Sunday, July 26, 2009


I'm part of a local meetup dedicated to the 9 Principles and 12 Values as put forth by Fox Television's Glenn Beck earlier this year. We had a very lively discussion at the close of our most recent meeting about the state of our country and how we got here.

One of the presenters, who gave a talk on enumerated powers of the Federal government, put forward the idea that the pervasive corruption in Washington DC is our fault - the voters who send the legislators back there over and over again. Then someone else suggested that the genesis of the problem lay with education in the United States, which raised the ire of a teacher who was present. This teacher then made an impassioned plea for parental and civic involvement in the educational process.

In the course of listening to the discussion, I had an epiphany of sorts. I was making notes and wrote down CIVICS EDUCATION in capital letters and underlined and circled it. Twenty-seven years out of high school, I wasn't sure how to define it. Needless to say I spent a little time looking around the Internet after I got home.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute uses the term civic literacy and defines it as, "knowledge of America's founding principles and texts, core history and enduring institutions". Their organization has done extensive surveys to measure the extent of civic literacy (or illiteracy) in America. Their website,, has the dismal results of their survey over the last few years. The website includes a civics quiz and a host of resources for parents, students and educators. I would definitely recommend this website to anyone interested in furthering their own awareness of civic literacy and education.

John Adams wrote in 1765 that "Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right and a desire to know". The only way to reverse what has become of the enduring institution of our Federal government is by increasing that "general knowledge" through civic literacy.

We the people have no right to expect our elected officials to comport themselves within the bounds of their oaths of office, if we have no idea why we elected them in the first place. If we are to have any hope of reversing the freedom-killing, authoritarian and socialist policies of this current administration and congress, we must begin at the beginning to understand why America is here and what kind of nation and people we're supposed to be. Reversing the fog of ignorance that has settled over America in the last hundred years is one of the most urgent tasks we face today.

Eternal vigilance is the price of understanding and defending liberty.

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