Saturday, April 14, 2012
CHRISTIAN RIGHT AND EDUCATION
There is a stream of thought currently that worries about the Christian Right’s efforts to get adherents appointed to local school boards. I came across this piece in particular.
The concern is valid, but the efficacy of possible responses to it will depend on the amount of accuracy in identifying the causes that have prompted this gambit.
And in that regard, as so often, a purely ideological, Left-vs-Right, Progressive-vs-Fundamentalist template is not really sufficient to do the job and yield sufficient clarity and accuracy.
The radical and fundamentalist mindset is a problem to begin with. It indulges in all manner of lunacies: cartoonish thought-processes, ‘feelings’ rather than ‘objectivity’, demonization to create the Necessary Enemy (eerily mirroring Soviet agitprop as well as Soviet ‘science’), emotional involvement rather than detachment, and the ‘dishonest sleaze of knowing beforehand what the Correct conclusion is at which you will ‘logically and scientifically’ arrive … these are all elements of that approach.
But as I have said in prior Posts, this radical and fundamentalist mindset can be (and around here is) equally characteristic of ‘secular’ radical thought as it is of ‘religious’ fundamentalistic thought (nor am I here suggesting that all religious thought is fundamentalistic).
Indeed, religiously-fundamentalist thought mirrors Soviet agitprop and ‘revolutionary science’. Think of Lysenko, for example: Correct science supports the revolution because the only truth is that which serves the revolution and all other ‘truth’ and ‘knowledge’ is specious and – to use Gramsci’s idea – merely serves the status-quo of dominance ,oppression, hegemony, and marginalization.
But if religiously-fundamentalist thought mirrors Soviet and revolutionary ‘science’, radical Left vanguard-elite, Correct thought deliberately and consciously adopts it. (Noted and greatly influential radical-feminist thinker Catharine MacKinnon spelled it all out in her 1989 book “Toward A Feminist Theory of the State” – about which see recent Posts on this site.)
And this has been so for several decades now, approaching almost half a century.
And while such whackulent and frakkulent ‘thinking’ has always been around, hiding behind the potted palms at the far end of the faculty dining room or brayed brassily at backwoods tent meetings, yet the Beltway pols – Democrat and Republican for their various purposes – ‘valorized’ such daffy thought-process and injected it into the national political discourse like poison into a bloodstream.
The Democrats were looking desperately for demographics to replace the New Deal coalition after 1965; their storied embrace of radical advocacies of Race and Gender (there were more moderate voices for Race and Gender, Dr. King for Race, less radical feminist voices than such as MacKinnon – but moderates were kicked to the curb in both Race and Gender for the more sassy radicals) has now served to indenture them to those ‘bases’. Those bases – especially once the radical-feminists took Marxist-Leninist thought, channeled through Gramsci and Eurocommunism – were deeply soused in the radical and revolutionary fundamentalist (though secularist and anti-religious) mindset of their roots in the alien political Universe of Soviet revolutionary thought.
This generated a counter-move, equally soused in fundamentalistic (though religiously expressed) thought-process, by the now radicalized far Right, empowered and ignited and drawn into the center of the national consciousness by the Democrats’ embrace of the far Left.
Both far radical Left and Right share the simplistic analysis, selective embrace of convenient fact and rejection of inconvenient fact, and cocksure confidence that they have the true knowledge – all of which are indicative of an ‘ideological’ frame of mind that is by its very nature intolerant of ‘deliberative democratic discourse’ that is the very core mechanism of sustaining the American Framing Vision.
This is not to say that ‘deliberative democratic discourse’ must be ‘tolerant’ of everything; there are first principles that are essential to maintaining the Republic according to the Framing Vision. But the Framers wisely and shrewdly saw that The People must be the ultimate arbiters of what shape the national life will assume.
Whereas in the fundamentlistic mindset there resides at its very core an inherent and necessary authoritarianism: if you have the knowledge, then why waste time arguing with folks who ‘just don’t get it’? Better to grasp political power and impose your true knowledge, and everybody will thank you for it later and you will be greeted as a liberator. Or not.
But if there are those who just don’t (or – ominously – won’t) get it, then they are simply obstructionist trash destined for the dustbin of history. Thus such counter-revolutionary obstructers are – truly, in this vision – trash.
Whether their punishment is the dustbin of history or an avenging God is merely a matter of modality.
This is the cartoonish, Manichean, either-or, good-or-evil fundamentalist approach to things, whether modulated through a secularist or a religious narrative frame.
I have been saying in recent Posts that I think the key issue is not the Separation of Church and State but rather should be the Separation of Ideology and State. The fundamentalist, ideological mindset - religious or secular - is by its very nature necessarily antithetical to a competent Citizenry in the American political Universe.
And if that American Framing Universe is to be rejected for another one, then that subject should be the decision of The People.
What has been happening, however, is a Long March Through the Institutions of American culture and society by the secularist far Left revolutionary radical elements. Which has prompted the aforementioned counter-fundamentalism of the far Right.
The move to the schools is Revolution 101 (second semester): get the young and indoctrinate them in your ideological mindset and the content of your agenda as if it were the only right and natural way to do things. Students thus ‘taught’ will not be competent to exercise their responsibilities as Citizens in this American political Universe.
The path to be followed here, it seems to me, is to allow the national discourse to return to its moderate and balanced center.
This path is rejected by radical revolutionary thought since everything prior to ‘the revolution’ is to be considered tainted with – to use Gramsci’s terms here – dominance, oppression, hegemony, hierarchy, and the hated ‘status quo’ as supported by tradition and culture (and the more mainstream forms of religion).
But that rejection cannot be allowed to stand as the new American normal.
Neither the far Left nor the far Right – both radical in a profoundly un-American, even anti-American way – can be allowed to dominate the schools, let alone the national discourse and consciousness.
The Framing Vision must be reclaimed. Otherwise We shall lose not only the present, but the future for the schoolchildren. Our children.