Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Civics Classes, and a Future Past

Recently, the actor and sometimes leftist activist, Richard Dreyfuss, was interviewed on Tucker Carlson's show, and as you may have seen, or heard snippets of, or at least heard about, Dreyfuss soundly denounced the 'Antifa' activists who've been using violence on campus, to squelch people's ability to freely speak and associate. Kudos to Dreyfuss on that. But. For those of you on the Right, who are enthusing "Wow! There's a sensible Leftist that we can get behind!", please, for once, slow down a bit. While I too like the sound of much of what Dreyfuss says in this video - particularly his call to engage in the 'Battle of Ideas' in open discussions, and of course his call of 'Let's get back to the constitution and the Bill of Rights!', it is well worth remembering that what we think we are hearing, isn't always what the speaker meant for us to be hearing, and that what was actually meant (or will inevitably follow, despite their best of intentions), will often turn out to be something that we really do not want to hear, let alone experience.

That very situation, is, of course, what a good discussion should ideally expose and clarify for those in the conversation - but that cannot happen, if we, as we too often do, assume that their words, are said with our meaning, and so we, especially those on the Right, don't ask, don't check, don't clarify, what was meant - and so we are continually blindsided when their actual meaning is put into action. Ya know, for a group that's so fixated on the need to improve their messaging, you'd think that they'd notice that 'Wuht?! How did this happen?!', isn't a particularly attractive message to be habitually messaging from your group.

What sort of words could I mean? Well, words, for instance, such as the 'Civics' that Dreyfuss said he wants to see us getting back to,
“Civics has not been taught in the American public school system, since 1970…”
'Civics' is a word that sounds very significant. And our schools' lack of such a class - which is intended to be 'the training of students for democracy' (hmm) - sounds like a shocking situation, and a very sensible concern (although, as I, sadly, had to sit through the drudgery of Civics classes in 1972-74, in a Las Vegas public school at "Hyde Park Junior High", his blanket statement is at least questionable). But before we on 'The Right' go backing up his call, we should remember that the 'Civics Education' which he most likely wants to see, came from a concept of civics classes, that was once among the first of those 'bold, innovative thrusts' promoted by the education industry, from the opening of the 20th century, on. Such Civics classes were a particular favorite of 'educational reformers' such as John Dewey, who, for what he thought were very good reasons, was very big on pragmatically abandoning our past, and our traditional reverence for Truth, as well as the idea of 'the training of students for democracy' (isn't putting the 'training' of students in political views, into the hands of a government institution, even a trifle concerning?), so as to do 'what works', in order to take America 'into the future!'.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it occur to anyone else, that it's quite possible that the current situation we find our educational system, and our society, to be in, is a result of those very Civics classes, which Dreyfuss is advocating for us to engage in? Again?

Are we really going to blindly accept, that what we assume they mean by that word, is such a good thing for us to want to 'get back to' engaging in? Again? Perhaps, rather than seeking to get back to their future in civics, we should take a little time to consider what teaching Civics, as we once did, does, to a students understanding of civics, and to their understanding of individual rights, and to their understanding of the role of government within that society, that they are soon to become the future civic members and leaders, of?

One thing that both sides should be clear on, is that what we think we hear when we hear the word 'Civics', is highly unlikely to be what the other side means by it, because there exists among us such vast differences of opinion on political philosophy. We don't simply have differing perspectives on
the same object, but starkly divergent belief systems, that have grown to be poles apart, and the result is that the meaning of a word such as 'Civics', to someone on 'the Right', has a very different meaning from the meaning which self described 'Progressives' typically attach to it, because what an ideal system of government is - which is what Civics Classes were designed to train students in - is precisely what the different groups differ on!

The person on 'The Right' (supposedly) is looking to have governmental powers securely bound by laws which abide our Constitution, and which puts the rights of individuals, before what others might want to use the power of government to serve 'the greater good' with, and they expect a Civics class to be oriented around those sometimes less than obvious supports for the vital 'self evident' truths, that a society of liberty rests upon.

That is not the perspective which the 'Progressive' idealizes. Their view, which they've held since their early thought leaders, such as Washington Gladden, is that America's constitutional ideas of Liberty, are that,
"The tradition of respect for individual liberty, was "a radical defect in the thinking of the average American."
, and what they thought would be a better, smarter, more modern view, would be to have the civic power under an 'Administrative State' which was empowered to 'do good!' as social experts thought best, even if it meant that some people's rights were somewhat 'the worse for wear' because of it. In the view of those oriented around the 'Administrative State', the 'greater good' requires the authority to restrict those who have what government experts determine to be unfair advantages, or privileges, from exercising their liberty in ways which they find to be 'in the way of progress', or in some wayunacceptable', and those are the ideals that our Civics classes were oriented around, from the start.

Not surprisingly, being a fan of such Civics classes, Mr. Dreyfuss has often expressed how he very much wants the media to be controlled by govt, that he wants govt to put a limit on their profits, and to put further limitations on what can, and cannot be said by, and in, the 'media', because he - self appointed expert that he is - thinks that would be best for us,
"News divisions are obligated to cover the news, not profit from it!" and "I want a constitutional amendment that completely separates money, television, and politics", and "We license the networks, we don't sell them, we never sold them, they must behave as we need, not as they wish, for their own profit."
What Dreyfuss means, is that he wants a constitutional amendment to give power and authority, to some in government who are, perhaps elected, though probably not (the bureaucratic 'Administrative State' of appointed experts regulating how you should live, is an original pro-regressive ideal), who will then be empowered to put limits on our freedom of speech - call me crazy, but I'm not convinced that seeking some a sort of anti-1st Amendment, amendment, to undo our ability to speak, support speech, and associate freely, is the way to go. That legalistic muzzling, is but a 'kinder, gentler' Antifa, with textbooks and laws, rather than riots, and it is not a sentiment that you'll find in a Civics class that's oriented around the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, but it is what a Civics Class that's oriented around an 'Administrative State' view, was designed to do; that is 'the training of students for democracy'.

An 'Administrative State' oriented Civics, has to blur, and bury, a knowledgeable understanding of our Constitution, because it runs counter to their day-to-day interpretation of it. Given that, the school's Civics classes, were written to assist in making their a-constitutional views acceptable, not so much by outright contradiction, but by treating them proactively with an 'out of sight, out of mind' focus, to those 'educated' in them. Which was the thinking behind the hugely influential report by the NEA (National Education Association), in 1918, "Cardinal principles of secondary education", which while making much noise and fanfare over encouraging civic understanding, and understanding of the constitution, had ideas such as this, at its core:
"...Civics should concern itself less with constitutional questions and remote governmental functions, and should direct attention to social agencies close at hand and to the informal activities of daily life that regard and seek the common good. Such agencies as child-welfare organizations and consumers' leagues afford specific opportunities for the expression of civic qualifies by the older pupils...."
The 'Constitutional!' sizzle that Civics classes are sold with, soon fizzles out, and the underlying message of the 'Administrative State' is what carries forward without it. Yes, a feeling of "Wow!" most definitely comes over me when I hear Pro-Regressives speak of 'Civics education!', but not in a good way, because what I hear them calling for, is a desire for even more of what got us into this mess in the first place. However encouraging it may sound when people like Richard Dreyfuss say they want to engage in a 'battleground of ideas', I have grave doubts, stemming from of an understanding of the founding and sustained beliefs of those who're pleased to refer to themselves as 'Progressives', on how willing he and they will be to objectively identify what grounds they'd permit such battles upon, or in how, or to whom, the wins and loses would be scored. Yes, we should be willing to engage with them - absolutely! - and on that basis we should welcome the "Dreyfuss Civics Initiative aims to revive the teaching of civics in American public education and to empower critical-thinking skills students need.", and all such efforts, but only if we are extremely wary of such cases of 'Progressives bearing gifts', especially as their 'gifts' have already evidenced a history of effectively eliminating those gifts of Self Governance and Justice under law, which the Greeks have handed down to us.

To me, that's not Progress, but the enthusiastic pursuit of its opposite: Pro-Regress.

What has already been historically proven, is that what all of these innovative bold new thrusts in 'educations' serve to accomplish, through Civics classes that '...concern itself less with constitutional questions...' and more '...direct attention to social agencies close at hand ...', is to deaden student's minds with disintegrated (though highly testable!) factoids, while obliterating their conceptual understanding of those principles which make an admirable and American civic life, possible - understanding the value of each person, the importance of respecting each individual's rights, and the key role which the recognition of property rights, plays in that. That understanding, and the importance of a Rule of Law that follows from it, is what made our society, and our federal and state constitutions, possible in the first place. Lose that, and actively removing what brought it into being, causes it to be lost, and you shouldn't be surprised that your society is liable to 'progress' to the point of having college students dressing up in black block hoods and goggles, throwing Molotov Cocktails at police, and who, though they may very likely test quite well in standardized Civics Tests, will happily do so, even as they justify beating and silencing those speakers they feel triggered by.

The problem we are experiencing is not a lack of civics classes in our public schools, but the result of what decades of these type of classes, taught as a means of memorizing factoids devoid of conceptual understanding, so as to be testable in class, and utterly useless in life, which has chiefly succeeded in removing from our education, the concepts of individual awareness, responsibility and the essentials of self governance. IOW: Count me out of the call for 'Civics'.

A Textbook case of putting 'out of sight, to keep 'out of mind'
Unfortunately, modern education has been so effective, that when making that point to someone, the reply I often receive, is:
"I don't understand what you are talking about when you say that something has been removed from education."
People today, don't even know, what they don't know. And it is just as true of the Right, as the Left. Most any middle aged person today, should have tones of anecdotal evidence for this, because those of us who came of age in the 20th Century, were at least made aware of what we didn't know, as key names and concepts were mentioned, though rarely delved into. But today, the concepts are rarely, if ever, even mentioned, so most people really don't know, what they don't ( but should) know - and with those concepts out of the way today, easy answers and propaganda, are easily slid in to take their place, perhaps by meme, and without a fight. I've had kids in the public schools for the last twenty years, and I've seen a marked decline in the content I'm talking about, even between those that graduated in 2008, and that of the one graduating this year. My own grammar, junior and high school textbooks (I graduated HS in 1978), had vastly more content and depth, than has any of my kids textbooks had, and I consider what I had, to have been pure crap. I have a number of my Grandfather's grade and high school textbooks (published between 1899 - 1908), complete with his comments (and much highly disrespectful classroom doodles), and they are vastly superior to even the college textbooks that I, my wife, or our kids, have had the use of.

One such small example, one of his Aurora, Illinois, public school textbooks, "Readings in English History" (1908) (this is an edition from a decade later, but much the same), which his penciled in cover notes as "2A History", is 780 pages of mostly text, in the words of the people who made England's history, and which contains only a few, small, illustrations, and which concludes with the section "Growth of Democracy" (a heading that, IMHO, is already corrupted), though still promoting the then very common idea, that a student could not be expected to understand the meaning of, need for, and threats to, society, individual rights and the kind of Rule of Law which can only be depended upon to rule over those in power, if their people have first grasped the need for, development of, and the inherently risky application of, those ideas. That, as an educational norm, is, in any meaningful form, gone today from our public (and most private) schools, from grammar school through college. And it is not simply due to incompetent teachers, or even teachers unions, it's baked into the very structure and purpose of our modern public school system, from school boards, to teachers colleges, and centralized district directed class curriculums.

I recently served with a dozen others, including parents, school superintendents, principals, teachers and curriculum writers, over the course of a year, in one of Missouri's curriculum work groups, ours being History, that were formed as an attempt by state's legislature, to restructure and improve our K-12 school curriculums. We managed to produce a very good, deep and broad, set of standards, which was unanimously approved of by all in our committee of wildly differing political views. Our state dept of education quickly reformatted, hacked and slashed it into something that is hardly distinguishable from that which has been in place for the last twenty years. Their reasons for doing so, which has to do with an agenda that will not tolerate even a hint of the content that I'm speaking of.

The content which they find to be politically acceptable, may have altered and changed over the decades, but what has not, what has been the explicit intention from the start, is using the power of government to 'mold the perfect citizen', and using 'our' schools to do it. Two centuries of self appointed reformers, beginning in earnest with the likes of Horace Mann, and James G. Carter - and many more of our Founders era than most would be comfortable in hearing - looked to Europe, and particularly to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and later Fichte & Hegel, for ideas on how to do it.
"The objective of educational action by government had little to do with economic or egalitarian goals; it was to shape future citizens to a common pattern. Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and educational theorists during the French Revolution, Carter turned to the model of Sparta to illustrate what the state cold and should do. "If the spartan could mold and transform a nation to suit his taste, by means of an early education, why may not the same be done at the present day?" (Glenn, 1988, p. 75).
A crucial step was taken by the Massachusetts legislature in 1837, when it voted to create a state board of education to collect information about schools and to provide advice on how schools could be improved."
NOTE: The crisis of their time was not a lack of schooling, or of poor schooling, or even of a later time's concerns over immigration, their worry was that for America (irony alert: land of liberty) to survive, there needed to be imposed upon all, a uniform system of schooling, intent upon molding all minds, into a common 'understanding'. Their honest, profusely stated aim, was to use government directed schools to manually form a new type of person, who'd be better suited to being an American.

