Feb. 3rd, 2013

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In An Introduction to Problems of American Culture, his 1931 social studies textbook for junior high school students, Rugg deplored the “lack of planning in American life”:
Repeatedly throughout this book we have noted the unplanned character of our civilization. In every branch of agriculture, industry, and business this lack of planning reveals itself. For instance, manufacturers in the United States produce billions’ of dollars worth of goods without scientific planning. Each one produces as much as he thinks he can sell, and then each one tries to sell more than his competitors. . . . As a result, hundreds of thousands of owners of land, mines, railroads, and other means of transportation and communication, stores, and businesses of one kind or another, compete with one another without any regard for the total needs of all the people. . . . This lack of national planning has indeed brought about an enormous waste in every outstanding branch of industry. . . . Hence the whole must be planned.

Rugg pointed to Soviet Russia as an example of the comprehensive control that America needed, and he praised Stalin’s first Five-Year Plan, which resulted in millions of deaths from famine and forced labor. The “amount of coal to be mined each year in the various regions of Russia,” Rugg told the junior high schoolers reading his textbook,
is to be planned. So is the amount of oil to be drilled, the amount of wheat, corn, oats, and other farm products to be raised. The number and size of new factories, power stations, railroads, telegraph and telephone lines, and radio stations to be constructed are planned. So are the number and kind of schools, colleges, social centers, and public buildings to be erected. In fact, every aspect of the economic, social, and political life of a country of 140,000,000 people is being carefully planned! . . . The basis of a secure and comfortable living for the American people lies in a carefully planned economic life.


During the 1930s, tens of thousands of American students used Rugg’s social studies textbooks.


And even now:

The Social Studies Curriculum: Purposes, Problems, and Possibilities, a 2006 collection of articles by leading social studies educators, is a socialist smorgasbord of essays on topics like “Marxism and Critical Multicultural Social Studies” and “Decolonizing the Mind for World-Centered Global Education.” The book, too, reveals the pervasive influence of Marxist thinkers like Peter McLaren, a professor of urban schooling at UCLA who advocates “a genuine socialist democracy without market relations,” venerates Che Guevara as a “secular saint,” and regards the individual “self” as a delusion, an artifact of the material “relations which produced it”—“capitalist production, masculinist economies of power and privilege, Eurocentric signifiers of self/other identifications,” all the paraphernalia of bourgeois imposture.

April 2014

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