Saturday, March 26, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown, lest you be judged

The law is a subject that I find fascinating, how it developed, and developed into principles that could uphold justice, and particularly how its philosophical concepts are best applied to the often messy realities of life. Whatever your opinion of my opinions on the subject might be, I've put in a great deal of time and effort over the years into writing numerous posts on law, justice, and diving into the history of how it has developed from its origins in ancient times, down to today, and where it's gone right and wrong along the way. I've dug into the records and opinions of early figures from Cicero to Edward Coke and  John Locke through our Founders, and down to the present day. I've looked into the often opposing opinions of judges nominated for the Supreme Court of the United States of America, from Thomas, Breyer, Garland, and how disturbing it is that legal pundits of 'the right', reflect the left turn taken by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.. But with Judge Ketanji Brown... I can't muster the interest to dig much deeper than a couple of the remarks she gave at her confirmation hearings.

Her relation to Critical Race Theory shows why. Not because she supports its ideas, but because she embodies its meaning. She has repeatedly written and remarked about her admiration for the founders of Critical Race Theory, Derek Bell, and Kimberle Crenshaw, and on at least one occasion she's lectured to students about its relevance to guidelines in federal prison sentencing, citing CRT as one of the interesting factors that should be considered when considering sentencing:
"...I also try to convince my students that sentencing is just plain interesting on an intellectual level, in part because it melds together myriad types of law – criminal law, of course, but also administrative law, constitutional law, critical race theory, negotiations, and to some extent, even contracts. And if that’s not enough to prove to them that sentencing is [sic] a subject is worth studying, I point out that sentencing policy implicates and intersects with various other intellectual disciplines as well, including philosophy, psychology, history, statistics, economics, and politics..."
, and with the likes of that in her easily searchable record, this is what she had to say about CRT in her confirmation hearings, in one of her exchanges on the topic with Senator Cruz,
“In your understanding, what does critical race theory mean?” Cruz asked the judge.

“Senator, my understanding is that critical race theory is, it is an academic theory, that is about the ways in which race interacts with various institutions,’ Jackson responded. “It doesn’t come up in my work as a judge. It’s never something that I’ve studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court.”
, for her now to claim that 'CRT doesn't apply', is not just a lie, but it is an application of Critical Race Theory in action, especially in regards to its disdain for what is objectively true, that we know something to be true because it conforms to reality. The CRT'r requires the use of scare quotes to refer to 'objective truth', and usually will no nearer to the subject than Epistemology, and then only to deride its degraded modern expression of 'epistemic adequacy', on their way to touting the root of Critical Race Theory's, in 'Social Epistemology', and CRT's foundational roots in Charles Mills, where 'truth' is socially constructed through 'narratives' that best serve the interests of the 'authentic' group.

Why does that matter? Because it means that there is truly no reason to give her reasoning any consideration, her words purposely have no relation to reality beyond how they might move her narrative 'forward'. The only 'truth' she values, is what pragmatically 'works' to manipulate the listener to advance her ideological narrative. Such a point of view is not compatible with our Constitution, or with Individual Rights under the Rule of Law, such a person as 'Judge' Brown, has no business being involved in the law, let alone having a seat on the Supreme Court.

I don't need her to tell me that she puts 'objective truth' in scare quotes, when she's demonstrated so well that she believes just that. And given that, I find it hard to imagine why anyone would bother asking her for the 'reasoning' behind her sentencing of this criminal or that. It advanced her narrative and undermined our society and the rule of law. End of story. That's CRT's purpose and interest, and that is exactly what Delgado & Stefancic meant when they wrote an explanation of it for High School level audience with ‘Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, first edition (2001)':
"... critical race theory calls into question the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and the neutral principles of constitutional law..."
IOW: There is no reason for you to think that her words bear some intentional relation to reality. Why would anyone give her the credit of thinking that they might?

The frosting on the cake, of course, was her meme worthy reply to Sen. Blackburn asking her if she could provide a definition of a woman.
"No. I can't. Not in this context, I'm not a biologist."
, what she meant of course, was 'Sorry, no, that wouldn't benefit the narrative of lies that I am advancing, and intend to continue advancing while on the SCOTUS'.

I'm sorry, but 'Liar' is a far too respectful term for such a person as that, but if you're willing to have the likes of that 'darken counsel with words that have no knowledge', go for it, but know that if you judge her acceptable, or choose to judge not at all, you will be judged for that, and not just by me.

If the first concern that you, like Joe Biden, have about 'Judge' Brown, is about what her race is and that she is a woman (whatever that is), then you are a racist and a sexist. If your main concern about her nomination, is which political party she aligns with and furthers, rather than being deeply concerned with how the implementation of her ideas through our courts will affect the Rule of Law in our nation, then you are an ally of lies and are serving the advancement of hatred, death, and destruction.

