Some Texas Schools Teaching Boston Tea Party Was Terrorism

It has been revealed that some Texas schools were teaching that the Boston Tea Party, an event widely understood as having helped spark the American Revolution, was actually a “terrorist” attack on British authorities.

At least up until January of 2012, Texas schools utilizing the history curriculum from CSCOPE, a non-profit and supposedly non-partisan education service, taught that the most famous tax protest in American history was akin to terrorism.

The tact taken to discuss the event was to engage kids as if the Boston Tea Party had just occurred and was a current news report.

News report: New Act of Terrorism

A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nation’s busiest port. Although no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities. It is believed that the terrorist attack was a response to the policies enacted by the occupying country’s government. Even stronger policies are anticipated by the local citizens.

The teacher’s guide instructed teachers to judge the Boston Tea Party by “the criteria of a terrorist attack” and told teachers to ask kids if they thought the event was a terrorist attack.

Do you think that in the eyes of the British that the Boston Tea Party was a terrorist activity? Why or why not? Were the colonists justified in taking this action due to their beliefs? is anyone ever justified in committing these types of activities? What drives people to do this type of activity? These are the things that we will explore further.

As The Blaze reports, this anti-American lesson plan was also barred from parents’ view in contradiction to the Texas State constitution that maintains that parents have a right to access the materials that teachers are using to educate their children.

At this point, there is some confusion as to whether or not this lesson plan is still in use, but there isn’t much question that it once was.

As to whether or not the Boston Tea Party was really an act of terrorism, it is hard to claim that a protest over taxes that targeted only merchandise — and not people or property (buildings/homes) — fits the normal definition of what an act of terrorism is today.

By defining the Boston Tea Party as terrorism, wouldn’t that make any civil unrest an act of terrorism? And in a nation built on personal freedom and a questioning of power, would that be the best message to send?

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  • r.a.

    “It has been revealed that some Texas schools were teaching that the
    Boston Tea Party, an event widely understood as having helped spark the
    American Revolution, was actually a “terrorist” attack on British
    authorities….”

    Read the text that you quoted, Warner. You have completely misconstrued what they were doing. They aren’t teaching kids that the BTP was “actually a ‘terrorist’ attack.” They are using the event to explore some of the politics of the use of the word terrorism. The lesson plan does not define the event–it presents it from another perspective and then asks kids what they think. It’s actually an interesting exercise if we want to teach some form of critical thinking when it comes to history and politics. They presented the event as a news report, and then asked students whether or not they think the Boston Tea Party would have been seen as terrorism from the perspective of the British. The point, of course, being to take a closer look at what the term “terrorism” means, how it is used, and what *perspective* has to do with these sorts of things. And so on. Nothing “un-American” about any of this. Get a grip.

    By the way, nice attempt at redefining the meaning of “property” in an attempt to shore up yet another ill-conceived argument. Property refers to a person’s possessions, or “that which a person owns,” including “goods, land, etc.” See Dictionary.com if you don’t have a dictionary in your home library.

    • Brucehenry

      Asking Warner to “get a grip” is like asking the wind not to blow.

      • r.a.

        True. Thanks for pointing out the delusion of my ‘get a grip’ charge…

    • jim_m

      So then you are equally comfortable with calling the OWS protests terrorism since they caused significantly more destruction and injury.

      The point is that you are willing to denigrate our own revolution and compare it to the actions of homicidal/genocidal religious fanatics as morally equivalent. When we say that the left hates America, we are talking about stuff like that. If you are unable to see any difference it is because you lack any sort of moral compass or sense of conscience.

      • retired.military

        Bruce may call the OWS crowd acts terrorism. Chico fully supported them.

      • r.a.

        “So then you are equally comfortable with calling the OWS protests
        terrorism since they caused significantly more destruction and injury.”

        For anyone who was injured during the OWS protests, or whose property was damaged by some protester, sure. I guess. Again, this brings up the issue of perspective. But it also points to the fact that the term “terrorism” is so broadly defined that it can basically be used as a negative descriptor for ALL KINDS of acts. Hence the politicization of the word. Personally, I’d say that calling the BTP and OWS “terrorism” is a bit of a stretch. Just a wee bit. I tend to think of terrorism as attacks against civilians and such, rather than protests or even destruction of property. But that was the whole point of the exercise if I am not mistaken–to discuss these sorts of questions.

        “The point is that you are willing to denigrate our own revolution and
        compare it to the actions of homicidal/genocidal religious fanatics as
        morally equivalent.”

        Wait. What post are you reading?

        “If you are unable to see any difference it is because you lack any sort of moral compass or sense of conscience.”

        Jim, I encourage you to read carefully before shooting your mouth off. Nowhere did I actually express my opinions about the meaning of the BTP, let along make any comparison with 9/11. All I did was reply to Warner and explain how he totally misconstrued what this whole exercise was all about. Try reading before reacting, then maybe we can get somewhere. Thanks.

        • jim_m

          the term “terrorism” is so broadly defined that it can basically be used as a negative descriptor for ALL KINDS of acts.

          Actually no. Terrorism means something quite specific. Terrorism is defined as The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Destroying tea and offering to pay for it is hardly violent or intimidating.

