Sunday, May 8, 2011

Liberal Bias in CISV

I agree with the vast majority of the messages that CISV attempts to convey, and I don't wish to make it out in a negative light at all. But one thing our family has noticed over the years is that while CISV claims to be non-partisan, it has a decidedly liberal bias in many of it's activities. One activity, for instance, is called "Rich and Poor". It tells the leaders to assign a few of the kids as "rich" and gave them great meals and perks and luxuries throughout the day, and another group as "poor", and gave them only bread and water and made them do menial tasks all day. We are then to have a big group discussion at the end about how everyone felt and what this means in real life, with the intention being that we illuminate the injustices of the world. But the tragic flaw of this game is that who is rich and who is poor is entirely random, that there is no way any child can enhance his wealth or earn more privileges! They poor cannot enter mutually beneficial transactions with the rich to enhance the wealth of both parties, as they can in real life. The extent of lateral mobility in economics is obviously hotly contested; it is probably less than conservatives think, and more than liberals think. But this activity assumes there is none whatsoever, that economic class is as inherent and unchangeable a trait as skin color or height. It also assumes there is no middle class, that there are only those who have and those who have not, the lucky and the unlucky, the greedy oppressors and the helpless victims. In other words, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Enhancing awareness about international socioeconomic differences is a worthwhile goal, but CISV is also about exposing kids to a variety of perspectives and opinions. Doing so requires political neutrality, but this activity actually pressures kids to view the world from a certain, highly partisan perspective.

I have another example regarding tolerance and intolerance, but it ties in with a larger issue which I'd like to touch on at greater length tomorrow. Anyways, that is my lone critique of what is otherwise a tremendous organization!

1 comment:

  1. The point of this activity is to understand a different point of view. Class mobility, working to improve wealth and other also very important lessons fall completely outside the objectives of the organization...