of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Communist, Socialist, Progressive, Democrats?

Several weeks ago, a Facebook friend posted a meme that I found very disturbing; not because of its political message but because of the ignorance it showed of history.  In spite of the meme’s claim, communism is not the same as socialism and neither are the same as progressivism.  Furthermore, none of these ideologies is consistent with the contemporary Democratic party.

This meme supports the cause of those who like to discuss the general ignorance of Americans; especially in regards to history.

Since seeing this meme, I have been considering using it as a theme for the Contemporary America History course I am teaching during Spring semester.    During Spring semester, we can begin by looking at Communism, Socialism, and Progressivism in contemporary American history. Even though the meme is clearly referring to the Democratic party, I would use democracy as a fourth area for students to investigate; not the political party.

At this point, I would begin the class by forming students into teams to investigate the four ideologies.  Each team would prepare a presentation about the role the ideology played in contemporary American history.

After this beginning, we would work either individually or in teams to investigate and discuss key topics in American history.  According to the course description, these are:  “turn-of-the-century growth and crisis; the Progressive Era and World War I; the 1920s, the Great Depression and the New Deal; World War II and the emergence of the U.S. as a superpower; affluence, consensus and confrontation in the 1950s-1960s; malaise, drift and fragmentation in the 1970s-1980s; and the U.S. in the world of the late 20th century.”

At this point, it appears that we will have a relatively small class.  My experience with small classes is that they function very informally and that a lot can be accomplished in them.

Because Spring semester is only seven weeks, I think I will not use an individual project.  Instead, I will have students focus on preparing for and responding to class discussions.  One way to do this might be to require some type of blog or journal.

Even though we have less than a week before the first day of class, I am going to ask students to respond to my ideas.  I will also look for others to respond and make suggestions concerning this approach.

I contributed a comment to Paula M. Kreg’s “Next Time, Fail Better.”  (Chronicle of Higher Education.  6 May 2012.)

Susan Bordo’s “When Fictionalized Facts Matter” (Chronicle of Higher Education. 6 May 2012) provides an interesting analysis of historical fiction and historical films.  If I were to teach a film based class in HIST 137, I could see using it as a required reading; especially if I used one of the films she mentioned.


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3 thoughts on “Communist, Socialist, Progressive, Democrats?

  1. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the net the simplest thing to take into accout of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as people think about issues that they just do not
    recognise about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the entire thing with no need side effect ,
    folks can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more.

  2. Robert V. Chapman on said:

    Dear: Dr. Steven L. Berg

    With all due respect sir, it is apparent that you are highly educated. I dare say perhaps slightly a little too educated, to the extent that you dwell way too much in the minute details. To use an old cliché professor, you are failing to see the forest for the trees. The question at hand is, what do the four subjects in this, what you call an ignorant meme, have in common? The answer is that they are all creations and/or was taking over by a statist philosophy that continues to try to rule all mankind and everything on this earth. This same philosophy is what this great nation was fighting when it was founded. If we Patriots fail to correct this movement and soon, this nation will end fighting this statist philosophy and the Progressive Oligarchy promoting it !!!

    Sincerely: Robert V. Chapman

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