I have written several articles on Education. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on education.
Civil rights activist the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Several years ago, I wrote this quote on a whiteboard in my classroom as a reminder to me about why education matters and why it is important to present diverse perspectives to students to exercise their minds. I also explained the point to my students in a direct but profound manner: Ignorance is a sincere lack of knowledge, but a failure to seek knowledge and feed the mind is a choice to lack intelligence. Sadly, this is where we are currently.
When teaching persuasive writing, in general, English teachers discuss the various propaganda techniques that society uses to persuade. These techniques can be quite effective in society. They can influence people to buy a car, try the latest weight loss supplement, or donate to protect wildlife or animals who will be euthanized. Propaganda isn’t new, and it isn’t new to politics. It is the frenzied propaganda we are witnessing currently that has collided with education. This collision centers around Critical Race Theory (CRT) and a particular demographic of citizens who want it banned from being taught in K-12 schools.
There is little evidence at this time that this complex theory is included in the curricula of school districts anywhere in the United States. In fact, the nonpartisan organization Association of American Educators conducted a survey and received 1,134 responses and 900 of them were from traditional public schools. According to this association, “More than 96 percent said their schools did not require them to teach critical race theory and only 45 percent said that teachers should have the option to add it to their lesson plan” (“Teaching critical race theory isn’t happening, teachers say in survey,” NBC News, 1 July 2021).
I need to be transparent: I used this theory when I wrote my dissertation. It was not a theory I was familiar with until I pursued a doctorate. This particular theory fit the research questions that I wanted to examine. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to use CRT. I took classes and studied it, relying on numerous texts and research articles about Critical Legal Studies, history, and CRT in education. It took a considerable amount of time (two years) to master CRT enough to write my dissertation.
Let me emphasize this: YEARS. To be clear, teachers don’t have months or years in K-12 to present any theories to students when we have standards and a timeline to move through curricula.
I won’t spend time explaining CRT because there is a plethora of information that can be accessed in seconds. The fact that this theory has been used as some “catchall” for some political and ideological agenda to excise discussions of uncomfortable truths in American history is disturbing. If people want to know the nascent nature of this anti-CRT “movement,” that information is available as well, and some reading will help connect the dots. Anti-CRT protests are actually anti-truth protests. Your stories live here. Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.
The truth is some horrible things happened in American history just like some great things happened. However, there is a concerted effort to eradicate the horrific parts to recreate and revise how this country was formed and the extent those in power went to build the United States. Because some are uncomfortable with the bad and ugly of history, schools are being pressured to withhold parts of history, start history at 1776, and prevent schools and teachers from providing multiple perspectives of history so that students can critique the information for themselves. Schools are pressured to lie to students to maintain a myth. Districts are being pressured to not discuss diversity and inclusion and not mention words such as slavery, race and racism. Weaponizing schooling for a political agenda and power grab is dangerous.
Students deserve an opportunity to receive accurate and complete information and be encouraged to grapple with this information through analysis and critique. This is how we help students become critical thinkers and informed citizens. Anything besides this is indoctrination. It is ironic that anti-CRTers accuse CRT of indoctrinating students, but the indoctrination takes place when students are deliberately being denied the truth. At this point, we have to sincerely question the purpose of schooling. Are we going to open the minds of students and let them acquire knowledge or are we going to engage in mind control?
On which side do we want students to fall? Sincerely ignorant or conscientiously stupid? What would we prefer schools to do? Teach facts and let students wrestle with them and critically think or inculcate them with lies and a propagandized curriculum? This contrived controversy is dangerous and is hurting students and teachers’ ability to deliver instruction with fidelity. This precarious time for education and for our students.
The United States is being taken over from forces that are embedded within our country and of course, we are threatened by foreign forces.
The domestic-inspired insurgency is the most dangerous threat to our way of life because it seeks to remove the underpinnings of our society which forms the basis for which we would defend ourselves from those that would seek to enslave and destroy us.
Before one can totally subjugate a country and force-feed the cancer that we call globalism upon the American people, the children must first be controlled. For if the children are not controlled, the ruling authority could face generations of rebellion. By gaining control of the education system, which is designed to dumb down students, the ensuing resistance will have a short shelf life.
Any educational revolution must begin with undermining the system of government and turning the culture of the country upside down and this is exactly what we have seen with the implementation of Common Core as developed by the United Nations and handed off to the Obama administration.
The mainstream media would have the country believe that Common Core is dead, however, nothing could be further from the truth.
From Education Week:
- To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia have kept Common Core totally intact.
- 11 states announced a major Common Core rewrite. However, they still have the bulk of Common Core permeating their respective education systems.. Essentially these states have kept the bulk of Common Core concepts within its education systems.
- Four states never adopted Common Core.
- One state only adopted Common Core in Language Arts.
The net effect of Common Core is still forced upon unsuspecting students and parents which comprises over 90% of all students. So the claim that Common Core is dead and buried is false and misleading.
Destroying the Culture By Eviscerating the Morals of Children
Did you know that pedophilia is a sexual orientation? At least that is what government-based school officials in California believe and they are forcing this abomination, or should I say Obamanation, down the throats of our youngest and most impressionable people.
This perversion of becoming the mainstream belief in many school districts as evidenced by what is going on in the Brea Olinda School District (BOUSD). Amazingly, district officials are not even trying to hide this outrage. At a parent-orientation meeting earlier this year, the BOUSD , stated that teaching pedophilia as a sexual orientation is “no big deal”. At least that is what Assistant Superintendent of Curricula Kerrie Torres stated in a very matter-of-fact manner, where in effect, this District, like so many others, are stating that sex between a boy and a man is indeed nothing but an expression of a sexual orientation. To make it clear, the leading officials in the BOUSD have made it clear that they are ignoring the rape laws I every state and declaring this inhumane act as a sexual orientation.
This represents the undermining of the American culture. This is the kind of propaganda that will open the door to more extremist positions that children are being forced to accept.
Yet, there is another example how children’s moral fiber is being threatened.
Pretending to be teaching “media literacy” and other educational topics, there is a disguised and a new web series called the “Radical Cram School” that is indoctrinating young Asian girls and other “people of color” into becoming radical feminists, socialists, racists, revolutionaries, anti-American zealots, and full-blown social-justice warriors.” This program also promotes gender confusion and “The Resistance” against President Trump. The intent is omnipresent. Trump is associated with populism and patriotism. The globalists seek to destroy these concepts and by linking these ideas to repugnant and false charges of racism and sexism, populism and patriotism is radicalized in children’s minds. In one episode on “vocabulary” the creator of the program introduces the girls to something called “gender non-binary” and “gender fluid.” This concept, one of the young girls says, means that a child can choose to be any gender they want to be In this program, a child is not just a boy or a girl. They typically give answers that they are “gender fluid.”
Dumbing Down the Masses
It is a well-known fact that the early industrialists, when setting up the public education system designed to make immigrant children factory ready, they had some very well-defined goals. First, they did not want to educate children beyond the 6th grade. The reason was simple, these early globalists wanted their employees to be educated enough to do their job, but not so smart that they would challenge the status quo of society. The dumbing down of America, through such practices as Common Core are accomplishing this goal. Sadly, most administrators and school board members are ignorant to the systemic demise related to the cognitive development of our children.
