This should be headlined in all the media, read by every voter, and discussed in every public forum possible. But is has to be spoken along with the massive pollution killing and sickening mush of the planet. We are the last farm left in our part of upstate NY that is not spewing poison on the land. We are surrounded by king corn being grown by big ag having taken over every family farm for miles around. This mean roundup, chemicals, poisons of all sorts being spread on the land then into the aquifers, streams and lakes to eventually make this area a "bulls eye" for cancers and autoimmune diseases. There is no such thing as protections against this despite what the GOP tells the public about the necessity of deregulation all our protections and sabotaging efforts to control overpopulation.

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It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve heard a dozen times here statements attributing the rise in right-wing ideology and authoritarian influence in the US to the ending of civics education in our schools, post Reagan. But, in an authoritarian milieu, nonwhite children merely get what white children get from that experience.

I refer to a paper from 1972 by Bruce Romanish, a prominent educator, reprinted in 1995: Authoritarianism and Education – a comparative approach, Miles Simpson. Sociometry, Vol. 35, No.2 (Mar., 1972) Amer Sociological Assn..

I’m copying excerpts from the Romanish article with some commentary for this audience and some from my unpublished book on authoritarianism. Quotation marks and bold print (as well as his more polished academic lingo) distinguish Professor Romanish’s remarks from mine. He strongly supports public schools.

I agree with the professor on most of his observations. I’m critical of his ability to blithely accept the pathetic chronic conditions which have brought us to where we are, however. Indeed, what has changed in these respects in 50 years?

First, here is what Romanish was saying in 1972 about the inadequacy of education for citizenship:

“Missing are ends which have democratic experiences at the center. There are occasional references to citizenship education along with the dispositions required of the good citizen. But this is a view of citizenship that is primarily passive and lacks an articulated concept of the active, participatory citizen and citizenry.”

In addition, the professor said:

“Overall, most students receive a steady diet of what can be described as a lifeless intellectual experience.”

He perceives the roles played by schools as “…making the future citizenry governable”, as opposed to making them capable of the complicated tasks associated with self-governance and participatory democracy.

He speaks about “order for order’s sake”, the “institutional norm of tranquility” and “subsidiary assumptions among which include learning as an essentially passive act, learning equates with knowledge acquisition and transfer, and sounds are disruptive to learning…”.

His stated purpose in the paper was to “…determine how groups arrive at authoritarian orientations and what role the school may play in that development.”

In reflecting on the rise of right-wing authoritarian extremism and fascism in Europe and the US early in the last century leading to the two world wars, he notes that “…it took the form of a slow accumulating avalanche that eventually overwhelmed any resistance or opposition.” Does this not happen in schools primarily because of authority dressed in sheep’s clothing?

He traces a primary route from both hard-nosed child rearing practices and the “educational system” to that devastating end point we would like to forget. We see an educational parallel to the slow accumulating avalanche of authoritarian orientations leading to world war.

He speaks about what one author termed a ‘poisonous pedagogy’ “whereby the child is silenced and taught obedience to authority by whatever means necessary.”

Where have we heard all that before? Yet, he proposes no effective means of preventing the “avalanche”. He has glossed over the realities to conclude that the fix is already in. The authority inherent in compulsory attendance is our friend. If only his ivory tower posturings were matched by his convictions! Focus on the next eloquent statement:

"A basic assumption in what follows is that if public schools are to be in some sense a life line for political democracy they should in turn exhibit characteristics and behaviors which point in that direction. Schools must go beyond platitudes about literacy and democracy by giving evidence they are conscious of the political implications of the way they are organized, the way power is exercised within schools, ways in which the young are classified, categorized, and controlled, etc. "

How true. Next: Romanish noticed that the “…constant danger in schools that authority will degenerate into authoritarianism because a good portion of those attracted to teaching and school administration consciously or (more commonly) unconsciously wish to exercise authority in order to satisfy some unfulfilled need within themselves”. This did not strike him as a reason to remove the coercion inherent in mandatory attendance itself.

Moving on, Romanish says:

“Freedom in a democracy does not accompany the birth process. It is an acquired status not easily achieved. If the schools do not give evidence that they are consciously and actively engaged on behalf of the kind of education required for active democratic citizenship, then by definition they are contributing to its demise. People who are kept in a state of infantile dependence, in which all major decisions are taken for them, fail to develop the strength of personality that would enable them to exercise freedom if they were offered.”

