Eighth graders in Union Grove, Wisc. — a tiny enclave just over the Illinois border — are learning reading, writing, arithmetic and, of course, that conservatives are a bunch of authoritarian, oppressive thugs.
As EAGnews explains, an unnamed eighth-grade teacher in the Union Grove school district assigned a vocabulary crossword puzzle with clues containing “definitions” of liberalism and conservatism.
Conservatism, according to the public school assignment, is “the political belief of preserving traditional moral values by restricting personal freedoms and encouraging prosperity through economic freedom.”
Let that ridiculous middle part soak in, perhaps while you gulp down a massive sugary soda and take target practice with your favorite firearm.
How are impressionable Union Grove eighth graders instructed about liberalism? They are indoctrinated that it is “the political belief of equality and personal freedom for everyone, often changing the current system to increase government protection of civil liberties.”
Sounds wonderful, huh?
Local conservative activist Tamra Varebrook forwarded the assignment — apparently from a civics curriculum — to EAGnews after her 13-year-old daughter brought it home earlier this week.
“I think it’s horribly distorted and it’s biased,” Varebrook told the website. “It’s insinuating conservatives don’t believe in people having civil liberties. That it’s only for old-fashioned fuddy-duddies.”
“Every piece of homework I’ve seen paints conservatism in a negative light,” she added. “I can only imagine what high school is going to bring.”
The back side of the crossword puzzle contained a lengthy political survey that obliged students to declare their beliefs on issues such as guns.
Varebrook noted that her daughter has little time or patience for politics or political philosophy and “was just happy to get it filled out.”
Beyond the two woefully circular descriptions so commonly provided by dictionary writers, Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines conservatism as a “disposition in politics to preserve what is established” and “a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.”
There is nary a mention of restrictions on freedom. In fact, Merriam-Webster goes on to observe that conservative political programs typically call for “lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs.”