You have seen the talking heads on Cable Television when the culture war comes up:
“These social conservative people again! Can’t they go back and stop resurrecting a war that they have been fighting ever since the Sexual Revolution! If they don’t like the Sexual Revolution and the new, enlightened age it ushered in, they don’t have to be a part of it!”
The general thrust is that essentially social conservative ideology repressed the way people really wanted to act. From the moment the Pill was approved by the FDA as a contraceptive device in 1960, the Sexual Revolution was spontaneous and inevitable. The Left won the battle so decisively that social conservatives could merely make inconsequential objections to the fact that the tide of history had washed over them.
So simple. So elegant. The people themselves had had enough.
How big government and hypocritical of conservatives to wish to promote their defunct ideology by the mechanism of government since they lost so decisively in the culture! If government did not create the Sexual Revolution how could it undo it without elitist policy?
This narrative of a popular revolt against an elite-led authoritarianism seems very convincing. There is, however, one enormous problem:
The date of 1960 is not the real date for the beginning of the culture war.
The truth is that the seeds of the Sexual Revolution were sown by the most influential philosopher of the 20th Century — Professor of Education at Teacher’s College, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, President of the American Philosophical Association, President of the American Psychological Association, Founder of the New School, Honorary President of the National Education Association, President of the Progressive Education Association, and the publisher of countless works on education and philosophy. The man’s titles help to demonstrate his influence but it took decades to accomplish his goals. And he never lived to see the Sexual Revolution for which he had so effectively the groundwork.
I am speaking of John Dewey (hired by Columbia in 1904; died in 1952).
Mr. Dewey is perhaps most famous for being the architect of the modern public school system. Over decades of lobbying, coalition building, and law passing, by the 1940s every state had passed laws that required that anyone who taught in the public school system had to have an Education Degree or certification. State schools had universally instituted an Education Department. And every private College or University that wished to have graduates teaching in the public school system (the vast majority) were required to get their Education Department certified by the state. The Education Departments and Teachers Colleges thus set up and accredited were very loyal to John Dewey’s philosophy of education. His “child-centric” model holds that: “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children.”
Of course, the obvious question arises:
If the rights of parents to manage the moral upbringing of their children are going to be disregarded, what philosophy do the ‘best parents’ adhere to?
The answer: John Dewey’s philosophy, of course.
Utilitarianism: “The ends justifies the means only when the means used are such as actually bring about the desired and desirable end.”
Secularism: “It [modern philosophy] certainly exacts a surrender of all supernaturalism and fixed dogma and rigid institutionalism with which Christianity has been historically associated.“
Revolution: “The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.“
Ignorance: “Genuine ignorance is … profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas.“
The fostering of ignorance recommended by John Dewey was accomplished within the Education Departments and Teachers Colleges themselves. Education Majors easily bright enough to learn History, Mathematics, and the other subjects they will be teaching children are loaded up instead with college-level courses focused on process and kept away from the disciplines they will be teaching the children — especially at the Elementary School level. They are instead told to focus on creating a “learning environment” and rely on textbooks. Liberal arts majors are prohibited from teaching without the requisite certifications.
The idea that parents were responsible for the moral upbringing of their children (how to think morally) while schools focused on content (what to know) was inverted:
“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.”
The generation that came of age in the 60s was the very first generation that had been deliberately exposed to public school indoctrination of the kind John Dewey recommended. He predicted that the very first generation exposed to his method of teaching would manifest a Progressive Revolution.
He was right.
Which means that the narrative has it backwards. Elitists thrust themselves into the American family dynamic and damaged the moral fabric of our country.
Which is why populists are determined to fight back.