Hearts and Minds

4 01 2010

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The rabid fundamentalist christians are very close to getting their version of reality included into every textbook in America for the next decade or so.

Read this article, and weep for the future of our nation.

Because Texas (pronounced takes-ass) has a set of rules which mandate all schools in that state use the same textbooks, and further has rules which have allowed the fundie-loonie Governor to pack the board which approves those textbooks with his batshit crazy fundamentalist cronies, wholesale re-writing of the past may soon be required reading in your child’s school. Texas would normally not have quite so much influence, since California is an even larger market and tends to pull textbook publishers back toward the center. However,  California’s economic Chernobyl means that they will not be purchasing textbooks for another five years at the earliest. This in turn means that any textbook publisher who wishes to make money for the next couple of years has to comply with the religious fuckwits who control the textbook appropriation process in Texas.

Despite the fact that we have scads of hard evidence indicating that the Universe is roughly fourteen billion years old, the new science textbooks will not have this tidbit of information, thanks to a small group of hardcore religious extremists in Texas who believe it to be their duty to cram their pigheaded, willful ignorance down the throats of your children.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

Heinlein’s words have been proven true repeatedly- most recently by the Taliban. The only differences between the Taliban in Afghanistan and the christian loonies in this country are language and dress code. The fundamentalist christians gripping the hilt of this subtle dagger do not even bother to conceal their goals. They boast of their belief that their god wants them to conquer this country, and then the world.

But first, they will try to enslave the minds of your children. They will use America’s traditional open-mindedness and laws against us, and enshrine their version of reality in your childrens’ textbooks. I’ve been saying for years that these willful ignorami are the enemies of our civilization- is anybody listening?

America’s current status as a world power was grown by our farmers; dreamed up by our scientists; built by our engineers and technicians; and paid for by our bankers, industrialists, and workers (in one coin or another). Maintaining that status is- and will continue to be- dependent upon scientific and technical progress. That key scientific and technical progress is in turn dependent upon new generations learning the lessons taught by the scientists of the past, then adding their own unique additions and advances to the works of those giants who broke new ground- from Copernicus to Galileo to Newton to the Curies to Bohr to Einstein to Hawking.

But that apparently isn’t good enough for these religious pinheads. They would seemingly prefer that we dumped everything that didn’t conform to their precious holy-book-written-down-from-the-oral-traditions-of-desert-sheep fuckers.

“If all the achievements of scientists were wiped out tomorrow, there would be no doctors but witch doctors, no transport faster than horses, no computers, no printed books, no agriculture beyond subsistence peasant farming. If all the achievements of theologians were wiped out tomorrow, would anyone notice the smallest difference?” -Richard Dawkins, in his book, The Emptiness of Theology.

That quote from Richard Dawkins is not precisely correct, of course, since many of the early scientific pioneers were religious (particularly Newton), and some were actual clergymen. The point, however, remains valid. The barbarians won’t be happy until we return to some non-existent Golden Age of Christian America- probably based upon a poor understanding of life in the early 19th century. All of our scientific and cultural progress since that mythical time must make way for the greater glory of their desert storm deity. These old white guys are deeply unhappy with uppity furriners and colored folks disturbing their precious little dystopian ideal White nation. Check out the following quote from the article I linked earlier:

Barton and Peter Marshall initially tried to purge the standards of key figures of the civil rights era, such as César Chávez and Thurgood Marshall, though they were forced to back down amid a deafening public uproar. They have since resorted to a more subtle tack; while they concede that people like Martin Luther King Jr. deserve a place in history, they argue that they shouldn’t be given credit for advancing the rights of minorities. As Barton put it, “Only majorities can expand political rights in America’s constitutional society.” Ergo, any rights people of color have were handed to them by whites—in his view, mostly white Republican men.

If this doesn’t bother you, you probably aren’t paying attention. It bothers the Hell out of me. These pernicious fuckwits are hell-bent on destroying the very soul of America and replacing it with the Republican Plantation of Jesusland, a slightly more technologically advanced version of the Taliban’s thirteenth-century paradise on Earth which will be nonetheless equally destructive. If you aren’t white, male, and christian, you just won’t matter.  Black, asian, and hispanic minorities will be graciously permitted to till the fields and work in the factories, while women will return to being sexual commodities for their “betters”. Non-christians will be economically and physically persecuted until they conform, emigrate, or die.