          The problem is that many people are using the term inappropriately to demonize their political opponents. The left is constantly comparing the conservative opposition to terrorists and organizations like the taliban. What we should be teaching is not more relativism, where words have no meaning, but we should be teaching the real meaning of the words and the correct application of them.

          Ultimately such relativism steals our sense of right and wrong and is meant to make justification of immoral acts and tyranny acceptable.

          • r.a.

            “Actually no. Terrorism means something quite specific. Terrorism is defined as The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.”

            Well, that’s the basic dictionary definition. If only the world over agreed with the dictionary. The problem is that there really is no clearly agreed upon, legally binding definition of terrorism. Part of this is because the term itself is so politically charges, since it is often used to discredit the “other” side.

            “The problem is that many people are using the term inappropriately to demonize their political opponents.”

            Ya, I basically agree with you there. But this isn’t just some tactic used by “the left.” It’s used across the board. And it’s not some new tactic. Keep in mind that the word terrorism was in use long before 9/11. But I’m sure you know that.

            “What we should be teaching is not more relativism, where words have no meaning, but we should be teaching the real meaning of the words and the correct application of them.”

            The point isn’t that words have no meaning, it’s that they have different, sometimes competing meanings depending upon experience and perspective. There’s an important difference. This is true with a lot of language. And the problem with your solution (teaching the one “right” meaning) is this: Whose definition do we use? In the case of “terrorism,” who gets to define what it *really* means? And therein lies the whole battle over the politics one one word.

          • jim_m

            The point isn’t that words have no meaning, it’s that they have different, sometimes competing meanings depending upon experience and perspective.

            What you are advocating is that we can use words to mean whatever we want them to and to change their definition at will. Words have meaning because society has reached a consensus on what they mean . When we say that they can mean anything depending on a person’s experience then we say that words mean nothing, that there is no consensus for meaning.

            My point is that in order to be able to think critically we need to have firm and clear definitions of words so we can communicate our thoughts. We cannot have that if words mean different things to different people.

            You ask “Whose definition do we use?” That’s what a dictionary is for. We used to use those. Now we take definitions from any political hack with a microphone. We accept what people say without critically analyzing their comments.

            Words have meaning apart from what politicians want them to. It isn’t he politician or bureaucrat who decides what words mean. They are the ones who want to render words meaningless. that way no one can pin them down on what they said. Their promises all become meaningless tripe (OK they already are) and we end up in stupid comments like “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”.

          • r.a.

            “What you are advocating is that we can use words to mean whatever we want them to and to change their definition at will.”

            No, that’s not what I am saying. Look, even simple words like “bad” take on different meanings depending on who uses them. It’s just how language works. Now, take a super politically and emotionally charged word like “terrorism” and it gets way worse. My argument here is that if we are going to try to understand what the word means, then we have to look closely and carefully at the various ways in which different groups or individuals actually use it in practice (often for political reasons). Understanding that perspective often plays a key role in shaping meaning, which was one of the basic goals of the exercise above, is an important part of all this.

            “Words have meaning because society has reached a consensus on what they mean.”

            Yes, society or groups of people reach some sort of consensus about what words mean. The only problem is that these meanings often change over time, or even depending on context. That’s just how language works in actual practice. So it’s always a battle between accepted meanings and new/competing uses of a term. Also, think about the role that perspective plays in all this. Take a word like enemy, which has a pretty clear meaning. Unfortunately, when you ask someone who “the enemy” is, you get different (right) answers depending on who you ask. The term “terrorism” runs into similar problems, but much worse IMO.

            “When we say that they can mean anything depending on a person’s experience then we say that words mean nothing, that there is no consensus for meaning.”

            Well, ya, if there is no consensus then it’s all meaningless. But in the case of terrorism there is actually a LOT of consensus about what it basically means: violence wrongly directed toward some group of people. Right? But the battle over meaning is often actually about either who can be called a “terrorist,” or what actions can be labeled as terrorism. It’s kind of like the problem with defining who “the enemy” is: it’s a matter of disagreement about who it APPLIES to in many cases. Again, a perspective problem.

            “Words have meaning apart from what politicians want them to. It isn’t he politician or bureaucrat who decides what words mean. They are the ones who want to render words meaningless. that way no one can pin them down on what they said. Their promises all become meaningless tripe (OK they already are) and we end up in stupid comments like “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

            Actually, now we are in full agreement. Especially when some politician starts questioning the meaning of a very basic verb like the word “is.” Give me a break.

          • jim_m

            who gets to define what it *really* means

            I would suggest that the people who make the dictionaries have done that service well for a long, long time. They work very hard at ascertaining how words are used by the public. They are not concerned with political advantage but with usage and meaning.

            Words are not political play things. They are serious tools. When we allow politicians to decide what words mean we might as well break out our New-speak dictionaries

          • r.a.

            “I would suggest that the people who make the dictionaries have done that service well for a long, long time.”

            Ya, sure, but dictionaries are always behind when it comes to the meanings of words. That’s why they always have to be updated and revised. Dictionaries are basically a snapshot, and they hold the basics of language, but they never really capture all of the meanings and understandings of a language as it is actually practiced. But they try…

            “They work very hard at ascertaining how words are used by the public.”

