In the post-war period, with truth struggling but always lurking in the background (facts are hard things to kill) – due to the presence of a few, but significant, uncompromised sources of information, the New Deal intelligentsia had to make allowances for change to their strategy for achieving and maintaining power. It is here that the brilliance of the radical Saul Alinsky’s approach to political control shines forth.
Radicals realized long ago that if the message cannot be controlled through propaganda on a massive and comprehensive scale and if the messenger cannot be adequately lionized, the control of information must shift focus from the transmitter – the writer and/or speaker – to the receiver – the listener and/or the reader.
Indoctrination, rather than education, must patch the hole in the progressive/liberal dike. And what better way to indoctrinate impressionable young minds and attack the second element of lost faith than – public education.
The intelligentsia have been working on this issue for decades – since the former New Dealers and their socialist (if not communist) sympathizers moved onto college campuses in the 1950s. Now, for all of you “conspiracy theorists” out there, this was NOT a planned, organized or coordinated effort but rather an historic and fortunate (unfortunate) confluence of like-minded, socialist leaning, pseudo-intellectual dropouts, disillusioned academics and New Dealer – Constitution-as-nuisance – flacks intent on exploiting their opportunism on a grand scale – appealing to man’s baser instincts, not our “better angels” – encouraging a tyranny of NO expectations rather than the tranquility of a citizenry with boundless expectations of their own.
They had nowhere else to go after a thoroughly irritated and anti-Soviet President Harry Truman – who had been kept in the dark about virtually every Roosevelt administration initiative and operation by the New Dealers, including the Manhattan Project that had produced the atomic bomb, who had advised him poorly about Josef Stalin at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, who wrote him off in the election of 1948 – and then, even worse, a Republican – former General-of-the-Army Dwight David Eisenhower – ascended to power in January 1953.
These sociological malcontents were the theoreticians of the New Deal, the detritus of that failed social experiment, now peddling their extra-Constitutional theories about how a government, society and the economy should work – the same people who had presided over the failed recovery from the Great Depression for most of the decade of the 1930s, attempted scores of theoretical socialist and coercive solutions which, if they didn’t work – period – were more than likely to have been found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court – including their attempt to pack the Court with four additional Roosevelt appointees – and then actually precipitated a second stock market crash in 1937!
In the classrooms, coffeehouses and other collegial settings at such prestigious and elite universities as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Princeton, Penn, Duke, Chicago, Cal Berkeley and others – like their sister colleges (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mills, Mount Holyoke, Radcliff, Smith, Vassar and Wellesley) – whose graduates gravitate toward education more than men do, they indoctrinated the future leaders in government and, most importantly, the education establishment, leading to the creation of the most influential new institution in our society – the public sector financed national teachers’ unions (AFT, NEA and state equivalents). As enough of their acolytes entered the society, academic-indoctrination mutated to political-correctness in the public square.
Accepting authoritarian governments featuring truly reprehensible practices without question or challenge was nothing new to the elite universities. For example:
“The Harvard University administration during the 1930s, led by President James Conant, ignored numerous opportunities to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime and the anti-Semitic outrages it perpetrated, and (actually) contributed to Nazi Germany’s efforts to improve its image in the West.
The administration’s lack of concern about Nazi anti-Semitism was shared by many influential Harvard alumni and students. A faculty panel that supervised a mock trial of Hitler in 1934 ruled that Hitler’s anti-Jewish actions were “irrelevant” to the debate.
Nazi leaders were warmly welcomed to the Harvard campus and invited to prestigious social events, as the Harvard administration strove to build friendly relations with thoroughly Nazified universities in Germany. By doing so, Harvard’s administration and many of its student leaders offered important encouragement to the Hitler regime as it intensified its persecution of the Jews and strengthened its armed forces.
Prominent Harvard alumni, student leaders, and some faculty assumed a major role in the friendly welcome accorded the Nazi warship Karlsruhe when it visited Boston in 1934, flying the swastika flag. Boston’s Jewish community protested vociferously. President James Bryant Conant remained silent. Officers and crewmen from the warship were entertained at Harvard, and professors attended a gala reception in Boston where the warship’s captain enthusiastically praised Hitler.
That year, the Harvard administration welcomed a top Nazi official and Harvard graduate, Ernst Hanfstaengl, who was Hitler’s foreign press chief as well as a virulent anti-Semite, to the campus for his 25th class reunion. The student newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, editorialized that the university should award Hanfstaengl an honorary degree “as a mark of honor appropriate to his high position in the government of a friendly country.”
