As my response will be quite long due to the complex nature of the subject matter, I will attempt to break it down in to discussions of the relevance of and inter-connection between civil society, founding documents, and the rights and obligations emanating from them. The totality of my arguments will dispute your views unless you can come up with a more cohesive philosophical and factual counter.
The comprehensive nature of this lengthy (upwards of 25 pages) response (mini-book might be more appropriate) has led me to decide to post it in several parts. In this first part of my response, I will make some needed disclosures and discuss the role of education since all misconceptions like your stem from intentional distortions of not only our history but western culture overall.
Morality and spirituality play vital role in any discussion revolving around our nation’s founding. So, in order to make where I am coming from clear (so that you can put my arguments in proper context), let me disclose that I, like you, am not a religious person, however, I am by no means an atheist either. I adhere to agnostic spirituality. As a practical agnostic I believe that the question of God’s existence is irrelevant to the living of life because so-called judeo Christian values are really human values. Therefore I, regardless of proof (either way) of God’s existence or the validity of various prophets, live my life in a manner consistent with universal values of virtue embedded in me - be it Judeo Christian, Buddhist, etc.
Although I do not adhere to any religion, I have no animosity towards any such institution that advances morality in our society since a moral and just society is the basis for a civil society without which we would descend in to darkness of chaos.
Also, I will be using the terminologies conservatism and classical liberalism interchangeably since the nuance between the two philosophies (primarily emphasis on social conservatism) is somewhat insignificant in the context of the subject matter.
So, here we go:
First, a few words about the shortcomings of our educational system in the context of why some cannot reason (in that it is the most basic of thought processes that is required for developing a philosophy), and why there is even a progressive movement:
Importance of Education in Fostering True Knowledge:
Almost all people are born with the ability to critically analyze issues, but this ability remains dormant unless the mind is unleashed by proper training during formative years.
In the classical sense, education is a three stage process. There is a learning stage (called the grammar stage) when children are thought how to learn. Then, there is the logic stage when we are supposed to learn cause and affect relationships (how things relate in a logical framework). Finally, in the rhetoric stage, we sharpen our eloquence in conveying ideas.
The shortcoming of many modern day school systems is that they do not effectively go past stage one – and how could they when they have more pressing things to teach like ‘Heather has two mommies’ (sarcasm!). Had they done this, we would not be reading about studies that show that substantial portions of college students enter college sorely uninformed and graduate not much better off.
How this plays in to our discussion relates to the widespread misconceptions about America and illogicalities in views held by some.
Our mediocre school system barely touches the all important formative period of our history (mid 1760s through 1789), providing no in-depth understanding of the historical figures, facts, or the founding documents themselves let alone prepare students to undertake a critical analysis of far reaching philosophical concepts that is required.
Case in point: Most Americans think of the U.S. Constitution as a stand alone guide due to lack of an integrated view of the Founding Documents. They have little understanding that it is only a Quick Guide that requires referencing the companion documents in order to form a well rounded understanding of it. The full Owner’s Manual is the collection of all founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, Federalist and anti-Federalist Papers, and the 11th through 27th Amendments to the Constitution. Reading and understanding these documents collectively – as they relate to each other - demolishes all pretense that the founding fathers were racists or the U.S. Constitution is a living document that was meant to be interpreted and amended to the point of extinguishing its original intent.
This incomplete approach to fostering an understanding of the framework for our nation stems from half a century of intentional educational mismanagement. Public schools, at every level, put little emphasis on a complete (integrated), classical discussion of the Founding Documents. One reason is time, as such an in-depth approach would require giving less attention to other subject areas, and another (more ominous) reason is the radicalization of the teachers’ unions, which I have written on before on my blog.
Regarding the time constraints, I believe that a complete understanding of our Founding Documents (in a historical context that makes sense) is vital to the preservation of civil society and long term survival of the American way of life. The civil society is what is called organized liberty or the social compact, and there are various elements to it. In a civil society you must have a moral order, which rule of law is based on. This interrelationship between a moral order and the civil society is exactly why the counter-culture movement of late has drawn a bull’s eye on traditional values. This concerted effort between a wide spectrum of progressive institutions from entertainment to media to public education is by no means a pure coincidence.
The school system, therefore, must make time by abbreviating other, more fashionable, subject matter relating to the environment, tolerance towards LGBT or ethnic communities, or any of dozens of other issues that are really up to families to foster.
On the radicalization front, I will next discuss briefly the history of hijacking of public education (at all levels). This is important to establish in that the purposeful radicalization of education, which is traceable to early 1960s, is not a figment of conspiratorial minds but a matter of historical facts. The proof is all over alternative media (as main stream media roots for this kind of subversion of education in the name of “progress”) for those lazy minds who need to be spoon fed the Cliff notes version. More keen minds will simply have to laboriously piece it all together from different main stream sources. I have over the years tried to do both in order to be fair to the subject matter.
