“ In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. ”What do you suppose Jefferson was referring to in the quote above? The Constitution?... or the paper it was printed on? What power does that have? I'll say... none. The Law’s only power lies in the hearts and minds of those who read and understand the constitution and insist that it be respected and followed, and even then it is powerless unless We The People insist our govt limits itself to only those powers which We The People have delegated to it – absent that, it is only paper. The only strength Jefferson’s chains can have is that which is derived from the understanding which you and I have of the constitution's meaning and purpose. That is the real strength of our Republic, and the only chains with which We The People can bind the powerful down.
Thomas Jefferson, 10 Nov. 1798
This was of course the reason why Jefferson was so adamant that Education be spread across the land; our Republic cannot survive without it, but of course his idea of what Education was, bore little relation to what we think of it as being today, and in that the statist’s hacksaw has been busily sawing back and forth upon the links in Jefferson's chains. From the outright attacks and neglect of well over a century, our awareness of the common core materials, traditions and principles vital to Western Civilization and critical to our American way of life, have been damaged.
What do I mean by 'damaged'? Ask the nearest college graduate to name the key events and ideas of Western Civilization. Once you've failed at that, as there's a good chance you have, then try it again with a High School student. For bonus points, ask either one to name what Article's I, II & III of the constitution primarily deal with.
That's what I mean by damaged. Our ability to not only understand what we read, but to know what we should bother to read; that has been just as weakened as Jefferson's chains themselves have been, indeed there is little difference between the two.
It may seem like I’m not getting to the point fast enough with these posts (here are parts 1 and part 2), but it's hard for me to see how you'd see the point clearly, if I rushed my way to it. How would you grasp the full meaning if I leave out the parts which the meaning is formed from? Ever seen a hill which you figured would be no problem to trot right up and probably not much worth doing? Then at the top of it, an hour later, winded, chest burning, you force yourself upright to look around and can't believe how far you can see?
The nature of how we've gotten to where we are is sort of like that. But not in a good way. I'm giving you key pieces in these posts, which in the end, will come together and give you the perspective to see quite a bit farther than you wish you could.
How we got where we are today, is the result of numerous well-intentioned, seemingly common sense decisions, made over the span of the last two centuries, progressively refined and reinforced with each passing decade, and are just this much short of our feeling their full power. The culmination of these rather blase decisions are what we are now feeling shake our common core, as an out of balance tire shakes its car to the point that it seems as if the entire car must fall apart – because of one simple balance weight lost. Those decisions begun way back then, changed our concept of Education and opened us up to a set of ideas that are fundamentally anti-American, ideas which incline those who hold them towards innocently seeking after the centralization of power over individual freedom,