(M) Mandating Ignorance

I want to start out by saying that I have issues with both main political parties, and at this point I am more or less fed up with both of them. However given that the GOP keeps saying the most ridiculous things EVER – they are slightly higher on my “shit list” as it were, than anyone else at the moment. I also know that there are good people in our government, who are working as hard as they can, but I also recognize that it is a very uphill battle for anyone at this point. I also need to point out that I don’t actually have any issues with most Christians – I do have issue with anyone who is trying to shove their beliefs down my throat, or who is trying to impose their beliefs as being more “moral” or “just”, or in any way better than mine. In short, I just really needed to vent and get this off my chest, so here it is…

I’m not entirely sure when this was released, though I’m guessing fairly recently as it’s just now making the news. At first glance, the official 2012 State Republican Party Platform (of Texas) might not seem related to my path, or even Paganism in general. However on closer inspection, it contains language that could (at some point) affect all of us, as it gives unsettling insight into just how far the ultra-conservative Christian politicians are willing to go, in order to insure that any child born in Texas (or potentially other states, that are led by those who are like-minded) is kept as ignorant as possible to anything outside of what their own family deems important, or worth knowing. It’s worth noting, that the national GOP Party Platform (at least from previous years) contains many similar statements as well.

There are a number of issue that I have with many of their stances, however in particular is the section relating to EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN. The official stances noted here (and to be sure there are actually quite a few more in the document, but these are some of the big ones) are all disturbing to say the very least.

American Identity Patriotism and LoyaltyWe believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Early Childhood DevelopmentWe believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.

Knowledge-Based EducationWe oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Sex EducationWe recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

While I have issues (as mentioned), with all of them, it’s the “Knowledge-Based Education” one that concerns me the most, and is the main reason for this post. In particular – the idea that teaching someone to think critically, and ask questions is in some how detrimental to a person. The idea that we should teach our children to literally be sheep, who should follow anything said to them by a parent (and in turn any authority figure) without asking the eternal child’s question “why?”  The idea that we should turn our children lose in the world, when they have grown to adulthood, ripe for being taken advantage of. Because someone that they trust, or who is in a position of authority will come along and they will accept at face value what that person says, because they were never taught the critical thinking skills necessary to determine that what is being said, may not be an accurate reflection of how things really are (or in some cases may be outright lies).

What this particular stance also speaks to (as well as the “Early Childhood Development” one), is that they want [Christian] parents in their state to be able to indoctrinate their children from birth, in their particular faith, and then make sure that they don’t encounter anything else that might cause them to question that faith. Or if they do encounter other ideas, that they have been “groomed” so well from birth, that it doesn’t occur to them to ask questions. To be fair it could be a parent of any faith, but clearly this seems to be a response to what these particular members of the GOP have seen as a direct attack on their “good Christian values” of late.

I’ll be honest – that there are people in my country, worse people who are in positions of power in my country, who think like this scares me. I don’t understand how we went from a country that valued Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, to a country that is moving full on towards denying those basic human rights. They say that they want less government involvement in things, then look to use that very same government to limit the rights of those they deem unworthy.

So of course the choice is to fight back, but it is clear… oh so very clear, that things that worked in the past  – such as protesting, no longer have any real effect on anything. If you don’t have the support of the media, or a large pile of money funding you – it’s like you are completely invisible. It’s really enough to make me despair for my children, and their children – of the country that they will inherit. As the current one seems hellbent on mandating ignorance, and I for one find that totally unacceptable.

(I was going to include some other stances that I had issues with, however in the end felt that it would potentially distract from the main focus of this post, so have chosen not to include them. Just note that there is a large number of other issues that I have with this document, and in many cases they all do have “ignorance”… in some way or an other, as a core component.)