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Illinois State Rep Calls for the Abolition of History Classes in the State’s Public Schools

Rep. Ford claims that “current school history teaching leads to white privilege and a racist society.” Meleika Gardner of We Will says: “Miseducation has fed and continues to feed systemic racism for generations. If Black History continues to be devalued and taught incorrectly, then it will call for further action.” Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty adds: “I support House Bill 4954 because I am interested in learning more and believe the history of Black people should be taught to all children and include all groups, Women, LatinX, and Native Indians who helped to build America.”

All this gives the impression that February is White History Month, not Black History Month, and that the teaching of history in public schools has more of a slant toward the Confederate States than the United States. This is, of course, absurd. We see the products of public education in America today venting their hatred for their native land every night now in Seattle and Portland.

What we need is not more focus on the grievances of this or that group, but rather on what has made the nation great for all of us, of every race and ethnic background. Rep. Ford’s initiative is yet another in a long line of Leftist attempts to erase our history and make us ashamed of being Americans, which will lead us to not having either the will or desire to defend this nation from internal and external attacks.

What we need now, when so many people are telling us that America was never great and is nothing to be proud of, is an unapologetic reaffirmation of what did indeed make this nation the greatest, most magnanimous, freest country the world has ever known. That’s why I wrote Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster, which will be out in a few weeks and which you can preorder now. It evaluates the presidents of the United States on the simple basis of whether or not they were good for America and Americans. Along the way, it gives you a brisk reminder of the history that Leftist destroyers are trying to steal from us. If we do not know our own history, their sinister endeavor will be all the easier to accomplish. Rep. Ford himself put it best regarding why this book is urgently needed now: “the miseducation of our children must stop.”

“Chicago-Area Leaders Call for Illinois to Abolish History Classes,” NBC Chicago, August 2, 2020:

At a news conference, State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford said current history teachings lead to a racist society and overlook the contributions of women and minorities.

Before the event Sunday, Rep. Ford’s office distributed a news release “Rep. Ford Today in Evanston to Call for the Abolishment of History Classes in Illinois Schools,” in which Ford asked the ISBOE and school districts to immediately remove history curriculum and books that “unfairly communicate” history “until a suitable alternative is developed.”…

The full news release is below:

Rep. Ford Today in Evanston to Call for the Abolishment of History Classes in Illinois Schools

Concerned that current school history teaching leads to white privilege and a racist society, state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford, D-Chicago, will join local leaders today at noon at the Robert Crown Center in Evanston to call on the state to stop its current history teaching practices until appropriate alternatives are developed.

“When it comes to teaching history in Illinois, we need to end the miseducation of Illinoisans,” Ford said. “I’m calling on the Illinois State Board of Education and local school districts to take immediate action by removing current history books and curriculum practices that unfairly communicate our history. Until a suitable alternative is developed, we should instead devote greater attention toward civics and ensuring students understand our democratic processes and how they can be involved. I’m also alarmed that people continue to display symbols of hate, such as the recent display of the Confederate flag in Evanston.”

Attendees at Sunday’s press conference will discuss how current history teaching practices overlook the contributions by Women and members of the Black, Jewish, LGBTQ communities and other groups. These individuals are pushing for an immediate change in history changing practice starting this school year.

The miseducation of our children must stop,” said Meleika Gardner of We Will. “It is urgent that it comes to an end as we witness our current climate become more hostile. Miseducation has fed and continues to feed systemic racism for generations. If Black History continues to be devalued and taught incorrectly, then it will call for further action.”

Evanston Mayor Steve Hagerty notes “As Mayor, I am not comfortable speaking on education, curriculum, and whether history lessons should be suspended. This is not my area. Personally, I support House Bill 4954 because I am interested in learning more and believe the history of Black people should be taught to all children and include all groups, Women, LatinX, and Native Indians who helped to build America.”

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History revised is history denied

Once upon a time, Jewish progressives embraced their people’s history and were willing to die for its modern political realization. Though they eschewed traditional observance, they typically substituted faith in history for belief in G-d.


Edmund Burke famously stated that “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” and this adage has proven true time and again.

However, what of those who know history but reject its lessons, and instead manufacture alternative traditions based on partisan fantasy or political ideology?  Will they merely repeat the mistakes of the past or ensure a future where truth is subjective and morality relative?  If the latter, they risk creating a world devoid of ethical integrity and intellectual honesty.

Unfortunately, historical revisionism has become part of the American political process, and those who use it to promote radical narratives are the ones most responsible for today’s irrational hostility towards Israel and the Jewish People.

Progressive extremists are particularly shrill in denouncing Israel for supposed acts of aggression and callousness that in truth are neither outrageous nor extreme, but instead consistent with international law and Jewish historical rights and tradition.  They are especially indignant when Jewish history conflicts with the claims of Palestinian-Arabs, whose national narrative is a chimerical study in antisemitic rejectionism with little or no foundation.

This was apparent when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking for President Trump, acknowledged the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria.  The Union for Reform Judaism (“URJ”) responded with a statement urging the President to recant, declaring: “Any unilateral move…would place serious and critical obstacles to a viable two-state solution, damaging the prospect of renewing the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and causing a long-term threat to Israel’s status as a Jewish and democratic state.”  But President Trump’s position reflected sentiments that prevailed before the Obama administration and an understanding that Palestinians oppose a “viable two-state solution” because they deny Israel’s legitimacy. That denial is actually the most “serious and critical” obstacle to peace.

American critics are impertinent when they claim to know what is best for Israel.  And the URJ’s statement is emblematic of this conceit in that it (a) seems oblivious to the impact of Palestinian rejectionism and (b) fails to acknowledge that Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria actually conform to international legal norms and standards.  This  was recognized well before the Obama administration’s eight-year effort to delegitimize the “settlements”. It was Obama’s collusion with the United Nations in 2016 to undermine Israeli sovereignty that constituted a change in US policy, not Trump’s restatement of protocol.

Prior administrations did not resolutely deny the legality of the “settlements” (which were built on ancestral lands where Jews had lived for thousands of years), but believed they could be negotiated based on political considerations.  Indeed, Americans commonly recognized Jewish indigeneity throughout the Land of Israel.

Israel’s acquisition of these lands in 1967 was lawful because it was defending itself from an aggressor nation (Jordan).  Neither the Law of Belligerent Occupation nor the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibit Israel from maintaining possession of territories seized from an aggressor nation that acquired them in violation of international law.  Specifically, Jordan annexed Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem illegally in 1948, before which they had been holdings of a defunct empire. These lands were never independent or part of any autonomous nation-state after Rome conquered the Kingdom of Judah in 136 CE, and certainly not a state of “Palestine” that never existed.  Their liberation by Israel if anything reimposed legitimate sovereignty after a two-thousand-year hiatus.