Even major contributors to Common Core are seeing the increasingly destructive role that Common Core is having on America;s children, especially in the area of reading comprehension. On the SAT, reading comprehension has declined by 40 points and we owe it all to Common Core.
Take the case of Common Core contributor, Dr Louisa Moats, who has lashed out at the final product. Moats has been tirelessly criticizing the U.S. Department of Education’s increasingly detrimental role in education. In an interview with Freedom Project Media’s The Newman Report, Dr. Moats slammed the early literacy component of the Obama-backed national standards for being deeply flawed and contributing to a national reading crisis
An ignorant population will never know the difference when tyranny is forced upon them. Why do you think the Founding Fathers are being “phased out” of American education?
The intent to dumb down the masses takes a quantum leap forward with the following:
As government education gets more and more dumbed down, lawmakers in North Carolina are working on legislation to cement a grading scale into place for public schools in which a 40 percent is considered a passing grade. Yes, seriously.
The proposed bill with the grading scale would not affect student grades — after all, students are routinely graduating from government schools unable to even read their high-school diploma so there is no need to mess with the phony grades being dispensed like candy. The reality of “grade inflation” is now well established as government increasingly rewards teachers and schools that give students the best grades while punishing those that give students grades reflecting their work. One teacher in Florida was even fired for objecting to the grade lunacy.
Under the proposed North Carolina grading scale for schools, which has already been in use for years but would be made permanent with HB 145, an “A” school could earn an 85 percent and up, while B schools would need a 70 percent or more. Anything between 40 and 54 percent would secure a “D,” meaning the school would be considered a “passing” school. Even with the ludicrous scale, one in five schools in some counties are “failing.”
This is not just confined to North Carolina. In Arizona, the Deer Valley School District is embracing many of these concepts and are in the process of implementing grading practices which will leave their children intellectually defenseless.
Neo-Marxist indoctrination of children appears to be unavoidable, whether parents like it or not.
From prep schools to public schools, in blue states and red states, students are being force-fed a curriculum rich in equity, diversity and anti-racism, a report noted.
Even in school districts that are still struggling to reopen for in-person learning, the move is on to set up offices of diversity, equity and inclusion, hire directors, bring in consultants for trainings and undergo “anti-racism audits,” Valerie Richardson wrote for The Washington Times on May 20.
In Oklahoma, Norman Public Schools hired its first full-time DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) director and spent $22,750 on equity consultants during the 2020-2021 academic year even though the district lost students during the covid pandemic, the report said.
“What’s interesting to me is that so many people have a misimpression that this is a California or Manhattan issue, and this shows that this is in red states. This is in conservative areas,” said Nicole Neily, president and founder of the newly formed Parents Defending Education advocacy group.
“This is a public school district, but it’s in places where I think a lot of community members aren’t even aware that this is in their backyard.”
Though critical race theory is seen by many as little more than repackaged Marxism, schools nationwide are making it a party of their curriculum, insisting that they are attempting to confront “systemic racism.”
“This is a serious problem that parents are realizing across the country,” Elizabeth L. Schultz, a former Fairfax County school board member, said Thursday on Fox News.
“The pandemic has revealed that our education system is being weaponized by school boards.”
The social justice push in schools gained momentum from the Black Lives Matter riots that followed the death of George Floyd.
“From Beaverton, Oregon, to Wellesley, Massachusetts, we have noticed a pattern,” said Asra Q. Nomani, PDE vice president of strategy and investigations. “Since June 2020, high-priced ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ activists and consultants have exploited George Floyd’s death to get millions of dollars in new business with school districts and schools around the country.”
Among those jumping on the social justice bandwagon:
• In Indiana, Noblesville Schools hired its first equity and inclusion “coach” in November. A month later, Carmel Clay Schools brought on a DEI officer for the first time at an annual salary of $90,846, The Indianapolis Star reported.
• In New Hampshire, the Manchester School District announced in February a job search for its first chief equity officer at an advertised annual salary of $110,000 to $120,000 as the system seeks to implement its Excellence and Equity for All Learners plan.
• In Kentucky, the Paducah School Board approved the hiring of a chief equity officer in April after an 18-year-old photo of the superintendent in blackface appeared online. The job includes coordinating an equity audit with the University of Kentucky, according to The Paducah Sun.
• In Maryland, Montgomery County Schools allocated a whopping $454,000 for an “anti-racist system audit” by the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch released Wednesday.
• In Virginia, Fairfax County Public Schools agreed to pay $49,600 to the Leadership Academy, a New York-based consultant, for “survey and policy work,” as shown on documents posted by Parents Defending Education. The survey “asks respondents biased, unscientific leading questions about upending a policy that requires teacher impartiality in discussing ‘controversial issues’ and creating a new ‘Anti-Racist, Anti-Bias Curriculum,’” according to the organization.
If districts are spending this much on equity training, consultants and audits, asked Neily, then what is being shortchanged?
“How many children are reading at grade level in that school district? How many are performing math at grade level?” she asked. “Schools have gotten away on focusing on what we send our kids to school for, and when they turn into these other things, what are they not doing?”
Pushing Parents Out, Biden Administration Further Weaponizes ‘Education’
When it comes to education policy, the Biden administration is making the radicalism of the Obama years look mild by comparison.
The goal is to ultimately replace parents with bureaucrats and “experts” to facilitate the indoctrination of America’s youth. That transformation is accelerating.
Not only are the education system and America’s children being weaponized against America, federal law enforcement is now being weaponized against parents who speak out about it.
If left unchecked, catastrophe awaits. However, the more monstrous the federally directed abuses in schools become, the more outraged Americans join the fight.
The future of the nation is literally on the line in this issue. The outcome of the battle between who will raise children—government or parents—will determine the fate of America.
Parents, Get Out of the Way
The attitude toward parents in Washington has long been hostile. Hillary Clinton famously claimed in 1996 that it “takes a village” to raise children. What she really meant, of course, was a government village.
In fact, during the Obama years, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan publicly called for some children to be in government “boarding schools” 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Others should remain in school, including “after school programming,” for 12 to 14 hours each day, he declared.
A policy document (pdf) drafted by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services called for home visits by government officials and argued that parents could be “equal partners” with government in the rearing of their children.
But as fringe as those totalitarian views may sound to normal people, the extremism has now been taken to a whole new level under the current administration.
When Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana asked Education Secretary Miguel Cardona if parents should be the “primary stakeholder” in the education of their children, it would have been easy to spit one’s coffee on the floor.
Of course, parents should never be viewed as mere “stakeholders” in the education of their children, “primary” or otherwise. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, “stakeholder” is defined as “one that has a stake in an enterprise” or “one who is involved in or affected by a course of action.”
To call a mother or father a “stakeholder” in one of the most important facets of their child’s life is like calling a pilot of a private plane a “stakeholder” in whether his plane will land successfully or not. Technically it’s true. But it’s an outrage nonetheless.
Mothers and fathers should be in charge of their children’s education—not bystanders or “stakeholders.” This has been the case in virtually every human society for millennia. It’s also what the Bible clearly prescribes.
But the Biden administration, by contrast, does not believe parents should have any say in the “education” of children.
