by ProfDave, ©2021

(Apr. 27, 2021) — A Charles Colson’s commentary in 2009 cited “a report by a Harvard faculty committee, which read, ‘The aim of a liberal education . . . is to unsettle presumptions, to defamiliarize the familiar . . . [and] to disorient young people and to help them to find ways to reorient themselves . . .’”

“The report helps us understand why higher education has been corrupted, and why we are producing a generation of barbarians.”

“. . . This is precisely the worldview that has brought us to the economic crisis we face today. People of all stripes—bankers, bureaucrats, and John and Jane Q. Public—all cast off those stuffy old virtues like thrift, avoiding debt, delaying gratification, and they “reoriented” themselves and all of us into a global recession.

“Whoever said worldview doesn’t matter?”  I find this still relevant twelve years later.

Just a word about partisanship – in the American context.  The time was when Republican was just Democrat spelled differently.  Southern Democrats were conservative and some northern Republicans were liberal.  Divisions were based on the Civil War and its aftermath.  Philosophically and ideologically there was no difference.  Partisanship meant voting the party candidates and proposals regardless of their merits.  However, since the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, the old Civil War – and even the Cold War – allegiances have been broken up and more ideological values and philosophies of government have taken their place.  Conflicts between Republican and Democrat these days, on the national level at least, are a lot more ideological than partisan.  Republicans are a lot more conservative as a body and Democrats are a lot more liberal.  There is a civil war of social values going on out there.

We have to have two wings to fly.  If it wasn’t for liberals we would never have invented the wheel.  If it wasn’t for conservatives we would have to reinvent it every generation.  Liberals imagine; conservatives remember.  Liberals have a bias towards wishful thinking, conservatives have a bias towards the way things really are.  The whole idea of natural law is that there is something in the nature of reality that, right or wrong, will assert itself – and you might as well go along with it.  Liberals don’t believe in natural law unless it happens to agree with them.  Liberals think that if only the government (their government, of course) had a little more power, it could save us all from destruction.  Conservatives remember that most powerful governments, liberal and conservative, were corrupted by their own power and wound up destroying their own people.  What are we about to reinvent?

But by disregarding history, you can imagine anything at all!  Columnist Star Parker gave a good conclusion:  “There is a well-known quote from a less well-known philosopher — George Santayana — that those who don’t remember history will repeat it.  [I thought it was Lord Acton, but no matter]  The failure of communism and socialism is not that far behind us. Yet Americans cannot seem to recall that it happened — and why it happened.  What characterizes these systems? Government control.  Central planning.  And Godlessness.”  Hmmh.

So what’s the pearl?  Typo.  Sorry!  But wouldn’t it make a great title for a dime store mystery or a VeggieTales episode?

David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College.  He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota.  He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020).  He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.

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