Once upon a time, Jewish progressives embraced their people’s history with religious-like zeal and were willing to die for its modern political realization.  Though they eschewed traditional observance after the Enlightenment, they typically substituted faith in history for belief in G-d; and while many of them claimed to profess atheism, they nonetheless continued to express their innate religious sensibilities as historical determinism.  They knew where their ancestors came from and believed Jewish national destiny was tied to the ancient homeland.

This ancestral link to Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the rest of ancient Israel was the basis for recognizing the right of Jewish self-determination in the Mandate for Palestine of 1922.  While these lands constituted colonial holdings of successive empires after the fall of the Second Jewish Commonwealth, they never comprised independent sovereign territories between the years 136 and 1948.  Furthermore, they were commonly recognized as ancestrally Jewish and for maintaining a Jewish presence for more than 3,000 years – long before the Roman, Arab, and Ottoman conquests.

In recognition of the Jews’ ancient connection to these lands, Israel’s Provisional State Council on September 16, 1948 enacted the “Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance,” which aimed to extend Israeli jurisdiction beyond the 1947 partition lines to areas traditionally acknowledged as part of the Jewish homeland.  This ordinance (aka “Ben-Gurion’s Law”) was intended to apply to lands liberated by the Israeli military and was effective retroactively to the date of Israel’s independence on May 15, 1948. The law’s justification was inherent in its recognition that certain lands were innately Jewish (leaving its nonenforcement in 1967 open to critical question).

Unfortunately, the old Israeli left sometimes sacrificed historical virtue for the sake of partisan politics.  Though Menachem Begin made a policy of never questioning his political opponents’ patriotism, for example, Labor ideologues were often quick to label him and Herut Party members as Nazis and fascists, thus perverting the context and meaning of those terms for partisan purposes.  This was eventually coopted by Israel-haters to misrepresent the past so as to deny Israeli sovereignty and Jewish national claims.

Historical revisionism is now used to empower BDS, justify antisemitism, and delegitimize Israel by falsely depicting it as a colonial creation built on the ruins of a mythical country called Palestine.  But historical and archeological analysis corroborates Israel’s Jewish past while offering no support for Palestinian authenticity. Though the Jewish homeland was the target of multiple conquests before 1948, colonialism was enforced by Greeks, Romans, Muslim Arabs, Christian Crusaders, and Ottoman Turks – not Jews.  And the history of jihad in the region is one of subjugation, the influence of which continues to inflame anti-Jewish passions today.

Despite the historical record, ambivalence regarding Israeli sovereignty long ago infected the political mainstream without protest from Democratic leadership.  In his final television address as Secretary of State, for example, John Kerry inveighed against Israel and pushed the canard that she could not be both Jewish and democratic.  He never expressed concern over the religious and ethnic supremacism that permeates the Arab-Muslim Mideast) and his apparent disregard for Jewish ancestral rights was inexcusable.

Similar bias motivated the Obama administration’s collusion with the UN in 2016 to orchestrate a resolution declaring that Israeli “settlements” violated international law (despite much precedent to the contrary) so that the US could withhold its veto and effectively reverse American policy.  The Simon Wiesenthal Center recognized this as an attack on Israeli sovereignty and proclaimed it the most antisemitic incident of the year. This assault against Israel on the world stage was nonetheless tolerated by Jewish progressives, and even lauded by some. When Jews fail to condemn such conduct, they enable Jew-hatred masquerading as political dialogue; and denying Israeli sovereignty is indeed a form of antisemitism.

Whereas early Jewish progressives regarded their people’s history with reverence, their political descendants lost all sense of its noble origins and lofty mission.  Furthermore, today’s left has altered the past to conform to a worldview that disparages Israel and traditional Judaism.

As Rav Saadia Gaon explained more than a thousand years ago, the Jews are a nation founded on Torah whose national survival requires loyalty to its laws and principles.  Without Torah, he said, the Jewish nation would have disappeared like any other ancient people swallowed by the sands of time. Is Israel’s disappearance the goal of those who now seek to deny Jewish history and suppress Judaism’s eternal values?

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EDITORS NOTE: This Israel International News column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Capitalism Is Good for the Poor by Steven Horwitz

Critics frequently accuse markets and capitalism of making life worse for the poor. This refrain is certainly common in the halls of left-leaning academia as well as in broader intellectual circles. But like so many other criticisms of capitalism, this one ignores the very real, and very available, facts of history.

Nothing has done more to lift humanity out of poverty than the market economy. This claim is true whether we are looking at a time span of decades or of centuries. The number of people worldwide living on less than about two dollars per day today is less than half of what it was in 1990. The biggest gains in the fight against poverty have occurred in countries that have opened up their markets, such as China and India.

If we look over the longer historical period, we can see that the trends today are just the continuation of capitalism’s victories in beating back poverty. For most of human history, we lived in a world of a few haves and lots of have-nots. That slowly began to change with the advent of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. As economic growth took off and spread throughout the population, it created our own world in the West in which there are a whole bunch of haves and a few have-more-and-betters.

For example, the percentage of American households below the poverty line who have basic appliances has grown steadily over the last few decades, with poor families in 2005 being more likely to own things like a clothes dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, or air conditioner than the average household was in 1971. And consumer items that didn’t even exist back then, such as cell phones, were owned by half of poor households in 2005 and are owned by a substantial majority of them today.

Capitalism has also made poor people’s lives far better by reducing infant and child mortality rates, not to mention maternal death rates during childbirth, and by extending life expectancies by decades.

Consider, too, the way capitalism’s engine of growth has enabled the planet to sustain almost 7 billion people, compared to 1 billion in 1800. As Deirdre McCloskey has noted, if you multiply the gains in consumption to the average human by the gain in life expectancy worldwide by 7 (for 7 billion as compared to 1 billion people), humanity as a whole is better off by a factor of around 120. That’s not 120 percent better off, but 120 times better off since 1800.

The competitive market process has also made education, art, and culture available to more and more people. Even the poorest of Americans, not to mention many of the global poor, have access through the Internet and TV to concerts, books, and works of art that were exclusively the province of the wealthy for centuries.

And in the wealthiest countries, the dynamics of capitalism have begun to change the very nature of work. Where once humans toiled for 14 hours per day at backbreaking outdoor labor, now an increasing number of us work inside in climate-controlled comfort. Our workday and workweek have shrunk thanks to the much higher value of labor that comes from working with productive capital. We spend a much smaller percentage of our lives working for pay, whether we’re rich or poor. And even with economic change, the incomes of the poor are much less variable, as they are not linked to the unpredictable changes in weather that are part and parcel of a predominantly agricultural economy long since disappeared.

Think of it this way: the fabulously wealthy kings of old had servants attending to their every need, but an impacted tooth would likely kill them. The poor in largely capitalist countries have access to a quality of medical care and a variety and quality of food that the ancient kings could only dream of.

Consider, too, that the working poor of London 100 years ago were, at best, able to split a pound of meat per week among all of their children, which were greater in number than the two or three of today. In addition, the whole family ate meat once a week on Sunday, the one day the man of the household was home for dinner. That was meat for a week.

