How did learn of the deception? I began reading what people call the classics and historic works. When we study history, many of these great works serve as primary source documents for historians. Therefore, I have listed a small number of historic documents in Citizen Library.
- If we want to know why the American colonists fought so long and so hard during the American Revolution, then we must read The American Crisis and Common Sense.
- If we want to understand the reason why Americans fought each tooth and nail in that bloodbath we call “civil” war, we must read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Lincoln – Douglas Debates.
- If we want to understand the beliefs of men long dead, then we must read the stories they loved, stories such as The Epic of Gilgamesh and The Iliad and The Odyssey.
- If we want to know what the American colonists believed, then we must read the books they treasured, the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) of The Holy Bible and The Pilgrim’s Progress.
What led me to read so many seeming long and sometimes difficult works? My long commute to work was driving me batty; I needed a distraction. So I decided to listen to classic works I would otherwise never read. Because my wife and daughters are Christians, the Bible was at the top of my list.
I have since read the Bible several times by listening to it, and I have read many other far less significant historic works. I have learned there is a crucial difference between reading about history and reading historic documents.
Consider the Bible. Will what someone else says about the Bible be true to that work? Is reading what someone else has said about the Bible the same as reading it for ourselves? No and no.
Pick your favorite dessert. How could you ever describe the taste? You cannot. That’s why we are always willing to share a small sample of our pleasure with someone we love. We have no other way to share our pleasure except to help them taste it for themselves.
The same that is true of the Bible is true of any other historic work. Unless we study the great historic work of history for ourselves, instead of being informed we risk being propagandized. Instead of learning what historic men and women had to say, politicians will tell us what they want us to believe.
Why is it important to learn the truth? What is wrong with being propagandized? In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith spoke of our desire both to be respectable and to be respected. He spoke of a choosing between two roads.
We desire both to be respectable and to be respected. We dread both to be contemptible and to be contemned. But, upon coming into the world, we soon find that wisdom and virtue are by no means the sole objects of respect; nor vice and folly, of contempt. We frequently see the respectful attentions of the world more strongly directed towards the rich and the great, than towards the wise and the virtuous. We see frequently the vices and follies of the powerful much less despised than the poverty and weakness of the innocent. To deserve, to acquire, and to enjoy the respect and admiration of mankind, are the great objects of ambition and emulation. Two different roads are presented to us, equally leading to the attainment of this so much desired object; the one, by the study of wisdom and the practice of virtue; the other, by the acquisition of wealth and greatness. Two different characters are presented to our emulation; the one, of proud ambition and ostentatious avidity. the other, of humble modesty and equitable justice. Two different models, two different pictures, are held out to us, according to which we may fashion our own character and behaviour; the one more gaudy and glittering in its colouring; the other more correct and more exquisitely beautiful in its outline: the one forcing itself upon the notice of every wandering eye; the other, attracting the attention of scarce any body but the most studious and careful observer. They are the wise and the virtuous chiefly, a select, though, I am afraid, but a small party, who are the real and steady admirers of wisdom and virtue. The great mob of mankind are the admirers and worshippers, and, what may seem more extraordinary, most frequently the disinterested admirers and worshippers, of wealth and greatness. (from here)
If we want our children to be both truly respectable and to truly respected, they must study wisdom and the practice of virtue. Yet the public school system is a secular institution. When proper wisdom is Godly wisdom, we have little reason to hope our children will be taught Godly wisdom in the public school system.
Because the study of wisdom and the practice of virtue must be based upon the Truth, the study of wisdom and the practice of virtue is therefore highly controversial. As Pontius Pilate said: “What is Truth?” (John 18:38). Then he had the Truth crucified. Thus, to avoid controversy, the public school system focuses our children’s minds on the acquisition of wealth and greatness.