            They do. And it’s a never-ending battle because language doesn’t stay still, to the great consternation or linguistic prescriptivists the world over.

            “They are not concerned with political advantage but with usage and meaning.”

            That’s not really true. There is a certain level of politics in determining what words are in and out, and what meanings are “correct” or acceptable.

            “Words are not political play things.”

            Ha. Tell that to Shakespeare. Or Julius Caesar. Or Ronald Reagan for that matter. Words have probably been political play things as long as humans have realizes they can lie, cheat, cajole, manipulate and influence people through the creative use of language.

            “They are serious tools.”

            Ya, tools and weapons. A good reason to keep alert and pay attention to how people wield them, and why.

          • jim_m

            A good reason to keep alert and pay attention to how people wield them, and why.

            Ah, but this class seems to be advocating the opposite, to interpret actions using a shifting and overly broad definition rather than declaring a definition matching common usage and asking if the acts fit. That is why this is not teaching but indoctrination.

          • r.a.

            Not necessarily. See my comment above. The more I look at this the more I think it could be a really good exercise for critical thinking. Not only about the politics behind the use of the word terrorism, but also the politics of media, media bias, etc. But it depends on how it’s handled. It could actually be a really good exercise in learning how to think critically about media. The report sets kids up to think: “Oh no, this is terrorism.” Then they are told: this is the Boston Tea Party kids. That opens up a good space to talk about all kinds of issues, including the meaning of words but also how things are presented and framed in media. It would be indoctrination if there were no open questions at the end, and if kids were simply told the answers. But the questions AFTER the “news report” are meant to break things down, invite doubt, and open some sort of dialog.

          • jim_m

            I would suggest that the fact that the report sets the kids up to think that it is terrorism reveals the fact that the intent is to get them to reconsider the founding of this nation, the legitimacy of the nation and the very values it was founded upon.

            I find it highly unlikely that any teacher would be promoting a questioning of the conclusion of the media resource they are using.

            As I said above it is not unreasonable to conclude that since they were attempting to hide this from parents that the conclusions drawn from the exercise were anti-American.

          • r.a.

            “I would suggest that the fact that the report sets the kids up to think that it is terrorism reveals the fact that the intent is to get them to reconsider the founding of this nation, the legitimacy of the nation and the very values it was founded upon.”

            If there were no critical or open questions after, maybe. To me it looks like a pretty common critical thinking exercise. Sets up a seemingly simple hypothetical and then starts breaking it down. If it was all about brainwashing then there would be no open questions or discussion at the end. It’s all about questioning the narrative, basically. Not sure why you won’t consider that. I think it’s interesting you are so set in assuming that this is anti-American brainwashing.

            “I find it highly unlikely that any teacher would be promoting a
            questioning of the conclusion of the media resource they are using.”

            Ya, ok. Not like you have your mind made up or anything.

            “As I said above it is not unreasonable to conclude that since they were attempting to hide this from parents that the conclusions drawn from the exercise were anti-American.”

            Hmmm. Not the best argument I have ever seen.

          • Commander_Chico

            An armed mob dressed up in disguise as feared savage Indians storming a ship to destroy the cargo is “hardly violent or intimidating.” Riiiiiight. O-tayyyy.

            When you lived in Boston, didn’t you ever go the the reenactment? It’s pretty lively and not at all peaceful in spirit.

          • jim_m

            I’m sure that they did nothing to intimidate Lord North, who was the target of the protest, seeing as he was 1000′s of miles away in England.

        • jim_m

          And for the record I would not have called OWS terrorism.

    • jim_m

      As to “what perspective has to do with these sorts of things”—- I would venture to say that if your perspective includes comparing dumping Tea into Boston Harbor with murdering 3000+ innocent civilians you lack what most people would call contact with reality.

      There is a difference between a protest and terrorism. What the left lacks is the ability to understand that difference.

      • Brucehenry

        Did you even READ Ryan’s comment? It’s perfectly reasonable and does not compare the Boston Tea Party to 911 in any way at all. Don’t go Full Nutjob, hothead.

        It (the teachers’ guide) is an exercise in looking at the world through a different perspective. Wouldn’t hurt you to try it.

        • jim_m

          What I hear is a morally relativistic curriculum that is attempting to say that “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” and says that looking through the view point of the British the tea party could have been seen as a terrorist act.

          First of all it was a protest and not intended to strike fear in the hearts of anyone. Terrorism attempts political change through threat of force. The tea party attempted to make a political statement. Compensation for the loss was offered but refused. Other than payments to the families of suicide bombers when have terrorists ever offered to repay their victims?

          You see, the point is that leftist educators are attempting to reduce America to the level of Hamas and al qaeda. It’s wrong. You know it’s wrong. But it supports your agenda so you won’t speak against it.

          • Brucehenry

            There are all kinds of ways to look at the Boston Tea Party. Thom Hartmann, a leftist blogger and writer, has a way:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UiLZk2TE8k

            When will you learn that just because YOU, Jim M, deem a line of thought to be unAmerican or anti-American, that doesn’t mean it IS unAmerican or anti-American?

            Looking at events from other perspectives than your own is a GOOD thing, Jim. I wouldn’t recommend this lesson for a 5th grade or 8th grade class, but a high school “honors” history class might be a fine place for this thought experiment.

