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Education United States News Your Rights Online

Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History 1238

Posted by kdawson
from the nation-chosen-by-god dept.
suraj.sun picked up a Guardian (UK) piece on the Texas school board and their quest to remake US education in a pro-American, Christian, free enterprise mode. We've been keeping an eye on this story for some time, as it will have an impact far beyond Texas. From the Guardian: "The board is to vote on a sweeping purge of alleged liberal bias in Texas school textbooks in favor of what Dunbar says really matters: a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy. ... Those corrections have prompted a blizzard of accusations of rewriting history and indoctrinating children by promoting right-wing views on religion, economics, and guns while diminishing the science of evolution, the civil rights movement, and the horrors of slavery. ... Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the 'significant contributions' of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the Civil War. ... Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favor of examining scientific advances through military technology."
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Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

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  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WitnessForTheOffense (1669778) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @04:57PM (#32230436)
    Um...Did you RTFB? It had everything to do with rewriting history. "We've always been at war with Eastasia." It was a reference to the actions of Stalin's regime. Hence the famous pictures of Stalin with the guys airbrushed out once they became persona non grata.
  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucm (889690) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @05:59PM (#32230966)

    > The problem is not the 25% hardcore dipshits who will always lean this way. Nothing can be done to help them.

    In my opinion, the actual problem is that kind of statement. How come someone that does not agree with you should need help? What help? Letting them know that they are wrong and you are right? Don't you see that to them, you are the one that needs help?

    The purpose of democracy is not to be right or wrong. The purpose of democracy is to let people decide for themselves. And everywhere it works in the same way: a minority of people is leading the way while the majority is silently following. This is still consent, like it or not.

    Freedom is freedom. That includes freedom to choose God, Science, or both, and to influence public policy. If you want to impose your views without having other people trying to do the same, then what you need is not democracy, you need dictatorship.

  • by John Murdoch (102085) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @07:13PM (#32231470) Homepage Journal

    In addition to encouraging you to RTFA, let me strongly encourage you to consider the political position consistently advocated by the paper that published the FA. The Guardian [guardian.co.uk] makes no pretense at all of being balanced, centrist, unbiased, or apolitical. This is the British newspaper (and web site) that developed a web site with the names and addresses of registered voters in Ohio, and encouraged their readers to write to them to exhort them to vote for John Kerry rather than George Bush. (Bush won Ohio by a handful of votes--which Ohio politicos attributed to the furious backlash the Guardian created, but that's another story.)

    In other words, the Guardian article is an advocacy piece meant to alarm, rather than enlighten. If you're a Brit, this will come as no surprise--if you're as Internet-savvy as a SlashDot reader should be, you shouldn't be surprised, either.

    The sun will come up tomorrow, even in Texas...
    Despite the panicked anxiety of the writer (and the New York Times, here [nytimes.com]), it's not terribly controversial to emphasize the strong Christian views of many of America's founders. Which is not to say that America's Constitution is a statement of Christian faith--which is often how this argument is misconstrued. (A standard freshman year American History exam question is to compare and contrast the Christian and Deist views expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.) But it is interesting to know that in most U.S. states you had to be a professing Christian in order to run for political office--it provides a perspective on our First Amendment that is all-too-often missing when discussing what the "separation of church and state" means. (What it meant, then, was that no state could "establish" a church--in the way that the Church of England is established in the U.K., or the Lutheran Church is established in Denmark. They're supported by taxes, their leadership is appointed by government, etc.--they are state religions. Jefferson wrote about a "vast wall separating church and state" to reassure Baptists in New England that they would not face oppression by Congregationalists.).

    Isaac Newton vs. military technology:
    Well gosh--I can see the insidious hand of Sarah Palin here, too. Or...perhaps, it might be worthwhile to consider that the intentional pursuit of military technology as a means of achieving battlefield superiority has been a hallmark of U.S. strategy since the Civil War. Especially in Texas, home to Ft. Hood, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB, and most U.S. Air Force pilot training. To me (who majored in Economics and American History) that sounds like a pretty perceptive point to make. I'd include Isaac Newton, too--but presumably they decided something had to give. Oh, well.

    Guns
    TFA breathlessly tells Brit readers that:

    The new curriculum asserts that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society.

    One can understand that this would so shock a Brit that he might drop his second or third pint of Guinness Stout that he'd swilled that day. Which is to say, what a Brit might find commonplace (down two or three pints of Guinness Stout in the U.S. and you're a de facto alcoholic) in the U.S. is seen as entirely normative. Again--given that the entire point of the Second Amendment was a direct reaction to the abuses of British occupation forces prior to American independence--this is a pretty welcome emphasis on the impact of early American history on our constitution and present-day policy. Not to mention, of course, that in Texas even self-avowed liberals emphasize their support for "Second Amendment Rights".

    Think critically--read critically
    I'm far less bothered by this article (it's the Guardian, for heaven's sake, what would you expect?) than I am by the fact that SlashDot's editors include

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lucm (889690) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @07:40PM (#32231644)

    > When I say 'help them', what I mean is: help them find a way to live that doesn't involve them imposing their ways on me and anyone else with a brain and a heart.

    That changes everything! Now that I understand that you don't want to impose your way on them, that you just want to help them understand how superior your opinion is and that they should recant their shameful dogma, I have no choice but to heartily agree with you.

    This being said, since you have such a deep understanding of relativism, then I don't have to explain to you that those people probably want to help you also because they believe that people with a brain and a heart should agree with them. I even suspect that for some of them, people with a different opinion are "dipshits". Tsk tsk.

    > They want my tax dollars to fund police stopping anyone off-white.

    I'll quote Fred Thompson on this one:
    "The Times Square bomber wasn't flagged at the airport even though he paid cash for his ticket. Which is understandable. Why would you worry about a nervous, cash-paying Pakistani when there are grandmothers in wheelchairs to be searched?"

    Should the police "stop anyone off-white"? I don't think so. But shouldn't they be more suspicious when they see a nervous Pakistani paying his ticket in cash, or when they see young white men in militia uniforms driving around federal buildings in a white Econoline? I mean, at some point one has to stop being self-righteous and let some common sense take over.

    > If they want to take my money, and use it in fascist ways, then yes, I'm going to have a major problem with that, and I'm going to say so when I have the chance, as loudly as I dare.

    My guess is that if it was up to you, *their* money would be spent on "multicultural education in the Tucson schools". But face it - who got the most votes at the last election? People vote for whoever they want so the public policy is going the way they want. Democracy 101.

    > If you don't like it, you can whine at me some more on Slashdot, I reckon, and I'll see you at the polls.

    I am not whining at you. I try to respectfully point out that insulting people that disagree with you is not a good start for that great mission of Truth and Dialog you talk about.

    Good luck at the polls. I guess you'll enjoy it - after all, a vote is anonymous, just like your comments.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dausha (546002) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @08:00PM (#32231770) Homepage

    A few years ago, it was said that California, because of its large student population, charted the course of public education. Apparently California's budget woes have moved it to second place.

    So, there is a complaint that Texas is directing the course of textbooks? Somebody will be charting the course, regardless. So, are we going to complain only when more conservative forces are carrying sway? If so, are we not revealing that we only like it when we are in control?

    The nature of the United States is that there are primarily two opposing political forces vying for control. Their routine swing should be preferred to having the balanced tipped all to one side.

  • No Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @08:15PM (#32231848) Homepage Journal

    I was indoctrinated with a liberal public education full of PC bullshit. And the only effect it had on me was a contempt for those who would push their agendas onto me. I ended up being somewhere between libertarian and conservative, with a strong feeling that the state should neither support nor suppress religious beliefs. I'm an atheist myself, but realize that religion is very important to many people. And atheist conservative, I suppose I challenge the narrow view political labels has taken in the last few decades. But I suggest that perhaps it was the Christian Right that made state religion part of a "conservative" platform.

    If Texas wants to eliminate liberal bias and insert some neoconservative/christian right bias then so be it. The ideals of neocons and christian right are generally incompatible and it has fractured the Republican Party for many decades. Likely students will see the contradictions and the hypocrisy and make their own choices. With the wild Internet providing easy access to information, and the culture of this new generation being very open and honest about their beliefs (even though they are often outlandishly liberal) I have little doubt in my mind that students will overcome this minor obstacle in propaganda tainted education. The kids who aren't critical thinkers and fall prey to such propaganda would have fallen anyways, to the Church or to social pressures. They are the causalities of our society, and will be integrated into society as taxpayers and ineffective voters.

    It's not like Americans haven't had to face insane propaganda mixed in their education. From Commies to Political Correctness, we over came the bullshit.

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zaffir (546764) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @08:20PM (#32231898)

    This isn't about opinion. This is about facts. You are entitled to your own opinion, but YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO YOUR OWN FACTS.

    Calling the United States a "Christian" nation is demonstrably false. You may "believe" otherwise, but you are still WRONG.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @08:31PM (#32231986)

    No it doesn't clear anything up but your misinterpretation of the Treaty. If you actually read all of the wikipedia information you would have seen this too.

    ("According to Frank Lambert, Professor of History at Purdue University, the assurances in Article 11 were "intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers.)

    If you actually were taught your history correctly all our founding fathers were religious men. Some deeply religious (Samuel Adams for one.) But they believed all religions should be allowed to be practiced without persecution. (Constitution of the US 1st Amendment.) Since history is not your strong suit let me help you with this. The pilgrims came over here because of religious persecution from the Church of England. When the founding fathers wrote all of our laws they made sure this could not happen again, as well as, made sure we would not be ruled over again.
    Our country is based on the people voting for who they believe will do what they want to be accomplished. We don't work for the government they work for us.

    But most of America has forgotten all of the above and are no longer being taught it in school. Instead they say how they were all slave owners (Again not true), and they were all agnostics. In fact the original Declaration of Independence stated the following. "Life, Liberty, and Property" but it was changed to "the Pursuit of Happiness" because they didn't want the southern slave owners to argue that the slaves were property. In fact, I believe it was John Adams that said (roughly) if we do not fight this battle now (In regards to slavery) we will fight it again in 100 yrs.
    Funny enough he was right and we fought the civil war under Lincoln (He was an evil republican by the way. lol)

    Thomas Jefferson was not religious but he did believe in a Creator. He is the writer of the Declaration of Independence. You know that paper that says,
    "We hold these truths to be self evident. That all men are created equal and endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    As for the other comments about gun control do you know why each amendment was written exactly how they are? Apparently not.

    The 2nd Amendment was to ensure we as a people would never again be ruled over, or invaded by another country.

