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An American Affidavit

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

172.The New Thought Tide: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

172.The New Thought Tide: The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto from archive.org

The New Thought Tide  

     The great forced schooling plan even long ago was a global movement. Anatomizing its  full scope is well beyond my power, but I can open your eyes partway to this poorly  understood dimension of our pedagogy. Think of China, the
Asian giant so prominently  fixed now in headline news. Its revolution which ended the rule of emperors and  empresses was conceived, planned, and paid for by Western money and intellectuals and  by representatives of prominent families of business, media, and finance who followed  the green flag of commerce there.   

     This is a story abundantly related by others, but less well known is the role of ambitious  Western ideologues like Bertrand Russell, who assumed a professorship at the University  of Peking in 1920, and John Dewey, who lived there for two years during the 1920s. Men  like this saw a unique chance to paint on a vast blank canvas as Cecil Rhodes had shown  somewhat earlier in Africa could be done by only a bare handful of men.  

     Listen to an early stage of the plan taken from a Columbia Teachers College text written  in 1931. The author is John Childs, rising academic star, friend of Dewey. The book,  Education and the Philosophy of Experimentalism:    

     During the World War, a brilliant group of young Chinese thinkers launched a movement  which soon became nationwide in its influence. This movement was called in Chinese the  "Hsin Szu Ch'au" which literally translated means the "New Thought Tide." Because  many features of New Thought Tide were similar to those of the earlier European  awakening, it became popularly known in English as "The Chinese Renaissance."   While the sources of this intellectual and social movement were various, it is un-  doubtedly true that some of its most able leaders had been influenced profoundly by the  ideas of John Dewey.... They found intellectual tools almost ideally suited to their  purposes in Dewey's philosophy.... Among these tools... his view of the instrumental  character of thought, his demand that all tradition, beliefs and institutions be tested  continuously by their capacity to meet contemporary human needs, and his faith that the  wholehearted use of the experimental attitude and method would achieve results in the  social field similar to those already secured in the field of the natural sciences.  

     At about the time of the close of the World War, Dewey visited China. For two years,  through lectures, writing, and teaching, he gave in-person powerful reinforcement to the  work of the Chinese Renaissance leaders.  

     It's sobering to think of sad-eyed John Dewey as a godfather of Maoist China, but that he  certainly was. 

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