Compare that to today, when we worry that poor Americans are too easily able to afford a meal with a quarter pound of meat in it every single day for less than an hour’s labor. Even if you think that capitalism has made poor people overweight, that’s a major accomplishment compared to the precapitalist norm of constant malnutrition and the struggle even 100 years ago for the working poor to get enough calories.

The reality is that the rich have always lived well historically, as for centuries they could commandeer human labor to attend to their every need. In a precapitalist world, the poor had no hope of upward mobility or of relief from the endless physical drudgery that barely kept them alive.

Today, the poor in capitalist countries live like kings, thanks mostly to the freeing of labor and the ability to accumulate capital that makes that labor more productive and enriches even the poorest. The falling cost of what were once luxuries and are now necessities, driven by the competitive market and its profit and loss signals, has brought labor-saving machines to the masses. When profit-seeking and innovation became acceptable behavior for the bourgeoisie, the horn of plenty brought forth its bounty, and even the poorest shared in that wealth.

Once people no longer needed permission to innovate, and once the value of new inventions was judged by the improvements they made to the lives of the masses in the form of profit and loss, the poor began to live lives of comfort and dignity.

These changes are not, as some would say, about technology. After all, the Soviets had great scientists but could not channel that knowledge into material comfort for their poor. And it’s not about natural resources, which is obvious today as resource-poor Hong Kong is among the richest countries in the world thanks to capitalism, while Venezuelan socialism has destroyed that resource-rich country.

Inventions only become innovations when the right institutions exist to make them improve the lives of the masses. That is what capitalism did and continues to do every single day. And that’s why capitalism has been so good for the poor.

Consider, finally, what happened when the Soviets decided to show the film version of The Grapes of Wrath as anticapitalist propaganda. In the novel and film, a poor American family is driven from their Depression-era home by the Dust Bowl. They get in their old car and make a horrifying journey in search of a better life in California. The Soviets had to stop showing the film after a short period because the Russian audiences were astonished that poor Americans were able to own a car.

Even anticapitalist propaganda can’t help but provide evidence that contradicts its own argument. The historical truth is clear: nothing has done more for the poor than capitalism.

Steven HorwitzSteven Horwitz

Steven Horwitz is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University and the author of Hayek’s Modern Family: Classical Liberalism and the Evolution of Social Institutions.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

What Marriage Was Like before Bureaucracy Marriage by Sarah Skwire

Marriage is not what it once was.

FEE contributor Steve Horwitz’s new book, Hayek’s Modern Family, reminds us all that “the use of ‘traditional’ as an adjective for either marriage or the family more generally is … ahistorical.” Marriage and the family, he argues, have always been changing and evolving institutions, and we are mistaken when we take the practices of one period and valorize them, and them alone, as “traditional.”

What is true for the institutions of marriage and the family is also true for the institutions of betrothal and weddings. By now, we all surely know that traditions like the white wedding dress and the diamond engagement ring are late innovations. The white dress came about after Queen Victoria set the fashion when she married Prince Albert. And while rings had been a popular wedding token for a long time, the diamond engagement ring became all the rage only after a successful campaign by DeBeers in the 1930s. But it is not merely the decorative furbelows that are modern innovations. Nearly everything we think of as defining a betrothal and a wedding used to be up for debate.

The Arnolfini Marriage PortraitI spent some time recently looking at and discussing Jan van Eyck’s famous painting The Arnolfini Portrait. The painting is probably most often called The Arnolfini Marriage Portrait, though scholars have debated for decades over whether it depicts a wedding, a betrothal, or some other legal ceremony. Others have felt it might simply be a portrait of a married couple, or even a memorial for a wife who died young. We’re not entirely sure.

But in the discussion I was involved in, we thought of the painting as a wedding portrait. Because of that, several of the folks involved were a little startled to see the woman looking decidedly pregnant. (In much the same way that we don’t really know the occasion for the portrait, we don’t really know that the woman is pregnant. The style of her dress may just make her appear to be. But to a modern eye, she looks at least seven months along.) Was van Eyck making a moral judgment on the sexual morality of this couple — depicting them as newly married, but with a pregnancy that far advanced? Or is her pregnancy an argument against the notion that this is a wedding portrait, since 15th century morality would not have allowed for premarital sex and pregnancy? What kind of wedding portrait was this, exactly?

I’ll leave the arguments about the accuracy of our thinking about The Arnolfini Portrait to the art historians. What I want to talk about is the accuracy of our thinking about what weddings used to look like.

As the historian Lawrence Stone points out in his book The Family, Sex, and Marriage,

Before 1754 there were still numerous ways of entering into [marriage]. For persons of property it involved a series of distinct steps. The first was a written legal contract between the parents concerning the financial arrangements. The second was the spousals (also called a contract), the formal exchange, usually before witnesses, of oral promises. The third step was the public proclamation of banns in church, three times, the purpose of which was to allow claims of pre-contract to be heard.… The fourth step was the wedding in church, in which mutual consent was publicly verified, and the union received the formal blessing of the Church. The fifth and final step was the sexual consummation.

While parts of the process Stone describes are a little antiquated, they don’t seem completely unfamiliar. And the whole thing sounds remarkably orderly — though it is worth noting that wealthier couples found ways to evade the more tedious parts of the process, such as the triple proclamation of banns, by buying a special license. But the apparent orderliness and familiarity of the process falls apart rapidly when we look just a little more closely.

Stone continues, “But it cannot be emphasized too strongly that according to ecclesiastical law the spousals was as legally binding a contract as the church wedding.… Any sort of exchange of promises before witnesses which was followed by cohabitation was regarded in law as a valid marriage.”

Marriage required no certification by the church or the state. Two individuals merely promised to marry one another in front of witnesses, and then lived together. That was sufficient. And sex and pregnancy in the months between the spousals and a church wedding, if one ever got around to having a church wedding, were routine and accepted.

This sounds like an ideal situation from a libertarian perspective. It’s certainly how I’d prefer that marriages take place. But things soon got even more complicated.

After the Reformation, the Catholic Church required the presence of a priest for a wedding to be valid. The Anglicans did not, though a church wedding came to be expected. However, lawyers still recognized the spousals as valid. And they distinguished between two kinds of spousals — one was not followed by consummation and could be broken. The other was followed by consummation and was binding for life.

Stone reminds us of a few other complexities.

The canons of 1604 stipulated that a church wedding must take place between the hours of 8 am and noon in the church at the place of residence of one of the pair, after the banns had been read for three weeks running. Marriages performed at night, in secular places like inns or private houses, or in towns or villages remote from the place of residence … were now declared illegal [but] they were nonetheless valid and binding for life. This was a paradox the laity found hard to understand.

It could be hard to tell, in other words, if you were married or not. It could be hard to tell, in other words, whether one was engaging in legal married sex or illicit and illegal fornication.

This problem is a key part of Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure, which begins with the arrest of Claudio for fornication with Juliette. Claudio is shocked to be accused of the crime, because, as he says:

… she is fast my wife
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order.

