Contradictions in the Republican Party of Minnesota Platform

Particularly amusing (when you get past the idiocy and how frightening it is that people who come up with some of this stuff have a say over how our country is run) are all the contradictions (or what appear to be contradictions to me) in the Republican Party of Minnesota’s platform.

Contradition #1: gifted and talented education:

Minnesota should devote the same amount of effort to education gifted and talented students as it currently devotes to special education.

But:

there should be no state and federal support of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and the adoption of IB by local school districts.

Obviously, IB is not synonymous with gifted and talented education, but it seems funny that they first say the schools should “devote the same amount of effort” to g&e as to special ed and then go on to explicitly prohibit funding a particular program for gifted and talented students. This may have something to do with the IB program specifically – I honestly don’t know. It just seems a bit contradictory.

#2: More Education Stuff:

Minnesota should have a well-rounded knowledge-based curriculum to prepare our students to be good citizens, with an emphasis on hard work, honesty, home and family… This would be ensured by a statewide testing system on basic academic skills, as well as rigorous standards for math, science and other core curricula.

But later:

Specifically, educators who discuss creation science should be protected from disciplinary action and science standards should recognize that there is controversy pertaining to the theory of evolution.

We believe that K-12 school teachers should not initiate discussion, teach lessons or provide resources to students on the topic of family structure, human sexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgenderism. Instead, we should require that K-12 public school teachers teach about sexual abstinence, that premarital sex and extramarital sex is wrong, and that the use of contraceptives is not safe sex.

What happened to knowledge-based? The “controversy” surrounding evolution is not scientifically based, it’s societal. In other words, it should not be the job of science teachers to teach the controversy, but rather the job of social studies teachers. As for the second part I mentioned, they seem to be against teaching morals in the classroom unless those morals are evangelical Christian morals.

Knowledge-based education would educate students about things that have been studied or researched. For example, what we know about human sexuality and family structure should be taught in the appropriate classes (health or psychology, probably). The effects of single-parent, traditional heterosexual parent, and other types of households have been studied. Facts from these studies can and should be taught. Homosexuality and bisexuality fall under the broader term human sexuality, and there are a number of facts that could be taught to students without necessarily forcing value judgements. There are also facts about transgenderism that could be taught without forcing value judgements (not sure if transgenderism also falls under human sexuality exactly, also do people actually use the term “transgenderism”??). Last time I checked, public schools in Minnesota do teach about abstinence. They say the only 100% effective contraceptive method is to not have sex (of course this only applies to the heterosexual, vaginal intercourse idea of sex). They then go on to teach about the other, knowledge-based methods of contraception and share their rates of efficacy in regards to preventing pregnancy and preventing the spread of STIs. That premarital sex is wrong is not a knowledge-based idea and therefore, according to their own logic, should not be taught. Similarly, extra-marital sex being wrong is a moral judgement (one which I generally agree with) that is not knowledge-based and should not be taught.

I understand the desire to prevent teachers from trying to indoctrinate children with their personal moral beliefs, but it’s funny how these people think it’s fine if the teachers indoctrinate students with evangelical Christian values. Perhaps we should focus on teaching facts and critical thinking skills so students can actually learn rather than just be sheep.

#3: Personal Privacy:

As Republicans, we respect personal privacy and personal property. [This is followed by a number of things pertaining to personal privacy and property]

Yet:

There are multiple paragraphs condemning abortion. There is also one paragraph (mentioned in my post Why Should You Participate in Caucuses?) saying laws should be instituted that would allow men to prevent a woman they impregnated from getting an abortion.

Additionally:

We support restricting the production, sale and promotion of vulgar and obscene material, especially to children, and believe that pornography-blocking software should be installed on all computers with internet access in publicly financed institutions.

Minnesota should prohibit any medical procedure or therapy that would deliberately cause or hasten death including physician-assisted suicide and deprivation of food and water.

Minnesota’s laws governing marriage should be amended to offer a ‘Covenant Marriage’ option, entailing extensive premarital counseling and limits on divorce.

The Republican Party of Minnesota believes that there should be real welfare reform, which would . . . require . . . random drug tests as a condition of receiving aid.

I’ll spell out the contradictions. They claim to respect personal privacy, which I believe covers how you chose to live your life and what you do in your own home, yet they say women of child-bearing age should not have full control over their own bodies, access to and production of pornography should be limited by the government, those with terminal illnesses who choose to die rather than endure immeasurable pain (or put their families through such pain) must commit suicide without the assistance and comfort that a doctor can provide, the government should be so involved in marriage that people can choose to tell the government to limit their ability to divorce, even if they change their minds about one another, and welfare recipients should not have the freedom to act as they choose regarding the substances they use.

Even where I see the reasoning behind the suggestions (the drug-testing is probably meant to prevent tax-payer dollars from being spent on illegal drugs), they are all invasions of personal privacy and personal autonomy.

Three contradictions are enough for now. Happy reading!

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