          • jim_m

            While technically I did not call it unAmerican, ultimately you are correct in apprehending that I think it is so.

            Read my responses to Ryan. What I am saying is that while there are certainly other perspectives on the tea party there is also a real definition and meaning to the word terrorism. Ryan defends the curriculum by saying that the word terrorism is used over broadly. I am just saying that instead of making some relativistic comparison which ultimately excuses real terrorism we should be teaching what terrorism is and is not and promoting the proper use of the word before it becomes like racism which basically means you are white and have an opinion.

          • jim_m

            Ultimately Bruce my point is that words have meanings and that when we allow them to be dumbed down to the point where hey lose that meaning (as Ryan admits) what happens is that we lose the ability to express ourselves and we lose the ability to correctly and accurately describe our world.

            By accepting this dumbing down we accept that we will not be allowed to think critically and to express support or condemnation in meaningful ways. By redefining words such that they lose meaning we lose our ability to stand up against the real terrorism.

            This is more than just simply patriotism and anti-Americanism.

      • r.a.

        Ok, please point out when and where I compared the Boston Tea Party with 9/11.

        “There is a difference between a protest and terrorism.”

        Well, ya. At least in a strict definitional or theoretical sense. But then, a violent protest might start looking a lot like terrorism. It all depends. Some protests are lawful and peaceful. Others, not so much. I mean, if some angry mob of protesters starts killing innocent people and burning everything in its path, it’s sure as hell going to look like terrorism for anyone who bears the brunt of that violence. Again, the problem here is that the term terrorism is used for all kinds of political reasons. And the extremely vague definitions don’t help matters.

        “What the left lacks is the ability to understand that difference.”

        Do yourself a favor and steer clear of gross generalizations. They don’t help your arguments.

        • jim_m

          See my other response. There is a clear definition of terrorism and we should teach its proper application. Relativism steals the meaning of words allowing words like terrorism to be used to describe other acts which are clearly not. It promotes lazy thinking and excuses the real terrorism by making everything terrorism.

          It’s much like the left’s over use of the accusation of racism. Calling someone a racist means nothing. It means nothing because everything is racism. If every protest is to be construed as terrorism then nothing is terrorism.

          Your answer is in your own comment that it is now used to describe all kinds of acts. So you excuse is not to teach what it is and what it means but to play some BS relativistic exercise to promote the acceptance of the meaningless use of the term.

          I would encourage you to use your mind and stand up to people who would dumb down the meaning of the English language. Words are important because they communicate ideas and meaning. If we are going to say that they are meaningless then we become unable to communicate effectively.

          • r.a.

            “See my other response. There is a clear definition of terrorism and we should teach its proper application.”

            No. Just because you found a clear definition on dictionary.com does not mean the issue is settled. If only it was that easy. There really is no agreed upon meaning of the term, despite many attempts to do so. Mostly because the term is used for all kinds of political reasons, by all kinds of different people who always want to delegitimize the actions of their opponents. But if you want to send your definition to the UN or some other international body then by all means. I am sure they will be glad to hear you have solved the whole problem.

            “Your answer is in your own comment that it is now used to describe all kinds of acts.”

            Yes, and that’s part of the PROBLEM.

            “So you excuse is not to teach what it is and what it means but to play some BS relativistic exercise to promote the acceptance of the meaningless use of the term.”

            Not at all. The term is anything but meaningless. The POLITICS of the whole issue comes from the fact that various groups strongly disagree about its meaning. My goal would be precisely to teach what it means–to various groups of people who use the term for different political purposes. That would be an empirical understanding of how people actually USE and UNDERSTAND the term. Dictionaries have definitions and they are nice and all, but they don’t always convey the full meaning and use of a political term. Especially since the meaning of any word can shift over time (to the consternation of many).

            “I would encourage you to use your mind and stand up to people who would dumb down the meaning of the English language.”

            Well, the term more than likely comes from the FRENCH word terrorisme, for whatever that’s worth…

            “Words are important because they communicate ideas and meaning.”

            Yup.

            “If we are going to say that they are meaningless then we become unable to communicate effectively.”

            Again, the word is anything but meaningless. It’s basically a fight over meaning, which is why it all gets pretty difficult, if not impossible.

          • jim_m

            The point is that the word has or at least had a meaning. Certain people have chosen to dumb down the definition to mean almost anything.

            There is no fight over what the word meant. The point is that it is politically expedient for some to misuse the word so they can play their demagoguery. Either we play along and let them dictate to us the terms of the discussion (which is that they define all the words and change those meanings to suit their agenda) or we agree on what words mean and use those words accordingly.

            You say that discussion is difficult because we fight over the meaning of words. Actually, it is difficult because people choose to misuse words that already have widely understood definitions. They largely do so because they seek to either demonize their ideological opponents or they seek to cover up and excuse the excesses of their own side. Either way they are the ones causing the problem.

          • r.a.

            Jim, I think you are completely misunderstanding my motives. I am not arguing against the idea of clarity in language. Not at all. Ideally, we would all agree on what words mean, and we would all use them consistently and fairly. But that doesn’t really happen in the real world, especially since the meaning of words and concepts is always susceptible to change or manipulation. It’s just what happens. And PERSPECTIVE has a big impact on the perceived meaning of words.

            “There is no fight over what the word meant.”

            That’s not true. Look it up and read up about attempts to come up with some agreed upon, legally binding definition of the term. There are all kinds of disagreements about the term, and even more so about who falls under the term and who doesn’t. That’s probably the main battle, and where it all gets political. Although there are also disagreements about details: whether or not states commit terrorism, whether it has to involve only civilians, and so on.”

            “You say that discussion is difficult because we fight over the meaning of words. Actually, it is difficult because people choose to misuse words that already have widely understood definitions.”

            Well, ya, that’s part of the politics of the whole thing. Keep in mind that I am not saying this is a good thing, jim!! Jeez. The term is so loaded and contentious because we now use it to mean something akin to the “epitome of all evil” and everyone wants to apply it to their opponent, whether justifiably or not.

            “They largely do so because they seek to either demonize their
            ideological opponents or they seek to cover up and excuse the excesses of their own side.”

            Yes, exactly. I agree with you here.

          • jim_m

            I see that there is some agreement. I am not being hostile.

          • r.a.

            Ok, but what do you really mean by “hostile”?!?!!!

            Haha. A little joke to break the tension…

            ;)

          • jim_m

            I feel no tension. I took all my aggravation out on Ackwired yesterday with his idiotic statements about healthcare.

          • r.a.
    • Commander_Chico

      This was a good critical thinking exercise. There is no doubt that an event like the BTP – an organized, politically-motivated attack on maritime commerce resulting in the theft and violent destruction of valuable commodities – would be labeled and charged “terrorism” by US law enforcement and the media today. People have been convicted of terrorism charges for far less. British-controlled television would demonize the insurgents as marginal kooks who were nonetheless a serious threat to Our Way of Life.

      “Terrorist” is mostly a propaganda word. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” as the saying goes. You can only look at Syria, where the same people who were “terrorists” in Iraq are now “freedom fighters” there to see that. Axis and allied bombing of residential neighborhoods in cities in WWII was done in large part to cause terror, were the air force personnel “terrorists?”

      The “conservatives” complain about this lesson because they want children to learn to accept authoritarian state propaganda unquestioningly.

      • jim_m

        You can only look at Syria, where the same people who were “terrorists” in Iraq are now “freedom fighters” there

        Yep. And it’s mostly moral relativists on the left doing so because they are incapable of drawing a distinction. Having no moral compass makes such tasks rather difficult.

        • Commander_Chico

          Bogus. Romney wanted to increase aid to them.

          • jim_m

            I missed where he branded them as “freedom fighters”

          • Brucehenry

            The mujahideen in Afghanistan were Freedom Fighters when they fought the Soviets, but they’re terrorists now that they’re fighting us.

          • jim_m

            The term has traditionally been used to refer to a sect that fought against foreign rule.

            The term Mujahideen was first used by the West to describe the mountainous sect of hillmen in Afghanistan who fought against British control

            In that sense the term has been used to refer to natives fighting for their independence. Only after the Soviet incursion did that get coopted into the Taliban and al qaeda.

          • Brucehenry

            I’m not talking about the term “mujahideen.” I’m talking terrorists vs. freedom fighters.

            The Pashtun tribesmen in Afghanistan were terrorists when they fought the Soviets, but they’re terrorists now that they’re fighting us.

            Better?

          • jim_m

            Actually, I thought they became terrorists when they allied themselves with al qaeda. Generally, I have not heard of them being referred to as terrorists, but more as the Taliban, which is radical and oppressive.

      • r.a.

        Ya, I agree that it’s a good critical thinking exercise. I am surprised that so many folks here are in agreement with WTH and the reactionary reporting from TheBlaze. Oh well.

        “‘Terrorist’ is mostly a propaganda word.”

        Yup. And that’s part of the point here. The term is completely loaded, both politically and emotionally. So it’s a good one to think about a little more critically.

        • jim_m

          It isn’t that we cannot see that there could be an opportunity to make this into a good exercise, it is that we see how it is most likely to be used. We are well aware of past history and the antipathy toward the US which the left wing educational establishment fosters. There are a number of factors which indicate that we are correct in our estimation that this is being used to bash the US and to paint the founders as terrorists and to elevate modern terrorists to the status of our founders.

          Excuse me if I find a difference between our founders, who sought to improve the lot of man, and islamic terrorists, who seek to roll the clock back to the 7th century, who condone slavery, who think of women as chattel,and who treat homosexuals as criminals. (ironically, while our founders may have felt similarly, they at least have the excuse of living 230+ years ago)

          Too bad you cannot see that this is being used that way.

          • r.a.

            Wow, sometimes when you get into full reactionary mode it’s really hard to have any sort of conversation with you jim.

            “It isn’t that we cannot see that there could be an opportunity to make this into a good exercise, it is that we see how it is most likely to be used.”

            Ah, I see. How it is “most likely” being used. Meaning that you don’t really know, but you are going to assume anyway. Keep in mind that TheBlaze report does mention a response from a teacher who says they have it all wrong. To me, the reporting on the Blaze looks incomplete at best. Seems to me there might be more to the story.

