With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, September 11, 2009

Republican Gomorrah

The Charter School of Excellence

Max Blumenthal's book, Republican Gomorrah (Nation Books, 2009) book traces the rise of the radical right in the US and how it used the concept of personal crisis to grow as a movement and eventually capture control of the GOP to transform it from the party of Dwight Eisenhower to the party of Sarah Palin.

Here's an excerpt:
An authoritarian Christian-right self-help guru named Bill Gothard created the home-schooling regimen implemented by Murray's parents. Like his ally James Dobson, Gothard first grew popular during the 1960s by marketing his program to worried evangelical parents as anti-hippie insurance for adolescent children. Based on the theocratic teachings of R. J. Rushdoony, who devised Christian schools and home-schooling as the foundation of his Dominionist empire, Gothard's Basic Life Principles outlined an all-consuming environment that followers could embrace for the whole of their lives. According to Ron Henzel, a one-time Gothard follower who coauthored a devastating expose about his former guru called A Matter of Basic Principles, under the rules, "large homeschooling families abstain from television, midwives are more important than doctors, traditional dating is forbidden, unmarried adults are 'under the authority of their parents' and live with them, divorced people can't remarry under any circumstance, and music has hardly changed at all since the late nineteenth century."

At the Charter School for Excellence, a school in South Florida inspired by Gothard's draconian principles that receives $800,000 in state funds each year, children are indoctrinated into a culture of absolute submission to authority almost as soon as they learn to speak. A song that the school's first-graders are required to recite goes as follows:

Obedience is listening attentively,
Obedience will take instructions joyfully,
Obedience heeds wishes of authorities,
Obedience will follow orders instantly.
For when I am busy at my work or play,
And someone calls my name, I'll answer right away!
I'll be ready with a smile to go the extra mile
As soon as I can say "Yes, sir!" "Yes ma am!"
Hup, two, three!


  1. OMG, this is like a parody.

    When I was involved in a controversy some years ago over an Edison school in my district (and by extension the whole Edison Schools brouhaha), I learned that the students had to walk through the halls chanting, "We keep our eyes straight ahead and our hands to ourselves." My kids, then elementary-age, learned about this and used to shuffle around the house with their arms straight out like zombies, reciting that chant.

  2. Apparently, what they fear the most is freedom.


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