The View From 1776

§ American Traditions

§ People and Ideas

§ Decline of Western Civilization: a Snapshot

§ Books to Read


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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Literary and Historical Roots

David Gelernter makes a provocative assertion.

Socialists, including American liberals, understand that what John Dewey called “Education for Democracy,” that is, proselytizing for the religion of socialism, requires wiping out all memory of past traditions.  The reason today, after disastrously failed essays at socialism, is simple: anyone who understands how much better personal life and political society were before socialism will reject liberalism’s atheistic, secular materialism.

Yale professor David Gelernter, now also a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, has thrown down a challenge that’s bound to evoke screams of rage from liberals.

In “Why the Bible Belongs in America’s Public Schools,” he writes that, without knowing Scripture, kids can’t understand literature or U.S. history.

The Bible, once part of ever person’s vocabulary, was quoted continually in American political discourse.  Almost every speech by President Abraham Lincoln, for example, contained a Biblical quotation or reference.  Most students today will have no clue to what Lincoln meant when he referred to the United States as the “almost chosen people.”

A recurrent theme in The View From 1776 is the essentiality of preserving knowledge of a nation’s unwritten constitution ? its religious, moral, and political ethos ? that gives meaning and depth to the words of a written constitution or to statute law.

For the United States, and all Western nations, the Bible is a cornerstone without which no other parts of our political structure can be understood.  Christianity was the sole unifying element in the development of Western European nations after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. 

Christianity IS Western civilization.  Remove it, and we are left with the terrifying emptiness and uncertainty that have come to characterize life today in societies based on secular materialism, a life filled with little more than hedonistic, sensual gratification and the screeching glissandos and crashing noises, smoke, and lights of a rock concert.

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Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 06/02 at 05:41 PM
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