            “There are a number of factors which indicate that we are correct in our estimation that this is being used to bash the US and to paint the founders as terrorists and to elevate modern terrorists to the status of our founders.”

            I don’t see this as some US-bashing exercise at all. I think your assessment of the lesson plan is quite reactionary.

            “Excuse me if I find a difference between our founders, who sought to improve the lot of man, and islamic terrorists, who seek to roll the clock back to the 7th century, who condone slavery, who think of women as chattel,and who treat homosexuals as criminals.”

            Wow. Now you’re really sliding off point. When did anyone say there is no difference between the founding fathers in the US and Islamic terrorists? Please point this out. And keep in mind the fact that the word “terrorism” was in use long before 9/11. And it does not refer solely to Islamic terrorists.

            “Too bad you cannot see that this is being used that way.”

            No, not necessarily. But I would have to have more information in order to really be able to say conclusively. You are just guessing what’s going on based upon your reactions and biases about education. That’s fine and all, but it’s just an assumption. We’d need to see how these lesson plans were actually put into practice in classes. But, based upon the basic lesson plan, I see no real problem. It’s a pretty basic critical thinking exercise that uses an event from US history as a foil.

          • jim_m

            So you refuse to accept the premise that because a group of people have acted in a certain negative way before that they should always be given full benefit of the doubt and that we should always ascribe the most charitable view toward their motives and aims?

            Perhaps I should acquaint you with the historical figure of Neville Chamberlain. For my part I will draw conclusions based on past performance rather than suffer the consequences of ignoring the lessons of the past.

          • r.a.

            “So you refuse to accept the premise…”

            No, not at all. I am all for being skeptical and critical. It’s good. But I am also not going to jump to some reactionary conclusion without actually having more solid information and evidence. The report on the Blaze is really limited. We really don’t know how the lesson plan was being used. I am trying to look up more about this. What they have presented isn’t as shocking as The Blaze portrays. The part about the lack of transparency is an issue, and I am trying to see what I can find out. That bit seems a bit problematic.

            “For my part I will draw conclusions based on past performance rather than suffer the consequences of ignoring the lessons of the past.”

            Ok. Well in this case I would say that you, WTH, and the folks from the Blaze are jumping to conclusions a bit. The info here is really limited, and the report on the Blaze is certainly heavy handed. Now, you could be right here. Hard to tell. But I’d rather get more info and learn more about what was actually happening rather than just assuming that I know. Again, based upon the lesson plan I see no real problem. And I think a lot of folks here and elsewhere are totally over-reacting about that lesson plan without thinking through it a bit more. It’s not what many of them think–but they are just uncritically accepting the version of the story as told by the Blaze and running with it. Sometimes it’s a good idea to step back a bit.

          • jim_m

            Sorry. I live outside of Chicago where the teacher’s union is closely associated with the communist party and has nothing good to say about the United States.

            And based on track record I would say that the best course of action is to ensure that no harm is done, which means that this curricula should not be taught until the teachers come clean about what they are doing.

          • r.a.

            “And based on track record I would say that the best course of action is to ensure that no harm is done, which means that this curricula should not be taught until the teachers come clean about what they are doing.”

            Fair enough. I would add, however, that it might be a good idea approach the issue with a little better reporting in the first place. The Blaze isn’t exactly setting a high bar here. Their headline is totally misleading, for starters. And the report itself is completely reactionary. I am all for investigative journalism, by the way, and think this case would be a good candidate. Definitely.

  • GarandFan

    “A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization….”

    “Believed” by who? They set up the premise, already stating it’s a “terrorist” organization. Talking about leading a horse to water.

    If they were so concerned about education, why not simply state what constitutes a “terrorist act”, then ask if the BTP fit that description.

    • jim_m

      My point exactly. They are not educating, they are indoctrinating.

      • r.a.

        But this is exactly why I like this as a critical thinking exercise. They present it as an act of terrorism and basically stack the deck. It’s a totally loaded report. Just like a LOT of media. But then they ask the kids: Is this terrorism? Why or why not? Were the actions justified or not? If you start looking beyond the framing, and questioning what happened, it’s not all that hard to stop and think, well, wait a second. Maybe this “news” report has some flaws. Maybe there is something more to this. It’s actually a really good exercise for starting to look at news reports (which are often ridiculously superficial) in a more critical manner. I think it’s a good exercise if handled properly, and it could lead to some good class discussions not only about the use of the term “terrorism,” but also media, media bias, and framing.

        • jim_m

          I would say that given the education establishment’s left leaning and anti-American tendenciesand the fact that they attempted to conceal this from parents and the public it is suggestive of the motives not being to educate and spur critical thinking but to lead the student to a specific conclusion.

          That obvious conclusion is the one we are complaining about. For why indeed should one have to hide that conclusion in Texas if it is one that is supportive of America and American values?

          • r.a.

            Ok, for you it is a foregone conclusion based upon your opinions about the education establishment and “the left” in general. More power to you. For me I see other possibilities. So it goes.

          • jim_m

            Simple question: Why hide this from the parents? Therein lies the answer of how this is being used and presented.

            Sure you could use it differently. However, it is unlikely that it is being used in the ways you see as possible.

          • r.a.

