Let’s start with the loss of morality. This is the north star of behavior, the bellwether of decency, the certainty of right and wrong. Morality is what C.S. Lewis in “The Abolition of Man” called the Tao — “the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kind of things we are.” In other words, it was that force which existed independent of man but embedded in him that impelled our Founders to describe certain inalienable rights as “self-evident.” The Tao was not created by religion, but rather was the reason why religions existed. It is what our Founders called Natural Law.
So what went wrong? In a word, education. In two words, “progressive education.” For the first hundred years or so of our nation’s history, education served its usual purpose of reinforcing social norms, teaching values and passing on the heritage and traditions that bind us together. All of that began to change in the 1880s, thanks in large part to one man — John Dewey, the godfather of progressive education, who insisted on teaching children what they want to learn instead of what they should learn. Essentially, what the progressive education movement wanted to accomplish — and did accomplish by the 1960s — was to jettison traditional values and replace them with transient values (those which each generation or even each student adopted individually). This meant that society was no longer tethered to the Tao. Morality had become relative. Education had switched from being a method of reinforcing social conventions and standards to uprooting them.
A recurring theme in “How We Got Here” is that the Constitution no longer means what it says it means, but rather what any five Supreme Court justices say it means. These justices have a remarkable knack for discovering new powers for the government hidden in nooks and crannies of the document that somehow were missed previously. Under such a scenario, the Constitution becomes a tool for social engineering rather than a protection against government excess, as was originally intended.
It too is all part of the plan. After all, judges are lawyers, and lawyers are graduated from law schools, and the top law-school students come from the top Ivy League and radical-left colleges, and most radical college students come from public schools, and public schools are to progressivism what politics is to the swamp. You can thank John Dewey, and you can thank Bill Ayers, who after he returned to public view, became an influential educator of educators at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In “Prairie Fire,” Ayers outlined how the revolution would transform America. Yes, violence would play a role. Yes, bankrupting the system by increasing dependence on government would play a role. Yes, spurring foreign wars to spread America’s military too thin would play a role. Yes, encouraging division among the races would be part of it, as would weakening the influence of religion on the masses, but if you wanted to win the revolution, Ayers made it perfectly clear how to begin: “The real question is: Who will control the schools?”
How did we get here? The answer by now should be obvious.
For years, I've been reassured that there are no conspiracies, that Americans are virtuous and pure, that their elected officials are acting solely on the behalf of the constituents and citizens who may or may not have voted for them...
Are we ready to wake up and smell what they are shoveling yet?