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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield

Some earlier mentions, [url=]here[/url]. Additionaly, it has also been added to the article sections under Ted Byfield and for those who might want to read ahead I would recommend going directly to [url=]The Christian History Project[/url] and finding the link by the same name.

Found this not only important by quite applicable to many things that are present right here on SI. One of those is it's wonderfully peculiar proximatey of being borne out of similar Canadian nature, as this ministry also is. The author brings in both Canadian as well as American situations and history to draw out his observations. But more over, that we to are doing very much that which the author is concluding; presenting in various measures Chrisitan History, something that has never been as important as it is right now.

Knowing, and understanding that 'long' posts can often turn some away and to present this for discussion and feedback, wanted to post it here in sections ...



By Ted Byfield
General Editor
The Christian History Project

© Ted Byfield, 2008

Any part of this booklet may be reprinted
without permission but with attribution
to the author and publisher

Published by SEARCH – the Society to Explore and
Record Christian History. Address: 203, 10441 178
Street, Edmonton, AB Canada. T5S 1R5

Copies of this booklet may be ordered from the
publisher by telephoning the toll free line
1-888-234-4478, or through the publisher’s

The price is $7 per copy. The text may be
downloaded free through the website.

[i]“The democracies are losing the freedom
which gives meaning to democracy, because
they are losing that sense of direction which
gives meaning to freedom.”[/i]
– Hilda Neatby

[i]“When men stop believing in God, they don’t
believe in nothing. They believe in anything.”[/i]
–G.K. Chesterton

[i]“Beware of false prophets, which come to
you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they
are ravening wolves. Ye shall know
them by their fruits.”[/i]
—Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:15)

To John E. Hokanson
Friend, Benefactor, and Believer

Mike Balog

 2009/1/12 8:40Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield


Please examine carefully the following five statements. They
represent the kind of thing that may be heard any day in
any office or job site, living room, board room, kitchen or
pub, spoken by wealthy people or street people, literate people or
illiterate, men or women, children or adults.

“Okay, so we’ll meet there at five o’clock.”

“I’ve got to return this shovel. It’s Charlie’s.”

“She’s been in hospital for a week and I haven’t even visited her.”

“No twelve-year-old should be out this late.”

“But that’s what he said happened.”

The point to note is that each of these statements implies a kind
of expectation. The other person is [i]expected[/i] to be there at five
o’clock. If you borrow a shovel, you’re [i]expected[/i] to return it. Just
as people are [i]expected[/i] to visit the sick, to control the whereabouts
of their children, and to tell the truth. All five statements, that is,
take for granted a kind of code of conduct, or standard of behaviour,
that everybody can be assumed to recognize and respect.

Simple morality, one might say. Simple perhaps, but also indispensable.
A world in which no one could be expected to keep
promises, to return what they borrow, to comfort the sick, to care
for their children and to tell the truth would be a world that could
not function. In the long run, these rules of conduct are as essential
to our well-being as the food we eat and the air we breathe.
They are the glue or thread that holds a civilization together. Sustaining
them, which means sustaining their authority to guide and
govern what we do, is necessary if the civilization is to survive.

Something else is noteworthy. No previous civilization ever [i]has[/i] survived;
all past civilizations have perished. And the chief symptom of
impending collapse was that respect for the rules began eroding. The
glue failed, the thread broke, and they were gone.
The rules of our own civilization—usually referred to as “the West”
– originate in the ancient world. From the ancient Israelites, we derived
our ideas about God. From the ancient Greeks, we derived our
ideas about government. And from the ancient Romans we derived
our concept of the civil law.1 These three strains were combined by
the Christians into a unified whole known as Western civilization.
Though certainly not without flaw, it has produced the most just,
the most technologically proficient, the most compassionate, and
the most prosperous society the world has ever known. And while
it has become intellectually fashionable to deplore and denounce it,
especially by critics living comfortably within it, the rest of the world
seeks fervidly to emulate it or, better still, to move into it.

However, this influx of other peoples does not pose the threat to
the West that is sometimes voiced. Indeed, Western society has
been receiving and accommodating peoples from without ever
since it began. Rather, it faces two other stresses, both of which
could destroy it, though the second is much more insidious than
the first.