Hanfstaengl had become so fascinated by Hitler that he became one of his most intimate followers, although he did not formally join the Nazi Party until 1931. “What Hitler was able to do to a crowd in 2½ hours will never be repeated in 10,000 years,” Hanfstaengl said. “Because of his miraculous throat construction, he was able to create a rhapsody of hysteria. In time, he became the living unknown soldier of Germany.”
Hanfstaengl introduced himself to Hitler after the speech and began a close friendship and political association that would last through the 1920s and early 1930s. After participating in the failed Beer Hall Putch in 1923, Hanfstaengl briefly fled to Austria, while the injured Hitler sought refuge in Hanfstaengl’s home in Uffing, outside of Munich. Hanfstangl’s wife, Helene, allegedly dissuaded Hitler from committing suicide, when the police came to arrest him and again while he was in prison, at Ernst’s insistence. [What a missed opportunity!]
For much of the 1920s, Hanfstaengl introduced Hitler to Munich high-society and helped polish his image. He also helped to finance the publication of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and the NSDAP‘s official newspaper, the Volkischer Beobachter. Hitler was the godfather of Hanfstaengl’s son Egon.
Hanfstaengl wrote both Brownshirt and Hitler Youth marches patterned after Harvard football songs that he had composed and, he later claimed, devised the chant “Seig Heil”. Fluent in English, with many connections to higher society both in Britain and the United States, he became head of the Foreign Press Bureau in Berlin. Aside from this official position, much of his influence was due to his friendship with Hitler, who enjoyed listening to “Putzi” play the piano.
As the Nazis consolidated their power, several disputes arose between Hanfstaengls and Germany’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbles. Hanfstaengls was removed from Hitler’s staff in 1933. He and Helene divorced in 1936. Hanfstaengls fell completely out of Hitler’s favor after he was denounced by Unity Mitford, a close friend of both of the Hanfstaengls and Hitler.
In 1937, Hanfstaengl received orders to parachute into an area held by the nationalistside of the Spanish Civil War to assist in negotiations. While on board the plane he feared a plot on his life and learned more details from the pilot about the mission, who eventually admitted he had been ordered to drop Hanfstaengl over republican-held territory, which would have meant almost certain death. The pilot eventually landed on a small airfield after claiming an engine malfunction following a brief talk with Hanfstaengl, which allowed him the opportunity to escape.
The joyous reception Hanfstaengl received on campus was interrupted when a local rabbi confronted him and demanded to know what Hanfstaengl had meant when he recently remarked that “everything would soon be settled for the Jews in Germany.” The rabbi cried out, “My people want to know . . . does it mean extermination?” Hanfstaengl replied that he “[could] not discuss that. I am on vacation. I am with my old friends.” The Nazi official proceeded to President Conant’s house for tea.
Anti-Nazi activists opposed Hanfstaengl’s visit. Some put up posters in Harvard Yard, only to have the Harvard police tear them down. Others held a rally in Harvard Square. Seven demonstrators who tried to speak at the rally were arrested, and sentenced to six months at hard labor. Conant called the demonstration ‘very ridiculous.’” Many Harvard graduates exposed to these reprehensible sentiments went on to occupy important positions in Democrat administrations in the following decades – with some direct descendants still in government today.
Harvard has never apologized for its support for the Nazis as they rearmed for wars of conquest.
Of course, the true-believers in the goodness of the all-powerful state had to make an important philosophical decision. Knowing that they lived in an America created in the likeness of the monotheistic God-centered Judeo-Christian ethic and knowing that they could not serve two masters, one would have to be sacrificed – either God or mammon. The atheistic Soviets had shown them the way – so it was determined that God would be deleted from the public square. The God of faith was replaced by the three-headed secular god of moral relativism, secular humanism and situational ethics – hypocrisies all.
From widely available sources:
“Moral relativism is more easily understood in comparison to moral absolutism. Absolutism claims that morality relies on universal principles (natural law, conscience, etc.). Judeo-Christians believe that God, the Creator, is the ultimate source of our common morality, and that it is, therefore, as unchanging as God is. Moral relativism asserts that morality is not based on any absolute standard. Rather, moral “truths” depend on variables such as the situation, culture, one’s feelings, etc.
There is a logic[al] contradiction inherent in a discussion of moral “truths” because they all propose the “right” moral scheme – the one we all ought to follow. But this is itself absolutism – and therefore anathema to relativists. Second, even so-called relativists reject relativism in most cases. For example, they certainly [hopefully] would not say that a murderer or rapist is free from guilt so long as he did not violate his own standards.
Relativists may argue that different values among different cultures show that morals are relative to different people. But this argument confuses the actions of individuals (what they do) with absolute standards (whether or not they should do it). If culture determines right and wrong, how could we have judged the Nazis? After all, they were only following their culture’s morality. Only if murder is considered universally wrong were the Nazis wrong. The fact that they had “their morality” does not change that.
