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  • When Bias Strikes In the Classroom

    3/13/2013 6:01:23 PM Posted by Stephen Smoot

    The left wing bias of a professor or teacher is sometimes easy to spot.  When an economics professor, for example, starts happily lecturing "let the ruling classes tremble at a communistic revolution, the proletarians Student Tweet Pichave nothing to lose but their chains," he or she just might be a Marxist.

    But often a liberal worldview emerges in subtle ways.

    This morning, I was talking to my son about his world history class.  He said that he had finished the assigned textbook readings on the Roman Republic and Julius Caesar.  I commented on how the Founding Fathers feared an American Caesar.

    My son responded quizzically, "wasn't he considered a good guy?  Wasn't he merciful to the poor?"

    And there you have it.  Liberal bias.

    Julius Caesar was not a "good guy" when it came to the traditions of rule of law and liberty in the Roman Republic.  He helped to lead civil wars that shredded the body politic of Rome.  Julius Caesar's economic policies followed an emerging practice of ignoring the Roman constitution.  If the Senate dared to object, he had the ability to terrify it into submission.   Julius Caesar's destruction of the Roman constitution paved the way for Caligula, Nero, and a horde of evil emperors unchecked by the bounds of law or government. Whatever he did for the poor and the indebted in Rome, Julius Caesar finished off the annihilation of the laws that protected freedom and restrained rulers.

    How a society remembers historical figures reflects its values.  Shakespeare's England, a country with partial representative government, rule of law, and an emerging ideal of natural rights, remembered Julius Caesar negatively.  The Bard represented one of his assassins, Marcellus Brutus, as a noble man who chose the freedom of his country over his deep personal friendship with Caesar. 

    Renaissance Italy's most famous poet, Dante Alligheri, depicted Brutus more malevolently.  In the deepest pit of Hell was placed the four most vile traitors to their masters.  Lucifer, a grotesque dark three headed monster, chewed eternally on the bodies of the worst human offenders in history.  Brutus, along with his fellow conspirator Cassius, ranked only slightly below the most malevolent human being, Judas Iscariot.  Dante lived in an Italy torn by war and ruled by absolutism.  The ambition and power was to be respected as a gift from God, not a threat to liberty.

    How do our left wing academics and teachers remember our nation's heroes?  Was Thomas Jefferson ahead of his time in convincing Congress to ban slavery north of the Ohio River, or was he another hypocritical slaveowner?  Did Ronald Reagan decisively seize a moment in history to lead the free world to victory over the evil empire, or does he get no credit for the fall of the Soviet Union?  Our memory of great men and women in history says a lot about who we are and what we stand for.  Allowing the academic left to define these people without challenge will affect how future generations view America and its values.

    And so it became a teaching moment.  I got a chance to teach my son that a constitution that protects rights is paramount. Even if the goal may be to do good for some, ignoring and tearing up the constitution only results in overwhelming evils.  We live in a time where some educated men and women want to see our leaders follow the model of Julius Caesar and ignore, maybe even destroy the Constitution.  What happened to Rome taught the Founding Fathers and reminds us that we must value the protector of our rights and liberties.

    But it still bothers me that the textbook's main lesson was to emphasize that Julius Caesar helped the poor.

    It is not that professors, teachers, and textbooks can be objective.  Everyone has a worldview.  This, however, is where conservatives need to educate themselves and counter the narrative.  Be able to describe how Reagan helped us triumph over evil Communism.  Understand that constitutional protections have much more value than liberal good intentions whether it is 60 BC or 2013 Anno Domini. 

    The battleground lies in the minds and hearts of fellow students who may never hear anything other than the liberal and left wing narrative.

    This is why we fight.

     

     

     

    • Readers' Comments

    • Did your son read Shakespeare's Julius Caesar? If so, it is a drama about a popular leader betrayed by another (Brutus) in a quest for Caesar's power. IOW, it isn't a commentary on liberty, rights, and governance, but rather on loyalty, jealousy, and betrayal. Shakespeare's play treats Caesar as the victim of a friend's betrayal--that might be why your son said "I thought Julius Caesar was a good guy." Moreover, Caesar was a popular dictator for many reasons including his "attention on the poor." That's not so much a "Hey! We need a dictator! End the republic!" But an analysis on how he ended the republic with popular support. Dante, Shakespeare, et. al. also preceded the Enlightenment, the period during which the modern conceptions of liberty, individual and natural rights, secularism, legitimate government, etc. gained intellectual prominence and challenged Divine Rights of Kings. Should we teach and interpret everything in the context of modern political ideologies?
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