Saturday, December 16, 2017

Education and Political Activism

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 22:56
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By the Rev. Dr. Joe Renfro

Throughout much of the Western World in many of our educational institutions from colleges, and even in the secondary schooling, there is the call for political activism.  It basically rotates around what can be called “quasi-truth,” which when analyzed is from an idea that seemingly wants to say that it can be both true and false simultaneously.  The ivory tower of learning is being transformed and equated with the dirty streets of protest of quasi-truths.  But they aren’t the same. Schools in America are increasingly being used to spawn this activism, and it is very unwise. 

We are living at time when it seems that every little group is calling for their rights, but there is very little being said about responsible or righteous living.  Proverbs 1:7 well says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  Social activism that is becoming so loud and flagrant in much of Western education is based on a mistaken notion that equates disciplined learning with what is often very much, undisciplined activism.

Protests on college campuses have exploded all over America, Great Brittan, and other countries. These groups often are very hostile to the “fear of the Lord” and the focus is not on “instruction and wisdom.”  To equate political activism with true education is really a quasi-truth that appears to be truth to many students, but actually is only partial truth, which ultimately means logically that the whole thing is really false. It has been said that: “There is a grain of truth in every falsehood.”

We are living at time when every little group calls for their rights, but very little being is said about responsible or righteous living.  Proverbs 1:7 well says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  It is very much evident that these protests and demonstrations certainly don’t stress what we could call the “fear of the Lord.” Neither are they are the product of wise instruction. They are rather the product of socio-political activists, spawned by progressive thinking. The left calls for free speech, but only free speech for themselves, and this has become dominant in much of the educational establishment.

Adam Crymble, a history PhD student, King’s College London in England made an interesting observation of the demonstrations and activism on college campuses, as he said: 

Please don’t call them students. They’re Marxist political activists. They no more represent we, the students of the University of London, than the trainer and iPhone-grabbing rioters of 2011 represented the people of Britain. Students fall on all sides of the political spectrum. Our youth does not inherently make us socialists, and while many of us sympathise with some of the University of London Union demands, intimidating staff and fellow students with picket lines and sit-ins undermines the collegial and accepting environments our universities seek to foster.

I hope universities will stand firm against a loud left-wing minority and engage instead with democratically elected student governments that reflect our political diversity. Our universities must also ensure that avenues are available for dissenting voices to civilly express their opinions and concerns. None of those avenues need include responding to intimidation or demands by minorities. Yelling louder does not give you the moral high ground. (“How should universities respond to student protests? – 10 views”, The Guardian, December 11, 2016)

It has been noted from a British article entitled “Marxism & Education” that in Marxism:   “The Marxist approach to education is broadly constructivist, and emphasises activity, collaboration and critique, rather than passive absorption of knowledge, emulation of elders and conformism; it is student-centred rather than teacher centred, but recognises that education cannot transcend the problems and capabilities of the society in which it is located.” 

Here in America, as we observe protests on college campuses, even many of them turning very violent, we can see that what the history PhD student from King’s College in London had to say is the truth.  It all has its roots very much in the plan of the radical left to transform our society, not democratically by the vote, but by revolution from students who want to protest much more than study. The Marxists look to what they call the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” which they see as a stage of being historically on the way to the promised age of harmony, a stage that must intervene in which the proletariat (working class) must rule.  This is a stage in Marxist thinking where the remnants of capitalist ideology are to be eliminated from society through re-education! (Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion, pp 336, 337)

The democracy and freedom we have experienced in America is the product of the Protestant Reformation. It is a mistake to see the word “protestant,” however as being a protest group in the sense of “political activism.”   Rather, it means rather “for” the “testimony,” the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. The Latin word, “reformatio,” actually means the “restoration” or “renewal”.   The Protestant reformation was not so much a turning away from, but rather and turning back toward the counsel of the word of God. Truth was to look back to incarnation of God through Jesus Christ, rather than to see truth as the evolving process as proposed by progressive thinking, so dominant in the leftist worldview. 

In an article, “Making Citizens: How American Universities Teach Civics” by the National Association of Scholars from January 10, 2017, it brings out that:  “A new movement in American higher education aims to transform the teaching of civics. This report is a study of what that movement is, where it came from, and why Americans should be concerned. What we call the “New Civics” redefines civics as progressive political activism. Rooted in the radical program of the 1960s’ New Left, the New Civics presents itself as an up-to-date version of volunteerism and good works. Though camouflaged with soft rhetoric, the New Civics, properly understood, is an effort to repurpose higher education.”

Friends, this is not just in the teaching of civics, however, as these tentacles are grasping our youth in all areas of learning, particularly since forces in our society have removed reverence for God, the Scriptures, and yes even morality from public education.  The World in America is much different from what it was in the 50s before the plague of irreverence hit our land!

One of the Marxist goals is to change Western thinking and political life through “re-education,” and this would touch on what the Kings College history student observed, that it is spawned by the communist ideology.  It should be very much evident what much of demonstration by the minorities in many of our college campuses is seeking to do.  But, it is but the product of what is being taught to them. It is my hope that we can see change start moving back to that which united us and gave us a moral basis for living together to be “One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all!

In an article in reference to the one I mentioned about “Making Citizens”  Bradford Richard wrote in “Protests 101—“College civics classes focus more on demonstrations than citizenship,” in The Washington Times, January 11, 2017, however, that:  “College-level civics courses have been hijacked by a progressive ideology that emphasizes instruction in organizing political movements rather than understanding the American system of government and the Western tradition upon which it is built…In practice this means that instead of teaching college students the foundations of law, liberty, and self-government, colleges teach students how to organize protests, occupy buildings, and stage demonstrations.”  The study says. “These are indeed forms of ‘civic engagement,’ but they are far from being a genuine substitute for learning how to be a full participant in our republic.”

Richard pointed out that the National Association of Scholars report details how the meaning of civics education has been transformed over the past several decades from the influence of disciples of  Saul Alinsky in our educational institutions.  Alinsky was a community organizer, much like our former President and is basically known for his 1971 book, “Rules for Radicals.”

The effect on our schooling and in the teaching of civics in particular is that instead of conferring an understanding of the U.S. Constitution, American history and Western civilization upon students, progressive activists have coaxed colleges and universities into defining civics education to mean community organizing, service learning and civic engagement toward progressive ends, the report says.”  It was and is an education toward political activism!

We are witnessing that the Holy Bible, basic to Protestant Reformation and in the formation of America was taken from academia, and it has been replaced by the Bible of the Progressives by the disciples of Saul Alinsky.  These protesters are protesting from the bible of the progressives “Rules for Radicals.”   They are protesting against many of the basic elements on which our society has been built, and one if these elements is the guidance from the Holy Bible!  

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, observed in reference to this educational movement to the left that “ ‘Civic learning’ doesn’t mean what you would expect — straightforward things such as understanding the Bill of Rights, the three branches of government and the Electoral College. Instead, this New Civics is all about ‘diversity,’ environmentalism, the LGBT movement, ‘global’ citizenship, and other liberal causes.”  Yes, the devil is in the details.

You can have so much diversity that you have no unity. The United States of America is caught in a dilemma, and we have seen it really escalate during the past decade, where the stress was not on so much on what united us, but rather on the diversity which divides us.  Part to this problem was created by the substituting of political activism, which very often is at odds with true wisdom and true knowledge. Political activism is not education, and a little learning based on “quasi-truths” is a dangerous thing!  Political activism often follows course!



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