For me, as she has shown herself to be, at best, an unjust person, she has no business sitting on any court of law in the land, let alone the Supreme Court of the United States of America. If Brown is confirmed to the Supreme Court, as it seems likely she will be, the prospects of our children's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, will be that much the worse for it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

School Board Elections: Brushing off the disinformation of CRT

A pause from the current series of posts, for a short post on our School Board elections. I went 'Nextdoor' to talk with the neighbors about our school board elections, and... that went well. 😎 I endorsed 2 candidates & noted 9 of the most common CRT'rs assertions that I'd seen being made there (and the points below apply in any district), and got my acct temporarily disabled. Some people are touchy. At any rate, our school board elections for Francis Howell School District are coming up on April 5th, and here's what I had to say in regards to the most common misleading comments and assertions of those aligning themselves with CRT, which I'll bet apply in your School Board elections as well - at the very least I hope it doesn't traumatize you:

In the Francis Howell School Board election on April 5, I'll be voting for Adam Bertrand & Randy Cook, because their positions are more focused upon the content of our student's education, than on their ideological indoctrination (Randy Cook gave a very informative overview of the issues and his position on them, here).

In anticipation of several questionable statements, I've seen made in opposition to them in other comments here, I'll save some time by making and answering them first in the comments below:
1 - "CRT is a college level law school course, and not taught in K-12!" - CRT (Critical Race Theory) was first defined in legal studies by college professors (Bell, Crenshaw, Delgado...), then in 1995, Gloria Ladsen-Billings, one of the most widely assigned writers in Teachers Colleges for the last several decades, wrote an influential paper called "Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education", which she presented as being a means of injecting Critical Race Theory into the popular form of pedagogy (how teachers teach). Why would she do that? Because CRT is less a class to be taught, than a theory to be implemented in daily life by those who've learned it, and Ladsen-Billings created a pedagogy so that CRT's terms and ideas would guide not only what and how teachers would teach every subject they taught, but how administrative staff would administrate in their schools. To that end she soon followed that paper with her theory of 'Culturally Relevant Pedagogy', and that inspired 'Culturally Responsive Teaching', and several other variants that have since been taught to waves upon waves of future teachers & administrators, across our nation.

Through those and many other means, CRT's theories (such as Intersectionality, and its application through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) have for decades been taught to those who've become the administrators and teachers in our schools, and who implement its ideals in all grade levels and classes, from math to management, and FHSD is no exception to that. Even the FHSD Board of Education parrots and promotes CRT's tenets of 'systemic racism', 'white privilege', 'antiracism', DEI, and more - see their resolution of the summer of 2020.

The claim that CRT is not in our schools, is either willfully ignorant, or deliberately deceptive.

2 - "They support banning books!" No books are 'banned' by removing inappropriate books from a school library, and unless you would support handing 6yr old's Hustler magazines, then you too support restricting or removing inappropriate materials from students in their school libraries. School Libraries are there to provide materials that support or expand upon the lessons being taught in a school, or to cater to interests deemed appropriate for students to pursue. The question to be asked is "what are the lessons that you want taught, which you think makes particular materials appropriate in a school library?" If you do want overly crude, violent, or pornographic material in school libraries, then you need to explain what those lessons are that you want students to learn or have be reinforced through them, and what you find to be of value in them.

3 - "They're on the wrong side of history, or want to hide from history" - Materials such as the 1619 project are neither history nor journalism, and have been debunked and denounced by actual historians and journalists. The 1619 Project is a narrative of 'lived experiences', written to push an ideological narrative into the minds of unsuspecting students, to turn them into activists (BTW, plain Social Studies has for at least a decade had grade level expectations for student activism that begin in elementary school). History, especially involving those aspects that are uncomfortable or deplorable, should be fully examined so as to learn from them and so avoid their being repeated. There is no excuse for not teaching about slavery, or the atrocities following it (such as the Tulsa slaughter with Black Wall Street), and all should wonder why the largely leftist controlled educational publishing system has mostly minimized or avoided their mention until recently.

History requires facing historical details openly and objectively, without ideological spin. Peddling deceitful rhetoric as history has historically been a dangerous practice and a mistake we should not repeat.

4 - "SEL is an integral part of education and human development" - SEL is a system for manipulating and conforming the emotional attitudes and responses of students to an ideological agenda, at the expense of teaching sound content for students to understand and judge matters for themselves. SEL's stated goal is to promote social justice activism, and if you as a parent or citizen aren't aware of that... you should ask yourself why (BTW, they've been intent on turning students into activists for over a decade, it's only the 'Social Justice' part that they've recently revealed).

5 - "That's racist, they're racist and you're racist!" - Unless you give clear examples of the issue being described as being racist, then your charge is baseless and irresponsible (Racist: One who believes that race determines a person's traits, abilities, and worth, and judging, condemning, or praising a person, based upon their race). Calling them racist, because of the organizations that support them, without giving clear examples of why they are being called racist, is equally invalid and irresponsible. Note: simply mentioning race, pointing out where descriptively relevant, or in questioning the claim that something is valid or invalid because of race, isn't itself racist... and behaving as if it is, is invalid and irresponsible.

