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Is ‘capitalism’ a dirty word?

Need to Know has been following the battle in Texas over what kids should learn.  The state board of education is in the middle of revising the standards for social studies textbooks for grades K through 12. A group of Christian conservatives on the board say they are trying to correct a liberal bias they see in the curriculum. According to board member Teri Leo, liberal professors have been writing the textbooks. She says, “That’s part of the problem of how we end up with distorted and liberal-biased textbooks is because that’s who’s writing them.”

Critics countercharge that these board members are trying to impose their conservative ideology into the curriculum.

Many of the heated debates centered on very specific words, like “propaganda” as used in world history books about the causes leading up to World War I.  The word “imperialism” was replaced with “expansionism” in a discussion of America’s role around the world. Don McLeroy, a conservative member on the board, told Need to Know that the current textbook standards “downplayed the positive impact that the United States has been for people and freedom.”

One of the changes the board voted to make was replacing the word “capitalism” with the term “free enterprise system.” According to board member Terri Leo, the word “capitalism” has been misappropriated over the years, and has subsequently taken on negative associations (i.e., “capitalist pig”).

But not everyone on the board agrees, as you will see in the following excerpt of one of the board’s meetings.

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  • Ed Hall

    As a Texan I have watched the process of this board move from ‘conservative’ to ridiculous. PLEASE, can’t someone put these embarrassing yahoo’s back with the other extremist from which they came – and away from our educational system? Any intelligent society to survive must protect itself from fundamentalists extremes… whether radical Muslim or radical Christian; they remind me somewhat of what could be called America’s version of the Taliban – ‘believe as I do or we will force it upon you.’ I and the majority in this wonderful country (and State) of ours don’t as the First Amendment provides both equally with the freedom to believe as we each choose without the philosophy and/or interpretation of one grouping being forced upon other – Left or Right….

    I say its time to get rid of the embarrassment – and this group with its extremist attempt to rewrite history to shine a more favorable light on its fundamentalist views.

  • leverr

    capitalism is just another word for greed.. the pigs who belive they desereve more because they are more inteligent know nothing about inteligence. they only know about making nmoney and enslaving their lives to it and enlsalaving the less fortunate to serve their cause…science should never be used for profit!!!

  • leverr

    the all seing eye does not only apply to the smart it duells in the humble… for the kidgdom i s for thei to come..

  • Lary9

    ‘Capitalism’ is an precise term in the soft scence of economics and is rooted in the ownership of the means of production.’Free enterprise’ is nothing more than a euphemistic substitute with lofty overtones of unrestricted, soaring achievement untempered by reality. Welcome to Lala-land.
    Now honest Texans can tell their kids as they leave for school…”Don’t forget your lunch and make sure that you’re inattentive in history class.”

  • Nathan

    There is a subtle difference between capitalism and free enterprise. Capitalism is the system of economics driven by profit without restriction. In theory it has unlimited potential to amass monetary reward for property owners based on the perceived confidence in the market. Free enterprise is a system for operating a business (under a capitalist system) within the confines of supply and demand, having only enough government regulation to protect the citizenry from egregious violations of the public trust. Though I don’t believe either system exists in the absolute sense (endless unlimited profit or business [benign or predatory] operating on the edge of the public trust) our attempt to create a world of money in exchange for work has lead to the devaluation of everything. Capitalist don’t care what you sell, only that they profit; free enterprise concerns itself entirely with what is sold and how marketing shapes positive opinions which aid these sales. I think Texas either misses the point (that capitalism is something other than free enterprise) or wants to exploit the difference in free enterprise’s focus on media manipulation.