The Magazine

Left Behind

Sometimes indoctrination works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Apr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By ABIGAIL THERNSTROM
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Elisabeth Irwin had said that she hoped her school would always be a place where “heresy will be looked upon as possible truth,” and the school did celebrate heresy from mainstream American culture—but not from Stalinism. Indeed, Little Red was an appalling school, and from its current website, I think it’s fair to say that it still is. Nevertheless, it continues to have a clientele of old and new New York lefties who have the means to buy a private education with a curriculum that will keep their offspring politically close to home. 

Little Red is appalling, too. But readers with some anthropological curiosity may find its picture illuminating; it offers an introduction to a bizarre political tribe that most ordinary Americans have never encountered, but that has never entirely disappeared.

Abigail Thernstrom, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is coauthor of America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible.