Thursday, April 03, 2008

Commies Soon May Not Have To Hide Under The Desk

Two years ago I wrote a post about the sections of California education code that refer to communists and communism. To summarize:

-You can't teach and be a member of the Communist Party.
-You cannot teach about communism with the intent to inculcate in the minds of students a preference for communism.
-You cannot let communist organizations use school property.

Are you ready for this? A state senator has introduced a bill that will reverse these laws.

And I haven't found objective evidence yet, but I'm told that the only sponsors of this bill are the state teachers unions, the CTA (NEA) and the CFT (AFL-CIO). Maybe they're trying to make up for this.

What possible good could come from this bill? Our government should not be required to lend assistance or hire people whose political philosophy is the destruction of our form of government.


Ellen K said...

I've been telling you for awhile now, the Democrats, especially in the west of the nation, have been taken over by the machinations of the Green Party-an arm of the World Workers' Party which in turn is a front for the Communist Party. This isn't a surprise to me, I wonder if it would be to the voters that are paying taxes for their kids to be indoctrinated.

Ronnie said...

"California is often referred to by conservatives as the “land of fruits and nuts” and there are certainly plenty of both to go around in the golden state but, again, most Californians defy the Leftist label by living out lives that exhibit a love for God, family, and country"

Although this sounds like he's saying "California has some good people in it, it just has an awful government" it's like if I said "Not to be rude, but your an idiot." One can't quote the "land of fruits and nuts" and be expected to logically analyze anything. That's the problem I have with most of what you link to, it isn't the content, but the condescending and inappropriate use of Conservative manufactured labels.

You can't link to an article that condemns California as the "land of fruits and nuts" and expect to be taken seriously. At that point your not being productive, but being a pawn. I know previously you've justified uses of labels such as this before stating that Liberals do the same thing, but I think it's reasonable to expect more from all people.

Ronnie said...

And another thing, you can't talk about freedom of ideas and speech in colleges and then just because you hate communism and communists say that a law preventing communism from being taught in a favorable light and given equal access to school property is so sacred it can't be overturned. You constantly fight to show the injustice of the persecution of Conservative groups, and yet you fully support the persecution of communists.

"Instead of promoting communism in our schools, lawmakers should be focused on actually teaching students to read, write and think for themselves."

I love how this quote actually says you shouldn't be allowed to teach everything, yet you should have students think for themselves. I'm not a communist and I don't believe in communism. In Westover's AP Econ class we looked at capitalist and communist socioeconomic systems and it's clear that communist system s are almost always inferior. I doubt though that you can definitively say that nothing positive about communism could ever be taught in schools without a threat to the government of the United States of America.

I do believe in freedom, the same freedom you usually speak of, but I can't understand how you are standing up for the illegality of communism in schools to begin with. I view the Red Scare of the 1950's as a sad point in our history, but it seems as though you wish it hadn't ended.

allen (from Michigan) said...

Maybe it's time to start up a Communist Party corporation?

I've thought occasionally that it might be worthwhile politically, and possibly even financially, to mock the commies by selling memberships in a look-alike organizations with a distinctly tongue-in-cheek goal of world domination. The one thing people as drearily serious about themselves as communists hate most is being mocked.

Darren said...

I disagree, Ron, and explained why in the last sentence of this post. Being open-minded is one thing, being so open-minded your brain falls out is another. Using your argument, it would be fine to espouse the glories of (secular) jihad.

And Allen, Communist Party Inc. sounds like a blast. Communists For Kerry was a move in that direction. =)

Donalbain said...

I think that laws that state you cannot hold certain political positions and teach are a VERY bad idea. The question as to who can teach should be as follows:

Are they good teachers? Do they obey the law?

Anything beyond that is not important. If it is legal to be a communist (and it is) then I can see no good reason to prevent a communist being a teacher.

Donalbain said...

On a side note, I would be fascinated to see a challenge to the laws preventing communists being teachers or from allowing communist organisations using school property.