6 - "I'm [insert race here] and you aren't, so you don't know ___ and shouldn't talk about it!" - In forums like this we use words to discuss consequential matters, amongst a diverse population; if [insert race here] are the only people who can 'know' what they are talking about on ___, then by that token it can have no meaning to anyone else, and so there's no point in your publicly referring to it any further. If you can't use words to make a case without invoking race to validate it, you've failed to make an argument, and more than likely it wasn't one that was worth making to begin with.

7 - "Equity means equality!" If it meant equality in its normal usage, they'd use the word equality - the reason they use a different word, is because it means something entirely different. Equity is used to demand equality of outcomes, which means and requires ignoring individual merit and hindering or preventing the honest effort that is reflected by individual merit. Good luck finding an example of 'Equity' in this context that doesn't begin by promoting unequal treatment and collective (likely by race, sexual orientating, etc.) behavior.

8 - "Diversity means fairness!" As used by the woke, Diversity in every instance involves dividing people based upon some collective characteristic or trait, at the expense of a targeted group, and subordinates every individual to those claiming to speak for the collective, on behalf of the favored group(s). Fairness is the first casualty of Diversity.

9 - "We should be more inclusive!" - by being inclusive, the woke don't mean being “Welcoming”, their idea of 'Inclusion' means and always requires imposing ‘authentic’ restrictions upon language & actions, based upon some favored collective characteristic or trait, at the expense of all others, which is the exact opposite of being inclusive towards all.
BTW: A couple hearty personal Thumbs Up! for a couple candidates that I know understand what they're up against in nearby school districts:
David Randelman - Lindbergh School District
Izzy Imig - Rockwood School Board
If those are your districts, I hope you'll support them and give them you vote!
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are incompatible with, and opposed to America's national motto of 'e Pluribus Unum - Out of many, One', and are antithetical to America as such. DEI is the means of implementing CRT's Intersectionality, and as it is explicitly opposed to the concepts of individual rights expressed in our Declaration of Independence, and is fundamentally opposed to the objective Rule of Law, it is incompatible with that system that was adopted to implement justice in America, our Constitution (See their own words on that in: ‘Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, first edition (2001), by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic: "... critical race theory calls into question the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and the neutral principles of constitutional law.”). DEI, CRT, and SEL, are explicitly anti-American concepts, and have no place in the political process in America, let alone in the education of American youth.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Our Founder's wrong turn towards Education today - The New Normal

American's changing understanding of what 'education' is and is for, has changed us from being a people who were literate enough for The Federalist Papers to be written for persuading the common farmer and 'man in the street' on adopting a constitution to secure their liberty, to a people who in far too many cases would rather argue that liberty requires making crude and pornographic materials available to students in the libraries of schools whose graduates are largely unwilling or unable to read The Federalist Papers (see initial post). Such radically different effects are the result of radically different causes, both seen and unseen, and the largest difference that's easiest to see, is that the educational success of early America came without any official educational system to cause it, while its current effects have resulted from a new system of education having been imposed where none had been before, in order to accomplish what had already been accomplished without one.

Can it be fixed simply by ending our public education system? Nope. As much as we do need to end it, and as much as we need to see a Separation of School & State, if what you want is to make education educational again, which I do, then no, that alone isn't going to fix what's been broken. Why? Because the unseen changes behind what our schools do and why they do it, are more significant than those that are so easily seen in which entity runs & funds a school - public, private, charter, or church - and so simply pulling your kid out of one instance, and putting them into another, is no guarantee that they'll get a good or even better, education.

Or maybe you hadn't noticed that our most barbaric antifa & blm activists tend to be the products of (expensive) private education and graduate from, or teach at, the likes of Berkeley and Harvard?

Because our schools today, public, private, charter and church, are staffed and run by 'education professionals' who've graduated from the same teachers colleges which largely teach the same radical leftist views on education, when you choose a school based mainly upon who runs & funds it, what you're most likely to find is that the private sector school will be managed more efficiently and use *better* materials, which means that your student's mind will be more efficiently injected with a purer form of the same poisonous ideas that the public schools are promoting. Say hello to Berkeley and Harvard.

The previous post went into what's changed in what we mean by Education itself, and which content we once knew was best for facilitating it, and that the inadequate new understandings of both had largely been institutionalized, and were self-evident to those who knew better, before the 20th Century even got underway. What enabled those changes to come about, came from a new purpose that had been adopted for education, which led to abandoning its traditional content, and introduced a new normal that has been accepted so completely, that few today even know that there once was an 'old normal', let alone how different the two are. That new normal has ensured that radically different outcomes would begin to follow from what had been the norm in our Founders era, and that shift had essentially been accomplished even before the 19th Century got underway.

