Never before in our history has it become more imperative for us, as American citizens, to do all in our power to maintain, increase, and optimize our liberty. The freedoms we enjoy and value so much have been secured at great cost. Our founding fathers fought and died in the War of Independence to achieve freedom from Great Britain. Our soldiers died in the War of 1812 to maintain that freedom. A half million men died in the Civil War to preserve the Union and free us from the evil institution of slavery. And many more died in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the War in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, and the War in Afghanistan. And more Americans have died as we liberated Iraq from the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, whose continued existence posed a danger to our nation.
America's First Wars
Not many people know this, but the very first war the newly created United States was forced to fight occurred in 1801and was against the Islamic piratical thugs in North Africa who harassed American merchantmen in the Mediterranean, and who demanded payments for captured ships and ransoms for their crews. Even back then, Moslem governments did not adhere to the norms of civilized society. In 1801, Tripoli declared war against the United States. That war lasted four years and required sending an American expeditionary force to invade Tripoli, and it finally put an end to Tripoli's depredations on June 4, 1805.
During this same time, Algeria also engaged in piracy against American shipping. To combat this, the U.S. government sent naval commander Stephen Decatur in 1815 to the Mediterranean where he captured the Algerian flagship, Mashuda, and forced the Algerians to end their piratical seizures, restore all American property, free all Christian slaves, and treat all prisoners of war humanely. Our country has been very much involved in the world from its earliest days as a nation.
There were no peaceniks in those days demonstrating against the Barbary War. When the anthem for the Marine Corps was written, it began, "From the halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli." Today, however, there are many who have opposed this latest war in Iraq. Of course, nobody wants war. But what the peaceniks don't understand is that if we had not removed Saddam Hussein at a time when it was fairly easy to do so, we would have had to do it later when it would be far more costly.
This is the lesson that history has taught us. Had England and France stopped Hitler when he made his first aggressive move in 1933, there would have never been World War II in 1939. Had President Clinton taken the opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden when the Sudanese government offered him to us, there would have never been the bombing of the World Trade Center on 9/11. But Clinton decided to do virtually nothing, passing the problem on to the next administration.
And thus President Bush was given the job of getting rid of Saddam Hussein and restoring Iraq to the community of civilized nations.
There are isolationists who say we ought to withdraw from the world, keep our nose out of other people's business and turn America into a gigantic Switzerland. But let's face it, we are now the dominant power in the world and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. We cannot restrict our economic power just to our shores. Besides, America has always been engaged in the world in one way or another. That was the case in 1801, and it is the case today. In this age of worldwide economic expansion, our large corporations have become global in reach, and we have no choice but to protect them, just as we had no choice but to defend our merchant ships in 1801. Ironically, we are facing the same Islamic enemy today as we did then.
And let us not forget the attack on 9/11. For two years a small group of Islamic terrorists lived among us, trained in our flight schools, and spent many hours carefully planning the attack on Washington and New York. Up until then we considered ourselves fairly invulnerable. But now we know how vulnerable we are. We know the damage and fear a little bit of anthrax can cause when unleashed into our postal system. And so, we now live under constant threat of terrorist attack. Why? Because our wealth and enterprise have made us the world's dominant power.
For many years after World War II the communist empire, ruled from Moscow, thought it could compete with us for world dominance. But it failed because communism is by its very nature inhuman, unproductive, and totalitarian. And so, with the demise of the Soviet empire, we have emerged as the only superpower on earth. Is it possible for some other nation to achieve that kind of power? Can China with a billion people do it? Or India? Possibly, but highly unlikely. Why? Because they lack the two ingredients which are at the foundation of our success: Christianity and the English language.
Consider China. Some people say that China will soon catch up with us economically and become the world's dominant power. But the problem with China is its language and writing system and its philosophical vacuum. Even though the country is ruled by a communist government, it no longer believes in communism. It has no detectable political philosophy. Also, it cannot provide us with a world culture because its language won't permit it. Meanwhile, American cultural influence has become global.
The War Against Christianity in America
I'm not too happy that so much of our culture comes out of Hollywood and MoTown. But there's much more to our culture than entertainment. There are our Christian values embodied in our foundational documents, which are studied abroad by students. There is no philosophical vacuum in America, although our schools have created a lot of empty heads. Our ideas are the most potent in the world today. They are potent because they work for human good and happiness.
Even though Christianity is being battered in America by secular humanists and atheists, it is the Christianity in the hearts of everyday Americans that remains the moral basis of our greatness. Our Declaration of Independence was based on a Christian view of government, and our Constitution was based on Biblical principles of civil society and morality. True, our culture has been perverted by the humanists to serve the most depraved aspects of human nature. But our Christian foundation has been surprisingly resilient in the face of such cultural depravity. And the reason for this is that cultural depravity is basically nihilistic and therefore contrary to human good.
We also have a President who unashamedly calls upon the God of the Bible to bless and protect us. Our Biblical religion with its moral code is the basis of our free enterprise system. Capitalist commerce depends largely on trust for its successful operations, trust based on absolute moral principles. When we depart from those principles, the system becomes perverse. That is why we now have a billion-dollar pornography industry, a huge gambling industry, a huge abortion industry, corporate corruption, and widespread drug trafficking and addiction.
Protestant Christianity is also the source of our deep belief in education, without which there can be no scientific, technical, intellectual, or cultural advance. And even though the progressives have done all in their power to destroy the brains of millions of American children, a sufficient number of our citizens have escaped their brainwashing so that we have a large enough creative force to keep us ahead of other nations.
The Necessity of Private Property
Another important type of liberty inherent in Christianity is that of private property. Without it we would not have had the thousands of inventors who lifted us from the age of agriculture to the age of space flight in less than 200 years. All we have to do is read the annual reports issued by the U.S. Patent Office since its beginning to become aware of the incredible inventive genius of the American people. No other nation in history has had such an outpouring of technical creativity. And that would have never happened without the underpinning of private property.