But with the exacting Angelo now in charge of the city, the more rigorous definition of a legal marriage is being enforced, and Claudio is in trouble.

The attempt to codify and enforce a well-understood and long-standing traditional practice made that practice so complicated that it was incomprehensible and often made criminals out of well-intentioned and honest individuals. (Those who are thinking about the mess that is the discussion of bathroom laws in North Carolina may find that problem familiar.)

There’s little doubt now about who is married and who is not married. The United States has spent years in a painful debate over that question, but we finally do have legal clarity. But as two dear friends of mine head down the aisle this month and I listen to the complications and fees they are facing over the licensing of their marriage and their officiant, I do wonder if we’ve solved anything since the days of spousals contracted in front of witnesses or if we’ve just piled on unnecessary layers of legal complications, forms, and fees.

Sarah SkwireSarah Skwire

Sarah Skwire is the poetry editor of the Freeman and a senior fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. She is a poet and author of the writing textbook Writing with a Thesis. She is a member of the FEE Faculty Network. Email

Failure Made Disney Great by Lawrence W. Reed

December 15, 2016, will mark the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney’s passing. Half a century later, I vividly recall the intense sadness I felt when I learned, at age 13, that he had died. It was as though I had lost a close member of the family. I doubt that I ever missed a single episode of his television show. I can still hear his avuncular voice in my head as if he had spoken to me just yesterday. I can’t think of a single movie he made that I haven’t seen and enjoyed immensely, multiple times.

What a phenomenal man Walt Disney was! A cartoonist and animator, businessman, filmmaker, theme park pioneer, and cultural icon, he may have manufactured more happiness in the world than any other man or woman of the 20th century. He was an American original and an American patriot, too. He deeply appreciated that liberty in America allowed him to invent, experiment, and ultimately succeed, as evidenced in this remark three years before his death: “To retreat from any of the principles handed down by our forefathers, who shed their blood for the ideals we still embrace, would be a complete victory for those who would destroy liberty and justice for the individual.”

The characters Disney and his colleagues created or popularized boast names that billions of people still know today: Mickey Mouse, Jiminy Cricket, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Three Little Pigs, Peter Pan, Bambi, and Cinderella, to name only a few. His films include so many that are unforgettable — it’s no wonder he remains the record-holder (a total of 59) for both Oscar nominations and actual wins. Hundreds of millions of people have been enthralled by the movies that featured those characters, as well as by other Disney flicks like Old Yeller, The Absent-Minded Professor, Mary Poppins, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians. His company’s representative song, “When You Wish upon a Star,” evokes smiles from all ages in 2016, just as it did when Disney unveiled it way back in 1940.

Some people think that entrepreneurs build, innovate, and take risks just for the money they might make. To the imaginative Walt Disney, money was never the prime motivator. Not even close — though what could be wrong about that if it had been? Money paid the bills, but he hired his brother Roy to worry about it. Walt was driven by the sheer joy of creativity and the fulfillment that comes from bringing happiness to others. “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” he once said. These words from his dedication speech at the July 1955 opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, encapsulate his amazing spirit:

To all who come to this happy place, Welcome! Disneyland is your land. Here, age relives fond memories of the past … and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America … with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.

No one could do justice to the life of Walt Disney in a short article, so I won’t even attempt to. Allow me to zero in on one particular aspect that underscores why he’s a hero: he knew failure and how to learn and prosper from it. As he put it himself, “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me.… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

In “The Importance of Failure” (Freeman, November 2011), economists Steven Horwitz and Jack Knych explained that permitting failure is just as important as allowing success:

For example, in 1921 Walt Disney started a company called the Laugh-O-Gram Corporation, which went bankrupt two years later. If a friend of Disney or the government hadn’t let him fail and move on, he might never have become the Walt Disney we know today.

More important than this individual learning process is the irreplaceable role failure plays in the social learning process of the competitive market. When we refuse to allow failure to happen, or we cushion its blow, we ultimately harm not only the person who failed but also all of society by denying ourselves a key way to learn how best to allocate resources. Without failure there’s no economic growth or improved human well-being.…

To the imaginative Walt Disney, money was never the prime motivator. 

Failure drives change. While success is the engine that accelerates us toward our goals, it is failure that steers us toward the most valuable goals possible. Once failure is recognized as being just as important as success in the market process, it should be clear that the goal of a society should be to create an environment that not only allows people to succeed freely but to fail freely as well.

Disney heard a lot about failure at the family dinner table before he ever failed himself. His father, Elias, tried twice to be a successful orange grower in Florida but couldn’t make it work. He flopped as a professional fiddle player in Colorado. He didn’t do much better farming in Missouri. Elias tried a lot of things to keep his family fed. That he never quit trying left a deep impression on young Walt.

Before he was 20, Walt Disney had to make several adjustments in his career. He drove an ambulance in France for a time, but when he returned to the United States, he couldn’t find a similar job. He decided to be an actor, then changed his mind in favor of drawing comic strips for newspapers. No luck there, either. Roy found him a job at a bank, but Walt didn’t find the work satisfying. From there, in 1921, he started his first company, the soon-to-go-bankrupt Laugh-O-Gram Corporation. Unable to pay his rent, he even ate dog food until he could get back on his feet.

In 1926, Walt’s prospects suddenly brightened with an animated series centered around a character he created, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but his luck ran out two years later when he lost the rights to Oswald to Universal Studios.

Stephen Schochet, author of Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes about the Stars and Legends of the Movies, notes some of Disney’s later misfortunes, big and small:

When Walt tried to get MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927 he was told that the idea would never work — a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women.

The Three Little Pigs was rejected by distributors in 1933 because it only had four characters; it was felt at that time that cartoons should have as many figures on the screen as possible. It later became very successful and played at one theater so long that the poster outside featured the pigs with long white beards.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was sneak previewed to college students in 1937 who left halfway during the film causing Disney great despair. It turned out the students had to leave early because of dorm curfew.…

For the premiere of Pinocchio Walt hired 11 midgets, dressed them up like the little puppet and put them on top of Radio City Music Hall in New York with a full day’s supply of food and wine. The idea was they would wave hello to the little children entering into the theater. By the middle of the hot afternoon, there were 11 drunken naked midgets running around the top of the marquee, screaming obscenities at the crowd below. The most embarrassed people were the police who had to climb up ladders and take the little fellows off in pillowcases.

Even after Disney scored international fame for his film making, not all of his films made money. Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Pollyanna, for example, were all box office flops at first. Undaunted, Disney faced each disappointment by planning his next adventure.

“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there,” he said. “With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.”

While making movies, he found time for another challenge. It was literally in his own backyard, where he designed and built a miniature, half-mile-long steam railroad. The locomotive was big enough for him to personally ride on it. The project had its own trestle, overpasses, and even a 90-foot tunnel beneath his wife Lillian’s flowerbed. It inspired the railroad he later built around the perimeter of Disneyland.

Unable to pay his rent, Disney even ate dog food until he could get back on his feet.

