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The Lie: Evolution

Textbook War

Do the Math

By Karl Priest May 24, 2012

Those who hate the values of the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters use the slurs of narrow-minded, ignorant, racist, religious fanatics, censors, violent, and racists to denigrate the protesters and diminish their philosophy. No one will deny that there were some protesters that fit those categories. On the other hand, only someone unwilling to face reality (or just plain lying) will claim that pro-bookers (1) did not include people who were narrow-minded, ignorant, racist, religious fanatics, censors, violent, and racist. It would be impossible to determine the numbers or degree of intensity of those who deserve any of those labels of shame, but let’s look at each category and see if there is a reasonable basis for the accusations.

Narrow-minded is a matter of opinion. My opinion is that liberals are more narrow-minded that conservatives. I am not alone with that conclusion. Former far-left-winger, David Horwitzsays,It is conservatives who are actually liberal. We believe that there should be two sides to a question...” ( There is an interesting observation from a scholarly book in a section titled “Hearing the Other Side”: “The more educated Americans become—and the richer—the less likely they are to discuss politics with those who have different points of view…In the United States today, people who haven’t graduated from high school have the most diverse groups of political discussion mates.” Bishop, Bill. The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-minded America is Tearing us Apart. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008: 286

Religious fanaticism is similar. Some of the most extreme opinions about religion are spewed by atheists who deny that atheism is a religion. Religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe... (

Likewise, there is no way to objectively gauge censorship tendencies. Both sides want the values of the other to be, if you will, censored.

Two professors attempted to gauge the education of both sides by analyzing the letters-to-the editor of the Charleston Gazette printed during the protest (2). Actually, all they proved was that the individuals who wrote the letters did not use big words that average folks do not use in ordinary communication. Someone familiar with the far-left lean of the Gazette will smell a stink. It is quite possible that the editor filtered out letters that were favorable to the protesters in an academic way. I can prove that the Gazette refused to publish a letter from me because I would not allow it to be edited.

For the sake of argument here is a way to analyze the two most touted slurs (racist and violent) used against the protesters. Approximating the degree of racism and violence is not scientific, but it is eye-opening. All numbers will be rounded and adjusted to make the outcome quite favorable to those who sneer at the protesters. About 12,000 people signed a petition objecting to the books, but let’s not claim there were 12,000 protesters. Let’s use 10,000 for a following computation. There were 45,000 students in Kanawha County. Subtracting 20,000 as possibly being 7-12 graders leaves 25,000 1-6 graders. Assume each family had three children and we obtain 8000 families with elementary age children. Figure that 3,000 of those families were either single parent or had one parent who did not object to the books and we have 5000 two-parent homes or 10,000 parents. Add the two groups and we will use 13,000 parents of 1-6 students. Sixty percent (some sources say 80%) of those parents refused (using county provided opt-out forms) to allow their children to use the protested books. That puts 7,800 parents that could be classified as protesters. But, let’s not claim there were 7,800 protesters. There were about 4000 who participated in a protester march (Charleston Gazette 10-29-1974), but let’s not claim there were 4000 protesters. Let’s not even claim 3,000. There were about 2,000 people who showed up in a drenching downpour at the June 27, 1974 board meeting so, it is reasonable to use that amount to obtain the following percentages and make a couple of powerful points.

The highest figure the press cited as attending a KKK rally was 300. (Charleston Gazette 1-19-1975) Let’s raise that to 400 which would be to the extreme. We could argue that some of them had no interest whatsoever in the books and we divide 400 by 2000 to obtain a percent that 20% of the protesters were racists. Even though that figure is a small minority it is ridiculously high. Even the most severe protester hater would not claim it to be accurate. If the more reasonable figure of 10,000 protesters is calculated the figure becomes 4%. Alice Moore received over 25,000 votes for reelection. That figure (after the protest had been complete for many months) is indicative of the true support of the protest. Divide 400 by 25,000 and the figure drops to the miniscule 1.6%.

Now let’s look at the violent percent. A high figure of those convicted of serious violence (actually only vandalism) is 10 (Charleston Gazette 11-5-1975) who were charged with bombing school buildings. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Two pro-bookers are the only ones that harmed human beings—one seriously.) Divide 10 by 2,000 to obtain 0.5% (one half percent). Divide 10 by 10,000 to obtain a more reasonable 0.1% (one tenth of a percent). That is like cutting a penny into ten equal parts. So, out of a dollar (100 pennies) a small sliver of one penny would be rusty.

Liberals should be embarrassed to pitifully claim the protesters were racists and violent. Conservatives should be encouraged to proudly proclaim the protesters as the heroes they are.

(1) “Pro-booker” is not a complimentary term. It merely is the easiest designation I could coin for those who supported the books which were protested by those with different values. The protesters were not against books per se. The pro-bookers could be accurately labeled the “anything goes except Judeo-Christian concepts” crowd.

(2) “Letters-to-the-editor on the textbook controversy published in the Charleston Gazette between October 31, 1974 and September 25, 1974 were analyzed, using the Gunning Fog Readability Index. This index provides an estimate of the educational level of the writer on the basis of the use of difficult words (meaning words of three or more syllables). Clearly, the anti-textbook letter writers demonstrate a lower level of education, but letter writers on both sides show a wide range of educational levels. More importantly, there is no significant difference in the mean educational level of the male anti-textbook correspondents and the female defenders of the texts. This finding casts doubt on the hypothesis that the conflict is simply a dispute between educational strata.” Page, Ann L. & Clelland, Donald A. “ The Kanawha County Textbook Controversy: A Study of the Politics of Life Style Concern.” Social Forces Sept. 1978: 273.


The TRUTH is that the Kanawha County Textbook Protesters were true patriots and heroes. They consisted of thousands of humble people who have suffered humiliation because they stood up for children and America in 1974. The Kanawha County Textbook Protesters deserve to be honored.  Please read THE FACTS.