tv Family Research Council Hosts Discussion on Teaching Western Civilization CSPAN November 28, 2016 8:02am-9:25am EST
the american thanksgiving story is now m taught. it is often presented as thanking the indians. it is thanking god. the story gets twisted in a lot of ways but when george washington gave us the first thanksgiving day, it was not to thank the wakanoa transitions. it was to thank god. i have spoken mostly here as an
anthropologist and head of a secular organization devoted to reforming higher education. let me speak at the end as a christian. i give thanks to god for his enter no entering into human history. western civilization was here before christian took root. we have the great fusion of gospel revelation and classical eye deals. the old pagan order gave way to something better. christian europe was not always the epitome of christian virtue, far from it but we now know that we can deal with that indelible stain. i suggested at the beginning of this talk there are complicated mixtures in the history between decline and progress but the christian world view that enters into civilization is that history does have a destination, a restoration of divine order.
most christians don't expect that any time soon. we do look upon history as a meaningful expression of god's sovereignty. in western civilization, for all its dark episodes and doubtful dissents are to be seen as carrying forward god's pro providential plan, tharnk you. >> chris, do you have a few words? >> i want to thank all of you for coming here. we are about to wrap it up. i am told we can have a little question and answer session. a knew thing we are doing, we have sort of a facebook page where folks can watch some of that. with that, i think we will conclude. i want to thank the three of you for these very interesting, kind of presentation people will watch over and over again. i want to thank all of you for traveling here and letting us
anglo-american history is a small government tradition. it is a tradition that is very suspicious of concentrated power and political authority. obviously, hamilton had a somewhat more, marginally more benign view of it than jefferson did but compared to virtually everyone today, they both felt the government had to be controlled. there is a long tradition of thought and courage in standing up for that. i recent pli came across a story of civic courage. it is worth remembering. in 1670 in england, william penn was tried for preaching publicly without a license. he was a quaker. he was arrested. he was brought before a
ferociously biased court, a court that wanted to convict him and a colleague that was also arrested at the same time, a guy named william immediate. after a kind of kangaroo trial, the jury was sent out to deliberate. they came back and acquitted penn's friend, convicted penn but not of the really serious charge, which was preaching to a tumultuous assembly. the judge was tremendously furious and sent them back to deliberate overnight without food, water or chamber pot. they came back the next morning, same verdict. this time, he swore at them and the mayor of london was present in the court and looked at the foreman and told him he was going to cut his throat. so the jury was sent up for a second night without food, water or chamber pot and when they returned on the third day, they
acquitted both. and both penn was none theless not released. he was sent back to prison for contempt. the jury was locked up. the jury was told they would not be freed until they paid a hu humungous fine. the higher court ruled. it is well remembered, bushel's case. sir john vaughn ruled that a jury cannot be coerced. that each jury can make an independent decision. looking around today as how our public officials behave. when they are afraid that someone might do something to them, people much more responsible than a simple juror and looking at the courage that these jurors showed, shows what's needed ultimately to
protect both the hamiltonian and the jeffersonian. what i most worry about, not so much, because that's certainly important, the loss of our knowledge but the loss of our courage. we need that ability. they say speak truth to power. i worry greatly about that. >> we do have a microphone. so we have solved our technological issues. this is sort of kind of a question that we're sort of interested in here. this practical level of politics. at state level, for example, you work at texas tech, could the state legislatures that are now sort of dominated by more conservative elements of government, across the country as we have seen in these ways of elections, could they tell public universities to have
western civilization courses or would that work? these are all creatures. >> there is a bit of legislation that back in 2008, the nas was successful in getting inserted into the higher education act. it is unfunded right now as other programs are. we got to a certain stature and language. i am not generally a proponent of government. sometimes i think they could redress the balance. in this case, the legislation would allow funding for, expressly for programs having to do with western civ. >> the states could do that. i am hoping the feds might be able to that this time around. >> i'm a little less optimistic. the president's box at penn state will hold 300 people. why are they there? to be lobbied and to be brought too enjoy the game and to behave. most of these state legislators
are in hock to the football teams of the public universities and their states and they are not willing to attack them and bring offense upon themselves. >> well, so it is well understood by thaefsh the left really has a revolutionary left has a stranglehold on our education in this country and has for decades. how can that be solved? >> just starting a course or two, it is more than that. 99% of the faculty, we know where they stand. how can that be reversed? that's really the core problem, i think. >> first of all, patience is required, because we have a tenure system and careers devoted to this and graduate education has insured that people who are now finishing ph.d.s in history, some 85% have specializations in race, class, and gender.
they are hopeless. they are not going to be teaching western civilization or they will do as we have been currently working on a project in colorado and wyoming. the state of wyoming requires every student in a public university to take a course in civics. the university lives up to that. it offers a course in civics but it is taught by people who openly derive to undercut it. any time you use public universities to mandate teaching american history, civics, western civilization, it will be subverted by the current faculty. the answer to this is surely that we need to create an alternative path to the profession of teaching. the profession of teaching both in public schools and in our universities whereby we can find people who know the subject and can teach it reasonably well. when i was provost of the kings college, i did that by scouring
the world outside the united states for scholars that knew the subjects. they are out there. they can be found. we're really talking about a kind of deep structural reform and higher education that will take at least a generation, probably longer. >> piggybacking on that question, i know there are a lot of schools, private schools starting that are classically, with classical education. this is for middle school and for secondary school. also in colleges, there are also colleges that focus on a classical curriculum. those are far and few in between. could you talk about, is it effective to teach children that young and then when they get to college and it's an environment that's very liberal and very much against it, can they stand against it? does it help to start that early?
