Values clarification is a humanist program that seeks to carry out Prof. Benjamin Bloom’s supposed purpose of education: “to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of [the student’s] attitudes and values.” The evidence suggests, Bloom wrote, that “a single hour of classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major reorganization in cognitive as well as affective behaviors.”
I think that sums up the diabolical character of humanist education: a total disregard of a child’s values as acquired from his family. Tampering with a child’s attitudes and values can lead to the destruction of that child, his alienation from his family, his church, his religion, and lead to behaviors that cannot be predicted. It is opening a Pandora’s box of emotions, beliefs, and morals that can plunge that child into depression, a hatred of life, and a love of death.
One of the techniques used in the classroom to facilitate that single hour of classroom activity calculated to produce a “major reorganization” of the student’s behavior is the survival games. Some years ago when I was lecturing in Clarkston, Washington, a parent gave me a copy of the instruction sheet of a Fallout Shelter Survival Game that had been played in her son’s class. It was being used in the ninth grade at the local high school. Ninth graders are about 14 or 15 years old. The lesson was entitled, “Who Should Survive,” not who would or could survive. The inference is that certain people are worthy of survival and others are not. The instructions read:
The following fifteen persons are in a bomb shelter after a nuclear war. These fifteen persons are the only humans left on the earth. It will take six weeks for the external radiation level to drop to a safe survival level. The food and supplies in the shelter can sustain at a very minimum level, seven persons for six weeks. It is your task to decide which seven persons will survive. Be prepared to justify your choices.
First, notice how the problem is rigged. How do these fifteen persons know that they are the only humans left alive on earth? Aren’t there other fallout shelters in the world with survivors? Second, how do they know it will take six weeks for the outside radiation level to fall? If they already have that kind of scientific knowledge, maybe they also have a radiation-proof suit that one of the survivors could put on, go out and find adequate food somewhere. But it is obvious, by the question asked, what the intent of the lesson is: to judge human beings by their social usefulness. A more benign game could have asked: how could everyone survive? But in this case, only the socially useful should be allowed to survive. Sounds like socialism to me. Here are the teacher’s fifteen persons:
1. Dr. Dame, 39, white, no church affiliation, Ph.D. in history, college professor, good health, married, one child, active, and enjoys politics.
2. Mrs. Dame, 38, white, Jew, M.A. in psychology, counselor in mental health clinic, good health, married, one child, active in community.
3. Bobby Dame, 10, white, Jew, special education classes for four years, mentally retarded, IQ 70, good health, enjoys his pets.
4. Mrs. Garcia, 33, Spanish-American, Roman Catholic, one child three weeks old, ninth grade education, cocktail waitress, prostitute, good health, abandoned as a child, in a foster home as a youth, attacked by foster father at age twelve, ran away from home, returned to reformatory, stayed until sixteen, married at sixteen, divorced at eighteen.
5. Jean Garcia, three weeks old, Spanish-American, good health, nursing for food.
6. Mrs. Evans, 32, Negro, Protestant, A.B. and M.A. in elementary education, teacher, divorced, one child, good health, cited as outstanding teacher, enjoys working with children.
7. Mary Evans, 8, Negro, Protestant, third grade, good health, excellent student.
8. John Jacobs, 13, white Protestant, eighth grade, honor student, very active, broad interests, father is a Baptist minister, good health.
9. Mr. Newton, 25, Negro, claims to be an atheist, was in last year of medical school until suspended for homosexual activity, good health, seems bitter concerning racial problems, wears hippy clothes.
10. Mrs. Clark, 28, Negro, Protestant, college grad, engineering, electronics engineer, married, no children, good health, enjoys outdoor sports and stereo equipment, grew up in ghetto.
11. Sister Mary Kathleen, 27, nun, college grad, English major, grew up in upper-middle-class neighborhood, good health, father a businessman.
12. Mr. Blake, 51, white, Mormon, HS grad, mechanic, “Mr. Fix-it,” married, four children (not with him), good health, enjoys outdoors and working in his shop.
13. Miss Harris, 21, Spanish-American, Protestant, college senior, nursing major, good health, enjoys outdoor sports, likes people.
14. Father Franz, 37, white, Catholic, college plus seminary, priest, active in civil rights, criticized for liberal views, good health, former college athlete.
15. Dr. Gonzales, 66, Spanish-American, Catholic, medical doctor, general practitioner, has had two heart attacks in the past five years but continues to practice.
That completes the cast of characters, chosen by a teacher who knows how to push the hot buttons. And now the class can start clarifying their values. I can imagine the students deciding to get rid of the easy ones first — Bobby Dame, the mentally retarded Jewish kid in special ed, and Dr. Gonzales who will probably have his third heart attack before the six weeks are up. It should be noted that in Hitler’s Germany, Nazi doctors decided that the mentally defective were socially worthless and should therefore be killed. This practice started in the 1930s, before the war. In other words, these kids in an American classroom were being required to act like the Nazi doctors in Germany — choosing who is fit to live and who must die.
