Enemies Within: Tread Carefully
Common Sense – Chapter 5; Part 7
Countless pages of print and hours of television time have been dedicated to covering the economic crisis, but there is something deeper and deadlier taking place that is not being reported on: an increasingly pervasive disenfranchisement among middle-class America. During the good times, Americans tolerated our politicians’ malfeasance, lies, and corruption, which have weakened our families and country. But now, worsening economic conditions and a Congress filled with hypocrites are trying the patience of a restless population that has played by the rules.
If our leaders want to address the growing disdain, they need to first restore trust with the American people. If you promise that you are going to build a fence on our southern border, build a fence. If you say that you are going to clean up the government, don’t appoint tax cheats to positions of power. If you promise to make America energy independent, don’t refuse to discuss off-shore drilling or nuclear power. If you don’t know what needs to be done to fix our economic meltdown, don’t spend trillions of dollars, take control of private companies, vilify corporate executives, and tell us that everything will be okay.
Common sense tells us that the public will lose its faith in any government where 66 percent of the people have absolutely “no trust” or “not very much trust” in the government’s ability to manage its “finances reasonably.” Logic tells us that when only 22 percent of a citizenry trusts the government to do what’s right “most of the time,” something has to give.
But the Progressives won’t “give” because they, along with their useful idiots, don’t think like you. They are part of the 7 percent of Americans that a Rasmussen survey recently defined as the “political class” who:
–> trust the judgment of political leaders more than the American public;
–> reject the notion that government is a special-interest group primarily watching out for itself;
–> believe that big business and big government work together for the interests of investors and consumers.
Given the beliefs of that group, is it any wonder that 51 percent of all Americans have a “favorable” view of the nation-wide Tea Parties, and another 32 percent have a “very favorable” view—a full 81 percent of people who identify themselves as part of the “political class” have either an “unfavorable” or “highly unfavorable” view?
They just don’t see the world the same way, and they are working to make sure that you and your children succumb to their views. You feel they are talking down to you—and you feel that way because they are talking down to you! They not only believe they have the answer (bigger government) but that there is also the only answer.
If you feel the condescension of the political and media elite, you have Walter Lippmann to thank. Mr. Lippmann was a highly influential journalist and Progressive during the Wilson and Roosevelt administrations who argued that the media should play a role as intermediary between politicians and a public too self-centered and uneducated to really grasp what was really going on. He was noted to have remarked that most people were “mentally children or barbarians” and needed self-anointed experts to help them navigate through the issues and decisions they would be called upon as citizens to make.
Every time you hear a politician explain a vote to the American public by saying “this was a very complex issue” or “this was a nuanced bill” and then skip the part where they explain that alleged complexity or nuance, you are seeing a living example of Lippmann’s philosophy. It’s the politicians’ politically correct way of telling you that “you just wouldn’t understand.”
By dismissing the average American as uninterested in the issues, or not smart enough to understand them, the political class is breeding disenfranchisement and resentment. The only way out is by restoring America’s confidence. We need leaders who will say what they mean and mean what they say. Leaders who will tell the American people what their convictions are, not what they think we want to hear. Honesty may not sound great in cable news sound bites, but it will sound great to the millions of people who’ve been craving it. We will have your back.
Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders is a self-described socialist. He doesn’t hide from his views and he makes no apologies for his policies. For that, I respect him deeply. I would much rather have a country filled with honest brokers whose policies I abhor than one filled with people who say what I want to hear, but then do exactly the opposite. Being honest about your principles means that there can be a real debate on the issues, with the chance of real progress being made.
It’s not just the political class who has mastered the art of deception. There are other potentially deadly masters who will seek to exploit your frustration and sense of desperation. Many will warn you of government tyranny; they’ll talk of secret societies, vast conspiracies, shadow governments, and the need for violet action. I urge you to stay away from these individual and those ideas.
There is no “star chamber” that needs to be found and destroyed, and there is no global conspiracy playing out. The individuals and groups that propagate those lies have their own agendas, but, like all radicals and revolutionaries, they will eventually seek to impose their rules and lifestyles on all of us.
