Seeds of a pro-Communist world view and an anti-Capitalist, anti-American bias have been sowed in public school classrooms for decades. The weeds of globalism, multiculturalism, and communitarianism have flourished unchecked, choking out an understanding of our nation’s founders, the founding documents, the fact we are a Republic – not a Democracy, and how liberty and freedom are based on the God-given rights of the individual.
During the 1960s, it was the rare mother of a fellow classmate who worked outside of the home. As the 20th century drew to a close, that pendulum swung in the opposite direction as the new issue of “latchkey children” spawned “after school programs”, which extended the influence of public schools on children’s lives – from school breakfast programs right up to suppertime. Parents quickly grew to rely on the public school to provide almost everything from preschool and child care to feeding their children, dispensing medications and helping them with their homework. Schools have assumed an ever larger role in students’ lives as they advise them on career choices and accompany students on visits to perspective colleges. They’re intricately involved in nearly every aspect of children’s lives far beyond serving as a role model or mentor to becoming confidants.
It wasn’t that long ago when these were strictly the personal responsibility and duty of parents. Now, because parents have come to rely on so much assistance from public schools… the government… many have come to view them more in a partnership role, than as an institution whose purpose should be limited strictly to provide an education. It is this blurring of the line which has caused many parents to be lulled into a blind sense of trust of schools, as they are able to direct more of their attention to work, leisure or other interests – and less to their own children.
Progressive educators have taken full advantage of this opportunity.
The anti-establishment theology being spoon-fed to our children was spawned from the counterculture: the hippies, yippies, flower children, rebels, rioters and bra-burners of the 1960s… many of whom entered the field of education after putting away their bellbottoms and psychedelic tie-dyed shirts.
One means by which some are working to villainize American exceptionalism is by exposing students to a video entitled The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. The engaging, cartoonish, short film is an outrageous, in-your-face, anti-capitalist, anti-consumer sermon that is staunchly biased and full of disinformation. Clearly, it advocates Socialism through fear mongering and hysterics. Employing propaganda, the film heaps guilt on children as a vehicle to indoctrinate them into believing what is being sold as a democratic economic system is “good” while American Capitalism and the free market economy is “evil”. This new democratic economic system is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: Communism.
Students are being conditioned to view Communism, or a “control economy” in a favorable light and preferable to our Constitutional Republic form of government and free market economy in some history or social studies textbooks. Why? Because in a “control economy” the government takes care of people’s needs.
The film maker and those who funded the project obviously hold a deep sense of contempt for the American way of life. They want to replace the ideals of working hard to advance oneself in their chosen career; individuality, ingenuity and invention; success; the concept of risk and reward… with collectivism, economic egalitarianism and an acceptance of poverty. The Story of Stuff brazenly promotes Green Communism.
One of the most disturbing and dangerous aspects is its demonization of the manufacturing sector – claiming companies are greedy, they deliberately poison the environment as well as their products, and those who work in factories are exposed to toxins that result in cancer, especially for women. The Story of Stuff openly denigrates Apple Computers, Radio Shack and WalMart through thinly disguised attacks on their businesses.
The Story of Stuff pushes the “economic justice” agenda, meaning they envision a day when there will no longer be corporations that own businesses, but all businesses will be owned by a one world government where the workers will all have an equal share in the decisions and profits. This is an unrealistic, foolhardy utopian notion cleverly designed to appeal to our youth… the audience of The Story of Stuff.
Some of the outrageous lies in this film include:
“50% of our tax dollars goes to the military” Official sources identify the total spending budget for the U.S. Government during fiscal year 2009 as $6,434 billion dollars. Of that, just 13.4% went to defense. (2009 is the year this film was released.)
“40% of our waterways are undrinkable” This is a ridiculous attempt at a scare tactic. People don’t drink directly from waterways. Even hikers in the backcountry cannot drink directly from the most pristine source of natural water without risking natural bacterial contamination or infestation by parasites, so must rely on purification measures. Drinking from waterways has always posed a health risk due to fecal contamination. Most households drink well water or water from municipal sources that has been tested and deemed safe. Ms Leonard’s claim is pure hysteria.
These are just a couple of examples of the inaccuracies this film uses to propagandize children.
Unfortunately, The Story of Stuff has expanded into an ongoing series. More recent titles include The Story of Cap & Trade, The Story of Citizens United v. FEC and the soon to be released, The Story of Broke.
Communications Coordinator at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Lee Doren, has put together critique films of some of these titles, doing a commendable job of pointing out and correcting Annie Leonard’s disinformation.
I recommend viewing Lee Doren Critiques:
The Story of Citizens United v. FEC promotes the complete restoration of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold law. In it, Ms. Leonard identifies several corporations by using fat stick people with company logos emblazoned on their chests: Exxon, Shell Oil, Toyota, BP, WalMart, Pfizer, Cigna, GE, Bank of America and Wall Street … criticizing their success because they are profitable and demonizing them for donating money to fund political advertisements. Never mind the fact these companies provide employment for millions of Americans, directly or indirectly. Not to mention the products, health, financial services and oil or gasoline necessary to heat homes and fuel the rest of our economy.
But, of course, as we learned from viewing her earlier attack, The Story of Stuff, she actually would much rather see American’s standard of living fall to that of a third world nation. If her misguided utopian view of society were to become a reality, we would see wealth redistribution, economic destruction, mass poverty, famine and an end to freedom and prosperity.
As Ms. Leonard states: “corporations can decide to spend unlimited dollars from their huge corporate coffers to influence an election, without consulting its shareholders”. She goes on to say Washington DC politicians are ready to promote a new Constitutional Amendment because “1st Amendment isn’t meant for ‘for profit corporations’”. This leaves no doubt there is some major political clout behind her quirky little stick people films.
How interesting and revealing it is that the planned Constitutional Amendment would only apply to “for profit” corporations but not non-profits or unions. Especially when considering most of the campaign advertising I saw or received in 2010 and during the 2011 Wisconsin recall election originated with unions or non-profit front groups for the Democrat Party.
Ms. Leonard claims to be all for “free speech”, but in reality, she and those who wrote and support the McCain-Feingold law, as well as this planned Constitutional Amendment do not. What they’re saying and doing are two different things because it is evident by their actions they only support “free speech” if it agrees with their own position… their own warped views and advancement of their Communist utopia.
If you watch this film closely, you’ll notice how the little stick people take to the streets in protest. Acting as a mob, they are depicted as physically throwing politicians out of office. Hmmm…
And the protest theme continues in her newest film, The Story of Broke, due to be released on November 8th. Clearly, the little stick people are now part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The premise of this piece of propaganda is we really aren’t broke. The US Government has plenty of money. Instead of giving it to their fat cat cronies and crooked Wall Street bankers, “the people” need to force the government to spend it, instead, on creating a Green Economy… so we can all live happily ever after. Cue the Kumbaya music.
How curious a small budget, stick people film most adults have never heard of could have coincidentally sermonized the same themes over the past couple of years as are now unfolding before our eyes. It makes a person wonder if there may be a direct cause and effect?
Annie Leonard has every right to live her life in a hut denying herself modern conveniences, if she so chooses. But she has no right to impose or force her beliefs and choices on anyone else. That is a big part of the problem with teachers showing these propaganda films to their students. These films are not factually accurate and do not present a balanced view of any issues. They simply do not belong in public school classrooms – but are often shown on Earth Day and at other times, as well. As parents and taxpayers, we have a right and a responsibility to ensure children are educated and not propagandized.
OK… so, who is behind The Story of Stuff? Stay tuned…