Picture 2

Picture 2

Oct 14, 2016

Who's Responsible for Poor Civics Education? Liberals Who Control It!

With the rise of Trump, it’s popular for liberals to complain about the sad state of civics education in the US today.  I think the sad state of civics education is the result of liberals not wanting the populace to have a civics education.  The complaints are ironic to the point of absurdity.
Liberals control education in the United States.  Any failures in education are liberal failures, either by neglect or by design.  I believe the failure of the US education system to teach civics and relevant history is the desired result of the liberals who control it.  It's difficult to reconcile the "consent of the governed" with regulatory overreach, executive orders and rogue court decisions which obviously violate existing laws and the Constitution.  Congress, an elected coequal branch of government, has been cut out of most processes.
Notably left out of the civics classes that are taught are the key writings and historical events that influenced or explained the Constitution.  For example, John Locke wrote “Two Treatises on Government,” published in 1690, to justify the overthrow of King James II in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.  Locke advanced the idea that government existed by the “consent of the governed,” not by the divine right of kings.  Locke also said that government’s function was to preserve the “life, liberty and property” of the people it governed.  Another example is the “Federalist Papers,” a group of 85 articles and essays arguing in favor of adopting the Constitution written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay under the pseudonym Publius.  While the Federalist Papers are considered to be an “incomparable exposition of the Constitution” according to one historian, the odds are that most civics classes never read even one of them.
Regulatory agencies today have executive, legislative and judicial functions all rolled up into a single agency.  There is no separation of powers.  They make the rules, decide who to prosecute for breaking the rules and then conduct hearings in their own administrative proceedings.  They can decide to declare war on coal or regulate the internet with no legal basis for doing either.  Congress, supposedly the legislative branch of the federal government, can't stop them.  According to the Constitution, "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."  Clearly, administrative agencies are legislating.  Anyone who studies the Constitution is going to notice a huge disconnect between the Constitution and current practice.  It's a lot easier not to teach civics.  That way, teachers don't have to explain why we're not following the Constitution.  Since most teachers are liberals, it would be against their political interest to point out that we aren’t following the Constitution.  Voters might get the idea that regulatory agencies should be reined in.

Executive orders have become very popular with the current administration.  The way President Obama behaves is very close to the behavior of Charles I (1600-1649).  Charles I tried to rule without Parliament for 11 years. President Obama used his pen and phone to rule by decree. Charles thought he should be an absolute monarch by divine right. President Obama believes he is "on the right side of history," acting with "the fierce urgency of now."  President Obama believes he can grant exemptions to any law at any time, like refusing to collect Obamacare employer mandate taxes or the ordering the administrative enactment of the Dream Act for illegal aliens brought here as children after it failed to pass Congress. I hope we can solve our problems with the Smartest President Ever without following the historical pattern of Charles I. Charles' insistence on absolute power lead to the English Civil War. Charles I lost the Civil War he initiated by trying to arrest 5 members of Parliament on the floor of the house. Victorious Parliamentary forces executed Charles I in 1649.  Oliver Cromwell, the Parliamentary Army’s commander, became a military dictator in 1653 and held power until his death in 1658.  

Please notice that most readers have never heard of Charles I.  This history, England from 1625 to 1776, is a vital part of the background of the Constitution.  The 2nd Amendment is designed to make military dictatorships, like Cromwell's, impossible to impose on the United States, because an armed populace would be able to resist.  The clause that says the president "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed...." is aimed at Charles I and his son, James II, who were in the habit of ignoring laws passed by Parliament.

Rogue court decisions are another area where civics becomes hard to teach.  The Constitution is a contract between the states and the federal government.  Article V. has two methods of how to change the Constitution.  Both methods require 3/4 of state legislatures to ratify changes.  Most people would agree that contracts can't be changed unless both parties to the contract agree to the change.  Unfortunately, liberals believe the Constitution is a "living document."  This means that federal courts can reinterpret the Constitution to mean something different than what was originally agreed to.  This means that the "consent of the governed" is no longer necessary to change the Constitution.

Let's look at a recent example.  The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868.  The Republicans who wrote it meant it to protect recently freed black slaves from abuse from state laws and state courts.  Here's the key sentence: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  In 1868, homosexual acts were illegal in every state.  In 1868, the definition of marriage was considered to be a state issue.  In 1967, the "equal protection of the law" clause of the 14th Amendment was used to strike down state laws prohibiting mixed race marriage in Loving versus Virginia.  I think this is a logical extension of the original meaning of the amendment, which was definitely about race.

In 2016, the 14th Amendment was used to mandate same sex marriage for all states in Obergfell versus Hodges.  This is a "living Constitution" decision in two ways.  Since in 1868 homosexual acts were outlawed, the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment could not have known they were voting for mandatory legalization of gay marriage.  If they had known, the 14th Amendment would not have passed.  Also, since generally marriage is a state, not a federal, issue, the case should have been decided on state grounds.  Under the "full faith and credit" clause, marriages performed in one state must be recognized in all states.    Deciding the case this way would have allowed state legislatures to decide for each state how to define marriage.

Changing the definition of marriage is a very big change.  It seems to me to be something to be resolved by legislative processes after full debate.  Changing the Constitution to mandate same sex marriage for all states, overriding several state constitutions and referendums, is really a violent remedy.  Making a change this big without the consent of the governed is very difficult to explain in rational terms to students.  It's a lot easier to avoid teaching civics.

 Liberals control education completely in the US.  Education failures in the US are the result of liberal design or liberal neglect.  Teaching civics is avoided because current practice deviates substantially from original Constitutional design. Preserving ignorance of the Federalist Papers, John Locke's "Two Treatises on Government" and the history of England from 1625 to 1776 allows liberal changes in government to go unchallenged by a population too ignorant to realize they are being cheated. 

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