The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, March 12, 2010

Textbooks in Texas


While I was commenting at That Other Green-Themed Site, I was among the supporters of its stance against obscurantism; in particular, its look into how Texan Conservatives were corrupting their - our - textbook standards.

("Supporter"? "Cheerleader", one might say. "Darwin, Huxley, yay!" In this case: no apologies. If it makes you feel any better, imagine me typing this in a green tutu and leotard.)

But that was biology. I never did get to look at the softer sciences. Now, I am free. So let's go over how New York Times presents the situation here today.

The NYT, as a hard-Left rag, is going to view some aspects of Texas's standards and process as existential horrors - like the existential horror that, we agree, is Intelligent Design. But the NYT couldn't quite manage to pin all those changes upon our horrible creationists.

Remember here that I am a Moldbug acolyte; and have been since 2008 or so. I accept his understanding of Progressivism as the most successful mutation of Calvinism, as mediated via Oliver Cromwell and then the communitarians of Massachusetts. Conservatives are less ideological, by temperament; but there do exist ideologues in their ranks; and these ideologues tend, also, to be heavily influenced by MittelEuropean Protestantism. Baptists, for instance.

With that, I see the debate between progressives and (outspoken) conservatives here as a civil war within Puritanism. The reigning Puritans (now, "progressives") supported (some) Founding Fathers' belief in Progress and in making the world a better place. The insurgent Puritans (the guys Sullivan calls "Christianists"; I call them "Conservatives") take the same Founding Fathers, excepting Jefferson apparently; and they turn this around to the reason why those Fathers believed in Progress and in making the world a better place. That reason, at bottom, is that the God of Praisegod Barebones and Oliver Cromwell told these founders to believe it.

As to the standards the Conservatives are upholding, excepting their scientific standards (which are ignorant and foolish), they represent a mix of good and evil. We should expect that, sadly, from a rival Puritan sect. But anyway - let's get started.

Texas cited John Calvin as an inspiration for revolutionary figures. Yes. Yes, yes, YES! FINALLY! Nobody in this country understands Calvin or his spiritual successor, Cromwell - unless he is Irish. Calvin and Cromwell need to be cited, often and always. As for downgrading Jefferson, Americans over-rate Jefferson as an inspiration abroad; Franklin and (especially) Paine did a lot more to inspire, say, France. As a reactionary, I must inform you that I do not see any of these revolutionaries as the good guys, from Cromwell to Wilson; but they are, nonetheless, part of history, and their Puritanism deserves at least a mention.

Texas shut out Hispanic pressure groups. In this case, Texas had to do it, because those pressure groups were looking for "role models" and not for (if I may allude to Cromwell that one last time) warts-and-all historical figures. However it seems Texas did not look to the history of northern-Mexican states like Tamaulipas; nor to their effect upon Mexico's ability, or not, to hold onto Texas. I'd have also emphasised the Comancheria. It is a shame Texas did not even ask for the opinion of conservative Hispanics, of which there are literally millions here; and if the Texans had asked me, I might even be able to find them some conservative Comanches.

Texas boosts Hayek and Friedman as economists. The way the curriculum had been working, it had Smith, then Marx the antithesis, and then Keynes as the synthesis. Texas says that laissez-faire did not die with Smith; we have important figures to this day who updated Smith, and did better than the Keynesians (let alone Marxists). Texas also rewords that Ism-word "capitalism" to its more accurate meaning, "free-enterprise system". In this case I have to side with Texas one hundred percent. I just wish Texas would extend this opposition to cant to biology; and since the NYT is citing that horrible term "Darwinism" without its scare-quotes here, I wish it of the NYT as well.

Texas points out that World War II internment hit whites (Germans and Italians) as well as Asians. It also points out that during the McCarthy "Witch Hunts", there were some real witches - snitching us out to the Russians.

Texas is, finally, mentioning the violence and extortion inherent in the Civil-Rights vanguard; although I would have gone further, and called out the 1968 "riots" in Detroit et cetera as the pogroms they were (I suspect I might go further even than that... but, another time). Texas also gives the Great Society and (I expect) New Deal, also, a more critical eye.

Such ends my overview of the NYT's overview. My overview, like the Conservatives' set of changes, represents a mixed bag.

Can I endorse the textbooks? I think that, excepting the hard sciences again, I have to endorse them. The textbooks really had been too complacently leftist for too long.

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posted by Zimri on 18:15 | link | 0 comments

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