Cardona could not even bring himself to concede that parents should be the “primary stakeholders” in their children’s education.
“I believe parents are important stakeholders,” Cardona responded to Braun’s question, adding that “educators” also “have a role in determining educational programming.”
Indeed. That’s a nice way of saying: Parents, get out of the way, the Biden administration and its “experts” know better what and how your child should learn. More on that later.
Democrat Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAullife, who wisely sent his children to private school, famously put it this way in a debate in September: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
Targeting Concerned Parents as ‘Terrorists’
As if matters could not get any worse, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, responding to an outrageous letter from the National Association of School Boards (NASB) painting concerned parents as possible “domestic terrorists,” decided to sic the FBI on moms and dads.
Among other concerns, Garland cited (pdf) “harassment” and “intimidation” by parents against the people brainwashing their kids with critical race theory (CRT), Marxist ideology, gender confusion, hyper-sexualized propaganda, and more. No examples of actual, legitimate threats were cited.
One of the examples of the supposed “threat” cited by the NASB was Scott Smith. What sort of dangerous domestic terrorist was Smith? Well, he was arrested for “disorderly conduct” while trying to tell the school board about his daughter being allegedly sodomized by a male pretending to be a girl in the girls’ restroom under the federally supported “transgender” dictates on bathrooms.
The other examples are equally outlandish: a ticket for “trespassing,” a nasty letter, a “Nazi salute” to protest mandatory face masks, somebody describing the school board as “Marxist,” and similar horrors requiring the might of the federal beast.
This is, of course, not about actual threats or violence, however. It’s naked intimidation of parents who are struggling to make their voices heard.
It’s also the political weaponization of federal law-enforcement in a way that’s unprecedented in American history. In fact, most parallels involve totalitarian dictatorships rather than civilized and free societies.
Fortunately, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other state and local leaders are working to protect children in their jurisdictions from this outrageous abuse by the Biden administration. But it’s not enough to stop the freight train of evil being pumped into local schools by Washington.
The irony of treating desperate moms and dads as terrorists after pretending not to see months on end of actual domestic terrorism from rioters and looters burning down major American cities and even police precincts defies belief. Welcome to the “new normal.”
Even the former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, Kevin Brock, has warned that the FBI should ignore Garland’s Orwellian directive.
After sparking a firestorm of criticism and alarming Americans across the political spectrum—and after being rebuked by state and local school boards nationwide—the NASB reluctantly apologized.
But nobody with a brain believes for a second that the education establishment would not sic the FBI and Homeland Security on angry parents if it thought it could get away with it.
Targeting State and Local Leaders, Too
Not long before announcing that the FBI and the Department of Justice would be employed to bully and intimidate parents, the Biden administration announced “civil rights” investigations into state leaders that refused to force children to wear masks at school against their parents’ wishes.
The threat, made by Cardona, invoked the communist understanding of “rights” to claim that everyone has a “right” to a government “education.” As such, states that do not force all children to wear face masks are somehow violating the supposed “rights” of some children to an education.
Yes, seriously. This is the so-called logic of the people who have usurped control over “educating” your children for you.
When Florida and other states sought to limit the ability of local school boards to force masks on children against their parents’ wishes, the Biden administration also vowed to send COVID stimulus money to local officials who defied their state government and state law.
Before that, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a video urging children confused about their gender to report their local communities to the feds if government schools did not fully bow down to the “transgenderism” madness being pushed on America from D.C. and Hollywood.
The video, which featured transgender Health and Human Services bigwig Dr. Rachel Levine and senior officials from the Department of Education and the DOJ, gave multiple websites for children to get the feds involved in protecting their “rights” to use opposite-sex bathrooms, play on opposite-sex sports teams, and more.
The message was clear: Trust Biden, not your family or your community. And if anyone interferes with your supposed “right” to shower or relieve yourself or wrestle with members of the opposite sex, team Biden will unleash the fury of the weaponized federal machine.
So far there has been no federal intervention to protect the rights of Scott Smith’s daughter, though.
The Biden Agenda: CRT
At the top of Biden’s “education” agenda is using the education system to further divide parents and children, as well as the nation, while weaponizing impressionable youngsters in the war against their own country and its institutions.
Earlier this year, for example, the Department of Education proposed a “regulation” to inject even more Marxist race-mongering and CRT into public schools nationwide.
Under the scheme, the feds are bribing schools with “grants” and “incentives” paid with U.S. taxpayer money.
Among other elements, the administrative edict creates “American History and Civics Education programs” designed to radically change the teaching of history and civics. Between statements on “systemic racism” and “anti-racist practices,” the nature of the changes being sought is easy to discern.
Indeed, the Department of Education actually cited the debunked “1619 Project,” a fake history narrative addressed in part 17 of this series, as one of the inspirations for the effort.
The New York Times’ propaganda version of history, which has been ridiculed even by left-wing historians for its errors, turns U.S. history on its head. It paints the first nation in history founded on the premise that all are created equal—the first nation where abolition of slavery took root—into a uniquely evil nation with racism and slavery supposedly in its very “DNA.”
Also cited by the Education Department for the proposed regulation was the work of Ibram X. Kendi, one of the premier proponents of CRT and author of books such as “Anti-Racist Baby.”
Among other ideas, Kendi advocates a “Department of Antiracism” that would serve as an unelected racial dictatorship with power to overturn any law or rule it dislikes.
To qualify for the Education Department funding, state and local “education” officials would have to incorporate the administration’s extremist ideologies into the classroom—evil ideologies that divide children by “race” for sinister purposes while teaching a twisted (and false) version of American history and government.
Almost 40 U.S. senators and tens of thousands of citizens in official comments blasted the scheme’s overtly anti-American extremism.
Only after that massive outcry did the administration backtrack even slightly and remove some of the most outrageous language and references. But the somewhat scaled-back rule was still implemented, and the vision remains clear despite the attempted obfuscation.
To illustrate just how committed the administration is to this poison, in early October they appointed political activist Precious McKesson to a senior post at the Education Department. McKesson is a strong advocate of CRT, and she even recently expressed her support for teaching all children about the alleged “systemic racism” of America.
Ironically, perhaps, Garland’s son-in-law’s company reportedly supports CRT teaching in government schools, sparking concerns about a potential conflict of interest in the decision to sic the feds on parents.
The O’Biden Agenda: Centralize and Get Them Young!
The proposed $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” abomination that Biden and congressional Democrats are trying to ram through Congress without the support of a single Republican is packed with “education” gimmicks, too. If approved, the descent into collective madness will accelerate.
One of the major schemes Biden and his handlers are trying to get through, this time with the “Reconciliation” bill, is a $200 billion program for universal pre-kindergarten. The goal: Get all of America’s children into government indoctrination programs even earlier.
Under the proposed plan, which may be rammed through Congress on a partisan vote with no filibusters allowed, all children in America ages 3 and 4 would receive federally directed, tax-funded “pre-K” through government schools.
None of this should be surprising. During the Obama years, the same warped view of “education” and parents reigned in Washington and throughout the monstrosity improperly referred to as the nation’s “public education” system.
Common Core, for example, was used to cement national standards into place using bullying and bribes from the stimulus slush fund.
