This is the first official review of the (Lord willing!) many I will be doing for Mind and Media.

Some books, no matter how badly written, still merit a reading on other grounds. Georgiana Preskar’s Seeds of Deception, which is self-published through AuthorHouse, is one of these.

Contra the laudatory comments about her book she (understandbly) puts on her website, Preskar’s writing style is downright bad. Preskar includes a small taste of the kind of writing to come on the back of her book: “The journey of one woman, asking why, discovers mind control of our American youth.” It reads like some of the sentences from my high school students at the beginning of the year. The bad writing style isn’t just limited to grammar. Preskar attempts to frame her findings within her process of discovering them. Rather than gaining a deep compassion or understanding of Preskar’s experiences, I found myself laughing out loud at the awkward self-awareness of her comments: “I turned off the computer. My body was not mine. I felt numb. Anita Brayant where are you? (sic) I thank you for your courage” (100). At times, Preskar’s book sounds more like a rally than an investigative work: “Make sure sex Ed values are like your family values. Get out of thought revolution and in touch, once again, with traditional values. Parents need to be in control, no the schools. Parents need to check whether classes teach that life begins at contraception and not birth” (89).

The lack of clarity that this almost-english teacher despises transfers over to her argument. What is Preskar’s point? Preskar’s general thesis (I think) is that the educational program Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity is secretly subverting traditional morality and society and replacing them with “global sovereignty, moral relativism, unisex, abortion, assisted suicide, redistribution of wealth, humanist religion, homosexuality, and court decisions and laws that meet the situational needs of the person or persons at the moment” (from the website). Preskar can’t restrain herself to simply addressing SEED and it’s effects–rather, she manages to take on many of the issues in the above list as well as some that aren’t (such as “White Privilege”). She even has sections dedicated to outlining the occultic influences on Hitler as well as the association of the Third Reich with the homosexual cause. Presumably she is attempting to argue against both homosexuality and paganism by association with the Third Reich, as well as point out the similarities between the culture that bred Naziism and our own. However, much of Preskar’s “research” rests on rather dubious sources such as The Pink Swastika.

However, if Preskar is right about SEED, then she is right to be concerned. From the SEED website above comes excerpts from this article by Emily Style, on of the co-directors for SEED:

For me, the beauty of the classroom gathering lies in its possibilities for seeing new varieties of Beauty. This multiplicity, in turn, enables both students and teachers to be engaged in conversation about an evolving definition of the beautiful. Such dialogue requires the practice of both/and thinking as participants acknowledge the varied experiences of reality which frame individual human perspective.

Now, the common sense of needing to provide both windows and mirrors in the curriculum may seem unnecessary to emphasize, and yet recent scholarship on women and men of color attests abundantly to the copious blind spots of the traditional curriculum. White males find, in the house of curriculum, many mirrors to look in, and few windows which frame others’ lives. Women and men of color, on the other hand, find almost no mirrors of themselves in the house of curriculum; for them it is often all windows. White males are thereby encouraged to be solipsistic, and the rest of us to feel uncertain that we truly exist. In Western education, the gendered perspective of the white male has presented itself as “universal” for so long that the limitations of this curriculum are often still invisible.

The proponents of SEED just happen to be behind everything I think is destroying America. If this is what SEED promulgates, then Preskar and I agree. I’ll be more charitable to Preskar: drawing off the “scholarship” (see here and here and here) of Dean Gotcher, Preskar identifies Hegelian influences in SEED’s pedagogy. From the language of the website, this actually seems a tenable claim to make. Judging from the context, “dialectic” doesn’t mean a discussion directed toward finding a normative truth, but a discussion aimed at discovering other people’s “personal truths” and learning to accept them as equally valuable. As a philosophy of education, I think this straight from the pit of hell (to join Preskar in her over-the-top language!).

That being said, Preskar’s argument (if there actually is one!) suffers from her tenuous claims and odd associations. For instance, she argues that the prevelence of circles in the classroom comes from pagan beliefs that time is circular, not linear (page 45). “Schoools increasingly are using the circle, and in Elk Grove it is reported that high school teachers are using it regularly in certain classes. The students report to parents they do not like it.” Additionally, rejects any sort of discussion classes, claiming that it is a tool for brainwashing (the facilitator leads the class to the ‘evolving higher truth’). She even manages to reject critical thinking, spurning the California Civic Book for it’s purpose statement: “The primary purpose of this textbook is not to fill your head with a lot of facts about American history and government. Knowledge of facts is important but only in so far as it deepens your understanding of the American constitutional system and its development.” Never mind that I come from an evangelical Christian institution where we sit in circles, have discussions, and attempt to think critically about the world, while still affirming absolutes. Preskar routinely demonstrates an inability think critically or carefully about the associations she draws, as in the above examples. She even accuses Rick Warren and his seeker-sensitive methodology as being a part of this pernicisous movement.

