American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten announced her endorsement of a federal “civics education” bill sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), one that the National Association of Scholars (NAS) observed “is more an attempt to smuggle activist training into American K-12 classrooms than it is a good-faith effort to improve civic literacy.”
Weingarten began her column at Newsweek last week with a call for renewed civics education that is all entangled with her view that Donald Trump “and his cronies ran roughshod over the principles most of us learned in grade school.”
The last two years have seen an unprecedented escalation in a decades-long war on the American past.
But there are lots of logical flaws in attacking prior generations in U.S. history.
America’s Founders understood that political change is inevitable. They thought it must come about through constitutional mechanisms, with the consent of the governed, and must never infringe on the natural rights of citizens. Progressives – rejecting the idea that any rights, including the right of consent to government, are natural – accept no such limits. Progressivism insists that the principled American constitutionalism of fixed natural rights and limited and dispersed powers must be overturned and replaced by an organic, evolutionary model of the Constitution. Historical progress should be facilitated by experts dedicated to the expansion of the public sphere and political control – especially at the national level. As progressivism has grown into modern liberalism, the commitment to extra-constitutional “progress” is broadly shared across elite political, academic, legal, and religious circles. Politics is thus increasingly identified with a mix of activism, expertise, and the desire for “change.”