GOP Fascists Passing Laws To Prevent Schools From Teaching That Fascism Is Bad

Right Wing Extremism

Indiana GOP state Senator Scott Baldwin apparently thinks we should give Nazis a chance. This came up last week during a committee hearing about Senate Bill 167, which is supposed to stop the scourge of critical race theory. The bill Baldwin filed requires teachers be impartial on the subjects they teach and don’t force their liberal views on innocent students. This includes Nazism and fascism.

Local history teacher Matt Bockenfeld raised concerns about the bill because he’d assumed “Nazis are bad” was fairly apolitical. Indiana Jones hated Nazis.

“For example, it’s the second semester of U.S. history, so we're learning about the rise of fascism and the rise of Nazism right now,” Bockenfeld said. “And I'm just not neutral on the political ideology of fascism. We condemn it, and we condemn it in full, and I tell my students the purpose, in a democracy, of understanding the traits of fascism is so that we can recognize it and we can combat it.”

Bockenfeld insisted that teachers shouldn't tell students who they voted for, but said they also shouldn't be neutral on Nazism. They take a stand in the classroom against Nazis. Baldwin originally wasn’t so sure that’s a good idea.

“I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of [Nazism, Marxism, and fascism],” he said. “I believe that we've gone too far when we take a position on those isms ... We need to be impartial.”

This guy’s worse than Sweden. There’s no impartiality when it comes to Nazis. You’re either goose-stepping or you’re not.


Baldwin tried to walk back his remarks, claiming later that he meant something else entirely:

"When I was drafting this bill, my intent with regard to 'political affiliation' was to cover political parties within the legal American political system,” he said. “In my comments during committee, I was thinking more about the big picture and trying to say that we should not tell kids what to think about politics."

He said he believes Nazism, Marxism, and fascism are a “stain on our world history” and that “kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don't experience them again in humanity.” But it’s hard to see how his bill encourages this. SB 167 would prohibit schools from teaching a variety of concepts related to sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin. Educators could also not teach that a political affiliation is inherently superior or inferior. Baldwin claims this doesn’t protect Nazis because his bill only demands impartiality toward "legitimate political groups.” However, determining which groups are legitimate or not is also taking a political position. He hasn’t really thought this through.

Speaking of political affiliations, Baldwin himself turned up on a membership list last fall for the Oath Keepers, the far-right anti-government militia group that seemed prepared to help start a civil war on January 6. Baldwin admitted donating $30 to the group in 2010, but denied he was an active member.

SB 167 would also require that schools form “curriculum committees” that would include parents, who’d review all education materials. Parents would also have access to texts and lesson plans so they could review everything students are taught in class. You know, parents are free to just homeschool their kids themselves, and not backseat drive professional educators.

Bockenfeld is rightly concerned that the bill’s (perhaps deliberate) vagueness makes it easy for disgruntled parents and busybody community members to falsely accuse teachers of all sorts of wrongdoing.

This isn’t hyperbole. Sunday night, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis continued his smear job against teachers, claiming without evidence that liberal educators want kids to “hate this country and reject our founding.” Sure, he’s banned critical race theory, but what if scofflaws in the schools defy him?

Like Baldwin, DeSantis wants to let parents “inspect” curriculums and sue schools that step out of line.

DESANTIS: And it’s not just critical race theory.

There we go.

DESANTIS: There’s a lot of inappropriate content that can be smuggled in by public schools, and some parts of the country have it way worse than Florida in that regard.

This is modern-day fascism in plain sight. Let’s hope that in 20 years or so teachers are still free to call this out for what it was.

[Indystar]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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