Did one Iowa high school actually teach that communism trumps capitalism?

posted at 8:10 pm on February 3, 2012 by Tina Korbe

A teacher at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, passed out a particularly curious flyer to students studying the Cold War. By the looks of the cartoon it contained, the message the high school intended to convey appeared pretty clear:

Here’s how I first read the story, via The Blaze:

This gem was discovered by Simon Conway of Iowa’s Who Radio. A listener who is a parent of a student at the high school, sent the hand out to the radio host. Conway read the words of the flyer verbatim:

“Communism stands for equal sharing of the work according to the benefits and ability. But in Capitalism an individual is responsible for his works and if he wants to raise the ladder, he has to work hard.”

He continued to read and clarify further:

“While the profit of any enterprise is equally shared by all in Communism, the profit in the Capitalist structure belongs to the private owner only.”

When I called Roosevelt High School, though, a spokesperson said very simply, “No, we’re not teaching communism” and directed me to the high school’s website, the front page of which features this statement:

A talk show on WHO Radio has unfortunately misled listeners about a class lesson about the Cold War. The radio show posted, on its web site, only a selectively edited part of a class handout – entitled “The two sides of the Cold War” – in order to give a false impression that students were being taught to support communism.

In light of the misrepresentation caused by this talk show, we have posted the handout and assignments here on our web site so that people can see the complete document for themselves. Furthermore, the class, 20th Century History, was studying the Cold War and propaganda, looking at some of the arguments both sides made about why their system was best on a range of topics, including their economies. The handout simply highlights the differences between capitalism and communism, and some of the arguments made during the period of the Cold War.

It is unfortunate that a talk show host decided to mislead his listeners in order to generate false criticism of our schools and our teachers.

To see the unedited lesson and assignments, click here.

Frankly, the unedited lesson and assignments don’t look much better than the excerpts Simon Conway presented — and I commend Conway’s listener, Conway himself and The Blaze for calling attention to this. I’m fine with a school teaching a lesson plan on “communism as presented by communists” provided they also teach “capitalism as presented by capitalists.” The truth is even more beautiful when compared to falsehood, and ideas, no less than products, should be allowed to compete with one another in the marketplace. Schools — especially at the high school or collegiate level — shouldn’t restrict students’ access to conservative or liberal thought. It’s unfortunate that, in schools’ attempts to synthesize and simplify material, they rarely grant kids access to primary sources. That’s the problem here; the author of the handout can’t simultaneously be both a communist and a capitalist — and, despite his or her best attempt to present an objective overview of the two competing theories, the overview just isn’t quite objective. Parents’ best bet is probably to supplement their kids’ public school education by any means possible. They’re really gonna need the fortification when they get to college.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Here’s one of my favorite videos on the subject.

visions on February 3, 2012 at 9:53 PM

From 4:00 on is right on…the rest of the video is…right on.

tom daschle concerned on February 3, 2012 at 10:00 PM

I was taught this at Henry Elementary, 5th grade 1985.

tom daschle concerned on February 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

I was taught this at Lincoln Middle School in 1973 by a science teacher of all people. The same guy who made us watch a movie of open heart surgery and who kept a tarantula on his desk. Now that I think about it, why weren’t my parents concerned?

Fallon on February 3, 2012 at 10:00 PM

My last comment on this subject.

Notice that the people on the right aren’t working very hard.

WryTrvllr on February 3, 2012 at 10:02 PM

I’m fine with a school teaching a lesson plan on “communism as presented by communists” provided they also teach “capitalism as presented by capitalists.”

We should not be “fine” with schools presenting communism in that way. Communism is evil.

Compare with another form of evil. How about “White Supremacy presented by White Supremacists”

No.

RightKlik on February 3, 2012 at 10:03 PM

I could have sworn that most governments in our country decline to issue vouchers for students to receive religious instruction.

My last comment on this subject.

Notice that the people on the right aren’t working very hard.

WryTrvllr on February 3, 2012 at 10:02 PM

And the two dollars and change they’re earning for their “effort” is probably close to literal truth, as opposed to the symbolic amount produced on the other side.

HitNRun on February 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM

And the two dollars and change they’re earning for their “effort” is probably close to literal truth, as opposed to the symbolic amount produced on the other side.