I doubt that either one would stand up against a court challenge, what with freedom of association being guaranteed, and the whole "equal access" deal for school clubs.

Darren said...

It's a crapshoot as to whether such laws would be considered constitutional or not. Courts could easily rule either way.

However, you wouldn't hire someone for your company who was dedicated to the destruction of that company, and government shouldn't hire people dedicated to the destruction of that form of government. That strikes me as common sense, not as extreme.

You're free to associate with whomever you want, but you're not entitled to a government job. People have been denied government jobs for less inimical things than being a communist.

Donalbain said...

They have? People have been denied teaching jobs for supporting the wrong political party? I would LOVE to see an example of that that stood up in court.

Ronnie said...

Just read Yates v. United States and then these California Codes:

Education Code section 7052 makes it unlawful to place any restriction upon the political activities of any officer or employee of a local school agency.

Government Code section 3203 makes it unlawful to place any restriction upon the political activities of any officer or employee of a state or local agency.

Labor Code section 1101 prohibits an employer from making, adopting, or enforcing any rule or policy forbidding or preventing employees from participating in politics. In addition, an employer cannot control or direct the political activities or affiliations of its employees.

Just because your a communist doesn't mean you want to overthrow the government, and even if you believe the government should be overthrown you still are not doing something illegal until you are involved in "advocacy and teaching of concrete action for the forcible overthrow of the Government." It's a crapshoot, if by crapshoot you meant blatantly and obviously unconstitutional. I know people who grew up with the Cold War were indoctrinated with an extreme fear of communism but it's the same fear that was had by the federalist and anti-federalist of the past and it's time to stop giving up civil liberties because of that fear.

Darren said...

You can quote law all day long, but in the link in my post, I *also* quote law--ed code.

I disagree with your characterizations, and the explanation of how communism is to be defined is *in* the ed code. I suggest reading *that* law, too.

We shouldn't be using tax dollars to "inculcate into the minds of students a preference for communism". THAT is un-American.

Donalbain said...

No, the argument is NOT about wether we teach kids to be communists. I dont think the place of school is to teach them ANY political ideology, be it capitalist or communist, just as the place of school is not to teach a religious ideology.

The question is wether it would be legal (constitutionally) or moral to prevent someone who is a communist from being a teacher. I cannot see that the answer to either question can possibly be anything other than a big fat resounding NO.

Darren said...

There's that whole old, outdated belief that schools are supposed to teach kids to be good citizens. Can't do that when you're advocating the overthrow of the government.

These laws have been on the books for decades. I can't find any answers, though, on whether or not they've ever been litigated.

Clearly, the unconstitutionality of these laws is not written in stone, Donalbain's protests to the contrary.

allen (from Michigan) said...

> I dont think the place of school is to teach them ANY political ideology, be it capitalist or communist, just as the place of school is not to teach a religious ideology.

Actually, teaching a political (or religious) ideology is practically the reason for the existence of the public education system and always has been. Otherwise, why spend all that public money? Parents who value education for their children - that would be the vast majority - don't need to be compelled to educate their kids and parents who don't value education would most probably communicate that attitude to their children as well.

Why do you think the fights over teaching creationism and enviro-wacko mythology are ongoing? Catching 'em young and training 'em right is so obviously the right thing to do if you want ensure the dominance of your ideas that no group with an ideological ax to grind is going to miss trying to enlist the public education system in their cause, least of all the communists.

With regard to legally excluding communists from the teaching profession: rights have limitations, they aren't absolute. My right to express myself by swinging my fist around ends where your nose begins. My right to shout "fire" ends at the door to the crowded movie theater. Your right to disseminate your destructive political philosophy ends at the door to the establishment which children are compelled to attend.

> I cannot see that the answer to either question can possibly be anything other than a big fat resounding NO.

Consult an optometrist then because as long as communism is an ugly, destructive habit then like alcohol and tobacco, it ought to be limited in availability to adults who at least theoretically have the ability to form critical opinions.

Rhymes With Right said...

