Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Patriotism Education

"It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen." -- Aristotle

Arizona, ever the center of enlightened conservative thought, has done it again:

Arizona public schools would be barred from any teachings considered counter to democracy or Western civilization under a proposal endorsed Wednesday by a legislative panel.

Additionally, the measure would prohibit students of the state's universities and community colleges from forming groups based in whole or part on the race of their members, such as the Black Business Students Association at Arizona State University or Native Americans United at Northern Arizona University. Those groups would be forbidden from operating on campus.

The brainchild of Rep. Russell Pearce ...

Pearce, a Mesa Republican, said his target isn't diversity instruction, but schools that use taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate students in what he characterized as anti-American or seditious thinking ...

SB 1108 states, "A primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship. Public tax dollars used in public schools should not be used to denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization."

For schools that violate the anti-Western-teachings provision, the bill provides the state superintendent of public instruction with the authority to withhold a portion of state funding.

Rep. John Kavanagh, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said he hopes the measure helps return cultural studies in the state's schools to a "melting pot" model.

"This bill basically says, 'You're here. Adopt American values,' " said Kavanagh, a Fountain Hills Republican. "If you want a different culture, then fine, go back to that culture ..."

It's almost too easy to make fun of Pearce and Kavanagh. The closing quote by Kavanagh is jaw-droppingly offensive and stupid. "American values" -- exactly what does that mean? White, religious, conservative ... I'm sure that's their idea of what it means.

The drive to define and force patriotism is similar to a drive by the Chinese to keep Tibet in line:

China scholars vow patriotism drive for Tibet

Is it more noble to be patriotic than good? Are loyalty oaths going to be a requirement of citizenship? The day that happens is the day that you can kindly have my U.S. citizenship back. Fascism, here we come.

"If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident" -- Charles de Montesquieu (French Politician and Philosopher, 1689-1755)


Scott said...

Such is the aim of all Public education... er... indoctrination.

Laura said...

He does get one thing right... read "American Education" and you'll find that yes, public education was undertaken as a way to indoctrinate (mostly lower/working class and immigrants) with proper workforce, capitalist ideals.

So what this asshole is doing is fully embracing that the purpose of education is to create/maintain the status quo rather than teach people to think for themselves and create a new world.

Alas, unfortunately he's not alone... ask anyone what the purpose of education is and they'll more than likely tell you "to get a good job"... Baa Baa Black Sheep...

wunelle said...

"A primary purpose of public education is to inculcate values of American citizenship..."

Unbelievable. Why does he bother to mince his words? Why not just say "to inculcate values of the Southwest International House of Jesus"?

Or maybe he's talking about recently-reinvigorated values: preemptive aggressive action against those whom we don't like; Nazi-style management of "the truth;" stratification of social classes; renewed assault on the inconvenient findings of science; oh yeah, and the official state embrace of mythology.

The de Montesquieu quote is great, because it shows the error in My-country-right-or-wrong thinking; we ought to be striving first to do right by humanity and our planet, and supporting our country (or state) when these goals are pursued.

CyberKitten said...

It would be interesting how exactly they define 'Western civilization' - whatever *that* means. Until they do that its pretty difficult to know what 'undermines' it - whatever *that* means! [laughs]

dbackdad asked: Is it more noble to be patriotic than good?

Obviously not. So-called Patriotism is just an excuse for doing stuff you couldn't get away with otherwise.

shrimplate said...

Russell Pearce playing naked Twister with day laborers... I just can't seem to get that picture out of my head.

Eric said...

You’re sharpening stones, walking on coals
To improve your business acumen.
Sharpening stones, walking on coals,
To improve your business acumen.
Vested interest united ties, landed gentry rationalize
Look who bought the myth, by jingo, buy America

Enemy sighted, enemy met, I’m addressing the realpolitik

exhuming McCarthy, REM