When will the people of this country realize that they’re allowing the barbarians in our midst to undermine what we (the People) have spent the last 230+ years building? Why do we allow these willful idiots to spew their nonsense in public without constant justifiable denunciation and opprobrium? They make no secret of what they want. Are we to sit idly by and let them build their racist theocracy upon the smoldering ruins of our flawed but wonderful republic?

Judging by the apparent total lack of interest in dealing with these morons … I believe the answer is probably yes.

Current status: Outraged

Current music: Seen All Good People by Yes



5 responses

4 01 2010

1st I always used ‘by a bunch of stone age goat herders’ but your…’their precious holy-book-written-down-from-the-oral-traditions-of-desert-sheep fuckers’ is much better!!!!

Just look at iran under islam and you know what the fundy xtians want.

The school books are not a major issue though, the real issue is the power they will exercise over the teachers. If the teachers are fundy then the book dont matter because they will teach what they wish. But if the teacher is NOT fundy but is in fear of job then the book still dont matter because they will toe the party line. If the teacher is COURAGEOUS then they can use the idiot books as a teaching exercise.

5 01 2010

CybrgnX: Unfortunately, there are too few teachers out there willing to risk their livelihood by stepping up and using the new textbooks as examples of why theocracies are stupid.

Here’s an idea dreamed up by someone named SpiderQueenDemon over on the comment boards at FARK.com. I think it has some merit:

I hereby propose that a convention be held to write the great American textbook for grades 6-12. We should invite about 400 college professors for each of five subjects and ask each one to select subtopics within their subject from a list, with about five people working on each. Then, at the convention, the professors would put together and cooperatively edit their collected submissions to form chapters of what would become a textbook. In the event of a conflict, essays from the two sides should be printed side-by-side under a special heading, so that teachers can use the conflict for classroom debate assignments.

The convention would then release the textbook under the GNU, with the result that a school district wishing to use it need only A. pay for paper to print it out themselves, B. provide students the URL, or C. pay printing costs to have treemeat copies done up. Each professor would be nicely fed and put up in a comfortable, but not extravagant hotel for the duration of the two-week convention, and being invited to attend and contribute would be considered a prestigious affair, especially after a few years, when new college students began to choose their universities specifically to get professors whose work they admired.

Every year, American cities could compete for the privilege of holding each subject’s convention, and since the project is free to all, the annual updates could be pasted into existing books or added to the same URL. (I myself would print the books and use ringed binders to hold them, updates are then easy, plus it lets students underline, highlight and make those little flip-book animations when the teachers get boring.)

As the least expensive and most famous option, the American Convention for Basic Texts (what I’d call this whole shebang,) would eventually become at least a popular choice, over the whining of the existing textbook industry. Considering the current providers of textbooks have farked over everyone from school districts to college kids, the open-source option would only need to be average to take over, and quality would follow prestige.

Crap districts who insisted on Creationism or whatnot could omit pages from their download of the Basic Text, add extra sections at will, and generally behave like jagoffs, but because the Basic Text’s location would be free to all and well-known, their students would be completely free to find the full version on their own time. School boards who want a political bias, left or right, would quickly be found out, as a collectively-edited book would by necessity have examples of both, denoted as such, as well as footnotes explaining the background of quoted or other-than-nonbiased material. Then, with the bias evident, voters would be more free to vote differently, object, or if all else failed, move, taking their opinions and assets/liabilities elsewhere.

5 01 2010

Excellent suggestion!!!!!
This would allow the kids with half a brain (or more) to get the real data and the teacher can do what is save for them.
Unfortunately this makes so much sense that it would never happen……NEVER under-estimate the power of human stupidity.
But I really like this guy’s idea.

10 01 2010
The BoBo Files » Blog Archive » The BoBo Carnival of Politics – Jan 11, 2010 Edition

[…] presents Hearts and Minds posted at A Dark and Sinister Force for Good, saying, “Scratch a fundie and find a […]

18 01 2010

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