Perhaps because he had learned from so many previous failures and disappointments, Disney burned the midnight oil to make his Anaheim theme park dream succeed. It was a financial success from the day it opened. Today, the Walt Disney Company is easily the world’s largest operator of theme parks in terms of guest attendance per year and is a $50 billion firm employing more than 175,000 people.

Walt Disney’s legacy is deeply embedded in our culture and for good reason: he knew how to entertain. He produced lasting and happy memories for people in nearly every nation. And he never, ever quit. His advice to young people is as commendable today as it was when he offered it more than half a century ago, in part because it’s also the way he lived his own life: “Do a good job. You don’t have to worry about the money; it will take care of itself. Just do your best work— then try to trump it.”

For additional information, see:

Lawrence W. ReedLawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s. Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

AUTHORS NOTE: This is the final essay in my formal, weekly Real Heroes series, which began in April 2015. I wish to thank the many readers who sent me encouraging notes after reading one or more of my articles that made an impact in some way. It’s a theme I’ll likely return to in this Friday spot with some frequency, though I now welcome the time to write about some other things as well. In the coming weeks, FEE and a publisher will be announcing the details of a mass-market paperback, due for release in bookstores in September, which will present approximately 40 of my Real Heroes essays.

Liberals HATE the History of The United States and Want to Create Their Own Utopia

In July, there are two nations that celebrate their Independence from one nation. Canada celebrated their independence from Great Britain on July 1 and the United States of America celebrated its independence from Great Britain on July 4. How interesting that the summer month of July produced such nations, birthed by an empire. Now some would argue that the empire that was Great Britain birthed another empire that was even more powerful, the United States.

Surely that was not the intent of our Founders, for us to be an empire and it is our true intent this day. We do not seek to conquer lands far and wide. We do not seek to occupy and hold territory in every corner of the world. But if you listen to Liberals, they would have you believe that the United States is nothing more than a colonial power that takes from other nations and gives nothing back. I have always found that to be strange since every time we defeated a major power or nation, we always gave it back to the people of that nation. Germany, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and the list goes on.

Surely a nation that is bent on world domination does not allow for conquered nations to live their own lives and have their own government. Remember the old Soviet Union? They surrounded themselves with nations that they controlled completely. There was no independence for the likes of the Baltic’s, Poland, East Germany and the list goes on. They had no choice but to do as their masters dictated. They had no choice but to stand and be the shield for Russia.

But Liberals in the United States, those who actually hate the United States, try to paint the picture that the United States is no better than the Soviet Union. They are so brazen with their hatred now that they even write articles that redefine history. They redefine the history of the United States of America by stating that the Revolutionary War was a bad idea. They claim that if the Monarchy of Great Britain ruled over the United States for a little while longer, there would not have been slavery and there would not have been a Civil War. These folks obviously do not know or understand their own history.

These Liberals tell us that the military Veterans of the United States should pay for their own health care. That if we didn’t spend so much on the military and if we didn’t pay our soldiers so much in salary that we could eliminate hunger in the United States and that everyone could go to public college for free. These Liberals preach that the basic foundations that made this country great and prosperous were illegal and immoral. You know, the institution of marriage between one man and one woman, Liberty and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The idea that each man is responsible for his own life.

You know the other ideals such as law and order is good for society. The military deserves our respect and admiration and that we should spend our money providing our soldiers with the best and latest equipment available to help insure their safe return home. Liberals detest the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, the playing and singing of our National Anthem, the military jet fly overs at major sporting events, prayer before government meetings.

Liberals can’t stand the fact that you should have the freedom to choose your doctor, your health insurance, your child’s school, what kind of car you drive, and what words you can and cannot say in public. In the end, if Liberals had their way, we would not have a flag. We would not have a pledge. We would not have a military capable of defending this nation. We would not have the ability and the right to choose to live as we see fit. We would not have the right to choose what we buy, who we elect, where we speak, what we say.

In the end, what Liberals really want, what would really truly make them happy, is the death and destruction of freedom. The end of the United States of America. What Liberals would have is what that great utopian novel most of us read in high school clearly announced. In the world of the novel Animal Farm, clearly the Liberals believe that some people are more equal than others. They are more equal than you or I. And there is nothing more they would love than to be able to march you down to the nearest government building and force you to pledge your allegiance to them and their utopian, Socialistic ways.

But if they did that, would they still celebrate July 4th? Of course not, they don’t like the fact that we eat a lot of meat on that holiday.

Israel’s Republican Governor?

This morning I opened up a Ynet.com  Op ed, “Israel’s Republican Governor”,   by Tel Aviv University Professor Aviad Kleinberg, a member of the History Faculty and according to the information on him, a medievalist by specialization with interests in  religion and philosophy. Kleinberg conclusion was:

Despite his declarations, Netanyahu is thinking less about Iran and more about politics – both Israeli and American. While the Republicans are deriving pleasure from the slap in Obama’s face, the price will be paid by us.

Kleinberg starts off  trying to hoist PM Netanyahu with these comments:

“While there are those who are focusing on protocol or politics, a bad deal with Iran is being formed,” Benjamin Netanyahu has declared. The remedy for this bad agreement, it turns out, is a speech which the prime minister will deliver in Washington, D.C.

Netanyahu is suggesting the following equation: It’s true that this speech faces a strong opposition in the United States. It’s true that it is infuriating the administration and will create high tensions between Israel and US President Barack Obama. It’s true that there is a good chance that the administration will punish Netanyahu (i.e., the State of Israel) because delivering the speech is perceived as breaking the acceptable rules of the game between countries (a head of state does not make an official visit when the head of the state he is visiting makes it explicitly clear that he is not interested in the visit). It’s also true that to an innocent bystander, it seems like cynical attempt to grab the spotlight in order to advance the guest’s interests in the election campaign. But all that pales into insignificance in the face of the fundamental achievement – stopping the bad agreement with Iran.

You can read the rest here...

Times of Israel 2015 Election PollProfessor Kleinberg’s trust in President Obama’s effort via the P5+1 negotiations to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear breakout and producing weapons is not reflected in the latest Times of Israel  (TOI) poll of Israeli views on the upcoming Knesset election issues and party list candidates released yesterday.  The TOI headline was, 3 in 4 Israelis don’t trust Obama to keep Iran from nukes.

The TOI poll findings were:

Asked whether they trust the U.S. president to ensure Iran not get the bomb, an overwhelming 72% do not, compared to 64% in our January 2014 survey.

Israeli voters give Obama a 33% favorable and 59% unfavorable rating, The Times of Israel’s survey also shows. Still, the president’s favorable and unfavorable ratings (33%/59%) aren’t much worse than those of several of Israel’s politicians such as Moshe Kahlon (45%/32%), Netanyahu (41%/54%), Isaac Herzog (38%/43%), or Naftali Bennett (38%/52%). Obama is on par with Yair Lapid’s current rating of 34% favorable and 59% unfavorable, and has a better perception than Tzipi Livni (29%/64%) and Avigdor Liberman (31%/61%).