And I, we, are way behind the times in our alarm over this. Only three years after Massachusetts created their first school board as an entity with the political power to 'oversee' their already existing system of public education, some state representatives, such as Allen W. Dodge, saw what was happening, saw where it would lead, and attempted to put an end it. As you can see from this snippet of his reaction then, their concerns then, weren't too far from our concerns now:
“After all that has been said about the French and Prussian systems, they appear to your Committee to be much more admirable, as a means of political influence, and of strengthening the hands of the government, than as a mere means for the diffusion of knowledge. For the latter purpose, the system of public Common Schools, under the control of persons most interested in their flourishing condition, who pay taxes to support them, appears to your Committee much superior. The establishment of the Board of Education seems to be the commencement of a system of centralization and of monopoly of power in a few hands, contrary, in every respect, to the true spirit of our democratical institutions; and which, unless speedily checked, may lead to unlooked-for and dangerous results.”[emphasis added]
Sadly, they failed to discontinue the imported experiment of politicizing public education, which is exponentially worse today (still, there's no time like the present to correct an old mistake). I highly recommend reading his full report "Report on the expediency of abolishing the Board of Education and the Normal Schools".

With political power established, the new purposes of 'educational systems', began to leap from the state level, to the national level, through a number of national education reform efforts, such as The Morrill Act (1863) which established a Federal role in education, and set up the first prototype for the Dept of Education, as well as what I noted above, the NEA's "Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education" (1913), which set about to dumb down, the already pro-regressively stunted, though vastly superior recommendations, of the earlier "Report of the Committee of Ten", under the chairmanship of Harvard's president, Charles Eliot, in 1893, which they found to be too concerned with content and ideas.

The fact that Charles Eliot was the president of Harvard, and his panelists were experienced academics as well, held no sway over the NEA's 'Gang of Twenty Seven' political appointees and functionaries, as what they were primarily seeking, not unlike their predecessors in the early 1800's, was the political power to mold the form of their ideal citizen, but unlike those who first sought to establish that power over the minds of the young, and they include Founding Fathers such as Dr. Rush, Noah Webster and even Samuel Adams, the new pro-regressive ideal of an ideal citizen, was not one who would be best suited to carry on their 'Republican' ideal of the Founder's era, but those who would best conform to their presumed 'democratic' needs of 'modern society'; an ideal 'citizen' that could work in factories and do 'what was best', as experts such as themselves defined it. Soon after the 20th Century was underway, these new pro-regressive 'Progressives' now had the political power to do what their expertise determined was 'for the greater good', and knowing very well what they wanted not to see in the minds of their students (such as a knowledge of Individual Rights and the important reasons for them, and other problematic 'data') and they went about ensuring that their curriculum would be less and less likely to be familiarize students with, and then less and less likely to inform them of them at all, until finally, we today are almost entirely unaware of such names and ideas at all, of what was once considered the 'common American mind', having been progressively moved from known knowns, to known unknowns, until in the future - our present - such names and ideas of Aristotle, Cicero, Sydney, Locke, are very nearly unknown, unknowns.

But the fact remains that that sense of what made America exceptional, was once there, which is evident in this, a once common means of teaching our Constitution and its amendments (mostly without benefit of political school boards directing them), "Elementary catechism on the Constitution of the United States", to grade school children, this version published in 1828 (and this was already an example of degrading from how the ideas those documents express, were learned prior to that time), and I daresay that the content of the catechism is something that most Law School graduates are almost entirely ignorant of today (and yes, I've paid very close attention to the development of, and the teaching of, The Law, over both our, England's, and Rome's history. I'm weird that way).

Knowingly or not, the structure and design of our modern educational systems, centralizing and standardizing content as fed by the latest concerns of public opinion (and profit seeking interests) demanded, resulted in ridding Americans of their familiarity with and understanding of our common individual rights under the Rule of Law, their meaning and need, which are the only effective defenses against the good (or ill) intentions of those in positions of elected power, is essentially absent from our modern understanding, an absence which is often visited upon us under the cover of the name (used or not) of 'Civics', and an education which results in that, is like fertilizing the populace for harvest by public demagogues. What we see happening across the nation today, from black block riots, to leftist Antifa & Alt-Right responses to them on college campuses, is that harvest of the demagogues, a harvest made easy by our having removed from our common understanding, those ideas that make America possible, and without which, we cannot be either exceptional or America.

