“The left has beaten us” 7

Rush Limbaugh weighed in recently on the Republicans’ on-going debate about what went wrong in November. Elaborating on his earlier comment that he was “[for the first time in my life] ashamed of America,” Limbaugh said, “The Left has beaten us. They have created far more low-information, unaware, uneducated people than we’ve been able to keep up with . . . He added that the Democrats “control the education system . . . pop culture, movies, TV and books” and use that control to create “dependency” among voters.

These are extracts from an article by Bruce Thornton at Front Page. He endorses Rush Limbaugh’s lament. Both of them seem to think that not only has the Left “beaten us” in the present (“us” being Republicans, conservatives, anti-socialists generally), but that the Left’s victory is probably irreversible:

Some may think this is a dog-bites-man observation, but it’s worth looking more closely at the most important item in Limbaugh’s list - the educational system. Everything else Limbaugh mentions is made possible because of the deep corruption in public education from kindergarten to university.

We often focus on the ideological biases of the university, where the more lunatic examples of political correctness get the most attention. But in education as in economics, there is a trickle-down effect. The grandees at the elite universities train the PhD’s who go on to second and third tier institutions, where they in turn train the students who get high school and grade school teaching credentials. They also write most of the textbooks that end up in K-12 classrooms. Thus the progressive ideology metastasizes throughout the educational system, determining the curriculum, the textbooks, and the point of view of the teachers. At that level the ideas may be garbled, half-baked, incoherent, and a collection of clichés and slogans. But they are still toxic and effective at transmitting a world-view to impressionable minds.

When my kids were in public school I witnessed this process over and over. Questionable leftist ideas I had to sit through in graduate seminars turned up regularly in my kids’ English and history courses and textbooks. In the Marxist interpretation of history, for example, traditional historical narratives reflect the “false consciousness” of capitalism’s academic publicists justifying and “mystifying” a history marked by oppression and atrocities in service to a dehumanizing capitalist ideology.

The founding of the United States, then, was not about things like freedom and inalienable rights, but instead reflected the economic interests and power of wealthy white property-owners. The civil war wasn’t about freeing the slaves or preserving the union, but about economic competition between the industrial north and the plantation south. The settling of the West was not an epic saga of hardships endured to create a civilization in a wilderness, but genocide of the Indians whose lands and resources were stolen to serve capitalist exploitation. Inherent in this sort of history were the assumptions of Marxist economic determinism and the primacy of material causes over the camouflage of ideals and principles.

In the 60’s this narrative was married to identity politics: the defining of ethnic minorities and Third World peoples on the basis of their status as victims of this capitalist hegemony and it imperialist and colonialist mechanisms, which justified the plundering, oppression, and exploitation of the non-white “others” with racist notions of their natural inferiority. Various strains of postmodernism added a cultural relativism that put out of bounds any judgments of a culture’s values, since all such standards reflect the economic needs of the dominant power. Soon feminism added women to the list of victims sacrificed to the white-male power structure. …

Generations of credential students have sat in these courses and then gone on to teach in high schools and grade schools, and to write the textbooks and curricula that propagate this ideology. The result is a student population ignorant of the basic facts of history, the vacuum filled with melodramas of victimization, racism, oppression, and violence that cast the United States as a global villain guilty of crimes against humanity. …

So too with the movies, books, television shows, and popular music Limbaugh identifies as vectors of this disease. They merely reflect what their creators absorbed in school and what their audiences have been programmed to uncritically accept as true. Having been schooled in the evil designs of oppressive, greedy corporations that abuse workers and rape the planet, these cultural consumers are natural audiences for the plots of movies and television shows that recycle these dull clichés. Having been taught the evils of free-market capitalism that enriches the few at the expense of the many, they are natural constituents of a class-envy politics demanding the rich “pay their fair share,” which is nothing more than property redistribution useful for creating a class of political clients dependent on the federal government. Having spent years being indoctrinated with romantic environmentalism and Disneyfied visions of nature, they are susceptible to an anti-carbon politics that retards development of American oil resources in the name of “protecting the planet” from an apocalyptic rise in global temperatures caused by human and corporate misbehavior, a notion that barely qualifies as a hypothesis, let alone a scientific fact. But how could most products of our dysfunctional educational system tell the difference?

No surprise, then, that last year Obama won the 18-44 demographic––46% of the electorate––by about 15 points. This is the age group that has spent its whole educational career in schools that fail at teaching fundamental skills and basic information, but succeed at transmitting the progressive ideology perfect for creating conformist dependents …

Thornton acknowledges that some children “escape this warping influence “, which, he says, “is a testimony to parents and independent-minded teachers who are careful to counter this ideology”.

He concludes with a reminder of  the Jesuit educational maxim: “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man”.  And he observes, “Today’s progressives get children until they are 18 and sometimes 21. That kind of influence is hard to match.”

And now the Obama gang want to start the indoctrination even earlier, with free pre-school education for all children.

Have Republican policy-makers thought about how to cure the Left’s corruption of the school and university curricula? Is any Republican leader or conservative organization likely to think about it? Is there a solution short of abolishing all state-financed and state-aided education (which Republicans are extremely unlikely ever to think of doing)?

If the answer to all those questions is no, then is Rush Limbaugh right that “we are beaten”?

Our hopes lie with the invincible liberating selfishness of human nature; with the “natural order of liberty” – which was Adam Smith’s phrase for what Marx called “capitalism”; and with the knowledge derived form both thinking and noting the history of the last hundred years that socialism cannot work so it will not work.

The Left’s victory – like the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia – may last as much as a few decades, to the extreme detriment of America, but it will fail eventually because its teachings are untrue, as all religious doctrines always are.