Education's 'new normal' was encouraged and promoted by some of our most respected Founding Fathers, such as Noah Webster (yes, the dictionary guy), and it is what is most responsible, IMHO, for why our idea of Education was able to be changed into the worthless sham it has become today, and while Common Core & CRT are the most visible outgrowths of these changes, the new normal is a pervasive but mostly unseen presence in most schools today, *woke* or not, and it is one of the most significant reasons why the more easily seen differences of who it is that runs & funds a school - public, private, charter, or church - is the least telling aspect of what students will be taught in them, because the new norm is incorporated into the purposes and content of the most common understanding of education that students will receive in them today.

What might be the most dangerous aspect of the changes that've been made, is that the reasons for making them seem so sensible on the surface; they certainly seemed sensible enough to many of our Founders era who were far more educated than we are, and knowing nothing of the alternatives they seem entirely sensible to so many who are fighting so hard against what's happening in our schools today, unaware that they are repeating the same disastrous calls for reform that led to what they're fighting against today. See if any of these old calls for school reform sound similar to what we hear urged today:
  • to strengthen American's sense of identity,
  • to refocus lessons away from 'wasting time' on useless content,
  • to prove educational value by testing students on what facts they've successfully *learned* (momentarily memorized) about that content
  • teach more useful skills for *today's* workforce to boost the economy!
Those lines for reform began ringing out in our Founders' era, with our Founding Reformers. The one advantage we have over our Founding Fathers, is that, if we look, we can see what has actually resulted from such seemingly sensible ideas and good intentions, and so finally put a stop to repeating the same mistakes of history, it's not enough for us today to simply be upset and demand change, we need to know what we should change to, what changes are most important to make, and we especially need to know what we changed away from, and why they did so - otherwise we'll just continue to pour old wine into new skins.

What is seen, helps to conceal what goes unseen
The visible results of those good intentions are easy to see today in the standardization of schools, lessons, textbooks, and teachers. It's also easy to see that pro-regressive 'Progressive' figures such as Horace Mann played an early role in 'Progressive Education', and that the first mandatory Public School laws of Massachussetts were enacted in the 1840s to manage the public alarm over 'immigrants and other dangerous individuals' flooding into America, by promising that all students would come to have the same understanding of America (or, less charitably, to create a system for imposing conformity to the ideal of 'those who know best'). But those effects were made possible by earlier and more fundamental causes, and while it's true that those were significant turning points, they aren't where the turn towards the education system of today began, those were simply pretexts - easy answers - which capitalized upon, exploited, and repurposed, the changes that had already been put in place.

The radically different effects that we're seeing today, developed out of changes that didn't initially seem as noticeable or radical to them at the time; their progressively more radical nature was slowly revealed in bubbling up through the twists and turns of pursuing and covering for the good intentions that put cracks in the restraints upon power which they encouraged and concealed. It was the unintended consequences which followed from them, that enabled and encouraged still more radical reformers in the likes of Horace Mann, who were later able to take advantage of the good intentions behind mandatory school laws, and through those cracks they infiltrated through various other openings in our existing presumptions, and subverted them towards new ends... and so on, and on. and on,

That progressive process of transformative decay requires and depends upon people settling for easy answers - the more sensible they seem on first glance, the better. And so it's worth it to begin looking at the original good intentions of those good men who were trying to do the right thing with the wrong tools, to see how the results managed to go so very wrong, so that we might avoid yet another round of the endless cycle of sure-to-fail 'school reforms' that've plagued us for the last two centuries.

Although I'm going to focus on Noah Webster, my intention is not to impugn his character, in fact I think that my point becomes stronger, the stronger you think that his character was. Webster was a leading advocate for the importance of seeing to it that all American youth received a 'good education', he saw it as his mission, and he put a great deal of his own time and effort into reminding the public that:
“It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country.”
But as good as his statement might sound, then as now, it's important that you define and clarify the terms & premises being presumed for you, for instance: what did he mean by 'a good education', and how do you know that? What was it which guided the purpose of he and his fellows education, and how did that differ from what he intended to alter it to?

Webster didn't just advocate for education, he took it as his mission to create a movement in educating and forming a clearer image for Americans of what it means to be an American. As noted (pg 4) in "The Forgotten Founding Father", when George Washington mentioned that he was considering asking a colleague in Scotland for recommendations for a tutor for his step-grandchildren,
"...A stunned Webster shot back, 'What would European nations think of this country if, after the exibition of great talents and achievements in the war for independence, we should send to Europe for men to teach the first rudiments of learning?"
Noah Webster's own education had acquainted him with those works which Thomas Jefferson had recommended as an essential reading list for students: Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, The Bible, Virgil, along with a knowledge of Greek & Latin, and yet he was dissatisfied with it, and complained that such literature was "... not necessary for men of business, merchants, mechanics, planters, &c. nor of utility sufficient to indemnify them for the expense...", and that studying them kept them from learning more useful skills. Of the time he himself spent acquiring them himself, he complained:
"...How superficial must be that learning, which is acquired in four years! Severe experience has taught me the errors and defects of what is called a liberal education. I could not read the best Greek and Roman authors while in college, without neglecting the established classical studies ; and after I left college, I found time only to dip into books, that every scholar should be master of; a circumstance that often fills me with the deepest regret...."
A couple questions come to mind from reading his opinion of the content, especially with Webster's own confessed failure to fully grasp the material, as well as his assumption that everyone else's ability must be equally as lacking as his own. It's also interesting that his concern for superficiality doesn't seem to extend to those skills that are likely to be taught by teachers who don't depend upon or use them themselves, which is not only itself superficial, but is the reason why apprenticeships were used in his time, and why they are becoming popular again in ours. But Webster wasn't alone in his opinion, being one of several of our Founders, such as Dr. Benjamin Rush, and Benjamin Franklin, even to some extent Thomas Jefferson, who wanted to 'reform education' to focus upon giving students more utilitarian, practical, and economically useful skills. While not alone in their opinions, they weren't by any means universal, and the reforms they proposed, although largely forgotten today, sparked debates whose sometimes fiery nature we'd recognize something of in our own day, even progressing to public unrest in the mid 1800s.