The first has come as the product of its success. Technological
change, almost all of it innovated by the West, has been so astonishing,
so swift and so sweeping over the last two centuries of the
second Christian millennium that it threatens to sweep away
everything that went before as obsolete, including many of the old
rules for human behaviour.

And yet they are as essential as they ever were. People must still
be expected to do what they say they’re going to do, whether
they’re running a biochemical experiment or a trap line. They are
still expected to return what they borrow, whether it’s a shovel or
a digital recording device. Their responsibility to the stricken is as
imperative as it ever was, and so is the expectation that they can
be relied upon to care for their family, and to tell the truth.
So the necessity for the old rules is still very much there. In fact, a
case can be made that it is more pressing than ever. The very complexity
of our new technological world makes it much more vulnerable
to subversive attack than was the old world. Knock out several
major power plants and you could paralyze much of twenty-first century
eastern North America. Computers would stop. Airports
would stop. Subways would stop. Elevators would stop. Gasoline
pumps would stop. Furnaces would stop. Lights would go out. In
northern cities in a severe winter, thousands would soon be in danger
of freezing to death. Such swift and vast devastation would have
been impossible in the nineteenth century. Technological society, that
is, depends for its very survival on a high degree of behavioural conformity
among the citizenry, something that terrorist movements
have discovered and effectively exploited.

But the other strain on “the rules” has proven far more lethal. For
it strains them, not as an incidental effect of its activity, but because
straining them, indeed effectually abolishing their foundation, is
one of its central goals, what from the beginning it set out to do.
What am I implying? Some kind of secret conspiracy to destroy our
society? Not at all. No secret, no conspiracy. For what it has sought
to do, it has been utterly candid about from the beginning. Moreover,
it has taken over most of the levers that control the social machine,
recruiting to its cause some of our best minds and most
effective communicators. Curiously, however, very few of the latter
seem to realize what they are actually communicating. And as the
more astute among them become vaguely aware of this, their acute
discomfort becomes evident. They tend to push the thought aside
as something they do not wish to contemplate.


[1. See. W.G. de Burgh, [i]The Legacy of the Ancient World[/i], Oxford, 1924.]

Mike Balog

 2009/1/12 8:46Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield


To ascribe all this mischief to one man is, of course, excessive.
Yet one man undeniably played a major role in the social
and cultural revolution of America in the twentieth
century. True, he was powerfully influenced by others who came before
him—Rousseau, Hobbes, Darwin, Spencer—and helped by a
coterie of like-minded revolutionaries who worked diligently alongside
him. As in all revolutions, his message was carried by thousands
of disciples who often went beyond anything the original visionary
had proposed, though what they were doing was derived directly
from what he taught. To most of these, however, he is today little
more than a name. Very few have actually read what he wrote, let
alone approve of what he was setting out to do, though they have
often strenuously, if unwittingly, helped him do it.

The man in question is the educator and philosopher John Dewey.
The bare facts of his curriculum vitae are deceptively unspectacular.
From a family of modest income, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from
the University of Vermont in 1879, taught three years in high school
and quit, received a doctorate from Johns Hopkins in 1884, taught
at the University of Michigan, then became a faculty member of the
University of Chicago in 1894, soon after it opened, and established
there experimental elementary and high schools. After a clash with
the university administration he left for Columbia University in 1904
where he taught philosophy until his death in 1952.

Creditable enough, but hardly the track record of a man who
would more profoundly affect the culture and thinking of Americans
than any twentieth-century president. However, that was
because he knew something that no president since Thomas Jefferson
has ever fully understood, namely that the way to fundamentally
reshape a society is not by changing its citizens, but by
changing their children—more specifically, by radically changing
those who teach their children. For the teachers could change
the children, and the children would become the citizens and
voters of tomorrow.

Dewey’s agenda was not, in its ultimate goal, educational. It was
political. Like the founders of America, indeed of all the Western
democracies, he was obsessed with the idea of freedom. But his object
was to establish a new kind of freedom.While people were free
to vote and many were free to choose paths that could lead them to
wealth and comfort, they were not in Dewey’s view truly free.
All but a few advanced thinkers were prisoners of traditionalist
thought and morality that prevented them from achieving genuine
freedom and becoming their “true selves.” It was this kind of freedom
that he sought for all. He had achieved it himself; he wanted
to confer it on everyone. He envisioned a new civilization, liberated
from its ancient taboos and enslavement to outdated creeds
and codes of conduct.