    I could go on and on as to the true reason all the 1st 10 amendments of the constitution were written, but if you aren't interested in it why should I bother. It seems to me everyone wants to "Interpret" the amendments to what suits them, when the original writers themselves wrote what they meant them to be.

    The founding fathers weren't these career politicians we have now that write laws that they can't even understand. The Bill of Rights was written in plain English so NO ONE could misinterpret it! Just like John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence was to ensure King George was able to read his signature without his glasses on.

    We may need to interpret the laws created since the original Constitution was written, but the Bill of Rights is not up for interpretation it just is. They are rights given to us from above not from man.

    We do not give rights to each other. We are born with those rights and no one has the right to take them from us.

    I'm merely a history buff tired of hearing all this BS about what the founding fathers were, what they meant when they wrote our country's most important documents, etc,etc, etc...

    This is from wikipedia in regards to the Bill of Rights.

    Thomas Jefferson, at the time serving as Ambassador to France, wrote to Madison advocating a Bill of Rights: "Half a loaf is better than no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can."[12] George Mason refused to sign the proposed Constitution, in part to protest its lack of a Bill of Rights.[13]

    See the full write up here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

  • Re:WTF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Rallion (711805) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @08:34PM (#32232000) Journal

    To somebody that truly believes something, teaching that something doesn't sound like indoctrination.

  • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @08:41PM (#32232040) Homepage

    But no history ever conforms exactly to a general idea,
    even if we assume that "America [is] a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy",
    the indoctrinator part is that they plan to write history, keeping in mind what they want the history to show (and they admit this).

    You must write history without any any thoughts to what you want it to say overall, or you will end up with a history used to indoctrinate people.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:18PM (#32232252) Journal

    Except we don't really have two opposite forces, we have a right wing party and a far right wing party. So if you want things to stay in the middle you need to advocate the most "liberal" ideas possible, only then will you end up with something moderate. Sad, but true. What Republicans blast as far left liberal ideas are really quite moderate by any meaningful metric.

  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:20PM (#32232268)
    History is never unbiased, that being said specifically writing it to be biased in such an ignorant ham fisted manner is just disgusting.
  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:26PM (#32232312)
    That's the thing if you're delusional enough just about any opinion can become indistinguishable from fact. Such as death panels in the health care bill or Iraq being a war about terrorism, both are demonstrably false, but a bunch of nut jobs hang to it anyways to the bitter end.
  • Re:1984 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:28PM (#32232326)

    That's a bit histrionic.

    I've learned a good bit more history since I left K-12 than I did during school. And I haven't been trying very hard.

    Certainly, it would be better if people sought to paint as true a version of history as we can come up with, but it isn't as if the typical high school history class is so in depth that these students are going to be mentally borken when the graduitate.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsquare (530038) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:29PM (#32232334)

    The nature of the United States is that there are primarily two opposing political forces vying for control.

    Yeah, on the one hand you have the Democrats and Republicans, and on the other...

    Or are you seriously saying that the balance should occasionally swing to people who believe in politicising the education syllabus and infusing it with religion?

  • Re:WTF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:30PM (#32232338)

    Youre' right. Teaching kids about evolution and science is on the liberal agenda. As is teaching kids about muckraking, and the monopolies on steel, oil, and trains so they know that other people will take advantage of them if the kids let them. And teaching kids about sex so when they are faced with choices that they would face even if they weren't taught about sex they can make their decision with as much knowledge and forethought as possible. And about how they should to respect the rights of other people of different faiths (or no faith at all) to practice their beliefs, so long as they don't physically impact others, even though they might not believe that faith themselves.

    You're right. This is all on the liberal agenda. It should be on the agenda of every thinking person, liberal or conservative, because this country is nothing without technical superiority over the rest of the world, and that is exactly what is at stake here.

  • Re:No Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:31PM (#32232366)
    Yes, but we're supposed to have learned something from it. Rather than repeat the same racist, bigoted bullshit that we supposedly over come. The whole war on terror thing is terrifyingly similar to things that were done only a few decades earlier. Perhaps not purposely constructing curriculum to convince people of things which are known to be wrong is a bad idea. There's enough BS in the coursework without doing so on purpose.

    The problem is that most Americans aren't critical thinkers, and it's up to those with some capacity to fix things so that the information is at least accurate and as balanced as possible.
  • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wagnerrp (1305589) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:32PM (#32232370)

    Here's the problem. If you write a history book without any bias, the entire curriculum will consist of rote memorization of names and dates. That kind of data is completely worthless. The purpose of history is to learn from the past. Learn why people behaved in such a manner; what they believed that influenced the events; how we can improve ourselves from others' experience. Without bias, you get none of that insight.

    With bias... well, then you get a biased view of history, so you need to have several different texts from several different authors, and you need to teach the students critical thinking skills so they can formulate their own conclusions. We don't have enough teachers that can think for themselves to hope they would be able to teach the students to do so.

  • by jeko (179919) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:32PM (#32232378)

    Reasonable discussion isn't going to cut it any more. A woman who home-schooled her children because, and I'm quoting exactly here, sending them to public education would be "throwing them into the enemy's flames," i.e. damning them to Hell, has gotten some control over the Texas Board of Education. It's time to unleash the awesome power of ridicule.

    Seriously. Look at the proposed changes from the article:

    • ...sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favoured separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the "significant contributions" of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.
    • Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favour of examining scientific advances through military technology.
    • a suggestion that the anti-communist witch-hunt by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s may have been justified.
    • One curriculum amendment describes the civil rights movement as creating "unrealistic expectations of equal outcomes" among minorities.
    • ...drop[ping] references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous "Atlantic triangular trade"
    • Two years ago, [Dunbar] published a book, One Nation Under God, in which she argued that the United States was ultimately governed by the scriptures.
    • Dunbar says these are important steps to overturning what she believes is the myth of a separation between church and state in the US.
    • Among the advisers the board brought in to help rewrite the curriculum is David Barton, the leader of WallBuilders which seeks to promote religion in history. Barton has campaigned against the separation of church and state. He argues that income tax should be abolished because it contradicts the bible.

    These are not the crackpot fringe. These are people in charge of educating the children of one of the country's largest populations, and who influence education thoughout the country.

    We're beyond rational discussion here. Reasonable debate only works when both sides are intellectually honest. How about we begin with Harvard, Princeton, Caltech and MIT dropping all applications from students educated in Texas out of hand? I mean, surely no REAL American would want to send their kid to California or the bastions of the Liberal Elite to be educated?

  • Re:No Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:35PM (#32232406) Journal

    Tell me, is teaching biological evolution teaching liberal bias?

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:37PM (#32232434) Homepage Journal

    The problem is the 30% of otherwise kind, intelligent, educated people who because of some flaw in their heads find themselves thinking things like: "Hmmm, that Glenn Beck fella makes some good points."

    The question that you should be asking is what is it about you that sends these otherwise kind, intelligent, educated people to Glenn Beck in the first place.

    • and just pray to a god who doesn't exist that power ends up in the hands of better people.

    Looks like we just found out.

    LK

  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:39PM (#32232446) Homepage

    I disagree that a lack of bias necessarily makes history boring.

    And I would say that not knowing history, is better then knowing a fake version of history.

  • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@NOSPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:40PM (#32232468)

    President John Adams, eh?

    "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

    John Adams, Oct. 13, 1789

    oh, this one is good too:

    "Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty."

    So while the government of the United States might not be Christian, the opinion at the time was that Christianity was necessary to preserve it. 'Why' is explained above. Atheists have not demonstrated an adequate method for instilling the necessary values on as wide a scale as Christianity. They constantly deride it, coming across as little better than the teenager who thinks his dad's a moron, only to figure out how smart he actually is when he gets to his late twenties.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:42PM (#32232478) Journal
    Are you seriously suggesting that curriculum should be an exercise in majoritarian mythology, rather than a best-effort/historical-evidence thing?

    Should we replace bridge inspections with votes about whether or not they are going to fall down, as well?
  • Re:WTF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:44PM (#32232486)
    please. history has always been written by the victorious. if hilter had of won ww2 do you think they'd be branded as such evil villans???

    I just find it amusing your so outraged over it.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:44PM (#32232488)
    The problem isn't a separation of church and state, the problem is rationality vs irrationality. All texbooks/education should be based on rationality, science and logic along with allowing for the most possible individual freedoms. Any textbook dealing with Jefferson should comment on his religion because it was very interesting, he created his own version of the Bible ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Bible [wikipedia.org] ) and his religious views influenced his politics.

    Myself I would be in favor of eliminating textbooks altogether and allowing for in-depth study of original documents letting students decide from themselves what to believe. Textbooks -always- introduce biases. Want to study the founding of our country? Read documents from that time period. Any "expert" will end up projecting their own views in any summary. It is easy to write a book showing that our country was founded on Christian principles. It would also be easy to show that our country was not founded on Christian principles. It is all about biases. Eliminate textbooks to (hopefully) eliminate biases.
  • by JimMarch(equalccw) (710249) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:45PM (#32232498)

    ...when the left does it.

    I can show you a bunch of cases of textbooks saying outright that the 2nd Amendment is purely about the states rights to form state militias and that there's no personal civil right to arms - and some still say it even when published after the 2008 Heller decision where the US Supreme Court said otherwise in no uncertain terms.

    The left has been doing a LOT more social indoctrination crap in the schools over the years than the right, largely because the teacher's unions are fairly hardcore lefties. The ONLY surprise now is that the right has been caught doing it.

    Schools are not supposed to be indoctrination camps for either side. It's just as evil either way.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capsaicin (412918) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:45PM (#32232500)

    I think the goal is to achieve a middle-ground compromise between most American citizens' opinion.

    Do you subscribe to a consensus model of the truth? I mean, you don't seem to be the least concerned as to the historical facts of the situation.

    While it is practically impossible to cast history free from ideological perspective, good history must always be bound by the documentary* evidence. I find it unacceptable to pretend Jefferson didn't exist simply because his view on the separation of church and state potentially offends the sensibilities of most American citizens'.

    How about we forget about achieving any sort of "compromise" and actually teach History? You know that battleground of different ideological interpretations built spun around the surviving ensemble of documents.* Teaching kids that different people have different opinions might just turn out to be educational. Or is that what the educators fear?

    [*using 'documents' in an extremely wide sense nowadays]

  • Re:WTF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:45PM (#32232502)

    Even selecting a manageable list of names and dates would introduce bias.