Back to the future
These 'Civics' classes - as opposed to history taught in depth - of which Mr. Dreyfuss speaks so determinedly, were taught as 'the way of the future!' over a century ago, and they are what pro-regressives then, such as John Dewey, and today, such as Richard Dreyfuss, are wanting to take us back to the future of, today. The problem with that, is, that we've already been to their future, our present, which most of us can clearly see, it does not work!

As I hope you've guessed from the above examples from the 1840's, 1860's, 1893, and 1913, the ideas which our Civics classes were formed from, are not new, and are serving to combine a mixture of the bigotry of soft expectations, benevolent despotism, and the hubris of those who not only believe that 'they know best', but that they should be empowered to reform the masses lives, as they deem to be best for them. Far from being modern and 'progressive!', these are some of the oldest, most backwards of views, and those 'Progressives' who hold them, are truly advocating for our pro-regressing into a world once past, as an error unlearned from, and repeated yet again. Whether their message comes clothed in the earnest republicanism of a James G. Carter, who, idealizing the old Spartan Republic's ability to 'mold children into a uniform character' (or end their lives should they not measure up to their utilitarian standards) or that of the more modern reformers such as John Dewey, who also seek that utilitarian, pragmatic approach, they are all rapping out rhymes from history's most foreboding hits.

Such a rhyme as that, can be heard ringing out fairly clearly in the popular 'progressive' view from just a century ago, as was here explained by Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton, in a speech to the Federation of High School teachers:
"We want one class of persons to have a liberal education and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks."
The position of deciding who is to forgo such privileges, has always been eagerly filled by corporate busybodies, from Carnegie, to Thorndike and Rockefeller, and that of Bill Gates today, who's spent millions of dollars to establish the data mining that standardized testing requires, and which "Common Core" usefully accompanies - why? To track your student's progress, so that their programmed algorithms can be trusted to determine what your children will receive, or forgo, in the business friendly, skills based 'educations' of their planned societies. And hardly noticed by most, is that through a system founded upon usurping political power from the bottom up, their own economic power is transformed into real political power, without need or benefit of representation, or even a market - only their own 'expert' judgment upon us.
How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

And what of people like Richard Dreyfuss, you can see how passionately he feels about his foundation, and about civics, it seems just as unlikely that he'd knowingly align himself with the profit seeking amusements of billionaires, and it's just as unlikely that my school teacher cousins in northern California, are either - so why are all of them so united in promoting a form of education that has such dark implications? It can't be because it's so difficult to discover, the information on what they are advocating for, and the historical and measurable results of them, are freely available to him, them, and you too - yet most people are ignorant of it.

Why? Partly, I suspect, because it is so easy and enticing to think that one's own 'noble' ends, somehow justify their using government power as a means to their ends - it's for 'the greater good' after all. And they are Pro-Regressive Progressives, such ends and means are what they think schools, and education, are for - to reform our people, your children, into their ideal, for us. And conveniently, as can be seen from their own statements, it is a fact that they are personally disbelieving of, and opposed to, that understanding of Individual Rights, Law, Property Rights and Justice, which our Constitution was formed from - and which it cannot long stand without the support of.

They aren't, on the whole, bad people, they aren't stupid, they are simply enthusiastic supporters of easy answers from smart people, who see no need to integrate their ideas any further than their own immediate interests and passions. That IS the modern, pragmatic, sense, purpose, and design, of our 'public educational system', which, is now neither public, nor educational, and yet it has replaced what our once thriving system of educating ourselves, was. It was only a dozen years after Allen W. Dodge's warning against what the centralizing of power away from the control of those it would be used upon, under the cover of education, that the passage of America's first compulsory schooling statute, in Massachusetts in 1852 (there were earlier measures, but they didn't make the state into the definer and provider of their education), and because it was so generally accepted that education was a broad societal good, which people could, would, long had and still did, achieve and pursue in, and out of, formal schooling, that few took note that political powers now had the power, to decide upon the daily activities and formation of the mind and sentiments, of each parents most valued treasure - their child. What greater power is there than that? What tyrant, greedy to feast on power, could seek more than that? Could mere taxation be more satisfying? I don't think so. All else, IMHO, from then to know, all the visible falling away from the understanding and regard for our constitutional form of self-governance, has been but a more or less leisurely flexing of the powers we've long ago ceded to Leviathan, and without our conscious awareness of what we've so willingly lost.

Note: I am not trying to say that, unreforming our system of public education, will solve all our problems, that it will somehow return us to some mythical time when attentive students were all good, peaceful, citizens. Education will not produce any perfect cure. Nothing ever will.