            “Simple question: Why hide this from the parents? Therein lies the answer of how this is being used and presented.”

            A good question. But I don’t think the answer is so obvious. Hard to say how it was being used. But I agree that the lack of transparency is suspect. Granted, there is a lot of shitty teaching out there. But, there are also a lot of good teachers too, and that’s good to keep in mind.

          • jim_m

            When you were little and you hid something from your parents why did you do that? Not because you were being good. You did it because you were being naughty. You were doing something you knew was wrong.

            People generally do not hide their actions when they are doing the right thing. So I would say that the answer is quite obvious. Refusal to see it is more akin to self delusion.

          • r.a.

            Well, as I said it’s suspect. But not exactly conclusive. Who knows. I’ll look around and see what I can find out about it.

          • 914

            The fact that there are ‘good teachers’ has no bearing on this post.

          • r.a.

            Hmm. So you’re saying that the skill level and dedication of the teacher has no bearing on how a lesson like this could be taught? I disagree. In fact, I think the teacher makes all the difference in the world in cases like this. It’s all too easy to turn education into either indoctrination or just some mindless repetition of information. It takes skill, openness, and dedication to teach critical thinking, etc.

          • 914

            Yes, well in this case these Teachers :

            “As The Blaze reports, this anti-American lesson plan was also barred from parents’ view in contradiction to the Texas State constitution that maintains that parents have a right to access the materials that teachers are using to educate their children.”

            Which makes them bad actors and worthy of dismissal. A law suit would follow if I found they had pushed this crap on My children, (young adults)..

          • r.a.

            First of all, the lesson plan itself is not teaching kids that the BTP was an act of terrorism. That’s just not what it was all about, despite the reactionary nonsense being pushed by WTH and Glenn Beck’s “news” site. Please go back and read it carefully. Don’t just accept the line coming from the Blaze hook, line, and sinker. Look closely at the exercise. It’s clearly a critical thinking exercise–not the anti-US propaganda that a lot of people are assuming it is.

            Second, I agree that the lack of transparency is a real problem, if that’s what was happening. Parents should absolutely have access to everything that’s being taught to their kids. And they should be part of the whole education process. I am in full agreement with you there.

          • 914

            “Simple question: Why hide this from the parents? ”

            The same reason ObamaCare was hidden from the public. Deception.

        • Oysteria

          As a critical thinking exercise, maybe (BIG maybe). I don’t like it because of the moral equivalency being used there. I can’t seem to find anywhere what grade level this is being taught at. It would seem important. There’s a big difference between having your first introduction to the story of the Boston Tea Party presented in this fashion as a fourth or fifth grader and being a senior in high school with a little better developed critical thinking skills and hopefully already having knowledge of the event. And be honest, how many teachers out there would approach the lesson your way? Damn few I would bet.
          You’re looking at this as an adult. This is being shown to children. It’s not just another questionable college course.

          • Brucehenry

            We have only the Blaze’s word for it that this exercise was “hidden” from parents. The same Blaze which writes a long article and fails to mention at what grade level this was being taught.

            You don’t suppose the Blaze is being purposely inflammatory here, do ya? Naaah, couldn’t be! Glenn Beck and the Blaze is SUCH a credible source of information!

          • Oysteria

            Well, first of all I only mentioned the grade level in the context of Ryan’s suggestion that it was a good critical thinking exercise for vetting news stories. And second, there’s a glut of “news sources” out there who write for the purpose of being inflammatory. Yet, some things are inflammatory all on their own, regardless of the source. In my opinion, given the proclivities of many teachers out there, and often the questionable abilities to teach objectively, I’d say this story needs attention.

          • r.a.

            “As a critical thinking exercise, maybe (BIG maybe).”

            Why with such a BIG maybe? It’s clearly a hypothetical that’s meant to set up a debate.

            “I don’t like it because of the moral equivalency being used there.”

            Look, the whole point of the exercise is to look critically at media reports and how terms like “terrorism” are used for political purposes. Using the BTP as the foil here is perfect because it sets up a good opportunity to talk about an event that 1) Could easily have been the target for propaganda from the Brit perspective; yet 2) Had legitimate cause from the perspective of the participants, who were getting fed up with British rule. The news report frames the event in very simple, superficial terms (which is common in media coverage), but once it’s revealed that this is actually the BTP we’re talking about, that’s the “ah ha” moment that can spark a debate about rethinking some of these issues.

            “I can’t seem to find anywhere what grade level this is being taught at. It would seem important.”

            Absolutely. The age is definitely important. I’d like to know more about that as well.

            “There’s a big difference between having your first introduction to the story of the Boston Tea Party presented in this fashion as a fourth or fifth grader and being a senior in high school with a little better developed critical thinking skills and hopefully already having knowledge of the event.”

            Yep. Prior knowledge of the event would be key for this to be a really good debate and discussion.

            “And be honest, how many teachers out there would approach the lesson your way? Damn few I would bet.”

