Environment

The Texas Perversion

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorMar 13, 2010 12:59 PM

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It's been on public display this past week. As the NYT reports:

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers' commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

Why is this important?

The board, whose members are elected, has influence beyond Texas because the state is one of the largest buyers of textbooks.

In other words, to paraphrase another famous motto, What's good for Texas is good for the rest of the country. Fortunately, though, we live in the digital age, so the Texas influence

has diminished as technological advances have made it possible for publishers to tailor books to individual states.

Still, it's worth reading the entire article to grasp just how thoroughly Texas conservatives are rewriting history. As the Times notes, the new social studies curriculum will include

dozens of minor changes aimed at calling into question, among other things, concepts like the separation of church and state and the secular nature of the American Revolution.

For example, one of the conservative board members,

who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among conservatives on the board because he coined the term "separation between church and state.")

Mavis Knight, a Democratic board member, introduced an amendment, the Times writes,

requiring that students study the reasons "the founding fathers protected religious freedom in America by barring the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others." It was defeated on a party-line vote.

After the vote, Ms. Knight said, "The social conservatives have perverted accurate history to fulfill their own agenda."

The only thing more shocking is that the Texas Board of Education didn't try to insert a phrase somewhere saying that global warming was a massive hoax, perpetrated by a cabal of commie climate scientists.

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