Jedidiah Morse, who lived from 1761 to 1826, was a Calvinist minister in the Congregational Church, who also wrote a series of geography books for the schools. His son, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, invented the electric telegraph and devised the Morse code. His famous message, "What hath God wrought!" was the first sent on his Washington-Baltimore line on May 24, 1844. He was also a very fine painter and a founder of the National Academy of Design in 1825. His brother, Sidney Edwards Morse, was also an inventor as well as a journalist and geographer. He coinvented cerography, a method of making stereotype plates and perfected the bathometer. Everything the Morses did was to improve life, increase knowledge, and create beauty. It was a manifestation of their Christian life.
I am always amused by those educator "change agents" who chide American parents for resisting change. The change they want is for us to give up freedom for slavery. Naturally, there is resistance. The reality is that Americans embrace change when it's for the good, when it enhances freedom, enhances human life and happiness. The pursuit of happiness is the God-given right of every American.
Just consider the changes the invention of the automobile has wrought in America. When first invented, it was considered a novelty. But inventors kept improving the automobile until it became increasingly reliable and affordable to the average family. In the short period of twenty-five years, it put all of America on wheels. We didn't need change agents to bring this about. Americans wanted the new freedom of mobility the automobile offered. Today, the automobile offers the average individual a level of comfort and pleasure that the kings and emperors of the past could never enjoy.
Recently, I flew nonstop from Boston to California in a large jet, listening to music, watching a movie, and having lunch 35,000 feet in the air. On any given day there are a million Americans flying above the clouds over the earth. What a miraculous phenomenon! All due to the work and striving of a free people. It took five hours to fly across the continent, a trip that once took months. Yes, America has been in the vanguard of radical change, and the world has followed behind us.
Other nations certainly have made their contributions to scientific advance and invention. But there is no question that America has been the leader in such progress.
None of it could have happened without Christianity, without the freedom to exercise our human creative genius. Christianity has provided the moral basis for free enterprise. And it was the English Bible that gave the Puritans and the founding fathers the vision, the guidance toward greater human freedom.
Homeschoolers and the Future of Freedom
Is it providential that the Christian homeschool movement embodies those two vital ingredients: Christianity and its emphasis on freedom, education, and literacy, and the English language, with its King James version of the Bible, which homeschoolers learn to read. English has become the world's dominant language and the language of world culture.
And so it falls on the homeschool movement to maintain, increase, and optimize our liberty. We are producing the literate leaders of tomorrow, imbued with the teachings of the Holy Scripture and our founding documents, and dedicated to improving the family, the community, and the nation.
What are the best ways to fight for this liberty God has so graciously allowed in this country? We must become politically active in our communities, electing to office men and women who share our hopes and dreams for the American future. Homeschoolers have made a clean break with the state's most important institution of control: the public school. They have asserted parents' rights to educate their children according to their own values. In short they are exercising educational freedom. And without educational freedom there can be no political freedom.
And while many Americans fear that the measures taken by our government to combat internal terrorism interfere with our rights to privacy, I have no doubt that educational freedom will prevent the government from going beyond what is necessary for national safety and security.
While supporting our government's efforts to combat terrorism, it becomes the duty of every family to provide for its own protection. We must keep abreast of what is happening nationally, but also know our communities and what can happen to them. We should all plan a strategy for safety, and take advantage of the second amendment to the Constitution, which protects the right to own a firearm. We must take full advantage of political freedom by joining the parties of our choice and making our views known. If necessary, we should even run for office, or help someone else run who shares our views.
Homeschoolers can become a vital, positive force in their communities, able to spread the gospel of freedom among their neighbors, the first of which is educational freedom. They should let their neighbors know how much they are saving them in taxes through home education. By doing these things, we will be maintaining, increasing, and optimizing the freedom of all Americans, present and future.
Our nation is facing difficult times ahead. But today we have instruments of technology that can help us reach the better times we all long for. Homeschoolers have already made great use of the Internet. Our influence is growing. Humanists don't know what to do with this astounding Christian revival. They believed that Biblical religion was just about dead. But that's because they love to indulge in wishful thinking. Biblical religion is flourishing in America as never before, mainly because what the liberals and atheists have to offer is so contrary to human happiness.
In fact, an article in the humanist magazine, Free Inquiry, in the summer of 1993, proves that point. The article investigated the mental health of atheists and religionists. Surprise! They found that the psychologically healthiest people in America are the deeply religious and that the most miserable are the irreligious. The author, Dr. John F. Schumaker commented: "If religion is generally beneficial to psychological health, that is unfortunate.... While I agree that it is possible to live without religion, I suggest that most people find such a road to be psychologically bumpy."
Bumpy indeed! It only confirms the source of American happiness and liberty: a strong belief in God and an unequivocal faith in His abiding providence.
- Samuel L. Blumenfeld
Samuel L. Blumenfeld (1927–2015), a former Chalcedon staffer, authored a number of books on education, including NEA: Trojan Horse in American Education, How to Tutor, Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers, and Homeschooling: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Children.
He spent much of his career investigating the decline in American literacy, the reasons for the high rate of learning disabilities in American children, the reasons behind the American educational establishment’s support for sex and drug education, and the school system's refusal to use either intensive phonics in reading instruction and memorization in mathematics instruction. He lectured extensively in the U.S. and abroad and was internationally recognized as an expert in intensive, systematic phonics. His writings appeared in such diverse publications as Home School Digest, Reason, Education Digest, Boston Magazine, Vital Speeches of the Day, Practical Homeschooling, Esquire, and many others.