1. Life would be better if everyone had the same income and/or resources.
Truth: A totally classless society is impossible, and all attempts have resulted eventually in collective poverty.
2. If we could only communicate better, then we would understand each other, and we would all get along.
Truth: If we truly understood what everyone else really believed, we might like each other less!
3. We can legislate our way to a perfect and peaceful society.
Truth: All law is an imposition of an external standard on someone who doesn’t want to embrace it. The problem is not a lack of legislation, it is that many people desire to do things that are harmful to others, and they always will. In case we haven’t noticed, criminals do not obey the law.
4. If would could get rid of all guns and nukes, we would have world peace.
Truth: There wasn’t world peace before the invention of guns and nukes.
5. Saving the environment will save our species.
Truth: Environmental crises are only a reflection of people’s hearts. Cleaning the environment, as important as that may be, does not intrinsically address the problems of greed and carelessness that cause ecological problems.
6. Everyone should have the right to do anything they want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
Truth: Self-destructive behaviors always hurt other people, even in indirect ways.
7. Giving people maximum freedom (or liberty) will result in maximum happiness.
Truth: You need to have a moral framework to know how use freedom responsibly (Individual Self-Government) or else that “freedom” will simply result in anarchy.
8. Words are tools of oppression used by the stronger elites to subjugate and control the weaker masses. The deconstruction of language will lead to egalitarianism and equal opportunity. (Postmodern argument)
Truth: Postmodernists are using words to convince of this supposed truth. Do you think they are hoping to control us?
9. We should embrace either all religions as equal and valid, or no religion at all.
Any worldview or philosophy answers (or seeks to answer) some fundamentally religious questions?
All religions (including Atheism) answer these questions, but in fundamentally different and oppositional ways. The Law of Non-Contradiction (in forma Logic) requires that these contradictory truth claims cannot all be true in the same way in the same sense. It is impossible for us to simply ignore these inherently religious questions.
10. If we can just get a president elected who espouses our views, then everything will improve.
Truth: In a Representative Republic, the elected leaders are a reflection of the people of that nation. If the people cannot effectively govern themselves, then an elected official will only reflect that inability of the people to be self-governed.
Copyright 2011, Israel Wayne.
Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker.
“Place your right hand over your heart and repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.” Every morning in government and private school classrooms across America, students are led in the following mantra:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands: one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Very few of us know the history of the Pledge, its author and the original purposes behind the Pledge. Let’s explore some of these issues together.
The Author of the Pledge
The author of the Pledge, Francis Bellamy (1855-1931), was a Baptist minister, a Freemason and a socialist activist. (Socialism is usually defined as “government ownership and control of the means –including land, labor and capital – of production”.) If this appears incongruent, apparently Francis’ congregation thought so as well, for they put him out of his Boston, MA parish in 1891 because of his socialistic sermons.
Despite Francis’ early ties with the northern Baptists, his theological views were far from Biblical. He refused to believe in the virgin birth, the resurrection or the ascension of Christ, and somehow erroneously insisted that Jesus Christ was a socialist, like himself. In 1889, Francis co-founded, under the influence of his first cousin, Edward Bellamy, the Society of Christian Socialists.
Edward Bellamy (whose father was also a Baptist minister) is attributed with influencing the worldview behind Francis’ political views. Edward wrote novels including, Looking Backward 2000-1887 (1888), a critique of American capitalism and its sequel Equality (1897). Edward depicted the year 2000 as being the date that competitive capitalism would have been stamped out in favor of what he called a “cooperative commonwealth.” The theories in the book inspired many “Bellamy Clubs,” which led to the formation of a Nationalist Party, that advocated the federalization of public services. In 1891, Edward founded the “New Nation” in Boston, an organization that for some time promoted his leftist views. Edward had other interests, such as psychic phenomena, which he explored in some of his writings, but for the most part, he limited his novels to socialist concerns.
American educator, John Dewey, “(P)roclaimed Bellamy’s Looking Backward second only to Marx’s Das Kapital as the most influential book of modern times.”1 According to former New York State “Teacher of the Year,” John Taylor Gatto: “(T)he society Bellamy describes is a totally organized society, all means of production are in the hands of State parent-surrogates…Society in Bellamy’s ideal future has eliminated the reality of democracy, citizens are answerable to commands of industrial officers, little room remains for self-initiative. The State regulates all public activities, owns the means of production, individuals are transformed into a unit directed by bureaucrats.” 2
One biographer says of Edward, “(I)t should be pointed out that though Bellamy is usually spoken of as a “Utopian Socialist,” he was nothing of the kind. His system was a pure state capitalism, a complete nationalization of all industry which actually has much in common with the totalitarian state, now spoken of as Facism.”3
The History of the Pledge
Inspired by such lofty fascist notions, it seems that Francis was determined to influence the young (as did John Dewey and other socialists of the day), to cause them to have complete unquestioned allegiance to the civil government as the protector and provider of the people.
After leaving his position as paid pastor, he sought employment and mentoring through a staff position offered by Daniel Ford, the owner of the popular magazine, The Youth’s Companion. Ford later funded the liberal and controversial “Ford Hall Forum” in downtown Boston, MA, which attracted 1,400 in only its fifth meeting in 1908 (they turned away 500 more) to hear a lecture entitled, “Socialism As I See It.” By 1928 the Baptists in Boston had decried the forum as “anti-Christian” and “anti-American.”
The idea for the Pledge was given as an assignment to Francis Bellamy and Ford’s nephew, James B. Upham. The first version of the Pledge was published in the Sept. 8th, 1892 issue of The Youth’s Companion (TYC) magazine, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America.
Why The Need For A Pledge?
There seems to be several major motivations for introducing to youth a national oath or vow of allegiance.
First, were Francis’ personal radical views of the government as the cure for all social ills, and the need for unreserved trust and dependence on the State.
Second, according to Dr. John W. Baer, the Pledge of Allegiance could be considered by the advertising industry to be “the greatest piece of copy-writing seen in the United States in the last hundred years.” Francis Bellamy spent the latter years of his life as an advertising salesman for various magazines and considered writing ad copy to be his specialty. There was a definite financial motive behind the selling of the Pledge; it was the selling of American flags. Despite all of the rhetoric about socialism, a free press like The Youth’s Companion (which has the constitutional right to promote socialism if it desires), has to raise funds in a very capitalistic manner.