Yet despite their complaints about the content and purpose for learning it, one thing that didn't yet need to be 'fixed', because the system for learning it had not yet been broken, was that which enables the teaching and learning of everything else: the 3 R's of 'Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmatic. Webster and his fellows knew from their own experience that teaching those basics were an important but nearly trivial feat which was routinely accomplished in a few years at most, through the existing materials, and attention to grammar that they were already using.

Even so, Webster, who himself had been a school teacher, thought that it would be enough that each community:
"...should be furnished with a school, at least four months in a year;..."
, and beginning with students around eight years of age, their schooling should be,
"...completed by the age of fifteen or sixteen..."
Two points on that, first, "furnished" by who, is one of the questions that're typically either avoided, or assumed by the reformers to be their ideal systems that didn't yet exist. And second, take note that the reformers were aware that a sound grasp of the basics of the 3 R's (and substantially more than that) was able to be accomplished within about eight 'years' - consisting of school years that were at least half the length of our own today (how those eight half-years, became our twelve full-years, we'll cover in a post to come) - because it was already resulting in students who in making their way through a great deal of literature and history had actually learned how to read, write, and calculate, and most of whom could be counted upon to pursue a wider and deeper understanding of such works on their own, for the rest of their lives. Even so, what our Founding Reformers wanted to change, was how that was already being accomplished, and why, and who would determine it, and that's where we find the foundational cracks beginning to form, and would soon begin forming a system of them.

What seemed to escape our Founding Reformer's attention, is that learning the 3R's from the materials they did, in the manner they did, was an important factor in how the people of our Founder's era, became the people they were. But such an oversight is not that uncommon, historically, and is one of the causes for why the West has had to re-found itself several times over the last few thousand years. It's encouraging that many, such as this modern day Italian, Angelo Codevilla, are reminding people of what we forget about how much the materials we learn with, makes us into who we are (or are not):
"...Any civilization is the totality of the language, habits and ideas in which people live and move – the human reality that defines their practical limits. To see how grossly unequal to one another civilizations are, it is enough to glance at how much or little understanding of reality the languages they speak contain – what any given language enables, or not. We are accustomed to Greek, Latin, English, French, Italian, German, etc. with their massive dictionaries, full of definitions, pronouns, tenses, moods and concepts, all tied together by grammar that flows from logic. When we speak these languages correctly, we hardly realize that we are wielding powerful tools of reason, developed over thousands of years..."
Yet despite the role that traditional literature played in who our Founders became, the general attitude towards literature by those educational reformers amongst them, was akin to what Webster expressed in this complaint, that:
“The minds of youth are perpetually led to the history of Greece and Rome or to Great Britain; boys are constantly repeating the declamations of Demosthenes and Cicero, or debates upon some political question in the British Parliment. These are excellent specimens of good sense, polished stile and perfect oratory; but they are not interesting to children. They cannot be very useful, except to young gentlemen who want them as models of reasoning and eloquence, in the pulpit or at the bar.”
, so that what the traditional learning consisted of, came to be seen by them as 'elitist' materials that were too fancy for 'working people' who really just needed to know the basics in order to go out and get a good job (which, BTW, is a typically 'elitist' position to take), even as they were employing the knowledge and skills which they themselves derived from those classics, against them. What these reformers thought about the examples of reasoning and eloquence that 'working people ' had no need of, is all the more amazing in its dismissiveness, when you consider that there were innumerable instances, such as that of John Adams, who had intended to become a farmer, but then at some point on being exposed to the writings and speeches of Cicero, became inspired instead to study the law, and through that developed into the ideal of an American patriot... which was one of Webster's primary goals. There are numerous other instances of those who remained in a trade, and yet were themselves known as scholars on a subject, and even more of people who were happy to continue such pursuits for their own personal benefit and enjoyment.

Similarly, while Webster understood the importance of the Bible to a liberal education and to our republic, as he noted here:
"The principles of genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations, are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man, therefore, who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that Book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer."
, he still didn't want that taught in school either (again, 'whose school?'), as he thought that school wasn't the proper place to learn it - a point which Ben Franklin agreed with him upon, and which Dr. Rush disagreed with.

