Rationalist Society of Saint Louis Message Board › Texas Republican Party Seeks Ban on Critical Thinking, Other Stuff
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It seems more like a headline from the satirical newspaper The Onion, but the Republican Party of Texas recently published its party platform, a report that - among other things - calls for a ban on teaching critical thinking skills in Texas schools because of its "focus on behavior modification" that has "the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." That's just one of the many startling positions adopted by the state's Republican Party at its recent convention in Fort Worth.
Among the usual calls for constitutional amendments declaring life begins at fertilization, outlawing gay everything, and granting all citizens who own firearms the ability to "legally exercise their God-given right to carry that firearm," this year's platform has a few other gems of government policy positions worth mentioning:
•An opposition to all forms of taxation, including all taxes on corporations and especially the "immoral" estate tax, instead calling for a highly regressive consumption tax that would shift virtually all of the state's financial burdens onto the shoulders of the poor and middle class.
•Repealing the minimum wage so Texas workers can earn even less at a time when corporate profits are at an all time high as a percentage of GDP and wages are at an all-time low. Texas leads the nation in the percentage of its workforce earning minimum wage at nearly 10% and almost 300,000 of those workers already earn less than the Federal Minimum Wage.
•Privatizing Social Security. Despite the long term success and stability of the Social Security retirement program, the Texas Republican Party favors an "orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax." Of course, had this been the actual plan in place in 2008, Texas seniors would have lost tens of thousands of dollars, if not everything, to the collapse of the market. There is no solution offered in the platform for those without the means to save for their own retirement, especially considering their call to repeal the minimum wage.
•Returning to the Gold Standard. The platform demands a return to the "time tested precious metal standard for the U.S. dollar," and a repeal of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 that stabilized the U.S. currency under the Federal Reserve. This is a popular position of Libertarians in the party and is supported by Texas Congressman Ron Paul. But even the Heritage Foundation, a well-known conservative think tank, calls such a move "the realm of extreme fantasy." Since 2008, the price of gold has more than doubled, which means if the dollar had been pegged to the price of gold in 2008, everything from bread to automobiles would have doubled in price at the exact same time the country was spiraling into recession.
These are just a few of the more entertaining positions of Texas' Republican Party that also include privatizing veteran's health care, promoting corporal punishment in Texas schools, teaching abstinence-only education, and the bizarrely specific opposition to listing the dune sage brush lizard as a threatened or endangered species.
While we are unlikely to see a return to the gold standard anytime soon or the privatization of our veterans' health benefits, these are still the adopted formal positions of the Republican Party of Texas, the same party that has held both statehouses and the governorship for more than a decade. Go Texas.