When the assignment to write a flag pledge was given to Bellamy and Upham, the former was given the task of writing the piece and promoting it to schools, while the latter was instructed to use the Pledge as a publicity stunt to sell American flags, the newspaper’s latest fund-raising endeavor. By 1892 the publication had already sold flags to approximately 26,000 schools, but Ford was convinced that they had not yet exhausted the market. Ford commissioned his staff to sell a flag to every school in America. The task was to encourage the NEA to tack on an official “pledge to the flag” for the celebration of the then upcoming National Public School Celebration for Columbus Day, thereby ensuring nearly universal participation in flag ceremonies (and thus, flag sales).
Third, Upham masterfully played upon the interest of school leaders in increasing patriotism in the schools. W.T. Harris, the commissioner of education, worked with the publication to secure TYC’s management of the World’s Youth Congress at the 1892 Columbia Exposition in Chicago, and convinced the school superintendents in attendance to adopt a series of resolutions recommending the project to all superintendents, teachers and newspapers. Francis was chosen as chairman of the NEA’s executive committee for the celebration. The NEA was intent on ensuring that the Columbus Day celebration was not merely a celebration of the discovery of America, but that the theme also included a recognition of the government schools as the glue which held the American experiment together.
Theodore Roosevelt, another Freemason and then member of the United States Civil Service Commission, said, “The Common School and flag stand together as the arch-typical of American civilization. The Common School is the leading form in which the principles of equality and fraternity take shape, while the Flag represents not only those principles of equality, fraternity and liberty (author’s note: this trilogy was the theme of the French Revolution), but also the great pulsing nation with all its hopes, and all its past, and all its moral power. So it is eminently fitting that the Common School and the Flag should stand together on Columbus Day.” (Baer)
Francis Bellamy in his address for Columbus Day stated, “We assemble here that we, too, may exalt the free school that embodies the American principle of universal enlightenment and equality…Washington and Jefferson recognized that the education of citizens is not the prerogative of the church or of other private interest; that while religious training belongs to the church, and while technical and higher culture may be given by private institutions – the training of citizens in the common knowledge and the common duties of citizenship belongs irrevocably to the State.” (Baer)
Very few private school administrators or homeschoolers are aware of how “eminently” linked the Pledge to the Flag is with the government school system.
An interesting effect of this “promotion of patriotism” was that most schools that used to have students memorize and recite sections of the U.S. Constitution, The Declaration of Independence or some other founding document from America’s inception, did away with teaching students what American law says, and focused only on oaths and vows. Now when nearly all students pledge allegiance to the Flag, they think the phrase “wall of separation of church and state” is a stated tenet in our Constitution on which the (Democracy) stands, with tolerance and diversity for all.
The Pledge has served as a much more emotional and subjective replacement for understanding the objective laws on which American was built. The Pledge fits into a “slogan” or “sound-bite” society that can only retain what the Pledge means “to me” when I say it, rather than what the original framers of our documents intended. No wonder many judges believe in “evolving documents” and “international law precedent,” rather than approaching the Constitution from an “originalist” or “strict constructionist” viewpoint. The federal judiciary (including the U.S. Supreme Court) has become an activist oligarchy (rule by an elite, imperious minority) that totally undermines the Rule of Law and the republic of representative government our founders established. With the swing of a gavel they have often overwritten the will of the people as expressed through her appointed officials, and have imposed their personal preferences on the masses. These are the same courts that want to remove morality from American life, remove life itself when it is not wanted or convenient, and remove any acknowledgement of God in the public sphere, all the while promising, “a republic for which it stands, with liberty and justice for all.”
Fourth, was the “need” to revive interest in a supposedly under-funded government school. (Of course one must wonder if the cry of “under-funding” has simply been going on since government school inception.) Some skeptics of mandatory government education (please keep in mind that Horace Mann’s compulsory attendance law had only been in effect for forty years in Massachusetts and much less in other places) claimed that State-run education was inherently socialistic in nature. In response to these views, President Harrison said, “The system of universal education is in our age the most prominent and salutary feature of the spirit of enlightenment, and it is peculiarly appropriate that the schools be made by the people the center of the day’s demonstration. Let the National Flag float over every school house in the country, and the exercises of such as shall impress upon our youth the patriotic duties of American citizenship.” (Baer)
Early on in American education, the notion was presented that while parents can teach some things (like potty training or brushing teeth), the government was the only agency capable of teaching people to be good citizens, and thus, “for the good of all society”, government schools were an indispensable part of the national economic duty.
Fifth, was President Harrison’s desire to further the effort to bring all of the southern citizens into conformity with the goals and agenda of the new federalized Union following the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln in 1863 had recommended an “Oath of Allegiance” for southerners to declare their loyalty to the new United States. Other such pledges and oaths (directed to those living in the formerly Confederate states) developed in following years, but the older citizens of the South resented most of them.
Sixth, immigration was also on the rise during these years, and government officials felt that a pledge to the flag would serve to create an ethos of loyalty among the new citizens. If new immigrants from foreign lands had felt hope of finally being accepted into a nation that looked past skin color and offered “liberty and justice for all,” they would have undoubtedly been disappointed by Francis and other Pledge promoters views on non-white citizens. Not only did the NEA not offer integration of blacks into the “public” schools until 1966, Francis himself said the following, “There are races, more or less akin to our own (author’s note: he means Anglo-Saxon), whom we may admit freely, and get nothing but advantage from the infusion of their wholesome blood. But there are other races which we cannot assimilate without a lowering of our racial standard, which should be as sacred to us as the sanctity of our homes.”4
One Nation Under God?
Many people are not aware that the original Pledge was devoid of any religious content. Bellamy’s version read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Notably absent is the line about America being “under God.” The original intent of this Pledge of Allegiance was to give homage to a secular republic.
In a June 3, 1940 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Minersville School District v. Gobitis, the court decided that a local school board could expel students who refused to recite the Pledge. On June 22, 1942 during the patriotic fervor of WWII, congress included the Pledge in the United States Flag Code (Title 36). In 1943, one year after receiving this official sanction, the U.S. Supreme Court, in the West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette decision (a case driven by religious organizations that felt that pledging allegiance to a flag was a violation of Exodus 20), ruled that school children would not be forced to recite the Pledge in school, a ruling that still stands to this day.
