Hypocrisy and Indoctrination

I’ve noted before how conservatives denounce “indoctrination” except when they’re the ones doing the indoctrinating. Examples include DeSantis imposing conservative values on a Florida college long known as a bastion of “free thinkers”. And examples of people believing things that are not true.

Salon, David Mura, 15 Feb 2023: Ron DeSantis’ hypocrisy is his secret weapon, subtitled “That DeSantis relies on this foundational principle of white supremacy is actually evidence of systemic racism”

Whether the College Board’s revisions were a reaction or not, it’s clear that DeSantis and other conservatives have castigated what they believe was the “ideological” content of the initially planned course. This is the sort of double-speak that conservatives are so fond of: What they believe is “non-ideological” but anything they disagree with is “ideological” and un-American. Of course, this is hypocritical nonsense, but as Yale historian David Blight has observed, hypocrisy has always been a tool of racism.

History, stated the critic Walter Benjamin, is the tale of the victors. In part, he meant that those who win wars, those who have the power, are the ones who get to tell history. In this, the telling of history is always ideological, is always a struggle for power. And DeSantis and his ilk know this; that is why they are trying to suppress the teaching of African American history—from the point of view of African American writers and scholars.

[ … ]

[T]he tale of BIPOC America, is regarded as un-American, unpatriotic, a smear on the past, an abomination to the present—or at best, a minor element. According to some, this story can never be integrated with the story of America’s noble pursuit of its ideal goals. And this is an essential way white America has lied to itself: it has denied the voices of people of color as an essential and defining part of America’s tale; it has denied their validity as Americans; it has denied that their history is also the history of white America—however white America wants to deny that fact.

In essence what Gov. DeSantis and conservative groups like Moms for Liberty are saying is this: The problem is not that white America has been abusing Black America throughout our history and into the present, but that Black Americans keep remembering this history and telling it to white people—which somehow victimizes white people. My verb choice here is deliberate: This is the psychology of the abuser.

Conservative whites believe American history should be about white people, and acknowledging other people in American history is invalid since it makes white people feel uncomfortable.


And again.

NY Times, Patricia Mazzei, 14 Feb 2023: DeSantis’s Latest Target: A Small College of ‘Free Thinkers’, subtitled “Gov. Ron DeSantis’s plan to transform New College of Florida into a beacon of conservatism has left students and faculty members at the tight-knit, progressive school reeling.”

After her son began attending New College of Florida, Dr. Sonia Howman felt a pang of fear about the future of the small, little-known public liberal arts school on the shores of Sarasota Bay.

Her son, who identifies as L.G.B.T.Q. and had been bullied in high school, had found “a tiny place of safety in this increasingly hostile state,” she said. “I kept praying that DeSantis would never find out about it. But he did.”

A plan by Gov. Ron DeSantis to transform New College, which is known as progressive and describes itself as “a community of free thinkers,” into a beacon of conservatism has left students, parents and faculty members at the tight-knit school reeling over what they see as a political assault on their academic freedom. Mr. DeSantis’s education commissioner has expressed a desire to remake the school in the image of Hillsdale College, a small Christian school in Michigan that has been active in conservative politics.

Conservatives in general, and apparently DeSantis, are not in favor of people who think freely. They must be instructed what to think.


More examples of people, mostly conservatives, believing things that are not true. (To echo yesterday’s comments on a book about conservative arguments.)

Washington Post, Henry Olsen, 15 Feb 2023: Opinion | Why are so many Americans sour on the economy? Look at this new data.

Actually, this is an odd piece because it’s not about how people think the economy is sour while the data shows otherwise, in typical Paul Krugman fashion. It’s about a measure created by a conservative think-tank called the “cost-of-thriving index” (COTI) that assess, over the decades, how much it takes a family [it’s always about traditional family groups, no matter how those have changed] to provide food, housing, health care, transportation, and higher education. And how it’s shifted from a single breadwinner, in the 1950s and 1960s, or even in 1985, to two — 39.7 weeks to 62.1 weeks.

Naturally, the measure is crafted to make a conservative point, but there are lots of reasons to quibble. Among them, people are wealthier now, overall, having higher standards of living than people in the 1950s, or even 1985. And the columnist makes these comments that undermines, to me, his authority.

Evidence of the downward trajectory is everywhere: Americans are having fewer children; they are forming families later in life; they increasingly rely on public subsidies for the employed; and many of them have moved from high-cost to lower cost regions. Families with two full-time, college-educated parents — most of you, dear readers — are getting ahead. Everyone else is swimming upstream, stuck or worse.

Sociological data for decades has shown that having fewer children, and having them later in life, is correlated with prosperity. People in poor cultures, and virtually all historical ones up until a century or so ago, had many children as quickly as possible, because the majority of them didn’t survive until adulthood. (Until modern medicine.) Thus elements of Biblical morality. And the notion that the woman in a family must devote herself to raising children, and that having a career of her own is somehow immoral. You hear this line from conservatives to this day; they are stuck in the past, applying obsolete Biblical morality to a world that has changed — for the better.


Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, 15 Feb 2023: Opinion | Republicans are doubling down on abortion. They’ll regret it.

Once again, they are operating on an inaccurate, pre-scientific, idea of what constitutes human life. Black and white thinking. They may as well stomp their feet and declare the Earth flat because, gosh-darn-it, it *looks* flat.

I won’t detail any of the many Republican schemes, at both federal and state levels, whose motivation seems to be to force births in as many circumstances possible, because Biblical morality, because the world doesn’t have enough people in it.


Finally, a look at things to come, concerning the most famous purveyor of untrue things of all.

Salon, Heather Digby Parton, 15 Feb 2023: Trump is preparing for more American carnage, subtitled “In order to run to Ron DeSantis’ right, Trump to paint a picture so grim of America he’ll bring back firing squads”

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