HitNRun on February 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Ahhhh. I’m still here. Where was your i-phone produced. your jeans sewed?……please…..

WryTrvllr on February 3, 2012 at 10:09 PM

This must have been the lesson plan that Barry Soetero had in grammar school. He, being of such a simple mind, accepted this overly simplistic explanation and developed his philosophy accordingly. He found companionship in likewise simple minded people and they wrested control of the Democrat party from people who actually believed in the American system of government.

NOMOBO on February 3, 2012 at 10:10 PM

My last comment on this subject.

Notice that the people on the right aren’t working very hard.

WryTrvllr on February 3, 2012 at 10:02 PM

“Most people who read “The Communist Manifesto” probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of “the workers”.”Thomas Sowell

redridinghood on February 3, 2012 at 10:11 PM

I was taught this at Lincoln Middle School in 1973 by a science teacher of all people. The same guy who made us watch a movie of open heart surgery and who kept a tarantula on his desk. Now that I think about it, why weren’t my parents concerned?

Fallon on February 3, 2012 at 10:00 PM

My parents were at the school almost weekly. The progressives had such a grip on our curriculum. I remember our current events conversations that were Reagan bashing and Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro, and Manuel Noriega lauding. Fifth graders…being indoctrinated into communism. My public school education told me to question authority, especially my parents, question traditional religion, love communism, laud Europe, embrace Mexicans and the Spanish language, moral relativism, and outcome-based decision making.

tom daschle concerned on February 3, 2012 at 10:12 PM

tom daschle concerned on February 3, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Sound like college prep, lol.

Fallon on February 3, 2012 at 10:18 PM

My grade school was so poor we had to buy extra “S”-es.

Sounds like college prep… Sheesh!

Fallon on February 3, 2012 at 10:19 PM

urban elitist on February 3, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I get your point, and it is valid if you present the facts on the ground vs the propaganda. This applies equally to any system.

Southernblogger on February 3, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Compare with another form of evil. How about “White Supremacy presented by White Supremacists”

No.

RightKlik on February 3, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Or,

Fascism presented by Fascists.

Again, without the counterpoint view.

Our public education system is totally screwed up, we are letting the radicals and revolutionaries run the system, then wonder how we got a communist in the White House.

AZfederalist on February 3, 2012 at 10:29 PM

It’s been going on for decades. At the time (1975) I didn’t really notice the significance, but my High School changed our traditional “government” classes to “Values & Issues” which consisted mostly of “values & issues” contrary to our form of government. Mostly about “evil” republicans and such..

Tim Zank on February 3, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Zooid on February 3, 2012 at 9:16 PM

The “two parts” of the cartoon are just one cartoon, and used to illustrate the communist point of view. It’s obviously warped, yes. However, if you bother to look at the rest of the class materials, you can see that the capitalist side is presented favorably as well. That’s the whole point. The kids know the difference, and can distinguish between them. Obviously some dummies will thing wealth-spreading is “fair” and “right,” but that happens anyway. The only cure for that is the real world.

It’s the poor apprentice who blames his shoddy master.

Inquizitor on February 3, 2012 at 10:35 PM

I was taught this at Henry Elementary, 5th grade 1985.

tom daschle concerned on February 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

*groan* Man, you’re making me feel old. ;-)

predator on February 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM

No kidding – I was 2 years out of college and in the Air Force in 85.

dentarthurdent on February 3, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Honestly, looking at the full handout and lesson plan it seems like a fairly reasonable lesson on capitalism vs. communism, presenting each side as its champions would sell it.Inquizitor on February 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

So…the line “Average standard of living higher than Communism, but a wider gap between the rich and the poor” is how Capitalists would “sell it?” Somehow, I don’t think so. Also, the statement is demonstrably false. In every communist nation the wealth gap is larger than in capitalist nations. Ex: USSR, China, N. Korea…need I go on or are you going to argue that the gap between the party heads and the peasant farmers in any of the countries is smaller than the gap between the welfare queen and the CEO?

Pattosensei on February 3, 2012 at 10:47 PM

The cartoon does seem like a reproduction of old propaganda. It was the first thought that struck me when I saw it – “1950s.”

But what college Education curricula prepare a teacher to discuss the differences? It’s like giving a complete neophyte a pistol and telling her to go teach her class to shoot.

Reason #583 why government should not be in the school business.

Adjoran on February 3, 2012 at 10:52 PM

I guess I lucked out – small high school in Maine (1975-79) where our class choice for best teacher was a Navy reserve officer who taught English and civics, ran a wargame boardgaming club, and a musical theater group that got to the level of doing shows across Europe in the 80s. Phenominal teacher who is now retired but travels to teach English to foreign students. We didn’t have anyone pushing communism, socialism, or anything of the sort.

dentarthurdent on February 3, 2012 at 10:53 PM

Hot Air was so much better before Tina Korbe.

Alpha_Male on February 3, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Really, this is high school level work? It reads like it’s for sixth graders.

exlibris on February 3, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Yes, this is true and the reason why the world is slowly moving closer to the communist ideal. Even a capitlist like Romney is pushing socialized medicine.

bayam on February 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

No argument about what Romney has done, but I see you’re still delusional about “corporate evil”. The “communist ideal” is hippie dream that can never exist in the real world because of human nature.

In capitalism, everyone has the opportunity to raise their standard of living. Get a real education, work hard, save, invest, and you can become wealthy. The millionaires we have now were not the millionnaires of 20 years ago – the vast majority of current American millionaires did not inherit their money – they earned it.

In the Soviet Union, the government decided what your position in society would be – and that’s where you stayed. Having the right connections got you into politics and the chance at becoming the ruling elite – who lived far better than the average Ivan working for his “equal share” of what little there was to go around.

dentarthurdent on February 3, 2012 at 11:09 PM

Yes, this is true and the reason why the world is slowly moving closer to the communist ideal.
bayam on February 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

You left wing punks think that it is because communism is a better system.

Nay Nay; It is moving closer to communism, simply because after 4+ decades of allowing marxists to run the schools and the media have produced people, who, unable to think or understand, embrace socialism / communism. Because they were propagandized to do so, not because it is a rational choice.

America moves towards it because few of us have actually lived under your communist ‘utopianism’; Those that lived under it and escaped know better. The vast majority are blissfully ignorant of what it is like in reality.

Conservativism and Capitalism’s biggest failures are not their systems, but their complacency. In the early 1960s Khrushchev told us clearly and directly that they would destroy us by taking over our educational system and our media. Kosygin reiterated it a few years later when he became Premier.

Our fathers ignored it because they thought that it was so patently obvious that marxism brought nothing but mass misery that they assumed that they didn’t have to fight the propagandists.

That is where they, and their children failed. They never imagined that two generations of educational and media propaganda would actually produce useful idiots like you, in the USA where the benefits of capitalism surround you 24 hours a day.

LegendHasIt on February 3, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Parents’ best bet is probably to supplement their kids’ public school education by any means possible. They’re really gonna need the fortification when they get to college.

At what point do you say since I am supplementing (teaching) every subject I might as well do it myself. Reason # **** why you might consider home schooling.

chemman on February 3, 2012 at 11:49 PM

I don’t believe you. You have the whole da_n thing all wrong.

Bmore on February 4, 2012 at 1:16 AM

That is where they, and their children failed. They never imagined that two generations of educational and media propaganda would actually produce useful idiots like you, in the USA where the benefits of capitalism surround you 24 hours a day.

LegendHasIt on February 3, 2012 at 11:37 PM

You really are the bonehead. As I said later in the thread, that was a sarcastic remark.

Why don’t you start reading about Gates, Jobs, Page, and Zuckerberg to learn something about capitalism and entrepreneurship in the real world. Liberals can’t carry all the weight of building the next generation of high growth companies for this country.

bayam on February 4, 2012 at 2:34 AM

In 1980 an enlightened college professor assigned our Government II class this book.

The Gulag Archipelago – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

workingclass artist on February 4, 2012 at 6:17 AM

bayam on February 4, 2012 at 2:34 AM

I apologize for calling you a “useful idiot”.

To my great shame, I was only half right

LegendHasIt on February 4, 2012 at 7:04 AM

If this is supposed to be a stand-alone lesson on the two economic systems, and if this is indicative of the shallow extent of teaching at this particular school, the curriculum director should be shamed.

Complex subjects such as capitalism and communism cannot be dealt with adequately by throwing a few bullet points under a cartoon. Failure to examine the historical perspective, and ignoring the fact that there are no examples of either system in its pure state, give students very little substance, little fodder for thought.

