Saturday, June 30, 2012

Republican war on higher education and social science

It's the end of the month, which means it's time to serve up leftovers. Here is a collection of links on a common theme that I've been sitting on this month, waiting for me to post them.

First up, an article from Alternet which looks like conspiracy theory at first, but I thought worth considering. After all, we live in weird times, and as Hunter S. Thompson famously said, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Alternet: Deciphering Right-Wing Code: What Conservatives Are Really Saying When They Seem to Spew Nonsense
Did Rick Santorum just declare the next right-wing crusade?

Rick Santorum is firing the opening salvos on a conservative war on public higher education.

That was a few months ago. Let's see how that is playing out over the jump.

First, Paul Krugman describes conservatives attacking critical teaching of history.

The New Political Correctness
And then there’s the teaching of history. Eric Rauchway has a great post about attacks on the history curriculum, in which even talking about “immigration and ethnicity” or “environmental history” becomes part of a left-wing conspiracy. As he says, he’ll name his new course “US History: The Awesomeness of Awesome Americans.” That, after all, seems to be the only safe kind of thing to say.

Actually, this reminds me of an essay I read a long time ago about Soviet science fiction. The author — if anyone remembers where this came from — noted that most science fiction is about one of two thoughts: “if only”, or “if this goes on”. Both were subversive, from the Soviet point of view: the first implied that things could be better, the second that there was something wrong with the way things are. So stories had to be written about “if only this goes on”, extolling the wonders of being wonderful Soviets.

And now that’s happening in America.
I'll have more on the Soviet comparison in another post, should I get around to it. It turns out that Krugman isn't the only one making that comparison.

More from Alternet: Is Texas Waging War on History?
Christian-nationalist zealots are rewriting US history, airbrushing slavery and enshrining creationism in Texas schools.

And here is an expose from PoliticusUSA on one of the main people behind the historical revisionism being enshrined in the Texas history curriculum, David Barton.

30 extremists out to destroy America

It isn't just history that's under attack, but also political science. The Monkey Cage has an entire series on this topic.

And the above is just what's shown up on my screen in the course of my everyday reading. Imagine what I'd find if I actually looked!

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