Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute. He is a professor of Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, and Contracts at the National Paralegal College, a counselor at the American College of Education, and a founding board member of Salt and Light Global. Washington is a co-host of "Joshua's Trial," a radio show of Christian conservative thought. A graduate of JohnMore ↓Less ↑
A new untruth is better than an old truth.
– Justice O.W. Holmes
Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.
– John Dewey
Conservative intellectual Dr. Thomas Sowell, in a recent column, “Teaching Americans to hate their country,’“ made the historical observation about how 100 years ago progressives like John Dewey of Columbia University changed the American education paradigm whereby teachers were no longer considered “the transmitter of society’s culture” (as they have been for roughly the past 6,000 years) but activist “agents of [progressive, socialist] change,” as evidenced by the way most Americans have been happily educated inside its Marxist propaganda factories called “public schools.”
Who was John Dewey?
John Dewey (1859-1952) was the father of the modern American public school system, a leading progressive who promoted the philosophy of pragmatism and an activist for secular humanism in American society. Dewey was also an original signatory of the “Humanist Manifesto” and ridiculed moral absolutes and traditional religion, especially Christianity in favor of an evolution/atheist worldview.
Dewey’s major works on education include: “My Pedagogic Creed” (1897), “The School and Society” (1900), “The Child and the Curriculum” (1902), “Democracy and Education” (1916) and “Experience and Education” (1938). Dewey believed that education history, philosophy, law, politics, economics, society were in a constant state of flux; therefore, these and other areas of study should not just produce a static product that told what had already happened, but history, information would be in a constant state of evolution as the public added value by generating knowledge. Dewey, with a fanatical zeal, promoted the singular idea of education atheism while permeating a Marxist socialist worldview into America’s public school system, leading to the deconstruction of Christian influence in politics, education, law, culture and society that exists to this day.
‘Teaching Americans to hate their country’
Like the communist of the Chinese Revolution (1946-52), Sowell views America’s educators as playing a similar role in creating a mindset that undermines American society by promoting a Darwinian education atheism worldview. In the early 1900s, progressives like Dewey, Charles William Eliot (president of Harvard), Charles Peirce, William James, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Margaret Sanger, W.E.B. Dubois, Havelock Ellis, Rexford Tugwell, Bertrand Russell, F.M. Alexander, Henri Bergson, William M. Brown, Martin Buber, George S. Counts, William Rainey Harper, Sidney Hook and even Supreme Court justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Brandeis rejected the original intent of the constitutional framers and the Judeo-Christian traditions that undergirded this great country, viewing instead America as set to lead the world into a golden age of humanism – a socialist utopia.
However, before this could occur, its people must be re-educated to abandon the old, dead Judeo-Christian traditions; discard its “dead” Constitution and replace it with a progressive, evolved philosophy governed by a constantly evolving “living Constitution.” In other words, Sowell wrote that Dewey and progressives were “strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society” based on Darwinian evolution, Marxism and humanism.
How did Dewey and his progressive legions achieve this paradigm shift? It was easy. Remember the words of Lenin who said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted” and Machiavelli’s “The end justifies the means.” Progressives followed these and other diabolical tactics for more than 150 years while rewriting history by flooding the curriculum with Marxist textbooks like Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” which, according to Sowell, promotes a “history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America – and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.”
For decades, Marxist historians like Zinn have dominated the Academy and, because they are free from the chains of realism and truth, can weave fantastical tales, feckless propaganda and diabolical lies whereby progressive and socialist historians “single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years. Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as ‘Who are we to judge?’” says Sowell.
French history between the wars: Anti-history as history
To demonstrate how short of a time one generation can become conditioned to forget its own recent history using Dewey’s education atheism, Sowell cites the example of France between the two great wars:
In France between the two World Wars, the teachers’ union decided that schools should replace patriotism with internationalism and pacifism. Books that told the story of the heroic defense of French soldiers against the German invaders at Verdun in 1916, despite suffering massive casualties, were replaced by books that spoke impartially about the suffering of all soldiers – both French and German – at Verdun.
Germany invaded France again in 1940, and this time the world was shocked when the French surrendered after just 6 weeks of fighting – especially since military experts expected France to win. But two decades of undermining French patriotism and morale had done their work.
Dewey’s pragmatism and education atheism proclaims an aggressive evolutionary philosophy in public education, including natural selection, survival of the fittest and a social Darwinism approach to education while defending the view that things understood as isolated from any relationship with the human organism could not be objects of knowledge at all. This collectivist, socialist idea essentially entrenched the atheist ideas of social Darwinism and Marxism into the public education system, which President Obama and the Democratic Socialist Party, through their allies in the National Education Association and the leftist Academy, continue to promote on an even grander scale in modern times.