3Sons, This is from Soto's article: This is an interpretation that mischaracterizes Winthrop at least as bad as the SBOE mischaracterizes Tocqueville. And just as he's accused the SBOE of oversimplifying Tocqueville, he's oversimplified Winthrop and reduced him to an interpretation that is characteristically Marxian: or at least it fits the Marxist narrative quite nicely. Soto says that it is "worth pointing out that the words “egalitarianism,” “populism,” and “laissez-faire” do not appear in Democracy in America." And maybe it's also worth pointing out, then, that the word "communism" doesn't appear in Winthrop's sermon. And yet that doesn't stop Soto from finding (or claiming to find) communist concepts running through the document, just as the SBOE found (or claimed to find) concepts in Tocqueville that can be represented by different or later words. Far from demonizing wealth and privilege, Winthrop's sermon regards class division as divinely sanctioned: it advocates the acquisition of wealth in good times (what he calls ordinary times) so that it may be useful to the greater good in times of hardship (extraordinary times). This is not too different from the so-called "gospel of wealth" that later Americans such as Rockefeller and Carnegie followed, according to which they accumulated vast sums of money, and then gave away vast sums of money to charitable causes. Winthrop, like Rockefeller and Carnegie, regarded wealth not as an evil (as Marx did) but rather as an instrument by which people could do righteousness. Soto goes on to say that he would not stoop to teaching our kids about this so-called "communist strand" in American colonial history. But it is not at all clear what he would do with Winthrop's "Model of Christian Charity" sermon, which includes the famous City on a Hill reference. If you don't teach it as evidence of a communist strand (which he says he would not do), and if you don't teach it as American Exceptionalism (which he criticizes the SBOE for doing), then how, I wonder, do you teach it? Do we teach our kids that it was a cool line, but not much else: that it has no real significance to the grand themes of our history? Do we use it to merely say that our antecedents were religious people? That hardly says it. In fact what is embedded within Winthrop's sermon falls far closer to what the SBOE is attempting to communicate than it does Soto's fantasy about Winthrop being a proto-communist, and it carries far too much significance and meaning to simply disregard. It offers up, right at the outset of our history, one of the foundational questions of our people: can we find the proper balance between acquisitiveness and altruism? The heartless implication of Soto's essay--that we shouldn't really teach it because it's too complicated--is not only irresponsible, but it's the road to meaninglessness, which is the enemy of education. I would prefer Soto teach his communist interpretation and have the kids find their own way to the truth from a substantial lie, rather than simply abandoning the kids in an abyss of meaninglessness.