The final change to the Pledge came on June 14, 1954, President Eisenhower approved the addition of the words, “under God” to the Pledge. As an explanation, he stated, “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”
That same year, David Bellamy (Francis’ son), sent a message to Congress informing them that his father would not have approved of that addition. Francis’ granddaughter and great-granddaughter have also reportedly insisted that Francis would have resented this addition.6 (Baer)
I Pledge Allegiance To A Godless-State?
Fast forward to the present and we find ourselves in a culture that wants, ironically, to roll back this pledge to the original intent of Francis Bellamy, the author. Modern-day leftists desire to teach children to pledge their faithfulness and loyalty to a God-less State. This is something that must never happen.
A lawsuit brought by an atheist parent in Sacramento, CA against the words, “under God” in the Pledge was upheld in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case, Newdow vs. U.S. Congress on February 28th, 2003. This case is destined to be decided, at some point, by the U.S. Supreme Court. The claim made by the atheist parent is that Christians are imposing their values on non-Christians by forcing them to acknowledge God (even though no child is forced by law to recite the Pledge).
The U.S. Solicitor General, Theodore Olsen, and Elk Grove School District Attorney, Terence J. Cassidy, defended the teacher-led recitation by insisting that the phrase, “under God” was merely “descriptive” and “ceremonial” rather than a “religious invocation.” In other words, you can use the words “under God” as long as you don’t mean them. Sort of like the Ten Commandments cases where you can display God’s Word publicly, as long as you don’t believe it is God’s Word. It can only be considered an historical document in the same category as the Gettysburg Address or a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Patriotism or Statism?
Patriotism is simply defined by Noah Webster as, “Love of one’s country.” The question must be asked, however, “What exactly is your country?”
Do you mean the geographical land on which you live (i.e. Papua New Guinea or Greenland)? Do you mean your fellow countrymen (i.e. your neighbors and others in proximity to you)? Do you mean a philosophical ideal or the laws that your nation represents (i.e. freedom of speech, press and religion, etc.)? Do you mean the government that enforces the ideals and the values of your nation (i.e. the monarchy, the parliament, the congress, the police, the military, etc.)? What then, are people pledging to be loyal to when they make a vow to their flag? What is encompassed in that pledge? What if there is a disconnect between the ideals of a nation and the implementation of those ideals?
Another consideration is what would you do if you were to move to or were born in Germany, Northern Sudan or Abu Dabi. Would you pledge allegiance to any land where you were born or are a current citizen? You would want to be a loyal citizen, wouldn’t you?
Biblically speaking, it would be hard to imagine making a pledge of loyalty to any part of this geographical earth. That would seem odd. We may cultivate and tend it, but not make oaths to it. We are certainly instructed to love our neighbors, but there is no Biblical instruction to vow our devotion to them (our husband or wife, yes, but not our neighbors). Again, the Scripture never tells us to pledge allegiance to a set of ideals or philosophies, except of course to God Himself, but He is not, of course, merely a set of ideals. Romans 13 instructs us to be subject unto the higher powers, but history certainly doesn’t record the early Christians pledging allegiance to Caesar. Why? Because Caesar had set himself up as a god to be worshipped instead of the true and living God. They paid taxes and they showed honor when honor was due, but they did not pledge to do whatever Caesar wanted them to do.
Making Vows and Pledges
In fact, we are discouraged in Scripture from making any vow or pledge:
Jesus said, “But I say unto you, Swear not at all…But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:34 & 37)
“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” (James 5:12)
May I submit to you that those who wish to remove the words, “Under God” from the Pledge are explicit in their desire to eradicate any notion of the civil government’s obligation to a Higher Authority? They want to keep the oath, but they want you to be loyal to them, not to God. That act of autonomy, along with other recent public proclamations (such as the removal of Ten Commandments monuments from public courthouses), reveals the worldview or political philosophy by which most of our nation’s leaders now stand; “one nation, out from under God.” I can assure you that a nation like that will not have liberty or justice for all.
The issue is not merely one of vanishing religious symbols or the privatization of faith, although it certainly is both. It is a statement about the belief of our government officials that there is no Supreme Being to whom they are accountable. That, my friends, is frightening. How many Terri Schiavo cases do we have to see, hate-crime laws passed or pre-born babies murdered to be convinced that there is not, actively, “liberty and justice for all”? How many pro-homosexual “marriage” laws must be passed before we concede that this is not a nation under submission and obedience to Almighty God?
Government becomes perverted with the weight of its own power and its citizens must not give unquestioned allegiance to any ruler or State. (Remember Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein?) “Both Upham and Bellamy agreed the new words for a salute should be more than just a Salute, it should be a vow of loyalty or allegiance.” (Baer) We must not encourage our children to trust a government that is disobedient to God’s Word. Yes, we render to Caesar what is his, but only what is his. We do not owe Caesar all that we are – that belongs to God alone.
Author, Mark Rushdoony, writes in an essay on Christianity vs. Statism, “The early church went through a succession of persecutions because it did not represent a legal religion. What many do not realize is that such a legal status was easily given to the church, but it was repeatedly refused. Many individual martyrs were given the option of escaping a death sentence if they would submit to the Roman state by a simple declaration. All the early Christians had to do was proclaim, “Caesar is Lord,” to replace their allegiance to God with the emperor as a divinity. Most refused, recognizing that to regard Caesar as first lord was to denigrate the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The issue was, “Who is Lord?”7
Dr. Henry Morris has stated, “Patriotism is a noble attitude if one’s country and its leaders are seeking to follow God’s will. However, when such national patriotism is exploited to the point that the State – especially personified in its leaders (whether inherent, appointed, elected, or by conquest) – seeks to usurp the place or prerogatives of God, then it becomes idolatrous and blashphemous.”8
Luke 4:5-8 (KJV)
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.  If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
I Pledge Allegiance To Diversity
On March 11, 2005, the We Are Family Foundation (a non-profit organization with direct ties to many pro-homosexual groups) distributed a video to 61,000 government and private elementary schools for what was called, “We Are Family Day.” The video featured many popular cartoon characters singing and dancing to the popular disco hit, “We Are Family.” It seemed harmless enough (as if any such massive campaign could be innocent!), but as you might suspect, there was a sinister motive. Government schooling has always, from its inception, had the intent of creating a certain type of citizen. Schools are becoming increasingly confident in their ability to shape the beliefs and values of the young.
Educational expert, Samuel Blumenfeld, asserts, “(I)mported from Europe was the idea of Hegelian statism, the idea that the State was God on earth. It was this idea that emboldened educators to believe that it was the State’s duty to mold its children – its “most precious natural resource” – into obedient servants of the state.”8
Many children, who have for generations become used to pledging their allegiance and unquestioned loyalty to the government, were suddenly given a new pledge to which they were to swear their allegiance. I’m referring to the so-called, “Tolerance Pledge” which states in part, “To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual orientation or other characteristics are different from my own.” (Emphasis added.)
This is not a question of loving one’s neighbor, or of being kind to those who disagree with you. This is an all-out attempt to create a citizenry that is in lock-step with what the leftist ideologues of our day envision; a “utopia” where anyone who lives a sinful lifestyle is praised and anyone with a deeply-held Christian faith is marginalized and ridiculed. The new pledge ends by promising:
“To fulfill my pledge, I _______, will examine my own biases and work to overcome them, set a positive example for my family and friends, work for tolerance in my own community, speak out against hate and injustice. We share a world. For all our differences, we share one world. To be tolerant is to welcome the differences and delight in the sharing.” (This pledge originally appeared on the We Are Family Foundation’s website, but was removed at one point to hide their agenda.)
The real heart of the matter is the struggle over which side gets to define the terms. The leftists say that you are hateful if you lovingly spank your children. According to Proverbs 13:24, refusing to physically discipline your children is a hate-crime. According to leftists, you are committing a hate crime if you tell your neighbor that he is wrong to be living a homosexual lifestyle and that he needs to repent. The Bible says in James 5:20 that if you do this you are being loving. The above pledge may sound good until you realize what they mean by the words they use.
Dr. James Dobson said regarding this pledge, “Every individual is entitled to respect and human dignity, including those with whom we disagree strongly. The problem is not with acceptance or kindness, certainly. But kids should not be taught that homosexuality is just another ‘lifestyle,’ or that it is morally equivalent to heterosexuality. Scripture teaches that all overtly sexual activity outside the bonds of marriage is sinful and harmful. Children should not be taught otherwise by their teachers, and certainly not if their parents are unaware of the instruction.”8
It would seem to me that the best way to be aware of the instruction your children receive is to teach them yourself. Increasingly schools are emphasizing making vows and pledges on numerous issues from “Earth Day” pledges where students swear to protect the environment (for example):
“I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of our Mother Planet, the Earth,
and to the Environment in which we live, one Global Home,
Indivisible, with unspoiled water, unpolluted air,
and protected natural resources for All Life!”
There are tolerance and diversity pledges like the ones discussed above, and the ever increasing push to swear allegiance to being a citizen of “one world” in the new global society (remember Michael New who was court marshaled because he refused to swear an oath of allegiance to the United Nations while serving in the U.S. Military?).
Many workplaces are also encouraging pledges to diversity (which include pledges to respect “Sexual Preference”): http://www.udel.edu/PR/Messenger/03/2/ASembracing.html
Even universities are getting in on the action:
“I understand that Villanova University is a community comprised of many different types of people. In addition to the many different cultural groups we belong to, such as race, sexual orientation, physical ability, and gender, we are all coming to the University with many different kinds of experiences that have formed who we are as individuals. Fully understand that I wish to be treated with respect for who I am as a person. I herby profess that I will make every effort to accept and respect people who may be different than me.”
The peer pressure to go along with these promises is huge, especially when all of the other classmates are doing it. Most young impressionable students lack the ability to think critically and work through these issues alone. Parents need to discuss with their children what they should give their unquestioned loyalty to, and what they should not. Use every opportunity while you still have influence in your children’s lives to shape their values, because there is a world out there, like the young Hebrew men in Babylon (see Daniel 3) faced, that wants them to bow down to any idol made by man. Make sure they have the right foundation now so they too can say, “ We are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
1. John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education, (New York, NY, The Odysseus Group, Inc., 2001), p. 128.
3. Stanley J. Kunitz & Howard Haycraft, American Authors 1600-1900: A Biographical Dictionary of American Literature; (New York, NY: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1939), p. 70
4. Dr. John W. Baer, The Pledge of Allegiance: A Centennial History 1892-1992, by, (10 Taney Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401), 1992.
7. Rev. Mark R. Rushdoony, Why We Confront Statism, an essay in Faith For All Of Life, (Vallecito, CA. June/July 2004.)
8. Dr. Henry Morris, Christian Education for the Real World, (El Cajon, CA: Master Books, 1977), p.6
9. Samuel Blumenfled, The History of Public Education, an essay printed in PHS #30, 1999. Copyright 1993-2004 Home Life, Inc.
10. Family News From Dr. James Dobson, February 2006, Focus on the Family, Colorado Spring, CO 80995.
Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker. http://www.IsraelWayne.com
Samuel Blumenfeld is an unsung hero in America. He is the author of numerous books including, NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, Is Public Education Necessary, The Whole Language / OBE Fraud, Alpha Phonics and many others.
In this one hour presentation, you will learn more about the Socialistic history of American Education than most people will ever learn in their lifetime. I encourage you, do yourself a favor, and take notes on this important message.
NOTE: I should note that my endorsement of this video should not be construed as a personal endorsement for the John Birch Society.
Knock, knock. “Who could be here at this time of night?” you wonder to yourself. Slowly you find your way to the door and peer out. A man in a shabby jacket is standing on your doorstep, shivering just a little from the cold.
Cautiously you open the door. “May I help you?” you ask.
“Hi, I’m a neighbor from down the street, and I’d like to talk with you if you have a minute.”
“Sure, come on in.”
Once inside the man looks around cautiously, sizing up the scene to see who might be present. He decides that you are home alone so he begins to share his story.
“I live in your neighborhood, and I have three children. I love them and would do anything in the world for them. I promised them when they were born that I would give them the best education that I could. However, I’ve fallen on some hard times economically. My wife has had to go to work just to make ends meet.”
You listen carefully, trying to figure out where this story is headed.
“I’ve passed by your house quite often. Do you own your own home?”
“Well, that’s kind of a personal question, but yes, I do.”
“I thought so,” the man smirked, “My wife and I rent. We can’t afford to buy a house.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but what does that have to do with me?”
“Do you have children?”
“Why do you want to know so much about me? I don’t even know you. I have three children as well, but I don’t see what business it is of yours!”
Suddenly, without any warning, the man pulls a handgun from inside his jacket and waves it frantically. “Look, just do what I say and you won’t get hurt.”
Instinctively you raise your hands and ask, “What do you want?”
“I want $30,000, that’s $10,000 for each of my children. That’s what I figure it will take to give my children an adequate education this year.”
“That’s crazy!” you assert. “It doesn’t take that much money to educate a child. Besides, I don’t have that much money. I only have $3,500, and I’ve been saving that for a very important purpose! I’ve been saving it to give my children a Christian education.”
“I don’t care what you planned to do with it, but as an Atheist/Humanist, I surely don’t want your money being wasted on something like that. Well, your lack of funds makes it hard for me, but I guess I’ll just have to ‘borrow’ from a few more of your neighbors as well. I have a personal policy not to take anything from fellow renters like myself, but only from rich land owners like you. I have ethics and standards after all.”
Before leaving your house the man turns and says, “Hey, you should be thanking me. I’m doing this for the good of society after all! Statistics have proven that children from low-income families like mine lack opportunities for higher education, and therefore are more susceptible to a future of violence and crime.”
You can’t help but guffaw at the irony of his logic.
“Remember, you need to think of others, rather than just yourself. People like you owe it to the lower classes to provide education and opportunities for them as well. I’ll be back next year to get my next annual installment.”
A year later, you have nearly forgotten the incident, and have saved up a bit of money to replace what was stolen from you.
You hear a knock on your door and innocently open it to find your nemesis from last year, but this year he has brought some friends. This time they just enter your home without even asking.
Once again, you are threatened at gunpoint. “Well, since last year,” the thief begins, “We have become a bit more organized. We have started a little community school, and all of us renters are gathering a little ‘donation’ from rich land owners like you to help us fund it. We all share the teaching duties and this helps relieve the stress of doing all of the work ourselves.”
“I wish you would stop saying that I’m rich! Just because I own a house doesn’t mean that I can afford to pay for your child’s education.”
“Well, I certainly can’t, not with what I make. I can’t afford $10,000 per child! The good news is that you aren’t just helping me this year though; you are helping many more of your under-privileged neighbors. We will have to cover more ground, and visit more rich land owners, like yourself, but it’s worth it. We’re doing it for the children after all!”
With that, one of the thugs thumps you on the back of the head and they go and take your money from your stash. With that, and a few words of derision, they leave you lying in a heap on the floor.
The next year, you have gotten wiser. You install a security system and a sturdy deadbolt on the front door. You convince yourself that you will be on guard, no matter what!
When you hear the doorbell, you look at your security monitor and see a policeman at your door, with a small group waiting behind him.
You figure you had better open the door to see what is up.
“Good afternoon officer. What may I do for you?”
“This won’t take long, but I need to talk to you.”
“Sure, come on in.”
Without asking, Mr. Thug and his thuggish friends enter right behind the police officer.
“Do they really need to be in here?” you plead.
“I’m afraid they have right. I’m here on their behalf after all.”
Glancing over his shoulder you see a handsome man in a tailor made suit. The man steps forward and extends his hand as a greeting.
“Hello neighbor! I’m Congressman Mobman, and I’m here to help.”
“Help me what? Hey, I remember you! Didn’t you thump me on the head last year?! That hurt!”
“Uh…sorry about that. That was wrong. We realized that the way we were going about things was all wrong last year. So, we’ve mended our ways. No more illegal activity for us!”
The crowd murmurs behind him, “Yeah, that’s right!”
The Congressman hands you a piece of paper, which you quickly scan. At the top of the page it says, “Property Tax Bill.” You quickly scan the paper and notice that the vast majority of the bill is to pay for local school levies. The amount owed is $3,500.
“What is this all about?” you ask.
“Well, this group of fine upstanding citizens here, decided this year to elect me to public office. I have introduced a bill that passed in both the House and the Senate, and it requires that all of the land owners in this area financially support our school. This is all legal, isn’t it officer?”
“I’m afraid so,” he says, watching you carefully while keeping his hand on his gun, “And I’m here to make sure that you comply with the new law.”
“You can’t do this!” you protest. “I don’t even use your lousy school! I pay for the education of my own children, and that is expensive enough. I can’t afford to pay for your children’s education as well!”
“Well if you sent your children to our school, then you wouldn’t have to pay for it. It would be free!”
“Free?!!! Are you kidding me?! You are taking my money, by force, to pay for this school. That isn’t free! In fact, nothing the government offers is truly free. The government doesn’t have any money. It only has what it takes from others. If my children are getting a ‘free’ education in the government schools it is only because you have taken my money by force to pay for it, or you have taken my neighbor’s money by force. I won’t do that. I won’t violate my neighbor’s right to keep his private property, just so my children can receive an inferior education at the local government school at no cost to myself.”
The Congressman shows a sly smirk. “Well, things are about to change. Not only are you obligated, BY LAW, to pay for our school, I have also passed a bill that requires you (and all parents: landowners, renters and homeless), to send your children to our ‘public’ school as well.”
He hands you another paper with the heading, “Compulsory Attendance Law.”
“This is outrageous!” you shout, thinking this must be a bad dream.
“You see, we believe that every child has a fundamental right to receive an indoctrination into the religion of Secular Humanism (which every sane person accepts as being the only true religion), and to be given every opportunity to reject your superstitious Christian fairy-tales. Therefore, your children had better be on the school bus on Monday morning, or else we will arrest you for violating the law, and we’ll take your children away from you and give them to one of these more-deserving parents here.”
“Here, here!” they all shout in unison.
The police officer begins to handcuff you, but he is stopped by the Congressman. “No need to do that officer. Some of my more conservative opponents in Congress have passed a law saying that as long as this man meets the right qualifications, he can receive an exemption from Compulsory Attendance Laws.”
“What does he need to do,” the officer asks.
“We’re still working on that,” continues the Congressman, “And we likely will for quite a while. So far, we require that he signs an affidavit declaring that he knows that WE are in control of the education of his children, and that HE is NOT. Then we will require that we have the right to view and approve whatever textbooks he uses, test his children, make him report to us on everything he says and does, make him get proper teaching certification, teach whatever subjects we mandate, and stand on his head for three hours a day. If he does all of that, we will allow him, for now, to continue to teach our children.”
“Our children?!” you protest. “You mean MY CHILDREN, don’t you?”
“No, I mean what I said, OUR CHILDREN. Children belong to everyone. That is why it is necessary for you to pay child support to educate our children, and that is why we need to oversee how you are raising yours. They belong to us all. You have no inalienable right to teach and train your own children. They, on the other hand, have an inalienable obligation to attend our schools, and you have a moral obligation to give us your money so that we can get rich from teaching your children to hate you and your God.”