Their attitude towards the classics becomes even more odd when you read what they themselves wrote, as with a speculative paper that Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote on "The influence of physical causes upon the moral faculty", which opens with numerous references to St. Paul, and to Cicero (in Latin, no less), in which he speaks of the "virtues of a Trajan" and "the vices of a Marius", and where in describing the goal of his paper, he says that
"...I feel as Aeneas did, when he was about to enter the gates of Avernus, but without a sybil to instruct me... "
, which to any person without a knowledge of those works and languages which he himself described as 'elitist', his own scientific papers would necessarily become meaningless to the very public that he wrote them for.

Odder still, is the fact that Webster & Dr. Rush and the others understood and believed that since 'We The People' were the heads of our government, they therefore needed to know those classic works, and needed to be familiar with the ideas they developed, in order for 'We The People' to be able to 'produce' good public servants, capable of governing themselves with. It's also worth noting that it was in this period that saw the popularity of Adam Smith's views on Natural Liberty, followed by Jean Baptiste Say's works on political economy, which conclusively showed that a booming economy is far more of a side-effect of good and limited governance, than of a people being supplied by the state with a few particular skills. They knew that, they said that, and yet they opposed the means of learning that literature in the way that it had been successfully done for them, in their own revolutionary generation.

I thoroughly enjoy one of John Adams' replies in a letter to Dr. Rush, as he deliberately mocks Rousseau, and tweaks Dr. Rush as well, for that very oversight,
"...What an ingrate was he to employ arts and sciences to abuse them? And are you much better, to use the knowledge and skill you derived from Latin and Greek to slander those divine Languages..."
What you begin to notice in their sentiments towards the literature which they themselves were educated from, is what may be best expressed with the truism that 'familiarity breeds contempt', for as much as they wanted those ideas to be understood, they didn't want to associate with them in 'their' schools, as they felt that teaching them was such a 'waste of time'. They seemed to take it for granted that Americans would always simply know and understand those works... somehow, as if the ability to understand those works which they understood that liberty depended upon, would always, somehow, be passed down through the bloodstream, and so they discounted the need to 'take up time' with them in school, when that time could be *better* used, in their humble opinions, for more useful, practical, and expedient purposes.

As noted in the essay by Warner in the previous post, those who gave more than utilitarian thought to the subject of education, understood that attempting to separate out facts from the literature that such facts are the fruit of, is absurd, and that
"...It is only matched in absurdity by the other current idea, that literature is something separate and apart from general knowledge..."
To try and be as charitable towards them as possible, it seems that they were dazzled by both the nation's newly won independence and by the unfolding advancements in science and technology, and that they, like moths drawn to the flames, began to focus in too closely upon the utilitarian and 'practical' skills (what we know today as "gotta learn the skills of the 21st century!" - same idea, different century) rather than what they themselves had learned, because as Webster put it:
"... young gentlemen are not all designed for the same line of business, and why should they pursue the same studies?..."
, and,
"... The rules of arithmetic are indispensably requisite. But besides the learning which is of common utility, lads should be directed to pursue those branches which are connected more immediately with the business for which they are destined..."
It's tempting to argue over how training such varied gentlemen in a few useful skills would be less wasteful than studying more closely what all of them have in common, but the real key to all of this is in that phrase there, 'should be directed to pursue', that is the beginning of the fateful turn and transformation of their world into ours - it doesn't exactly sound like a show-stopper though, does it?

Making the U-Turn from Progress to Pro-Regress
What that 'should be directed to pursue' is expressing, is an actual turn in the nature, and purpose, and direction, of education. If you don't see the issue, it is important to consider what it is it that you might be missing, and if you do see the issue, its important to realize how easy it is to presume and accept it as being sensible. Even so, it hardly seems on a par with discovering porn in the school library, does it? Yet the destructiveness of its unforeseen consequences have led us to exactly that sort of thing happening today, in much the same way that gravity gives no grace to your not intending to have stepped off of a cliff, if in fact you do leave the ground and step off into the air, down you go. As with the old joke of a fellow jumping from a skyscraper and is heard calling out "So far, so good!" as he hurtles past the floors below, at some point the "So far, so good!" will end in hitting the ground, and if the patterns and behavior your education has habituated you to seeking, are primarily focused on what is useful and satisfying, then over time that will inevitably degrade into the thirst for power, and that is the action of a mind hitting rock bottom (see SEL & CRT for reference).

However 'meh' that may seem to us here in the midst of the 'new normal', in the old normal, you learned the 3R's as a means of developing the habits of attention and reasoning and understanding (particularly through Grammar), so that you could read the jewels of Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian literature, and reading and considering them, helped you to come to a better understanding of yourself, of life, and your place in it. An Education was itself a value, rather than simply a requirement imposed for being able to do something else; it mattered to you, and someone who had been educated, understood the importance of looking past appearances to find what is real and true. It was that conceptual turn towards the New Normal, that made it possible to begin referring to the 3R's of 'reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic, as 'basic skills' to be acquired as a ' common utility' to satisfy other's external expectations, and from that point on, getting an education had been transformed into training in 'basic skills' that were necessary for acquiring other useful skills, for getting ahead in business in order to 'get a good life' ('good'? Or something (anything) else so long as it's useful?), such as accounting skills, and agricultural skills, and the like.