  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dakameleon (1126377) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:45PM (#32232512)

    "They did it first!" is not an acceptable excuse.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:46PM (#32232514) Journal

    The most popular gospel in modern American Christianity is the gospel of wealth. Making money is now a holy act, and the poor deserve what they get because they are lazy and not working hard like God wants them to.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dausha (546002) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:49PM (#32232548) Homepage

    "Or are you seriously saying that the balance should occasionally swing to people who believe in politicising the education syllabus and infusing it with religion?"

    I am saying "the current curriculum is already politicized, and is already infused with a view of religion; so it should be no surprise to you when the balance tips the other direction." Don't forget there's a segment of the U.S. that has been aghast at how the country has swung leftward.

    By its very nature history is political, "the winners write history" and all that. There have been wars fought over political ideologies labeled as religions (e.g. the Reformation, which advocated a decentralization of power).

    Why do we think that because they are professors and scholars that they are objective and impartial? They are not, they are human and will naturally bias their writings with their own perspective. That's natural. To deny this is unhealthy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:50PM (#32232572)

    George Washington was a slave owner

    You must be from Texas. Washington wasn't a Confederate. You're off by nearly a century.

    want to blackwash something like slavery as all bad

    While I'm not going to argue that slave-holders were evil people, as such, care to tell us what the redeeming social value of slavery is? Care to be the first to volunteer to be a slave for a while in pursuit of that goal? Just because people paint something as vile and morally reprehensible, it doesn't mean it's tarring and feathering. Some things we've done as a people have, in fact, been pretty damn bad.

  • by Cassius Corodes (1084513) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:52PM (#32232586)

    We may need to interpret the laws created since the original Constitution was written, but the Bill of Rights is not up for interpretation it just is. They are rights given to us from above not from man. We do not give rights to each other. We are born with those rights and no one has the right to take them from us.

    I'm sure you are taking a bit of artistic licence when you say this - but I think it disservice to the great achievement that man really did give each other these rights (not anyone above). This is an incredibly important point that we should be very much proud of. Secondly its unrealistic to expect the applications of the bill of rights to be obvious in all situations, which is why they are interpreted by the courts. Note that many things we take for granted about them (such as them applying to states as well as federal Govt.) were not originally intended.

    It seems to me everyone wants to "Interpret" the amendments to what suits them, when the original writers themselves wrote what they meant them to be.

    And I assume you are the go-to man for this :P ? Everyone complains about judicial activism only when it goes against their ideas, but in reality because the bill of rights is not 3000 pages long and list every possible situation any adaptation to a novel situation will be an interpretation. Given that the constitution itself specifies for this to occur I cannot imagine that it goes against any founding father intent.

  • Re:Pro-America? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:52PM (#32232588)
    Since when is being pro-Germany a bad thing for Germany?

    Nationalism leads to irrationality which leads to a misinformed public which leads to dictatorships. Yes, America has done some things right, however, we aren't the only country. We have made -a lot- of mistakes, if we try to hide them not only do we look bad to the world but we risk repeating them.

    The problem with the curriculum for the state of Texas is that it will not inspire any thinking. We need to evaluate what we have done, was it right? Was it wrong? Are there any parallels in our world today? Could we have done better?

    Those are the things that should be discussed in classrooms using primary sources.

    I'm not a fan of political correctness and revisionism for either side (Myself I'd favor eliminating textbooks and letting students study primary sources themselves)
  • ... but there was only one nation on earth "chosen by God".

    And it wasn't the United States.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:55PM (#32232626) Journal

    There already are Open textbooks [wikipedia.org]. There are numerous sites where they are indexed, catalogued, advertised and - yes - sold in bound printed formats, collections and whatnot. As you note, there are many print houses that will print a run of books, and their prices can be much more reasonable than buying from traditional publishers. Because YOU are in control of the content, you can order as many or as few as you want. Paperbacks? Books on CD? Another 800 of last year's run? No problem. This breaks the "forced update" model where a school district has to landfill and reorder new books every second year because of spurious "revised editions". Many open textbooks are quite good. They go all the way up to the nearly 2,000 college level courses in MIT OpenCourseWare [mit.edu] and beyond. Because the books are free to download, the teachers can choose from a broad selection appropriate to your local culture.

    This stuff will sort itself out sooner or later.

    I'm hoping that one day soon kids just get their K-16 curriculum on an SDHC card or whatever media is common when they show up at Kindergarten and if they finish it before their education allotment runs out then more power to 'em. I never saw the value in attendance and peer-synchronous education. School is not daycare. Kids are all different. In a normal distribution the fast achievers can save the state money and time that can be used to help those who struggle, and incidentally achieve the accomplishments our future needs from them.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:56PM (#32232630) Homepage Journal

    These creeps need to be dragged into the streets whipped into their sense, then educated and sent to work in a coal mine before they corrupt the entire nation with their ignorance and ill formed beliefs.

    Gee, round up people who disagree with you and put them into re-education camps. Somehow, I think this has been tried before. It didn't work then either.

    LK

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoffrobinson (109879) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:56PM (#32232632) Homepage

    Given the fact that our federal system of government was heavily influenced by Presbyterian form of church government, I would say that depends on what you mean by "Christian nation."

    Theocracy? No. Heavily influenced by Christian values and thought? Yes.

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:57PM (#32232642)

    The Guardian makes no pretense at all of being balanced, centrist, unbiased, or apolitical.

    Phew! Thank god you attacked the messenger instead of trying to discuss the subject. Otherwise we might have to discuss the merits of TX rewriting history. Now we can just plug our fingers in our ears and shout "LA LA LA LA LA".

    But it is interesting to know that in most U.S. states you had to be a professing Christian in order to run for political office-

    Nope, you just have to profess some mainstream faith. Jews and Muslims are easily elected. However public opionion polls state that we atheists are less likely to be elected President than a homosexual.

    perhaps, it might be worthwhile to consider that the intentional pursuit of military technology as a means of achieving battlefield superiority has been a hallmark of U.S. strategy since the Civil War

    You'd have an argument if we were only adding such a topic to the curriculum. However, we're also removing Newton, who's still way more important...after all, without his work most of our military advances wouldn't happen.

    I'm far less bothered by this article (it's the Guardian, for heaven's sake, what would you expect?) than I am by the fact that SlashDot's editors included it.

    I'm more bothered that shredding the first amendment is just fine to you, as long as it's your religion.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:57PM (#32232652)
    And... the left haven't done much else.

    Its time that the US has a congress controlled by a third party. Libertarian, Green, etc. Both Republican and Democrat policies have failed. Their compromises have lead to unworkable policies.
  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:59PM (#32232658)

    Sure.

    However, the Texans won't fall for it. They take a moment to add up all the money they get from the "evil" federal government, and suddenly they're not so interested in leaving.

  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @09:59PM (#32232660) Homepage

    It might be good for students to learn that slavery existed since the dawn of mankind. They may view things a little differently. We shouldn't be surprised that existed even among relatively decent people. We should be surprised that it was eradicated and ask why it was eradicated.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:00PM (#32232670) Homepage

    "I'll show you politics in America, right here: I think the puppet on the left is correct. I think the puppet on the right shares more of my beliefs. Wait a minute...there's one guy holding both puppets!" -Bill Hicks

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:00PM (#32232676)

    So undoing revisionism is now considered revisionism. Why am I not surprised?

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:04PM (#32232708) Journal

    The free market has failed because it allows people to make billions by merely manipulating money in creative ways. This generation of unproductive wealth siphons the hard work of productive members of society and gives it to people who produce nothing, create nothing, and contribute back nothing. They use their new wealth to buy political power and advocate even lower taxes and less regulation. It's an endless cycle of exploitation with the hard working segments of society supporting the decadence of the rich who feel they are entitled to the wealth they have done nothing to earn.

    The solution to this problem is NOT less regulation, lower taxes, or a more "free" market.

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3@p[ ]ggy.com ['hro' in gap]> on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:06PM (#32232726) Homepage

    That's the thing if you're delusional enough just about any opinion can become indistinguishable from fact.

    If you're poorly educated and don't know how to think and apply critical reasoning, which describes a large percentage of the US population, then you probably have a poor grasp of the difference between opinion and fact, and can easily confuse the two.

    Such as death panels in the health care bill or Iraq being a war about terrorism, both are demonstrably false, but a bunch of nut jobs hang to it anyways to the bitter end.

    Once again, THESE ARE NOT OPINIONS.

    Would it be a good idea to set up government-run committees charged with rationing health care coverage to save money ("death panels")? Some people think it would; if we're to offer universal coverage, then without some restrictions in place, costs could easily explode and bankrupt the system. Other people think it wouldn't; there are other ways of effectively controlling costs without the government deciding when to pull the plug on Grandma. THESE ARE OPINIONS.

    Did any version of the health care reform bill recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama call for establishing these "death panels"? Some people think so; several prominent politicians tried to warn the public that the bill contained such a provision. Other people don't think so; there was a section of the bill dealing with end-of-life care, but it was about conversations between doctors, patients and patients' families about what options are available, not about a government-run panel and there was nothing about encouraging euthanasia. THESE ARE NOT OPINIONS.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lobo42 (723131) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:06PM (#32232732) Journal

    I doubt that any of the "facts" in the Texas curriculum are undocumented. The problem lies in the making of a textbook. There's only so many days in the school year, and only so many pages in a history textbook. Choosing which facts make it to print and which do not is necessarily a judgment call. Which of these facts are the most significant developments in American history? There's no "objective" way to answer this, since importance is itself a value judgment.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by postbigbang (761081) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:10PM (#32232744)

    No.

    You're entitled to your opinions. You're not entitled to your facts. The "majority" is often incorrect regarding the facts. Voting about the facts doesn't change the facts.

    In my opionion, the Texans that voted these standards in are trying to alter facts. They're also attempting to fabricate facts, ignore facts, and spread religious and philosophical intent into what should be textbooks, not books on philosophy and religion. These board members are doing a disservice to their constituency. They should be removed from their positions, as they have cleary been (IMHO) irresponsible and have violated US Federal Law as regards discrimination regarding race, national origin, and creed.

    They embarrass every Texan.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:10PM (#32232750)

    But it is interesting to know that in most U.S. states you had to be a professing Christian in order to run for political office-

    Nope, you just have to profess some mainstream faith. Jews and Muslims are easily elected. However public opionion polls state that we atheists are less likely to be elected President than a homosexual.

    In a thread devoted in part to history, one would think you would pay verb tenses closer inspection. "had"

  • Re:Pro-America? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:14PM (#32232784)

    Since when is being "pro-america" a bad thing for Americans?