And lest anyone think this was actually about “improving” education, the federal government funded a study showing “significant negative effects” on grade 4 reading after the standards were put in place. Less than one third of the victims of government school at grade 8 are proficient in core subjects, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveals.
But academic achievement was never really the goal. Under Obama and Common Core, parents and elected school boards were out, while D.C. bureaucrats and special-interest groups funded by billionaire profiteers were in.
The plan succeeded wildly, with parents nationwide unable to help their children with “Common Core” math while states and school districts struggle for breathing room in the straitjacket of the national standards.
Also under Obama, federally funded so-called Full-Service Community Schools revealed perhaps the most brazen attempt to sideline parents in American history. These federally backed institutions, which are now scattered across the nation, promise to handle the dental health, mental health, nutritional needs, and much more for every child in their “care.”
It would be more honest to refer to these institutions as “parental replacement centers,” but of course those behind the agenda would never be so honest.
As explored in part 10 of this series, this federal usurpation of authority over families and schools accelerated rapidly under Obama. It’s now reaching a climax under Biden. And it has resulted in the absolute decimation of whatever may have once been decent in America’s disastrous “education” system.
From the 1960s’ Supreme Court opinions imposing humanism and ousting Christianity to the federal funding that eventually paved the way for control over standards and so much else, Washington’s influence over schools has been toxic from the start.
Under Obama and now Biden, the globalization of the indoctrination system described in part 9 of this series also came out of the closet, with Obama’s Education Secretary referring to the U.N. education agency as his “global partner” in the process.
Indeed, Common Core’s own architects and proponents bragged that the controversial standards were aligned with “international standards” even as training for “global citizenship” became ubiquitous.
This is about more than the government simply brainwashing your children. This is about removing you from the picture almost entirely so that the forces of wickedness, perversion, and tyranny can poison your children’s minds and souls unimpeded by pesky parents.
As this series has documented extensively, this was always the goal of the “education” establishment going back to the Utopian and even socialist architects of the system: communist Robert Owen, collectivist Utopian Horace Mann, and socialist–humanist luminary John Dewey.
Obviously, attending school board meetings to express concerns is not a viable strategy for protecting children. In fact, it may even lead to harassment and intimidation from the politicized and disgraced FBI. It may be worth doing, but it will not save your children.
While it’s critical for parents to be involved and for state and local government to resist the Biden administration’s escalating attacks, the only true long-term solution is an exodus from the government’s indoctrination system.
Reversing the trend of liberal indoctrination
“challenging, but it can be done”
“Reversing the 50-60-year trend of liberal indoctrination is challenging, but it can be done.”
As we inch toward the start of another semester, there is much uncertainty that exists on college campuses throughout the country. However, one thing will remain a constant, and it is how ill-equipped incoming students are with their lack of knowledge in American history, government, and politics. In the name of cultural awareness and diversity, American history and government has been deemphasized. The focus tends to be on America’s failures with no context given to students and without simultaneously pointing out America’s accomplishments and the tremendous good our nation has bestowed upon human civilization.
Liberal indoctrination has been going on for decades, and when you factor this in with the failures of the education system as a whole, it is little wonder why we are witnessing a hatred of America today. The results are clear. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, only 23 percent of graduating seniors are proficient in Government and Civics, and 11 percent are proficient in American History. This is the “largest ongoing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do.” These numbers have remained stagnant for quite some time, and they are a national embarrassment, but it’s something I have witnessed first-hand each and every semester.
I have been teaching for nearly 15 years. I begin each semester with the same two assignments. On the first day, students are given a citizenship quiz. This quiz tests basic knowledge about government, such as identifying the Speaker of the House, naming the authors of the Federalist Papers, specifying the branch of government that has the power to declare war, and knowing what the first 10 Amendments are also known as. Out of approximately 210 students, each semester, only 12-18 students are able to pass the exam. A more troubling trend is that in recent semesters, out of 6 classes, there are usually 2-3 classes where a single student cannot pass the exam.
If you find this lack of knowledge disconcerting, it gets worse. For the second assignment, students are required to read the U.S. Constitution; however, I provide them the Russian Constitution instead. Within the document, I swap out the “Russian Federation” with the “United States” and “Duma” with “Congress.” They are required to read the constitution and write a short essay giving their opinion of the document. The responses would be hysterical if it wasn’t so sad. The reality is the essay should be one sentence, “This is not the U.S. Constitution.” Instead, I get long-winded essays about how visionary and smart the founding fathers were. In fact, only 6-8 students per semester are able to identify that they are not reading the U.S. Constitution.
If college students cannot pass a basic citizenship exam and are completely unfamiliar with our Constitution, it is clear they know little about our government and our history. It is also clear they lack the knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of our institutions. Because of this lack of knowledge, many students lack any real appreciation for what the United States stands for and what we have accomplished in our short history. It is this lack of knowledge that allows college students to be easily manipulated and indoctrinated into the liberal socialist mentalities that plague college campuses throughout the country.
The radical left will stop at nothing to intimidate conservative students on college campuses. You can help expose them. Find out more »
If you want to understand why we are witnessing so many young Americans destroying statues and monuments with impunity and believing the United States is a racist nation, look no further than the bias against American values they are routinely presented with throughout their academic career. As a result of this, the youth call for the destruction of American principles and institutions.
Conservatives like myself are rare in academia. We do exist, but we are outnumbered on college campuses. In some cases, the ratios are as disparate as 11:1, depending on the college or university. As a Conservative professor, it is not my job to impose my beliefs or to indoctrinate the students. Rather, it is my duty to get my students to open their minds, think critically, and challenge their preconceived biases. If a student brings up a liberal argument, I will challenge them from a conservative point-of-view and likewise, if a student takes a conservative argument, I will challenge them from a liberal point-of-view.
Regardless of the ideological makeup of my students, I consistently hear the same message that I am the first professor to actually offer perspectives from all sides which allows every student to think critically and independently. Students leave my classroom with an appreciation of the founding of this country, and the accomplishments we have made throughout our history irrespective of ideology. My students understand that they can stand against racism and discrimination, and still appreciate the United States. They can fight and protest for equality under the law, and still celebrate the greatness of America. Young Americans will open their minds if we allow them to, but only if they have educators encouraging and supporting their ability to think critically. Reversing the 50-60-year trend of liberal indoctrination is challenging, but it can be done.
Americas History: Has it Been Covered Up?
The effects of misrepresenting history has continued to advance negative attitudes and hasn’t allowed wrongs to be righted as well as injustices being addressed. It’s important to shed light on this issue because we’re discounting other cultural races contributions and ownership. This issue is also promoting racism because it’s only showing a singular race in a good way and thus not allowing for equality. History has been very one sided and promotes a one sided view. Why did America cover up its past? What are the effects of covering up the past? What are specific events that have been covered up? These are questions to be answered in this research paper. Previous assumptions were that sources traditionally used were correct. The assumption was that the media can be trusted. Better methods are accurate resources with past inaccurate resources and showing how some are misrepresented. Getting accurate documents is another method. Actual interviews are also people’s understanding of certain historical events that contradicts what actually happens and showing how textbooks and literature should continue to be put under this scrutiny.