“Get out of my house!” you demand, furious at this intrusion.
“Well, it won’t be your house if you don’t pay us the money you owe,” declares the police officer. “If you don’t pay your property taxes, we’ll soon own your house.”
You quickly grab the money you have saved, but realize it isn’t quite enough. So you look through the sofa cushions for spare change, but still not enough. Finally, you remember the piggy banks in your children’s bedrooms. You emerge with them in hand and after counting every penny, the mob finally agrees to go.
“Thanks for your annual contribution,” the original thief shouts. “It’s a pleasure doing business with you; and just think…it’s all legal! That’s the best part! That makes it all morally good and right. Thank you for investing in the future of this country!”
As they are walking down the sidewalk, you notice someone you hadn’t seen before and holler after him.
“Pastor, what are you doing here?” A man in a white shirt and tie, with a big black Bible under his arm, turns around and smiles brightly. He walks back toward the porch, with a few other onlookers.
“But Pastor,” you protest, “How can you justify being part of this mob? This is stealing. The 8th Commandment in the Bible you are carrying forbids this!”
“Well, you need to give to charity!”
“This isn’t charity! This is robbery! The Apostle Paul instructed against this: ‘Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Corinthians 9:7). Charity should never be collected at gunpoint.”
“Look, I’ve got an opportunity to teach in this school. I can use your money to make sure that I subtly influence the school towards your values. I can’t share my beliefs overtly in the class, but I can try to get Atheist or Muslim, or Buddhist children off in a corner somewhere and try to convince them their parents are all wrong and that our religion is the correct one!”
“But Pastor, surely you don’t believe this is the best way to do it? I mean, taking money from Agnostic parents, and then trying to use their money, that was taken from them at gunpoint, to teach their children about your religion. Who would respect a religion like that?”
“Hey, everybody is doing it! The Wiccans, the gay activists, the abortionists, the environmentalists…I’m just trying to get my fair share.”
“You mean you are trying to get your snout in the trough before all of the other…”
“Hey now! Watch your tone. I’m a man of the cloth after all.”
“Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a moment, Pastor. How would you feel if the Imam down the street tried to do what you are doing? What if he came to your house and took your money to try to use the school to influence YOUR children to reject your faith and embrace his Islamic beliefs through the ‘public’ schools? I’ve heard you complain about that from the pulpit!”
The pastor thought for a moment. “I do pay for these schools, just as you do. I see the schools as a competition. Do to them before they do to you, that’s my motto. Besides, that won’t happen. Our school is different. We have Christian teachers, Christian principals, Christian Administrators…”
“And an anti-Christian curriculum,” you interject.
“As I said, we’re trying to change all of that. We plan to eventually offer Intelligent Design as a counter-point to the evolution we teach, and abstinence as an alternative to the have-sex-with-whoever-you-want-to-as-often-as-you-want-to curriculum that we are currently using.”
“But that isn’t the role of the government; to tax people for education or to teach religion.”
“Don’t you read your Bible? Jesus said to ‘Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar.”
“My children don’t belong to Caesar,” you counter.
“Paul taught in Romans 13 that we should obey every law and pay taxes to whom it is owed.”
“Yes, and I do pay my taxes, even the tyrannical ones, like this one.”
“What do you mean by tyrannical?”
“I mean taxes that are for purposes that are outside of the jurisdiction of the civil magistrate. Second Peter 2:16 teaches that the purpose of the civil government is to punish evildoers and to preserve justice by protecting the rights of the individual, family and church (praising those who do right). For the government to take money from its citizens for any other purpose besides defending its citizens against evildoers is an overstep of its boundaries. It should never take tax money to feed, clothe, shelter, or educate people. That belongs to me, as an individual, or to my family, or to our church family. We should have never abandoned these responsibilities and expected the State to cover them.”
“I must say that I’m disappointed. I thought you cared about children, and wanted to see Christian influence spread into all areas of culture. I thought you cared about evangelism and reaching the lost.”
“I do, but it is wrong for you to help take my money by force. This is money that my family needs to eat and live. It doesn’t matter if you think it is for a good cause, that is just Pragmatism, and the ends do NOT justify the means.”
“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way,” the preacher said as he turned to go. “That is your interpretation of scripture, and I have a different one. It’s just too bad that you didn’t go to seminary and can’t read the New Testament in the original Greek. Then you would understand; but I guess we can’t all be privileged in that way. I wish you would join with us in trying to take back these schools for Christ. Send your children to be an influence. They can be salt and light, and convert their fellow students to our good religion.”
“With all due respect, sir,” you counter, “You can only RE-form, what Christ has formed. I don’t believe that Christ ever intended the government to educate children, and they certainly should not take money, by force, to do what is outside of their prescribed domain. Every scripture in the Bible dealing with education places it squarely on the shoulders of parents. Teaching my children, is my responsibility, and I intend to be faithful to complete that task and raise them in the fear of the Lord. If I were not taxed so heavily, to fund this “forced charity,” I would have far more resources to donate to truly effective evangelistic outreaches that do not undermine parental rights or violate other Biblical principles in their implementation.”
With that, he and the others walk away, shaking their heads at your inflexible intolerance. You close the door feeling like you’ve just been violated. “At least it’s over,” you sigh, “Until next year.”
Fifteen minutes later, you open the door to see another man brandishing a gun. “I’m sorry to do this,” he says. “But my child has just had an emergency surgery. I see that you have a nicer home than I do, so therefore you have a moral obligation to give me $15,000 to help cover his surgery. Also, my other children need better housing, nicer clothes and food to eat. So hand it over and nobody will get hurt”!
You shrug your shoulders and say, “I’m sorry, but my pastor and his friends were just here taking my last penny to teach children in the government schools about Intelligent Design, evolution, environmentalism, humanism, sexual perversion and other Biblical stuff. I honestly don’t have money left to give you. However, I know that my pastor is making decent money now that he is on the government payroll as a teacher, and I know that he believes that it is ethically acceptable to take money by force as long as it is for a good cause, so you might want to stop by his house. Give me a minute and I’ll jot down his address for you.”
“Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.” –Margaret Thatcher
“It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.” — Thomas Jefferson
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson
“You say: ‘There are persons who lack education,’ and you turn to the law. But the law is not, in itself, a torch of learning which shines its light abroad. The law extends over a society where some persons have knowledge and others do not; where some citizens need to learn, and others can teach. In this matter of education, the law has only two alternatives: It can permit this transaction of teaching-and-learning to operate freely and without the use of force, or it can force human wills in this matter by taking from some of them enough to pay the teachers who are appointed by government to instruct others, without charge. But in this second case, the law commits legal plunder by violating liberty and property.” — Friedric Bastiat in The Law
“No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.” — Congressman Davy Crockett
Reprinted from the Home School Digest (V20#1).
By way of introduction, I just want to say that I think Mr. Lawrence Reed is one of America’s hidden treasures. He is well-known within his field of economics and conservative political thought, but in the mainstream world, he is largely unknown. It is a tragedy that Americans know about Justin Bieber, Brittany Spears and Miley Cyrus, and yet they do not know this man. I hope that you will take some time to familiarize yourself with this man who has been a voice of clarity and reason for over 20 years.
I read his articles when I was a teenager (I was homeschooled, what can I say?) and I am honored to introduce his work to you. I hope you learn a lot! — Israel Wayne
Lawrence Reed: In economics, many schools of thought compete with each other on such issues as methodology (the premises we start from and the tools we use to build on them and study the economy), public policy implications and recommendations, the role of history or mathematics within economics, etc., etc. That’s not to say there isn’t significant agreement across the vast majority of those in the profession. Almost every economist accepts these core concepts wholly or largely: Savings, capital formation and investment are critical to productivity. Trade is a good thing, every bit as productive as production itself. Prices send important signals to both producers and consumers, resulting in rational allocation of scarce goods and services. Most economists also embrace the time-tested truism that government central planning of an economy is fraught with flaws and presumption, making it decisively unworkable if not irrational. The more economics you understand and the more removed you are from politics, the more you naturally appreciate the wondrous, unplanned, self-regulating spontaneity and efficiency of free people and free markets.
But economics is not a “hard” science like physics. Economists, like everyone else, are buffeted by circumstances, ideology, political influence and even character imperfections that may corrupt their thinking. Some think of the short-run and a few people, others are more thorough in their analysis and think of the long-run and all people, for example. There’s no room for disagreement about what gravity does when you drop an apple. Economists argue all the time, however, because we’re dealing fundamentally with a world where the future is full of uncertainties and every one of the planet’s six billion unique individuals have imperfect knowledge.
The most influential of the major schools of thought that emerged in the last century was the Keynesian school (named for British economist John Maynard Keynes, who saw the economy as composed of a handful of “aggregates” and government as a stimulator of demand through its spending). Its disciples perhaps stretched its doctrines further than Keynes himself might have prescribed. It became a significant intellectual justification for the growth of government, deficit spending and economic intervention. By the 1970s, it was rather thoroughly discredited when both price inflation and unemployment rose and confidence in government planning ebbed in the face of its evident failures. But Keynesian economics is undergoing at least a policy revival in our present day, as politicians justify massive increases in spending and deficits as necessary to recover from recession. Politicians tend to like Keynesian analysis because it essentially empowers them at the expense of everybody else, but many of us view the Keynesian model as irredeemably defective.
Another prominent school of thought is the Chicago school, with the late Nobel laureate Milton Friedman as its best-known advocate. The Chicago school has made many positive contributions to economics and its devotees are often devastatingly critical of government intervention. They come up short though, in my view, in a number of important areas, most notably in the area of money and who (or what) should be in charge of it.
I’m an advocate of what is known as the Austrian school. Its most notable scholars were Ludwig von Mises and Nobel Laureate F. A. Hayek, who were born in Austria. Austrian economists (most of whom have never been to Austria, by the way; it’s just the name for a school of thought) start from the premise that “the economy” cannot be best studied as lumps of lifeless stuff you can express with equations. It is composed of living, breathing, decision-making entities called individuals. All economic phenomena can and should be traced back to how individuals perceive, think, act and interact. Austrians see competition and the entrepreneur as critical factors in economic growth. We appreciate the role of incentives and of free prices as natural market-clearing mechanisms. We suffer from no “pretense of knowledge” that would suggest any group of people with power could rationally plan an economy from the top down. We are rigorous in our analysis of money as an invention of the market and are constantly warning that when government takes charge of it, the door is wide open to business cycles and currency debasement. We also tend to be among the strongest defenders of private property; ultimately, everything has an owner and it’s only a question of whether the person to whom it really belongs owns it, or somebody else with a gun owns it. No school has all the answers, but I think it is ever more apparent with time that the Austrian school starts from the right premises, analyzes the economy with the proper tools and humility, and yields the most fruitful insights of any school of thought.
Israel Wayne: Name the authors / economists who have influenced you the most.
Lawrence Reed: Dr. Hans Sennholz, who was chairman of the department of economics at my undergraduate alma mater, Grove City College; Henry Hazlitt, author of the classic, “Economics in One Lesson”; Ludwig von Mises, the greatest economist of the 20th century; Murray Rothbard, author of “Man, Economy and State”; Nobel laureates Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek and James Buchanan; and Frederic Bastiat, a French statesman, economist and author of “The Law.”
Israel Wayne: What is the primary mission of the Foundation for Economic Education?
Lawrence Reed: FEE’s mission is to provide the best-available instruction in the principles of a free society to individuals of all ages whose minds are opening to freedom’s exciting challenge. Our organization seeks to be known as the guiding beacon of a vibrant, growing, international movement to educate for liberty.
Our vision is that people flourish in a free society where the individual’s creative, productive energies are unleashed; private property and the sanctity of contract are upheld; the use of force is confined to protecting the peace; competitive markets allocate scarce resources; and honesty is universally regarded as the best policy in both public and private affairs.
FEE believes a free society is not only possible, it is imperative because there is no acceptable alternative for a civilized people. Our vision for the future is that through education, men and women will understand the moral, philosophic and economic principles that undergird a free society. They will appreciate the direct connection between those principles and their material and spiritual welfare. They will strive to pass those principles on from one generation to the next.
The future FEE envisions is one in which individual expression gives rise to great, even presently-unimaginable achievements in culture, medicine, science, and education. Men and women will engage each other peacefully and voluntarily because they will respect each other’s uniqueness, rights, property and aspirations. No one will be so lacking in humility and introspection as to fancy himself better equipped to plan the lives of others than they, individually, are able to plan for themselves, their families and their businesses.
