Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.


- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Reading "The Assault on Reason" (pt. 1)

I just started reading Al Gore's new book, "The Assault on Reason." So much of what he says resonates.

Incredible book so far. How on earth can we get this book - the ideas put forth in the book - into the minds and discussions of the Fox news crowd? As Lincoln once said, we can't survive as a nation, half Fox and half free. (OK, I may be paraphrasing...) If only we could reach them, bring them into our democratic 'discussion.' This is their democracy too.

As I read (and realize I just started the book - Al will probably 'go there,') I keep envisioning the role that organized religion has (and is playing to a great degree now from within our government) in this assault on reason. So many church leaders preach blind adherence - obedience - to dogma and to their interpretation of scriptures, no questions allowed. I think this carries over into society - it is the intent of these religious leaders that it carry over into the schools, government, the judiciary - everywhere.

When these religious leaders decide that they are going to save the heathens (or save themselves from us, the heathens,) and start building Liberty colleges all around the country, they are graduating classes of individuals that literally refuse to reason. These people have been raised to obey and never question, which is in direct conflict with the founding principles of democracy, that we question and never blindly obey.

They have been taught that anything is acceptable if it is in the best interests of their party (especially if told by religious leaders that this is 'the will of God.) Without any words yet from Al on the subject, I suspect that much of this assault on reason and democracy can be traced back to the teachings of these religious leaders.

I mean - come on - undermining science in the schools? It is happening. In the 90s it would have been unthinkable - laughable. The book burnings will be next (except of course, nobody really reads books anymore... perhaps they will burn us instead.)

And then there is the irresponsible, corporately-controlled television media...

I was lucky, so lucky, that my parents refused to buy a television set until I was 6 years old (and then refused to let me sit there in front of it like a vegetable.) I certainly wanted to spend all day watching cartoons like my friends, but they tossed me out the door to play. And so, wonder of wonders, I learned to find creative things to do outside - and to read. And that saved my life.

Interesting to note that as an adult, I can't sit still in front of a TV without my attention wandering. It has no hold on me. It bores me. Two-year-olds watch more television in a week than I watch in the course of a month. How can this be good for their cognitive development? How will they learn to be creative and ask questions?

Scary.

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