“The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited
Journalists are not the only group wittingly or unwittingly conditioning our thinking. Nor are they the only group that believes they have a corner on virtue and where the world should be headed. A recent article in the MIT Press Reader, “Why Science Can’t Settle Political Disputes”[i] documented how politicians line up to use science as a bludgeon to convince others of the rightness of their cause. Whose science and how it should be interpreted is the issue and a valid one.
However, the article fails to develop adequately a more insidious calamity with current politics and science. In his Farewell Address,[ii] President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned in 1960 about the danger of collusion in a “military-industrial complex.” What is less well known in the same address is this warning: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” A vast topic by itself, but for this post, ideology drives not only research priorities, but tweaking results to conform to an established orthodoxy is another example of the effects of hidden indoctrination of progressive ideology. Those results that are favored from climate change to so called gender fluidity get funded for more grants and more money for researchers along with the opportunity for career reputation and advancement. One of the consequences is the crisis of repeatability in scientific experimentation. A close second is the “good ol’ boys club” degradation of the “peer reviewed” imprimatur of scientific research.
Neither have history and the law escaped with unfettered liberty from the fishbowl in which we swim, murky from indoctrination and utilitarian ethics. The ideologue justifies any means necessary to gain victory. A leaked 1973 memo during the Roe v Wade no holds barred grudge match is illustrative. A significant amicus brief was submitted and hammered into the heads of the justices: a false narrative first put together by lawyer Cyrus Means.
The Roe team claimed that a long history exists of abortion tolerance in state’s law prior to 1850. That the reality was precisely the opposite did not discourage the attorneys from creating the propaganda and hammering it home. Attorney Roy Lucas drafted the review used to lay a major piece of the theoretical constitutional background for the decision by the lead attorney, Sarah Weddington. Lucas received a memo from one of his assistants, law student David Tunderman. He acknowledged that the historical narrative was false but thought the use of it fully justified in service of the end they all wanted. Supreme Court Justice Blackmun in the final decision cited the Means bogus narrative in support of the Roe decision.
Rarely has the cynical utilitarian ethics of the zealot been on such clear display.[iii] “David Tunderman wrote that Means’ ‘conclusions sometimes strain credulity’ but nonetheless concluded that ‘where the important thing is to win the case no matter how, however, I suppose I agree with Means’ technique: begin with a scholarly attempt at historical research; if it doesn’t work, fudge it as necessary; write a piece so long that others will read only your introduction and conclusion; then keep citing it until courts begin picking it up. This preserves the guise of impartial scholarship while advancing the proper ideological goals.’”
So it is written, so it shall be.
“The sad truth about humanity…is that people believe what they’re told. Maybe not the first time, but by the hundredth time, the craziest of ideas just becomes a given.” Neal Shusterman, ”Unwholly”
How did this bizarre detachment befall us: the collapse of even the ideal of objective truth? The desired end is what matters; how we get there is up to the spreaders of the narrative necessary to achieve the end. Some of the answers lie in the higher education institutions over the last fifty years or so. The students then become the teachers and administrators in most of our schools, in universities certainly, and increasingly now in high schools and elementary schools with the orthodoxy enforced by the teacher’s unions.
We will look at a few examples, but we are awash in them.[iv] What is most troubling is that administrators, politicians, and teachers’ unions are determined to keep the extent and content of the conditioning out of the reach of “meddling” parents. Much of the disputed content is contained in two general areas: race and gender, both mainstays of the progressive agenda. As former Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia said recently in support of teachers’ unions, which are under fire in Virginia, “Parents should not be telling schools what to teach their kids.”[v] It is no surprise his campaign to try and retake the governor’s mansion received $25,000 in campaign contributions from the teacher’s union.
