America: Schools Taken over by Scheming Progressives

What sorts of history did you learn in school?  As I argue in a recent commentary published on History News Network, conservative thinkers and activists have often insisted that school history has been taken over by a scheming, America-hating, progressive history cabal.

It looks as if Dinesh D’Souza’s new film dives headfirst into that tradition.  In America: Imagine the World without Her, D’Souza denounces American education as woefully slanted.

In a recent interview about the film, D’Souza accuses even the best schools of teaching a “doctored account” of history.  Young people, D’Souza believes, have all been taught a skewed leftist history.  In his film, D’Souza hopes to counter this horrible history with a heroic counter-argument.

But as I found when I researched the twentieth-century history of conservative activism in the United States, I found that conservatives have exerted just as much influence over the nature of American education as have progressives.

So why do conservatives like D’Souza continue to insist that schools have been taken over by dunderheaded progressives?  If you want to read my humble opinion, you’ll have to check out the HNN essay.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the link to a great article. I might add that there is a strong martyr-complex associated with conservatism in this country. Perhaps that’s at work as well.

    Reply
  2. Agellius

     /  July 15, 2014

    I’m sure I’ll express this crudely and with inadequate vocabulary, but I’ll see if I can convey my idea.

    But very crudely, the distinction between conservative and liberal versions of history tends to be that conservatives would paint American actions in a positive light, and liberals in a more negative light.

    A 50/50 balance between positive portrayals and negative portrayals of American history, is actually an objectively balanced portrayal only if you assume that a positive portrayal and a negative portrayal of American history are equally valid. In that case, you put in 50% positive and 50% negative, and you’re good.

    But the premise that positive and negative portrayals are equally valid, is itself a liberal premise. Therefore when a liberal sees a 50/50 balance, he thinks both sides are getting an equal say, and this is fair and balanced. Whereas to a conservative, if you end up with a 50/50 balance, the liberals have won.

    Reply
    • Agellius

       /  July 15, 2014

      P.S. After all, no one’s going to publish a 100% negative portrayal of American history. There has to be something good about the country or else, logically, the book would have to be advocating the outright overthrow of the country. From the conservative viewpoint, a 50% positive portrayal is putting in the bare minimum of positive portrayals necessary to avoid appearing flat-out anti-American. But for them, this is hardly a “fair and balanced” approach.

      Reply
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