Miseducated or Stupid?

The eminent Walter Williams raises a question about our youth. Are they miseducated about socialism and communism or are they stupid? The answer is important because only accurate assessment of the causes of their tolerance and even liking of socialism stands a chance of leading to a remedy.

A priori, the answer is clear. They are not stupid. They are miseducated. Why is this clear? It’s implausible that an entire generation should suddenly have brain defects such that they do not recognize truths of history when presented with them in appropriate forms, meaning credible forms with credible evidence.

If there were some specific chemical cause that’s peculiar to this generation of youth, that would gainsay this conclusion, but there is none. Furthermore, if there were such an agent, why would it take the form of a preference for socialism and a distrust of capitalism?

Far more likely is that public education is the proximate culprit. We may ask whether or not the people in public education are dedicated socialists who are intentionally misleading the youth and why this may or not may be the case. That’s another level of analysis that is not pursued here. For the moment, let’s agree that our youth are being systematically under-educated and mis-educated, these two being related because under-education (watered down pap) is a form of mis-education.

A priori is not enough to be convincing. Let’s search for some evidence. I search in DuckDuckGo for “U.S. high school textbooks + treatment of mao stalin”. The first item is titled “Preferential Treatment for Communist Terror Alleged”. This article from 2009 looks reputable, citing a 2002 study of 20 civics and high school textbooks in Wisconsin:

“‘I [Dr. Paul Kengor, executive director of the Center for Vision and Values and anti-communist expert.] could not find a single text that listed figures on the total number of deaths by communist governments, even though the data was provided in categories, such as wartime deaths,’ he says, even though data is readily available, works like The Black Book of Communism.”

“Kengor was appalled at the uncritical view and, he says, tacit approval in high school texts of the communist regime that has ruled China since 1949. Not only are there no condemnations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s human rights violations, he says, but the texts offered ‘rosy descriptions of life in the contemporary Chinese classroom and of youth groups like the Young Pioneers.'”

A second article worth looking at from 2014 is titled “Twisting Children’s Minds With School Textbooks”. One quotation from a study of Tennessee schoolbooks is enough to get the idea: “…inaccurate, revisionist, anti-American, racist … anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, pro-Islam, Marxist, globalist, pro-Socialism/Communism, pro-homosexuality, pro-abortion, and sexually explicit.”

A third article has the title “Leaving Reality Out – How Textbooks (Don’t) Teach about Tyranny”.

If surveys of students show that they are on average extremely miseducated about government, that reflects directly on the public education they have received. Some people escape the poor education but vast numbers do not. Another question that’s not explored here is whether or not their poor training when young has permanently undermined their capacities to think, analyze and reason.

There is another cause pointed out by James Ostrowski in his article “What America Has Done To its Young People is Appalling”. That cause is “progressive big government”. Again, the cause of youthful ignorance is not their stupidity or brain incapacity. This comes about via the older generation’s acceptance and implementation of socialism (progressivism). The scourge is this false ideology, its acceptance and its being implemented by government by force.

Why has this come about despite its ill effects? It’s because we have a government, a legalized power center that we cannot or do not control, and this power center accumulates power over time and institutes it, which means it creates programs that bond and enslave us. We have this government because we have believed that it was the only or best way to solve certain problems. We have been badly mistaken.

Throughout history, governments arise to address problems, sometimes involving defense against attack, sometimes to handle social conflicts involving disputes over property and other conflicts, sometimes to hand down law. We have yet to find ways to live with either very limited government or no government at all, but these are the only two paths to escape the great infirmities of government that we impose on ourselves.

Certainly government is the wrong institution to have a powerful influence in educating children. A major result is that government uses its tax power to glorify itself. Over time, it worms its way into the historical narratives taught in schools. Some famous and influential philosophers have advocated this very result as being appropriate for society, and this just makes matters worse. Public education finds advocates, and the children’s minds are systematically filled with rubbish and robbed of proper education.


2:41 pm on December 5, 2018