Saturday, March 06, 2004

Must-read article on public education this week

David Neiwert says it best. I should just have this framed:
    Probably the real reason that public schools face such withering fire is that fundamentalists have come to what is almost certainly a correct conclusion: that their real enemy, in the battle for hearts and minds, is education. The fundamentalist approach to the world is built on faith; its thinkers begin with what the tenets of their faith as the core of what they believe, and then go about finding "facts" to support those beliefs. The educated approach -- especially the scientific approach -- is to gather facts first, with an open mind, and then to synthesize through logic a model that explains things. The two styles of thought are diametrically opposed and, ultimately, irreconcilable.

    The religious right knows that the only way it will win this Culture War it has started is by relentlessly attacking, on a multitude of fronts. These range from cutting taxes so severely that social and education programs are gutted; rendering the issue of gay marriage a national cause celebre; attacking abortion rights at every step; restricting civil liberties and promoting the notion that church-state separation is a "myth"; and finally, engaging in a relentless propaganda war over the right-wing airwaves, both radio and television, that pounds tirelessly at the notion that liberalism is the cause of all the nation's problems, and that America's real identity is a "Christian" one. On one hand, they attack Janet Jackson's breast and Howard Stern's foul mouth as benchmarks of our supposed moral depravity, but simultaneously swoon over a sadomasochistic representation of the Crucifixion that is one of the most violent films ever made and assure us that such spectacles improve the nation's moral fiber.