>> i believe that it does. i any that wherever you can reach young people at any age to begin to teach them about the history of the west is a good thing. people in second great can learn about the trojan wars and have some idea of what's there. does this stick with every student through the years of college when they will be subjected to relentless prejudice against the west, against the united states. for some, it sticks. for some, it doesn't. the number of colleges that actually have some fairly well conceived program that is friendly to the west is not negligible. some of them are small religious colleges. others are larger religious colleges. villanova, ava maria, northeast catholic college. there are enough of these things
around that if a student graduate frs a classics from a academy and is willing to setting for something other than the ivy league and the top 100 liberal arts college, there are place toss go and get an education that is not antagonistic to our basic traditions. >> in regards to the declining number of these classes and universities at lower levels and also as change in content, i know you mentioned then the people's history of the united states, that was my text book in high school, is there a risk that even if we do start having more western civilization classes but based off more biased and inaccurate sources, could that be more of a problem or is it more important to make sure we have the courses an then move on to the content matter? >> i don't think there is much
to be said for trying to teach american history through the lens of howard zin. it's possible there will be some readers like you who will get a sense of zin as propaganda and turn in another direction. many students will just take it for face value. it is a terrible face value. would i say clearly to teach western civilization, american history related subjects well, we need good textbooks. there are problems that i didn't get to because of the brevity of time here. we've had this shift in public education in the country during the years of common core where history itself was radically demoted. in addition to that, the head or the creator of the common core went on to become the president
of the college board, david coleman, with the promise he would line the asp and the sat courses with common core. we have an ap, u.s. history exam, which is, one of the most popular tests in the country. about half a million students take the apus history course and the resulting exam. for the great majority of them, that's the last time they will ever systematically study american history. that's when the a.p. u.s. hisvy in its new common cora lined format, the kind of stuff we are talking about, vierulent anti-american. it prizes race/class gender.
there is no mention in its 120 page outline of madison. chief little turtle is there and $10 if you can tell me who chief little turtle is. this transformation of american higher education in the direction of deploring america for its basic sins of slavery, sexism, racism, colonialism, is so thoroughly fused with k-12 education, by the time students reach college, it is take foreign granted that america is a terrible, terrible place. our task is to repent, to find some path of that glorious path of becoming a citizen of the
world and suggesting us to whatever path the u.n. says is ethical. >> when i was a graduate student at stanford, we were at the jesse jackson parade that said, who w ho ho, hey hey, the western civilization has to go. >> did you know the stanford students this last year formed a group to bring western civilization back to the curriculum. we helped them with that but they lost. >> we'll keep trying. >> maybe there is hope even for stanford. are there any other questions? >> chris, in terms of hope, i don't think you can look at this in a static -- look at the situation as static to address the gentleman's question. one of the things we have to fight against is despair and loss of hope. what we have really is a changing way by which education can be delivered.
new technologies such as c-span and the internet and online courses unable us to offer two years of college for under $1,000. the only thing stopping us from making that accepted are the regulations of the department of education and the accreditation standards. these are the people who are driving the cost of a college education to levels that most americans cannot afford. how many will that go on? i don't think very on. i have a new book coming out next month called "the coming death of american higher education." i any think it will be overturny the revolt of the education consumers that are overwhelmed by the high cost of education. why would you subject yourself or your children to this type of abuse? >> it is pretty junky stuff. why pay $40,000 a year to go into massive debt for this, if
you have any common sense. a lot of people are going off to going around this process. >> i think the extent o which market forces are allowed free or play, the better off we will be in terms of the product delivered. >> one of the things i think is true, this is what we talked about in 2011 here at lecture, you just can't continue this sort of debt structure. one of the things that never gets talked about is the massive redistribution of wealth that's taken place, these academics who sort of have one or two classes. it is an enormous amount of money. if you think about how it is sort of locknd aed in and all t competitive forces are locked out, it is sort of a monopoly chokehold in a gross economic sense. their livelihoods and if you
come in with an online course necessary going for $1,000 or $2000 a semester as opposed to $30,000 -- this may be the vehicle for great change. >> there we go. >> yes. doctor, a quick question about the phrase looking into someone else's playbook. in a sense that russia and china were not included in the illustration of the world map that shows them as being part of the western society, would it obviously make sense to look into our playbook and learn how we do things? would they be just as likely to teach a course and allow people to be educated on western civil zation to understand how americans operate as they go to a more adversarial relationship with the demilitarized zone. they have to understand their
enemies better, right? >> i haven't looked into it. i would only guess. there may well be more serious and appreciative study of the west in the far east than there is now here at home. some countries have really made themselves over, not recent f phenomena but the japanese and koreans, these countries are in many ways highly westernized. li quan yu, was originally harley li and described by somebody as the great ish englishman east of suez before he assumed his role as the head of singapore. he knew his western civilization. >> a fantastic question. anyone else? well, i think with just one more time i would like to give a
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