Despite that sobering and beautifully phrased appraisal, Romanish accepts nevertheless that some kinds or degrees of authority (and infantile dependency) in schools is legitimate. Only when abused (typically by authoritarian individuals with inordinate power who got their “education” in this same hierarchical environment) is it harmful and a serious problem. I think of it as akin to placing an alligator in the classroom.

Getting back to authoritarianism in schools, he says:

“…scant attention has been paid to the school's role as a shaper of patterns of belief, conduct, and ways of thinking in relationship to authoritarianism.”

In the same vein, comparing the lack of efforts to counteract authoritarian tendencies and proclivities in our schools to those of the Allies who strove to address those issues in Germany after WWII, he says:

“Since it was clear the Allies believed that school organization and structure are directly related to social aspirations for democracy, one must wonder why so little attention has been devoted to the same ends in the U.S. Even the current wave of reform which seeks school "restructuring" and employs concepts such as 'site-based management' does so with rhetoric that rarely gestures in the direction of the democratic.”

We cannot say it too many times. Laws which compel attendance in school or anywhere else for twelve years are antithetical to democracy and freedom on their face. Romanish has put his finger on the culprit and properly named it. Yet he fails to connect it with the causal circumstance which not only invites, but actually requires, that harmful agent he identified.

Later he complains that “Students must absorb the curriculum which is presented in an almost fixed and final form.” He uses the terms “homogenized” and “pasteurized” in referring to curricular content.

Elsewhere he says, “Authoritarians equate freedom with chaos.”

We hear reassuring echoes of Holt, Postman, Goodman, and many others.


“Authoritarianism favors absolute obedience and stands against individual freedom. It has been described as the most conspicuous political fact of modern times and survives politically with the helpful assistance of parallel and auxiliary structures designed to propagandize the citizenry. This implies an overt structure dedicated to the task of shaping the thoughts and beliefs of a populace. Yet an overarching structure implies the creation of an official means of inculcating a people whereas one can point to a host of authoritarian agencies in place prior to the crowning of any authoritarian political system. In other words a chicken/egg dilemma does not appear to exist. Authoritarian political systems do not create oppressive settings out of whole cloth but instead rise in the context of authoritarian seedbeds sown by various social and cultural institutions and practices.”

Cut to the chase. Authoritarian seedbeds. A 900-page book of rules. Romanish argues that there are indeed clear and evident dangers from authority in schools. Still, he needs to believe that authority can be limited and kept under control in this through some unidentified mechanism or that its arbitrary nature can be changed somehow.


“If schools exhibit democratic characteristics, that may reflect democratic features of the larger social order or the schools are making a contribution to society's movement in that direction. Conversely, an authoritarian experience in school life suggests either a broader cultural authoritarianism or reveals an institution contributing to the future advance of authoritarianism. It is possible for schools to reflect political values incongruent with the larger social order but the symbiotic nature of schools and society make it unlikely.”

In that vein he also refers to consent produced through intentional subterfuge echoing Chomsky:

“Modern authoritarianism does not necessarily seek to reduce individuals to mere passive subjects but tends rather to seek politicization on behalf of a specific ideology. This makes it possible for individuals to have political convictions of sorts so long as they correspond to official ideology and are in keeping with what they have been expected to believe. In this way a cognitive style can be associated with authoritarianism, namely, a close-minded cognitive functioning. This is explained in part by the fact that agencies of power sustain control by eliciting consent more than by means of repression.”

Is it paranoid or conspiratorial to suspect that “common core” and “mind-control” or behavioral modification are linked?

Schools that are not dysfunctional or inimial to democracy do not attract severe criticism or privatizers.

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The framing has to be even bigger. We’re taking steps to fulfill a direct extrapolation of what the founding fathers wanted democracy to look like; we’re just making it fully accessible and fair to everyone. When voting is completely accessible, when campaigns are publicly not privately funded, when elections are so fair they don’t need to be questioned, when integrity is assured in the counting of votes, we will have turned back the right’s flirtation with complete #RepubloFascism.

Perhaps later this decade our leaders will declare a #ReIndependenceDay. Independence from whom? From the corporations that have controlled today’s GOP for 42 years, and sadly Joe Manchin as well who has made democracy’s survival a real cliffhanger.

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Thom, I'm unsure what reveals more hateful condemnation. Is it the actual repugnance of the white supremacist or the person that categorially condemns his enemies with sophomoric name-calling because his enemies disagree with his politics. Underneath both we find intentions of hatred, hostility and derision.