Once delivered from this old morality, humanity would reach
through science destinies vastly beyond present human imagination,
he said. And the road to this nirvana lay not through some Marxist
or Fascist revolution, but through an educational one. To Dewey, you
didn’t need the politicians. If you could change the way the people
thought, the politicians would have no choice but to go along with
the new order. Over his lifetime he published some sixteen books,
enunciating convulsive changes in education that would render the
new schools unrecognizable to those who had attended the old.

His vision was embraced, indeed devoured, not initially by teachers,
but by “educators”—those who teach teachers—a species that
Dewey’s era virtually brought into existence. Decade after decade
a torrent of Deweyite disciples poured forth from Columbia University
Teachers College, skilfully administered by Dewey’s senior
lieutenant in the revolution, W.H. Kilpatrick. What could be
more impressive than an education degree from Columbia? They
rapidly infused his ideas into the new “faculties of education,”
themselves largely a product of Deweyism. These gradually supplanted
the old and hopelessly hidebound “normal schools.”
Meanwhile, Dewey himself carried his ideas to the world in what
he saw as personal “missions.” He favoured such biblical terms,
sometimes referring to his message as “the gospel.” It proved a
gospel eagerly embraced in the Soviet Union.

Its principles became the foundational assumption of the new educators.
2 The schools, they knew, must be used to work a wholesale
rejection of all the old ideas about human nature. The concept of
good and evil must be abolished, wrote Dewey. Such qualities as
honesty, courage, industry and chastity must no longer be cherished,
while things like malice, vindictiveness and irresponsibility need no
longer be deplored. Such conduct is merely the response of the individual
to the conditions around him. Indeed nothing should be
transmitted to students from the legacy of previous generations.
Whatever moral conclusions the student may reach, he must reach
solely on the basis of his own experience.

Most important, he must not see himself as somehow “judged” by
what he does or doesn’t do. The idea of individual “blame” must
be eradicated. He must regard himself as part of a community, part
of “the public.” If a crime is committed, the criminal must not be
considered responsible. The community as a whole must have
somehow failed him. So too must the idea of the “will” be abolished.
The concept that the individual “chooses” between good and
evil leads only to the defeat of “self hood.” There is no such thing
as the human “will,” he said, and the old moral boundaries between
good and evil have become obsolete and invalid. Moreover,
gender stereotyping must be stopped. There must be no such thing
as boys’ books and girls’ books, or boys’ games and girls’ games,
because such distinctions serve to perpetuate the old order.His ideas
would “destroy many things once cherished,” Dewey allowed, but
that was the unfortunate price of human progress.


[2. A comprehensive and understandable critique of Dewey’s work was written by Henry T. Edmondson, professor of political science and public administration at Georgia State University and director of the Center for Transatlantic Studies. It is is entitled [i]John Dewey and the Decline of American Education[/i], published by Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Wilmington, Delaware, in 2006.]

Mike Balog

 2009/1/13 6:17Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield


As the 20th century unfolded, these concepts began taking
deep root in the education faculties and appearing in the
schools. Gradually, the teacher ceased being an authority
figure in the classroom. She must instead become a guide, a counsellor,
a friend, said Dewey. Student desks must be rearranged in
such a way as to overcome any suggestion of managerial leadership.
The students must learn to lead themselves. Any attempt by
a teacher to impose structure—pass/fail, good/bad, right/wrong—
must be viewed as a form of “pedagogical abuse.”

Indeed, all semblance of superiority or inferiority must vanish.
Report cards must no longer carry grade standings. Anything that
suggests standards of performance must not appear. Children
must not be criticized for making “mistakes,” nor be admonished
to “sit still” because this may thwart their inner impulses. Checking
those impulses must be considered another form of “abuse,”
for they are the means by which the child expresses creativity.

No student should be singled out for a distinctly good performance,
nor certainly for a distinctly bad one, because the whole idea
of good and bad must be removed form the child’s mind. “Self-esteem”
must be encouraged in every possible way, but never predicated
on actual performance. The student should esteem himself
because he is a self, not because he has actually accomplished anything.
Learning to read must be considered a useful thing, but not
a primary essential.What ultimately matters is not what skills the
child acquires, but whether he is becoming a “social being.”

