Our times have gotten so illogical and crazy, that definitions in the dictionary are now defined based on your own personal and political perspective. What is one of the best examples of this phenomenon? The definition for the words Fascism and Communism. I grew up understanding them as different forms of governmental authoritarianism. Fascism was a governmental/corporate form of repression. Communism was a governmental/worker union/educational form of repression. Both ideologies have killed tens of millions of people (Communism maybe over 100 million). Even the Oxford dictionary doesn’t define them correctly as they ignore the political system tied around Communism (www.dictionary.com does go into more detail about these terms). Fascism is defined in Oxford as follows.
“An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization.”
But with Communism, the governmental aspect is stripped out by Oxford.
“A theory of classless society with common ownership of property and wealth and centrally planned production and distribution based on the principle ‘from everyone according to their skills, to everyone according to their needs’.
There are obviously much more complications to these terms than these simple, summarized definitions.
So why am I bringing this up? Because our current education system (Which my daughter and myself are both engaged going for a B.S. and MAS respectively) is like the Oxford dictionary. It can be informative. You can learn a whole bunch. But the lack of clarity of historical and cultural elements tied around a focus on social issues has corrupted our educational system from being a neutral place of learning and debate to institutions that feel like indoctrination centers. So where does the truth actually lie? Let me begin with my own personal experience.
During my first semester of obtaining my master’s, I took a class based around film historiography which analyzed in depth the history of the over 100-year-old film industry including its evolution and cultural impact. There was a lot of interesting history there and the teacher engaged the subject matter honestly even if she often confused arguments against the existing film industry as ‘Marxist’ when these critiques were actually more objective than that. But with my next semester of classes starting with Film Analysis, the focus on social issues began. After focusing on some important aspects of the film industry, the class took a turn from Module 4 – 7. In order, we studied Race and Film, Film and Immigration, Gender and Film and Film and Religious Identity. It continued with my next class, Media Industries. Module 4 focused on LGBTQ Television Production. It continued with my next class, Cultural History of US TV – Theory and Method. The class was wonderful at the beginning. Then, we studied three modules in a row focusing on Representation in order by Gender, Race and Ethnicity, and Sexuality. There is nothing wrong with studying these topics. What I found most ironic is that almost everything these teachers recommended for me to watch; I have already seen (Not sure what this means. I am either incredibly open-minded or watch Way Too Many Films. I am going to lean towards the latter). I understand the need for tolerance and open-mindedness. But these classes often overlook important historical aspects like class, economics, politics, and religion which have also had a tremendous impact on our history. There is no sense of understanding 18th or 19th Century culture and ideologies which led to these policies in the first place (Since slavery goes back to Biblical times and was practiced in some form by almost every civilization on the planet up to that point). Many of these educators teach history from the aspect of 21st Century perspective which can make anyone born hundreds of years ago look like an overt racist. While I will not embrace the aspect of conservative thought often reflected at FOX News that universities are liberal indoctrination centers (Even if they are correct that most professors lean liberal), the way they teach our children is what should concern us. There are two things about our educational system that needs to change or we will continue to have a culture that prioritizes race and gender issues over more vital problems like class warfare, the ongoing destruction of economic opportunity and most destructively, the elimination of our Constitutional Rights.
1) When professors teach American history, it is often filled with cynicism about our history while evaluating only a few historical figures involved in social justice movements. The focus is often on the crimes of our past instead of a more objective look at understanding the complexities of history. During these BLM riots, I have been distraught about the destruction of statues throughout the United States. While we can question who deserves a statue, I can also argue that statues are great symbols for large scale debates and research. Calling Thomas Jefferson, a ‘racist’ because he owned slaves is a valid point. But can I also respect the man for some of his amazing personal beliefs that helped make the United States the country that most immigrants flocked to when they were fleeing their own forms of persecution.
2) We need to recognize that our educators and professors can be wrong. Let me give you a great example. There is a powerful political movement that has its origins in the teaching of a philosophy professor named Leo Strauss. Many of his students came out of college as radicals and were involved in the socialist party. The difference with these students compared to more general left-wing socialists was that they believed in national identity. After rebelling against the antiwar left in the 1960s, these old socialists infiltrated the Republican Party not too long after Richard Nixon almost fatally destroyed it. Who are they? They are known as neo-conservatives and unfortunately for Democrats since the 1990s, neo-liberals. If society wants to blame governmental leaders of the last forty years for the failures of our governments, organizations and societies, there is no greater a villain. It started as an educational idea espoused by a philosopher in the early part of the 20th Century and it maybe the ideology that leads to the collapse of our global order.
When you take all of these aspects of our education system into account, is it any wonder that our children are filled with cynicism, anger, and hatred towards their country? When our education system rails against fascism while ignoring the equally destructive ideology of Marxism, is it any wonder that most of these kids know nothing about history other than social identity topics that infect all forms of their education including civics, history and economics? Our teachers have failed us. It is time to hold them accountable.
ONE LAST THING: As mentioned previously, there is always ‘positive aspects’ to any social rebellion. But with these current BLM protests, you need to be careful about the underlying motivation of these groups. Ask yourself three questions.
1) Will the world that these protestors create be better than the world that we currently live in? 2) Will I have more freedom and opportunity if these rebellions succeed? 3) What are they going to do to fix the broken institutions that infect every aspect of the United States?
Since BLM and ANTIFA seem mostly interested in creating a world tilted in favor of specific races while railing against historical figures and our corrupt capitalist economy (While encouraging democratic socialism which is equally if not more corrupt) while mostly ignoring other more important problems like our debt, imperial war mongering and our Orwellian technological society, I will continue to reject their support.
EXPERT OF SOME