Tradition is under attack in America’s educational system. Dissolving the connections with our history will break society.
Edmund Burke argues in Reflections on the Revolution in France that “Men… [are] becom[ing] little better than the flies of a summer,” each generation vanishing and giving nothing but the simple fact of their life on to the next.
There are unfortunate, but not surprising, similarities between the French Revolution and the current battleground of education in the United States. Much like the French civilization in the 18th century, we have become deluded with a belief that the only way to change is to abolish what we have come to know.
Burke’s commentary is equally fitting for our time as his, when he wonders “how any man can have brought himself to that pitch of presumption, to consider his country as nothing but carte blanche, upon which he may scribble whatever he pleases.”
Students are being encouraged to oppose the government rather than to engage in the established political process. The preference for protests and civil disobedience, driven by bitterness and resentment, reflects their ignorance about how our democratic republic operates. The leaders of the “progressive left” hide behind a facade of love for the poor, the stranger, and their neighbor, while endeavoring to replace our Constitution with utopian ideas that have failed horribly.
Some of the governments that operate under these failed ideas still survive as a testimony to their ability to cause poverty and despair. In the “Democratic Republic” of North Korea the people suffer as slaves of the totalitarian government, while in Venezuela, people are eating their pets.
Yet our way of life has prospered because of our established political process and has survived because it is grounded on the combined wisdom of those who came before us.
Burke wrote to the French leaders who favored revolution, “You had all these advantages in your ancient states, but you chose to act as if you had never been molded into civil society, and had everything to begin anew. You began ill because you began by despising everything that belonged to you…Respecting your forefathers, you would have been taught to respect yourselves.”
America’s liberty is under attack from within. Our failure to teach our history and the importance of the institutions that brought about America’s prosperity (the centrality of family, hard work, the rule of law, economic freedom, limit and representative government, etc.) is a disservice to our children that will ultimately lead to our demise as a culture.