Those who are satisfied with what is useful, are the very ones in Socrates' parable of the cave, who are content to see only the shadows cast upon the cave walls to occupy their attention, and the truth is that for those who are put on, and stay on that path, it doesn't matter if you are slave or master, poor or wealthy, if the only thing you seek to learn are those skills that you are to be employed in performing, or comforting distractions from performing them, then in seeking only what you've been trained to see, you become psychologically enslaved to that. Those who do become aware of the nature of those shadows, but don't seek the light, turning away from it out of a desire to become one of the puppet masters casting the shadows that everyone else is enslaved to, become focused upon Power for power's sake, and they themselves become enslaved to the slaves... and hate them for that fact about themselves.

That was the cave that Frederick Douglass escaped from, first physically, and then mentally, by putting himself upon the 'Old Normal's path through his 'rich treasure' and 'noble acquisition' of classics that had been compiled into ' The Columbian Orator', and that path to 'light and liberty' is what the 3R's were for, not to gain 'basic skills', but so as to enable men such as himself to understand that men are more than animals, and that even when they must work, as we must, they are more than workhorses. As noted in the previous post, Douglass observed that:
"...Education, on the other hand, means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free. To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness, and to defeat the very end of their being..."
The old normal put you on a path whose destination urges you not to be delayed and distracted by seemingly scenic views, but to accustom yourself to, as Albert Jay Nock, in his "The Theory of Education in the United States" (a 'must read' BTW, but be prepared for many of your sacred cows being gored, butchered, and BBQ'd), quotes Plato's purpose to 'see things as they are'. OTOH, the path which Webster and his fellow reformers were proposing as the New Normal, intentionally or not, was where the purpose of Education was detoured onto that path which Douglass described as "... learning only those skills that were useful to their masters..." which would make them into men of the cave who lived chiefly,
"... within the narrow, dark and grimy walls of ignorance. He is a poor prisoner without hope..."
Brush aside all protestations of our Founding Reformer's good intentions of "not intended to diminish anything", the fact is that giving educational time and attention to acquiring those later skills, would necessarily entail taking time and understanding away from those materials of Western Civilization that had traditionally been used in the education of Western youth: Homer, The Bible, Thucydides, Cicero, Virgil, etc., not to mention the languages of Greek & Latin, as well as Hebrew, which was studied alongside them in many American colleges in the 1700s. Worse still, seeking to do so not only equates, but elevates, vocation over avocation, skills over wisdom, facts over truth.

It shouldn't need to be said, but of course acquiring vocational skills was and is a value, and there's no shame whatsoever in doing so, but to compare one with the other as equals, let alone trade one for the other, should be seen as not just wrong, but shameful. Far better to send your students to Mike Rowe for training in Dirty Jobs, than to Harvard or Berkeley for a slop of valueless values and supposedly high-paid skills.

That fateful turn towards the New Normal began our transformation from who we were, into who we are, by leaving us mentally & spiritually disarmed of the understanding which the literature of Western Civilization makes possible, and as we became less and less familiar with them, we became more and more vulnerable to, and unable to defend ourselves against its enemies, first in the Pro-Regressive 'Progressives', and then latter the Marxists, and now as those works are being purged from our libraries, we are prone to whatever worse variant is inexorably lowering us down to the level of actually debating whether or not having crude pap and porn available to children in their school's library, is a 'good' idea.

Our Founding Reformers took who they were for granted - taking both the literature itself, and the process that went into learning them and the habitual orientation towards what is true which resulted from that, for granted. The texts themselves were but raw diamonds, and only together with the process of learning them, did they become the polished jewels of Western literature - it takes both for the ideas to take root in heart and mind, and only then could they inspire the imagination of youths like Frederick Douglass, and John Adams before him. Even those less like them and more like Noah Webster, still benefited from the actions of becoming familiar with those ideas, as that was how Jefferson was able to write the Declaration of Independence as briefly stating " expression of the American mind...", whose 'harmonizing sentiments' derived from
"... the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
Those '... liberal ideas of government...', were only able to enter into the popular mind, because of those 'Elitist' works of literature, works that Webster and his fellows were themselves educated from and thoroughly familiar with... and yet were intent upon turning our education away from.

It is beyond ironic that Noah Webster, who wanted more than anything to establish the sense of an 'American Identity!', turned Americans away from the 'Elitist' works of Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian literature that had enabled them to recognize and fight for those self-evident truths which those same Founders had sacrificed so much for - those Elite works (say it with pride and reverence), and not some accident of geography or handiness with skills, are what Americans' true identity sprang from.