If this is indicative of the state of our education in this country, we are truly sub-mediocre.

oakland on February 4, 2012 at 7:53 AM

Egad. I’m more concerned by the poor writing/editing skills of the instructor:

if he wants to raise the ladder, he has to work hard.

I get this image of Sylvester piling up furniture to put a ladder on top to reach Tweety’s cage.

2. While the profit of any …
3. While the private party…

Proofread for formatting in the second line of each. Wow.

2-3 Cons (Negatives) of a Capitlist system:

Yes, I’m picking nits. But, the producer of this is a teacher. Of course, he might not reduce grades for poor spelling.

Step 2: What evidence will we accept that students actually do understand, know and are able to do that we established as goals for the unit?

The teacher (or school) either meant “what we established” or is missing some words.

Evaluate a society’s values and behaviors to determine its overall

The table cuts off the text, evidently. Proofread?

I have worked as a trainer and educator, professionally and as a volunteer. The one thing I insist on is proofreading anything that is going to be a permanent record of my teaching session.

Aside from that, the flyer most certainly does slant a few things – by providing only the idealistic view of Communism, by using Communist language about the Capitalist system, and by the use of non-neutral language in the last paragraph before the summary. Until that last paragraph about class, it was somewhat defensible.

GWB on February 4, 2012 at 8:10 AM

GWB on February 4, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Dang, and I missed one.

Determine the causes of global conflicts and their ultimate affects

I think this last page is a production of the school system, where the teacher can demonstrate how they meet curriculum standards with any particular handout or lesson plan, but that makes the errors on this page even more egregious.

GWB on February 4, 2012 at 8:15 AM

I think that is an acceptable representation of communist theory vs. capitalist theory. I don’t know why Hot Air would need to be complaining about this. Oh wait, it’s Tina! Nevermind. I understand now, she puts ridiculous things on here every day.

sob0728 on February 4, 2012 at 8:33 AM

If one were to reverse the captions, then the cartoon would be correct.

gasmeterguy on February 4, 2012 at 8:56 AM

If they want to teach about communism, they should at least include a cartoon of people standing before a long ditch, hands being their backs, and being shot in the neck one by one. Maybe, a couple of cartoons depicting mass starvation, too.

Blake on February 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM

A true representation of communism would have had the leaders in their swanky digs ordering the soldiers to point guns at the workers…

Neomom on February 4, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I think that is an acceptable representation of communist theory vs. capitalist theory. I don’t know why Hot Air would need to be complaining about this. Oh wait, it’s Tina! Nevermind. I understand now, she puts ridiculous things on here every day.

sob0728 on February 4, 2012 at 8:33 AM

So you have no problem with the workers in the capitalism having rags on and a ball and chain on the leg? Acceptable ehh?

Sultanofsham on February 4, 2012 at 9:11 AM

The “two parts” of the cartoon are just one cartoon, and used to illustrate the communist point of view. It’s obviously warped, yes. However, if you bother to look at the rest of the class materials, you can see that the capitalist side is presented favorably as well. That’s the whole point. The kids know the difference, and can distinguish between them. Obviously some dummies will thing wealth-spreading is “fair” and “right,” but that happens anyway. The only cure for that is the real world.

It’s the poor apprentice who blames his shoddy master.

Inquizitor on February 3, 2012 at 10:35 PM

The point is, the communist “point of view” is a lie born witness to by every single communist government that has ever been in existence, and they are repeating it completely uncritically. “Communism” is no more then Despotism dressed up in pretty propaganda.

How many genocides does communism have to spawn before people realize that it is an inherently evil system?

Voyager on February 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM

As someone with an academic background in this, I have a BA in Russian and East European Studies, I don’t find this particularly offensive, just overly simplistic. The lessons look like they are for 5th graders.

JamesB on February 4, 2012 at 10:23 AM

This is a surprise that communism is being taught in our public schools??
All the teachers have been instructed in communism in college. Why should they do any different in the public school classroom?

flytier on February 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM

The lessons look like they are for 5th graders.

