Throughout human history, the prevailing belief system changes from time to time & place to place; most people unthinkingly absorb whatever happens to be the prevailing dogma of their time & place. Here, I will show the radical differences between the philosophy of our Founding Era and the philosophy of today. And when I have done so, you will understand why our Country is declining and what you can do about it. In a nutshell, the Enlightenment philosophy of our Founding Era, which was based on Reason and the recognition of the existence of Fixed Principles, was taken away from us; and replaced with the subjective philosophies of Pragmatism & Existentialism, both of which reject Reason and deny the existence of Objective Truth & Fixed Principles. These are now the prevailing dogma of our Time; and unless we promptly repudiate them, we will fall.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay (authors of The Federalist Papers), and others at the Federal Convention of 1787, embodied the best aspects of The Age of Enlightenment. They were well educated, exquisitely knowledgeable in statecraft & political philosophy, embraced the concepts of Objective Reality & Fixed Principles, knew Logic, and could think. George Washington, a man renowned for his Moral Character, which was based on Judeo-Christian ideals, presided over the Convention.
The Fruit of the Philosophy, Religion, & well-trained Minds of our Framers was a Constitution which ordained and established a Federation of States which united only for THE LIMITED PURPOSES enumerated in the Constitution: national defense, international commerce & relations; and domestically, the creation of an uniform commercial system: Weights & measures, patents & copyrights, a monetary system based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, and mail delivery. 1
Progressive “Education” & the Conditioning of the American People
But during the 19th Century, Progressives took control of public schools & teachers’ colleges. They then conditioned teachers and children to abandon our Founders’ Enlightenment philosophy of Reason, Fixed Principles, & Judeo-Christian ideals; and to accept a new ideology which replaced Reason with “feelings” and denied the existence of an Objective Reality & Fixed Principles. They thus primed the objects of their conditioning to accept whatever attitudes the Progressives chose to instill in them. And the objects of this conditioning did not – do not – know what was done to them!
Samuel L. Blumenfeld explains the two opposing philosophies of education:
the “progressives”…viewed public education primarily as a tool for social and cultural reform to be achieved through the remaking of human nature; and the traditionalists …viewed education, public or private, primarily as a development of an individual’s intellectual skills in combination with moral instruction based on Judeo-Christian ideals. ["Is Public Education Necessary?", Ch. 12]
Thanks to the traditional education they received, our Framers knew history, political philosophy & statecraft, Logic, Judeo-Christian moral ideals, and could think!
Thanks to progressive “education”, Americans have been so dumbed-down that they can’t read, 2 know nothing, and can’t think. After the Progressives ripped moral instruction based on Judeo-Christian ideals out of the public schools, and replaced it with the view that morality is a matter of subjective personal opinion or group consensus, 3 we became an amoral people who kill babies, reject altogether the concept of personal responsibility, insist on a claimed “right” to live at other peoples’ expense, and believe that the only guide for our conduct is our own likes, dislikes, & “feelings”: “I like it” or “I don’t like it”; “I feel like it” or “I don’t feel like it”. We became so shallow and morally blind that we elect fools & tyrants to high office. Thanks to “self-esteem” classes, we believe that our views & “feelings” on subjects of which we have no knowledge whatsoever are as important as anybody else’s.
With our untrained & empty minds and instilled amorality, we were rendered incapable of resisting the conditioning of the Progressives. And this, Folks, has been the purpose of public “education” ever since the Progressives took it over.
2000 years of Western Philosophy on Metaphysics & Epistemology 4 in One Paragraph
So! In Western Civilization, we had the Age of Faith (There is an Objective Reality & Truth 5 and they are revealed in the Bible & Works of Creation); the Enlightenment (There is an objective Reality & Truth and we discover it by use of Reason); the Age of Romanticism (“Truth” is found in your emotions & feelings); and now, Pragmatism & Existentialism (There is no Objective Reality; “Truth” is a concept which has no meaning; there are no fixed principles, there is only “opinion” and one man’s “opinion” is as good as another’s).
