April 27 marks the seven-year anniversary of the first op-ed piece that I had published. Not surprisingly, the platform willing to accept something from a conservative high school senior was Breitbart. Then as now, Breitbart was willing to provide a place for otherwise unheard voices to be expressed.
The headline for that 2012 column was “Liberal Bias Starts in High School Economics Textbooks.”
I pointed out that Krugman’s Economics for AP, written by Margaret Ray and David A. Anderson, and adapted from Paul Krugman and Robin Wells’ Economics (Second Edition), was being used as the textbook to teach the principles of economics to our supposedly best and brightest young people.
In that text, Krugman, who never met a free market he wished to remain free, dismissed the success of Ronald Reagan’s economic policies without any presentation of arguments to the contrary. In my 2012 editorial I wrote:
Throughout the entire textbook, there are historical, factual, and statistical distortions. For example, Chapter 36 (“The modern macroeconomic consensus”) contains 16 sweeping generalizations such as: “Nearly all macroeconomists now agree… There is now a broad consensus… Today, most macroeconomists believe… Almost all macroeconomists now accept…” (pp. 355-58). None of these assertions are backed up with even a single citation. If a student were to submit an essay with such disregard for basic evidence, it would ensure a failing grade.
I enjoyed looking back at that piece and reading the brief bio line at the end that identified me as a “…high school senior who will be attending Baylor University.” It also identified me as the co-founder of SOS Liberty. I could not have imagined then that Baylor and SOS were a dream and that Turning Point USA would become my reality. Much has changed in the past seven years.
And much hasn’t changed at all.
In an April 23 article on a Powerline blog titled, AP History Textbook Calls Trump “Racist,” Questions his Mental Stability, Paul Mirengoff reports that by 2020 AP high school students will be reading from a text that characterizes the President as someone whose opponents questioned his mental health, and as someone who ran a campaign that permitted racists to come out of the American shadows.
Mirengoff exposes the textbook author’s intent in citing “Clinton supporters’” concerns about Trump as opposed to citing objective facts as “a device to plant the idea that President Trump is mentally unstable, a proposition for which there is no basis other than raw hatred of the man.”
Mirengoff’s contention reads almost exactly the same as mine offered seven years ago.
This issue has been studied over time and across curricula. In 2017, Intellectual Takeout reported on a study of psychology texts that showed political bias in favor of team left’s politically correct models of human behavior. Historian Dr. Burton Folsom, retired from Hillsdale College in 2016, has been pointing out examples of liberal bias in textbooks all the way down to the elementary level for decades.
It is one thing for a teacher to present a set of facts to a student and then attempt to persuade them as to how they should be interpreted. While it stands opposed to the goals of education, at least this practice allows someone else to counter the teacher’s efforts in indoctrination by pointing out different conclusions that could be drawn from the facts.
When the facts themselves are misrepresented, we are dealing with a very different form of treachery. This masks the indoctrination. Consider the following two hypothetical examples, derived from my 2012 column on Krugman and Reganomics:
In the first case, a professor could make the following statement: Reagan implemented large tax cuts in the 1980s. The decade also experienced significant economic growth and an increase in tax revenue. However, neither of these events had anything to do with Regan’s tax cut and the positive economic developments happened despite Reagan.
That’s a teacher taking facts and indoctrinating his student by forcing his personal opinion on them.
Now consider this not-so-hard-to-imagine excerpt from a textbook: The 1980’s evidenced a significant growth in tax revenue and GDP despite an attempt by President Reagan to create the exact opposite effect by cutting taxes.
This is what the authors of textbooks are up to. They want to make it appear as though the teachers aren’t trying to influence the students. They are just teaching them facts right out of the textbook!
The best indicator that one is about to engage an intelligent mind is by finding a sign that says “open” hanging at its entrance. An open mind is one that is willing and able to accept and contemplate facts as they are presented. The surest way to trick an open mind and turn it into a closed one is to corrupt the input of facts.
This is the intent of liberal educators and textbook authors in the United States and elsewhere in Western nations today. It is the reason why all conservatives need to heed the warnings and whistle-blowing of people like Paul Mirengoff, Burt Folsom, and others. We need to be involved in school boards and curriculum committees so that the education establishment can’t get away with the unchallenged alteration of history.
Dishonest curriculum being forced upon high school students is what motivated me to write my first op-ed piece seven years ago today. It is the reason I apparently need to keep writing.