Monday, November 4, 2013

Ron Smith: Education and Propaganda

A functioning democracy requires institutions that provide for its citizens an unfettered opportunity to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.  It also requires a free and unbiased media, especially in regard to that part of it that is in public ownership and under official control.  I have commented on the manifest deficiencies of the New Zealand media in this respect on earlier occasions.  See, for example, my ‘Public Service and Public Propaganda’ of August 2011, which focussed on National Radio and the persistent radical bias of the bulk of its presenters and guests. 

But there is a third leg to the democratic ‘stool’ and that is an education system that seriously prepares its future voters to play a part in determining the sort of society in which they will live, rather than be merely election fodder. 
There have long been grounds for suspecting that this is not being done.  The use of children, too young to understand the underlying issues, to dramatise some protest, is a common phenomenon.  I don’t think parents ought to do it, and I certainly don’t think teachers should.  But more insidious than this is the increasingly unabashed indoctrination that is going on in regard to a whole lot of social and political issues which are to a greater or lesser extent open questions, and should be treated as such.  This becomes a major problem when a particular viewpoint becomes institutionalised to the extent that you only get to pass the examination, or get the relevant ‘credit’ if you produce the approved answer.  This appears to be the case particularly with the burgeoning concept of ‘sustainability’, for which some NZQA examination ‘exemplars’ have recently appeared (Education for Sustainability, 2008, Level 2).  These exemplars show what criteria are to be applied and what counts as excellent, or otherwise meritorious, in a sixth-form essay on this topic.  They speak volumes about what is being taught, and how it is being taught.

In one case the student contrasts a ‘capitalist’ society, based on a ‘western scientific world view’ which is despoiling its environment and in which ‘the peoples (sic) opinions cannot be heard’, with ‘indigenous societies’, where the people ‘come together for the best solutions’.  This latter society (Maori, Native American, Aboriginal) creates a happier and more sustained community, whereas in the former, discord is so great that it might possibly lead to ‘rebellion’ we are told.  This is rated ‘Excellent’.  Nowhere is it mentioned that the excoriated western scientific societies might have produced a range of technologies, which have been of enormous benefit to mankind, through improvements in health and life-expectancy, and the expansion of human horizons.  Perhaps the student is not to be entirely blamed for this.  These things are not in the list of ‘useful concepts’ with which the test booklet begins.

Amongst the many other things that are not useful concepts to persons taking this course, are individual enterprise and technological innovation, and of course, a student seeking excellence needs to roundly disparage such things as making a ‘profit’, or selling a ‘surplus’.  Interestingly Marxism is listed amongst the ‘Philosophies’ at the beginning of the test booklet but unlike Capitalism it gets no critique.  This is strange since the recently concluded twentieth century provides some illuminating examples of how this sort of society has worked out in practice, in terms of human happiness.

This, of course, is the point.  What we are talking about here is not education but sustained political propaganda.  In the circumstances, it is perhaps surprising that the Green Party is only getting 6% of the vote.  On the other hand it may be that our sixth-formers see through all this and write not what they believe but rather what they believe their examiners want to read (just as persons going for job-interviews in the public service know that they need to nod politely in the direction of the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi). 

There may be some truth in this but it does not mean that we should ignore what appears to be a persistent programme to brainwash a generation.  If our society is to have any hope of satisfying the needs and aspirations of its people it needs to come to a balanced view on our exploitation of the environment and our use of resources and this is not helped by telling our young people that indigenous people ‘plant trees’ and ‘maintain diversity’, whilst western societies engage in ‘deforestation’.  Do none of the people (teachers/examiners) responsible for this disgraceful programme know that the Maori and Aboriginal people burnt off vast tracts of their native forest and exterminated whole species of animals (think Moa)?

Something similar applies to political and economic arrangements.  As hinted above, there are well-known defects to the collective society model which seems to be favoured in this programme.  The word communism is not used in the guide material but there are plenty of references to ‘common ownership’ and the sharing of resources and, as noted, Marxism certainly is.  Why are we permitting our children to be indoctrinated in this way?


Of course the bottom-line here is that the attitudes and preconceptions, with which our young people leave school, are going to underlie the decisions they will take as voters.  If we would like them to join us in resisting the errors which have plagued other western societies, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, schools are going to have to provide an educational experience which enables them to understand the difficult choices that lie before us.  Na├»ve far-left indoctrination is not going to do it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the political left, teaching is not about the balanced transmission of accrued human knowledge in the service of teaching students how to think.

In leftist world view (derived from the Cultural Marxism of George Lukacs, Antonio Gramsci, and the Frankfurt School), there is no such thing as a disinterested pedagogy.

The education system (unless colonised and subverted by Cultural Marxists) peddles the ideology of existing powerful groups in society, i.e. the white, male, heterosexual capitalist class.

Since all teaching is ideological, reason the Cultural Marxists, it may as well be their ideology that is taught.

They see nothing wrong with this because they have no personal morality, just a collectivist anti-ethic. Anything that advances the Marxist agenda of trashing the institutions of Judeo-Christian culture (faith in a Creator as a transcendent source of moral authority, the rule of law, private property rights, free markets, sexual morality, the formative nuclear family) is “moral” and that which retards it is not.

These emetics speak not the truth, but the will to power.

To paraphrase another grubby little socialist, Adolf Hitler, “If you cut even cautiously into [any social] abscess, you found, like a maggot in a rotting body, often dazzled by the sudden light - a Communist!”

Socialists/Marxists/Communists are indeed maggots – they should be ruthlessly stamped on wherever found!