I'm going to disagree with you, my old friend, and here's why -- three times in the last two school years there have been attempts by local Democrats to get me fired as "unfit to teach children" because of the expression of mainstream conservative political and social views on my blog.

You know, really outrageous things. Opposition to illegal immigration. Suggesting that there might be something morally wrong with homosexual activity. Speaking out against terrorism and those who excuse it. Opposing the extension of the preclearance provision of the Voting Rights Act because it doing so would be "solving the problems of 1964 until 2032."

As long as a Communist may be fired or denied employment in a public school, there is every chance that the majority of some legislature somewhere will vote to exclude you and I from our chosen profession because of our political beliefs.

Polski3 said...

IMO, teaching about the deeds of Che, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Castro, are necessary. As well as Hitler, Himmler, Pinochet, the various genocides ( Jews, Armenians, American Indians.....). But to glorify these people is wrong. I believe part of the intent of ed code in California is to be sure students in California are not to try to become communist or commie supporters because they think their Commie teacher is cool. As a parent, I will protest loud and far if any of my son's teachers even display a poster or photo of Che, Fidel, Mao, Hitler et. al.
These people should be followed or emulated.

Darren said...

Based on the rest of your comment, I'm sure you meant to say that they should NOT be followed or emulated.

Dr Pezz said...

To deny anyone for anyone ideological belief is wrong if the individual is NOT promoting this belief/philosophy in school. If the accepted and approved curriculum is being taught, no one has beef.

This will lose in the courts, on appeal if not at the initial stage of litigation. Very simple here. Too many interest groups would have too much to lose to open this Pandora's Box.

Darren said...

I'm not sure you understand. Pandora's box is being opened by this *new* law, the one which overturns decades of not allowing communists.

Again, I see no reason why a government should have to enploy people with beliefs inimical to that government. Planned Parenthood doesn't have a lot of devout Catholics on its board of directors.

Rhymes With Right said...

Polski -- you mean you would object to my display of this poster in my classroom? And yes, it is hanging in my room.

Donalbain said...

How will this law open ANY pandora's box? It isnt as if there are thousands of communists lining up to be communists. However, it is important to recognise that the function of a teacher is to teach and as long as they do that well, then their political views are not relevant. *IF* a teacher stands up in class and starts to tell the kids to violently rebel against the government, then that is a problem, but I think it is a problem if a teacher tells kids to vote Republican.

allen (from Michigan) said...

> If the accepted and approved curriculum is being taught, no one has (a) beef.

Har! What do you think the target of all prosletizers, religious or political, is but to make sure that the approved curriculum is approved by *them*?

In general I'm opposed to making distinctions between people preferring to let them distinguish themselves. Communists happen to fall into that self-distinguishing category by both their professed desire to establish a communist state and their historical apptitude for managing the trick.

They've run into a pretty rough patch lately, which gratifies me immensely, but I don't see any good reason to extend them the benefit of the doubt just yet. Another decade to allow a cooling of communist fervor to the same level of domestication as any other belief system isn't all that much of an imposition on our individual rights, in my opinion.

Donalbain said...

allen: Of course it isnt an imposition on your individual rights, you aren't a communist. But it IS an imposition on communists. Rights and the rule of law mean nothing unless it is applied equally to all.

Darren said...

Governments discriminate in employment all the time; the only question here is whether or not the prohibition on communism is a reasonable one or not. I think it still is, some of you don't.

Donalbain said...

The only thing a government should discriminate on (with regard to employment) are ability to do the job and obeying the law.

Darren said...

That's one view--it just doesn't bear much resemblance to reality. Nor should it.

Donalbain said...

Actually, it does. The courts have ruled a number of times that the government can't discriminate against someone on the grounds of their political views.

Lloyd Jupiter said...

I assumed this was a joke when I first read it, but apparently it is not. The freedom to believe in a particular government system is still considered to be against some sort of invisible prohibition? This should outrage people that believe in freedom of belief, and freedom of personal opinion... not to mention people that think there is room for positive change in a nation which apparently outlaws change in certain directions.