Many books as well as sites show this misrepresentation but one in particular shows how textbooks “Reflect Americas refusal to reckon with slavery”(Greenlee). The current climate, racial tensions, and Native American issues and how they are truly treated is evidence that there continues to be a lack of equality possibly encouraged by these past historical inaccuracies. Women were misrepresented as well but now there is a movement for empowerment of not only women but also Blacks, Native Americans, and Asians.
This research paper will look at actual current and historical inaccurate documents as well as literature. The methods will be in line with other scholarly methods and opinions. As well as current social media misrepresentations about history to further show how people misunderstand history. Examples such as name calling illustrate these misrepresentations. The reader can have confidence in the paper because there can be so many different examples of inaccuracies that it is going to be obvious that history has been misrepresented.
The presupposition is that people have accurate history. Understanding our history and past will allow people to have better race relations, better understanding of minorities, and better treatment of all. If people knew the accurate history injusticies there would be less discrimination and more support for better laws for equality. Equality could also be promoted for races. Accurate instruction, portrayals, media, and literature will contribute to promoting additional equality in law. Suggestions for subsequent research could arise from the potential outcomes of the study and would support laws promoting racial and gender equality. There has to be accurate and fact based instructional resources in school to be provided. Results of this paper could vary because if people are more informed they could be more likely to support minority programs. If a society is supporting its most vulnerable minorities there could be a more stable and productive economy with less violence, and crime.
This paper shows the importance of awareness of accurate historical events and the importance of understanding true history. This study should be done because it’ll give appreciation to diversity and is a validation that everyone is equal and supports racial equality when history is accurate. If everyone understood the inaccuracies of our past it would be one step toward equality and less crime and violence. The purpose of this research paper is to show that historical accuracy will promote equality, writing of injustices, and work toward equality.
In this research paper it compiles a variety of information relating to the fact of America’s history being covered up. Citizens have been fed false information by schools, textbooks, and the media. Multiple events have also been misunderstood such as Thanksgiving, Columbus day, and numerous others. Information has been compiled from articles, books, textbooks, and websites talking about certain events and how they truly went versus how they were portrayed to have gone. Through extensive research and study it is uncovered how much history has been covered up. This research paper goes in depth of the truth of our histories past and how the false information was compiled to how it is today.
In recent times it has been uncovered that America’s history has time and time again been covered up with inaccurate and false information. Americans have been fed lies about major historical events from school textbooks, the media, and past historians. Some of these events include Thanksgiving, American Slavery, and a European explorer.
In America today many people are ignorant of our history’s past, events, and education in schools plays a huge role. For starters, students at a young age are taught history in school using textbooks. One prime example is African American history and enslavement. Little is taught about specific events. Textbooks don’t tell the gruesome stories that would happen to slaves. Stories as horrifying as people being beaten until their backs bled, rape, frequent stories of starvation, and twelve to fifteen excessive work hours a day. One article by the Atlantic called “We Mourn for all we do not Know Truly” goes in depth of slavery. A man named Clint Smith collected forgotten stories and brought to light their histories of slaves. One quote in particular, “When I first came across the narratives, I was confused as to why I had never, not once in my entire education, been made aware of their existence. It was as if this trove testimony accounts that might expand, complicate, and deepen my understanding of slavery- had purposefully been kept from view”(Smith 31). This quote displays just how little the average citizen understands America’s flawed past. By compiling these accounts, Clint Smith reveals many facts that might have been lost. The recounting that these people have of their ancestors is truly shocking and eye opening.
In this article there are real life accounts of enslaved African Americans and what they were going through at the time. It captures quotes from former slaves who talk about their average days. Even though a lot of voices were heard, some southern interviewers would change their words and language. They did this to alter the gruesome nature of the stories. “This issue of manipulation in the interviews is something historians have had to wrestle with. The narratives were rarely verbatim transcriptions. Many interviewers altered their subjects’ dialect to make it seem more ‘authentically’ Black.” (Smith 33) One story, that was most likely altered, was William Sykes’ story. Sykes was an African American who grew up enslaved to a confederate southerner. He told of his life as a slave, yet it is believed that a lot of his recountings were manipulated. One story in particular says “I had my say-so dey’d burn down de n*g**r schools, gibe dem pickanninies a good spankin’ an’ put’em in de patch ter wuck, ain’t no n*g**r got no business wid no edgercation nohow (Smith 33). This quote is blatantly racist and it is very difficult to believe that a black person would truly think these things. It’s also hard to accept this quote when another one of his accounts portrays slavery in a much more realistic way. “Mr. Jim am some mad an’ he takes Jane out on Sunday mornin’an’ he beats her till de blood runs down her back” (Smith 32). This quote is much more indicative of the time as it shows how love was actually like for former slaves like Syke. These inconsistent retellings just go to show how veiled our history is and how little Americans actually comprehend.
America’s flawed history textbooks have deeply impacted how kids perceive past events. At a very young age students are given certain documents and articles to learn from. From then on from kindergarten through twelfth grade, they are taught a very misconstrued history. One example of this is how history books cover American slavery. They try to downplay the cruelty by saying that “Slaves were treated well or cruelly depending on their owners” (Brown). By stating that only some of the owners were actually cruel, it implies that other owners were actually good people. They definitely were not good people because they still owned slaves. Another example of how textbooks have changed the past is how they don’t fully educate younger children. “The eighth grade texts give almost exclusive attention to the Reconstruction Era. In general, the eleventh grade texts were the only texts that discussed violence during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights/Black Power Era.”(Brown) The authors of this article compiled multiple textbooks and tried to find examples of misrepresentation in history textbooks for younger students. It was revealed that only eleventh grade students were taught the true violences the civil rights movement and slavery. Yet later in the article it talked about how even though they did talk about some violence in these 11th grade textbooks, they still would not even remotely come close to the true horrors of what was done. These textbooks are just another way that America covered up its history.
One of the more well-known instances of American ignorance is Thanksgiving. The thought behind this is that the American colonists committed a mass genocide against the natives. When one celebrates this truly horrific holiday they are, in reality, “celebrating the mass genocide and deception that occured” (Brockell). According to Wikipedia the definition of Thanksgiving is “a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia.” It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.” Schools did teach about the meal between the pilgrims and the Wamapong but there is so much more to this event. “Just 16 years after the Wamapanoag shared that meal they were massacred”(Blow). The horrible events that happened in these sixteen years were truly shocking. Almost all the Wamopong died from diseases brought over by the white colonists. They did some gruesome acts to the Native Americans. One quote from the novel Bury My Heart at a Wounded Knee stuck out in particular, “their bones were forgotten in a thousand burned villages or lost in forests fast disappearing before the axes of twenty million invaders” (Brown 52). The holiday of Thanksgiving can be very traumatic for a lot of people because each passing year that Thanksgiving is celebrated, is yet another year that Americans don’t recognize the mass murder that the colonist committed. They don’t acknowledge that history has been rewritten and that white settlers did terrible things to get land and power. Thanksgiving is just one of many injustices that America has covered up.