There is so much of this that it’s difficult to comprehend the damage, so this will provide some a few summary descriptions with footnoted links that you can follow until either your attention span or your spirit runs dry. There are many more with just a cursory search. The point of this blog post is general awareness of the agenda parents are facing today deciding where their children are educated. The response of the progressive ideologue, whether in the media or the education bureaucracy is to deny that these things are being taught. They are lying. As in the Roe memo, it is not the truth that holds sway, but only that the orthodoxy prevails. [vi] What we all have lost was lamented by Friedrich Nietzsche in the nineteenth century. “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
“It’s gone away in yesterday
Now I find myself on the mountainside
Where the rivers change direction
Across the Great Divide.” Nancy Griffith, “Across the Great Divide”[vii]
Right here in Rhode Island, we have a teacher’s union suing a school committee and a parent to keep the content of the curriculum secret after she filed multiple requests to simply view what her child was being taught, especially regarding critical race theory and gender identity.[viii]
In Fairfax County and Loudon County Virginia, the battle has been well and truly joined. Attempts of parents to challenge the curriculum or to just find out what it contains have been greeted by derision and condescension. Who are parents to question what is being taught to their kids? Sample books were found in even elementary school libraries that taught among other things how to perform oral and anal sex and depicted adult/child sex in a positive light.[ix]One father whose daughter was sexually assaulted by a fourteen-year-old, skirt wearing boy professing as a girl in the school restroom cried out to the school department in protest. He was arrested, cuffed, and hauled off.[x]
The most alarming story began with the national teachers’ unions sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting that parents who question school curricula to the school boards be investigated as domestic terrorists. He has sent the FBI around to monitor the situation. After the uproar from the parents ensued, the union rescinded its letter, but former Supreme Court nominee Garland still deploys the unfettered power of the Department of Justice to investigate parents who question what their children are exposed to.[xi] Garland was not dissuaded by the disclosure that his son-in-law owns a company, Panorama, that conducts personally invasive student surveys and produces training programs to further the progressive race agenda and lands multimillion dollar contracts as consultants for school departments[xii]. Now the AG gets to sic the FBI on parents who may take issue with that agenda.
Honest evaluation does not shrink from the truth of our situation: the decades long first phase of the Culture Wars was lost to conservative or even middle of the road citizens. The strategic high ground was secured by the progressive front: academia, schools, journalists, and social media, even the military and the power of the state. So, what is next? What is left is a type of guerilla resistance and holding essential enclaves. Not exactly the Benedict Option, but something akin to it. And never giving up the fight.
Remember the Hilary Clinton book, “It Takes a Village?” The progressive principle is to get to the kids as young as possible. The state and its troops in the schools are better stewards than parents of the next generation. Isolate children from their parents for six or seven hours a day and prohibit the unenlightened parents who don’t buy into the progressive project from hampering the infusion of the new mindset. It is the lock and the key.
Our hope is that perhaps “woke” cuts two ways. The rising counteractions of parents who are increasingly awakened to the violation of their first responsibilities as teachers of their own kids is a drama unfolding daily. There are signs that the silent middle is rowing out of the doldrums and preparing to set sail. Terry McAuliffe lost his bid to retake the governor’s mansion last week. The decisive factor in the election was the extraordinarily high turnout of parents with kids in school.
The stakes could not be higher.
“Another little portion of the human heritage has been quietly taken from them before they were old enough to understand.” C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
[i] Why Science Can’t Fix Politics, MIT Press Reader
[ii] President Dwight Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the nation.
[iii] From “Wrong Then, Wrong Now: The Fake Abortion History of Roe v Wade,” Justin Dyer, Public Discourse, 9/29/21
[iv] See “Huxley Predicted the Future of Education”, John Miltimore, Intellectual Takeout, 2017. I also borrowed his illustration for the first post in this two-part series, “Well Scripted.”
[v] Terry McAuliffe tells parents to shut up and sit down; let the school department and teachers’ unions indoctrinate children to their agenda.
[vi] What educators teach and what they admit to teaching in some cases are very different.
[vii] Sadly, Nancy Griffith passed away earlier this year. Her songwriting was greatly respected by many of the more well-known names in country and folk music. Across the Great Divide.
[viii] Teacher’s union declares that what is being taught to the kids in South Kingston, RI is not the business of the parents.
[ix] These books were pulled after they were disclosed in the meeting by a parent. That they were there in the first place is shocking.
[x] Lots of stories on this one with a quick search. Here’s one.
[xi] The Department of Justice sends its FBI attack dogs after parents seeing information on or challenging curriculum.
[xii] Merrick’s family cashes in on the curriculum agenda and “retraining” teachers and students.