In the early 20th century, the conservative temperance movement popularized the belief that alcohol was the major cause of most personal and social problems and prohibition was seen as the solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills.
This is similar to the the NCLB Act, which is also seen as a solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills through forced improvements in education.
Upon ratification of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition – 1919 to 1933), the famous evangelist Billy Sunday said, “The slums will soon be only a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs.
Some towns even sold their jails.
The result of the 18th Amendment led to increased crime and violence due to civil disobedience. There was an increase in small portable illegal stills throughout the country. California grape growers increased their area of cultivation about 700% during the first five years of prohibition. Organized smuggling of alcohol from Canada and elsewhere quickly developed. There was also the notorious and ever present organized bootlegging often resulting in violence. This scourge led to massive and widespread corruption of politicians and law enforcement agencies and the widespread corruption of public officials became a national scandal.
After public support for the 18th Amendment eroded dramatically, Prohibition was repealed, as we are seeing with the NCLB Act.
Another Mr. Morally Correct
The end of slavery in the United States is another example of civil disobedience when abolitionists helped slaves escape from the southern states through the underground railroad at a time when the law said northerners had to return run-away slaves to their owners. This civil disobedience eventually led to the Civil War (1861 – 1865).
Individuals such as Mr. Morally Correct (quoted in Part 1) are conservative idealists supporting easy solutions to complex challenges similar to the temperance movement that led to the 18th Amendment and Prohibition. These misguided people believe that the public schools in America have failed and merit pay or vouchers will overcome all challenges education in America faces leading to a reduction in poverty, crime, violence and other ills.
Mr. Morally Correct and those that believe as he does are wrong just as the temperance movement was wrong in 1919, and without “nonviolent civil disobedience”, the NCLB Act would not be facing close scrutiny and loss of support from the American public.
However, those that are involved in civil disobedience when it comes to the NCLB Act should be aware that they might be punished. Many who violated the 18th Amendment during the fourteen years it was a law during Prohibition went to jail and were condemned by individuals such as Mr. Morally Correct.
In fact, I believe that Mr. Morally Correct will reject everything I have written in this series. After all, he probably is blind, deaf and mute when it comes to the truth just as the temperance movement was.
Return to Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 8 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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