Lastly, Christopher Columbus was a huge part of America’s covered up history. Americans celebrate Columbus Day on October 11 to commemorate and celebrate Christopher Columbus reaching America. What was left out was the appalling actions that he did to the Native Americans. For starters, Columbus and his men enslaved over one thousand of the native Americans. Along with having slaves, Christopher Columbus and his men sexually assaulted numerous women. One of Columbus’s close friends wrote in his journal, “took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly…finally we came to an agreement in such manner that I can tell you she seemed to have been brought up in a school for harlots”(History.com). This is an absolutely terrifying image but was very common among the men of this voyage. Columbus wrote to one of his acquaintances “there are many dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to 10 are now in demand.” according to the Washington Post. Again this was just the reality for these men. The Spanish would not only perform these unspeakable acts to the adults but also the children and babies, “They grabbed suckling infants by the feet and, ripping them from their mothers’ breasts, dashed them headlong against the rocks”(Bartolome). The Spanish explorers had not only killed the men, women, and children physically but they also meanwhile spread diseases like smallpox, malaria, and influenza. These diseases killed millions of Native Americans. Kids in school are not taught of these injustices and neither are multiple adults. They have to come to the harsh reality of the true facts.
The truth about American history has just recently come to light and many injustices have been uncovered. The USA’s past has been rewritten by textbooks, historians. and the media. The true retelling of events such as Thanksgiving and American slavery. America has tried to cover up their past wrongs by changing history and it is just simply wrong.
Destroy the ‘Public’ Education System
‘Public” schools have been a catastrophe for the United States. This certainly isn’t an original assertion, but as we watch thousands of authoritarian brats tearing down the legacies of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, it’s more apparent than ever.
State-run schools have undercut two fundamental conditions of a healthy tolerant society. First, they’ve created millions of civic illiterates who are disconnected from long-held communal values and national identity. Second, they’ve exacerbated the very inequalities that trigger the tearing apart of fissures.
If you’re interested in ferreting out “systemic racism,” go to a big-city public-school system. No institution has fought harder to preserve segregated communities than the average teachers’ union. And I don’t mean only in the schools.
Prosperous Americans already enjoy school choice — and not merely because they can afford private schools. Anyone who has ever tried to buy a suburban home in a major metro area can tell you how acutely school districts influence home prices. Many middle-class and working-class families are priced out of areas with good schools because of inflated home values and high property taxes. And families who might otherwise choose to live in more diverse areas are kept out because of failing schools.
This entire dynamic is driven by the antiquated notion that the best way to educate kids is to throw them into the nearest government building. It’s the teachers’ unions that safeguard these fiefdoms through racketeering schemes: First they funnel taxpayer dollars to the political campaigns of allies who, when elected, return the favor by protecting union monopolies and supporting higher taxes that fund unions and ultimately political campaigns. So goes the cycle, decade after decade, one failed student after the next.
Even in cities where limited choice exists, most poor parents, typically black or Hispanic, are compelled to send their kids to inferior schools, even if there are better-suited schools within walking distance. More than a decade ago, I sat in a Denver auditorium with a single Hispanic mom who was, quite literally, praying that her kid’s number would be picked in a charter-school lottery. The mother wept as her number was passed over, not because she was a partisan reactionary — she didn’t care about politics — but because she knew her son would now be forced to attend a subpar and unsafe high school rather than one specifically designed to help first-generation kids assimilate.
It was a heartbreaking scene. And it’s only gotten worse. Colorado has since become a blue state, and Democrats have killed or obstructed numerous school-choice initiatives once supported by moderates in their party. In Denver, schools systems have helped solidify segregated communities, and the achievement gap between white and minority students is one of the worst in the country.
Nevertheless, Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden says he’ll create not a child-oriented Department of Education but a “teacher-oriented Department of Education.” By teachers, Biden means unions. Teachers unions spent $30 million on federal elections alone in 2016 — virtually all of it on Democrats. It’s about more than the money they give, however. Unions organize, campaign, and march for liberal causes. As a Washington Post piece (“Teachers’ unions may not raise pay — but they do bolster the Democratic Party”) aptly put it not long ago:
But teachers’ unions do accomplish something politically notable: They are a vital part of liberal coalitions and the Democratic Party. Teachers’ union organization and mobilization, like that of other government workers’ unions, have long compensated for the declining membership in traditional organized labor. What’s more, they’ve advanced the causes of women’s and LGBTQ rights — rights that are important to many or most of their members. They’ve done that by delivering money, mobilization and organization to both the Democratic Party and to feminist groups.
It’s likely that left-wing ideologues run your school district. They decide what your children learn. They are the ones who decide that your kid can protest the Second Amendment of the Constitution, but never, not in a million years, march for any cause the Founders might have championed.
Anecdotally speaking, I can confirm that the teaching of American history in at least one D.C. suburb — perhaps a better way to put it would be the un-teaching of American history — is detestable. Most events are couched in relativism; or, worse, the textbooks accentuate every sin and downplay every accomplishment. It would be one thing if this kind of ideological shading were relegated to history class, but it has infected plenty of other things.
If you have no interest in funding campaigns for “women’s and LGBTQ rights” (euphemisms for pro-abortion and anti-religious-liberty causes), well, that’s too bad. If you can’t homeschool your kid or send her to a pricey private school, you lose.
The embedded left-wing nature of big school districts is so normalized that parents rarely say a word. Mom and Dad can buy virtually anything from anywhere in the world, but they can’t use their tax dollars to buy Timmy an education that aligns with their values.
It was one thing when these schools were producing mere Democrats, and it’s quite another now that they’re churning out hordes of chillingly ignorant voters.
A recent study found that 60 percent of Americans couldn’t pass a U.S. Citizenship Test. It comes as no surprise that those 65 or older scored the best, with 74 percent correctly answering at least six out of ten questions. Of those 45 and younger, only 19 percent passed the exam — and the younger the test-takers, the less likely they were to pass. Sixty percent of those tested didn’t know which countries their grandparents fought during World War II. And only 24 percent knew why Americans colonists had fought the British.
Now, I’m under no illusion that higher education is the sole driver of common sense and patriotism — intellectuals are susceptible to some the dumbest ideas ever conceived–– but if state-run schools can’t even teach the Founding, how are we going to move forward as a nation?
Some pundits point out that elite private schools have even worse problems with progressivism than the average public schools. That’s probably true — and also largely irrelevant. But a voucher system creates opportunities for all kinds of students, not just wealthy ones. It stands to reason, when one considers virtually every other marketplace in existence, that competition in education would generate a diverse array of schools offering an array of teaching methods and cultures to meet the needs of consumers. It would also pressure traditional public schools to do a better job retaining students.
There is no panacea. School choice won’t instantaneously fix our problems. Yet without closing the gap in educational achievement, it seems unlikely we’re going to fix inequality. Without fixing the corrosion of civic education, it’s unlikely that American liberalism is going to survive. We can’t fix either problem without smashing “public education” as it exists. It might already be too late.
cincinnati.com, “Opinion: Weaponizing education for politics a danger,” By Adonica Jones-Parks; thecommonsenseshow.com, “The Weaponizing of Education: Transforming Your Children Into Immoral and Ignorant Globalists.” By Dave Hodges; https://dhfcblog.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/weaponizing-our-schools.pdf, “Weaponizing Our Schools: Critical Race Theory and the Racist Assault on America’s Students.” by Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D.; worldtribune.com, “Weaponizing public education: Social justice directors and curricula prioritized even in red states.” By World Tribune Staff; thepochtimes.com, “Pushing Parents Out, Biden Administration Further Weaponizes ‘Education’.” By Alex Newman; educationvews.org, ” Reversing the trend of liberal indoctrination.” By Camous Reform; news.yahoo.com, “Why American Children Stopped Believing in God.” By Cameron Hilditch; smithsonianmag.com, “The True Story of Brainwashing and How It Shaped America: Fears of Communism during the Cold War spurred psychological research, pop culture hits, and unethical experiments in the CIA.” By Lorraine Boissoneault; teenink.com, “Americas History: Has it Been Covered Up?” By Anonymous; nationalreview.com, “Destroy the ‘Public’ Education System.” By DAVID HARSANYI;
Why American Children Stopped Believing in God
In a report released earlier this year from the American Enterprise Institute, Lyman Stone tracked the history of religious belief, behavior, and association in the United States since the Founding. It’s a magisterial work, and I encourage readers to download the report here and peruse it for themselves.
