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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Some recent headlines from the alternate universe of modern conservatism:

Rush Limbaugh claims the bad guy in the new Batman movie was named Bane to remind voters of Mitt Romney’s controversial tenure at Bain Capital.

Michele Bachmann, citing zero credible evidence, accuses a Muslim-American aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s crack investigators announce that President Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a fake.

In other words, it’s just an average week down there in Crazy Town. And that lends a certain context to a tidbit brought to national attention last week by Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” Meaning a plank from the 2012 platform of the Republican Party of Texas which, astonishingly enough, reads as follows: “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

Holy wow. That is, without a doubt, the most frightening sentence this side of a Stephen King novel.

The Texas GOP has set itself explicitly against teaching children to be critical thinkers. Never mind the creeping stupidization of this country, the growing dumbification of our children, our mounting rejection of, even contempt for, objective fact. Never mind educators who lament the inability of American children to think, to weigh conflicting paradigms, analyze competing arguments, to reason, ruminate, question and reach a thoughtful conclusion. Never mind that this promises the loss of our ability to compete in an ever more complex and technology-driven world.

Never mind. The Texas branch of one of our two major political parties opposes teaching critical-thinking skills or anything that might challenge a child’s “fixed beliefs.” So presumably, if a child is of the “fixed belief” that Jesus was the first president of the United States or that two plus two equals apple trees or that Florida is an island in an ocean on the moon, educators ought not correct the little genius lest she (gasp!) change her “fixed belief,” thereby undermining mom and dad.

That’s just … just…

Holy wow.