Read more

Here is what I posted as a comment on the Ynet.com in response to Professor Kleinberg’s Ynet.com opinion:

Professor Aviad Kleinberg of Tel Aviv U’s history department betrays his expertise as a medievalist when it comes to opining on American politics. He of all people should recognize this less than Machiavellian ploy by the Obama West Wing seeking to dis Bibi for accepting Speaker Boehner’s invitation to speak before a Joint Session of Congress about Iran’s nuclear hegemony agenda and Radical Islamists on your borders.

One only need look at polls in the U.S. on the matter of the PM speaking before a Joint Session of Congress to realize that he has the backing of 50 % of Americans respondents.. Methinks the Professor protests too much in light of the agitprop by the Presidents’ media minders in the West Wing seeking to provide support for the so-called Zionist Union in the March 17 snap Knesset elections. Which has been revealed in both the liberal NY Times and Washington Post.

If Bibi ran as a Republican Governor here in the Sunshine State he’d win hands down. Can’t say that for ‘Democrats’ Tzipi and Bluji who can hardly match the PM’s Churchillian cadence nor his gravitas on mutual national security interests of concern to Israel and the West.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama’s Mainstreaming Jew Hatred in America – Caroline B. Glick

Obama Is Pursuing Regime Change in Israel- Foreign Policy Magazine

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of U.S. House Speaker Boehner and Israeli PM Netanyahu taken on May 24, 2011 before his speech to a Joint Session of Congress. Source: NER.

“Tanscending” the idea of “American History” and Forgetting D-Day

Recently, Cal Thomas, in what has become a journalistic ritual, bemoaned the loss of knowledge about American history in a column titled “D-Day=Dumb Day for Many.” This historical occasion was the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6. Thomas cited a study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni that showed only 70 percent of recent college graduates knew that D-Day occurred during World War II. This and other dismal statistics revealing historical ignorance were attributed to the fact that very few colleges require survey courses on American history.

But Thomas, and others similarly concerned, might be surprised to learn that not only is American history being overlooked, but that a movement among many history professors has been underway to eliminate the very category of “American history,” and even the idea of the United States as a legitimate nation. While attending the annual conference of the Organization of American Historians, I learned about such “reframing of history.”

The OAH claims to be “the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history,” but its members seem to have a limited view and that is of the United States as an overwhelmingly oppressive, unjust – and illegitimate – nation.

This year’s conference theme, “Crossing Borders,” focused on slavery and segregation in the past, and on supposed persecution of “immigrants” (illegal aliens) in the present. Assumptions reigned among the panels I sat in on: ACORN was good, objections to forced busing for school integration were bad, the 1964 presidential election that allowed Lyndon Johnson to institute metastasizing federal programs was a positive counterforce to the election of Richard Nixon and the rise of the “right-wing.” The Plenary Session, “Remembering and Reassessing the Mississippi Summer Project” included activists from that summer of 1964, Dorie Ladner, Rita Bender, and Charles E. Cobb, singing praises to Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Tom Hayden, John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, and Frantz Fannon. In the sprawling vendors area, publishers plied books for high school and college, including the graphic adaptation of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of American Empire, Eric Foner’s Who Owns History?, and paeans to Margaret Sanger, Mother Jones, Hugo Chavez, and Earth Day.

The strategies for teaching to the new A.P. U.S. History exam, discussed in one panel, were in keeping with the conference’s theme. But the genesis for such anti-Americanism became apparent in another session called “Internationalizing American History: Assessment and Future Directions”; it focused on the deliberate effort to teach American history from a “cosmopolitan” perspective, with that meaning incorporating the views of foreigners who do not believe in the legitimacy of this nation. At that session, I heard the phrase “what used to be called” prefacing “Early American History,” “the American Revolution,” and the “creation of the American republic.” The promotion of Common Core as presumably “internationally benchmarked” is no coincidence: historians have been working on imposing the “cosmopolitan” perspectives of history, a specific aspect of Common Core criticized by George Will.

The Prevailing View

Panelist Jane Kamensky of Brandeis University started off by declaring that American history needs to be “rescued from not only the national but from the nationalist framework” and that we must study a “diasporic” revolution involving “freedom struggles against imperial masters” of indigenous peoples.

Johann Neem of Western Washington University dissented by offering Hegelian theories about particularity and relationships as an argument for retaining the category of “nation.” He noted that works of the eighteenth-and-nineteenth-centuries are filled with “tolerance” for diversity, even though our national identity is mostly white Protestant. Neem is author of Creating a Nation of Joiners: Democracy and Civil Society in Early National Massachusetts.

The next panelist, Kristin Hoganson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, challenged the idea that American history should be a national history. She cited three books that reveal how “partial” our histories have been: Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States & the Philippines, and Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State. Apparently, no history of “what used to be called the United States” is complete without a reference to occupation, imperialism, blood, and empire. Hoganson gave credit to Thomas Bender (New York University), the commentator on the panel, for making a “powerful case” for the “need for more transimperial history,” with his book, Rethinking American History in a Global Age.

Kiran Klaus Patel of Maastricht University in the Netherlands suggested a more European, “transnational” approach to the study of American history, and destabilizing boundaries. Fortunately, to him, in the 1980s and 1990s cultural history transformed all of history, including diplomatic history.

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu of The Ohio State University, where she has a joint appointment in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, asserted that there is need for more “global, gendered analysis,” for example, of how women opposed the Vietnam War, the subject of her second book, Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era. Her first book was Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity.

Thomas Bender, considered the founder of the “transnational turn,” approvingly asserted, “The panel has embraced the international historiographical approach”– “except for one skeptic on the panel” (Neem). Bender suggested pushing students in the new direction of “entanglement with the planet, people, and nations,” requiring them to learn foreign languages like Arabic and Chinese. Jobs in the future, he said, will be in history that transcends the idea of “American history.”

The History of the Transnational Turn of History

I was shocked that history professors would want to eliminate American history as such. But then I learned that this “transnational” effort began in 1996. Under the direction of Bender, the Organization of American Historians and New York University’s International Center for Advanced Studies jointly established the Project on Internationalizing the Study of American History. They then met in Villa La Pietra, New York University’s Center in Florence, Italy, in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000.

According to “The LaPietra Report,” the historians spent the first year at the Villa planning, then the next discussing “the theoretical issues that attended the project’s reconsideration of the assumptions that determined the temporal and spatial scales of conventional national historical narratives.” The third conference resulted in “exemplary” essays “probing either particular themes or reframing conventional historical movements or periods from a more international perspective.” The final meeting, in 2000, put attention on the “practical implications of the intellectual agenda.”

The Practical Implications

The practical implications include a “reframing of American history” in college and in K-12 education.

