Digging through press reports on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) earlier this week I came upon something that piqued my interest. At this year's conference in New Orleans the US Chamber of Commerce presented a model bill it had authored at the Education Task Force Meeting. Earlier this year, the Chamber started a something it called the Campaign for Free Enterprise which boils down to an effort to push "free market solutions" to every public policy problem. What's surprising is the length to which the Chamber, aided and abetted by ALEC, has taken this.
The model bill the Chamber pushed through ALEC's Education Task Force sets apart a special class, which students must pass, in which it will be allowed to indoctrinate high school kids in its own fucked up beliefs about the way the world works. Disagree and you don't get a degree, or GED for that matter.
As the Chamber press release on this explains:
“The time is now for states to look beyond economics and to add free enterprise instruction as a required course for graduation,” said [Chamber President] Anderson. “Not only will students benefit from the knowledge they gain, but they will also learn about what it takes to build and manage a business, and in doing so add to the growth of the American economy.”
The proposed legislation would mandate specific instruction in the following:
* the basic characteristics of the free enterprise system;
* the benefits of economic growth, wealth creation and technological innovation as compared to other systems;
* the importance of the rule of law, private ownership rights, economic liberty, and equality of opportunity;
* the impact of government spending, regulations, and tax, monetary and trade policies;
* and opportunities presented by starting a business.
Maybe it looks innocuous enough, if you aren't primed to smell the bullshit, but the heart of the matter is this. This legislation is about indoctrinating America's youth into a set of beliefs that benefits big business at the expense of working people by making them believe that there is no alternative, thereby denying them the very vocabulary to mount a resistance. Very Orwellian.
Think I'm exaggerating?
Well, prepared remarks made by Stanton Anderson, President of the US Chamber of Commerce, made during at the ALEC Education Task Force Meeting lay bare the agenda here:
Remarks by Stanton D. Anderson of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
on the Free Enterprise Education Act (Model Legislation)
Education Task Force
American Legislative Exchange Council
New Orleans, Louisiana
August 5,201 1
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Education Task Force:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Campaign for Free Enterprise, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the Free Enterprise Education Act, a model law in free enterprise instruction.
The very foundation of a sustainable and growing national economy depends upon the private sector and a well-educated citizenry that knows and understands the meaning of free markets, private sector initiative, private property rights, economic liberty, the rule of law, and equality of opportunity.
The Free Enterprise Education Act that the Chamber is proposing is very simple. It would require two things. First, a high school student must take a one semester stand-alone free enterprise course to receive a high school diploma or certificate, and secondly, the student must obtain a passing grade in the course.
The question naturally arises "Why add another high school graduation requirement?"
Let me provide you with an observation and several reasons. My observation is this. For more than half a century now, the trend in this country has been toward greater control by the Federal government-more regulations, more taxes, more spending, more debt, and more control over the daily lives of ordinary Americans and their businesses.
Each year, we slide further down this statist road. The United States cannot continue on this road if it wishes to remain a place of economic opportunity, prosperity, stability, and freedom.
This isn't about educating students, providing them the necessary skills that will allow them to lead the life of their own choosing to the fullest. This is about cementing the onslaught against working people and ensuring the continued dominance of corporate interests in our political life.
Another world is possible. But these bastards want to brainwash the kids so they don't even realize that an alternative is possible.
I'm breaking a cardinal rule here in not linking to a source for Mr. Anderson's remarks. The problem is I can't. This statement, as well as other material from the meeting, was provided to me by people who want to shine the light on what ALEC has done to allow this sort of blatant corporate domination of our political life to occur.