‘One cure–for those who feel that their pursuit of happiness has been sent on a long detour through the labor camps of American and international capitalism–is the institution of a government department that has as its only priority the happiness of all Americans.’ ~ America Now by Robert Atwan
America Now by Robert Atwan is a book of essays from recent periodicals, which is being used in AP English classrooms in Illinois and Alabama high schools, and in many districts nationwide as well as in undergraduate college classes throughout the nation. It is Common Core aligned. It is typical of the type of indoctrination that is becoming part and parcel of the Core. It has less to do with English than it has to do with perpetuating the leftist vision of America – the new America, America Now!
America now is an America that abandons traditional America and takes up a new, improved Leftist America. Common core is the vehicle by which this new America can be rapidly and widely spread.
It is truly unfortunate because a set of common standards is a good idea in of itself but the testing and the materials growing up around it is nationalizing education and it is giving leftists too much power.
I read the 9th edition of this book. Much of it is fine and much of it is not. Even chapters that are left-thinking contain some good ideas but the problem with the book is the overall message the reader is left with.
There is a chapter on food – Chapter 3 – titled, Is There an Ethics of Eating? It demonizes fast food and states that wholesome food is fast becoming a luxury item that the poor cannot enjoy. It then proceeds to talk about organic food – apparently the only acceptable food for liberals – being out of reach and fast food restaurants like Burger King and McDonalds being the only alternatives.
That is patently untrue. There are supermarkets on every other block in most ghettos and they sell inexpensive vegetables and fruit. If the poor choose to go to fast food restaurants, it’s a choice, not a requirement, but that is not what the book has the reader believe.
One essay is titled, The Rich Get Thinner, the Poor Get Fatter. It gets in the usual leftist digs about Southerners and rich people.
Southern culture plays a role in the rising obesity rates in the region..
By an extraordinary twist of economics, the fresh, local produce once available cheaply at the back-road farm stand has become the preserve of the elites, available in gourmet-food shops at inflated prices.
In a bizarre reversal, now it is the wealthy who are rail-thin and eating beans and cornbread. And the poor? The message seems to be: Let them eat (Little Debbie) cake.
In the section on ‘Confessions of a Carnivore,’ it asks to consider the following before reading:
Do you give much thought to the fact that the foods you eat, whether animal or vegetable, were once alive? Do such thoughts bother you? Do you continue to eat meat (or if you gave it up, do you run into other problems when you consider your role as a consumer of products of the earth)?
The essay that follows speaks to animals and nature and concludes that man is very costly.
Did you know that ‘our bodies, being products of eating, are immoral by essence’, and ‘consumption not only bites the world but lessens the leftovers for everyone else’? The essay says further that ‘procreation has become an unintentional act of aggression against the fellow multitudes already cramming the planet.’ The point the author makes is lost in extremist thought and language that pervades the book.
Leftist thought is often negative and self-flagellating.
The book goes through global warming and there is only one choice – humans are destroying the planet. There is another point of view that says even if man is responsible for global warming, there is scant evidence he can have much effect on it. The chapter on global warming makes it clear that believing there is a valid opposing point is insipid at best. Man is a wasteful, useless creature and we are heading for a catastrophe, we are destroying earth.
The essays talk about food ignorance, food integrity, exploited cheap labor, evil corporations that outsource, and the need for a vast government apparatus to control all ecosystems and all farmland. It is a Marxist ploy. They take a real problem and grossly exaggerate it to make one believe every one of us must equally share in all the earth’s assets regardless of our contribution and there must be a giant organization – like the UN perhaps? – to control it all for us.
Throughout the book. we see the anti-profiling argument, taken to the extreme. It states in one essay that ‘profiling is nowhere near effective in this age of global terrorism.’ That’s not exactly factually accurate but the point is what is important in a propaganda piece.
There is the usual extreme feminist dialogue as if American women were somehow living like the women in Saudi Arabia.
Illegal immigration is A-OK in our America now. Immigrants – illegals – are risk-takers, hard working, exploited, and they take dangerous, dirty jobs no one in America wants.
One essay uses false statistics to back up their premise that illegal immigrants are ready to work and do not take handouts, claiming only 1% of immigrant households take welfare while 5% of US citizens do. Pew Hispanic research tells a different story. Their research shows that more than 50 percent of immigrant households accept some form of welfare, higher than their citizen counterparts.
The essays claim that after three generations, immigrants assimilate and become less driven like the rest of America. In other words, all of us citizens contribute much less. We are lazy.
The essays want us to accept that people crossing illegally just want to work hard and deserve to be here. They want us to believe that ‘speaking Spanish does not have to be a crisis in the United States’, and they want gay couples to be allowed to transfer citizenship.
The essays on Happiness come from the Marxist perspective that I have written about on this site. Americans are an ‘unhappy, unhealthy lot.’ ‘Our happiness is kept from us by prisonlike schools and meaningless jobs, un(der) employment and untreated physical and psychological ailments, by political leaders who scare the votes out of us and corporate ‘persons’ that buy up all the resources that have been created and defined by our labor.’
‘One cure–for those who feel that their pursuit of happiness has been sent on a long detour through the labor camps of American and international capitalism–is the institution of a government department that has as its only priority the happiness of all Americans.’
I wonder which department they think could do the job? The IRS? The USDA? Maybe the DOJ?
By the time you finish reading you will understand that the message is that Capitalism is evil.
There is more, such as the essays that speak adoringly of the Obama family, and make anti-Bush insinuations.
Take p.55 and it’s subtle anti-Bush, pro-environmental justice rhetoric presented as if it were fact:
The events and reaction to September 11th seem to be the decade’s defining catastrophe, although it could be argued that it was in the voting booths of Florida, with their flawed and faulty machines, that the crucial historical turn took place. (In the alternate decade of fantasy, President Gore, forever slim and with hairline intact, not only reads those intelligence memoirs in the summer of 2001 but acts upon them; he ratifies the Kyoto Protocol and invents something even better than the Internet.)
George Bush won the election but the author insinuates the election was fraudulent, a popular leftist talking point.
Again on the same page:
In between those two poles, the decade saw the unimaginable unfolding: the depravities of Abu Ghraib, and, even more shocking, their apparent lack of impact on voters in the 2004 Presidential election; the horrors of Hurricane Katrina and the flight of twenty-five thousand of the country’s poorest people to the only slightly less hostile environs of the Superdome; the grotesque inflation and catastrophic popping of a housing bubble…
These were all popular, anti-Bush talking points. There is nothing here to show there is another side, there is only one side, and the indoctrination is subtle.
The same chapter supports PC. One essay explains that the mascot of the University of North Dakota is (was) the ‘Fighting Sioux’ and that it is disrespectful and racist toward the heritage according to the tribes. The author proceeds to present a case for dropping the name with some comments in the way of opposition. What it does not do is address the right to free speech. It gives the impression that if anyone is insulted, the language cannot be used.
The parent in the video below has this book exactly right: