Our nation’s founders believed that for our system of government to function as designed the people would have to, first be educated as to how it was supposed to function, and secondly, pay close attention to the actions of those chosen to represent them.
In 1822 James Madison wrote. “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Madison also said, “Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty & dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.”
In an 1816 letter to Charles Yancey, Thomas Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be.”
Finally, Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Surgeon General during the Revolutionary War, and founder of Dickenson College, stated, “Freedom can exist only in the society of knowledge. Without learning, men are incapable of knowing their rights.”
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes, not from a founding father, rather it comes from a fictional character in the film V For Vendetta. Early in the film the character V breaks into a broadcasting studio and has them play a pre-recorded speech he had made, in which he says, “Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.” And as the saying goes, the truth shall set you free.
These days, nobody seems to be interested in hearing the truth, especially when the truth conflicts with what they have been taught to believe. But, as V said, words offer the means to meaning, and one has to ask themselves, what is it that people have been taught, the truth, or a lie?
The word educate means more than just providing knowledge, it also means cultivating the ability to reason, to gather information and form an opinion based upon that information. However, if you look in the dictionary educate can also mean indoctrinate. We must therefore ask, what is it our schools have been doing to our children, educating them, or indoctrinating them?
Noah Webster, whose name is associated with Merriam-Webster‘s dictionary, once warned us that “Every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country.”
I don’t mean to be insulting but, truth be told, the average American is woefully ignorant when it comes to understanding how their system of government was supposed to function. If a nation of people are barely able to read and write then how are they to be able to read, and comprehend, documents relating to the founding of America, and then compare those to what exists today to determine if their system of government has overstepped its authority and infringed upon their rights?
But, maybe that was the intent all along, to dumb down the people to where they could not see that they were slowly losing their rights and their liberty, and becoming slaves to those who were supposed to work for them. Our founders realized that it would be hard to enslave a people who were educated in regards to the function of their government and the nature of their rights. Yet I dare any of you to provide me with a brief overview of each of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, and the reason our founders included them in the Bill of Rights. Go on, I’m waiting…
Now, tell me again that you are educated! Yet you watch the network news broadcasts and listen to the lies and propaganda being fed to you and think you are informed. You watch the speeches given by those holding office and you think they are adhering to the limits imposed upon them by the Constitution.
Your ignorance both saddens and sickens me, and it is why a man such as Barack Obama could not, just be elected, but be re-elected to hold the office of president. It is why you sit back and watch your TV shows and sporting events while your government tramples upon your God-given rights.
Well, while the sun sets upon this once great Republic, keep in mind that there are a few of us who understand the nature of our rights, and the purpose for which our government was instituted. Some of us, at one point or another, swore and oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies, both foreign AND DOMESTIC. If that means you, then so be it. But, you may want to ask yourselves whether the lies you have been taught, or the things you believing are worth dying for. Because, as our nation’s founders declared when they signed the Declaration of Independence, we who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, “...mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.” Or, as Patrick Henry once said, “Give me Liberty, or give me death.”
December 16, 2012
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross can be reached for comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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