The Blaze reports that fourth graders at East Prairie School in Skokie, Illinois were given a hand out, explaining that government is supposed to care for you, protect you, and provide for you.
“Government is like a nation’s family. Families take care of children and make sure they are safe, healthy and educated, and free to enjoy life. Families encourage children to be independent hardworking and responsible,” it continues. “Families make and enforce rules and give appropriate punishments when rules are broken. Government does these things for its citizens, too.”A concerned parent forwarded the homework assignment to TheBlaze. The worksheet asks the following questions:1. How does your family keep you safe?2. How does the government keep its citizens safe?3. How does your family keep you healthy?4. How does the government keep its citizens healthy?etc, etc…
The Blaze sought comment from the school administration. The superintendent responded, saying that the assignment “is not an attempt to include and/or promote a political message.”
The superintendent, I would guess, is probably telling the truth so far as she sees it. Maybe she doesn’t see this as an overt political message. But if that’s the case it’s only because the field of education is so thoroughly dominated by political liberals that this sort of material passes through the system without raising an eyebrow among the professionals who design curriculum. It takes someone outside the system, in this case a concerned parent, to see it for what it is–big government propaganda repackaged as civics education.
As I explained on this blog yesterday, when I revealed the liberal bias in the government’s “Common Core” curriculum, liberal indoctrination is a constant problem at the grade school level, due to the dominance of the left in the field of education.
I mean, get a load of the cutsy illustration on the worksheet. Uncle Sam, cradling a citizen like a baby!
For someone of the liberal political mindset, it’s the most natural thing in the world to think of the government as a parent.
But these Orwellian ideas, innocent though they may seem here in cartoon form, are actually quite destructive.
There’s no sense in this lesson that the government is accountable to us, the citizens. No sense of what it means to live in a democracy where the government is the servant of the people.
Instead, the roles of citizen and government in this lesson are inverted. The lesson teaches kids that it’s the government’s job to make sure we act responsibly, when, in fact, it’s our job to make sure that the government acts responsibly.
But the most troubling aspect is the presumption of trustworthiness and benevolent goodness that the lesson ascribes to the state. In fact, our founding fathers’ chief concern was limiting governmental power because they knew that the natural tendency of the state is to continually seek more control over people’s lives, thereby endangering their freedom.
It’s no coincidence that George Orwell described totalitarian government as “Big Brother” in his novel, 1984. Convincing people that the government cares and can provide for them like a family member is a great way to convince them to forfeit control of their lives.
The underlying assumptions about the nature of our government are formed early in life. These fourth graders are getting a distorted message about what has made America prosper and remain free. It has nothing to do with the government’s benevolence, and everything to do with the limits the constitution places on governmental power.
Never before have those limits been as weak as they are today, in the face of growing government dependence. More Americans than ever are on food stamps, disability, and other forms of government assistance. The government is seizing control of our nation’s healthcare system, student loan system, and instituting limitless surveillance powers.
And this isn’t an isolated case. I have no doubt that this very worksheet is being used in schools across the country.
It’s important for parents to stay aware of what their kids are being taught in school, and to correct these wrong-headed ideas. Whether intentional or not, this kind of political indoctrination is dangerous. By portraying the government as a parent, who provides for you and has ultimate power over your life, government schools are preparing students for a life of dependence and obeisance.
Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.