Sunday, July 15, 2007

Meet Rousas John Rushdoony

A few days ago, Spot put up a post called That Giant Cracking Sound about the sham that charter schools are really public schools. The post got picked up at MNSpeak which Spot appreciates. There were a couple of comments over there that Spotty wanted to address specifically.

Here's the first one:

Somebody's got to take these extremists on both sides of the aisle out behind the proverbial woodshed.

"Those at the extreme enjoy the greatest leverage."

Mech. Eng. 101

Seriously, most of these left-wing blogs I've read have one thing in common ... a disconnect with reality. I mean, read this nitwittery for example:
Until we tamp down the private school plutocrats, the charter school crazies, the school voucher vultures, and the home school hyenas like Katie, Sticks, Rep. Buesgens, John Brandl, Spotty's own Geoff Michel, Alan Quist, Don Samuels, Governor Pepsodent, and all the rest, public schools, the backbone of democracy, will remain in peril. Theirs is an autocratic, theocratic vision entirely at odds with democratic and pluralistic institutions.

That's 180 degrees out of phase. The guy believes the educational freedom enjoyed by homeschoolers and charter schools are evil and autocratic, and the bureaucratic cesspools that are the governments schools are nirvana. heh. Real comedy central stuff.

»» Submitted by »»» mazasapa at 4:23 PM on July 12

Spot thinks this fellow is an engineer. When your only tool is a pocket protector, every problem starts to look like a leaking ballpoint! Or something like that, anyway. Spot had this response over at MNSpeak, which he would like to expand on:

mazasapa criticizes Spot's favorite paragraph in the whole post. The goal of public education to raise citizens who can think and who are capable of "operating" a democracy. All of the folks that Spot mentioned are bent on picking, picking at public schools to hive off some of its their funding for their own to education educate children in their own funhouse of irrational beliefs. Christian Reconstructionism or Dominionism is are what they are after.

A little later, this comment was posted:

So long as a home schooled child can be shown to meet whatever state or national standards exist that are appropriate for that child's age, I don't think there's a valid argument against home schooling. In fact, there are some good arguments in favor of it.

Yes, children can be taught young-earth nonsense. But that's going to happen anyway, and there are a plenty of adult YECs who went through the public school system. The state of science education in most states is quite parlous [that's a good word, boys and girls; it means perilous], in my view.

If they come out the other end as committed young earthers, they will likely not be able to qualify as biologist, geologists or physicists without compromising their YEC views, which should suit the scientifically minded just fine.

Frankly, I think that all school kids (home school or otherwise) should be required to show a reasonable understanding of the tenets of evolution; beyond that, it's up to them and their parents.

»» Submitted by »»» teucer at 6:14 PM on July 12

Teucer misses the point of home schooling. If home-schooled kids had to learn evolution, there would be no reason for home schools. Part of the home school/charter school/school voucher movement's deception campaign is to convince the public that it is mostly about quality. It's not: it is first and foremost about about the ideological control of children. It's about making sure that little Rebekah and little Jonah don't stray from the fold by hearing about the Enlightenment, the religious beliefs—or the lack of them—of some of the founders, and the real meaning of the First Amendment and especially its Establishment Clause.

It just frosts these people that they can't use public money to help keep their children away from becoming, well, enlightened citizens!

 If you don't believe Spot, he would like to introduce you to Rousas John Rushdoony, or just "RJ." RJ is a somewhat less spittle-flecked version of Pastor Fred Phelps.

Rushdoony's next [after panting over the works of that great democratic thinker John Calvin] focus was on education, especially on behalf of homeschooling, which he saw as a way to combat the intentionally secular nature of the U.S. public school system. He vigorously attacked progressive school reformers such as Horace Mann and John Dewey and argued for the dismantling of the state's influence in education in three works: Intellectual Schizophrenia (a general and concise study of education), The Messianic Character of American Education (a history and castigation of public education in the U.S.), and The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum (a parent-oriented pedagogical statement).

And there is no question; RJ was a Christian Reconstructionist:

Rushdoony's most important area of writing, however, was law and politics, as expressed in his small book of popular essays Law & Liberty and discussed in much greater detail in his three volume, 1894-page magnum opus, The Institutes of Biblical Law. With a title modeled after Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, Rushdoony's Institutes was arguably his most influential work, though, due to the work's perceived denial of the Holocaust and defense of segregation[8] and slavery,[9] it did not gain an immediate following. In the work, Rushdoony argued against "inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish."[10] But his condemnation of inter-racial marriage appears to have been his personal view and not related to the biblical text; it was not shared by other Reconstructionists.[11] The book garnered more attention starting in the 1980s when Francis Schaeffer began espousing many similar ideas .[12] In the book, he proposed that Old Testament law should be applied to modern society and that there should be a Christian theonomy, a concept developed in his colleague Greg Bahnsen's controversial tome Theonomy and Christian Ethics, which Rushdoony heartily endorsed.

In the Institutes, Rushdoony supported the reinstatement of the Mosaic law's penal sanctions. Under such a system, the list of civil crimes which carried a death sentence would include homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about one's virginity, bestiality, witchcraft, idolatry or apostasy, public blasphemy, false prophesying, kidnapping, rape, and bearing false witness in a capital case.[13]

Although supporting the separation of church and state at the national level, Rushdoony understood both institutions as under the rule of God, and thus he conceived secularism as posing endless false antitheses, which his massive work addresses in considerable detail. In short, he sought to cast a vision for the reconstruction of society based on Christian principles. Rushdoony's work has been used by Dominion Theology advocates who attempt to implement a Christian theocracy, a government subject to Biblical law, especially the Torah in the United States. Economics, penology, authority, behavioral boundaries and the like would all be governed by biblical principles in Rushdoony's vision, but he also proposed a wide system of freedom, especially in the economic sphere, and claimed Ludwig von Mises as an intellectual mentor; he called himself a Christian libertarian.

Rushdoony was the founder in 1965 of the Chalcedon Foundation and the editor of its monthly magazine, the Chalcedon Report. He also published the Journal of Christian Reconstruction and was an early board member of the Rutherford Institute, founded in 1982 by John Whitehead. He later received an honorary Doctorate from Valley Christian University for his book, The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum.

RJ shuffled off this mortal coil a few months before the events of September 11, 2001, so he didn't get to live to see the opening kick off in the grudge match between the Islamic and the Christian fundamentalists. Sniff, he would have enjoyed it.

Spotty says, hey, if you want to equip your kid to work for say, the Olive Tree Ministries, fine, but don't expect rational people—or taxpayers—to help you do it.

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