May 04, 2010

Replacing Jefferson with Calvin

Conservatives Control The Past To Control The FutureFrom these Dark Ages came the Age of Enlightenment, trumpeted by liberal philosophers such as John Locke, who replaced the Divine Right of Kings and established religion with the political and philosophical concept that people form states to create and maintain a social contract which benefits EVERYONE–not just the top 1%.

The Founding Fathers were students of the Liberal Age of Enlightenment, recognizing the value of government enforcing the social contract, secular authority and rule of law.

Thomas Jefferson was also a true student of John Locke, directly adopting many of Locke’s ideas from his Two Treatises of Government into our founding documents. Jefferson was also a staunch advocate of the separation of church and state–another concept Conservatives cannot abide.

With the mind to create people stupid enough to vote Republican, the Texas Board of Ed have actively removed Thomas Jefferson from textbooks, not just to be distributed within the borders of the failed state Texas, but to infest school system’s country wide. The Texas Board of Ed has replaced Jefferson with John Calvin, a man who believed that God Almighty expressed either his anger or accolades on human by making them rich or poor. This view, of course, exonerates society at large from the responsibilities of creating a world that works for everyone. In other words, “the poor?” “FUCK ’EM!”

Jefferson was not alone in his liberal enlightened views, Washington himself stated, “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” I often wonder what the Father of our Country would think today if he knew that sick ideologues were altering the past in order to control the future?
Comment:  Would it be fair to say Texan conservatives are replacing indigenous values with Western values? Yes, I think it would. Most indigenous tribes ruled by consensus--choosing the wisest people as leaders and replacing them if they screwed up. The idea of an absolute, divine monarch who received instructions from God was almost foreign to them.

Yes, the Aztec, Maya, and Inca empires had divine emperors, but those were the exceptions that proved the rule. In most of Europe, people were ruled by kings, popes, lords, bishops, and so on down the line. The few who remained relatively free tended to be indigenous or tribal people who rejected the Church's dominance.

Jefferson too liberal for conservatives

So the wingnuts who supposedly believe in the Founders' "original intent" are replacing the Founders' central figure? That figures. These people are obviously hypocrites who don't care what the Founders believed. If they did, they'd limit the right to bear arms to muskets.

Jefferson obviously is inconvenient for conservatives. He believed in small farms, not large corporations; loved nature, science, and rationality; and removed supernatural references from his Bible. As I wrote in Libertarianism = Anarchy, he's a lot closer to liberals than to conservatives today.

Of course, liberals have been rewriting conservative textbooks for the last 50 years. Revisions and revisionism are natural functions of the social order. As we gain new insights, we revise and repair whatever needs fixing.

The real question is: Why are both sides rewriting textbooks? Is it to teach students a wide variety of perspectives? Or to teach them one limited perspective? Which is the ideal: broad or narrow thinking?

It wouldn't be a problem if the textbooks included Jefferson and Calvin to compare and contrast their beliefs. That would teach students to think critically about "God-given" and human rights. But conservatives don't want people to think critically, which is why they're making the switch.

For more on teaching history, see Conservatives Want Christian Textbooks and White History Month Needed? For more on our beliefs and values in general, see The Myth of American Self-Reliance and America's Cultural Mindset.