Education’s Take On Free Enterprise—They Don’t Have A Clue

    Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives.

    Wherein we see a profession entirely supported by free enterprise which denigrates free enterprise at any opportunity.

America’s free-enterprise system reinterpreted
By Sheri Few

For generations, Americans have associated free enterprise with economic opportunity, growth and prosperity. South Carolina’s U.S. History and Constitution Standards underscore these positive associations by requiring students to learn about the role of capitalism and entrepreneurs in promoting democracy and a rising standard of living.

But the College Board’s redesigned AP U.S. History Framework will not teach these positive associations. Instead, more than 5,000 of South Carolina’s most talented high school students will be taught a revisionist interpretation of America’s economic history that completely omits the terms “free enterprise” and “entrepreneur.”


    Or, as they say in the educult–“Everything useful is done by government–business gets in the way of real life.”

The framework’s concept outline substitutes the term “big business” for free enterprise. As detailed in the framework, big business has not played a constructive role in the growth of the American economy. While America’s booming economy may have been the envy of most of the world, at home it despoiled the environment, exploited workers and corrupted politicians.


   How can politicians be corrupt if only government does anything useful. Hmm.

Students learn (page 61) that big business monopolies “sought to maximize the exploitation of natural resources” and “battled conservationists as the latter sought to protect sections of unspoiled wilderness” (page 63). They learn that “labor and management battled for control over wages and working conditions,” prompting calls for “major overhauls of the capitalist system” (page 64).


     As usual, those making naught but government dollars regard only government dollars as sacred. These people, being of high emotion and low intellect, cannot see the irony.

Although the framework does not have space to mention entrepreneurs such as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, it does have space for Mother Jones, one of the co-founders of the radical International Workers of the World.

In the framework, heroic progressive reformers battle big-business villains. The reformers respond to social inequality and political corruption by calling for “government intervention in the economy, expanded democracy, greater social justice, and conservation of natural resources” (page 66). Ultimately, New Deal reformers end the ruthless and profligate reign of laissez-faire capitalism “by transforming the United States into a limited welfare state” (page 67).

The sample exam is linked closely to the framework’s biased portrayal of “big business.” For example, a photograph of late-19th century immigrants that illustrates squalid housing conditions in New York’s Lower East Side serves as a source document for multiple questions. Question 24 states that these conditions contributed most directly to “an increase in Progressive reform activity.” Question 25 asks students to associate these deplorable conditions with the “low wages earned by workers in the late nineteenth century.” The answer choices do not include the possibility that the workers earned low wages because they were new immigrants who lacked job skills and did not speak English.

What these sample questions have in common is the biased idea that a troubling social problem is caused by the low wages earned by workers in a ruthless capitalist economy. This problem then helps galvanize progressive reformers who advocate government action to ameliorate economic inequities. This same pattern repeats in later questions, where American business is the primary culprit.

This treatment of American business is clearly at odds with the expectations of South Carolina’s history standards. As such, it is yet another reason that when it meets today, the State Board of Education should join Texas in demanding a return to a course that presents the truth about American history.


    Leeches calling themselves titans. Only in public servantry.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “
Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies



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