Teaching Right-Wing Propaganda (Part 2)

Some time ago, I began explaining how ACE promotes right-wing propaganda in its politics syllabus. Now, I think, would be a good time to give some concrete examples.

In ACE, students learn “to see the world from God’s point of view.” And it turns out that God’s economic policies are somewhere to the right of Milton Friedman.

All healthcare is against God’s will

Even though Jesus told us to take care of the sick, ACE is adamant that it is absolutely not God’s will for government to have any part in this. Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, is viewed as one of the most evil presidents America has ever had (unlike, say, George W. Bush, who’s an all-round good egg):

“The year 1933 was a dark one in American history. In that year, President Roosevelt began introducing socialistic programs which now play such an important role in American politics, economics, religion, and education. In 1933, America began shifting from a nation whose philosophy was a conservative, God-fearing one to a nation whose philosophy was a liberal and socialistic one.”

Social Studies 1094, p. 5

Because God is a right-winger, any form of socialistic programme is antithetical to the will of God. The Founding Fathers of America knew this, because they intended for America to be a nation under God:

“The men who founded the United States were not all Christians, but they all believed in God, Creator and Ruler of the Universe. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both written by men who looked to God for wisdom rather than relying on their own. The laws of the first colonies, and eventually the states, were based almost entirely on God’s Law, the Bible. Because of the faith of the early citizens of the United States and because of the Biblical foundation of its government and laws, God blessed the United States; and it became the strongest and most prosperous nation on Earth.”

Social Studies 1101, p. 29

So what did these God-fearing, Bible-following men say about healthcare?

“The Founding Fathers’ plan for government, the Constitution, included the protection of citizens, the promotion of general welfare, and the provision for a common defense [sic]. It did not include the giving of handouts to citizens!”

Social Studies 1094, p.  6

In my previous entry on this subject, I argued that ACE uses a form of Newspeak. In Democracy and Intolerance, Frances Paterson makes the same argument. ACE simply defines certain terms as evil, usually by implication rather than directly. “Socialist”, “liberal”, “humanist”, “secular”, and “Communist” are all words that students simply understand are Ungood. So when they want a student to know something is Bad, they don’t have to explain why. They just attach one of those adjectives to it, and the student is conditioned to know this is wrong. A passage like this only makes sense in this context:

“Later, more direct forms of government aid, such as Medicare and Medicaid were funded by social security. Like many other government programs, these programs are socialistic.”

Social Studies 1094, p.  6

So, does God want government to help the poor? Emphatically, He does not.

“Scripture plainly teaches that widows, the needy, and others who cannot provide for themselves are to have their needs met. I Timothy 5:16 states, ‘If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let no the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.’ God’s plan is for these needs to be met first by family members, and the by local churches, but not by government programs. [emphasis added]

“The New Deal was never able to bring America out of the depression because the key to economic recovery is not government programs but private enterprise. Cutting taxes reduces prices, allows workers to keep more of the money they earn, and encourages spending.”

Ibid., p. 7

Now, it isn’t the content I’m objecting to here (although I do object to that as well), anything like as much as the way it is taught.

Of course, there are economists who think this way, and it’s possible, dear Reader, that you are one of them. Even if you agree entirely with ACE’s laissez faire economics, you have to recognise that this is no way to teach politics. Top level economists disagree on this stuff; it is not established fact. Students must be taught how to evaluate the arguments on each side, and to understand that there is more than one credible view (and one as extreme as ACE’s isn’t especially credible in my view, anyway).

Teaching this way promotes intolerance and disrespect of other peoples views. It fails to develop higher-order thinking skills, and it does not equip students to engage with and evaluate new ideas later. This inflexible way of thinking doesn’t prepare students for the real world.

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