In theory, we send our children to school so they can learn stuff. Much of what we think about them learning are things that should remain relatively free of bias. Two plus two equals four, the scientific method, and the basic rules of grammar, for example.
History, in theory, should be the same way. We know Pearl Harbor happened, for example, so talking about that makes sense. The same with slavery.
Where things become a problem, particularly with history, is when people let their bias color the facts.
Take the robber barons of the late 19th century.
I remember learning about them at the time, particularly that term—a term which conveys nothing positive, to say the least—and I accepted it as fact.
However, over at the Foundation for Economic Education, there’s an interesting piece that goes to shatter the myth of the robber baron.
The catalyst for this negative view of American entrepreneurs was historian Matthew Josephson, who wrote a landmark book, The Robber Barons. Josephson, the son of a Jewish banker, grew up in New York and graduated from Columbia University, where he was inspired in the classroom by Charles Beard, America’s foremost progressive historian—and a man sympathetic to socialism. “Beard was nothing less than a spellbinder,” Josephson recalled, and Beard’s lectures helped guide him on a path to radical politics.
During the 1920s, after graduation, Josephson became a journalist, an expatriate to France, and, after his return, a part of New York’s literary elite. He and Beard reconnected in 1930, and the mentor urged his student to write a book denouncing the men who had launched America’s industrial power. “Oh! those respectable ones,” Beard said of America’s capitalists, “oh! their temples of respectability—how I detest them, how I would love to pull them all down!” Happily for Beard, Josephson was handy to do the job for him. Josephson dedicated The Robber Barons to Beard, the historian most responsible for the book’s contents.
Josephson began research for his book in 1932, the nadir of the Great Depression. Businessmen were a handy scapegoat for that crisis, and Josephson embraced a Marxist view that the Great Depression was perhaps the last phase in the fall of capitalism and the triumph of communism. In a written interview for Pravda, the Soviet newspaper, Josephson said he enjoyed watching “the breakdown of our cult of business success and optimism.” He added, “The freedom of the U.S.S.R. from our cycles of insanity is the strongest argument in the world for the reconstruction of our society in a new form that is as highly centralized as Russia’s. . . .”
Extreme Sympathy for the Communist Party
Though not a member of the Communist Party, Josephson co-authored an open letter of support for the Communist Party candidates for President of the United States in 1932. “We believe,” the letter said, “that the only effective way to protest against the chaos, the appalling wastefulness, and the indescribable misery inherent in the present economic system is to vote for the Communist candidates.”
I’m going to encourage you to go and read the whole thing because it’s quite interesting.
The sort version is that the people we think of when we hear the term “robber baron”—people with names like Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and Carnegie—were, in fact, nothing of the sort. They refused government subsidies and did things the way we tend to believe they should be done.
They were the exemplars of the free market.
Yet they’ve been vilified by Josephson and legions of educators following suit.
As a result, the term “robber baron” is synonymous with successful businessmen—some of the most successful in history—while their competitors who did try to loot the government for everything they could get have their historical reputations relatively free of besmirchment.
The truth of the matter is that when you hear that guy talk about the educational system is about indoctrination, you should stop rolling your eyes.
Josephson’s flawed scholarship became the accepted norm in part because left-leaning educators decided they didn’t like capitalism and his version of history was an indictment of the institution of capitalism. They didn’t dig any deeper. They didn’t read anything critically. There were no questions asked. They just accepted it because their confirmation bias told them to.
Today, we see something else play out in a similar manner. In particular, critical race theory.
Most educators pushing ideas based on critical race theory will tell you they don’t teach CRT. It’s true, though, they don’t. Not by that name, anyway.
These same teachers may tell you they don’t teach Josephson, but they’re also pushing his ideas. Those ideas are just filtered through someone else before making it into their brains.
But just as with Josephson, they’re not questioning what they’ve been taught. As a result, they don’t want you to question what they’re teaching. They want you to accept these ideas as they accepted them.
These ideas, just as with Josephson, are little more than lies. They’re fictions created to indoctrinate the masses to believe a certain narrative based on false beliefs and even more false information.
And then they try to mandate that your children have to sit there and be indoctrinated by either them or someone trained just like them.
No thank you. I’m glad I’m homeschooling my daughter, for this reason, if for no others.