Pragmatism & Existentialism
During the late 19th century, the philosophy of Pragmatism (William James, Charles Saunders Peirce, John Dewey) arose. It rejected the concept of an Objective Reality with its Timeless Truths. Instead of concerning oneself with the question of whether something is “True”, the pragmatist asks, “What difference will it make in my life whether I believe it or don’t believe it?” So one looks to the “utility” of believing it or not believing it. If it has a good result for me, it is “true”. If it has a bad result for me, it is not “true”. What is “true” for me may not be “true” for you, so an idea can be “true” for some and not “true” for others. Furthermore, what is “true” for me today may not be “true” for me tomorrow, so “truth” evolves.
Do you see? They tossed the concept of Objective Truth – Objective Reality – Fixed Principles & Standards – out the window.
Pragmatism morphed into Existentialism (Jean-Paul Sartre). Existentialism rejects an objective basis for life in favor of a subjective basis: 6 Humans are merely biological organisms living meaningless lives, making “choices” on the basis of no criteria whatsoever other than their own likes or dislikes. Since there is no basis for any external Principles or Standards to which we must conform, people are free to do whatever they want.
Again, it was the Colleges of Education and the public schools which were the vehicles for dumbing-down the American People and conditioning them to reject the Philosophy of our Founders, and to accept the pragmatist & existentialist mind-set.
A friend recalls an incident which happened around 1960 in English class in an American public high school. The students read a story. The teacher asked each student to say what the story meant to him. Whatever a student said was praised by the teacher. But my friend said, “It doesn’t matter what it means to me. What matters is what the author says.” The teacher was most displeased with that remark.
Do you see? Under the pretext of teaching literature, the teacher indoctrinated her students into rejecting the concept of Objective Reality & Fixed Principles, and accepting a subjective world-view devoid of objective meaning. The teacher most likely had no idea what she was doing – she was just following her teacher’s manual. She was thus one of the millions of useful idiots who graduate from our Colleges of Education and set about assisting in the destruction of the minds & morals of the American People. 7
Do you not remember hearing over & over in your public schools, “There is no black or white, there is only gray.” “What’s true for me may not be true for you”. “If it works, it’s right.” “What does it mean to you?” And when one is facing a moral decision, one is asked, “How do you feel about it?” One’s “feelings” are set up as the criterion for making moral decisions! There is no appeal to objective standards of Right & Wrong. That was ripped out of the public schools by the Progressives. And we are mystified by the high crime rates among our children? 8
Most Americans are now existentialists, even though they never heard of John Paul Sartre. We see our own “likes”, “dislikes”, & “feelings” as the only standard. We just want to “feel good”. That our personal likes & dislikes are irrelevant when they conflict with objective Standards of Good & Bad, Right & Wrong, is unthinkable. I’ll illustrate: It is painful, but we have no time left to pussy-foot:
Standards of Conduct: What’s Right By Objective Standards? Or, What do I like?
Talk to an obese person about what he eats: He will most likely say something like, “I’ll eat what I like.” He thus follows a subjective standard: his likes & his dislikes. Because he is an existentialist (though doesn’t know it), he rejects the idea that there is an objective standard by which one can decide what to eat and what to avoid: That of health – Is the food healthy? Or unhealthy? And if you tell him of this objective standard, he’ll say, “I don’t care – I’ll eat what I like.” The essence of the existentialist mind-set is that the existentialist sees no reason why he should set anything above his own “feelings”, likes, or dislikes.
There was a stay-at-home Mom. When her young children were hungry, she tossed them a box of crackers or cookies, or took them to a fast food joint.. Why? Because she didn’t like to cook. That she had a DUTY to provide her children with healthy food, never entered her mind. She didn’t “like” cooking, she “felt like” going to the mall instead, and that was the end of the matter.
Couch potatoes don’t exercise because they “hate” exercise. They reject the objective fact of Reality that exercise is necessary to be healthy.
Pragmatism, Existentialism & Federal Judges
So! With the rise of Pragmatism & its conception of evolving and subjective “truth”, American lawyers abandoned the concept of Law as a body of fixed principles (set forth in The Declaration, The Constitution, Blackstone’s Commentaries, Natural Law &/or the Bible), and embraced the concept of an “evolving” law and an “evolving” Constitution which means whatever they – the judges – say it means! Remember! To the pragmatist, “truth” evolves. 9
So THIS is the philosophical basis for judges on the supreme Court tossing out The Federalist Papers as the objective standard of the meaning of The Constitution; and substituting their own opinions. When they were in school, they were conditioned to reject the concept of Objective & Fixed Standards, and to accept Pragmatism & Existentialism; and I bet you few (if any) of them ever thought it through. They did not resist the conditioning – they just accepted what their Manipulators instilled in them.