Some claim that changing situations make for changing morality – in different situations different acts are called for that might not be right in other situations. But there are three things by which we must judge an act: the situation, the action and the intention. For example, we can convict someone of attempted murder (intent) even if they fail (action). Situations are part of the moral decision, for they set the context for choosing the specific moral act.
The main argument relativists appeal to is that of tolerance. They claim that telling someone their morality is wrong is intolerant, and relativism tolerates all views. Should we tolerate a rapist’s view that women are objects of gratification to be abused? Evil should never be tolerated. It is also self-defeating because relativists do not tolerate intolerance or absolutism. Finally, relativism cannot explain why anyone should be tolerant of immorality in the first place.
The very fact that we should tolerate people (even when we disagree) is based on the absolute moral rule that we should always treat people fairly – but that is absolutism again! In fact, without universal moral principles there can be no goodness.
The fact is that all people are born with a conscience, and, if we are of sound mind, we all instinctively know when we have been wronged or when we have wronged others. We act as though we expect others to recognize this as well. Even as children we knew the difference between “fair” and “unfair.” It takes bad philosophy to convince us that we are wrong and that moral relativism is true.”
On the other hand, situational ethics excludes most universal moral truths. By doing this it seems to remove any possibility of guaranteeing universal human rights, and satisfying human needs for a useful ethical framework for human behavior. [Yet, most of those practicing situational ethics also demand universal human rights. The contradiction is, apparently, lost.]
Situation ethics seems to be little more than a form of “act-consequentialism”, in that a person can only choose the right thing to do if they consider all the consequences of their possible action – a virtual impossibility – and all the people who may be affected.
Situation ethics produces a lack of consistency from one situation to the next. It may be both easier, and more just and loving, to treat similar situations similarly, but situation ethics teaches that particular types of action don’t have an inherent moral value – whether they are good or bad depends on the eventual result! [Like the end justifying the means.]
So, it seems that situation ethics permits a person to carry out acts that are generally regarded as bad, such as killing and lying, if those acts lead to a sufficiently good result. It also results in a society where no one can predict how any other person will react – creating chaos through action paralysis. [This behavior is actually codified in the Koran.]
Finally, secular humanism is a worldview. That is, it is a set of beliefs through which one interprets all of reality, like a pair of rose-colored glasses. According to Secular Humanists themselves, they believe in “a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”
Not all humanists, though, want to be identified as “religious,” because they understand that religion is, in practicality, not allowed in American public education. To identify Secular Humanism as a religion would eliminate from public schools the Humanists’ main vehicle for the propagation of their “faith”.
And it is a faith, by their own admission. Their “bible”, The Humanist Manifestos, declares: “These affirmations [in the Manifestos] are not a final credo or dogma but an expression of a living and growing faith.” What are the basic beliefs of Secular Humanism?
Theologically, Secular Humanists are atheists. Humanist Paul Kurtz, publisher of Prometheus Books and editor of Free Inquiry magazine, says that “Humanism cannot in any fair sense of the word apply to one who still believes in God as the source and creator of the universe.”
Corliss Lamont agrees, saying that “Humanism contends that instead of the gods creating the cosmos, the cosmos, in the individualized form of human beings giving rein to their imagination, created the gods.”
Philosophically, Secular Humanists are naturalists. That is, they believe that nature is all that exists – the material world is all that exists. There is no God, no spiritual dimension and no afterlife. The renowned Carl Sagan said it best in the introduction to his Cosmos television series:
“The universe is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” Roy Wood Sellars concurs. “Humanism is naturalistic,” he says, “and rejects the super-naturalistic stance with its postulated Creator-God and cosmic Ruler.”
So, if there is no supernatural, then life, including human life, must be the result of a purely natural phenomenon. Hence, Secular Humanists must believe in evolution. Julian Huxley, for example, insists that “man … his body, his mind and his soul were not supernaturally created but are all products of evolution.”
Atheism leads most Secular Humanists to adopt moral relativism and situational ethics – the belief that no absolute moral code exists, and therefore man must adjust his ethical standards in each situation according to his own judgment. If God does not exist, then He cannot establish an absolute moral code. Humanist Max Hocutt says that human beings “may, and do, make up their own rules… Morality is not discovered; it is made.”
Secular Humanism, then, can be defined as a religious worldview based on atheism, naturalism, evolution, situational ethics and moral relativism.”
So, in order to test the veracity of this conclusion, let’s dig deeper into the world of moral relativism and its two cohorts. For help, I turn to Mortimer Adler, “The Philosopher of the People” in my opinion.
