Hegelian Dialectic in CC ELA Standards

Larry Ballard, a candidate for the Nebo school district, recently opened my eyes more fully to the Hegelian Dialectic and how it is written into the Common Core ELA standards. This excellent essay from him needs to be read and shared. I bolded a part below which I think is one of the clearest ways of explaining this concept and why it’s so diabolical. This takes people who hold an absolute truth and shifts them away from it incrementally. Don’t miss this article. It’s one of the best I’ve read. Thank you for writing this Larry.

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There is a subtle methodology employed in the structuring of the young mind that occurs in the ELA Standards K-5. It has to do with the dialectic. It has to do with whether truth is relative or absolute.

Trevor Loudon states, “Why should you care about the Hegelian Dialectic? How does it affect me? The dialectic philosophy devised by Georg Hegel underpins the entire political and social strategy of the radical left. The dialectical approach to ‘consensus-building’ and ‘conflict resolution’ is the process with which the radical left attempts to control and manipulate outcomes.” In order to grasp the content of this essay, you will need to go to Mr. Loudon’s short article about the dialectic. You can find it here: http://www.trevorloudon.com/2014/01/hegelian-dialectics-for-dummies/

There are entire books written about the dialectic process. Suffice it to say that absolute truth is a single understanding of the mind that resonates with reality. It stands alone, will continue to bring consonance to the mind, and will withstand any assault to its proven reliability. A false truth can become the norm. Open-minded wrestling with an opposite challenging view to one’s truth will either reinforce the long-held truth; or will reveal that the old truth is no longer valid and has been proven false. A falsehood held to be truth is replaced by the newly discovered truth replacing the prior deception. Absolute truth can also imply a God creator who can communicate such truth to the mind of man. For example, when Kepler revealed the absolute mathematical reality of the proportionality of the solar system, he made a giant and miraculous leap that he personally attributed to his connecting with the mind of God. He stated that the discovery came from the mind of God to his mind. It can never change. It cannot someday evolve into a greater truth. He did not exchange an old truth for a new truth. His proportionality equation simply is.

So, what does it matter that the dialectic is found in the ELA Standards? Loudon says it this way, “Hegelian dialectical theory is simply a philosophy, a way of thinking—a thought process. But when taken to the extreme, and applied by unscrupulous characters, it is a very dangerous and lethal strategy. For it is not a new strategy or idea, but an ancient one. And it takes many forms. Indeed, it can be difficult to expose the strategy, even by those deeply familiar with it, because the agenda is hidden, and the predetermined ends are kept secret by those employing the strategy.”

The dialectic is an account of reality which eschews the concept of absolutes. It de-emphasizes the concept of the Individual. It unites with Darwinian evolutional theory and Marxist theories of a collectivist society. Karl Marx stated, “In the eyes of dialectical philosophy, nothing is established for all times, nothing is absolute or sacred.” Everything is changing—evolving. Think about the process. Take a commonly accepted truth. Now hold it up to scrutiny. A new idea is introduced to challenge the thesis. The anti concept wrestles with the truth in the minds of people. Instead of resolution coming on one side or the other of the dialectic, the resolution to the conflict is a consensus compromise—a synthesis. But, the process does not stop there. As all truth is relative, once the resolution is determined, a new concept is brought forward in counterpoint to the arrived at synthesis of the originally held truth. And the process continues, and continues, and continues. So, the question becomes as to whether this relativistic methodology steeped in gradualism is a secret methodology to greater understanding and truth; or is it a methodology of mind manipulation intent of an evolving movement towards a predetermined end point? Problem—reaction—solution. This methodology begins with, not one absolute truth; rather two opposites in conflict with each other.

What have we learned? There is a dialectical thought process. And, there is a didactic thinking process. The didactic process holds that 2 + 2= 4. The dialectic would suggest that 2 + 2 could = 22 or even 24 or some other answer. The answer may not be as important as the process. In the end, the methodology will produce a consonance or a dissonance. But, what if the dialectic is socially reinforced so that the individual is not allowed to find resolution and is compelled to live within a state of cognitive dissonance? What does this do to the human soul?

On the Silicone Valley Community Foundation web page we find the following video explaining a most cumbersome methodology in discovering how to come up with a correct math problem. http://www.siliconvalleycf.org/content/common-core

You will notice that rather than simply addressing the correct way to apply the absolute historically proven way of doing math, the problem gets personalized by attaching two “people” with opposing views to the teaching methodology in the persons of Rob and Sue. The teacher asks, “Who do you agree with?” Then the students are split up into groups of two and collaborate in order to come up with a consensus answer. The teacher is focused on the methodology in order to guide the students to the correct answer. Critical thinking is inherent to the problem solving process. But, what about the underlying reformed methodology? Has the dialectic been overlooked and simply accepted as the norm over the didactic?

In the Common Core ELA standards we frequently find the phrase, “Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story…” If you read through the Standards you will find the word “two” a lot. And, you will find that “group reading activities” prevail. Here is another phrase, “Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.” The dialectic approach is only apparent. So, the question becomes whether the concept of absolute truth is allowed for within the methodology of the Standards. Could it be that the “critical thinking skills” being taught are the Hegelian Dialectic and it alone? Is the “if and only if” situation that a God creator could reveal absolute truth to man being purged from the equation? Is it being made possible that 3 times 4 actually equal 11 so long as whatever method, valid or invalid, used to arrive at the relative answer can be verbalized? It is the “critical thinking” element that rules the predetermined outcome in which the brain is being trained in the dialectic methodology of relativity.

During a recent debate for Alpine School Board, Wendy Hart and others were asked if politics had a part in the common core debate. Consider that it was the concept of the dialectic that Hegel promoted that, alongside Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, were the backbone and the sinew of Communism and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Both constructs are intellectually stimulating. Intellectually stimulating does not necessarily translate into universal absolute truth or moral goodness. As with the Common Core dialectic, do we find ourselves bouncing off of walls from one crisis to the next these days? This article is simply a starting off point in raising the possibility that if Hegel’s philosophy of idealistic dialectics and Marx’s theory of dialectic materialism are at the core of the methodology of the new common core curriculum, we might want to pay attention and begin to question why?

-Larry Ballard

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3 Responses to Hegelian Dialectic in CC ELA Standards

  • Alyson says:

    A lot to think about here. It’s what I observed in the aligned writing assessments as well. Read several pre-selected text excerpts, and write an “opinion” essay using only the text provided to justify your points. The correct response has little to nothing to do with truth or even what one might believe, but what one can best justify, or support, from the opposing views that are provided. To me this exercise teaches sophistry, not wisdom.

  • Monica says:

    Wonderful essay and supporting links! I’ll be sharing this.

    You see the dialectical approach also in the new A.P History standards, where the exemplar questions ask students to write their “own” definition of democracy, for example, and then apply that perhaps correct, perhaps incorrect understanding as justification of an historic event, without any regard to the actual context or consequences of the event. In other words, the Hegelian approach encourages subjectivity as a legitimate foundation for ideas and ideals, and replaces truth with a logical process that is self-referential and so therefore emancipated of the need of any higher moral authority.

    In his book, Orhodoxy, G.K. Chesterton calls out this kind of perfectly circular and ultimately narrow rationalization for what it is – madness! We need more people to point out the meta methods used to shape the debate besides just taking a side.

  • C.S.Claybrook says:

    The more things change the more they stay the same. After 6,000 years we’re still falling for the same old ‘bait'; “the serpent beguiled me and I did eat.” WAKE UP AMERICA! Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it and right is right even if no one is doing it. Have a great day Right on Larry.

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