            Good question–I can only speak from my experiences in college and teaching intro college courses (in general anthropology and socio-cultural anthropology). I don’t think we had these kinds of exercises when I was in high school, but I could be wrong. But I see no reason why this sort of critical thinking could not be part of HS curriculum. Kids are pretty sharp. I think we underestimate them sometimes. In college courses, this kind of critical thinking/media analysis stuff is really common. And it can be really good for getting students to debate and discuss difficult subjects like media bias/politics, propaganda, the politics of history, and so on. Of course, a lot depends on the teacher, and how well they set up the exercise and run the debate and discussion. The idea is to get students to really think through the issues.

            “You’re looking at this as an adult. This is being shown to children. It’s not just another questionable college course.”

            Well, ya. But as you said above we don’t actually know what age students we are talking about here. This definitely isn’t something for 4th or 5th graders. I’d be interested to find out what grades we’re talking about here.

          • jim_m

            And be honest, how many teachers out there would approach the lesson your way?

            The number approaches zero.

  • 914

    “Do you think that in the eyes of the British that the Boston Tea Party was a terrorist activity? Why or why not? Were the colonists justified in taking this action due to their beliefs? is anyone ever justified in committing these types of activities? What drives people to do this type of activity? These are the things that we will explore further.”

    What drives it? Look at the current spend us into oblivion and tax tax tax Big Government black hole.. Terrorists? Tea Party ? Coincidence? I think not.

    “As The Blaze reports, this anti-American lesson plan was also barred from parents’ view in contradiction to the Texas State constitution that maintains that parents have a right to access the materials that teachers are using to educate their children.”

    Now where did they ever get the idea they could act outside the Constitution and worse, hidden from Parents? Hope and Change ring a bell?

    • jim_m

      What drives people to do this type of activity?

      You could learn that by reading “The Glorious Cause” part of the Oxford History of the Americas. Funny how the British who published that book actually tell us how they see it. They understand it as we do, that the Americans were driven by a desire for self rule and by a series of offenses of which the tea act was only the most recent. The Tea Act actually decreased the price of Tea but meant that those put in power by the crown would not be dependent upon the colonies for their subsistence which meant that they could ruin the colonies and prosper.

      Of course why actually read a history when you can indoctrinate young minds into your ideology instead, making moral relativism the way they view the world instead of having an actual understanding of history?

  • herddog505

    And America is a country just like Greece or India or Germany…

    This is how lefties see the world. This sort of thing is WHY they see the world in the way that they do, cloaked in the gibberish of a “logical exercize”.

    Maybe we can all have a “logical discussion” about this:

    “John has repeatedly committed an act against Mary that some have called patriarchical repression and women’s rights advocates describe as ‘rape’. Although Mary bears no malice against John – indeed, she has pledged her faithfulness to him for the rest of her life in a cult-like ceremony – others point out that she is being coerced by him due to his superior economic status.”
    Bah.

    • r.a.

      I’m actually surprised with your response. It’s a critical thinking exercise that’s meant to generate discussion and debate. That’s the whole point. And it’s also a good exercise for teaching students to think critically about media reports, which are often shaped by strong biases or politics. This is something that the right complains about all the time, so it seems like they would “get it” with this lesson plan. Apparently not. I think part of the problem here is that folks are jumping the gun because an event from US history is being used as the hypothetical. But that’s the whole point: the BTP is a perfect example for an exercise like this because once it’s revealed that this news report is actually talking about a well-known event from US history, it’s a good moment to rethink media coverage, the political uses of the word terrorism, and so on. The BTP is actually a good example to use in this case, since it COULD easily be labeled as terrorism for *propaganda* purposes (from the Brit perspective seeking to delegitimize the acts), but at the same time when you look closely at the situation and motives of those involved, they have a legit cause. So it’s perfect for setting up a debate about these issues. There is nothing threatening or anti-American about any of this.

      • Commander_Chico

        In fact, the Founders would approve. It’s a sign of the decline of the country that the likes of Warner are complaining.

        What would Tom Paine and Sam Adams say?

        • jim_m

          Says the man who believes that the US is a terrorist state.

    • jim_m

      Bingo! We are asking the same idiots who characterize marriage as slavery and rape to deliver a fair assessment of the United States. Thanks, but no thanks.

    • Commander_Chico

      Consider this, good news from the official Twitter account of the Navy:

      https://twitter.com/USNavy/status/273577061384331264

  • JWH

    I don’t see this as a bad thing, especially for an advanced class. Work with the students to define “terrorism,”: and then let them explore that definition, debate it, and test it in several scenarios.

    For added fun, show them a few episodes of the Battlestar Galactica New Caprica arc.

    An old quote (I don’t remember where it came from) goes, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

    • jim_m

      The quote is from leftist propaganda which justifies their support for communist insurgents in South America and elsewhere. After all, when Che is your iconic hero you need to have something to explain why you idolize a mass murderer.

      While the quote is from a book I have never heard it used to defend anything other than left wing causes and islamic terrorism.

      • JWH

        I wasn’t thinking about Che Guevera, Jim. I was thinking about the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe, the group’s military arm. You can argue that ANC’s objective — ending apartheid — was virtuous. But the methods deployed by Umkhonto we Sizwe would be classified as domestic terrorism.

        • Brucehenry

          That’s right, and the Yugoslav partisans of the 1940s were described as terrorists by the occupying Germans, the Mau Mau were described as terrorists by the British, and the Filipino rebels were described as terrorists by US occupiers at the turn of the 20th Century.

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