Our Threatened Freedom

Is Education For Or Against Barbarism? (04:25)

R.J. Rushdoony


R.J. Rushdoony: 00:02 Here’s education for or against barbarism. This is R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom. The key reporter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society recently carried an interesting article by Edgar F. Shannon, Jr, Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia. The subject of Shannon’s study is, “Education: The Leaven of American Life.”

R.J. Rushdoony: 00:29 Professor Shannon has some good things to say, some very needed emphases on quality in education. Essentially, Shannon wants a restoration of character and emphasis of the liberal arts curriculum and the humanities. However, one sentence in Shannon’s address stands out because it summarizes a common opinion. He states, “Education is what raises a society from barbarism to civilization.” Is this true? More than a few men have called attention to the role of education in creating the new barbarism of Mussolini’s fascism, Hitler’s Nazism and Russian Marxism.

R.J. Rushdoony: 01:14 Instead of raising these societies out of barbarism, education has been used to create it. Education, obviously, can be put to a variety of uses. Just as some drugs can heal us and others kill us, so too education can be constructive or destructive in a society, depending on who controls it. And what the nature of the educational curriculum is. One interesting fact, which may be a coincidence but again it may be a causal factor is that federal entrance into education has seen a decline of quality go with it. During the 1950s and the early 1960s, academic achievement tests were showing a steady improvement. In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed by Congress. We now have a Department of Education on the federal level.

R.J. Rushdoony: 02:18 Since 1965, scores on scholastic aptitude tests, and other tests, have fallen. Federal involvement in education would appear to be costly of two things. First, of quality and achievement in schools, and second of money. We are paying more and more taxes to get less and less educational results. More over, education is not necessarily what raises a society from barbarism to civilization. Some of my teacher friends have some distressing horror stories to tell of the rule of the new barbarism in our state schools. One able teacher told me that nowadays, the restraints are mainly on the teachers, not on the pupils.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:10 Furthermore, education is essentially a religious discipline. It is the communication of the values, learning and achievements of a culture to its children. We are obviously not communicating sound moral values. Same is true of learning. Test scores dropping, even with lower testing standards. Learning has been sacrificed. Certainly we are not teaching any knowledge or respect for the achievements of our American society and culture. Ideally, education should be good and constructive. Practically, it can be like a wife or husband, a marvelous joy of good and a living nightmare if bad.

R.J. Rushdoony: 03:58 What we need to advance our society is not simply education as such, but good education. Strong in communicating moral values, learning and a respect for the achievements of our civilization. A good education is important to freedom, and a bad education destructive of it. This has been R.J. Rushdoony with a report on our threatened freedom.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

Learn more about R.J. Rushdoony by visiting: https://chalcedon.edu/founder