Make no mistake, a revolution is required to restore America, but it’s a revolution that can be fought with the weapon of democracy. This is not a call to arms or violence—it is a call to once again tether ourselves to our core principles and values. Treachery and treason abound from those who profess allegiance to America. Truth, the “first casualty of war,” is in short supply—make it your polestar.
Objective reason and innate common sense tells us that loyalty to government either comes voluntarily due to the respect its citizens give it for a job well done, or involuntarily through threats of force or outright fear. The polling data discussed earlier makes it clear that our government is quickly moving towards the latter. That is an unsustainable shift.
Like our parents and grandparents, most of us grew up in an era when our schools sought to instill confidence and respect in our government and its leaders. We learned of the selflessness of George Washington, the honesty of Abraham Lincoln, and the sacrifice of Americans made to turn a group of thirteen colonies into the United States. We learned how our country came together to crush Nazism and fascism and put a man on the moon. The knowledge of those events, and our government’s proud role in them, inspired generations after generations of Americans.
But we are losing the next generation to an educational system that has fallen prey to political patronage and the Progressive agenda. History, reading, writing, and math are secondary to the incessant indoctrination of our kids to climate change, the evils of capitalism, and the benefits of big government. This works as a general anesthesia, numbing our children and rendering them defenseless to the lessons and ideas that we work so hard to inoculate them from in our own homes.
Given the importance of education in shaping the future of America, it’s not surprising that it has been a main target of the Progressive movement’s agenda. During the early 1990s, Progressives increased the mandatory nature of education, which resulted in enrollment for elementary and high school age children going up, right along with public school spending. But getting more kids into the classrooms didn’t matter unless Progressives could also influence what was being taught in those classrooms.
Woodrow Wilson, then the president of Princeton University, candidly explained, “Our problem is not merely to help the students to adjust themselves to work life.. [but] to make them as unlike their fathers as we can.”
Progressives didn’t want learning to be from teachers to students, they wanted it to be based on the children’s own experiences and feelings. They wanted to develop a structure where children were “equal participants” with their teachers in a classroom community. But it hasn’t worked. Consider that:
–> Only 34.6% of the kids in Baltimore city’s public school system received a high school diploma in 2004;
–> The Indianapolis public school system handed out diplomas to just 30.5% of its students;
–>Detroit’s public school system struggled to have 25% of its students qualify for a high school diploma;
–> 45.2% of New York City public school kids graduated with a high school diploma.
Yet, despite those sobering statistics, Progressives still don’t view parents as partners in the learning cycle—they view them as obstacles. Parents, with their rigid views of test scores and report cards, hold their children back from realizing their full potential, value, and role in the greater community. And, once again, we find parallels to that kind of thinking in history.
In the 1700s, French revolutionary Maximilien Roberspierre wanted all children to be nurtured and taught by the state. In the 1900s, Hitler told his supporters that those opposing the Third Reich and its ideologies were destined to fail because, as he put it, “Your child belongs to us already.” And that child will only grow up to know the “new camp” in which he is being raised.
More recently, Hillary Clinton (who once said “I considered myself a modern progressive”) pronounced that it “takes a village” to raise a child, suggesting that the community has a vested interest in deciding what each child is taught and how he or she is raised. Clinton and other Progressives truly believe that “there isn’t really any such thing as someone else’s child.”
Because so much of what the Progressives stand for feels good, it wasn’t a hard sell to educators and sociologist experts. They bought into the “classroom community” concept and urged our teachers to act as “friends” to children. As a result, kids have been taught for years that they are all equals in the classroom and that feelings matter more than test scores. As those kids make their way into the workforce, we will see those new ideals influence American business. If competitiveness and hard work never mattered in the classroom, it won’t matter in their jobs, either.
But even as these policies degrade America’s standing in the world, Progressives are still pushing forward. It’s not enough to have moved educational responsibility from the local community to the state to the federal government—they now want to move it to the global level.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by every U.N. member except the United States and Somalia, requires that countries give children certain ‘rights,” including: access to education and health care; programs that develop their personalities and talents; and the opportunity to grow and develop in an atmosphere of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality, and solidarity.