    When it gets to the point of denying objective reality and shoving a narrow ideology onto everyone else.

    Or, to put it another way, would you equate the Japanese school system's denial of the Nanjing Massacre as simply being "pro-Japanese"? What if German schools decided to ignore or even deny the Holocaust? Would you say they are just being "pro-German"?

    It's important to know the history of your country, including all the ugly bits.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:18PM (#32232822) Journal

    Compare them to the Green Party or a true Socialist party and you'll see that they are both on the right of the entire political continuum. I didn't say they were an extremist group, they are just right leaning in their political ideologies with some small variations to make it appear as though there is a real choice. On economic matters neither of them question that capitalism is the best and only way to organize an economy, and none are advocating for the kind of progressive tax structure the US needs.

  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HBoar (1642149) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:19PM (#32232834)

    this country is nothing without technical superiority over the rest of the world

    What? The first part of your comments sounds pretty reasonable, but then you drop this bombshell.... What makes you think your country needs to dominate the world? What's wrong with just being a team player like most other countries are content to do? If you can't accept that, you're in trouble, since any 'technical superiority' (apart from military) you may have had is long gone....

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:22PM (#32232856)

    "Had" would only apply if we were talking about history. We are not.

    In order to get elected to high office in the United States in 2010, you have to profess some mainstream faith.

    There is one atheist member of Congress, who avoids discussing religion at all. Polling shows most of his constituents don't know he is an atheist because he has been able to avoid it (it's a very blue district and hasn't seen a serious Republican challenger in a long time).

  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:22PM (#32232860) Homepage
    You're aware it's a book, not a function to be called, right?
  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:27PM (#32232908) Homepage Journal

    The Republicans are more centre right - "liberal democracy, capitalism, the market economy (albeit with some limited government regulation), private property rights, the existence of the welfare state in some limited form, and opposition to socialism and communism. "

    The Democrats are centre left - "Environmentalism and environmental protection laws, value-added/progressive taxation system to fund government expenditures, Immigration and multiculturalism, Fair trade over free trade, Advocacy of social justice, human rights, social rights, civil rights and civil liberties."

    Those are reasonable descriptions of the positions of the two major parties, say, 25 years ago, not today. These days the Democrats stand for most of what's on the "centre right" list, and the Republicans for ... well, it's hard to say, exactly, except "if the Democrats are for it, then we're against it."

  • by jeff4747 (256583) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:30PM (#32232930)

    Some tens of millions of people would like to disagree with you

    I'll see your Stalin, and raise you Hitler.

    Do I win yet? Or can we finally realize that religion and morality are not synonymous?

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache (459504) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:31PM (#32232940) Homepage Journal

    I think the goal is to achieve a middle-ground compromise between most American citizens' opinion

    And schoolbooks are just one of the many tools used to shape those opinions.

  • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:33PM (#32232952)
    This is what happens when you have a two party system, unfortunately. The party in power completely dominates all areas of life, and basically shuts the minority party out. Once the current minority party gains power back, they return the favor. Should this be done at all? No, not in the least bit. But, the problem lies with the whole concept that we should vote for who espouses our views the most. In all fairness, we should be voting for those that do their damnedest to protect the rights of all, and not just a moral majority, or in contrast, a social minority. I find it very interesting how on Slashdot, religion gets attacked the most. But when science is attacked, the call to arms can not be sounded quick enough. Never mind the fact that most major scientific breakthroughs of the past few centuries were done by people who were themselves religious people. What has occurred here is a moral majority that has become sick and tired of religion being assaulted by the scientific community. This is their defense. I always thought a class on religions of the world would be very beneficial in a school environment, but, because we are so adamant about a separation of church and state, this will never happen. If a majority of people identified themselves as scientifically minded, and a minority identified themselves as religious, you would see the reverse of this happening. You would see a legislature trying to put in a religion book how God created the heavens and the earth using the Big Bang. History should be one thing only. A recording of events, and the facts and outcomes surrounding them. Science should be likewise. A collection of laws, and the verifiable results, and theorem that support them. What bothers scientists about this is that some science is still only in theorem stage, and yet is taught as though it is law.
  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:33PM (#32232960) Homepage Journal

    Wow, this is hilarious! It's like watching a video of a cat barking! Seriously?!? A right wing and a far right wing?

    Yes, seriously. There is no major left-wing party in US politics today. Far right-wingers who claim that the Democrats are "left-wing" or "socialist" or "communist" only reveal their absymal ignorance of history, which Texas is apparently doing its best to reinforce in the next generation.

    To put it in more concrete terms: Obama's policies are in essence Republican policies of a generation or two ago, and ever Republican President of the latter half of the 20th c. -- yes, even St. Ronald -- would be considered far too liberal to find a place in the Republican Party of today.

  • Re:Pro-America? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3@p[ ]ggy.com ['hro' in gap]> on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:39PM (#32233000) Homepage

    Since when is being "pro-america" a bad thing for Americans?

    When it leads you to believe that everything this nation has ever done has been a positive force for good in the world. That means that kids are being taught either that the despicable things our country has done are in fact not despicable, or that they didn't happen. If we fail to learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it...

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:47PM (#32233072) Homepage Journal
    Esp. considering the massive amount of material that was written in the Federalist Papers(though not written by Jefferson, a large # of them were penned by his protege Madison) about the rights of minorities and how the Constitution was SPECIFICALLY written to enshrine the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. The writers of this law either seem to be ignoring that or ignorant of that fact, neither would surprise me considering it is Texas we are talking about.

    FWIW, I consider myself to be at least fairly knowledgeable of basic American history AND I was educated north of the Mason-Dixon line, I don't consider those two things to be coincidental.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:51PM (#32233104)

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    The text is right there. It states the purpose in the first clause.

    However, even though the second clause places no limit on why, how or what, the purpose still remains clear. The fact that an already armed populace can also use their armaments for other reasonable purposes, such as hunting for food, self defence and recreation, invalidates neither the purpose nor the restriction of government to infringe. Some people may not like it, but the reality is that people are still allowed to use/have weapons in the USA without the requirement of being for militia use only.

    I highly doubt a history book of any bias would dare rewrite the text of a fundamental constitutional amendment. It is more likely that a text or two would editorialise on the validity of existing or proposed gun control laws (no matter how relaxed they may be in various jurisdictions). And I see no reason for a text book to make an easily falsifiable statement.

    So, I call bullshit on your stance that the left is somehow changing text books to rewrite the constitution. An author may disagree with the current interpretation, but that doesn't mean that they are making up their own version of the law.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:53PM (#32233126) Homepage Journal

    I think the goal is to achieve a middle-ground compromise between most American citizens' opinion

    No, that would be a bad idea.

    More than once in our history, "most American citizens' opinion" would have led us in exactly the wrong direction. We don't want majority rule, or the Founders would have written a constitution that made us a real democracy.

    It's worth remembering that most of the big political conflicts we fight now were also being fought in 1776, including the place of religion in a free society, the worth of a man, taxes, states rights, the dangers of unfettered corporate or government power, even national debt. We were lucky to make it to 1810, much less than 2010. There was no magical time in our history when we had it "just right". There was no Golden Era of American Greatness. That's why when I hear someone say "we want our country back" I want to ask "back to what?" It really is an ongoing experiment, and we shouldn't forget that we're dealing with ingredients that can go "boom". And we shouldn't be assholes. Not to each other, and not to people who show up here and want to get in on some of our good luck. Because none of us - not one - has earned everything he has just through his own labor and innovation. And if you think you have, let me drop you into the Dominican Republic or some poor country in Africa and let's see how far your "sweat, determination and innovation" get you.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:57PM (#32233156) Journal

    No.

    Here's what a real leftist government would look like. Immigrants would be given amnesty and a path to citizenship. The top marginal tax rate would be closer to 90% than the current 35%. Regressive taxes like sales tax and vehicle taxes would be eradicated. There would be a massive investment in a single payer government run health care system for all. A massive reinvestment in education from bottom up, focusing on leveling the inequality of poor school districts in minority neighborhoods and inner cities. Wall Street would be heavily regulated and much of what currently goes on would be illegal. Housing, food, and a meaningful job would be a right just like speech currently is. Workers would collectively own the businesses they work for. The level of income inequality would be unacceptable. And the military industrial complex would be dismantled, removing the troops we have stationed over seas. We would also never use our military again in an unprovoked war of aggression.

    THAT would be a leftist party. Do we have a viable party like that on the national level? Do you have that in Maryland.

    Get some perspective. Your "far left" is demonstrably to the right of center.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday May 16, 2010 @10:58PM (#32233174) Journal

    When you leave it up to the government to decide what to teach everybody's kids, sometimes the people who get to decide what to teach your kids are going to be wrong.

    -jcr

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:01PM (#32233190)

    You're entitled to your opinions. You're not entitled to your facts. The "majority" is often incorrect regarding the facts. Voting about the facts doesn't change the facts.

    Yes, but opinions are more powerful. They control which facts you choose to present.

    You can't vote facts true or false, but you can vote about which facts are worth mentioning, and which ones should be set aside for later.

    The only 'fair' way to write textbooks, would probably be to utilize something like Wikipedia, with the same or more robust WP:NPOV and WP:V standards..

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sg_oneill (159032) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:02PM (#32233206)

    Only by American standards. Most european conservatives, even UK conservatives (where the movement started) are to the left of the democrats.

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:03PM (#32233212)

    Sorry, no. The modern Republican party is the party of sexism and racism, of homophobia and xenophobia, of fear-mongers and war-mongers, of liars and hypocrites, of systemic incompetence and systemic corruption. They are anti-environment, anti-education, anti-science.

    The notion that the Republicans represent or want "limited, fiscally responsible, less intrusive government" is beyond laughable, and only the most ignorant and gullible believe such a thing. After all, when in the last 40 years have Republicans ever reduced the size, scope, or intrusiveness of government. The answer is "not once". And to listen to the official voices of the Republicans and Tea-Baggers is to listen to a constant and consistent stream of lies, deceptions, and disinformation. Little fact, lots of innuendo and ridiculous hyperbole.

    The Republicans represent a radical, hateful, right-wing corportist/fascist wing of government, mixed in with no small amount of a "preserve white power and privilege" agenda.

    The Democrats represent a centrist corporate wing of government without even the courage of their convictions.

    There is no non-corporatist party, let alone left-wing party, that is viable in this country.

