The American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC] "is a 501(c)(3) American organization composed of legislators, businesses and foundations which produces model legislation for state legislatures and says it promotes free-market and conservative ideas." John Nichols in The Nation magazine described ALEC as a “collaboration between multinational corporations and conservative state legislators." What ALEC does is write legislation for state and local legislators with the intent of passing bills favorable to their libertarian, pro-business ideals. Though they are on the ropes nationally because of excellent work done by such groups as Center for Media and Democracy, they have by no means gone away.
Recently Sabrina Stevens infiltrated a secret meeting of ALEC in Washington DC. Stevens was acting as an activist interested in preventing the privatization of America's public school systems. She writes the following about her experience:
After greeting each other, Committee Chair and Iowa State Representative Greg Forristall called for some opening remarks from Indiana State Rep. Cindy Noe, who proceeded to tell the room about how wonderfully their new education policies were unfolding in Indiana. Nevertheless, she called on the organization to start looking beyond affecting the structure of the education system, and into looking more closely at the content of what's taught in schools. "If we're not careful," she charged, "we will end up with a full generation of secular humanists, of multiculturalists-- with kids who don't know real American values."
Those Humanists who don't see the importance of progressive politics and economics, or who somehow think that supporting "libertarian" pro-corporate policies is not in conflict with Humanist philosophy should be clear on one thing: The other side sees the connection.
Corporatists and Libertarians know full well that Secular Humanism is a Progressive philosophy. What State Rep. Noe is calling for here is for the corporate takeover of our public education system so that she and those others who support the policies of ALEC can literally indoctrinate our children into their corporate dystopia. Freethinking Humanists will only get in the way, so she proposes preventing their ability to come into existence.
Why do such people oppose Secular Humanism? Because Humanists value reason, compassion, optimism, equality, diversity and freedom from want. Many of these ideals fly in the face of those who would profit from the exploitation of a working class deprived of basic human rights. ALEC works to pass laws making it more difficult to collectively bargain, while weakening laws that might force corporations to bargain fairly.
It's time for Humanists to stand up against those who would game the system in their favor.