Exactly, JamesB! This is the level of the average high school student (the equivalent of 5th grade when you and I went through). They don’t read the context of the lesson, but only see the cartoon, which depicts workers in a capitalist system as slaves. Any teacher who’s been around a while knows that the cartoon will have a vastly greater impact than the paragraphs of text – even with high-schoolers.

oakland on February 4, 2012 at 11:36 AM

I still remember reading about how Sen. Patty Murray (Airhead: WA) explained to some highschoolers about how bin Laden built daycare centers in Afghanistan after the Russians withdrew, and “We didn’t.”, thus bringing on 9-11.

When the story broke Pattycakes claimed she was just trying to teach the students “critical thinking”. (For you younger folks, in the old days we could actually read bad things about Dems in the news – hard as that may be to believe.)

So I wrote her office a polite letter quoting State Department figures on the foreign aid budgets of the US to that country, the middle east, and worldwide over the years, and the estimates of the substantial private charitable aid from hundreds of groups that is even larger.

But apparently Patty wasn’t able to apply her vaunted critical thinking skills to my arguments, because her reply consisted of a form letter requesting donations to her campaign! I still get them to this day.

drunyan8315 on February 4, 2012 at 11:39 AM

The school, however, did not present the whole truth about communism, and should’ve done a better job giving both sides.

http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/iowa-high-school-flyer-allegedly-promoting-communism-stirs-controversy

jdawg on February 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM

“While the profit of any enterprise is equally shared by all in Communism, the profit in the Capitalist structure belongs to the private owner only.”

This assumes a single owner and ignores the reality of investors. My retirement account depends on companies making a profit. And I’m not alone. When the Government took over GM, the pension funds of two Teacher Unions (Illinois & Indiana, IIRC) were adversely affected. Why is this seldom pointed out in discussions of Capitalism?

March Hare on February 4, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Wait, is that the sign for the pound sterling on the moneybag? So the illustration (and it chap my professional artist hide to call this remedial doodle such) is quite literally un-American!

sistrum on February 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Somehow they forgot to point out the deaths of millions of citizens under communism, not in wars, but planned and executed murders of their own citizens when they became inconvenient. Estimates run from about 60 million to over a 100 million citizens purposely killed in the 20th century.

RJL on February 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

The “two parts” of the cartoon are just one cartoon, and used to illustrate the communist point of view. It’s obviously warped, yes. However, if you bother to look at the rest of the class materials, you can see that the capitalist side is presented favorably as well. That’s the whole point. The kids know the difference, and can distinguish between them. Obviously some dummies will thing wealth-spreading is “fair” and “right,” but that happens anyway. The only cure for that is the real world.

It’s the poor apprentice who blames his shoddy master.

Inquizitor on February 3, 2012 at 10:35 PM

The point is, the communist “point of view” is a lie born witness to by every single communist government that has ever been in existence, and they are repeating it completely uncritically. “Communism” is no more then Despotism dressed up in pretty propaganda.

How many genocides does communism have to spawn before people realize that it is an inherently evil system?

Voyager on February 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM

After reading your post three times, I have no idea how it responds to mine. At all. The lesson is explaining the theory of communism. That’s kind of an important step before explaining what happened where it was implemented. You seem to be just jumping up and shouting at the very mention of the word, which is the worst way to combat the theory. It’s frankly childish. Instead, do what teachers across the country do: explain both economic theories and illustrate why communism inherently fails because of a lack of incentive to work hard.

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Somehow they forgot to point out the deaths of millions of citizens under communism, not in wars, but planned and executed murders of their own citizens when they became inconvenient. Estimates run from about 60 million to over a 100 million citizens purposely killed in the 20th century.

RJL on February 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Perhaps because they have one class a day, and so haven’t moved on to the ideology’s historical examples yet.

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Honestly, looking at the full handout and lesson plan it seems like a fairly reasonable lesson on capitalism vs. communism, presenting each side as its champions would sell it.

Inquizitor on February 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

So…the line “Average standard of living higher than Communism, but a wider gap between the rich and the poor” is how Capitalists would “sell it?” Somehow, I don’t think so. Also, the statement is demonstrably false. In every communist nation the wealth gap is larger than in capitalist nations. Ex: USSR, China, N. Korea…need I go on or are you going to argue that the gap between the party heads and the peasant farmers in any of the countries is smaller than the gap between the welfare queen and the CEO?

Pattosensei on February 3, 2012 at 10:47 PM

Again…they’re presenting each ideology on a theoretical level. This is evidenced by the large text at the top of the page that says “In Theory”. In theory capitalism does have a larger disparity in wealth than under communism because a disparity exists! In communism (theoretically) everyone’s equal. Therefore if there is any gap in capitalism between the rich and the poor, then it’s automatically higher than under communism. It logically makes sense.

It’s irrelevant to say that it’s demonstrably false, because they aren’t talking about any real-life demonstrations of communism yet. You don’t have to always say how millions of people suffered under communist regimes in the same darn breath as explaining the concept. Schools have a year-long curriculum. They’ll get to the history.

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:22 PM

I apologize for calling you a “useful idiot”.

To my great shame, I was only half right

LegendHasIt on February 4, 2012 at 7:04 AM

Winner!

Gladtobehere on February 4, 2012 at 8:53 PM

“The handout simply highlights the differences between capitalism and communism, and some of the arguments made during the period of the Cold War.”

The “two parts” of the cartoon are just one cartoon, and used to illustrate the communist point of view. It’s obviously warped, yes. However, if you bother to look at the rest of the class materials, you can see that the capitalist side is presented favorably as well. That’s the whole point. The kids know the difference, and can distinguish between them. Obviously some dummies will thing wealth-spreading is “fair” and “right,” but that happens anyway. The only cure for that is the real world.

It’s the poor apprentice who blames his shoddy master.

Inquizitor on February 3, 2012 at 10:35 PM

I did bother to read the rest of the class materials and I wasn’t impressed.
The capitalist side is presented favorably but it is also presented unfavorably with a communistic slant. This would be fine if the communist side was presented favorably but also unfavorably with a capitalist slant but it was not.
The materials favored the communist point of view.

Zooid on February 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM

After reading your post three times, I have no idea how it responds to mine. At all. The lesson is explaining the theory of communism. That’s kind of an important step before explaining what happened where it was implemented. You seem to be just jumping up and shouting at the very mention of the word, which is the worst way to combat the theory. It’s frankly childish. Instead, do what teachers across the country do: explain both economic theories and illustrate why communism inherently fails because of a lack of incentive to work hard.

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Under the theory of communism, by virtue of the all the rewards of thought and labour being made property of the State, individuals are of necessity made property of the State, and as no State is not also run by individuals, they become in effect, the property of the individuals who run that State. That is Despotism at its most basic.

Communism attempts to distinguish itself from Despotism by cloaking it under the false pretense that it is run by an abstract “The People”, but given that any decision must, at its root be made by an Individual or group of Individuals in some form of consensus, “The People” are only the individuals that are making the decisions. The hive is run for the benefits of the Queen, not the bees.

It is one thing to present two competing theories equally, but it is entirely different to present a theory based on a falsified premise uncritically.

Voyager on February 5, 2012 at 4:30 AM

[...] The lesson is explaining the theory of communism. That’s kind of an important step before explaining what happened where it was implemented. [...]

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:13 PM

It also strikes me that the idea that a Theory of government can be separated from the effects of its implementation is also a major fallacy, but I’ll dig into that one later.

Voyager on February 5, 2012 at 5:04 AM

In theory capitalism does have a larger disparity in wealth than under communism because a disparity exists!

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Which is another fallacy. While communism does not admit that a disparity could exist, by creating a hidden class of individuals who control the total wealth of the nation, it has a forced disparity baked into the system.

In capitalism the disparity is both passive and traversable. This is because the disparity is created solely through the difference in productivities of the individuals involved, and that productivity is a factor that can be controlled by the persons that it belongs to.

Voyager on February 5, 2012 at 1:34 PM

In theory capitalism does have a larger disparity in wealth than under communism because a disparity exists!

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:22 PM

This is absolutely not part of capitalism theory. This is part of the realistic effects of implementation.

Again, the cartoons obviously put effort into making capitalism look bad.

blink on February 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Of course it’s part of capitalism theory, because it allows for the creation of a disparity of wealth. Therefore, capitalism inherently must have either a larger or equal wealth disparity to theoretically perfect communism. This is a simple lesson designed for stupid high schoolers, it’s excusable to simplify the lesson.

Also, you really seem to have a tough time distinguishing the cartoon from the rest of the lesson.