    And the truth is that there is not always two and exactly two valid positions on any given issue. Sometimes there is only one (think issues like slavery or equal civil rights for all citizens), and sometimes there are dozens. This mythology that the media has that they have to ask the opinions of the two most radical extremists on "both sides", and that the truth is always in the middle is ridiculous. This is especially noticable on the issue of equal rights for gays, where CNN almost always brings on someone from the American Family Association to present the "opposing view"... something exactly equivalent to "balancing" any black civil rights issue by having a representative from the KKK on. Ignorant hateful bigotry is not a "valid opposing viewpoint", yet the media treats it as such, and insinuates that the "solution" or "truth" likes halfway between reality and ignorance.

    Never mind the simple fact that conservatives have never been right about anything, or on the right side of any issue... they've been on the wrong side of slavery, the wrong side of allowing women the vote, the wrong side labor rights, the wrong side of civil rights, the wrong side of gay rights, the wrong side of the torture issue... and in fact, virtually everything that makes this country great is thanks to liberals (from the Constitution itself, which is a decidedly liberal document, to 40 work-weeks and weekends, to civil rights, to environmental protections, ad infinitum).

    There's a place for principled opposition, but the current Republican minority opposition party has no principles left, and has purged itself of anyone with any sense or moderate or reasonable views. The GOP regularly puts its own interests above the interests of the country or its citizens, to an extreme that borders on sedition.

    That these same people would have a monopoly on the telling of our history ... these people that have absolutely no principles and no real concept of the truth or reality ... is insulting and reprehensible. And the proposed changes they've made are almost designed to promote ignorance and ideology at the expense of truth and our own history.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thundersnatch (671481) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:12PM (#32233282) Journal

    My wife is a professional historian. Having read many of the works on her bookshelves, I can say that documentary evidence and neutrality are the absolute last priorities of a "professional" academic historian. If you actually read any of the "history" being published now, you'd know that it's all basically supposition and out-of-context pull quotes, with a focus on how a current "victim" group was mistreated so badly so long ago. "Women of the Ottoman Empire," "Being Black in Soviet Russia," "Homosexuality in Elizabethan England." They like to use the term "unwritten history", because all these groups were so oppressed they have no voice in the historical record, and so the "historians" can just make shit up that fits their worldview.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by telomerewhythere (1493937) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:20PM (#32233342)

    I wonder why such feel the need to rewrite history if "God" is on their side.

    OTOH, I try my best to never underestimate the willingness of a person or group to believe what they want, in spite of clear and unequivocal evidence to the contrary.

  • by stolidog (1553921) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:34PM (#32233448)
    Really? It was actually the liberals that toyed with them-there books first?!?! Well shoot, buckaroo, I guess fillin' the new books with crazy-ass God-fearin', patriotic rhetoric is just fine, so long as it's done in retaliation. You got me convinced!
  • by jeko (179919) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:35PM (#32233456)

    Grasshoppa,

    Where do you think your child will be living in 15 years? The problem with your "my-kid-will-be-one-eyed-in-the-land-of-the-blind" theory is that those blind people all get a vote on where to point the steering wheel. When they vote to drive the car off a cliff, your daughter and mine will be trapped in the car with them.

    Sure, maybe her superior education will make her captain of the ship, but that's not gonna help her much when the crew starts setting explosives against the hull down in the hold because "metal ships are not mentioned in the Bible and are therefore an abomination before the Lord..."

    You're arguing that an educated woman in Afghanistan is doing great because she's more employable than the Taliban.

  • Re:1984 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:36PM (#32233464)

    The population are by and large, a bunch of morons.

    Choose your poison carefully.

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:37PM (#32233468)

    Not all of those issues have multiple equally valid positions. And the Republican party is on the wrong side for the majority of those. Moreover, the Republican party doesn't even stand for the things you want to support beyond the things which are simply wrong to support. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which ones and why.

    You vote for bigotry, racism, regressive taxation, and shameless jingoism.

  • Re:Two words ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:39PM (#32233482)

    Manifest Destiny ... look it up. Think of it as a democratic jihad. Not a good idea. The British had a similar notion: The White Man's Burden. Well meaning ideas that just result in a lot misfortune.

    Misfortune there was. I'd go a step further - Manifest Destiny wasn't even well-meaning, unless you subscribe to the notion that the white man was doing a service to Native Americans by killing them.

    The great tragedy to me is that while we as western civilization have done a somewhat serviceable job of preaching the evils of slavery and of the German genocide against the Jews, but we seem to be trying to forget the genocide we practiced against Native Americans. Manifest Destiny was no less than that.

    Wonder if these new Texas books teach the Trail of Tears. I have my doubts.

  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:40PM (#32233488)
    Where's the "-1 fsking scary" mod when you need it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:42PM (#32233504)

    to be born in the free world, whether you appreciate it or not. I was born in the Communist block, and my only hope of freedom was -- guess what? -- the US, the actual beacon of liberties I and hundreds of millions were denied. The US was the sole reason why we finally stopped being serfs to our respective governments and parties (who, BTW, all called themselves "progressive"). Reflect on this before you decide to crack this silly joke again.

  • Re:1984 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Capsaicin (412918) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:44PM (#32233514)

    However, Jefferson's personal opinion on separation of church and state may not be that notable or considered that influential.

    When I read that I thought you were a exemplary product of poor history education.

    ... Jefferson had ideas that would be considered crackpot ideas today -- like rejection of exclusive property rights (in regards to creations, inventions, ideas).

    Only then did I realise you were a troll. ;)

  • Re:Two words ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RightwingNutjob (1302813) on Sunday May 16, 2010 @11:44PM (#32233516)

    Manifest Destiny ... look it up. Think of it as a democratic jihad.

    Better a democratic jihad than a theocratic jihad.

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:17AM (#32233686)

    If history were scientific you'd have a point, where you have judgement calls about which interpretations of events makes the most sense it is less clear. For instance we have the "Great Man Theory of History" which can trace its roots back to the Epic. In this version Washington, Jefferson, etc are seen as the key to American Independence. Similarly with Lincoln, Lee, etc and the Civil War. Another interpretation would seek to examine what life of the average colonial was like, why he or she would support or oppose the American Revolution and probably include a bit about how Indian tribes were harmed by siding with the British. In any course hoping to cover the entire history of the US, Europe, the World, etc. a lot is going to be left out. In deciding what MUST be included, we need to ask ourselves what our goal for the course is.

    To the Republicans, I think history, particularly US history is supposed to give us a level of cultural literacy, an appreciation for the American experiment, and an understanding of the level of sacrifices made to create this nation and overcome our initial flaws (slavery, women lacking the right to vote, etc). To Democrats, I suspect that part of the goal is to show history as progress, slavery abolished, women's rights, civil rights, etc. probably emphasizing the power of protest movements and likely portraying the "Robber Barons"/Titans of Industry as exploiters of labor rather than acknowledging how many of them started with nothing and built industrial empires through innovation. In many cases, both sides are true, depending on whose perspective you are using as your reference frame.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:18AM (#32233688) Homepage Journal

    Playing devil's advocate here, they aren't changing facts, nor are they actively suppressing the truth, they're just... withholding certain facts. Like separation of church and state. Not to say that's a good thing, as the arab world is attempting to "forget" the holocaust, in the same way we're trying to forget the whole church and state thing. Of course we've been omiting huge chunks of recent world history for quite some time; our worldview is based on the British worldview. Nobody ever talks about the Dutch trading company, or the Sino-Japanese wars. The CIA's involvement in Iraq, Cuba and countless other countries has been glossed over. Hell we tried to side with the Russians to go to (nuclear) war with China in the 1950's but the Russians talked us out of it.
     
    History is written by the winners.

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:19AM (#32233692)

    Calling the United States a "Christian" nation is demonstrably false.

    What would the US a Christian nation (or not one)? Is there a clear definition of the term? While we don't have a state religion and freedom to practice your religion is one of our core precepts, more than 3/4 of the nation is Christian. All of our presidents have been Christians and the majority of the Supreme Court and both houses of Congress are Christians, which would make us "a nation governed by Christians", which is one definition I've heard. Your statement might be right for all I know, but first we need to have a good definition of that term.

  • Re:1984 (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:33AM (#32233756)

    Never mind the simple fact that conservatives have never been right about anything, or on the right side of any issue... they've been on the wrong side of slavery, the wrong side of allowing women the vote, the wrong side labor rights, the wrong side of civil rights, the wrong side of gay rights, the wrong side of the torture issue.

    Sorry, no. Check your history, the confederate south was largely democratic. Those were the guys with the slave economy. Lincoln, a republican, issued the emancipation proclamation. Or I maybe misreading you. The emancipation proclamation was a step in the wrong direction. The south's view of state's rights over federal interference on slavery was more to your liking? And if you want to say wrong side, as in wrong or right, that is not the same as correct and incorrect. That's just you making judgment calls based on your own bias. You imposing your own false sense of moral superiority on people living in a different place at a different time that you have no clue about. You're just a liberal left wing nut job who obviously never read a real book on history in your life.

  • Re:Two words ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by laddiebuck (868690) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:37AM (#32233774)
    Except the British Empire actually built railroads, hospitals, schools, sports-grounds, forts, governments, civil services, militaries, markets. (Remember that sketch from Monty Python -- what did the Romans ever do for us?) For all their mistakes in administration, they made places better, they ended slavery, they defended the freedom of international trade, and they defended Europe from several dictators over the centuries.

    America went into the empire business with a great deal of enthusiasm and zeal (something that was almost entirely lacking from the British "accidental empire"), but as for results, except for a few shining successes, like Cuba, mostly produced misery and suffering and death, from the Native Americans to the Philippines. On the flip side, she took on the role of the defender of international trade and defended Europe from Russia.

    But all I am trying to say is don't equate Manifest Destiny and American exceptionalism with the White Man's Burden -- the latter had a lot of truth to it, the former was a disaster.
  • by FlightTest (90079) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:01AM (#32233896) Homepage

    I'd be very surprised that it was eradicated, because it hasn't been. Slavery still exits in many parts of the world, notably Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.. The fact that people have been taught (as was I) that it ended with the U.S. civil war is very disturbing. Not quite as disturbing is the fact that I was taught only that whites went into Africa and captured blacks for slaves. While this is no doubt true, leaving out the fact that many (most?) were simply purchased from other blacks who had enslaved them gives a very wrong impression of the scope and nature of slavery.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:07AM (#32233916) Journal

    It would make no difference if we had a metal backed currency. There would still be people on Wall Street and in the banks who would get rich manipulating numbers on a computer.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alsee (515537) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:21AM (#32234014) Homepage

    there are primarily two opposing political forces vying for control.