Certainly any counter argument to yours will be an exercise in futility. But please know, there’s simply no doubt that your rhetoric will ever persuade your opposition. Indeed the rhetoric fortifies your followers with a strange sense of moral superiority but it clearly weaponizes the discourse with narrow-minded assertions supported by hateful aspersions. If your objective is to antagonize and turn off your opposition, be assured you’ve accomplished your objective.

Also I know that pointing out an author’s use of logical fallacies rarely moves one to reconsider his opinions, but it should reveal to them the utter weakness of their arguments. The psychologist's fallacy reminds us that an author assumes that his or her subjective experience reflects the true nature of an event. Again will this fallacy have any bearing on your views? No, but there’s certainly a vast number authors that offer data-driven information and experience to all these controversial issues of race. Of course you don’t have to agree with them but their arguments are thoughtful and bring a needed language of reconciliation to these issues. Some of these authors include Jason Hill, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Jason Whitlock, Jason Riley, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Amala Ekpunobi, and Coleman Hughes.

Sadly, after reading your article, we would never know that there are sophisticated voices directly opposing your arguments, especially regarding your opinions about white supremacy. In so many ways this omission is a gross disservice to your audience. But then again it might clearly reveal one's strategic agenda.

You end your article with: “We have a hell of a big job ahead of us, but a new and fully multiracial generation, the Zoomers, is stepping up toward leadership. Let’s hope, pray, and work to help them make it happen.” The authors included in my post, have worked tirelessly to bring about healthy reconciliation and a multiracial generation. Please have them on your show. You will find that their approach comes without the hatred that's implicit in all the immature name calling we hear from many conservative AND just as many progressive radio hosts.

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Horrible watching this coming. Seems inexorable

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One comment on reconstruction is that the entire planet was realizing that education, not parentage, determined intelligence. The last box of buggy whips is always the most expensive.

While Americans are focusing on diversions, major stuff is being ignored. This morning, a major alliance was signed between certain players in Russian and Iranian oil who are powerful enough to bring in the entirety of the industry on both sides. These two will not run smoothly together, at least not for a generation, and maybe never, but if they make it work, the combination is larger than the KSA with the ability to easily double capacity.

I've spent 40 years in international oil, and I don't see this working to expand crude oil sales. However, if the goal is oil products - things made from oil - they could leave the KSA's anticipated profit margins in the dust.

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Jul 20, 2022·edited Jul 20, 2022

I had a heated discussion with a relative 25 years ago, because that individual was hanging-out with a racist bastard who had disowned his own sister for dating a black man. He said something like it's just too hard for the mixed-race kids, and I replied "Because of people like you!". The happy-ending is that my relative moved to the South, made black and bi-racial friends, and became a bit of a Buddhist. He is a new human being. There is hope for this country.

That hope comes from everywhere, but the the Republican Party. It's not just that they are derelict about policing their ranks concerning racism, they have embraced racists. They actively work against POC to disenfranchise them. Believe their actions not their words. Expect them to fix what you damn well know is wrong with their party. Hold them accountable. There is a reason they do not have a platform currently. What they believe is obscene and undemocratic just like the leader they embraced.

Multi-racial/multi-ethic people are the future. It's a beautiful thing! What follows is from the US Census Bureau.


The 2020 Census shows (Figures 1, 2 and 3):

The White population remained the largest race or ethnicity group in the United States, with 204.3 million people identifying as White alone. Overall, 235.4 million people reported White alone or in combination with another group. However, the White alone population decreased by 8.6% since 2010.

The Multiracial population has changed considerably since 2010. It was measured at 9 million people in 2010 and is now 33.8 million people in 2020, a 276% increase.

The “in combination” multiracial populations for all race groups accounted for most of the overall changes in each racial category.

All of the race alone or in combination groups experienced increases. The Some Other Race alone or in combination group (49.9 million) increased 129% surpassing the Black or African American population (46.9 million) as the second-largest race alone or in combination group.

The next largest racial populations were the Asian alone or in combination group (24 million), the American Indian and Alaska Native alone or in combination group (9.7 million), and the Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination group (1.6 million).

The Hispanic or Latino population, which includes people of any race, was 62.1 million in 2020. The Hispanic or Latino population grew 23%, while the population that was not of Hispanic or Latino origin grew 4.3% since 2010.

