- Education and Science
Too far once again?
We know, we know....
There are signs all over Texas that say "Don't mess with Texas". they refer to trash being left on the roadways. I would like a new one to be installed: "Don't mess with parts of history that are not aligned with your agenda". Yesterday, the Texas School Board decided to remove some "unsavory" parts of US History from their History curriculum as they did not fit into their fundamentalist belief system. The British paper "The Independent" the following was written:
" Historians this week voiced concerns about the proposed revisions, many of which they have described as inaccurate. They are particularly angry that Jefferson's importance to the nation's founding fathers will in future be played down. That change to the curriculum was supported by evangelical Christians, who dislike Jefferson's support for the separation of church and state."
While I already believe that history book writers are skewed into writing from the victors point of view, I cannot help thinking this sort of revision is akin to what Joseph McCarthy did in the 1950's. In fact, some of the people voting in this decision felt he should be deemed a hero for his actions at that time. Are they serious? This is a frightening idea.
Thomas Jefferson was not altogether a wonderful man. He had slaves, and we now know he had children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings. He was however, a master mason and free thinker. He met with and espoused Enlightenment ideals and spent time in France with Ben Franklin, JJ Rousseau, Denis Diderot and Voltaire. These men, along with Immanuel Kant wanted people to Sapere Aude! Have the courage to think for themselves! Not tied to any dogma, he felt we needed to be free thinkers and choose that which worked for us as individually free people.
The American doctrine came from the French as well. The idea of Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness was not an American idea. There is a more global view etched in the doctrines of the US. This is why the "Tea Party" loses me. They want us to return to the "roots" of our countries ideas, but they also want to weed out the things that do not work for them, or meet their agendas. The result of this decision makes the Texas school board guilty of censorship, which is hard to believe in the 21st century.
Having had two children go through the Texas school system in the 1990's I can speak honestly about how the "system" creates adherents through the use of intimidation. Teas is the only state I know that mandates children to pledge allegiance to their state flag in the classroom as a matter of course. My fourth grade son was told he must participate in this ritual as well, until I advocated he be released from this duty. While in the system I also received a note home asking me for permission to impose corporal punishment on him if he "needed it", which I declined. And while he was in the school system I was told I would be brought up to the school board if he missed any more sick days, even though he had doctors excuses for his asthma. It was at this time I removed him from the public school system and home schooled him.
My daughter was in high school in the 1990's and was able to deal ost of the time with the dichotomy of the rules and belief systems espoused, but is now very happy she never has to return to the place that made her life one of duality by placing not only too many materialistic values above all else, but also trying to encourage conservative fundamental beliefs en masse with no tolerance for those of other faiths. If Texas is so unhappy, why don't they secede? I thin it would be better for everyone involved!