    Some people say the sun rises in the east, some people say the sun rises in the west.
    Obviously the truth must be somewhere in the middle

    These people are purging science from science class, purging Thomas freaking Jefferson from American history, purging slavery from American history, and trying hold up motherfucking segregationists as heroes of the civil war and heroes of the civil rights movement.

    But yeah, you're right. There are "two sides" therefore both sides are guilty of trying to hijack children as pawns in some political battle. You're right, there are two sides therefore the truth must lie half way in the middle. You're right, the sun rises over the North Pole.

    -

  • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Monday May 17, 2010 @01:23AM (#32234030)

    If you actually were taught your history correctly all our founding fathers were religious men. Some deeply religious

    How is that relevant? Are you one of those people who talks about "Jew-movies"?

    Or, to put it a different way, even if the entirety of the creation team of a "X" are Wiccans, does that make X Wiccan automatically? Wouldn't it need to relate to Wicca in some way first?

    ) Since history is not your strong suit let me help you with this. The pilgrims came over here because of religious persecution from the Church of England. When the founding fathers wrote all of our laws they made sure this could not happen again, as well as, made sure we would not be ruled over again.

    The Pilgrams came over here because they didn't want to live in Amsterdam... the reason they went from England to Amsterdam was to avoid the CoE's persecution. They then enacted laws requiring relgious conformity that went orders of magnitude further than the CoE's did, eventually driving people to "Rogue's Island" (Now Rhodes Island).

    In other words, hardly the best role models. They did a good job protecting us from witches however.

    . In fact the original Declaration of Independence stated the following. "Life, Liberty, and Property" but it was changed to "the Pursuit of Happiness" because they didn't want the southern slave owners to argue that the slaves were property. In fact, I believe it was John Adams that said (roughly) if we do not fight this battle now (In regards to slavery) we will fight it again in 100 yrs.

    Locke wrote "property". When the Founding Fathers cribbed him, they used "Pursuit of Happiness". Slavery was explicitly tabled for some number of years, a strategic decision without which there would be no USA now... maybe morally dubious, but the country needed to be cohesive before it could address the situation.

    I could go on and on as to the true reason all the 1st 10 amendments of the constitution were written, but if you aren't interested in it why should I bother. It seems to me everyone wants to "Interpret" the amendments to what suits them, when the original writers themselves wrote what they meant them to be... The Bill of Rights was written in plain English so NO ONE could misinterpret it!

    The Bill of Rights is vague, and requires interpretation. How do you define a "reasonable" search? What makes a punishment "cruel"? "unusual"? To what type of council are you entitled? What does it mean to "establish religion"? What type of arms can be born and how regulated must the militia be?

    And, I fail to see the "misinterpretation" you purport to concerning the treaty.

  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:06AM (#32234244) Homepage Journal

    They're also attempting to fabricate facts, ignore facts, and spread religious and philosophical intent into what should be textbooks, not books on philosophy and religion. These board members are doing a disservice to their constituency. They should be removed from their positions, as they have cleary been (IMHO) irresponsible

    What? We're removing people for putting bias into textbooks now?

    I'm intrigued by who you think will be left to teach after your purges have been carried out.

    I study the history of history, and it's very fascinating to watch this Texas process happen. It's a reaction to a trend that's been going on since the 1960s, which has been more or less looking at history through a politically correct lens. In the 1950s, the crusades were considered a just war. Kids raised today were raised instead by a series of textbooks that portrayed them as a war of European aggression against the innocent people living in the Levant.

    In honesty, the first is closer to the truth, but if you mention this to anyone raised by the modern system, they will sputter and become outraged if you claim the crusades had some justification to them. They know what they know, but they don't know what they know is wrong.

    Note: I disagree with many of the Texas changes, but there is a politically correct bias in the majority of modern day historical scholarship, that I think they have a legitimate reason to respond to.

  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:13AM (#32234264)
    "nor are they actively suppressing the truth, they're just... withholding certain facts"

    Facts are, by definition, true. (You can't have false facts, that would be fiction)
    Withholding the facts is, BY DEFINITION, suppressing the truth.
  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alsee (515537) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:14AM (#32234268) Homepage

    the confederate south was largely democratic. Those were the guys with the slave economy. Lincoln, a republican, issued the emancipation proclamation.

    Those facts are correct, but you are getting the point wrong because you are confusing Republican with conservative.

    As he said "The modern Republican party is the party of sexism and racism, of homophobia and xenophobia, of fear-mongers and war-mongers, of liars and hypocrites, of systemic incompetence and systemic corruption. They are anti-environment, anti-education, anti-science". And he was correct.

    And he later wrote "Never mind the simple fact that conservatives have never been right about anything, or on the right side of any issue... they've been on the wrong side of slavery, the wrong side of allowing women the vote, the wrong side labor rights, the wrong side of civil rights, the wrong side of gay rights, the wrong side of the torture issue". And he was correct.

    He got it right both times. If you note that he specifically referred to the modern Republican party and later to conservatives. Around the time of the civil war Lincoln and the Republicans were the more liberal party and the Democrats were the more conservative party. Hell, the democrats of that time were trying to conserve the traditional institution of slavery and segregation

    The positions of both parties have varied quite substantially over time, but around the time of FDR and WWII there was a particularly historic reversal between the two parties.

    The plain fact is that almost 100% of blacks today have joined the Democrats, as have a majority of Jews, Asians, Latinos, and any other minority you care to name. And the undeniable fact is that virtually all racists have joined the Republican party, if only to get away from the huge number of blacks and other minorities "infesting" the Democratic party. Not all Republicans are racist, but virtually all of the racists infest the Republican party. And it's absolutely hysterical when Republicans constantly reach back a HUNDRED AND FIFTY FREAKING YEARS pointing to Lincoln as a Republican over and over again, trying to deny Republicans are The Racist Party. The fact that you have to reach back a hundred and fifty years for a defense just demonstrates how pathetic that defense is.

    -

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:27AM (#32234324)
    Read it up, it's by Kipling. It is a sarcastic poem about the effects of well meaning intervention. Kipling was a strange imperialist; he believed, for instance, that Britain would only succeed in India by working with the Indian population, not against it, and he has an Indian woman comment, at one point, in passing, that the only British officers who will succeed in India are from intermarried families. He's a terrible example for neocons, because he objected to all their ideas a hundred years ago. A couple of brief examples:

    From the "White Man's Burden" poem:

    And when the end is on you
    The end for others sought
    See heathen waste and folly
    Bring all thy work to naught.

    As for the British Empire

    The heathen heart that puts its trust
    In reeking tube and iron shard
    All valiant dust that builds on dust

    For those unfamiliar with early 20th century British English, he's saying "You cannot rely on artillery to build an empire, it's like trying to construct a building by piling dust on dust""

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:29AM (#32234336) Homepage Journal

    Interesting, that's true! I'm arguing the difference between suppressing and withholding however.
     
    What I meant was,
     
    Textbooks can only hold so much information and minds can only retain so much - you have to pick and choose what to put in there. This is a job that has to be done by humans, and humans can't be 100% objective, especially when it comes to history. While I do agree that there's a political agenda behind this (and I'm not hearing too many people denying this) you have to admit that while devious, this is a pretty legitimate tactic. They're withholding certain facts in light of other ones. It's not that they've gone about burning books and removing tangential volumes from libraries that teach other ideologies - THAT would be suppressing the truth/facts. That's not what they're doing here - they're attempting to change, or highlight certain ideologies by removing the parts they don't feel are relevant. Again, devil's advocate.
     
    Lucky for us, the Texas Board of Education is either indirectly or directly elected by the people, and the problem will sort itself out according to the will of the people.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec (258881) on Monday May 17, 2010 @02:47AM (#32234438)

    Hmmm... As I reply to this it's marked as "Score 5, Insightful". However, there is nothing Insightful about it. I suppose it's insightful if you're only looking at the world through the lens of a "extreme left wing" set of glasses. Concepts like "left wing" and "right wing" are by definition relative. You can't say something like "meaningful metric" without qualifying it in someway. By your sig I'm guessing "meaningful metric" is defined as European Socialism == Moderate.

    You honestly don't have a clue, do you? Yes, the western-european countries are social-democrat, and when we look at the US we can't help but burst into laughter when we see the way you run things. Yet at the same time, I can pick from about a dozen companies to get my electricity from. I have access to more ISP's than I can shake a stick at.

    We promote the free market. We *like* the free market. The free market, when properly overseen by a semi-competent government, is absolutely awesome. What you guys do is *say* you want a free market, and then you turn around and set up a system that does nothing but screw the little man in favor of the big corps.

    If that is the case, then clearly teaching people that Free Enterprise is good and is the basis for the economic prosperity that people in this country have experienced would be a terrible thing. We must obviously teach children that only the State knows what's best for them and that they really should only work for the common good.

    Uhuh...we're not the ones that make little children swear a pledge of allegiance to the flag...we teach them about history, when we used to make a fortune shipping slaves to you guys, and how we pretty much invented all the stuff you're so proud of, like the stock market and corporations. We also teach them about the mistakes we made doing so and what we learned along the way.

    We're not socialists over here. We're in the middle, inbetween conservative and what you guys call liberal.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Howitzer86 (964585) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:08AM (#32234526)
    I do not mean this to offend, or taint your argument, or as a direct attack on your character: but that is precisely what Karl Marx argues in the Communist Manifesto.

    I think the big problem is not with the economy (not that there aren't problems), but with our corporate-controlled political system. I, like you, am tired of seeing millionaire candidates elected to represent us. Not many of us seem to care, and the ones that do are called socialists, pinkos, etc. I believe there should be a real attempt to lessen the amount of money spent on political campaigns, to level the playing field and allow us to elect true representatives from our cities and states. (Representatives with a lowercase-r, in the sense that all politicians are elected to represent the will of the populace)

    Our current political system allows corporations to back their favorite millionaire candidates, who then proceed to start wars for purpose of monetary gain for those corporations. You better believe Haliburton profits off our wars. And that's just the peak of it. On the local level it's the same story. You have local industries helping out local millionair candidates for state governor. Similarly educated regular people don't have a chance in hell getting elected because they don't have the money to compete during the election campaign cycle.

    And sure, a lot of the time we get a 'benevolent king', like Bill Clinton, who doesn't screw us over. But that's just luck. He was rich too - he went to the same Ivy League schools as the rest of them. Most of the time we'll just get a crook or a businessman. And I don't think that's what the founding fathers ever intended.

    I don't believe much should be done from an economic perspective to prevent this. This problem has to be solved politically. Unfortunately, unless held at gunpoint, our representatives in government (again, little 'r') will never vote to reduce their chances at re-election.

