Posted by: Jim | October 8, 2008

Two of the Most Influential Americans Ever

I’m going to introduce you to some new names and faces. I guarantee you have never heard of them (except for the reader who tipped me off to this, of course.)  They’re not lawyers or doctors. They’re not politicians or writers. They’re not publishers or artists. 

They’re  Mel & Norma Gabler of Hawkins, Texas.

Look at them! Don’t they look sweet? I feel pretty safe in saying that these two lived their lives and did their jobs as well as they could, and sincerely meant well. They’ve both died (or as their website says, “gone on to be with the Lord”).  In spite of this, they were ignorant, uneducated, and did horrible harm to this country. 

 

Mel and Norma founded “Educational Research Analysts.” Their mission, as stated in their website, says they are “a conservative Christian organization that reviews public school textbooks submitted for adoption in Texas.” Not surprisingly, neither one had a college degree. Apparently Bible study is all you need to censor textbooks.

 

Again, I have to exonerate Mel  and Norma in a way, because they were just trying to poison the minds of Texan children. But the very next statement in their mission statement says, “Our reviews have national relevance because Texas state-adopts textbooks and buys so many that publishers write them to Texas standards and sell them across the country.”

 

So the State of Texas (God Bless ’em) actually relied on Mel and Norma to inform them of which books the State would allow–in their Public Schools. What they effectively did, however, was far worse. Since textbook publishers wanted to maximize their profits, they would censor their books to fit the harshest criteria out there–that of Texas. So now we have Ma and Pa Kettle spicing up the educational cuisine that feeds the youth of our entire Nation. And how long has this been going on? Golly gosh–for 47 years. It’s too darned bad I’m only 46.

 

Now, not everything Mel and Norma did was wrong. In 1973, they criticized a 5th grade History book for devoting more time and attention to Marilyn Monroe than to George Washington. Good point on that one.  They even once found a textbook which claimed that Harry Truman ordered atomic weapons to end the Korean War. Uhhh, say what?

 

But what they did was mostly not good. Mel and Norma were bent on having their textbooks reflect a Biblical Universe, after all. One result of their intervention was reflected in 2004, when several textbooks defined marriage as a “lifelong union between a man and a woman”.  I don’t know about you, but my marriage wasn’t “lifelong,” and some of them aren’t between a man and a woman. They also insisted that textbooks refer to the  1983 military intervention in Grenada as a “rescue”, not an “invasion”. Wrong.

 

But wait! There’s more! They objected to a history textbook that said “The law that allowed slavery in America was wrong, so people could break the law.” on the grounds that the statement encouraged insubordination.

 

Why don’t you be good slaves and do what you’re told!

 

Here’s a sampling of their criteria when reviewing textbooks. All this is on their website. They want textbooks to reflect the following values:

 

American History

• Calvinist covenant theology nurtured constitutionalism. 

• The Great Awakening promoted self-determination

(Note the odd inconsistency in the above two values. LOL.)

• To insure the uniform and predictable rule of law, Jefferson and Madison said the original intent of a law’s authors must prevail.

(You don’t “insure” this, you “ensure” it. Apparently correct spelling was not among their publishing criteria.)

• Reaganomics had benefits as well as defects.

–  “The wealthy” (i.e., the top quintile of households in terms of annual income) received the most income because this quintile contained the most people — about 25% of the population in the 1980s, compared to about 15% for the bottom quintile (and also more than each of the middle three quintiles).

• Tax cuts promoted economic expansion. Deficits of the 1980s protected that expansion by restraining

government growth. Political liberals were the most upset about those deficits.

(Maybe because Political liberals don’t trust fuzzy math. Don’t all quintiles have 20%? Not if you base those numbers on an arbitrary income level!)

 

World History

• Only the Christian West realized slavery was wrong and took the lead in abolishing it.

(Most other nations never legalized it at all, and thus never had to “abolish” it.)

• Some sub-Saharan African peoples practiced human sacrifice (e.g., Ashanti, Dahomey). The Aztecs and some other New World Indians engaged in cannibalism as well as human sacrifice.

