as Thomas Jefferson, and ignore any problems with their philosophies. And there are millions of worthless idiots, some reading this blog, who will point at something as silly, trivial, and mostly non-existent as the noble savage myth, and claim that there is so much “liberal bias” that examples like the Texas SBOE are just a “return to center.”

    It’s a lie, and one that only a clueless moron could fall for. There is little or no liberal bias in American schools or media. It’s just called “being a decent human being” and “accepting reality.” With all their talk of principles, morals, and personal responsibility, maybe conservatives should give these biased, liberal ideas a try!

  148. Cwinter

    So, what if communists were infiltrating the U.S.? They still are,for the most part, because of the big business Republicans. Except the new communist infiltration is more insidious and under cuts the structure of the U.S. than a few Soviets spying in the 1950s. The Republicans have been in bed with the communist Chinese for years. It is called market-leninism. In fact, their ideal nation would be modeled after the authoritarian, one party Chinese state, except instead of the government holding wealth and services in trust for the people, it will be the big corporations owning everything. They will have control over everything and everybody. The U.S. government via the Republicans have already instituted the surveillance society and attempts at broad-scale privatization and marketization. What next? The U.S. is doomed because of the political fascists. I say let’s dissolve the U.S., each claim a territory, and have a peaceful population transfer based on lifestyles and values. Then, the fascists can have their one party state and their state church (which ultimately is capitalism). They can indoctrinate their children which those of us who just want to live and enjoy life in peace free from religion in our face will most probably have to fight in a war later. How did we get to this point? We defeated the fascists in the 1940s. We will have to do it again on our own soil this century. Geezus. They do have some good points in changing the curriculum but unforunately the Republicans are deceitful therefore we can assume their views will be just as imbalanced as some of what is currently taught. Still, there is a domestic war brewing on the American horizon. I hope so. We need to kill of some of the crazies on the right and left in this country. I will be dead probably by the time it happens but I hope it does. The destructiveness of war is the only thing that will bring people back to reason or reason to people.

  149. fsticfrankie

    Ah…Republican revisionism,that breath of bad air that changes things. Imagine what the world would be if we could edit these people out of existence.

  150. Dibou

    Liberals get so upset when non-liberals try to correct the damage they wrought. Liberals burn books, censor, and re-write history and then turn around and call it enlightenment.

  151. Liberals get so upset when non-liberals try to correct the damage they wrought. Liberals burn books, censor, and re-write history and then turn around and call it enlightenment.

    Someone’s high about the burning and censorship. (Of course, if it does happen, please point out where. Oh, and rejecting fluffy newage [rhymes with ‘sewage’] fallacy-ridden Creationist tripe submitted for publication for scientific journals and textbooks doesn’t count. Rejecting something for lack of merit is one of the few legitimate forms of discrimination.)

    And, of course, I should point out that the correct response to revisionism is to support truthful books, not to perform conservative whitewashing of an opportunistic, incompetent, unpatriotic villain like McCarthy. You don’t get to be called a patriot for trying to reshape America to be more like the enemy.

    Other topic I saw mentioned way back: The “noble savage” “in balance with nature” version of Native Americans: I got a bit of that in my youth, though it’s hard to remember how much was from school, and how much was from anvilicious very special episodes of my cartoons. Thankfully, I’ve grown out of that. People are people. Some were savage, others less so. Don’t know the proportions, but either way, genocide shouldn’t have happened, damn my “liberal” presentist bias against the temporal cultural relativism of racists.

    I mostly post about this other bit to vent while avoiding the feeding of a racist troll/straw man factory my readers have gotten bored of. 1 month of waffling followed by 7 of repetition of said straw men, including eye-rolling glurge.

    Oh well. Back to your regularly scheduled comments.

    …Parenthetical remarks are fun, even if Strunk and White or whoever look down on them.

  152. Steve L

    I am really confused by all this talk about Liberal Bias in schools. I am not that old — and can’t imagine that school has changed that much in 18 years. Almost all of what I learned (in Massachusetts) was totally biased to the right.

  153. Luke

    I read a lot about balancing out. Let’s see this in a broader perspective, shall we? The world is just a tiny bit bigger than the US of A alone. Almost everywhere in the western civilized world, a typical ‘liberal’ from the States would be regarded as right-wing conservative. Really. Barack Obama would fit right in with the (moderate) right-wing political parties in Europe.

    The United States have no liberal party. And no major left-wing media. The non-GOP are already balanced to the right. The GOP drags this over to extreme right “for balance”? There seems to be an obsessive fear of anything socialist, communist, humanist. There is no balance in the USA.

    Any European country (heck, any democracy we know of) has had universal healthcare (and a lot of other ‘communist’ laws) for decades. Are they generally in better shape than the USA? Are the people happier? Do they have more freedom? Better life-expectancy? Less crime? Less murders? Less drug-addicts? Less abortions? Less teenage pregnancies? Less high-school drop-outs?

    In most international surveys, the answer is surprisingly often a ‘yes’ to all of those.

    Let’s learn, instead of fight.

  154. squirrelelite

    A brief update:

    Roger Ebert posted a blog on this on April 1. It includes many related videos.

    I like his proposal near the end:

    ” I have a simple proposal. More enlightened states should refuse to play along. Their State Boards could require generally-accepted educational standards, and vote against purchasing the corrupted Texas texts. This would have the result of limiting the influence of the Texas religious right over the rest of the country. And it would allow publishers to cling to a certain degree of self-respect.”

    Here is the link:
    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/the_texas_school_book_reposito.html

  155. Jim

    Sometimes seeing the actual draft with markups and the thought process revealed is quite breathtaking as opposed the final copy.

    http://best-pov.blogspot.com/2010/05/proposed-revisions-to-19-tac-chapter.html

  156. DBrown1447

    These claims by the religious right that our founding fathers intended a Christian nation are specious.

    The words “God,” “Christian,” “Bible” and “Jesus” are found nowhere in the Constitution. Not one single time. Zip. Nada. Nor the predecessor Articles of Confederation. Nor the Bill of Rights (1791). Nor the 17 Amendments to the Constitution enacted after the Bill Of Rights. Zero for four.

    Nor the original coin currency. Zero for five.

    Nor the original paper currency. Zero for six.

    In fact, the United States was the first Western Nation to omit explicitly Christian symbolism, such as the cross, from its flag and other national symbols. Zero for seven.

    The words “God,” “Christian,” “Bible” and “Jesus” were also not in the National Anthem penned in 1814. Zero for eight.

    You also won’t find them in the original Pledge of Allegiance (written in 1892). Zero for nine.

    Do we notice a trend developing here? Christianity’s throwin’ a no-hitter. With apologies to Carl Sagan, in this case “Absence of Evidence IS Evidence of Absence.”

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