Similarly, in the higher grades “critical thinking” must be fostered,
but it consisted of encouraging the student to question and challenge
the assumptions of the old order, especially those of his parents. A
young adult who had learned to challenge the qualities and morality
revered by his parents was deemed to be “thinking critically.”
One who continued to respect and adhere to them was not thinking
critically. His education had plainly failed him.3

In the 1940s, an unforeseen development sharply checked the educational
revolution, notably the Second World War. Suddenly
qualities like honour, courage, duty, tradition and responsibility
became not only praiseworthy, but crucial. Without them, the
Western democracies would certainly lose. By the ’fifties, however,
the war was safely over, and the revolution in the schools resumed
with full vigour. Old teachers resisted. Indeed, some
courageously continued to battle the Deweyite revolution for the
next half century. But such opposition was soon swept aside by the
tens of thousands of young teachers pouring forth from the new
faculties of education. These saw themselves as the harbingers of
a new kind of society, with a new kind of citizen, that they were
commissioned to bring into being. Entire school systems embraced
the new ideas. Dewey himself, before he died, became a hallowed
figure, the man who had liberated America from the narrow intolerance
and vicious bigotry of its past. At his ninetieth birthday,
tributes came in from all over the world, for by now his works
had been translated into eight other languages.

As the American public system embraced the new “progressive”
aims and methods, Canadian educators were at first nervous. They
feared that Canada’s natural conservatism would sharply resist
such innovations. They soon discovered, however, that Canada’s
supposed commitment to conservatism was actually a commitment
to conformity. Canadians would do whatever respectable authority
approved.When it became evident “reputable educators” were
urging these changes, that’s all they needed to know.


[3. Lest anyone conclude that children today are no longer under such influence, he should observe the current books for young people by Neale Donald Walsch, regularly on the [i]New York Times[/i] best seller list, with such titles as [i]Conversations With God[/i] and [i]Conversations with God for Teens[/i]. Typically, “God” is represented as approving pre-marital sex, sexual deviation, and whatever other sexual conduct commends itself. In one instance, a girl asks about God’s forgiveness of sin. Walsch portrays “God” as replying: “I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone.” However dubious the Divine credentials, it’s certainly what John Dewey was trying to tell everyone. [i]Conversations With God[/i] is currently being made into a Hollywood movie.]

Mike Balog

 2009/1/14 9:18Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield


From the start, it is true, there were discordant voices in the
U.S., some of them authoritative. Parents and students, said
one, “must be induced to abandon the educational path that,
rather blindly, they have been following as a result of John Dewey’s
teachings.” That voice belonged to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
A more raucous note was sounded by the acerbic Christian
novelist Flannery O’Connor: “My advice to parents is…Anything
that Wm. Heard Kilpatrick & Jhn. Dewey say to do, don’t do.”

Canada produced its critics too, first and foremost among them a
notable historian, Dr. Hilda Neatby of the University of
Saskatchewan whose critique of Deweyism, So Little for the
Mind, (Clarke, Irwin, Toronto, 1953) stirred rage across the
Deweyite establishment, already securely ensconcing itself in various
provincial departments of education.

Dewey, wrote Professor Neatby, “is not only unintentionally anti-intellectual,
he is, it seems, quite deliberately anti-cultural…even ferociously
amoral in his method and discipline.” Deweyism “is not
liberation; it is indoctrination both intellectual and moral.” Dewey
had translated the mantra “education is life” into “an injunction to
the school to take over every part of a child’s life and every function
of society. The family and church are ignored or patronized.”

Moreover, she continued, there is strong evidence that Deweyism is
being ruthlessly forced into the school system, and any challenge
to it is harshly rejected in the education faculties. She quoted one
Canadian student’s impression: “The atmosphere there curiously
prefigured the authoritarian state. Any independent thought, any
deviation from the Moscow line (for Moscow read, Teachers’ College,
Columbia) is criminal non-cooperativeness and sabotage…
Native common sense has no validity, and the candidate for certification
who attempts to use it is warned of the consequences with
a candour and directness which Molotov (a senior Stalinist lieutenant)
could not have improved on.”

The result, said Professor Neatby, was that the most competent
students were discouraged from the teaching profession: “The
soldier, the doctor, the business executive and the technician
who wish to get on can do so by continued study and practice
in the field which they have chosen. This is not true of the
teacher. He must bid farewell to culture and genuine intellectual
pursuits, and concentrate upon the endless minutiae and
jargons which we dignify with the name of pedagogical studies.”
The result was sadly evident in the departments of education:
“The stars of the educational firmament today are too
often bright young men of neat appearance, pleasant personality
and mediocre intelligence.”

