Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

Calling public schools and Catholic priests un-American is like…

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Calling your own grandmother names. It’s only a way to reveal your ignorance. Neither are above criticism, but neither are “un-American”. Labeling things unpatriotic or “un-American” is a tactic of fear mongers who wish to muddy issues and build up your emotions (not your understanding) about them. Father Michael Pflegler reflects on those who present a 20-second clip as news.

I couldn’t find much more on this. But apparently there’s proposed legislation banning any “un-American” teaching in the state of Arizona. It sounds like a good idea, until you realize exactly what can be considered “un-American”. I taught economics, where we compare different types of economic systems. This basically leads to a comparison of capitalism and socialism.

There are only so many ways to show how powerful a free market is without comparing it to the opposing philosophy. I frequently had students more interested in and asking more questions about communism. Being a free market fan, I could easily explain why communism would fail to serve the lifestyle and free society they expect. I never had students reacting as if they were being preached to, but the people who label things “un-American” might ignorant enough to forget the lesson and simply pass on to overactive parents that their teacher discussed communism.

Like I said, there’s no sympathy for the devil in me, but relying on a label that is ambiguous at best and modern-day McCarthyism at worst would be detrimental not only to education as a whole, but to every student’s ability to think critically.


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