From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In the United States, teaching civics is the explicit and foundational purpose of public education. It was promoted by Thomas Jefferson as essential to the maintenance of any democracy - this argument was accepted for over a century, and remains popular with many educators and political movements. Ralph Nader among them, who advocates deliberative democracy, and the Green Party of the United States, which advocates participatory democracy in various forms. These require high degrees of civic participation and engagement.

Lack of knowlege of theories of civics and the practical workings of electoral process and campaigning, renders voters and other citizens and residents more susceptible to propaganda and to promoters of a simple ideology. Along with media literacy, however, it is one of the most commonly "cut" aspects of secondary education in the USA.

This is an old process, probably beginning in the Cold War when the overt national mission of the United States changed from being an example of "liberty and democracy and Christianity" to opposing the spread of dictatorship, then Communism, and then, losing the Christianized elements, through the 1980s, eventually mindlessly supporting capitalism. The differences in civic life between a theocracy, a democracy, an aristocracy or plutocracy, and the present form of kleptocracy, were obscured.

As a direct result, most students do not recognize the word at all, let alone how civics relates to ethics, politics, policing, or the definition of crime, e.g. street crime, software piracy. It becomes easy to manipulate their perception of events to suit those in power, and to maintain the power required to enforce definitions that are of utility to those in power.

SourceWatch Resources

External links