It should come as no surprise that America’s colleges and universities teach their students to disdain America. It may be startling, however, to learn they actively inculcate this disdain in the name of “civics”—and that one branch of this New Civics is designed explicitly for the purpose of disaffecting American students from loyalty to the United States. This component of university instruction is called “global civics.”
Global civics is part of what the National Association of Scholars calls the New Civics in my new report, “Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics.” The New Civics is called service-learning, civic engagement, and by half dozen other names, but it always involves taking students out of the classroom to do “educational” community service. The time the students spend doing community service is time they don’t spend in the classroom, much less learning proper elements of civics such as how the three branches of government work.
The education they gain is indoctrination into progressive politics. The New Civics functions largely to divert university resources to progressive organizations—a kind of free labor shakedown scheme. For example, at the University of Colorado, Boulder, so-called “community partners” that students can earn credit serving include the radical environmentalist group 350.org and Northern Colorado Dreamers United, which advocates illegal immigrantion. CU Boulder’s civic engagement branch gave graduate student Julia Daniel funding to work with Denver’s Black Lives Matter chapter.
The New Civics also inundates students with the values of the political Left, trains them to be the leaders and followers of “community organization” movements, builds up a cadre of radical activists, and provides this cadre with jobs as university administrators and professors.
Global civics is the largest subfield of the New Civics. Its advocates declare their subject is “the encompassing global project,” defined in contrast with “the American project”—that is to say, the United States. The texts of global civics are not the Constitution or The Federalist, but the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and Earth Charter (2000). Meanwhile, global civics is based on theories of “cosmopolitan democracy,” “the global constitution,” and “global justice.” Pushing global citizenship is one of the Left’s ways of encouraging Americans to place their loyalty outside the United States.
It is also another justification for activist organization. The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Shared Futures initiative defines global citizenship around a “civic commitment” that will take into account “privilege, power, democratic opportunity.” Liberal arts education generally should be redefined to “help” students “recognize that citizenship in a nation is only one factor in understanding the world.” Students are also supposed to “understand—and perhaps redefine—democratic principles and practices within a global context.”
In other words, global citizenship subordinates American freedom to progressive ideologues purporting to speak on behalf of the world.
The AAC&U provides several campus models of global learning. Nebraska Wesleyan University’s Global Citizenship Preparation, now renamed the Archway Curriculum, offers a particularly vivid example of what such Global Citizenship entails.
The Archway Curriculum integrates “rethinking what diversity means in a global context” with a biology class on “the ecological ramifications of climate change” and a political science class on “the difficulties of implementing international climate initiatives.” All students at Nebraska Wesleyan must also do 65 hours of required service. In short, Nebraska Wesleyan students who are absolutely sure the world will end in fire if racist Americans are free to manage their own affairs will learn to agitate for international bureaucrats to take over the U.S. economy—and earn a bachelor’s degree for these “efforts.”
Global learning aims to absorb all of college education. This is to be done by inserting “global learning goals” through the curriculum. Among others, Colby College has begun to redesign its general requirements around global learning. Colby makes the progressive advocacy of such courses transparent: its diversity requirement—two courses devoted to “progress in overcoming prejudice, privilege, oppression, inequality, and injustice”—makes sure that one such course is about the world outside the United States. Such courses include “Feminism and Decoloniality”—essentially, social justice propaganda about foreigners.
The global citizenship movement is meant to work jointly with experiential learning, service-learning, and allied movements. It is also intended to be inescapable: the global civics advocates’ goal is that “it should be impossible to complete a four-year university degree without some exposure to a global civics.” Propaganda to disaffect students from America will be required.
Global civics is a contradiction in terms, of course. As the editors of American Greatness have noted, civic education is meant to teach students about our country, and our country is America. Aside from being a Humpty-Dumpty juggling of words, global civics clearly is anti-civic—meant to replace love of our country with love of progressive ideals in global drag. At the same time, it exploits a natural instinct Americans have (because they are Americans) to want to serve. Who doesn’t have an instinctive impulse to applaud a thing calling for “service” as part of learning?
All patriotic Americans should seek to uproot the entire complex of New Civics. Those who care about American exceptionalism should especially focus on opposing global civics.