Play It Again, Chris. . .
Last Friday night (November 19) on CNBC's "Hardball" Chris Matthews recalled his visit ten years ago to the Berlin Wall the second weekend it was opened, soon to be torn down altogether.
He showed and commented upon the unforgettable scene - thousands upon thousands streaming through the opening, taking their first breath of fresh Western air and lining up for free biscuits off a bakery truck. "But," said Mr. Matthews, "the greatest deficiency of the fast-dying communist order was not biscuits but the Truth..."
"This is freedom", a young student said to Chris on the Eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate, "this standing in an open space arguing openly about such things as democracy, capitalism and socialism. Four weeks ago we couldn't have done it."
Added Mr. Matthews: "Not free to speak all those post-World-War-II years, East Germans were also not free to learn."
Can we, in America today, argue openly about socialism?
Are American children free to learn?
As to the latter, it depends on where they go to school. In what is called the public school system, they are not. The traditional curriculum of knowledge has been replaced by political conditioning, combined with outright disinformation. Parents, in steadily increasing numbers, are horrified to learn what their children are fed daily by persons still called teachers, even though they are now trained to be political activists.
And thus, the education debate is not about funding. It is not about class size. It is not about computer equipment. It is not even about vouchers.
The education debate is about the freedom to learn.
The National Education Association is committed to monopoly control of young people's minds; the current occupants of the White House - both the president and the first lady - share that commitment.
That commitment has nothing to do with the quality of education, but everything to do with state monopoly of education. Those who wish to control the information imparted to our children, those who wish to perpetuate the group divisions in our society are threatened by alternative sources of education - private, parochial or home schooling - not unlike East Germany's leaders were by freedom in West Germany. The advocates of exclusively state-controlled education - first articulated as Objective No.10 in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto - are building something of a Berlin Wall around it, using money and slogans in place of concrete blocks and barbed wire.
In order to discuss education properly, the nation would have to embark on a public debate about socialism - the subject of the first question posed above. The idea of a state monopoly in education is a socialist concept. So are positions taken on countless issues by our politicians every day. Some do so knowingly. Others, perhaps the majority, do not.
And that is why it would be vital for America's future to discuss socialism calmly in terms of a political philosophy offered as the contrast, the alternative, the answer to Anglo-Scottish-American concepts of liberty, rule of law, and free enterprise. Socialism needs to be discussed as the theory which holds that a self-governing society of individuals, restrained only by a common morality, the rule of law, and contracts will necessarily produce selfish, greedy parasites on the one hand, and the hapless helpless on the other. Socialism needs to be discussed as the proposition that only a people schooled in socialist thought and controlled by a network of rulers can create and maintain the precarious balance between irreconcilably hostile segments of society.
Because, pursuant to that proposition, our children are taught socialism disguised as "concern for the environment." They are taught socialism disguised as "justice for women and minorities." They are taught socialism disguised as "working for one world."
Yet anyone proposing to discuss socialism under its proper name, and as the political philosophy opposite America's founding principles, is instantly tarred and feathered. The specter of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the blacklisting of some of America's communists is invoked, the speaker is ridiculed, laughed out of court at best.
Where is the academic, where is the network anchor who would chime in with Chris Matthews when he refers to "the dreaded Stalin-Hitler pact [of 1939] that made World War II possible"? Where is the academic, where is the network anchor who, like Chris Matthews, would remind us that Soviet-controlled East Germany denied altogether the extermination of Jews?
Play it again, Chris. This time, for America. Make it a regular feature of your show to explore the ominous parallels, the reinvented histories, the assault on America's soul. The Wall collapsed because there was an America whose irresistible example proved an even stronger force than its valiant armies and fearless president. The Wall collapsed because Truth had an assured place of survival, beyond the reach of false prophets and the tyrants they breed.
But there will not be that place called America, last best hope of mankind, if our young continue to grow up deprived of its true history, its goodness, its incomparable significance for all the world. According to the Associated Press, a mere twenty-six per cent of high-school seniors have passing knowledge of our unique system of government. Perhaps even they lack true comprehension of the phenomenal inspiration of America's founders, the creativity and industry of those who followed, the generations who have come here to become American - free, successful, good, prosperous.
"The captive Germans and East Europeans," you said the other night, "ten years ago won back their knowledge of the past, and with it a say in their future."
Won't you help us do as much for America?