Tuesday, July 04, 2006

An Enlightened Citizenry

"In the absence of the governmental checks and balances present in other areas of our national life, the only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry -- in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government. For this reason, it is perhaps here that a press that is alert, aware, and free most vitally serves the basic purpose of the First Amendment. For, without an informed and free press, there cannot be an enlightened people."

- Justice Potter Stewart in New York Times v. United States (403 U.S. 713)

After reading The Dread Pundit Bluto and his post of the Declaration of Independence, I was immediately struck by the realization that the assault on our God-given rights has been meticulously crafted over several generations.

It began a double pronged attack by first reducing our educational system from it's once prominent place as the envy of the free world to a mockery of its former self. Public education was initially created to foster the reading of the Bible. This is a direct reflection of the public schools created by the Hebrews thousands of years ago so that their children could read the Torah. Most Hebrew children were educated in this fashion until ten or twelve.

A century ago our public education system taught concepts of self-reliance, self-restraint and self-governance. This has been supplanted by condom placement. Many high school graduates are lucky to read at a 5th grade level. George Washington only occupies a few paragraphs in our history books while entire chapters are devoted to entertainment figures. Marilyn Monroe gets mormention then Benjamin Franklin.

The second prong was directed at our religious institutions, to weaken them and remove all religious expression from public discourse. But this also weakened the moral fabric of our nation. Depravity that would have shocked this nation fifty years ago is now taken for granted or has support structures that argue for the legalization of unspeakable acts.

A social gospel has replaced personal salvation in many denominations. It is now acceptable to bugger your neighbor but Heaven forbid if you try to convert him. Children are forced by their teachers to study Islam as part of their "cultural awareness curriculum" but bible studies are forbidden.

Instead, we are now surrounded by a deafening cacophony of sex, violence, sports and material acquisition. Television is a wasteland where desperate producers pursue the Holy Grail of advertising, the 18 to 34 year old viewers. The self-absorbed hippies of the sixties are the producers and directors of today or, even worse, the journalism professors. Newspapers are losing circulation not only because of their leftist bias but also due to the poor reading skills of the general population and astoundingly poor comprehension of how current events are now shaping our society for the next hundred years. Entertainment rather than enlightenment is the liberal media mantra. Our minds have been freed but for what purpose?

Over 80% of my nephew's engineering class were foreign students. The same holds true for many of our hard science graduates. We are preparing an army of idiots to fight a new type of war that is based on how well we process massive amounts of often disparate information. As responsible citizens, we must make public polity decisions based on the kinds of information we receive. And it is appalling that our people are so ill prepared to do so. Thank you National Education Association.

During the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, the only mass communication device available was the newspaper and church sermons. People would ride miles out of their way to listen to a two hour sermon, sometimes longer if the minister had a good set of lungs and something to say. People listened to what was being said, ; they read books and newspapers voraciously, they focused and remembered and then told others. The subject matter was discussed at length and heated debates would flourish where opposing views were conjoined.

Thus began our Revolution, in homes and churches and taverns. Over a neighbor's fence or at the sundries counter in the general store.

Now we are oppressed by another tyranny, it is the Tyranny of the Urgent. We are lulled and pounded into insensibility by 225 channels of digital manure. We work overtime to afford things we don't need, like cellular telephones to promote idiotic chatter (ever listen to some of these people on a cell phone??). We work two jobs to pay an ever increasing tax burden that supports a bloated bureaucracy that rules instead of governs. Taxes are imposed to promote political longevity rather than public good.

I believe that the time is approaching for another Revolution based on the original. Happy Fourth of July.

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