Adler proposes that the nature of morality lies in the answer to the question of whether morality is objective and therefore, universal – or subjective and therefore, relative.
Critically important is an appreciation of the difference between pleasure (and its immediate sensual component) andsatisfaction (with its deferred application to desires) as they apply to a good or a non-good (un-good or perhaps “bad” or “evil” – if one prescribes, encourages or urges a bad action).
Thus, we come to the central question about moral relativism: Do good or evil change from one person to another, from one time to another, from one set of circumstances to another or are they best characterized as universal constants, i.e., always true?
Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza posited the dilemma centuries ago: “Is it good because we desire it (subjective) or do we desire it because it is good (objective)?”
Central to Adler’s argument is an understanding of the definition of the descriptive and the prescriptive statement. A descriptive statement is an assertion, with a passive component – an observation, of what is or is not. On the other hand, a prescriptive statement is an assertion, with an action component – a suggestion or judgement, of what ought or ought not to be.
Affirming the truth of a descriptive statement is relatively simple, given the five senses and Aristotelian logic. It is stated as the Correspondence Theory of Truth – when what you believe is what you sense through the five senses. Simply put, when there is agreement between mind and reality.
Affirming the truth of a prescriptive statement, for example: what one ought or ought not to do, is difficult. It would seem that such a prescription is merely ones’ opinion and you know what they say about a certain human orifice and opinions => every body has one.
So, it appears that a descriptive assertion, which is provable, cannot lead to a prescriptive one, which is apparently not provable. How then, can we affirm the truth of a prescriptive statement – a statement about the truth of a moral value?
This conundrum has puzzled the skeptics for ages. It is known as the Question of Non-Cognitive Ethics, i.e., ethics is not genuine knowledge. In order to discover whether moral values reflect truth or mere opinion, we must solve this dilemma.
We start with a premise. If a sentence makes no statement of fact(s), we cannot say if it is true or false. So, statements of moral judgment must then be purely expressions of feelings – unverifiable and subjective.
Can then, morality or ethical behavior ever be categorized as objective truth – like facts, i.e. either true or false?
In order to answer this question, we must consider that there exist two kinds of truth – descriptive truth and prescriptive truth – real and apparent truth – truth being a synonym for good. Real truth is the same for all human beings. Apparent truth differs for individuals.
According to Adler, only one prescriptive statement (suggestion/judgment/ opinion) has a self-evident truth and this statement is called the 1st Principle of Moral Philosophy. It enables prescriptive conclusions from premises that combine both prescriptive and descriptive truths.
A prescriptive truth is conformity (congruence) with a right desire – a desire (an action component) for something that is good. A descriptive truth is conformity with the way things are (a passive component).
Right desire is seeking what we ought to desire – something good for us. Conversely, wrong desire is the seeking what we ought not to desire – something bad for us or of an evil nature.
Since we now focus on desires, we need to consider that there are two kinds of desire:
· natural desires, i.e., the same for all humans, e.g., survival – that are associated with needs, which are categorized as right desires, i.e., a prescriptive and real (factual and universal) good and· acquired desires, i.e., different for all humans – that are associated with wants, which are sometimes wrong desires, i.e., a prescriptive and apparent (individually acquired) good
Hence, Adler’s 1st Principle of Morality: “We ought to naturally desire whatever is real(ly) good for us and nothing else.” Note that this is both a descriptive (desire) and a prescriptive (ought to) statement, in that the mind’s understanding of desire in this statement conforms to reality.
Therefore, since we human beings rightly desire all that we need, we must have a corresponding natural right to attain all “real” good. In other words, natural needs lead to natural rights – rights to the things we need to discharge our moral obligation to seek everything that is real(ly) good for us in order to lead good human lives.
The very best example of this truth is the global doctrine calling for the protection of human rights by all people and nations.
Conversely, since apparent good (acquired desire) differs for individuals, it (the apparent good of wanting) leads to relativism and subjectivism that reduces moral judgments to mere opinions, i.e., with no objective truth about what is right or wrong. This eventually leads to the harsh doctrine that might makes right.
So, how do we answer Adler’s proposition of whether morality is objective and therefore, universal or subjective and therefore, relative? Based upon the reasoning above, the premise for moral relativism and its two cohorts is objectively false because real good (truth) is a universal need, making anything and everything else an untruth.
Therefore, anyone who believes or practices moral relativism, situational ethics or secular humanism is living a lie and corrupting everything with which they interact. If the Abrahamic God, who orders Western Civilization, is indeed the source of all good, then the moral relativist’s mind must indeed be the Devil’s workshop.
Next time: Public School Indoctrination.