Next time someone makes fun of the Indians for trading New York for a bag of Wampum, remind them that they at least traded stuff, for stuff, whereas America has traded away the accumulated wisdom of thousands of years, for a few skills that are useful only for the moment - and you may rest assured that those today who 'learn to code' will soon go the way of yesterday's buggy whip assembler. Our Founding Reformers overlooked the dangers of being misled by their own good intentions into perilous circumstances, and so following in the steps of Essau, in exchanging the harder lessons of "Know Thyself" for the easier path of utilitarian skills and goals, traded our birthright as Westerners and as Americans, for a swiftly coolly bowl of porridge.

It's difficult not to shake your head, when you consider that towards the end of his life forty years later in 1837, Noah Webster was utterly amazed over the general lack of knowledge, principles, and standards, in those who'd largely been educated in accordance with his own advice, as he wrote to Charles Chauncey, that:
“...Principles, Sir, are becoming corrupt, deeply corrupt; & unless the progress of corruption, & perversion of truth can be arrested, neither liberty nor property, will long be secure in this country. And a great evil is, that men of the first distinction seem, to a great extent, to be ignorant of the real, original causes of our public distresses...”
Again, my intention here is not to dump on or to portray Webster in a bad light, I'm trying to point out that solid and admirable men like Noah Webster, Dr. Rush, and Benjamin Franklin - men who were truly among the Founding Fathers of America - nevertheless are, then as now, prone to letting their pet assumptions run away with them under the power of their best intentions. And it is up to 'We The People' to question and slow them, but without the knowledge which their 'system of education' had made them less & less familiar with, we've progressively lost our ability to check the notions of 'great men' with good intentions, and one of the results of that, has shown itself as equating Liberty, with 'the right' to have porn in the school library.

By their fruits you shall know them
The truth is that it did not matter that our Founding Reformers intended to help Americans to become more successful, it didn't matter how certain Noah Webster was that he was going to be helping to plant, tend and grow giant Oak trees - the fact of the matter is that the seeds that they were planting, would reduce our forests to an expanse of weeds & thistles, and their 'New Normal' in education has produced ideas and practices that are deadly to the principles which Webster and his fellow Founding Fathers had helped to found America upon. Those weeds have taken root, they are darkening our councils, choking our discourse and spreading progressively further and deeper with each school years fresh crop of dis-educated graduates, as dandelions blown into the ranks of 'We The People'.

What began with the good intentions of an educated people who'd taken the source of their education for granted and attempted to 'add to it' some attention towards practical vocational skills, made enough of a crack in our foundation, for the yearly freeze & thaw of popular opinion to begin the never-ending process of education reform. In a dizzyingly short amount of time, the Pro-Regressive 'Progressive' educationists who followed after our Founders era, transformed Education from being a means to the light of truth which sets a person free from darkness and enabled them to live in liberty - an Elite ideal that America is unsustainable without - into the Power Tool of mandatory public school systems that form unseen political controls over 'We The People' and the thoughts they are led to think, so as to conform them to the ideals of 'those who know best'. In less than a century, that crack of adding 'useful skills' into education, had expanded into such a crevice by 1909 that Woodrow Wilson, while still president of Princeton University, would openly and confidently advise the Federation of High School Teachers that what was critical to what they taught and why, was that:
"...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..."
That was and is the counter revolution that has been waged against America, manned by different factions over the years, factions who've warred even amongst themselves, but always against the Greco/Roman-Judeo/Christian traditions together, and they all are the fruit of our Founding Reformers 'New Normal', and their fruit is that of SEL & CRT, which they believe now has us in the 'End Game'.

Our Founding Reformer's would've done well to pay closer attention to a quote from Noah's cousin, Daniel Webster:
"...Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of power; but they cannot justify it, even if we were sure that they existed. It is hardly too strong to say, that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intention, real or pretended. When bad intentions are boldly avowed, the people will promptly take care of themselves. On the other hand, they will always be asked why they should resist or question that exercise of power which is so fair in its object, so plausible and patriotic in appearance, and which has the public good alone confessedly in view? Human beings, we may be assured, will generally exercise power when they can get it; and they will exercise it most undoubtedly, in popular governments, under pretences of public safety or high public interest. It may be very possible that good intentions do really sometimes exist when constitutional restraints are disregarded. There are men, in all ages, who mean to exercise power usefully; but who mean to exercise it. They mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters. They think there need be but little restraint upon themselves. Their notion of the public interest is apt to be quite closely connected with their own exercise of authority. They may not, indeed, always understand their own motives. The love of power may sink too deep in their own hearts even for their own scrutiny, and may pass with themselves for mere patriotism and benevolence...."
From our end of history, their plans should serve as a textbook reminder of the unexpected power which 'new ideas!' can have over the minds of even great men such as Noah Webster, Dr. Rush, and Benjamin Franklin, who are just as often swept up in, and possessed by them, along with everyone else.

In the next post we'll look further into that most dangerous of new technologies which has eased the transformation of Education from what it was in our Founders era, into what it is today: the Textbook.