'Social Action' as a Bogus Alternative to True Education
While sitting at home with my bottle of hand sanitizer, I received an email from the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) asking me which topics from a list of pressing concerns I would like to receive emails about. The UFT has 200,000 members in New York City alone and is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, which has 1.6 million members nationwide. Following is a list of some of the sixteen topics being advocated by the UFT: Environmentalism/Sustainability, Immigrant Rights, LGBTQ Rights and Issues; Literacy; Political Activism; Racial Justice; Restorative Justice; Student Debt Relief; Women's Rights and Issues. In case anyone tells you the teaching profession has not been politicized but that it is what it always has been — namely, composed of over-worked, dedicated, and underpaid teachers — this list should dispel that mistaken understanding. They are over-worked, dedicated, and underpaid, but at the same time, they are being used by their union leaders to promote a leftist agenda. It is important to see this in order not to sentimentalize the teaching profession.
"Environmentalism/Sustainability" means the globalist climate change initiative. It means support for the United Nations Agenda 2030 and a one-world government. This goes much farther than the onerous elimination of plastic bags at supermarkets. Rather, it is the incredibly radical Green New Deal that the smug intellectual misfits of the Squad advocate. It means eliminating autos and airplanes as viable means of transportation. One wonders if this means a return to the Conestoga wagons of yesteryear, but perhaps the coverings of those wagons have some environmental flaws of which this writer is not yet aware. "Immigrant Rights," one can be certain, means not only an immigrant's right to defense in court, but the right to enter the U.S. whether or not you have documented admission papers, to stay here even if you have committed crimes, and the right to slaughter certain animals in your apartment complex if your religion allows it. It means the right to have prayer rooms set aside for you in public schools if you are Islamic despite the fact that the Ten Commandments cannot be hung on any school wall in the USA without bringing down the wrath of the authorities under "separation of church and state."
"Women's Rights and Issues" is different from but also overlaps "LGBTQ Rights." "Women" have the right to go into women's bathrooms even if they are male. Similarly, males who call themselves women have the right to play on elementary school and high school sports teams. Otherwise, the school will be discriminating against — you guessed it — women. A friend tells me she is no longer allowed to say "boys" and "girls" to her young students. This long overdue "right" is something female teachers must care about, because if one woman is denied her rights, then all women suffer as a consequence. The transsexual "woman" is not about common sense, and it is not about the feelings of the females in the teachers' or girls' bathrooms. It is about equity. Feelings and a sense of privacy invaded be damned.
Women's rights are crucial in other ways. Female teachers who are not married but come to school pregnant; female teachers who are in lesbian relationships; female teachers who are living in with their boyfriends; and female teachers who have green hair and tattoos all over their faces and bodies with rings in noses, lips, ears, and (visible) belly buttons in class should under no circumstance be deemed guilty of moral turpitude (as would have been the case only 60–70 years ago) or unprofessional dress and appearance. The UFT will stand in solidarity with you as you smoke your joints before, during, or after school hours. It will insist that as long as you are using your Smart Boards effectively; respond to most parent phone calls; put your grades online for all students and parents to see; and never raise your voice to Johnny, Tyrone, Mary, or Tenisha, you deserve to be recognized for your social commitment in the classroom.
"Political Activism" means anything except openly promoting respect for the office of the presidency of the USA, whether it be held by a Republican or a Democrat. In New York City, there are many teachers who consider even the Democrats far too "conservative." This writer arrived at one department meeting, and one of the communist teachers was agitated because Kim Jong-un was getting bad press and being "victimized" for testing long-range missiles toward Japan. Other teachers, without challenge or restrictions, passed out Progressive Worker (communist) newspapers to their students. There are teachers who advocate for communist interpretations of history, economics, and current events on an almost daily basis. One teacher who was teaching Advanced Placement European history spent an entire month presenting The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. When the students complained to the chair of the department that they needed to get off this one topic and study additional history, as their exam was coming up in May, the department chairperson did nothing.
When this writer arrived at one school in 1997, during my first two weeks on the job, one of the teachers said to me, "Communism is finished in the USSR, but it's alive and well in this high school." So do not think that by political activism is meant simply get-out-the-vote promotions or attend your neighborhood school board meetings or go to public hearings on various public issues. No. Political activism by the UFT means promoting leftist politics in New York City.
The email with its left-wing activist topics invited the reader to submit suggestions for further topics that should be presented by the union. This writer merely scratched the surface with the following list of ten items:
1. The developments of "liberty" and "rights" in the English-speaking world.
2. U.S. constitutional foundations and their background in law and history.
3. Greek and Roman influences on Western civilization and world history.
4. Conflicts between Islam and Christendom.
5. Content of the major world religions.
6. The Protestant Reformation.
7. The Scientific Revolution.
8. The Age of Exploration.
9. Differences and similarities among laissez-faire, socialist, Keynesian, and Marxist economics.
10. Slavery and race relations in North and South America.
These topics should restore us to a more balanced understanding of the successes and hopes that have been engendered in humanity by Western civilization and in particular the history of liberty in the English-speaking world. We have faced and continue to face tensions between authority and liberty, but the liberty component has been significantly diminished even to this day in the non-English-speaking world.
Teachers in our high schools and even our elementary schools should have a perspective influenced by topics that are not pointed toward social action. "Social action" is informed by the desire to transform society into a leftist dystopia. Comprehension of the historical values of Western civilization and how those values afford us insight into the character of a fulfilled personal life based on understanding, trust, and unity should be advocated for teachers and all citizens.
Ludwig's latest book, The Liberty Manifesto Vol.1, has just been published and is available here.