Education vs. Schooling

 

Years ago I published a quarterly newsletter called The Kithara. An article there pointed out the great damage done by Dewey and others when they changed education (satisfying the need of the individual for knowledge and understanding, thus creating useful and productive members of society who could think for themselves) into schooling (indoctrinating children in the current “progressive” dogma, thus creating obedient citizens who let their leaders think for them). The difference is profound.

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An Ideal Home Library

From time immemorial, education has been the responsibility of the family and basics were taught by parents, including reading as well as principles of successful living, moral uprightness, and work.  This was supplemented with tutors and schools as opportunity and resources permitted. Reading and writing were recognized as necessary for communication and to have access to the scriptures, newspapers, and literature. An educated American in the 18th and 19th centuries was expected to be familiar with The Bible, Plutarch’s Lives, and Shakespeare. This system worked well enough that literacy rates at the time of the American Revolution are estimated at over 90%, and nearly 100% in Boston.

Education was a necessary precursor for the success of the American experiment in self-government. Recognizing this fact and the need to create good citizens, local governments instituted schools to better provide for children of families without the means to hire tutors or private schools; these were the public schools. They also functioned quite well for a long time, eventually becoming nearly universal, taking over many of the educational functions of families, and displacing private teachers. Despite the best efforts of generations of devoted public school teachers to aid and protect their pupils, politicians and ideologues recognized almost from the beginning that public schools with their naïve, captive audiences could be effective tools for indoctrination and social experimentation. In the process they necessarily devoted less and less time and resources to the actual acquiring of basic knowledge and useful skills. Alas!

1924 schoolroom

Elementary School About 1924

Chester Finn, a tireless champion of school reform for many years, recently wrote a fine article about the failure of one of those social experiments that started in the late 1980s and which even now corrupts discourse on the subject. It is well worth looking at:

https://edexcellence.net/articles/schools-are-still-peddling-the-self-esteem-hoax

 

Best Wishes!

 

 

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A New World Order

Niall Ferguson has published a brilliant and insightful essay on foreign policy in which the prospects for international order in our day are compared to those of Roosevelt. No, not that one, Teddy. Though long, it is well worth reading.

Donald Trump’s New World Order

 

Understanding Propaganda

The disgusting bias of the major news media in the recent election may give us pause to consider the difference between journalism and propaganda.

Those of a certain age will recall classes in school–yes, public schools–about how Nazis and Communists and other -ists manipulate their messages to mislead the masses. That was during the height of the cold war and was important so the American people could more easily discern truth from error. More recent generations have not been given such information, just as they have long since stopped hiding under desks during air-raid warnings.

In the end, all such tools, just as the -isms which use them, are means to a common end: the exercise of power by one group over another. This was one of the themes of my book, All Enlisted, and is perhaps the dominant theme of all history.

An excellent review of how journalism becomes corrupted follows:

http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/21/journalism-turns-propaganda/

 

Almost Election Eve

This election has become a bitter and desperate battle for survival of the most utterly corrupt figure ever to occupy the national stage and the so-called “elite” politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, media, and academics who support her. That includes a sizeable number of Republicans who care more about their perks and privileges than their duty and honor. You may not have wanted Trump as the leader of the charge against this cabal, but there he is, doing well and speaking right. We will hope for the best. Following is a quote from my book, The Federalist, Excerpts With Commentary, 2nd edition, first Madison, then my commentary:

 

LXXI. THE DURATION IN OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE

The tendency of the legislative authority to absorb every other, has been fully displayed and illustrated . . . The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter; as if the exercise of its rights, by either the executive or judiciary, were a breach of their privilege and an outrage to their dignity. They often appear disposed to exert an imperious control over the other departments . . .

(T)he best security for the fidelity of mankind is to make their interest coincide with their duty.

 

  1. Arrogance, the Imperial Congress, and the Imperial President

Congress has been particularly aggressive in expanding its power relative to the presidency following periods of presidential embarrassment such as after Watergate, during much of the Carter administration, and during the latter portions of the Reagan and first Bush administrations. This took on a partisan character because of long-lasting, one-party rule in the legislature. How then to explain the lack of congressional assertion of power during the remarkably expansive and repeatedly illegal actions of the Obama years? When controlled by the same party, they presumably agreed with him, but when controlled by the opposing party, why are there no concrete actions, special prosecutors, indictments, etc.? Does an unprecedentedly arrogant, Imperial President intimidate them? Or has Congress become so corrupt they simply want to stay at the trough and not “rock the boat”? Do their personal interests coincide with their duty?