The problem with Preskar’s work is that fundamentally, when discussing allegedly secretive institutions, the arguments rest heavily upon personal anecdotes. It becomes a matter of whether we trust the authors giving the anecdotes, and Preskar destroyed this reader’s trust that she is actually making true claims about SEED and it’s method. One of Preskar’s like-minded compatriots confirms her claims (in much more clear, systematic fashion!) here, but the problem of trust remains the same. The method of inquiry doesn’t lead to highly persuasive arguments–Preskar and her ilk seem to operate in a closed circle of accusations that are impossible to argue with and rest on testimony.

Fundamentally, there is no arguing with a position like this. Proofs or arguments that contradict hers are proofs or arguments that I’ve been brainwashed. This type of water-tight position isn’t an indicator of truth, though if Chesterton is right, it may be an indicator of madness (something I am NOT accusing Preskar or her associates of). Regardless, her project of raising awareness would be more successful in certain non-extremist corners (like mine) if she tempered her over-the-top alarmist language with more rigorous argumentation and careful expression.

I began the review by Saying Preskar’s book is worth reading, if only once, and I still stand by that, though I will admit that it is a borderline case. Much of Preskar’s research comes from other sources, and while reading it I often wanted to inquire for myself from the original sources. However, Preskar’s book is a litany of interesting theories, many of which I had never come in contact before. For that reason, I would Seeds of Deception, but with the caution that it may be laborious to the critical reader.

Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • Jim

    Seems like a rehash of the flap over The Aquarian Conspiracy. Add three cups paranoia, two cups credulity, one pinch of fact, mix well, strain thoroughly.

  • I agree that it is poorly written (and edited).

    You may be interested in my recent review of Seeds of Deception.

  • Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your heated review of my Book. Both David and you became very upset while reviewing my Book. When a Book stirs up such emotions, it draws attention to it. Obviously everyone does not like the same kind of book. For the very reasons you did not like my Book, others did.

    It is a story. Itis a journey and meant to tell the journey and not just the facts. Of course you sound like a man who would not enjoy the journey of discovery. It is interesting that other men have written positives about the Book; it was my concern that perhaps men would not enjoy it. I have found you and David and one other to be the only ones not to enjoy it.

    As for the ideas of the Book, it is rather obvious that my discovery is the Marxist Dialectic that is permeating our society through programs such as SEED. Understanding the “compromise” brought my ideas of mind control to reality, and now I see for myself what is happening in our country. I certainly gave credit to Dean Gotcher throughout the Chapters, as I did to all of my resources.

    I did use many footnotes and told when I found my sources in other sources. That did not mean that I did not check them out for myself. I refuse to write a Book that does not credit every thought or idea from other people, or books, or websites. I would never cheat anyone of the respect due them for their thoughts or knowledge on subject matter. I would also not cheat anyone of the ackowlegment that I found a source in their book. I am proud of my research and will debate anyone about its authenticity and value in writing my Book.

    As for using Purpose Driven Church material, it is a part of the whole picture of brainwashing. Eugene Peterson’s Book, The Message, changes the words of God in the Bible. I am not going to hide this fact and it is just the way it is. Warren used it in his Book; I did not!
    I am not calling Warren a bad person or what he has accomplished as bad, only the way he got there. I do not believe that the end justifies the means.

    In January I put out a new edition; unfortunately I sent old copies to Mind and Media and these went to you. My new edition has many of the editing errors corrected, plus more information in the Purpose Chapter. It also includes information on a teacher who went through SEED and is willing to testify against it.

    What does amaze me about you and David is that there is no concern shown throughout your entire review about the children and what is happening to them because of the brainwashing that is consistently being used in the schools. There is no review of the incredible evidence of the horrors of the homosexual lifestyle and what it does to their mind, body and spirit. At first the desire to be respected permeated the homsexual agenda, but now it is our children and marriage they seek. As for the White Privilege, if you did not get this part, I am not sure why? I can’t help you with this one.

    David of course believes all my material is made up nonsense. He calls it hateful and uses the outdated rhetoric of people who truly are brainwashed. He is upset because I suggest keeping children away from homsexuals because of influences on them or perhaps even their attentions on them.

    Now this makes sense, since all studies indicate many children are homosexual because of adult child molestations by family members. The statistcs are high amongst homosexuals that molest children. I am NOT saying that all homosexuals molest children as David so ridiculously has said on his review. That is a blatant lie! Amazing he is more concerned about the homosexuals then our children and their loss of innocence.

    I do not believe that either of you have the ability to understand what I was saying in the Book and it has nothing to do with the material or how it was written, for even with the first edition mistakes, I still have people telling me how much they enjoyed it. It has to do with a mind set that refuses to see what is clearly happening in our world of today.

    I do thank you for reviewing the Book.

    Georgiana Preskar
    Author

  • ooooh !