Inquizitor on February 5, 2012 at 1:47 PM

[...] The lesson is explaining the theory of communism. That’s kind of an important step before explaining what happened where it was implemented. [...]

Inquizitor on February 4, 2012 at 4:13 PM

It also strikes me that the idea that a Theory of government can be separated from the effects of its implementation is also a major fallacy, but I’ll dig into that one later.

Voyager on February 5, 2012 at 5:04 AM

Of course it can. These kids only have class for around 49 minutes a day, dude. There’s nothing wrong with teaching the theory first and then teaching the historical applications at a later date. You keep using the word “fallacy,” and I’m not quite sure you know what it means.

Inquizitor on February 5, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Under the theory of communism, by virtue of the all the rewards of thought and labour being made property of the State, individuals are of necessity made property of the State, and as no State is not also run by individuals, they become in effect, the property of the individuals who run that State. That is Despotism at its most basic.

Communism attempts to distinguish itself from Despotism by cloaking it under the false pretense that it is run by an abstract “The People”, but given that any decision must, at its root be made by an Individual or group of Individuals in some form of consensus, “The People” are only the individuals that are making the decisions. The hive is run for the benefits of the Queen, not the bees.

It is one thing to present two competing theories equally, but it is entirely different to present a theory based on a falsified premise uncritically.

Voyager on February 5, 2012 at 4:30 AM

You need to remember that this is a high school class. American high schoolers are not very bright. You can’t expect the curriculum to be that in-depth. They provide an overly simplistic explanation of the two theories just so the students know basic differences.

Also, your assumption that Communism is in fact Despotism hinges on the idea that not every member of the community is part of the decision-making “State.” However, in the ideal theoretical Communist society everyone is, so there is no wealth/power disparity and everyone collectively owns any and all output. No one “controls” anyone else, they all collectively control each other as part of the “community.” This obviously does not work, but again this lesson talks about the theory. You don’t need to get so angry about this.

Inquizitor on February 5, 2012 at 1:55 PM

They forgot the important concepts and vocabulary of Socialism that make it work; like Gulags, Work Camps, Political Officers and Secret Police. It’s funny how in Capitalism they are not needed, but in Socialism the Utopia just can’t make it without the good old fashioned Iron Fist.

Bulletchaser on February 5, 2012 at 7:14 PM

You need to remember that this is a high school class. American high schoolers are not very bright. You can’t expect the curriculum to be that in-depth. They provide an overly simplistic explanation of the two theories just so the students know basic differences.

Also, your assumption that Communism is in fact Despotism hinges on the idea that not every member of the community is part of the decision-making “State.” However, in the ideal theoretical Communist society everyone is, so there is no wealth/power disparity and everyone collectively owns any and all output. No one “controls” anyone else, they all collectively control each other as part of the “community.” This obviously does not work, but again this lesson talks about the theory. You don’t need to get so angry about this.

Inquizitor on February 5, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Yes, but, they are still presenting a false promise, as though it were truth.

What you keep glossing over is in the theory of Communism, its promise of equal ownership of all things is immediately and fatally compromised by its requirement that all things must be taken from all people.

You say that 5th graders are to stupid to understand an in-depth discussion of what happens in a communist society. I ask you, how does teaching them a lie help that?

Voyager on February 5, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Yes, this is true and the reason why the world is slowly moving closer to the communist ideal.

bayam on February 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

To what part of the “Communist ideal” are you referring to? The death camps? The all-pervasive police state that is necessary to keep the “happy workers” in line? The mass famines (Ukraine, the 60+ million dead in China from the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution…etc)?

Maybe you are not aware of the fact that the European social democracies going bankrupt. Greece is only leading the parade. This is an inevitable result of socialist policies. If wealth distribution in your society on “From those according to their abilities, and to those acccrding to their needs”, then the natural human inclination is for you to develop more needs, and to fail to develop your abilities. (This is an example of how Conservatism is based upon reality, and Modern Liberalism is based upon a sanctimoniousness that is isolated from relity.)

This is why socialist societies will inevitably go bankrupt (i.e. Greece) or they will devolve into violent dictatorships (people will either work for their own economic incentives, or they will have to be threatened to work with violence).

SubmarineDoc on February 6, 2012 at 1:37 AM

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