Reading and passing a test on the “bible” of Tea Party supporters, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, could become a prerequisite to graduate for Idaho’s high school seniors, if one Senator goes though with his bill. Republican state Senator John Goedde, who is the chairman of the Idaho Senate’s Education Committee, wants all students to read the book because, he says, it “made my son a Republican.”
Senator Goedde, a 63-year old Catholic and state senator since 2000, claims he won’t push the bill but wants to send the State Board of Education a message “because he’s unhappy with its recent move to repeal a rule requiring two online courses to graduate from high school, and with its decision to back off on another planned rule regarding principal evaluations,” the Idaho Spokesman-Review reports:
“It was a shot over their bow just to let them know that there’s another way to adopt high school graduation requirements,” Goedde said after the meeting. “I don’t intend to schedule a hearing on it.”
The 1957 novel has been embraced by libertarians and the tea party movement, in part for its opposition to “statism” and embrace of capitalism, as Rand expressed her philosophy of “objectivism,” focusing on “the morality of rational self-interest.” In recent years, the novel has been touted by conservative commentators including Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.
“When I read Atlas Shrugged, and it’s been probably 30 years since I read it, but it certainly gives one a sense of personal responsibility,” Goedde said.
Many should be concerned that not only is Senator Goedde wasting the taxpayers’ money and time on frivolous bills that he admits he won’t bring to a vote, but as the Vice Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures – Education Committee, his admission that he wants to politicize public schools to turn out Republicans is frightening. While the Senator claims it was a joke, there’s truth in jest.
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