commentary: Has America Gone Crazy? (Part Three)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 16-Feb-19; 13 minutes
I began this series of commentaries I titled, "Has America Gone Crazy?" to suggest to you reasons why America appears to have gone crazy. This specific subject was triggered after rereading a couple of small portions of Eric Hoffer's 1970 book titled "The True Believer," which, incidentally, is not about Christianity. "The True Believer" is Mr. Hoffer's analysis of the psychological makeup of those who join and actively support revolutionary social causes. The reason he wrote the book was that he wondered what makes these people tick.
I did some rereading because of the tumult being stirred largely within the Democratic Party over the past several decades, featuring such controversial subjects as the deep state, multiple genders, fake news, political correctness, transgenderism and many, many more—almost a new one every week.
In Part Two, I gave you the roots of the word crazy. It originally was defined as "full of cracks." It indicated something flawed and unsound. But over time, the term came to be more commonly applied to human psychological conditions and came to indicate madness and insanity.
Mr. Hoffer's book work is not a scientific treatise. It has no story lines in it. It is presented as a collection of random thoughts on a variety of narrow topics that impact on the psychological aspect of those involved in movements purposely organized at overthrowing some existing standards of government and behavior and replacing them with their own.
That is almost exactly what is happening within the Democratic Party. Terms like "progressives," "liberals," "secularists," or "leftists" are used, but regardless of the descriptive terms, those driving what is happening are seeking to replace what has basically existed from the beginning with what they have to offer.
After some more thought on this subject, especially over the past week, I still believe that—strictly by definition—America has indeed gone crazy, especially when judged against what this nation began with and one reads of in history books. In terms of the government, religion, education and family life, the United States of America, as a culture of these times, is literally full of cracks branching out in every direction from numerous beginning points.
It seems me, scanning for many points of reference, that virtually every fundamental practice that shapes us into the American culture, that we are very much not on the same course we were in the beginnings of this nation around 1800. Religion is not the only cultural fundamental we have turned aside from.
But now I have changed my mind. We Americans have not gone crazy. We are actually behaving as intended—behaving as the overwhelming majority of unconverted humans would react, given the opportunities, by history's cultural movements. What triggered this change of mind? Well, I read a post recently—actually, just this past week—that was written several years ago by David Kupelian, titled, "Why Our Children Should Not Attend Public Schools." The children referred to in the title are the children of Christians. Mr. Kupelian is editor of Whistleblower magazine. He and Mrs. Kupelian home-schooled their children. Incidentally, the children have already graduated from college—that will give you some idea of Mr. Kupelian's age.
His article gave an overview of how America's public school system came to be as it is today. I found this very interesting because twice before I had contact with that subject. In both of those cases, the authors were very, very critical of the perpetrators of the American school system and why it was done.
Tell me something—ask yourself something. Did you ever read of George Washington going to school? You probably haven't. I especially mean a grade school. But he did go to school. That's a given. He was educated as provided by his parents, not in a government-mandated school, because they did not exist. Nonetheless, he became President, and was elected by his peers to mediate many important conferences, and most notably, those that framed our Constitution, which became the legal foundation of the United States of America. Do you know why his equals elected him to mediate? It was not because they all thought that he was the sharpest pencil in the drawer. It was because virtually all of his peers trusted his character.
Neither Andrew Jackson nor Abraham Lincoln had what we would call today a formal education, beginning with first grade in the government's elementary school system and then right on up the government school educational ladder, because that ladder and the system did not exist even in 1865, when he won his second election as President.
But now the ladder and the system exists. Who were the driving forces behind its existence? This was what I was reminded of by Mr. Kupelian. Believe it or not, it was not even by educators, but businessmen like Rockefeller, Carnegie, the Vanderbilts, and others. It was they who met, outlined what they desired, and then presented their plan to the educators—to people like John Dewey, William Thorndike, and others considered today to be philosophers. Business interests, brethren, shaped the configuration of the American school system.
I read a third book, written a few years ago, this time by an American preacher. He was even more strongly critical of those who did the organizing. That author made it clear that none of the organizers gave any confidence that they were godly men or that their system showed any godly purpose at all. It seems now it seems to me, from this man's scanning from many points of reference, that virtually every fundamental practice that shapes us into the American culture, that we are very much not on the same course as we were in our beginnings around 1800. Religion is not the only cultural fundamental that we have turned aside from.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 clearly states that it is God's intention that children's education be the parent's responsibility. It is to be a hands-on circumstance and continuously in operation. The assignment especially emphasizes teaching children to respect God. Respect, given in all aspects of industriousness that happened in all parts of the day in all endeavors. Read it again and see what He says there. It's really sweeping. Children are to be virtually surrounded by God's way of doing things all day long.
Now, listen to this. The American government's school system prepares children for America, not God. It's that simple, and that's why we are having the trouble.
Back to Mr. Hoffer for just a thought or two. I will not give you Mr. Hoffer's exact words—he was not real critical of these people—but I am going to give you what the words that he wrote clearly meant when he wrote them. He said (virtually) that those people who join in what's going on in the country right now really have almost no idea what they are involved in. They are not prepared to think about it even. He said all they have is a vague hope. All the joiners really want is a change that they think will be profitable for them personally and given quickly. Few have a historical context to enable them to perceive what they are involved in will produce or where it is headed. It's all about them and right now.
As we might say, their carnal self-centeredness had enslaved them. They did not understand they were, in reality, nothing more than cannon fodder to support the leadership. Well brethren, it is happening again in our time.