We carry out this important work through our magazine, “The Freeman,” our many seminars in the summer for high school and college students, a very vibrant Web site (www.fee.org), and appearances throughout the country before audiences, in the media and in front of high school debater groups. We are the oldest free enterprise think tank in the country and are very proud of the fact that our principles are utterly the same today as they were at our founding 63 years ago.
Israel Wayne: What do you believe are some important changes that need to take place for the American economy to recovery from this recession?
Lawrence Reed: We may get a short-term lift from all the incredible money and credit expansion the Federal Reserve has engineered in the past 15 months but that will come at a horrendous cost of future price inflation and an even deeper, corrective recession or depression. To recover in a way that doesn’t cause future problems, we have to be willing to endure the pain of years of very bad policy and allow the economy to slough off all the bad, misdirected investments that Federal Reserve and other government policies have fostered. A solid, healthy and sustained recovery requires measures that hardly anyone in Washington possesses the courage and wisdom to implement, namely, drastic reductions in government spending, a balanced budget, abolition of the Federal Reserve, and sound money.
Recessions and depressions are the awful price paid for previous bad policies, primarily inflation of money and credit. If you see a drunk lying in the gutter, you wouldn’t hand him another bottle of booze to help him out. You would chastise him for the sin of his excessive drinking the night before. You would tell him to stop doing that, no matter how good it might feel when he drinks. You would insist that he “dry out” as a precondition for restoring a healthy condition. As it applies to the economy, the federal government boozed up the economy with its “easy money” and jawboning banks to issue bad mortgages. Its response to the “hangover” that it produced is precisely the wrong one. It is preventing the necessary adjustments from cleansing the economy and is putting us on a reckless path to inflation, debt and national bankruptcy.
Israel Wayne: Does your personal religious faith in any way shape your view of macro-economics? Please explain.
Lawrence Reed: First of all, I don’t much care for the adjective “religious.” To me, “religion” is man’s attempt to gain God’s approbation through works. Christianity, by contrast, is a personal relationship with Christ that starts with God’s grace and one’s acceptance of Christ as his (or her) personal savior.
Secondly, I wouldn’t say my faith shapes my view of the economy any more than it shapes my understanding of the weather or how a car runs or a plane flies. Objective, observable facts, evidence and natural laws are the keys in such things, though I fully appreciate that the only reason we can even have such scientific tools is that we live in an ordered universe, itself a divine creation and gift.
Where my faith does play a part in economics is in the area of what’s right and what’s wrong. My understanding of Christian principles about human nature and proper behavior leads me to appreciate the uniqueness and preciousness of each individual. It leads me to oppose excessive concentrations of earthly power in any mortal hands. Christian principles call for honesty, humility, patience, respect for life and property, self-discipline and voluntary interaction over brute force. They argue definitively against cheating people through currency debasement, redistributing their wealth through taxation, or pretending that a handful of “experts” with power can or should plan the lives of everybody else. My Christian principles tell me that reforming the world begins and ends with individual self-reform and cannot be achieved by “enlightened” planners pushing the rest of us around.
The Eighth and Tenth Commandments against coveting and stealing by themselves should invalidate most of what the federal government does these days. “Thou Shalt Not Steal” is followed by a period, not a qualifier. It does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Steal except under the following conditions: the other guy has more than you do, you really want it, you’re absolutely sure you can spend it better than the guy who earned it, or if a politician is available to steal it on your behalf.”
Israel Wayne: Are there any government run institutions that you would like to see privatized?
Lawrence Reed: Government’s core responsibility is the protection of our rights to life, property and contract. That implies national defense, a court system, police (at the local level) and maybe a few other things. Everything else, privatize, which is to say it’s your responsibility and mine. That includes education. I don’t want government teaching our kids any more than I want it growing our food or writing our books. I have no faith that the bureaucrats or politicians can manage my health care or retirement. Sadly, most Americans refuse to grow up and assume the full responsibilities of living in freedom. They want things at other people’s expense and often don’t care who pays for it or whose dreams and aspirations have to be crushed so the politicians can extract the taxes to pay for it all. By treating our fellow citizens as milk cows, we are really behaving like children, not adults. I wrote an essay on this that I would recommend to your readers, entitled “The Love of Power vs the Power of Love”.
Israel Wayne: Do you have any global or national economic predictions you would like to make regarding the next five years?
Lawrence Reed: The future is tougher to predict than most predictors ever acknowledge but I will say this much: I think the next five years will present huge challenges economically. Government and its unconscionable debt are spiraling out of control. This must stop or financial disaster looms. I also worry a great deal about a general collapse of character that is behind all this fiscal lunacy.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Erosion of character and culture. Self-reliance, hard work, and personal independence giving way to dependence upon the state. Soaring fiscal burdens of out-of-control entitlement programs, and politicians, oblivious to the costs, promising still more. Monumental sums for bailouts. Staggering increases in public debt. Concentration of power in the central government. A mad scramble by interest groups with endless claims on the treasury. Demagogic class warfare appeals. Ever higher taxes on the productive.
I could be describing ancient Rome, or recent America, where companies that lose billions are being bailed out by a government that loses trillions. Some say those companies are “too big to fail.” So we’re turning them and our economy over to an outfit that is too big to succeed. While most people would say it’s wrong to take a dollar from the responsible and give it to the irresponsible, our politicians tell us that if we do that a trillion times, it’ll be to our advantage. But if two wrongs don’t make a right, how can a trillion wrongs make anything right? It may be good politics for the moment, but it’s also madness and immorality writ large.
Once upon a time in America, most citizens expected government to keep the peace and otherwise leave them alone. We built a vibrant, self-reliant, entrepreneurial culture with strong families and solid values. We respected property. We understood that government didn’t have anything to give anybody except what it first took from somebody, and that a government big enough to give us everything we want would be big enough to take away everything we’ve got. We practiced fiscal discipline in our personal lives and we expected nothing less from the people in the government we elected, or we threw them out.
Somewhere along the way, we lost our moral compass. And just like the Roman Republic that rose on integrity and collapsed in turpitude, we thought the “bread and circuses” the government could provide us would buy us comfort and security.
As a people, we have to come to our moral senses and embrace the immutable laws of economics or we will suffer the same consequences as the decadent civilizations of the past. We have a lot of work to do.
Among the many Web sites I strongly endorse:
Foundation for Economic Education (www.fee.org)
Cato Institute (www.cato.org)
The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org)
National Center for Policy Analysis (www.ncpa.org)
The Freeman (www.thefreemanonline.org)