Commentary: There Oughta Be a Class

September 04, 2023 1 min read

1 Comment

Paul Musgrave
Systematic Hatreds, Substack
Excerpt: A pair of Stanford scholars committed an op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, arguing that we need to bring back civics education to save democracy. Specifically, they argue, the “intolerance of ideas” that is percolating in American society results from “the failure of higher education to provide students with the kind of shared intellectual framework that we call ‘civic education.’”

I realized just how breathtakingly reactionary the essay is. There was a golden age, and then the wicked neoliberals introduced the elective, and now people are unable to live in a diverse society. To fix our society, we need this one weird trick that will save us from our depredations. Simple as!

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1 Response

Hugh E. Brennan
Hugh E. Brennan

October 12, 2023

Well, Duh! We far-right, hard-right, ultra-conservative, and now, ultra-MAGA radicals, have been yapping about this for five decades or more. If you haven’t heard from birth up that you won the lottery by being born in good old USA and that that magical place was made possible by a long, slow, grindingly difficult, and often bloody political evolution. Repeated exposure to the ideas, events, and personalities that brought to life this cornucopia of comfort and security is the only possible way to generate mass comprehension of the duties and privileges of citizenship in our federal republic.

However, we have reached the sad point that knowledge of civics is insufficient. The fundamentals of fairness, reasonableness, and comity are absent in the worldview of too many. Notions of honor, integrity, and virtue aren’t even sufficiently considered to be dismissed. They are the vocabulary of an unknown and unstudied language. The mob yowling for cancellation and executing their heckler’s veto believes that free speech is, in itself, a criminal tool of oppression and exploitation. Clearly, they would, if afforded the opportunity run the camps.

Education, faith, and the family falling apart at the same time is the greatest test the Republic has ever faced. We’ve got iconoclasm without any icons. I’ve never met a statue-killer who knows anything in particular or who has read a “whole book” about the subject of their furor.

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