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Thom, many historians contend that the period from 1954 when Brown was decided to 1965 when the Voting Rights Act became law was the "Second Reconstruction." There is a debate among historians as to how long the Second Reconstruction actually lasted. Some claim it began as early as the 1910s with the Great Migration. Others say it lasted in some way at least until the election of Ronald Reagan.

In November 1966, two years after LBJ's landslide victory, the Democrats were soundly defeated in the midterms. They lost three seats in the Senate, 47 seats in the House, and eight governorships, including California where Ronald Reagan defeated Jerry Brown. The 1966 midterm election is generally considered to have been the first "white backlash" election, a response to both the urban riots and concerns about the ramifications of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as it began to get enforced.

C. Vann Woodward is generally considered to have been the preeminent historian of the original Reconstruction Era and the thirty or so years thereafter. He wrote one of the great books on the Compromise of 1877, "Reunion and Reaction: The Compromise of 1877 and the End of Reconstruction."

In January, 1967, Woodward wrote an article in Harper's Magazine entitled "What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement?" In the article, Woodward claims that the "Second Reconstruction" had died two months earlier with the 1966 midterm results. He speculates on how long it would take for a "Third Reconstruction" to take hold and what the circumstances would have to be for the results of that Third Reconstruction to become permanent in a way that neither the original or Second Reconstructions had.

I heartily recommend that you read Woodward's article from Harpers (and perhaps his book on the Compromise of 1877 as well given your interest in the topic). The article stands up pretty well after 55 years. In it, Woodward considered some of the themes which you considered in your Daily Take today, albeit in a different time and context.

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The word 'RACISM' is a loaded emotional word that s currently being used by both ultra conservative politicians as well as ultra liberal politicians, plus a lot of people who like to stir the fires with any possible fuel at their disposal. In daily life, in our schools and at most non-urban areas in the USA there is very little evidence of offensive and destructive behavior against people of color. Even in the most places in the South we treat each other with politeness, and the percentage of mixed ethnicity marriages has been growing. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2018/07/interracial-marriages.html

During the 1960s The US legislature changed its immigration laws to induce more immigrants to come to America from areas other than the original European countries where most were caucasians, or of slavic ethnicity. https://www.history.com/topics/immigration/us-immigration-since-1965. During the 1965-2022 period, about half a century, America's entire social context has been changed. For example, more than 60 million children now speak a language other than English at home and require K-12 language support at 150% of the cost of native born students. In some urban schools more than 50% of each class now are unable to access grade level material and thus making it difficult for teachers to bring anyone up to grade level standards https://langaway.com/en/blog/how-many-americans-speak-a-second-language and https://www.edweek.org/leadership/the-nations-english-learner-population-has-surged-3-things-to-know/2020/02. In many school districts parents are even facing demands that all student must be taught all academic subjects in both English and the language of the largest immigrant group. For a lot of parents the influx of new and different immigrants during the 1965-2022 period has simply overwhelmed all systems, and all families - this has, of course, led to some anger, similar to ' a case of bad digestion.' Many Caucasian voters have over-reacted, but the push for a return to a more balanced immigration system is very real, and, perhaps, justified. Rational people know that with current US immigration laws in place for another 50 years America may look like India, Africa, or China, with a our population crossing 400 million. https://cis.org/Report/Projecting-Impact-Immigration-US-Population. Thus, it may be more productive to look at limiting all immigration going forward, except for critical skills, if we want all our children to have a quality life and environment.

It is not productive for any of us to continue to base our politics on 'racial' name calling; it's a distraction. In our schools we are doing our very best to teach all the children who come to us,

but almost every US school today could use any number of competent adults to help all our students

succeed. Our ELL students would benefit from adults reading and writing with them.

Voters may be more effective focusing on NEVER VOTING FOR ANY INCUMBENT POLITICIAN, AND TO DONATE TO THOSE WHO ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO SERVE. Let's retire the name calling and focus on 'racism' and move on, please.

Mr. Hartman's citations:

This time, as more and more white Americans awaken to the damage the poison of racism has done all these 240+ years, it’s possible we can pull it off. For the first time in our nation’s history, as many nonwhite children are entering elementary school as white ones.

That was also true of our entirely-white-run nation until, in the 1960s, we chose to again try multiracial and multiethnic democracy; that second American experiment, a second Reconstruction if you will, is now under direct assault by the white supremacists who have taken over every level of the GOP.

Racism’s damage to democracy in this country — facilitated by Republicans on the Supreme Court and now openly pushed by Republicans in Congress — has succeeded in tearing our nation apart while producing legislative paralysis.

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