Two more easy victims are Mrs. Garcia, the ex-prostitute, and her nursing infant. The fifth will no doubt be the black homosexual atheist who wears hippy clothes. He’s hardly the type you’d want to help generate a new human race. So far, it’s been pretty easy. But we have three more to go.
Dr. and Mrs. Dame look pretty safe. He’s got a Ph.D. and she’s got an M.A., which means they can start a graduate school of psychology as soon as they crawl out of the shelter. Goodness knows the seven survivors will need one to help create their New World Order. Mrs. Evans, the 32-year-old black teacher, and her 8-year-old daughter look safe. Mrs. Evans has an A.B. and an M.A. in elementary education, which means that the education establishment will have survived the nuclear holocaust. John Jacobs, the 13-year-old white boy is a shoo-in. The kids in the class will certainly identify with him.
Mrs. Clark, the 28-year-old black electronics engineer will probably be spared because she’s good at repairing stereo equipment. Sister Mary Kathleen, the 27-year-old nun, is obviously a loser, unless she’s willing to give up her virginity. Mr. Blake, the Mormon mechanic, is a little too old, all of 51. Besides, he doesn’t have a college degree. Miss Harris, the 21-year-old Hispanic nursing major, looks good as a future breeder of children. Father Franz, the 37-year-old priest, is a problem. Maybe the kids will permit him to live if he gives up his celibacy.
Tough, and totally amoral, decisions for the kids to make. And, of course, this exercise has given these 15-year-olds the opportunity to discuss such controversial issues as infanticide, mercy killing, euthanasia, homosexuality, rape, prostitution, interracial marriage, religion, ethnic differences, and the importance of a college education. Perfect humanist fodder for the entire semester.
Incidentally, the teacher who dreamed up this scenario must be a frustrated novelist. But his own biases are obvious. Five of the fifteen persons are white males; the one black male is a homosexual, and the one Hispanic male is old and sick. So only white males will survive. Of the five white males, the Ph.D., the 13-year-old boy and either the Mormon mechanic or the priest will be among the final winners. Did you ever doubt that the Ph.D. would survive?
As for the females, the situation is fraught with social and racial overtones. The exercise starts with eight females: two whites (the Master of Psychology and the nun); three blacks (the M.A. in elementary education, her daughter, and the electronics engineer); and three Hispanics (the prostitute and her baby and the student nurse). After eliminating the prostitute and her baby, the kids will have to eliminate two more. Whom will they be? The nun? One or both of the strong black females? The Hispanic nursing student or the Master of Psychology? Maybe Dr. Dame will take a shine to one of the black females and decide that Mrs. Dame, the lone surviving Jew, is dispensable. Who needs a Jewish problem in the brave new world? Or maybe the Mormon mechanic and the 13-year-old boy will decide to solve the race problem once and for all by eliminating the three black females. Why start off a new world and a new human race with a race problem? The possibilities are endless.
Can you imagine the emotional turmoil and confusion such an exercise can cause in the minds and hearts of 15-year-olds who are forced to decide who is socially useful and who is not? Some of them may have “socially useless” members in their own families, a paralyzed grandparent, a Down Syndrome infant. The exercise clarifies nothing. It confuses the whole issue of values. What it reveals is that there is something profoundly sick and perverse in humanist education.
Also, when I was given a copy of this survival game and had read it, I complained about it in a press interview. The principal of the high school was informed of my complaint. He defended the assignment as one that teaches the students the “process one goes about in making choices.” He said that the exercise was not unrealistic in this age of nuclear issues and that not to discuss such issues would be a disservice to the students.
If ever there was a stupid and morally bankrupt principal, he was it. He would have us believe that it is perfectly realistic for children to think of themselves as one of 15 sole survivors in a worldwide nuclear holocaust. Statistically, there was a better chance that any one of them could have won the state lottery rather than be a nuclear holocaust survivor. It would have been a lot more fun discussing what they would do with the money they won. It would have been a lot healthier than ordering the executions of eight fellow human beings.
Did they also decide who would do the killing in the fallout shelter? And how it would be done? And how they would dispose of the bodies? Or were the rejects supposed to just starve to death while the survivors ate? What makes humanism so malevolent is its profound atheism, an atheism not based on indifference toward God, but hatred and defiance. As Rev. R. J. Rushdoony has written: “Humanistic education is the institutionalized love of death.” The survival game can easily be included in death education, which, in my opinion, has led to an epidemic of teenage suicide. Indeed, the survival game was not about survival but about murder and death. And the principal approved of it!
No one bothered to find out what emotional effect this exercise had on the children who were forced to take part in it. I imagine there were among the students a few who tried to figure out a way to help everyone survive. But that would have frustrated the teacher’s objective: to turn these kids into merciless killers of the socially useless in the name of “survival.” What this humanist educator never considered is that some kids would have preferred to sacrifice their own lives so that others could live.