Stone’s research helps us to understand the decline of religious faith in America over the past 60 years. Secularization is, to be sure, a hugely overdetermined development in American history, and just about everyone has a theory about how it’s happened and why. Religious conservatives would probably cite the loosening of the country’s morals that began in the ’60s and ’70s. Secular progressives might mutter something about the onward march of “Science” and “Reason” over time. But the data seem to show that the main driver of secularization in the United States has been the acceleration of government spending on education and government control over the curricular content taught in schools.
Here our secular progressive might raise his head again, perhaps feeling a bit smug about this finding. “See!”, he says. “Children used to be deprived of education and the life of the mind! They were stuck in the doldrums of ignorance and squalor before the benevolent hand of the state reached down and lifted them up into the world of literacy and critical thought. All that was needed was a little education to free them from hokey superstitions.”- ADVERTISEMENT -https://s.yimg.com/rq/darla/4-6-0/html/r-sf-flx.html
It’s a simple theory, befitting the minds of those who have historically espoused it. But it’s falsified by the data. Stone cites the seminal work of Raphael Franck and Laurence Iannaccone on this point, who meticulously tracked religious behavior over time in their own work. According to Franck and Iannaccone, “higher educational attainment did not predict lower religiosity: More and less educated people are similarly religious.” Nor did they “find that industrialized, urban life reduces religiosity: A more urban and industrialized population was associated with greater religiosity.” The link between intellectual progression/modernization and secularization is non-existent. As Stone summarizes:
Theories that religion has declined because urbanization is hostile to religiosity — or because modern, educated people are inherently skeptical of religion — get no support in the actual historic record.
It turns out that religiosity is usually determined very early in life. All the data suggest that, by and large, kids brought up in religious households stay religious and kids who aren’t, don’t. Consequently, childhood religiosity has been, and remains, the most important indicator of America’s religious trajectory. The story of religious decline in America is not the story of adults consciously rejecting the faith of their forefathers: It’s the story of each generation receiving a more secular upbringing than the generation preceding it. What accounts for this secularization of childhood over time? Taxpayer dollars.
Childhood religiosity was heavily affected by government spending on education and, to a lesser degree, government spending on old-age pensions. Thus, while more educated people were not less religious, societies that spent more public money on education were less religious. It is not educational attainment per se that reduces religiosity, but government control of education and, to a lesser extent, government support for retirement.
Researchers originally tried to explain the relationship between government control of education and secularization by putting it down to the state’s increasing willingness to care for the needs and wants of its citizens in a comprehensive way — a task traditionally carried out by religious institutions. Once people are no longer beholden to a church/synagogue/mosque for their material well-being — or so the theory goes — they see little reason to stay.
But this theory just doesn’t account for the data we have. As Stone observes, it’s belied by the fact “that the vast majority of declining religiosity can be attributed to changes in educational policy, rather than welfare generally.”
So how do we explain this link between education policy and religious belief given that academic attainment itself isn’t a factor? It’s quite simple, really. Children learn more at school than reading, writing, and arithmetic. They imbibe a whole set of implied assumptions about what’s important in life. By excluding religious instruction from public schools, the government-run education system tacitly teaches students that religious commitments are not a first-order priority in life. Faith in God becomes a sort of optional weekend hobby akin to playing tennis or video games. Christ and Moses are treated by teachers and administrators like weapons or drugs — confiscated upon discovery.
In this way, the hierarchy of values communicated both explicitly and implicitly to students in American high schools excludes religious claims from the outset. College, career, and popularity become the existential targets toward which the arrow of each student’s soul is aimed by bow-wielding commissars across the country. In a context such as this, secularization becomes ineluctable. The New Testament itself says that religious belief is shaped more by the places we look for praise and validation than by naked ratiocinations: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you’re not looking for the glory which comes from the one and only God?” (John 5:44). But the secular public high school dispenses validation and praise according to different criteria than any of the major faiths. This is why government control of education has resulted in religious decline. As Stone writes:
. . . the content of education matters. Evidence that education reduces religiosity is fairly weak: American religiosity rose considerably from 1800 until the 1970s, despite rapidly rising educational attainment. But the evidence that specifically secular education might reduce religiosity is more compelling. Indeed, statistically, most researchers who have explored long-run change in religiosity find that education-related variables, which I have argued are a proxy for secular education, can explain nearly the totality of change in religiosity.
That last point bears repeating. Most researchers have found that “education-related variables . . . can explain nearly the totality of change in religiosity.” For religious conservatives who care about the fate of American culture, it cannot be emphasized enough that education is the whole ball game. All other policy areas amount to little more than tinkering around the edges. How we got to a place where this is the case is a sad story in and of itself (and one that I told in part here). Nevertheless, it remains the case that public schools often are not a smooth fit for conservative families, especially religious ones. Even worse than that, we can now see signs that the ideology imposed upon government-educated children is changing. What used to be the state-imposed orthodoxy of benign agnosticism is being replaced by a full-blown intersectional pseudo-religion with its own priests, prophets, saints, and martyrs.
The time has come for religious parents to take their children back from the state. It simply will not do anymore for faithful Americans to drop their sons and daughters off at the curbside every morning for the government to collect as if they were taking out the trash. As I’ve written before, a broader reconsideration of public schooling will not be cheap. It will require, among other things, the establishment of charitable private education co-operatives if we’re to heed the dictates of the world’s great faiths by keeping the interests of the poor at the forefront of our minds. But the only real road to religious revival is the one that begins with each parent’s first step out of the public school’s doors.
The True Story of Brainwashing and How It Shaped America
Fears of Communism during the Cold War spurred psychological research, pop culture hits, and unethical experiments in the CIA
Journalist Edward Hunter was the first to sound the alarm. “Brain-washing Tactics Force Chinese Into Ranks of Communist Party,” blared his headline in the Miami Daily News in September 1950. In the article, and later in a book, Hunter described how Mao Zedong’s Red Army used terrifying ancient techniques to turn the Chinese people into mindless, Communist automatons. He called this hypnotic process “brainwashing,” a word-for-word translation from xi-nao, the Mandarin words for wash (xi) and brain (nao), and warned about the dangerous applications it could have. The process was meant to “change a mind radically so that its owner becomes a living puppet—a human robot—without the atrocity being visible from the outside.”
It wasn’t the first time fears of Communism and mind control had seeped into the American public. In 1946 the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was so worried about the spread of Communism that it proposed removing liberals, socialists and communists from places like schools, libraries, newspapers and entertainment. Hunter’s inflammatory rhetoric didn’t immediately have a huge impact—until three years into the Korean War, when American prisoners of war began confessing to outlandish crimes.
When he was shot down over Korea and captured in 1952, Colonel Frank Schwable was the highest ranking military officer to meet that fate, and by February 1953, he and other prisoners of war had falsely confessed to using germ warfare against the Koreans, dropping everything from anthrax to the plague on unsuspecting civilians. The American public was shocked, and grew even more so when 5,000 of the 7,200 POWs either petitioned the U.S. government to end the war, or signed confessions of their alleged crimes. The final blow came when 21 American soldiers refused repatriation.
Suddenly the threat of brainwashing was very real, and it was everywhere. The U.S. military denied the charges made in the soldiers’ “confessions,” but couldn’t explain how they’d been coerced to make them. What could explain the behavior of the soldiers besides brainwashing? The idea of mind control flourished in pop culture, with movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Manchurian Candidate showing people whose minds were wiped and controlled by outside forces. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover referred to thought-control repeatedly in his book Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It. By 1980 even the American Psychiatric Association had given it credence, including brainwashing under “dissociative disorders” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-III. Had Chinese and Soviet Communists really uncovered a machine or method to rewrite men’s minds and supplant their free will?
The short answer is no—but that didn’t stop the U.S. from pouring resources into combatting it.
“The basic problem that brainwashing is designed to address is the question ‘why would anybody become a Communist?’” says Timothy Melley, professor of English at Miami University and author of The Covert Sphere: Secrecy, Fiction, and the National Security State. “[Brainwashing] is a story that we tell to explain something we can’t otherwise explain.”
The term had multiple definitions that changed depending on who used it. For Hunter—who turned out to be an agent in the CIA’s propaganda wing—it was a mystical, Oriental practice that couldn’t be understood or anticipated by the West, Melley says. But for scientists who actually studied the American POWs once they returned from Korea, brainwashing was altogether less mysterious than the readily apparent outcome: The men had been tortured.
Robert Jay Lifton, one of the psychiatrists who worked with the veterans and late studied doctors who aided Nazi war crimes, listed eight criteria for thought reform (the term for brainwashing used by Mao Zedong’s communist government). They included things like “milieu control” (having absolute power over the individual’s surroundings) and “confession” (in which individuals are forced to confess to crimes repeatedly, even if they aren’t true). For the American soldiers trapped in the Korean prison camps, brainwashing meant forced standing, deprivation of food and sleep, solitary confinement, and repeated exposure to Communist propaganda.
“There was concern on the part of [the American military] about what had actually happened to [the POWs] and whether they had been manipulated to be [what would later be known as] a ‘Manchurian candidate,’” says Marcia Holmes, a science historian at the University of London’s “Hidden Persuaders” project. “They’re not sleeper agents, they’re just extremely traumatized.”
The early 1950s marked the debut of the military’s studies into psychological torture, and instead of concluding the American soldiers needed rehabilitation, military directors came to a more ominous conclusion: that the men were simply weak. “They became less interested in the fantasy of brainwashing and became worried our men couldn’t stand up to torture,” Holmes says. This resulted in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape program (SERE), meant to inoculate men against future attempts at psychological torture by using those same torture techniques in their training.
Meanwhile, the American public was still wrapped up in fantasies of hypnotic brainwashing, in part due to the research of pop psychologists like Joost Meerloo and William Sargant. Unlike Lifton and the other researchers hired by the military, these two men portrayed themselves as public intellectuals and drew parallels between brainwashing and tactics used by both American marketers and Communist propagandists. Meerloo believes that “totalitarian societies like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union or Communist China were in the past, and continue to be, quite successful in their thought-control programs… [and] the more recently available techniques of influence and thought control are more securely based on scientific fact, more potent and more subtle,” writes psychoanalyst Edgar Schein in a 1959 review of Meerloo’s book, The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control—Menticide and Brainwashing.
Psychiatrists, as well as writers like Aldous Huxley, were aided by the dominant theory of the human mind at the time, known as “behaviorism”. Think of Ivan Pavlov’s slobbering dogs, trained to salivate upon hearing a bell, even if they weren’t tempted with food. The basic assumption of behaviorism was that the human mind is a blank slate at birth, and is shaped through social conditioning throughout life. Where Russia had Pavlov, the U.S. had B.F. Skinner, who suggested psychology could help predict and control behavior. Little wonder, then, that the public and the military alike couldn’t let go of brainwashing as a concept for social control.
With this fear of a mind-control weapon still haunting the American psyche, CIA director Allen Dulles authorized a series of psychological experiments using hallucinogens (like LSD) and biological manipulation (like sleep deprivation) to see if brainwashing were possible. The research could then, theoretically, be used in both defensive and offensive programs against the Soviet Union. Project MK-ULTRA began in 1953 and continued in various forms for more than 10 years. When the Watergate scandal broke, fear of discovery led the CIA to destroy most of the evidence of the program. But 20,000 documents were recovered through a Freedom of Information Act request in 1977, filed during a Senate investigation into Project MK-ULTRA. The files revealed the experiments tested drugs (like LSD), sensory deprivation, hypnotism and electroshock on everyone from agency operatives to prostitutes, recovering drug addicts and prisoners—often without their consent.
Despite MK-ULTRA violating ethical norms for human experiments, the legacy of brainwashing experiments continued to live on in U.S. policy. The same methods that had once been used to train American soldiers ended up being used to extract information from terrorists in Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
“Here, then, is the brief history of brainwashing,” Melley writes in a 2011 paper for Grey Room. “The concept began as an [O]rientalist propaganda fiction created by the CIA to mobilize domestic support for a massive military build-up. This fiction proved so effective that the CIA’s operations directorate believed it and began a furious search for a real mind control weapon. The search resulted not in a miraculous new weapon but a program of simulated brainwashing designed as a prophylactic against enemy mistreatment. This simulation in turn became the real basis for interrogating detainees in the war on terror.”
While few people take seriously the notion of hypnosis-like brainwashing (outside Hollywood films like Zoolander), there are still plenty who see danger in certain kinds of control. Consider the conversations about ISIS and radicalization, in which young people are essentially portrayed as being brainwashed. “Can You Turn a Terrorist Back Into a Citizen? A controversial new program aims to reform homegrown ISIS recruits back into normal young Americans,” proclaims one article in Wired. Or there’s the more provocative headline from Vice: “Inside the Mind-Control Methods the Islamic State Uses to Recruit Teenagers.”
“I think a program of isolation and rigorous conversion still does have a life in our concept of radicalization,” Melley says. But outside those cases related to terrorism it’s mostly used facetiously, he adds.
“The notion of brainwashing, no less than radicalization, often obscure[s] far more than it reveal[s],” write Sarah Marks and Daniel Pick of the Hidden Persuaders project. “Both terms could be a lazy way of refusing to inquire further into individual histories, inviting the assumption that the way people act can be known in advance.”
For now, the only examples of “perfect” brainwashing remain in science-fiction rather than fact. At least until researchers find a way to hack into the network of synapses that comprise the brain.