(This also happened throughout Europe. But alas, that’s not important to point out.)

• British rule brought peace and a common language (English) to deeply divided India, ended or opposed suttee, infanticide, and child marriage there, improved Indian health, education, and transportation systems, and merely added another caste to the existing system.

(No comment necessary.)

 

American Literature

Books must promote:

•  A universe that rewards virtue and punishes vice, where good and evil are not moral equivalents, and where problems have solutions

•  Diverse views on current controversial issues, when raised (e.g., “global warming,” feminism, naturalistic origins myths like evolution)

•  Equal stress on Europe’s literary, religious, and cultural heritage compared to other regions

•  Standard spelling, correct grammar, and grade-level appropriate English vocabulary  (In other words: No Huck Finn.)

•  No sensational violence, offensive language or illustrations, occultism, or deviant lifestyles (e.g., homosexuality) (Parenthetical is theirs.)

 

Health

•  Avoid asexual stealth phrases and definitions that covertly legitimize homosexuality.

•  Humanize prenatal development. (Unless they are slaves. Then you must do as the law says.)

•  Expect abstinence instead of just preferring it. (You can expect to win the lotto, too ….)

 

This post is overly long, so I will keep my conclusion short.

 

Send your kids to private school. Let’s fix this! California should enact its own standards that can over-ride those of Texas–there’s a start.

 

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Responses

  1. Jimmy, if folks had the money, most of them would be going to a private school already. You omit the fact in the raising of a child that the onus is on the parents to figure out what is truth and what is fiction when it comes to instilling them with knowledge. I know scores of friends who have attended Catholic schools growing up who are no worse off for it. Their parents were able to divorce most of the religion and separate it from the educational process, saving the former for Sunday School.

    That being said, I am not at all in favor of Biblical intervention in our public education system.

    I also don’t agree at all with the examples you listed; we have that in common. But I must ask you – do your children attend private schools? If not, why? It’s easy to say, difficult to do, and it is also not the solution to your quandry. The deeper solution is to lobby against such practices and cleanse the process by which knowledge is integrated into public education. Saying “send your kids to private school” is a cop out, especially for someone with such activistic (?) roots as yours.

    In addendum, if all of our kids went to private schools, wouldn’t that pretty much make them public schools? Or would it be the end of the means which I stated above?

    These folks look older (just guessing), and I wonder when this program began and when it ended (if it indeed has). Times have changed even since we were in school, my friend. I can totally see this happening up the 60’s and 70’s.

  2. Yes yes you’re right. I was writing too long at work and was trying to “sum up” too quickly. The answer is *not* to just send your kids to private school. The best solution is to fix this problem.

  3. Their ideological program reads like the bastard progeny of the Wikipedia page detailing every type of cognitive bias possible.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

  4. Ever read ‘Lies My Teacher Told Me’?

    Good book, and does a decent job of explaining this whole abominable Texas-tainted-textbook thang.

    Wow, that was some serious alliteration. But anyway.

    * * *

  5. I took the option of not listening to my teachers. They were drawn from a more affluent area and regarded us as equivalent to the “inner city hoodlums” they watched tearing up town centres on the nightly news. Best moment? 1986, aged 14, in a sort of civics class, where the posh teacher said, “Okay, there are 19 of you in this room, so, statistically speaking, at least one of you has smoked crack…”

  6. So how was it? 😉

  7. What a fucking douchebag. The students should have answered, ‘hey you superior fuckwad, how many cigarettes and cups of coffee did it take to get you in here this morning, and how many glasses of wine with pretentious French-sounding names will you drink in order to go to sleep tonight? And how’s that Prozac working out, you hypocritical shit.’

    * * *

  8. I should’ve mentioned it was in the UK, and at that time I think crack was hard to get even in South Central L.A.

    One teacher graded us on who among us had fathers he played golf with and used his personal wealth for his maths questions: “One of my three houses…”


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