Her book was studiously ignored in education circles, where she was
personally shunned. Searching the Canadian news media of the day,
she could find almost no interest in the changes being implemented
in the schools – a couple of editorials in the Victoria Times Colonist,
a protest from one columnist in the Globe and Mail, little more—the
absence of criticism suggesting a general acquiescence with the new
methods. Canadian newspapers would have grave cause to rue this
20 or so years later when their “penetration” of the market (meaning
the percentage of the population who buy newspapers) began a
slide which has never been arrested. They resignedly blame television.
That was certainly one factor. But the other was the general illiteracy
which the new schools were engendering and which the print
media did nothing to resist. Too late, they discovered, people who
can’t read, can’t read newspapers.

Fifteen years after the Neatby book, Deweyism made its greatest
advance in Canada through an Ontario study co-chaired by Mr.
Justice Emmett Hall 4 and a former Ontario high school teacher
and Education Department consultant named Lloyd A Dennis.
The “Hall-Dennis Report,” issued in 1968, became a Canadian
beacon of Deweyite philosophy. Children are portrayed as invariably
good; punishment as invariably bad. Poor performance
by children is the fault of the system or the teacher, not the child.
Learning should never be an unpleasant or arduous experience.
Democracy should begin in the classroom. The teacher’s chief task
is to understand the child, not to convey knowledge or skills.
Exams must go, grade standing must go, punishment must go,
and the child himself should a have a considerable voice in
whether he passes or fails.

The report was thoroughly eviscerated by Dr. James Daly, an associate
professor of history at McMaster University, who in his book,
“Education or Molasses?” challenged nearly all its recommendations,
concluding that it was founded on an astonishingly naïve view
of human nature, that it evaded the central problems of teaching
morality in a pluralistic society, and encouraged rebellion against
existing authority, while offering nothing whatever to replace it.5


[4. Emmett Matthew Hall (1898-1995), one of Canada’s foremost jurists and left wing reformers, was a socialist in conservative clothing. After a youth spent on a Saskatchewan dairy farm and a long career as a Saskatchewan lawyer, he became known as an admirer of rough frontier values and the spirit of free enterprise. Opponents of medicare rejoiced in 1964 therefore when he was appointed to head an inquiry into a possible state-run health care system for Canada. To their horror, he recommended that socialist Saskatchewan’s system be extended to cover the whole country. Though certainly not without its detractors and problems, Medicare has enjoyed substantial public support in Canada ever since. Mr. Justice Hall’s infatuation with Deweyism is harder to comprehend and would hasten the educational catastrophe.]

[5. Alberta had a parallel for the Hall-Dennis Report that emerged in 1971, the year the Conservative government of Peter Lougheed took office. Written by the University of Alberta’s dean of education, Walter Holmes Worth, the “Worth Report” directed the new government’s education policy for several years until, it was said, one of Lougheed’s children brought home from high school a book on “The Future.” Examining it, Lougheed asked his son what it was. “It’s about the future,” came the reply. “We’re studying the future.” “The future?” gasped Lougheed. “You hardly know anything about the past!” Inquiring, he found the book had been chosen to help fulfill the recommendations of the Worth Report. So for the first time, he actually read this document. Concluding it was “sheer nonsense,” he ordered changes in Alberta’s education policy, and the province was soon leading the country in efforts to repair the chaos created by its venture into Deweyist education.]

Mike Balog

 2009/1/16 9:47Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield


Such negativity was, of course, dismissed as the death moans
of a dying culture. Not so easily dismissed was the system’s
inability to cope with such formidable obstacles as reading,
spelling, English grammar and mathematics. Spelling was particularly
distasteful to the Deweyite because it suggested a “right
way” (and therefore “wrong ways”) to compose a word. There
were such things, that is, as spelling “mistakes.” These, said the
Deweyites, should be either overlooked by the teacher or observed
in passing but not “judgmentally.”6 The new kind of citizen didn’t
need to bother about spelling, even if what he sometimes wrote
began to resemble gibberish.

