By Barry Rubin
My son took a computer design course in a summer camp that rented space in an Anglican private high school in the wealthiest Washington suburb. On the last day, students demonstrated the games they’d designed. I went for the presentation in the classroom, that was usually used by the school for teaching history, I was shocked but not surprised.
Remember, this was a completely random classroom in a random private school that I saw simply because a computer class was being held there during the summer. So what did I see? The following items:
- –About 15 short quotations on the wall around the room, including three by Noam Chomsky and one each by Cornell West and Howard Zinn. The theme? History is just a construct made up by someone. Consequently, there is no objective truth to strive for. Thus, there were also two by the liberal Democrat Arthur Schlesinger, one of which said something to the effect that history should be used to promote human freedom, a nice sentiment on the surface but which today implies that you can—indeed must—twist history to support your political positions.
- A poster of Malcolm X, with the quote, “By any means necessary,” which means, of course, the use of violence to bring down the evil United States…
- A poster of Che Guevara with a Cuban flag and revolutionary slogans.
- A poem by Alan Ginsberg of how bad America is.
- A collage called, “A Needless Sacrifice?” of how bad America’s wars are.
- A collage of the anti-Vietnam war movement, with a big peace sign.
- Several posters and cartoons ridiculing the “traditional” rolI e of women based on some stereotype of 1950s America, one of which claimed that wives always had to agree with their husbands and that women’s main job was to have dinner ready when her husband got home.
I am not leaving anything out that would seem to make the situation more balanced. The best I could come up with was a humorous quote from Lyndon Johnson about how hard it was to be president. Even the George Santayana quote was of the “history is bunk” variety. And, no, there were no pictures of Founding Fathers or anything about the Constitution or Declaration of Independence.
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As I explained to my son, I wouldn’t mind so much if there had been some of this balanced by something else. But there was no sign of balance whatsoever. Ironically, a message had been left on the board from the last class in which students thanked the teacher for teaching them how to think independently about history.
So I had accidentally happened on a scene that showed how wealthy Anglican parents from the Washington area elite are paying a lot of money to send their children to a school where they are indoctrinated on being left-wing radicals to the exclusion of all other ideas or world views.
Obviously, this would outrage conservatives. But how can one call this “liberalism”? Nothing would have to be changed to have made this appear like a classroom run by a Marxist-Leninist group, albeit one that was trying to be a bit subtle about it.
That such things exist will be ignored or denied. Yet it would have been impossible to have chosen a classroom in America more at random.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist at PajamasMedia http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/ His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are teased and other articles are available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.