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PARENTING THAT IS GOOD, BEAUTIFUL, AND TRUE
Raising Children in 2023’s Democracy
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PARENTING THAT IS GOOD, BEAUTIFUL,TRUE
Raising Children in 2023’s Democracy
Thomas Jefferson said, “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” Consider the implications of this quote as lived out in recent years. Ideologues without a foundational grounding in what is good, beautiful, and true are running wild in our culture and thus in our government, in our media, and tearing apart families.
To understand and then live out what is good, beautiful, and true takes work and I believe a Biblical perspective to a certain extent. Many if not most in America have redefined what is good, beautiful, and true, and what we are seeing is the resulting confusion and expected chaos. Benjamin Franklin was a wise man when he said, “This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them, cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”
Are our children being indoctrinated into the pleasures and ignorance of the majority even if they are not good, beautiful, and true? Do our children prefer the narrative and acceptance that comes with the fifty-one percent or are we preparing them to know and prize the rights which God has given as Franklin noted? Many of us have been duped to believe that our rights are granted to us by our elected officials. If we believe this we are willing to have these same liberties taken away at the whim of officials.
In 1831 while America was learning and growing albeit struggling with human rights a 26 yr old Frenchman came to America to observe its underpinnings and democracy in action. Alexis de Tocqueville came away awed by the weaving of people of faith and men of politics in a seemingly cohesive dance. His perspective on the importance of religion can be found in his writings Democracy in America, Chapter XVII: Principal Causes Which Tend to Maintain The Democratic Republic in the United States.
Politicians and Clergy seemed to know their roles and I suspect that each lived out some shared beliefs of what was fundamentally good, beautiful, and true. However, De Tocqueville also expressed concern as did Franklin in stating the abuse of power in a democracy could lead to what he called the “tyranny of the majority”.
During the brief visit of De Tocqueville, many Americans prized themselves to be self-sufficient individuals who neither relied on the government for support, work nor the education of their children. Parents believed it was their responsibility to seek mentors for themselves and their children in the education and training for career preparation. Be it, a farmer or a lawyer both sought mentors for training the next generation. Nobody thought it was the responsibility of taxpayers to pay for education.
However, this all changed in 1837 with Horace Mann and the promotion of the public education system. Horace Mann may have very altruistic motives to promote public education. However, along with public education came, teacher’s colleges, and governmental financial support of colleges and schools and now in 2023 if our eyes are open we can regret much of where this has gone awry. Eerily, Clarence B Carson notes in A Basic History of the United States,1 “The public school movement is especially significant, because it was the first major effort in the United States which succeeded in linking the power of government to an effort to reform and transform society.”
Just as many of us have chosen to be like the fish swimming upstream we have seen that the rule of the majority can be evil if there is not a well-informed electorate that knows and prizes our God-given rights. We cannot rely on public educators to teach our children how to think and discern what is good, beautiful, and true. We must spend the time to find avenues to teach our children these life-giving ideals and surround them with like-minded individuals that are doing the same. If we don’t raise our children to be willing to swim upstream for Truth they will be lemmings swayed by the majority and under the heavy hands of tyrants.
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Clarence B. Carson, A Basic History of the United States, Volume 3, The Sections and the Civil War 1826-1877, (Dover Publications, 1985) pgs 88-91