Thursday, October 30, 2008

We Cannot Be Ignorant and Free

Yesterday morning I was working on a post in which I was trying to grasp why people would vote for Obama. I had pulled up the article below several days ago but finally read the post today, after reading it I finally grasped why people are voting for Obama. Ignorance!

The following piece appeared on Regular Folks

We Cannot Be Ignorant and Free

Date: Sunday, October 19, 2008 Lori Roman

I keep hearing the same question asked: How could so many Americans vote for Barack Obama, a man who advocates socialist policies and associates with radical people who hate America?

I believe the answer is simple: We are not teaching our young people to understand and value the American experience and moral relativism has robbed them of their ability to make ethical judgments. I came to this conclusion after teaching college for six years. It is not an exaggeration to say this absolutely frightens me.

Academically our children are not equipped to appreciate and pursue the American Dream. Many children graduate from high school with good grades, but without fundamental skills. This fact is supported by the expensive array of remedial education classes that most colleges must provide freshman, as well as our dismal test rankings among other countries.

Uninformed people are easily fooled. Thomas Jefferson said: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

Conceptually, many Americans don't even understand the underpinnings of America, which, according to Thomas Jefferson are: (1) Freely elected government; (2) Free enterprise; and (3) Moral and spiritual values.

Students don't generally have trouble understanding freely elected government; however, they don't understand that it is to be cherished. In many textbooks all governmental systems are treated equally, therefore communist dictatorships are presented as just an alternative system of government.

Because I taught comparative economics, I saw first hand the apathy of my students—communism, socialism and democratic capitalism were different but equal in their eyes. They did not understand liberty as a fundamental human right.

My observations, as well as recent surveys, indicate that part of the problem stems from students being ignorant of American history. Frankly, in many cases Junior cannot have an intelligent discussion about the founding of this country, but he can put a condom on a banana in six seconds thanks to sex ed class.

My students believed that “government for the people" means that the government is supposed to do everything for the people. My classroom would become quiet when I would tell them that the Declaration of Independence only gives them the right to PURSUE happiness--they have to catch it themselves.

This may seem bizarre, considering that my students were usually business majors, but they also had no appreciation or understanding of the beauty of the free enterprise system, or its role in the prosperity and freedom of our country. But the good news is that when I explained Adam Smith's Invisible Hand Theory and showed them how one person's quest for personal profit ultimately brings prosperity to others, THEY GOT IT!

I can take a classroom of statists and turn them into capitalists in 10 weeks. This is not because I am such a great teacher, but because truth and common sense prevail.

These are not difficult concepts. Some time ago my twelve-year-old was playing a computer game called SIM City, in which he could design his own city and government and set taxes. As I looked at his city I saw a few cars moving through a small business district. A couple of minutes later, he excitedly told me to look at how his city had changed. There were more cars and a larger, bustling business district. Unfamiliar with the program, I asked him what he had done to create such improvement. "I lowered taxes!" he said and he rolled his eyes at me as only a twelve-year-old can, with an unspoken "duh, Mom!" I told him that he was brilliant and that I was sending him right to Washington. He apparently has a better grasp of economics than most politicians, including Obama.

My students' lack of understanding of Jefferson's third foundation--moral and spiritual values--was most alarming.

My most discouraging day was in an ethics class in which I had asked the students to list the characteristics of an ethical person. After a few minutes and a lot of silence, they listed: “A person who recycles and who does not make ethical judgments about others”. The reason they had such a difficult time with this exercise is that they have collectively been taught to believe the only truly unethical act is to brand anything that anyone else does as unethical. That night I thought, "I can turn a socialist into a capitalist, but I cannot, in ten weeks, undo the damage of a lifetime of being taught that there are no moral absolutes."

Time and time again our founding fathers reminded us that this noble experiment would not work without ethical and spiritual values because a government of the people, by the people and for the people can only be as good as the people.

Americans owe a debt of gratitude to those who worked and died to give them a freely elected government, a free enterprise system with opportunity for all, and a moral foundation on which to rest these freedoms. We must reclaim our heritage and pass it on to our children before it is too late. It is time--it is past time--to take back the textbooks and the classrooms and teach young Americans what it really means to be an American.

Only then will we see an informed electorate that will recognize socialism for the evil that it is--an attack on the God-given human right called liberty.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

The Declaration of Independence

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