Such reframing includes preparing “globally competent citizens,” the aim of Common Core. The as-yet voluntary “College, Career, and Civic Life (c3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards” replace knowledge about American history with activism and follow those set for college in the Department of Education’s 2012 report, “A Crucible Moment” (roundly criticized by the National Association of Scholars in a special issue of Academic Questions). Replacing factual questions of traditional “national historical narratives” are loaded questions, as high school, and even younger, students are asked to evaluate primary and secondary sources, think “critically” and “deeply,” and “grasp the relevance of widening the lens of social analysis.”

It is no wonder that History Literacy rates continue to plummet.

Unlike the vast majority of professors at OAH, Robert Paquette, Hamilton College History Professor who co-founded the independent Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, teaches his students “that the United States was founded on the principles of limited government, voluntary exchange, respect for private property, and civil freedom.” In a recent SeeThruED article, he criticized the neglect of American history, noting that not one of the eleven New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools requires that undergraduates attend a single course in American history and “a substantial majority of these eleven elite colleges do not even require of their majors in history as many as one American history course.”

Paquette warns, “The United States cannot survive as a nation if the traditions and principles that made it cohere as a prosperous and distinctive country are distorted and marginalized.”

Cal Thomas makes a similar point in his column, remarking poignantly about the World War II veterans visiting the beaches of Normandy, probably for the last time in their lives: “if they could have foreseen what America would become and how little their descendents know, or care, about their sacrifice, would they have done what they did?”

But student ignorance is the aim of professors and teachers meeting at conferences that we pay for in taxes and tuition. While the Greatest Generation remembered D-Day, influential professors spent summers in an Italian villa discussing how to destroy the very idea of the United States in history classes. And then they congratulated themselves at a conference in Atlanta in 2014.

LGBT movement organizing to mandate “gay history” in schools across America

In California already. Starting now in Massachusetts. Their goal is to force it into schools nationwide.

The push to require that “gay history” be taught in the nation’s is already in place in California and is now making headway in Massachusetts. The LGBT teachers conference brought in techniques that activists can use to expedite that process around the country.

The homosexual movement is organizing and strategizing to achieve their latest goal in the schools.

This is the sixth part in our series on this year’s annual GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) Conference held in Boston in April 2014 which brought together LGBT teachers, school officials, and education activists (and their “allies”) — along with children as young as fifth grade — where they outlined their latest tactics for the schools.

Why a push for “gay history” in schools?

“Gay history” is an important psychological tool that homosexual movement uses to convince schoolchildren that homosexual behavior is a normal and positive influence in society. By making it part of the school curriculum — with lectures, exams, term papers, etc. – it becomes ingrained in kids’ minds. Thus, students would never question its legitimacy — and legitimacy is an obsessive goal of the homosexual movement.

Perhaps more disturbing, “gay history” introduces deviant figures such as Harvey Milk (a sexual predator of teenage boys), pro-NAMBLA activist Harry Hay, and other“gay pioneers” (some of whom were pornographers) as legitimate historical figures worthy of admiration. Plus it often teaches kids the unproven political “quackery” that famous people such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Julius Caesar, and even Abraham Lincoln were homosexual.

For example, soon after the California law was passed, one LGBT social studies teacher in San Francisco in an interview with a high school newspaper gave a taste of what what “gay history” should include:

In considering the possibilities, [the teacher] described potential lesson plans featuring rumored gay authors such as William Shakespeare and Walt Whitman and famous court cases involving gay defendants like that of Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 court case that ended Texas’ sodomy law.

Gaining steam since the 1990s

That “gay history” push has been slowly but steadily progressing. Since the 1990s individual “gay activist” teachers have woven homosexual themes into their classes, including history lessons. Over a decade ago “gay history month” displays began to appear in “progressive” school districts, and that has spread across the country. For over a decade, national LGBT groups have trained teachers how to incorporate “gay rights” into history classes (example from 2001). (NOTE: This link is from the MassResistance blog – which Google still partially blocks!) But the goal has always been mandating it across the country.

This handout at the workshop shows some of the LGBT activists over the years that they intend to portray as heroic “historical figures” to schoolchildren.

California becomes first state to mandate “gay history” in schools

In 2011, California passed Senate Bill 48, the Orwellian-labeled “FAIR Education Act.” It requires that the “historical contributions” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” be included in courses, instructional material, and textbooks in California Public Schools. Furthermore, the law includes prohibition of any “materials that reflect adversely” on LGBT persons or the movement. This onerous law was the result of a well-crafted campaign by the homosexual lobby, spearheaded by a homosexual activist state legislator, and actively supported by the liberal press.

This was such an abrupt change that Grades K-8 have been given until July 1, 2015 to comply, but high schools are required to move as fast as possible. Many California high schools are rolling out their new “gay” curricula this month –September 2014.

The conference workshop: Strategies to do it . . .

This year the conference had a special workshop to show teachers and activists how a “gay history” mandate was successfully effected in one school district in Massachusetts. Here’s how the conference program listed it:

2.5 Reversing the Erasure of LGBT History
Using Los Angeles Unified School District and Lowell School District as case studies, this workshop examines strategies for introducing vital LGBT inclusive history curriculum into schools.

Presenter(s): Debra Fowler, Debbie Costello & Erin Kehoe, Lowell High School

This was one of the best-attended workshops of the conference. The room was full. The main presenter was Debra Fowler, who teaches English as a second language at Lowell High School.

The workshop was largely a how-to description of how Fowler and others were able to pressure Lowell High School in Lowell, MA to make “LGBT history” mandatory in the 11th grade. She is also the producer of a very slick and emotional video,“Through Gay Eyes”, which is also now a required part of the Lowell High School curriculum and was shown at the workshop. And they are taking steps to push this statewide (and eventually nationwide).

Debra Fowler’s slick, emotional video, “Through Gay Eyes.”
See trailer here. Facebook page here.

How they got the Lowell politicians & administrators on board

Fowler showed her video “Through Gay Eyes” to the workshop. Some of the messages in the video, which Fowler also talked about) are:

  • Kids need to know they have a gay teacher.
  • The teacher was uneasy about coming out to students, but did anyway.
  • Boston TV News Anchor Randy Price “married” his boyfriend on the State House steps.
  • The world is evolving and changing.
  • It’s wrong to oppose people’s beliefs when they don’t affect you.
  • Children shouldn’t have to worry about growing up with a gay parent.

Fowler described her successful strategy for getting the politicians, school administrators, and faculty all to sign on to requiring “gay history” (and more) at Lowell High School. She said her emotional video “Through Gay Eyes” was used as a “catalyst.”

Starting in August, 2013, she made sure that as many students as possible — and also the key politicians, administrators, and faculty –attended a screening of the video. Although the messages from the video do not have a direct relationship to “gay history” it gave them an emotional attachment to the cause, which was even more important. Then she had hundreds of students and faculty sign two petitions demanding that the video and “LGBT history” be included in the curriculum.

