commentary: Liberalism and Education (Part One)
Snookered By The Devil
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 21-Apr-12; Sermon #1098c; 13 minutes
Liberalism began in Protestant philosophy and theology. By the time it infiltrated American political life through Woodrow Wilson and FDR's policies, the emphasis moved away from free thinking and liberty to managing peoples' lives, and in the words of Thomas Sowell, "replacing what worked with what sounded good," bringing about some disastrous long-range consequences. In classical liberal theory, all change is considered progress, and tradition (including the Constitution) is viewed as a useless relic. Like Tevia experienced in "Fiddler on the Roof," change became increasingly more painful as traditions were trampled. While liberalism claims to champion civil liberties and individual liberties, liberal governments rob us of liberty and saddle us with useless regulations. Sadly, Americans have been snookered and duped by progressive liberal regulation which has taken over 100 years to instill on naïve Americans. Woodrow Wilson boasted in 1914 that the purpose of a university is "to make young gentlemen as different from their fathers as possible." The fruits of progressive liberalism have been bitter and disappointing.
In last week's commentary ["Liberalism, in the News Again"], I defined conservatism as "a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions and tending to prefer gradual development to abrupt change." I defined liberalism as "a political philosophy based on the belief in progress and the essential goodness of man and on the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties." Both of those came from Wikipedia.
I want to take a bit more critical look at the liberal definition because I believe it falls far short of the reality that modern political liberalism shows in the experience of this nation. Liberalism began in Protestant churches as a theological issue long before it was absorbed into mainstream politics as a political issue strong enough to become a national issue. It was not until Franklin Roosevelt was elected in 1932 that it really became a force in federal elections. That was the beginning of major changes in American political and social life before it was absorbed into mainstream politics as a political issue.
But it was not until Lyndon Baines Johnson became president, following John Kennedy's assassination in November of 1963, that liberal social programs really took hold and major, major changes were instituted.
First, I begin with a quote from columnist Thomas Sowell, who is also an economist. "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good." That is really insightful. It is really a dig.
I'll add to that a warning from someone far more authoritative than Mr. Sowell. How about God? He said in Proverbs 24:21,
Proverbs 24:21-22 My son, fear the LORD and the king; do not associate with those given to change; for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin those two can bring?
According to the dictionary definition given above, liberalism's foundational operating theory is that change is progress. Just because someone suggests change is no guarantee that it's going to produce good fruit. In order to make a change, an older tradition must be set aside. This is important. In order to make a change, and older tradition has to be set aside. Because the mindset of a liberal is thoroughly founded in pride, the liberal tends to look upon traditions as a relic of less enlightened people—dumb Neanderthals—rather than the combined wisdom of perhaps even generations of people who faced the same kind of problems. And thus, liberal change is almost always a guarantee for social disarray. This is why revolutions rarely ever change a nation for the better.
I'll give you a vivid example. Anybody who has seen the movie Fiddler on the Roof ought to understand this. The opening song states the program: traditions! The daughters wanted to upset the traditions by marrying those they loved rather than those the Papa assigned them to marry. We can all relate to that. But what in the world that it do to Tevye? I mean, it turned his world upside down. And so you see it in the movie, how he's going along, talking to God, trying to make things easier for himself. "God, why did you do this?" and so forth. But what was happening was his traditions were being attacked.
This is the same as happens on a much larger scale in society when a change is instituted that alters a tradition that has been standing for a long time. It's going to create a great deal of confusion, disarray, maybe even chaos, and maybe even death. Has liberalism produced progress by making people's lives better?
The second major plank is that liberalism is founded on the essential goodness of man. In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said that those ordinary citizens that He was speaking to were evil, and Paul said, "We live in this present evil world." Who is right? God in the flesh and Paul His apostle, or the liberals? My vote goes for Jesus—He was the Creator, and I am sure that He knows.
What kind of fruit is liberalism producing? Is war evil? Do people still murder, rape, commit adultery with others? Are people in government still corrupt? Is everyone to be trusted? Do you feel perfectly safe anywhere you walk in the city at any time, day or night? Those are pretty interesting things to consider. Liberalism isn't making things better.
A third factor: Liberals stand on the autonomy of the individual and the protection of political and civil liberties. This foundational plank is one of their gravest lies. Do you understand what this means? It means that they believe that each person should be self governing. Very interesting. Each person should be self governing. I think that's an admirable ideal. That's the way each one of us should be: self governing. But does it work in a liberal world?
Let's ask a question: Who is it, brethren, that is taking away your individual rights faster and more extensively than any administration this nation has ever had in its entire history? It is this one. It is the most liberal by far of any administration ever in the history of the United States. They go around blaming [the loss of rights] on terrorism, blaming it on global warming, you name it; it's always somebody else that is causing the problems.
Here is the problem: Liberalism leads directly to each man doing what is right in his own eyes. And how has the acceptance of this liberal program been accepted? I believe that the American people have been snookered. You are probably not familiar with that term, but it comes from billiards. "Snookered" means "to fool or to dupe; to lead another into a trap in which all possible choices are undesirable."
I believe that it was accomplished, not by men, but by Satan using men and women as his pawns to carry out his program. The plan is simple enough, but it has taken 100 years or so to carry out to the point we are right now. The liberalization of America is almost completely accomplished. It is significant to note that it began in the Protestant churches. It had to begin there, because America at one time was almost totally Protestant. Liberalizing America morally and spiritually began in the churches, primarily the Protestant churches.
About 100 years ago, it began to be absorbed primarily into the Democratic Party. But that was not enough. It had to be filtered into the mis-education of the general public through the government schools. And this was the master stroke. Do you know how this was accomplished?
First, don't forget—it began to be taught by the churches, and so, many citizens were already being misled morally and spiritually by gradual degradation of God and the Bible. Do you remember that Hitler was quoted as saying, "Give me a child until he is seven, and we will have a Nazi for life"?
What American liberals did was to very gradually, over decades of time, fill the administrations and faculties of universities and colleges with already-deceived liberal-minded administrators and professors until people of that mindset dominated the universities programs. And as the students graduated, they thus carried the same mindset out into the public arena as the public's leadership in politics, in churches, in education. It was nothing more than the frog in the gradually heated water program on a massive scale. Only an evil, long-living, invisible being could accomplish such a program, and the teachers unknowingly carried the liberal mindset into the elementary and high schools and continued spreading it to the children. The program has been immensely successful.
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States of America, and before that, for eight years, he was president of one of the most prestigious universities in America, Princeton University. He was known as the leader of the progressive movement of the Democratic Party. In 1914, he said, "I have often said that the use of a university is to make young gentlemen as unlike their fathers as possible." One hundred years later, we are dealing with this on a daily basis.