Just in case you had forgotten what earned former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein the title of “most dangerous man in America,” Glenn shared the frightening ‘nudge’ topic Sunstein wrote about in his most recent column for Bloomberg View. In an op-ed entitled “Open Brain, Insert Ideology,” Sunstein cites a study of reforms to the Chinese education system that seemingly proves curriculums can be “explicitly designed to transform students’ political views.” Sunstein goes on to question whether such reforms could be effective in the United States.
“There is a reason that I have called Cass Sunstein the most dangerous man in America,” Glenn said on radio this morning.
ProgressivesToday.com, the website co-founded by Kyle Olsen, the co-author of Glenn’s latest book Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education, was the first to draw attention to the spooky article from the Nudge author.
Sunstein begins the article wondering what would happen if a government began a program with the explicit goal of indoctrination students:
Suppose that an authoritarian government decides to embark on a program of curricular reform, with the explicit goal of indoctrinating the nation’s high school students. Suppose that it wants to change the curriculum to teach students that their government is good and trustworthy, that their system is democratic and committed to the rule of law, and that free markets are a big problem.
Will such a government succeed? Or will high school students simply roll their eyes?
Questions of this kind have long been debated, but without the benefit of reliable evidence. New research, from Davide Cantoni of the University of Munich and several co-authors, shows that recent curricular reforms in China, explicitly designed to transform students’ political views, have mostly worked. The findings offer remarkable evidence about the potential influence of the high school curriculum on what students end up thinking -- and they give us some important insights into contemporary China as well.
He goes on to explain that the indoctrination program began in 2001 when the country made “significant changes in the textbooks used by students in grades 10, 11 and 12.” Ultimately, Sunstein questions whether such a program could produce similar outcomes in a non-authoritarian country.
Is this conclusion limited to authoritarian nations? In a democratic country with a flourishing civil society, a high degree of pluralism, and ample room for disagreement and dissent -- like the U.S. -- it may well be harder to use the curriculum to change the political views of young people. But even in such societies, high schools probably have a significant ability to move students toward what they consider “a correct worldview, a correct view on life, and a correct value system.” That’s an opportunity, to be sure, but it is also a warning.
“It is absolutely incredible that nobody on the left seems to have a problem with the indoctrination of our children. And Cass Sunstein, who is the architect of this nightmare, is coming out and saying, ‘Hey, look what China is doing.’ Since when do we think this is a good idea to indoctrinate our children,” Glenn asked. “For the controlist, compulsory government, schooling is the prime place to teach naive students to love the state, despise capitalism, and make the individual secondary to the collective.”
Read Sunstein’s entire article HERE.