Grammar posed a further challenge. Ostensibly, it was taught to
enable a student to write confidently. He knew the rules so well
that they became habitual. But to Dewey, a student’s confidence
should not require such a prop. Grammatical rules were part of
the past and could be ignored. The objective, remember, was to
cleanse the youthful mind of the whole concept of “rules.”

But grammar had always been taught for another reason. It was
analytical. It required the student to know whether a group of
words was or was not a sentence. It required him to break sentences
into their component parts, to detect the function of each
word, to discern how it worked with the other words to create a
rational whole, the sentence. Its function, that is, was to introduce
the process of reason. But to Dewey this kind of exercise was destructive.
It conveyed the idea that there was a valid structure, the
rational, to which acceptable human thought must conform. Irrational
thought must be rejected. In other words, reason and the
rules of reason were in fact authoritarian—to the Deweyites a very
bad thing. So the study of logic was abolished from the post-secondary
curriculum, and grammar, its introductory discipline, all
but disappeared from elementary and secondary schools.

Which left mathematics. For the Deweyites, this was an awkward
area because it was difficult to teach without allowing for the concept
of “the mistake,” or even more dastardly, “the wrong answer.” Five times-
five would equal twenty-five, however much Johnny would
prefer that it equal something else, and even the Deweyites could see
that Johnny might get into serious trouble later with his own personally
developed multiplication table. So it was finally resolved that
the child must himself “experience” the multiplication table, discovering
that when he multiplied five times five, things generally turned
out better for him if he took the answer to be twenty-five. However,
great care must be taken to assure that some other answer was not
in any sense “wrong” because “right” and “wrong” did not exist.

Beyond all these problematic areas there remained one other “subject”
7 which, unless very carefully manipulated, had within itself
the power to undermine the entire Deweyite construct. That subject
was history. Though in the past it had often been taught badly
–often limited to the laborious memorization of dates, names and
dull data–Dewey knew that history could also be taught with such
compelling effect upon the student that it would renew in his mind
all the pernicious old ideas (as Dewey saw them) that must be destroyed.
“It is possible to employ it as a kind of reservoir of anecdotes
to be drawn on to inculcate moral lessons on this virtue
or that vice,” he wrote. “But such a teaching is not so much an
ethical use of history as it is an effort to create moral impressions
by means of more or less authentic material. At best it produces
a temporary emotional glow.”

Notice the implication. It is possible to use historical films on, say,
the Nazi Holocaust to “create the moral impression” that such
things ought not to happen. Or in Canada to tell the story of Vimy Ridge
or the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway to inspire admiration for
courage or human enterprise and ingenuity. But this is “the practice of
an earlier age.” Since it “is not useful to contribute to the development of
the social intelligence,” it is pointless.

History, however, could not be simply dropped wholly from the curriculum.
Its absence would be noticed and this would have to be explained
to an audience that might not understand. So instead it was
amalgamated into “social studies” and restricted to what Dewey called
“the relevant.” Thus fragments of it could be summoned here and
there to reinforce a social cause8. But it must not be taught as a coherent
story, unfolding era by era across time, because this would confer
on it a dangerous credibility, in other words an authority. So a coherent
presentation of the history must be discouraged. Above all, History’s
uncertainties must be emphasized. Since all the existing records
were ultimately somebody’s viewpoint, biased, subjective, essentially
fictional, we can learn little from the past. That was the message.9


[6. It’s interesting to examine the way the Dewey era has changed the moral value placed on two English verbs – “to judge” and “to discriminate.” Where we once commended a man “of judgment,” we now denounce “judgmental” people. Where we once admired a “discriminating” person, we now deplore and even prosecute “discrimination.” Behind this philological change, of course, lies the Dewey doctrine that good and bad, true and false, right and wrong do not exist.]

[7. Dewey opposed the entire concept of “subjects” in education. Learning, he said, must be “a whole,” and things experienced rather than taught. “Subjects” were purely a man made and man-imposed contrivance to establish a “structure” to knowledge. But knowledge is best conveyed without structure, he said.]

[8.When I taught in a boys’ school, I remember asking an applicant student: “Who was Sir John A.Macdonald?” The boy replied, “Why, he’s the man who ordered the hanging of Louis Riel.” Did he know anything else about Macdonald, I asked. No, replied the boy, he did not. This puzzled me. Macdonald was the chief architect of the Canadian confederation, and our first prime minister, who spread the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific and largely achieved its independence from Britain. Why did the boy not know any of this, yet did know of Macdonald’s
decision to execute a convicted insurrectionist leader in the West? The boy had a ready explanation. Riel led a minority group, the Metis, he said, “and we studied minorities in social studies.”]

