"Head 3," CC-BY Son of Groucho. Photo of a statue in honor of assassinated Turkish investigative journalist Uğur Mumcu.
“Head 3,” CC-BY Son of Groucho. Photo of a statue in honor of assassinated Turkish investigative journalist Uğur Mumcu.

(Jackboots and torture and slaughter, oh my!)

Several Republican members of the New Hampshire legislature are hoping to update a Cold War anti-communist law that prohibits public school teachers from teaching “subversive doctrines” that include “the overthrow by force of the government of the United States” (etc.). Naturally, the original language of the law only mentioned communism by name, but the new version adds socialism and Marxism—and worst of all seeks to stop teachers from teaching “negative account(s)” of US history, specifically “that the United States was founded on racism.”

Leaving aside the obvious fact that there are many kinds of non-Marxian socialism and that most brands of socialism don’t preach overthrowing governments, the proposed new language currently up for consideration doesn’t mention a few major ideologies that definitely do. Namely, Nazism, fascism, and white supremacy. Isn’t that weird?! Must be an oversight by our good friends to our north. Right? Full bill text follows (proposed language in bold):

AN ACT relative to teachers’ loyalty.
SPONSORS: Rep. A. Lekas, Hills. 37; Rep. Layon, Rock. 6; Rep. Cordelli, Carr. 4; Rep. Ammon, Hills. 40; Rep. T. Lekas, Hills. 37
COMMITTEE: Education
1  Teachers’ Loyalty; Prohibition Added.  Amend RSA 191:1 to read as follows:
191:1 Advocacy of Subversive Doctrines Prohibited.
I. No teacher shall advocate communism, socialism, or Marxism as a political doctrine or any other doctrine or theory which includes the overthrow by force of the government of the United States or of this state in any public or state approved school or in any state institution.
II. No teacher shall advocate any doctrine or theory promoting a negative account or representation of the founding and history of the United States of America in New Hampshire public schools which does not include the worldwide context of now outdated and discouraged practices.  Such prohibition includes but is not limited to teaching that the United States was founded on racism.
III.  A violation of this section shall be considered a violation of the New Hampshire code of ethics and code of conduct for educational professionals and shall justify disciplinary sanctions.
2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.

Also check out the companion bill that would “expand the existing statute that requires that teachers provide two weeks of advanced notice of their curriculum for health and sex education in schools. The bill would require teachers to provide notice of materials for all courses, and allow parents to lodge objections to materials they found objectionable and require the school to provide alternative instruction,” according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

Apparent Horizon—an award-winning political column—is syndicated by the MassWire news service of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ’s executive director and executive editor and associate publisher of DigBoston.