In order for the benefits of liberty to survive, unique American principles must be stressed in a positive way to the uninformed youth of new generations. In this way, young people would have a clear appreciation of the specific principles that gave us liberty upon which to evaluate the inferiority of conflicting principles also presented in the classroom. Failure at this point in the last one hundred years, be it excused in the name of academic freedom or emancipation of the mind, is a scandalous treachery to liberty. In a world where practicing political and moral principles makes the difference between liberty and despotism, failure to teach them comprehensively, pointedly, and positively with scholarly competence and intellectual honesty serves the interest of those who would enslave us. Failing to implant or inculcate these principles of our founding is a tyranny of the mind that deprives students of the basis for their freedom of choice. In their citizenship, students cannot hope to choose soundly between alternatives they do not know and understand clearly. Some liberate and stimulate people to be responsible; other alternatives cause men’s character to ebb and lead to socialism.
Consider the resolution offered and implemented by the University of Virginia in March of 1825. This resolution adopted by the university board was proposed by James Madison, often called “The father of the Constitution” because of his influence in forming the Federal Constitution in 1787. He and Thomas Jefferson were members of the Board of Visitors, and Jefferson was the Rector or head of the University of Virginia at the time. The resolution stated that all students shall be inculcated (indoctrinated) with the basic American principles of government and that “none should be inculcated which are incompatible with those on which the Constitution of this State, and of the United States were genuinely based, in the common opinion.” The faculty had a standard of responsibility and was required to teach positively and affirmatively these unique American principles; then and only then, they were to teach the conflicting principles as such being judged by the soundness of the American principles that served as a basis. This is an indispensable duty of Academic Freedom-Responsibility, which is closely related to Individual Liberty-Responsibility in general. Otherwise, the students are deprived of the substance of their right to freedom of choice; the right to know the whys and wherefores of freedom, including its foundation in the Judeo-Christian philosophy.
The resolution went on to specify six writings that in the board’s opinion reflected the unanimously supported distinct government principles unique to America and upon which youth should be indoctrinated. Two of the documents were of an expository nature known for the clarity in which the ideals of government are amplified and their practical benefits applied to human nature: John Locke’s Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government (published in 1690) and Algernon Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government (1698). Also referred to were: The Declaration of Independence, Washington’s Farewell Address; the Virginia Resolutions of 1799 (adopted by the Virginia Legislature); and the Federalist (papers).* These were listed in that resolution as being sound sources of “the general principles of liberty and rights of man in nature and society.” The effect of the obscurity in which these key documents have been held over the past one hundred years is only too apparent. Of this edifice of human strength, these unique principles needed in order to be free and independent of the “entanglements” of “bountiful philosophy,” George Washington in his Farewell Address said, “… it is easy to foresee that . . . from different quarters, such pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth…”
America is a melting pot for people from all over the world who come to escape persecution and share in our abundance. Most come with a respect and awe for our freedom and the God of our fathers. Our religions are Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and many others. We need to unify on the general point, however, of supporting one nation under God. This is consistent with the Christian impetus that shaped America. The responsibility of government education is to be consistent with its basis of existence and enhance the atmosphere for belief and trust in God the Provider and Judge, while avoiding specific sectarian emphases. A chief tenet of Christianity, for instance, is that all men are equal before God and their acceptance or rejection of Christ is voluntary and a personal responsibility, not a matter for government dictation. Men are responsible and must choose and chart their own lives, including their sectarian choice of a religion. The private sector, as individuals, is the place where we should stand without compromise for the sectarian doctrine of our chosen religious persuasion and personal walk with God. Here in the land of liberty, supported in a general way by the Creator-concept of education, each religion can give its testimony and seek the truth for personal salvation, spiritual growth, and a broader following in the private sector.
The elitist professionals, the tyrants of the mind, who would replace traditional education and cultural emphasis upon which individual liberty rests, are leading our children into the Colosseum for certain destruction. Into the arena walk the victims: our daughters, our sons, and our national strength. In the stands, naive American citizens, including public school teachers, are waking up to what is happening. They are protesting at school board meetings. They are voting by the thousands against state-controlled schools by taking their young out of public schools, placing them in private schools that support God and country. Millions more will do it as they wake up to what is really going on. What could be more important than saving our children, our culture, our “One Nation Under God” government from the mouths of ravenous lions?
*Hamilton Albert Long, Your American Yardstick (Philadelphia Heritage Books, 1963), pp. 141-3.
~ David Norris