Of, By and For the People – Chapter 8

Greetings my fellow Americans!

23. A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education.

This Principle of Liberty from The 5000-Year Leap is perhaps the one most overlooked and neglected as a root cause for the apparent disintegration of America in our current culture and times.  Wait, what Jeff?  What do you mean “neglected?”  We spend more on education as a country per student now than we ever have!

Whether the enemies of America intentionally and purposefully infiltrated our education system, or it has naturally deviated as far as it has from our founding principles through malaise, complacency, politics, etc., there can be little doubt that there has been a progressive abandonment of the teaching of the American discourse in favor of narratives generally unfavorable to the nature of our founding and historical significance in the excellence of human civilization worldwide.  With each generation, for at least the last 100 years, children have been being increasingly taught to doubt the honor and validity of the United States of America, especially as regards its treatment of the rest of the world and those who have come here from outside.  Public schools have meanwhile abandoned even the mention of God or anything in the Bible.  The general quality of U.S.-based education in all disciplines has steadily degraded to enable the purely language-based civil war in which we now find ourselves, as many have never been taught how to critically think, nor how to appreciate just how novel and important America has been to helping our global human society rise to unprecedented heights of civilization and general prosperity.

But I digress, if only to explain why I believe this Principle of Liberty may be the most important one for us on which to immediately regain focus and local control as part of an American revitalization or renewal.  Education was also a key reason for why I started this series for AFNN, because for WE THE PEOPLE to renew America (or make it great again), WE need to be solidly rooted in, and living daily according to, all of these principles.  (Re)Education of ourselves in how to think and be truly American so that we may lead others will be crucial to winning this war.

So what were our Founders’ notions of this principle?  Recognizing that much of 18th-Century Europe was illiterate, and relatively ignorant of any notion of unalienable rights and/or generally incapable of critical thinking, they understood the importance of formal education, and of basic fundamental skills that would facilitate self-learning:  in other words, teaching children how to think for themselves as adults.  They also wanted to ensure that everyone understood how and why America was founded, so that all could develop effective criteria for scrutinizing, and holding accountable, those entrusted with the protection and preservation of their unalienable rights.  So important was this that states such as Massachusetts would penalize communities which did not have an established grammar school!  Reading, writing, ciphering, history and Bible study were mainstays in early American education.  Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States (1828, Stansbury) was the popular textbook of that day for political instruction of children.

Local control and oversight of curricula, teacher certification and hiring, and funding was key to the Founders.  The community-level school board model which still exists today (at least formally) has its roots in the supervisory committees of the Founders’ day.  

That control of much of these educational system responsibilities has shifted to state- and national-level bureaucracies—and unions—and how this occurred, is a topic for another article; it is worth noting here, however, that this shift has resulted in the complete secularization of schools such that reading of the Bible is now prohibited.  Further, education in America and these founding principles continues to be systematically eliminated by virtue of the diminution of parental- and community-level power and autonomy over what their children are taught, and how.  This top-down approach to education is completely counter to the basic tenets of our founding.

What’s also worth noting here is that while our Founders were against any kind of government-established and/or mandated method of worship of a Creator, removal and elimination of any acknowledgment of, or respect for, a supreme being from government and any publicly-funded institutions was never truly part of the American charter.  As noted previously, Bible reading and study were considered essential components of early American education, not only to help people learn how to speak and write eloquently, but also to be exposed to the aspects of Natural and Divine Law which undergird our very system of civilization.  The national government as founded was not allowed to force the people (or the States) to worship a supreme being, but neither was it ever allowed to prevent the education of children in the history and tenets of such worship in public institutions.  When we permitted the latter to happen, we enabled an accelerated drift away from the fundamental knowledge that would be required for those who were to come after us to sustain and maintain the underpinnings of our relatively brief Constitution.

To the extent that we can regain local- and parental-level control of our children’s education, and shift the balance of power away from the bureaucracies and unions back to We the People, we must do so as swiftly and thoroughly as possible.  We spend more on education in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world, and yet we are not only losing our competitive edge in the global marketplace, but also our knowledge of who we are as humans and as Americans, and why the American philosophy has produced the most civilization and prosperity for the most individuals globally in the history of humanity.  Whether it is through reform of the current system or not, education of our children and grandchildren (and ourselves) in the true founding principles of America is our only hope for the survival of the American discourse.

Of, By and For THE PEOPLE

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2 thoughts on “Of, By and For the People – Chapter 8”

  1. I have only just found AFNN, and I have already shared two insightfully written, beautifully worded and eloquently on point articles written by Tom Weaver. These days, with all that is going on, I don’t often hear myself say those kinds of things about an author anymore, let alone share them to others before I am even half way through reading them myself. THIS is the kind of journalism I have been missing during this downward spiral of intelligence, decency and common sense. I have never been more embarrassed to be an American in my life. But Tom Weaver’s ability to express the views of so many of us in a public forum is a welcome Godsend in the midst of seemingly Godless times. Thank you.

  2. We spend so much on education, alone, that is wasted before it goes anywhere. On things like overhead, buildings, land, and that stuff, then the rest goes on paying union driven teachers who teach what they want, instead of what the kids are supposed to be taught. Then, a ton of the money that is in that particular budget is used in political deals by the left and the right, that undermines the very role and existence of the original schools. In other words, we allowed central government to do what they do best; waste everything and say they accomplished a lot by doing so.
    The federal government should have no role in the way we teach our children. It have been a lousy steward. The states are as far up the tree that money and resources should be attained and proportioned. If left up to the federal government, all we have to gain is a bunch of numbskull leftists turning more kids into little numbskulls with no expectation past their iPhones, because they are sure not worth hiring.

    Education, along with many alphabet agencies have been shown to be as far away from “Of, By, and For the People” as they can get. Our federal government has to be throttled back to its original role, or it will just get worse.

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