As the treaty itself says, “By agreeing to undertake the obligations of the Convention [by ratifying or acceding to it], national governments have committed themselves to protecting and ensuring children’s rights and they have agreed to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community.”
Answering to the “international community” is exactly where the Progressives have been trying to push us and it’s why there are once again calls in Congress for the United States to adopt this convention. Just as was the case after we refused to ratify the Kyoto Treaty, we are told that America is out of step with the rest of the world that is “progressing” while we stick to our “outdated” principles.
The truth is that all of these attempts to “take care of your children” are nothing more than an effort to break down the cohesion and structure of the parent/child relationship while also migrating power to a national or global entity. The Progressives recognize that family is the basic, most fundamental building block of society and they realize that by degrading the power of the parents, they are establishing, in the minds of children, the power and ‘compassion” of the State.
Examples of this can already be found. Your child doesn’t have to tell you when they are using school-distributed contraceptives, seeing a school nurse, or even scheduling an abortion. The parents are effectively left out of these life-changing and emotionally demanding decisions as the State happily steps in as their surrogate.
For those who continue to fight and resist, the government is watching. It doesn’t matter if common sense, or even facts, are on your side—if something goes against the Progressive agenda, it will be targeted. Consider the Washington, D.C., school voucher program, for instance. It didn’t matter to the political elite and their union allies that the kids using that program were scoring substantially higher than their public school counterparts, or that 8,000 students desperate to escape the public schools applied for just 1,714 scholarships, or that $7,500 voucher provided cost half as much as the district would pay for that same child to attend a public school. It didn’t matter because charter schools put a wall between government and education—and that wall cannot stand… so neither could the D.C. voucher program.
Despite a swelling budget that seemed to fund every possibly program, the Obama administration killed the voucher program by refusing to allow any new children into it. It is expected that the program will die a slow, silent death. In the eyes of the education “experts,” it’s better that children attend failing, miserable, unsafe public schools overseen by the government, than have a chance at something better in a facility with less government control. Such is the power and contempt of our leaders.
Homeschooling is another area that Progressives target simply because the government does not get a seat at the kitchen table. Progressives label those who homeschool their children as “backwards,” “socially undeveloped,” or religious zealots—but those attacks are just diversions from their real concern about lack of State control.
You may scoff and figure that homeschooling attacks, like infringements on the right to bear arms will never succeed—but you’re wrong. It was just a few years ago that a California appellate court found that “parents do not have a constitutional right to home-school their children” under California law. The basis for their decision: “A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare.” Apparently the court determined that patriotism and loyalty to “the state” couldn’t be guaranteed in a home setting.
Many will counter that this decision was reversed and that homeschooling is alive and well in California today. While that may be true, I would remind you that Progressive policy makers are patient. They know how to bide their time, waiting for the right combination of public opinion and judicial appointees to take hold before making their case again. And if that fails, they will move their battle to the international level by seeking to have their version of what’s best for your children dictated by the United Nations through treaties such as the “Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Progressives do not care about minor setbacks. They will continue their assault because they do not fear us. And, truthfully, they have no reason to. We have failed to stand up to them time and time again even as they’ve worked tirelessly and openly to restructure and reshape America.
Common sense tells you that if the government was willing to bring its power and might to prevent another 1,700 children from getting a school voucher in Washington, D.C., they’ll work even harder to bring a million homeschooled children into the public schools so that “loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare” can be taught appropriately.
For too long we’ve believed the idea sold to us by politicians and bureaucrats that money is the answer to the problems with our education system. It’s not—the answer is in standing against the Progressive policies that have led us to this destruction. We don’t need more money, we just need more teachers who care, more politicians who are willing to d the right thing, more parents who are willing to fight for a return to the traditional parent/teacher relationship, and most of all, fewer professional bureaucrats standing in the way of commonsense reform.