[9. The contention that all historical records are somebody’s “viewpoint” has been used to discredit history as a criterion of established fact. However, the contention is flawed. Here are four historical statements: 1. “Martin Luther King died. 2. “Martin Luther King was killed.” 3. “Martin Luther king was assassinated.” 4. “Martin Luther King was martyred.” The fourth may be a viewpoint; the other three are not. The contention that since the fourth is a viewpoint, they must all be mere viewpoints is irrational. The historical record, like our memory, is certainly subject to error. What we recall happening and what actually happened can differ. But we can scarcely go from there to conclude that our memory is therefore useless and we’re all no better than amnesiacs.]

Mike Balog

 2009/1/18 11:20Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield


By the early ’sixties, the first products of the new elementary
and secondary schools burst upon the universities, creating
what we know as the ’Sixties Revolution. To describe
that phenomenon is beyond the scope of this essay, but certain aspects
of it should be noted. As part of the generation responsible
for raising the ’Sixties one, I can write reminiscently. It descended
upon us like a tornado—loud, bewildering, incomprehensible, terrifying,
sometimes wantonly destructive, a veritable nightmare.

They were our children all right, but suddenly they had become
unrecognizable. Their dress was strange; they seemed to be adopting
dirt and rags as a kind of uniform. The males began to look
like the females in that their hair grew long, though it was rarely
combed, just as they had beards that they did not trim. Some
began hanging trinkets from the ears and nose, much like savages.
Their music was similarly aboriginal—all tempo and no discernible
melody, inane lyrics (inane to us, anyway) and best sung
through the nose, rather than from the throat. To be properly enjoyed,
it must vibrate the whole premises from which it originated,
and be audible at least one half block away.

The young revolutionaries placed a great emphasis upon what they
called “love.” Though the scope and meaning of the word was never
actually defined, they were sure of one thing: their parents knew nothing
about it. It apparently applied exclusively to under-empowered
social groups and underprivileged peoples whose interests they championed
aggressively. Whether they significantly furthered the wellbeing
of those groups has been debated ever since. It certainly opened
for them greater opportunities which many took advantage of. But it
also implanted a sense of entitlement, very new to the democratic
culture. That is, social advance, rather than something to be earned,
became something to be demanded and bestowed, an ominous and
costly departure from the tradition.

Wherever else “love” might be applied, it soon became evident that
the revolutionaries did not reliably extend it to what sociologists call
“interpersonal relations.” In fact, they went on to establish what is
probably the highest divorce rate of any society in human history.
To contend that Dewey sought to create a world in which people felt
no obligation to keep promises, pay their debts, tell the truth, relieve
suffering, and care for their children is, of course, unfair. He was altogether
aware that such rules were ultimately essential. But he diligently
sought to destroy the existing basis for them. Children should
be taught to do whatever serves “the community” or the public
good,” he said. But each child was to decide for himself what this
might be. In short, each was to make up his own rules, decide his own
morality, and the byword of the era became, “Do your own thing.”

This was most evident in the sphere of sexual relations. Concomitant
with the ’Sixties Revolution came the Sexual Revolution,
though its origins were as much technological as educational.
Birth control, that is, became more accessible and dependable.
Men wanted the freedom of sexual license without consequent
marital responsibility. So why should they not have it, demanded
Hugh Hefner through his Playboy magazine, which deftly conferred
high-style market acceptance on the hitherto pornographic.

The response of women was the Feminist Revolution, which presented
itself as a quest for freedom from the tyranny of the man. But
the real tyrant, as the woman well knew, was not the man, but the
child. The consequence was a startling plunge in the birthrate, accompanied
ironically by a demand for the legalization of abortion—
an irony because improved birth control should have meant fewer
unwanted pregnancies, not more, and a diminished, not greater, demand
for abortion. But the new freedom generated more unwanted
pregnancies than ever, and it was soon discovered that “love” did
not apply to unwanted babies. Though genetic science quietly affirmed
that some fifty or more physical and mental qualities of the
individual who is to become you or me are determined at the instant
of conception, this was dismissed or ignored. What mattered was
the woman’s “freedom to choose,” nothing else, and Canada went
on to adopt the world’s most unrestricted access to abortion.