We teeter on the brink of disaster. YOU must rise to the occasion. Our Country & our Posterity depend on YOUR repudiating the destructive philosophies your conditioners foisted on you; and reclaiming the rational Enlightenment philosophy & Judeo-Christian morality of our Framers. We can not save our children unless we close the public schools. 10 Education must be privatized, and we better do it now. PH
Postscript added July 22, 2011: Melanie Phillips shows how the abandonment of the concept of Objective Principles & Standards and the embracing of moral relativism & multiculturalism is leading to the islamization of England: Watch it!
1 Our Constitution follows the Biblical model: a civil government with defined powers which is subject to – under – the Law. Civil government is not the source of Law! The law comes from a higher authority: God is the source of Law in the Bible; The Declaration of Independence & The Constitution are the Source of Law in our Country. Acts of the three branches of the federal government are lawful or unlawful depending on whether they are consistent with the Declaration & authorized by The Constitution. These are the standard of what is “lawful” – NOT the fiat of the brain-washed judges who sit on our courts.
Lex, Rex by Rev. Samuel Rutherford (1644), is a masterwork of which modern American pastors are ignorant. Rev. Rutherford proves that civil authorities have legitimacy ONLY to the extent they obey The Law. We see all around us the results of our pastors’ ignorance of these Biblical teachings.
2 Two/thirds of Wisconsin 8th graders can’t read proficiently! Yet their teachers are screaming for more benefits to be paid for by the taxpayers, while lying about being sick. With the public schools, we have financed our own destruction. And most Americans who can read, are unable to read The Federalist Papers. Yet The Federalist is essential for a correct understanding of the objective (genuine) meaning of our Constitution & they were published in Newspapers in 1787-88!
3 “Values clarification” is the version of “moral guidance” foisted in the public schools on our children since the 1960′s. Public school teachers are telling children that they are “… free to choose ethical and moral behavior that resonates with them.” They thus “liberate” children from “authoritarian” teachings on morality.
4 “Metaphysics” deals with the nature of Reality; “Epistemology”, with theories of Knowledge. The Ayn Rand Institute has an excellent lexicon for philosophical terms. Rand was a non-theist; PH is a Christian theist. Hence, there are some differences. But both see “Natural Law” (Physics, Mathematics, Logic, Morality, Politics, etc.) as woven into the Fabric of Reality. Both see the Universe as governed by LAW; and that the duty of man is to learn & to obey these Laws.
Thus, the Great Divide is between those who accept the concept of Divine or “Natural Law”; and those, such as Progressives, Libertarians, Pragmatists, & Existentialists, who reject it. They deny the existence of any standard other than their own “feelings”, likes & dislikes.
5 “objective reality” means this: “Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man’s feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.” In other words, things are the way they are regardless of what you like, don’t like, agree with or don’t agree with.
6 “subjectivism” is “…the belief that reality is not a firm absolute, but a fluid, plastic, indeterminate realm which can be altered, in whole or in part, by the consciousness of the perceiver—i.e., by his feelings, wishes or whims. It is the doctrine which holds that man—an entity of a specific nature, dealing with a universe of a specific nature—can, somehow, live, act and achieve his goals apart from and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality, i.e., apart from and/or in contradiction to his own nature and the nature of the universe…”
7 In “The Abolition of Man“, C.S. Lewis illustrates how the concept of “objective value” was ripped out of the hearts of British school children by their teachers. He also discusses the “Natural Law” and how it has been universally recognized. His book is only 113 pages, double-spaced, & one of the most important books ever written. Read it. Outline it. Tell all in your spheres of influence.
8 But at least we can take comfort in the knowledge that our children are not being taught in public schools such things as, “thou shalt not kill”, “thou shalt not steal”, “thou shalt not bear false witness”, “thou shalt not covet”, and other such “authoritarian” & offensive rubbish.
9 In “The Second American Revolution“, attorney John W. Whitehead (Rutherford Institute) writes of this. This is a valuable book which shows how bad philosophy corrupted our judges.Facebook, Google Plus, & Twitter. You can also get Freedom Outpost delivered to your Amazon Kindle device here.