Starting in the early 1960s, school systems began taking a sharp turn towards progressivism (some might call that an understatement) as teachers’ unions became increasingly radicalized during the civil rights and Vietnam War era. It was during this time that the academia started paying close attention to cultural Marxism and its variants authored by likes of Lev Vygotsky, Antonio Gramsci, and John Dewey.
As decades progressed, schools became laboratories of behavioral manipulation. Children, at young ages have been routinely subjected to pernicious methods such as deconstruction of reality where western culture has been downplayed and steadily replaced by visions of collectivist utopia.
Here, I shall quote extensively from Chuck Roger who has many vigorously researched, insightful articles on the subjects of radicalization of our education and behavioral manipulation in education:
Members of the political class glommed onto the resulting “social justice,” affirmative action, “diversity,” multiculturalism, political correctness, and other malignancies spawned by cultural Marxism. Progressive politicians came to view society as a hodge-podge of racial, ethnic, gender-based, and now also sexual orientation-based groups locked in zero-sum combat with Western whites.
Generally speaking, cultural Marxism’s indoctrinees have learned to view morality and knowledge as “constructs” and social and economic power as commodities to be transferred from “oppressor” to “oppressed.” Progressives routinely label minorities as oppressed and anything that benefits minorities as moral. Such thinking dominates the Democrat party platform.
In embracing Western middle class deconstruction, universities took a radical left turn. To ruinous effect, the radicalism gradually descended below freshman level. Cultural Marxism entered high school, then middle school, and now infests elementary schools as well as preschools. One illustration of the use of anti-wealth, anti-American fallacies in K-12 classrooms is the showing of the virulently anti-capitalist video, The Story of Stuff. The video presents baseless, hysterical vitriol as fact.”
University of Arkansas researcher Sandra Stotsky found that education schools push “evidence-free theories” to influence curriculum development. One theory, “constructivism,” argues that children learn best by constructing class topics and methods in ways which leverage the children’s personal experiences. The notion “feels” seductive, but contains no factual basis.
Constructivist theory recklessly assumes that racial, ethnic, gender-based, and sexual orientation-based subgroups learn what’s truly important by absorbing teacher-led dissection of Western middle class knowledge and values. Constructivism holds that after such cleansing, the subgroups should be qualified to select study topics of their choosing. The method aligns with the equally baseless views of early progressive education theorist John Dewey, who wanted children to specify “relevant [classroom] material”
Related to constructivism, “reader response theory” teaches students to ignore authors’ actual words and assign preferred meanings to written works. Children are conditioned to believe that truth is relative to individual or tribal experience. Ayn Rand captured the tribalistic aspect of minority exploitation in her essay, “Global Balkanization.” Rand observed that government “manufactures pressure groups,” especially ethnic groups.
The profiteers are those group leaders who discover suddenly that they can exploit the helplessness, the fear, the frustration of their “ethnic” brothers, organize them into a group, present demands to the government-and deliver the vote.
By encouraging minorities to resist socioeconomic assimilation, progressive politicians maintain a nationwide nursery of government-dependent adults from which to draw lifelong votes…and income. Progressive teachers steer students toward a strange-brew mindset of anti-assimilation, collectivism, diversity, and we-are-the-world-ness.
Stotsky points out that the “evidence-free” education school theory of “social justice” alleges that minority children learn best when encouraged to embrace grievances against middle class whites. Social justice-indoctrinated teachers instill resentment in “non-dominant” (minority) children and guilt in “dominant” (white) children. Judging by the abundance of guilt-ridden white Americans, the tactic is working its magic well.
Social justice education deemphasizes knowledge retention and the development of traditionally productive skills. The theory’s fanatical adherents maintain that teaching American history to blacks and Hispanics is oppressive. It’s also oppressive to force blacks to “think like whites.” “Diversity consultant” Glenn Singleton teaches that blacks must be excused from developing “annoying white characteristics, such as being ‘task-oriented’ and ‘intellectual.’” Together, government dependency and social justice education have fashioned a super-progressivism turbo-charged by cultural Marxism. Stunted black academic achievement and disintegration of the black family are but two of the many devastating results.
In truth, disintegration of not only the black family but of wholesome tradition itself begins in preschool, as discussed in my introductory analysis of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s influence on early childhood curricula. A study by Stanford education professor David Labaree frames the scope of disfiguration of America’s education curricula. Education schools fit “solidly in the progressive camp.” Teachers are conditioned to “integrate the disciplines,” use “socially relevant themes,” and push morally relativistic versions of “community, cooperation, tolerance, justice, and democratic equality” in ways that make the concepts appear noble, indeed innocent.
But there is no innocence in the effects of the progressive conditioning of teachers. More K-12 students than ever are now being manipulated through lesson plans warped into platforms for moralizing against capitalism, the white middle class, and America. The deconstruction of American society is proceeding.
It is through the prism of this backdrop of American educational history that we must view the prevailing progressive attitudes and beliefs I aim to deconstruct in my writings.
In part two, I will get in to discussions of human nature, natural law, rights, and civil society.