But “love” very much did apply to those who practiced what had
previously been deemed the unacceptable. Over a seventy-year
period, such things as adultery, sodomy and extra-marital sex advanced
from the status of criminal conduct in some jurisdictions
to become first legal, then acceptable, then even admirable—so
admirable that to question almost any sexual practice was
deemed an outrageous bigotry.10

Just as “love” was all-important, so too was “peace.” Peace must at
all costs be preserved. This could be done, as one un-emancipated
commentator had dryly observed, “by scoffing at generals and reading
newspapers.” By the ’Sixties, peace was to be safeguarded by
holding marches and public demonstrations and by learning to
appreciate the virtues of slave states like Soviet Russia and Communist
China. In the great test of the era, Viet-Nam, the ’Sixties
Generation distinguished itself by losing the only war the United
States had lost in its two-hundred-year history.

Though its assumptions were by now becoming embedded in the
culture, the exhibitionist manifestations of the revolution came to
an abrupt end on a fixed date. On May 4, 1970, during a protest
rally at Kent State University, the Ohio National Guard opened
fire on a student crowd. Four were killed and nine wounded.
There was, of course, universal outrage, but it’s notable that thereafter
protest marches and rallies rapidly declined and soon disappeared.
It was no longer fun. It was dangerous.11


[10. A “scientific” basis for the Sexual Revolution was furnished by Dr. Alfred Kinsey of the University of Chicago in two “studies” — [i]Sexual Behavior in the Human Male[/i] (1948) and [i]Sexual Behavior in the Human Female[/i] (1953). Kinsey was neither a psychologist nor a physician, but an entomologist. His field of study had been bugs. His reports, however, purporting to describe the bizarre sexual behaviour of average Americans, both shocked and intrigued a nation, astonished to discover that this must be the way the folks next door carry on, (though they certainly didn’t themselves). The print media, whose gullibility for anything
claiming “scientific credentials” was then (and still is) monumental, swallowed both reports whole, and from that point assured the world Kinsey had disclosed what routinely transpired in the bedrooms of America. It was later discovered, however, that Kinsey’s study of the sex lives of Americans was based on interviews with homosexuals, prison inmates, prostitutes, paedophiles, and those who eagerly discussed their sexual predilections with total strangers. Since these could hardly be called typical, the Kinsey reports were plainly frauds, but two
generations of Canadians and Americans had been taken in by them.]

[11. Thomas Carlyle in his history of the French Revolution tells how the Paris mobs, uncontrollable for years, were sharply and permanently subdued by a young French officer who turned the cannon on them and gave them what he called “a whiff of grapeshot.” The whole revolution, says Carlyle was at that instant “blown into space by it, and become a thing that was!” The Kent State incident had the same effect. The young officer’s name was Napoleon Bonaparte.]

Mike Balog

 2009/1/18 20:44Profile

Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA


Anybody else reading these?

I have learned a lot from history, or at least from my attempt to find it, over the last few years. Many perspectives have been neglected, while others have been simultaneously over emphasized. I sometimes think all we can ever really hope to gain is a fragmented section of the big picture. Plug in "Deweyism" and the picture definitely gets clearer.

Thanks for posting this Mike.


 2009/1/18 21:13Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield

Hi TJ,

I was quite taken with it, it really threw me that there was something more to this than what I might have thought was just more of a natural drift ... Remarkable that it actually had some very serious intentionality to it.

The byproducts are certainly without argument.

Mike Balog

 2009/1/18 21:25Profile

Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA

 Re: Why History Matters ~ Ted Byfield

I also kinda’ just chalked it all up to the inevitable “downfall of civilization”. After having read this, and a few other articles, I’m beginning to think the word “orchestrated” applies. I know God has a plan but sometimes I forget that the devil does too. It’s times like these I realize he has made advances in his agenda as well.

Thank God for the Bible (the only book we truly need), we know who wins.

I am currently taking a couple Christian history classes at the ole university. One of the professors has really been pushing us to let go of our presumptions and realize how our extremely limited perspectives have skewed us…along with the authors themselves. There are countless perspectives that contain valid information, many of which have never been told…or have been neglected to death. The more I read about a particular group or person, look at the sources and take context into consideration, the more I realize how very little we really know.


 2009/1/18 21:57Profile

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