 

Reasons For Trump

I grew up on stories of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, Sir Walter Raleigh and Columbus, King Arthur and Sir Galahad. The highest ideal in life for a man is to be a Christian Gentleman, to emulate in our small lives the lives of great ones who have gone before us, most especially the greatest of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when one of my grown daughters asked me after the recent release of that embarrassing 11 year old videotape of Donald Trump whether I still supported him for president, she might have been surprised when I answered, “yes”.

That was not to condone whatever was said on the tape–I have not and will not watch it, but the reports are enough. The fact is that though it has been many years since I was in a locker room, I remember how vulgar and uncouth some of the speech was. I was the quiet, nerdy guy, not one of the jocks who later became businessmen, lawyers, and politicians.

Through the years we have heard many stories and reports of similar embarrassing recordings of vulgar and uncouth language of leaders from FDR to Kennedy to Johnson to Nixon. Usually they are hidden by their friends in the media, unless their carefully timed release can sway an election toward the Democrat. And then, of course, they are all shocked, shocked at such language. Fact is, we are electing a president, not a Pope, and a vulgar and uncouth president may be all that a vulgar and uncouth people can handle.

There are four excellent reasons for voting for Trump:

First, we apply the Bill Buckley principle, “You should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win.” Trump is not a conservative, but he is infinitely better than Clinton, the most corrupt, vile, anti-Constitutional candidate in American political history. No third-party candidate can win.

Next, he has a remarkable talent for hiring good people such as Steven Moore as economic advisor. His lists of Supreme Court candidates, consultants, and supportive admirals and generals is a Whose Who of sensible, experienced, and constitutional thinkers and doers. He hires to his weakness, and is not reluctant to fire when necessary. (Incidentally, any previous Secretary of State would have resigned after the debacle in Libya; any previous President would have demanded it.)

Third, he is a disrupter. Not part of the political establishment and not beholden to the Establishment and their power brokers, he is committed to shaking up what has become an  utterly corrupt federal government which has usurped the powers and rights of the people and the states. His commitment to be the “law and order” candidate is refreshing, especially his most recent vow in last night’s debate to direct his Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor to take action against Clinton for her many crimes. The fear you saw in her and her husband’s eyes when he spoke about it was real.

Finally, he has all the right enemies. Like a majority of my fellow Americans, I have grown to hate the fawning leftist media, the arrogant leftist academics, the violent leftist agitators, the complacent leftist bureaucrats, the rich leftist bankrollers, and the corrupt and haughty politicians of both parties they foist upon us. They call themselves “the Elite.” If they hate him, he has my vote.

 

Best Wishes.

The Olive Tree

With enemies threatening on every side, it is worth remembering the great promises made to Israel–the state, the land, and the people–as well as what Jerusalem means to Christians and Jews and Muslims alike. To help raise funds for the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount of Olives during the 1970s, my father printed, framed, and sold copies of a picture he had taken of an ancient olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here is the picture as well as the text he wrote for the back:

The Olive Tree  091

The Olive Tree Text 092

The tree is over 2,000 years old. It was present when our Lord suffered there. It was silent witness to the years of exile and persecution. It was still there when Israel was re-established as a state in 1948. Let us remember our brothers and sisters in Israel and pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

 

Best Wishes.

 

Treason

A prosaic dictionary definition is “the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government.” This is sufficiently vague that it was used through the centuries to justify vicious persecutions by the sovereigns of their political opponents. The Founding Fathers wisely wrote a more specific definition into the Constitution.

Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The section was worded in this way so as to preserve the efficacy of the First Amendment–people can say what they want, even oppose the very Constitution that keeps them safe in saying it. “Levying War” is straightforward, but “Adhering to their Enemies” may be a little more difficult to pin down. It probably includes promoting sharia law, which is incompatible with the Constitution. “Aid and Comfort” means more tangible support such as furnishing them arms in Libya, Syria, and Mexico (the so-called “fast and furious” operation). It might consist of providing billions of dollars in support including the recent $400 million “non-ransom”.

Ah, but then . . .

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

Sir John Harrington (1561-1612)

The 2016 election, more than anything else, is to determine whether treason shall prosper.

Best Wishes.