    Meanwhile, they get free reign to do whatever they want, and spin reality to their liking. We may remain the world's most powerful nation for decades to come, but we are losing what made our country great. These people who claim to be against big government are really for big government - big government in their favor. And when government favors the rich over the poor, and huge banks over small business, religion over science - you've got a slope leading to corporatism... dare I say outright fascism.

    Our kids are going to grow up reading this stuff they're forcing on them now. They will be the ideal voters for the politicians of the future. Imagine what life will be like for us then. Maybe there will be another witch hunt. Maybe there will be more prisons to facilitate the result of more victimless crimes. Law will be a minefield, the government will be all powerful and all knowing, and the majority will support the government's effort in the name of the war on terror. In the name of fighting the Muslims. In the name of Christianity!

    The future is bleak.
  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spire3661 (1038968) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:16AM (#32234570) Journal
    Wikipedia is NOT an unbiased source. There is heavy editing and censorship, even editing for political gains. (repeated scrubbing of David Rhodes wikipedia page, removing any references that he was, at the time, kidnapped.
  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:19AM (#32234580) Journal

    I find nothing insulting with being compared to him, and it says more about you than it does me when you consider his name to be a pejorative.

  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darinbob (1142669) on Monday May 17, 2010 @03:22AM (#32234586)
    In history, the "facts" are dates, who was a general, etc. However there are a lot of things presented as facts in text books that are not facts, and which can't really be decided one way or the other. Ie, what were the reasons for the civil war? Probably hundreds of them, and yet history tends to point to just a couple of simplistic things devoid of context. Even some simple stuff, such as when did a war start and end, may have very unclear answers. Very often these "facts" end up with political or social bias as well.
  • Re:Two words ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thijsh (910751) on Monday May 17, 2010 @04:09AM (#32234784) Journal
    Especially ironic since the US has no problems using the forbidden word 'genocide' when teaching Turkey a lesson about the Armenian genocide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide). But when you look at the death toll of 1-1.5 million for the Armenians, and the (conservatively estimated) 2-15 million Native Americans it looks like the US has won first prize in this ugly game.

    And somehow exactly what the US accuses Turkey of they do themselves, the genocide is denied and the word is even forbidden... they especially invented a new word 'democide' (which is genocide which is supposedly technically not used to eradicate a specific culture, but more generic organized killings and thus supposedly a less ugly word).

    I'd say that the US democide is more successful than most other genocides in eradicating a thriving culture (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_history_of_American_indigenous_peoples#Genocide_debate [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocides_in_history#Americas [wikipedia.org]).

    Oh yeah, and thank god for Wikipedia, and it's as-of-yet uncensored historic information, whatever the flaws it can still be used too look up just about anything with enough accuracy. A student in Texas just needs search what happened to all the 'Indians' and you end up at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Native_American_genocide [wikipedia.org].

    The US was not alone in this 'genocidal era', but especially when you condemn the Jewish and Armenian genocide you can't possibly pretend to have clean hands... Every country has some ugly history, and the countries that attempt hide it nowadays are just writing some new ugly history in future hindsight...
  • Re:1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metacell (523607) on Monday May 17, 2010 @04:14AM (#32234826)

    It makes sense once you realise creationism has more to do with politics than with religious faith. Creationism (in the modern sense) was created by religious groups in the USA as a way to get religious education into American schools. Since the USA has a strict division between church and state, religious education has always been controversial in public schools, sometimes avoided entirely, so religious groups have had to "disguise" religious education as science. And they didn't attempt this until they saw religious influence on society fade in the early 1900's - before that, Darwin's theory of evolution was largely accepted by christians and even officially embraced by many churches.

    In Europe (and presumably the Americas outside of the US), there is generally no strict separation between church and state, and religous education in schools is common - so there is no need to disguise religion as science.

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:21AM (#32235056)

    A troll is someone who deliberately presents a false and/or stupid opinion in order to generate a reaction in their audience.

    That sounds like a fairly accurate description of a Fox News "reporter"...

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iapetus (24050) on Monday May 17, 2010 @05:49AM (#32235194) Homepage

    The society in 1984 has three distinct classes, this alone means it is not Communism.

    Nor, of course, were/are most of the countries we describe as 'Communist'.

  • Am.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Putr (1669238) on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:10AM (#32235282)
    This is a joke right?
    Cuz It's hard to belive people could be that retarded in this day and age.
    This is almost as absurd as teaching Creationizem alongside Evolution.
  • by asticia (1623063) on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:11AM (#32235292)
    Isn't this how Germans started thinking they are chosen nation, then educating their youth the right way, then establishing clear race, and you know the rest. For me, as European, I stop seeing difference compared to let's say Middle East countries with their own way of expressing religion into educational system. Hello Texas, Deja Vu? What comes next? Denying voting rights to women?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:39AM (#32235410)

    It seems to me that Texas is supporting a conservative bias, and that is not okay with me.

    But, let's be honest, US academia has over-whelming supported a strong liberal bias for years. If Texas was re-writing history to support an agenda that was more favorable to the liberal point of view, it would hardly be news.

    It seems to me that the media is up-in-arms over a local government pushing a conservative agenda, but the same media is all too happy to ignore local governments that rewrite history to favor a liberal agenda.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:47AM (#32235456) Homepage

    It is not the Free Market that allowed people to make billions by doing 'money manipulation', it is the policy of the Government, which has adopted the Keynes ideas that the normal Economy should be controlled because normal Free Market economy is cyclical, it has a Boom (expansion) and a Bust (contraction) and before the Fed, when there was Free Market, the US standard of living was constantly rising and prices would not go up all the time but would come down due to actual competition.

    Counterpoint: J P Morgan [wikipedia.org]. He made huge sums of money engaging in money manipulation and banking, and his relationship to the US government was not totally different from Goldman Sach's government dealings today. And this definitely wasn't due to Keynesian economics, because he was dead in 1913, long before the Keynesians had anything close to real political power.

    Or if you prefer, you can read about all the various railroad tycoons who bought off politicians to get monopolies to access certain areas of the country. The idea that government corruption is anything remotely new needs to go away - presidential corruption, for instance, goes back to at least Andrew Jackson, who came up with the idea of rewarding supporters with cushy government jobs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @06:55AM (#32235514)

    Isn't this mirroring what the fundies in the middle east and other places say?

    Being god's chosen people, god's chosen country, blah blah blah?

    How long more before you get a real christian taleban there?

  • Re:No Effect (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dajalas (244809) on Monday May 17, 2010 @07:12AM (#32235590)

    ...to liberals.

    Is it really the mark of a reasonable, tolerant individual to believe that all of reality matches their world view perfectly and exactly?

  • Re:FrostPeas (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mooingyak (720677) on Monday May 17, 2010 @07:14AM (#32235600)

    All that shows is that all politicians *claim* to be devout Christians

    I'm familiar with the problem -- I think the West Wing summed it best with Alda's character when he said:

    "I want to warn everyone in the press and all the voters out there if you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won't all lie to you but a lot of them will. And it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes."

  • Re:1984 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @07:16AM (#32235610)

    >The plain fact is that almost 100% of blacks today have joined the Democrats, as have a majority of Jews, Asians, Latinos, and any other minority you care to name. And the undeniable fact is that virtually all racists have joined the Republican party, if only to get away from the huge number of blacks and other minorities "infesting" the Democratic party. Not all Republicans are racist, but virtually all of the racists infest the Republican party. And it's absolutely hysterical when Republicans constantly reach back a HUNDRED AND FIFTY FREAKING YEARS pointing to Lincoln as a Republican over and over again, trying to deny Republicans are The Racist Party. The fact that you have to reach back a hundred and fifty years for a defense just demonstrates how pathetic that defense is.>

    Really?!

    The only racism I have heard lately is on the left. Like the President's former pastor of 20+ years?! Comments he made about Jews?
    Remember Bush II won majorities of the Latino vote both times he ran. Most of the time the GOP has tried to avoid race.

    The Senate Pro Tem is a former head of the KKK. Do I need to go on?!

    Remember the Trent Lott wishing Strom Thurmond that he should have been elected President on his 100th B-day the outrage and the GOP forced him out of leadership.
    Frankly it was just nice wish to a 100 YO man on his bday. Stupid probably considering his position. But the GOP took care of its own on that.

    More Republicans than democrats voted for BOTH civil rights acts. Martin Luther King Jr. as a national holiday the Reagan administration.
    When I see the democrats regardless of their color, quit making racist comments, then I might believe you.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 17, 2010 @07:22AM (#32235636) Journal
    It's funny. At some point, being held to, and holding yourself to, high standards seems to have fallen out of fashion.

    The reason that the stuff in Texas receives more outrage and attention is twofold: one, Slashdot is a largely, though hardly exclusively, US audience, so a fair slice of its members may be not too many steps away from being personally affected. More important though, is that nobody expects various authoritarian theocracies to act well, so when the don't, nobody is surprised. Texas, by contrast, is supposed to know better, so people are disappointed when they don't.

    Seriously. When did "Oh yeah, at least we aren't like those rag-heads and commies!" come to equal "good enough"?
  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bsDaemon (87307) on Monday May 17, 2010 @07:40AM (#32235768)

    No, they need trucker hats for that. Cowboy hats mean they're doing it ignorantly. The difference is subtle yet profound, like the ripples from a leaf on a pond, disturbed by the jumping of fish with friggin' laser beams on their heads.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Monday May 17, 2010 @07:41AM (#32235770) Journal

    ...actually it's not, it's bullshit, but is anyone surprised?

    I'm 43.
    I grew up through grade school when the Left's dominance in education (in the US) was only really starting to assert itself. This was evident in the rewriting of textbooks, ostensibly to remove gender and ethnic bias, to show that women and blacks contributed in equivalent measure to white males in the founding of the United States.

    In high school it became more pronounced, with more and more teachers deliberately pursuing a curriculum of 'alternative' views of history, spending more and more time focussed on the contributions of women and people of color.

    Finally in college in the mid-to-late 80's the transformation was, if not complete, advanced to a point of dominance. The entire Liberal Arts (and even, amazingly, the sciences) was dedicated largely to the study of 'little brown babies' more than the widely-disparaged 'dead white males'. Aristotle? Plato? Caesar? Phht..let's spend time dissecting Maya Angelou! Even something as seemingly-neutral as group educational requirements - you need X credits from group A (sciences), Y from B (language), etc. - was PC-biased: the ONLY courses that filled 3+ group requirements (and thus were the most efficient in terms of dollars spent) were, you guessed it, courses like "Native American culture of the 1800's" and "Marxism and Post-Colonial Latin America". One had to look quite hard to even FIND courses that studied the writings of Dead White Males.

