Boy, Arts and Letters Daily does a good job of making my blood pressure spike. Today it is a review of the book The Thought Police.
The book brings to light something I have noticed more and more over the last ten years: ignorance is being touted as a virtue. Here is a clip from the review:
…Among those rejected by the “bias and sensitivity” panel was a passage about the patchwork quilts made by 19th century frontier women: “The reviewers objected to the portrayal of women as people who stitch and sew, and who were concerned about preparing for marriage.” The fact that the passage was historically accurate was considered no defense for its “stereotypical” image of women and girls.
Basically, anything which might conceivably, through some radical stretch of the imagination, be considered to enforce a stereotype, is simply not to be discussed. Someone, somewhere, might be offended. If I make a remark about a woman (my mother?) baking a cake (for my birthday?) it is seen as enforcing the stereotype that baking a cake is women’s work…EVEN IF I AM TALKING ABOUT THE TIME SHE BAKED ME A CAKE!!!!
Anything mention of anything that the Left (anything which might conceivably be construed to be saying person A is in any way different from person B) and the Right (anything which might conceivably be interpreted as going against “tradition”) don’t like is no longer allowed in textbooks.
So there can be no mention of slavery (shows insensitivity toward Black Americans), reservations (ditto, American Indians), athletics (the handicapped), smart people (stupid people) or skyscrapers (acrophobes). And these are the more rational decisions. Witness:
…a story about a heroic blind youth who climbed to the top of Mt. McKinley was rejected, not only because of its implicit suggestion that blind people might have a harder time than people with sight, but also because it was alleged to contain “regional bias”: According to the panel’s bizarre way of thinking, students who lived in non-mountainous areas would theoretically be at a “disadvantage” in comprehending a story about mountain climbing.
Let us now consider logical fallacies.
One: Discussing historical events == the enforcing of stereotypes
FALSE!!! Discussing historical events is discussing historical events. Black Americans in large numbers used to pick cotton. Historical fact. To discuss it is NOT equal to saying “Black Americans are the kind of people who pick cotton”.
Two: Not exposing someone to something == protection from that thing
FALSE!!! Not exposing someone to something (e.g. guns) merely means that person is ignorant about guns. Facts have not been offered. That is why kids shoot themselves. Not because the gun is within reach, but because they were not taught why guns are dangerous.
Three: All [men | women | races | cultures | creeds | religions] are in all ways equal and equivalent to all other [men | women | races | cultures | creeds | religions]
FALSE!!! It is more accurate to say that none of the above are in any way like any others of the above. The flattening of ability and talent (outcome-based education) to comfort the lowest common denominator is terribly damaging to everyone involved. It erases all texture and color from the cultures of the world and turns them into Disneyland amusements. Safe Disneyland amusements.
There are ten thousand reasons to be angered by this trend in education, but for me, the worst is that it tries to erase the struggles and achievements of people throughout the entire history of the human race (I will probably get flack from people because saying “human race” doesn’t take into account all of the great accomplishments ostriches have made in the last two millennia). Not talking about slavery hamstrings the entire civil rights movement. Not talking about alcoholism means the guy curled up in the doorway doesn’t really have a problem, he’s just sleeping. Not talking about Florence Nightengale because stories about her portray women as the kind of people who are nurses, erases a hundred years of struggle for equal rights.
Talking about controversial issues is by no means the same thing as advocating controversial issues. It is exactly and purely the dispelling of ignorance.
What is happening in schools is the deliberate, willful glorification of ignorance, and the destruction of our history. However, there are precedents for this behavior:
In Egypt, about three thousand years ago, when a public figure became unpopular with the Powers That Be, that person’s name was taken from all statues, public records, scrolls, plaques and pillars. That person, for all intents and purposes, was removed from history. Apparently talking about criminals was considered insensitive to non-criminals.
During the French revolution the names of the months, among other things, were changed in order to remove from common usage anything which might remind people of the decadent religious past. Thus April became Germinal (seed), and August became Thermidor (heat).
The Communist revolutions in Russia and China tried very hard to get rid of every bit of history which led up to the revolution, including the destruction of art, artifacts, places of worship, the imprisoning and murder of educated and talented people, and the state-approved vilification of anyone not toeing the party line. Obviously, anyone who didn’t approve of what the government was doing was not patriotic enough.
More recently the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the two largest Buddhas in the world; giant statues dating from 400 to 600 AD were blown up because they showed insensitivity to Islamic extremists.
This is EXACTLY the same line of thought used by the people who enforce this particularly stupid and dangerous form of political correctness. So dig out your old highschool textbooks, because even the ones which talk about Indians and Negros and Women Staying Home and Making Babies are more honest, open and accurate than the Socialist Realist tracts now being used in our schools.
Burn a book and I’m stupid for a day.
Burn a library and I’m stupid for a lifetime.