But a system of education that is more concerned with providing a worthy education to its students, rather than training them to be useful as other people's human capital, or even more usefully as cogs in political machines, will tend to result in a vastly better society, than the society that the later two lave left us with: where 'educated' people advocate the public to 'punch a nazi', while understanding 'nazi' with little more depth than 'anyone I disagree with' - and yes, this goes just as much for any alt-right response of 'punch a leftist!', as well as any anarchic libertarian equivalent that might pop up.

Those who are unhappy with We The People understanding that which secures us our liberty, are also going to be, as they always have, a people who're unhappy with our having and exercising our freedom of speech. And people who disrespect the right of others to differ in opinion, are most likely to resort to that which is the only alternative to reasonable discourse: Violence - and the fervent self-justification of it.

The desire for power, and the urge to use violence to get it, are natural human tendencies.

One of the purposes of getting an Education, in the Western sense, is to better understand how you yourself are naturally tending towards that desire for power, and a willingness to exert force to satisfy your impulses; it is by way of an educated understanding, and habituation to true principles, that we learn how to try to rise above those tendencies. To Educate a student, is to 'Educere est educare', a process of bringing you up and leading you out of darkness, to liberate you, from those passions and small minded habits that are normal for human beings who've not learned better. That purpose and process, is what led our 'liberal education' to become the most valuable jewel in the crown of Western Civilization in general, and in American culture in particular, as being the means that societies which are predicated upon the need to respect the rights of others, and to understand why, are better able to do so. It is that 'Liberal Education' (not to be confused with Leftist Indoctrination), which pro-regressives of the Left and Right, are most opposed to - and one of the few paths to where the future might actually be found.

The whole modern pro-regressive view of education, with their view of taking us into "the future!", is rooted in modernity's formative past, especially with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's declaration that Civilization was not a 'Good', but was in fact the source of all of our misery. It was Rousseau that formulated the political roots of Fascism, by declaring that those who don't believe as 'The Legislator' determines to be best, can't be free, and as they prevent society from progressing, this '...means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free...' for the greater good. As I summed it up a few years back, that,
"... he’d traced the origins of injustice to the first man who fenced off property and called it his own, married a woman and started a family. Everything else in political modernity is rooted in that thought, and it is in absolute opposition to what this nation was founded upon, Property Rights and the family."
Robespierre brought Rousseau's seeds to bloody flower, Babeuf economized them into Socialism, and Marx helped them go viral internationally, via Communism, and all of them find both willing and unwitting pollination through the re-forming of 'Education', which Rousseau made sound so sweet and alluring... which is a song that self important, comfortable, lazy busybodies have never been able to resist.

As with Greece, then Rome, then England, and now us, the same old self important 'debased posterity', bored with the 'restrictions' handed down from their forefathers, decides that the 'the old ways' no longer suit their 'modern' preferences and tastes (of the 4th century B.C., and the 1st, 19th & 20th centuries, A.D.), and so they stop teaching them to the generations following them, substituting their own desires and whims dressed up in intellectualized drag. Clearly they are not philosophers, they do not love wisdom, they are, at best, annoyed by it, and more likely are hostile, and even hate, wisdom - they are not philosophers, but only misosophers.

But fortunately for us today, we aren't limited to the choices that they're telling us we have to choose from, because we have something which history's doomed masses who were brought down by the 'new ideas' of their privileged classes, whether the Greeks, Romans, or the English, didn't have, and that is: the Internet. Not because of its technological glitz, but because it provides the means for the first time in history, of giving access to that knowledge which those who think of themselves as being our superiors, shun themselves, and seek to withhold from us - the wealth of learning and information that is the inheritance of the West. And as the dated smallness of their notions becomes known to us, we should be asking ourselves, who in their right mind wants to give such backwards 'educational reformers', the power to decide that their children must 'forgo the privilege of a liberal education', in order to serve society as their human capital?

Civilization comes down to a matter of choice between a civilization that is civilizing, or one that seeks the power to force 'the other' to be what it describes as 'free'. Civilization is ultimately a choice between seeking what is true, with the liberty to act accordingly; or seeking the power to reform your fellows through force and violence. People, of course, always have, and always will, tend towards violence, but, if they are familiar with the idea of being better, and are educated on how to be Civilized in that way, then they can choose to master themselves. And a Civics without that, is an end to Civilization as we still might know it - an uncivilized civics will turn your bright future, into the darkest past. Choose differently.

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