    As a result, I have two comments about the proposed textbook changes:
    First - the Left shouldn't be surprised. The Right has started to figure out that conceding education to the Left means children spend much of their school years being indoctrinated, not taught. So the Right is understandably accessing the same tactic. Ironically, where the Left characterizes itself as the populist, revanchist ideology normally, in this case it's the Right that is using populism and appeals to judges to break the lock of the entrenched Left on education.

    Secondly - I'd guess that within 5-8 years, the Right will find out this tactic is backfiring. As general education has shifted far more Leftward in the last couple of decades, I sense that (painting with a very broad, generalist brush) that public mood, even among the young and stupid, is shifting reactionarily to the RIGHT. Unsurprising, if one accepts the general view that kids react against the previous generation, and since parents seem to be more often abandoning their responsibilities (forcing teachers to spend more time acting like parents, instead of simply teaching). The Leftward taint of my education contributed significantly to my own strongly Rightist biases, I'd be surprised if a Rightward shift in TX didn't produce a similar Leftward shift in the youth being taught.

  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:00AM (#32235922) Homepage

    I can't fault your logic, but what you wrote in your original post didn't match what you're saying now.

    All history is dependent on context, I specifically pointed out that there is other context I'm NOT currently considering - I considered only what the crusades were, from the point of view of the average crusader.
    A religious war, meant to spread christianity and wash the heathens clean in a sea of blood.

    There is no way that, THAT was just. The rest of the wars of the time, in some ways were related, in some ways were not - but they are not what we are referring to with the word "crusades", nor were they the primary motivation for them. The land barrons and royalty may have contemplated them before going along with the idea of the crusades, but that idea began and was sold from the popes.
    The powerful of they day went along, in the end, mostly because the justification of their power came FROM the popes - you don't piss off the guy who can cost you your crown with a wave of his hand- if he says "go to war and reclaim the holy land" - you muster your armies and go.

    There was nothing just about it. True there was nothing just about the Moorish invasion of Spain either - but they didn't invade Germany, France and Britain after all - and that was where the vast majority of the crusaders came from. It's where the crusades most important remaining historical influences originated too. The modern banking system for example is primarily based on the system created by the knights templar originally in France during the crusade years.

    It was a religious war, and it was unjust. Before, during and after there were equally unjust military actions from the Arab nations on Europe as well- but those aren't called 'the crusades', and the atrocity of you enemy has never been a valid excuse for the atrocities of your own side.
    "Remember Koom valley" says Terry Pratchet and goes on to say that every nation has cries like that, which translates as "remember the atrocity committed by their ancestors on our ancestors which will excuse the atrocity we are about to commit on them today."

    His point, in case you missed it, is that it doesn't excuse it - it NEVER does.

    Oh, did I mention I'm a pretty hardcore pacifist ?

  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PFI_Optix (936301) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:23AM (#32236152) Journal

    I grew up on the curriculum set by the Texas Democrats in the 80s.

    I was taught that the Civil War was fought to free the slaves from their southern oppressors. In reality, the north controlled the federal government and set a history of economic policies that ignored the well-being of the southern states. Slavery was the last straw; abolition would have crushed the southern economies. Secession happened out of fear and desperation to preserve a way of life.

    I've had people become very offended when I present this information; apparently they think I'm trying to say slavery was okay. I believe a lot of what's going on over textbooks in my state today is the same sort of thing: people think that approaching history from another perspective is somehow trying to rewrite it. The mistake a lot of people are making right now is thinking that there is only one way to teach history. There is some merit in what the Texas conservatives are saying right now: some parts of history have been horribly misrepresented in recent history books.

    That's not to say I agree with everything they're doing. Like all things in American politics, we are once again sailing right past the middle ground and taking the most extreme approach we can. They're right that a lot of groups are unfairly portrayed or left out entirely. They're right that history needs to be viewed from more than one perspective. But they've managed to take some really good ideas and ruin them.

    This is why my children are being homeschooled. Not because we think schools need more God, not because we think they need less, but because we're tired of the politicians on *both* sides of the aisle who shove their personal ideologies into curriculum.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cartman (18204) on Monday May 17, 2010 @08:57AM (#32236450)

    Except we don't really have two opposite forces, we have a right wing party and a far right wing party.

    We have a voting system in which both parties must cater to the median voter in order to win. As a result, both parties tend to be somewhat close to each other.

    So if you want things to stay in the middle you need to advocate the most "liberal" ideas possible, only then will you end up with something moderate.

    No. If you advocate the most "liberal" ideas possible, then you will have no influence on politics whatsoever and will end up with something more conservative. You will not counter-balance anything.

    If you want to win, you should advocate something slightly to the left of the median voter.

    I'm always astonished that people on the left don't understand that point. That's why they always lose. Oddly enough, it's the left who is totally rigid and uncompromising, so they always lose.

    As a recent example, I was astonished to watch people on the far left line up to attack Pres Obama. For example, Naomi Klein ripped into him, for not being truly "transformative". Of course, if he had been truly transformative, and something like a communist as Klein would like, then he would have lost and McCain would be president now.

    I'm also astonished to watch the uncompromising and unrealistic antics of the environmental movement. They have a platform like this: "we must generate all electricity in this country from windmills and burning wood. And we should all grow our own food and live on communes, or live like indigenous peoples. If we don't get 100% exactly that right now, then fuck it, we're going home." So they go home, and get nothing.

    We must always remember that it was the environmental movement in this country, that killed nuclear power, that supported coal burning (directly or indirectly), and in so doing caused more than 40% of the c02 emissions of the last 4 decades. When given a choice between the technologically possible options of coal burning or nuclear, they proclaim "BOTH ARE PURE EVIL" and so get coal burning. Or worse, they protest at nuclear plants while not protesting at coal plants, and they get what they asked for--massive c02 emissions over decades.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would suspect that Naomi Klein and Greenpeace are actually plants/agents of the republican party. They only serve to marginalize and disempower the left in this country. Not that I mind, because I lean libertarian, and I sometimes secretly rejoice when the left marginalizes itself, and shoots itself in the foot or even the head.

  • Re:1984 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:22AM (#32236742)

    Right, and your ending statement is why we pay doctors, engineers, et. al. far more than we pay the people at the bottom. The people at the top actually create things which better everyone's quality of life. The catch is that you have to pay them for their effort.

  • by FriendOfEntropy (1027806) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:46AM (#32237088)
    Yes, we need to STOP having education by the nanny state. The government should get it's nose entirely out of education/indoctrination.
  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Monday May 17, 2010 @09:49AM (#32237138)

    Why is it so scary?

    most of us believe that much of our national blessing comes from siding with Israel these last many decades

    Perhaps I was unclear. I find it scary that someone would

    1. Think this
    2. Think that MOST PEOPLE also think the same way
    3. State it in public

    But then I always find political statements with a religious basis pretty damn scary.

  • by buddyglass (925859) on Monday May 17, 2010 @10:13AM (#32237526)

    While I no doubt disagree with Dunbar on just about...everything...the Guardian article is somewhat of a hit piece. For instance, consider this quote:

    Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favoured separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the "significant contributions" of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war.

    This makes it sound as if Jefferson was removed from the U.S. History curriculum in favor of the confederates. Jefferson was, in fact, removed from the "World History" curriculum, on the basis that his contributions were minor (on the world stage) compared ot the other Enlightment philosophers on which his views were based. This, presumably, is why Calvin was added. While he wasn't the only reformer by far, he's sort of the poster boy for the protestant reformation, which was a pretty big event in "World History". What's truly bizarre about that modification is that it throws Aquinas, Calvin and Blackstone in with all the Enlightenment guys. You can read the actual word-for-word change here [tfninsider.org].

    This quote:

    The new curriculum asserts that "the right to keep and bear arms" is an important element of a democratic society.

    ...is also fairly disingenuous. The board essentially voted to include a discussion fo the right to bear arms in a portion of the curriculum dealing with free expression and first amendment rights.

    I would probably oppose almost all of the changes that were made, and I fully agree they were made with idealogical motivations, but I'd also say the Guardian has exagerrated how "crazy" the changes really are.

  • Re:1984 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nexus7 (2919) on Monday May 17, 2010 @11:47AM (#32239382)

    You tell me I'm missing the point, when in your own post you make it very emphatically. The southern states had no viable economy without slave labor. Think about it. Without free labor (and the inhumanity of slavery), they didn't have an economy (or believed so).

    Then you try being sarcastic... "ho ho ho, they didn't sit around and decide they wanted slaves."
    Uh no, they just wanted to sit around and live off the slaves' labor.

  • by jeko (179919) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:27PM (#32240246)

    the Soviet Union did in fact spend large amounts of money and influence to induce as much unrest and disruption as possible.

    Yeah, the KGB was real. Yeah, the Soviet Union had a massive spy program. The stars on the wall at the CIA aren't there for decoration. Reagan didn't call them "the Evil Empire" for nothing.

    I'll go you one better. I'll bet the Chinese, right now, have more than maybe one or two active assets in the US. In fact, I'll bet there's at least one Chinese spy on American soil who reads Slashdot. They probably enjoy the unfettered internet access.

    But how many actual spies did McCarthy and HUAC turn up? Oh, yeah, that's right, exactly none of them. How many lives did they ruin across the Arts and Academia? A lot. I'll personally never forgive them for the Dalton Trumbo stories they cost us.

    But, by all means, there is no God but Reagan and Nixon is his profit. Go forth and spread the Word that McCarthy was a patriot crucified for America. While you're at it, you should set the record straight and let everyone know Roy Cohn died of liver cancer too.

  • Re:1984 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nexus7 (2919) on Monday May 17, 2010 @12:54PM (#32240826)

    No, I think you're making a subtlety of something that is starkly obvious. If indeed the southern states had such a successful economy with agriculture, for which manual labor was an essential input, then they could well have hired manual labor. Where would they find them? Why, here's all these (presently) slaves. Let's emancipate them, and pay them low wages (just like they do with immigrants in the meat-packing industry these days).

    But they didn't do that. They either couldn't conceive of a universe without slaves/where all men were free, or they couldn't give away the share of profits that would go to pay wages and slavery was a perfectly acceptable means to achieve that. Or some other thinking. But let's not finesse this (importance of agriculture, states' rights, federal mandates, whatever) - slavery was fundamental to them.

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