The final step was the Lowell School Committee. At the November 20, 2013 meeting she arranged to have the necessary items on the agenda, and she packed the room with supporters. The two petitions were presented to the Mayor, superintendent, and members of the School Committee to sign themselves, which they all did. All their agenda items were passed unanimously. Thus, the following was accomplished by Fowler and her activists:

  1. Lowell High School would require “gay history” in the 11th grade, starting in September 2014.
  2. The video “Through Gay Eyes” would be required in the middle and high school health curriculum.
  3. The School Committee officially endorsed proposed changes to the Massachusetts Common Core curriculum to include LGBT individuals and events in 11th-grade U.S. History courses statewide. That is the next big push for the LGBT lobby in Massachusetts, they’ve said.
After the School Committee vote, Fowler (left) posed triumphantly with the headmaster of Lowell High School. The photo was circulated on LGBT education sites.

At the workshop, Fowler acknowledged that she got a help from “gay” educators and activists in California. One important thing she told the group: “The lessons are not ‘stand-alone’ lessons,” she said. “The lessons are seamlessly woven into history.”

In closing, Fowler told the workshop, “Reach out to people who can make changes in curriculum. You have the power!”

Below is from the handout that Fowler passed out at the workshop describing their successful strategy. You can also download it here.

National group has already prepared LGBT history curriculum

The homosexual movement is not leaving anything to chance. They are already preparing course material for “gay history” mandates, as well as supplying it to individual activist teachers. GLSEN, the well-funded national organization that organized this LGBT teachers conference, is at the forefront of creating LGBT curriculum for all grades.

GSEN is very serious about supplying your schools with “gay” history.

At the workshop, GLSEN passed out some materials, and they have been posting much more on their website. Here’s a sample of what’s being offered now to schools across America. From the GLSEN web site:

“Celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month.” 18-page document passed out at the workshop. Exhaustive list of LGBT-themed books, websites, and course material targeting schoolchildren. Also includes strategies for introducing it into the schools and weaving it into regular class lessons.

How harmful are the recommended resources in this GLSEN document (above)? To point to just a few:

Kevin Jennings, former Obama “Safe Schools Czar” and founder of GLSEN, edited a gay and lesbian history source book for high school and college classes, Becoming Visible. Included is a chapter praising NAMBLA supporter Harry Hay, along with a portrayal of “gay cruising” (anonymous homosexual sex acts in public places) as a “civil rights” issue!

Another recommended book is Transgender Warriors by Leslie Feinberg.Massachusetts Youth Pride honored Feinberg in 2005, inviting her to lead the youth parade. Besides being a radical transgender activist, she is openly communist and was then editor of Workers World.

At Massachusetts Youth Pride 2005: “Transgender warrior” and communist editor Leslie Feinberg (left of banner) leads the youth parade.
[Mass­Resistance photo]

Can this be stopped?

It can certainly be daunting that major US corporations like Google, Wells Fargo, McDonalds, Target, CitiBank, Disney, Mattel, IBM, and others are funding the homosexual agenda in the schools. But nevertheless, parents and citizens can do amazing things to stop this.

It’s entirely possible keep this from happening. The biggest problem on our side (besides funding) has been that parents have been unaware of what’s happening, are not armed with good information to counter the activists, and have no effective strategies for counteracting their slick lobbying effort.

We at MassResistance are working to help with that.  Exposing this is the start.

America’s New Textbooks are Coming

In just six months, the state of Texas will adopt new social studies textbooks and educational materials for its five million students.  Approximately 50 new textbooks and 100 workbooks, CDs, and other educational materials will be put before the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for approval in November.  The committee’s determinations are not only essential in Texas, where the state purchases almost all educational materials for its school districts, but for the nation at large.  As a bulk purchaser of over 150 million textbooks, the Texas market is substantial enough to influence the textbook publishers themselves.  Major publishers align the content of textbooks offered nation-wide to comply with Texas’ requests in order to ensure their books have a place in this substantial market.

What happens in Texas does not stay in Texas, but impacts parents, teachers, and students around the nation.  The textbooks that the SBOE chooses in November could very easily be on the desks in middle schools and high schools around the country in 2015.  It behooves citizens across the country to pay attention to the choices Texas will make and to understand the content of the books.

So, how is Texas planning to decide which textbooks to adopt?

In January, the SBOE changed the rules for its review process to mostly exclude individuals who are not Texas teachers or professors from reviewing textbooks.  The selection process has become more opaque and the standards for review unknown to those outside the process.  The public only knows that reviewers will meet for a week in Austin over the summer and are instructed not to discuss the process with outsiders (including publishers).  According to a Star-Telegram article, we do know that the changes are specifically designed to prevent citizens from raising controversial issues at the November hearings.

The public does not know who will be chosen to review the textbooks, the degree of scrutiny the books will face, or if the review process will even examine factual accuracy, objectivity, and overall content responsibility.  Newer textbooks, especially the slew of new material now marketed under the aegis of “Common Core,” contain an alarming degree of inaccurate material and need to be scrutinized and analyzed by independent experts who are guided by honesty and objectivity.  An independent review of these educational materials is crucial for students, parents, the education system, and our civic society.

Residents of Texas and other states should be alarmed that such important decisions will be made essentially “under the radar” of the citizenry.  A group of citizens called “Truth in Texas Textbooks,” under the leadership of Lt. Col. Roy White is leading an effort to bring citizen input to the SBOE.  This group has been planning and organizing since the fall of 2013 and is committed to making citizens’ voices heard.

At Verity Educate, we are working hard to provide parents, communities, and schools with the information they need to know about the content of these new textbooks.  Our experts – independent, non-partisan scholars – review material in their specialized content areas.  Textbooks are examined line-by-line for factual inaccuracies and content objectivity.  The in-depth reports we compile note every error, explain biased material, and examine the impact of particular inaccuracies on students’ education.  We spend up to 60 hours reviewing each book, researching the facts, and compiling reports.  How can the SBOE complete a thorough review of all the textbooks in one week?

Because the state will be coming to the November hearings with reviews from its hand-picked expert panels, citizens must also arm themselves with credible, authoritative, and scholarly evidence.  Some of the textbooks up for adoption will be great – factual, objective, and honest.  However, other textbooks will be inaccurate, biased, and un-truthful.  It is important for citizens to be informed about the content of these books before their adoption by the state of Texas and before the books come home in students’ backpacks.  When parents, taxpayers, and citizens inform themselves about the content of these books they can have input with their schools boards, state boards of education, and elected representatives.

An education riddled with factual inaccuracies and biased content affects the heart of our civic society.  When factual accuracy is not accounted for, students will grow into citizens lacking the most basic historical knowledge.  When presented, over and over, with biased content and one-sided arguments students fail to develop critical thinking skills.  The effects of a poor history education are playing out as we speak.  Influential leaders bring their ignorance of key historical events like the Monroe Doctrine and the Crimean War to the attention of the world through their actions and their speech.  When history is taught incorrectly, the nation suffers.

If you are interested in learning more about the content of new textbooks and efforts to ensure accuracy and objectivity, visit www.VerityEducate.org.  Follow us on twitter @VerityEducate and Facebook for regular updates.