It’s Time to Stop the Trashing of America

By:  Tom Anderson

statue of libertyAs part of a continuing series of articles we are revisiting from the past, we reprint here an article by Tom Anderson, first printed in the 1982 edition of American Opinion, the forerunner to The New American.

Several years ago a college freshman went out for football, unsung and uninvited. A few weeks later when the coach reduced the squad he cut the volunteer. But the freshman was such a wonderful fellow that the team persuaded the coach to let him stay. The volunteer sat on the bench for four years. He never missed a practice, never got discouraged. On the Thursday before the final game, his father died.

He left immediately for the funeral, six hundred miles away. But just before game time on Saturday, to everyone’s dismay, he entered the locker room and dressed for the game. Then he went to the coach and begged to start in the final contest. The coach thought, “What can it hurt? I’ll put him in for the kickoff and then take him out. That can’t hurt us. And he’s so popular it might even give the team a psychological lift.”

So this young man who had never played in a college game was a starter. His team kicked off. The volunteer raced down the field and made the tackle, unassisted. His startled coach thought, “Well, I’ll leave him in for another play or two.” The volunteer continued to play magnificently — and played the whole game. With one minute to go and the score nothing to nothing, he made a sensational tackle behind the goal line, scoring a safety for his team, which won 2-0. He was carried off the field on the shoulders of the ecstatic fans. In the dressing room the coach hugged him and said, “Son, how did you do it? For four years you never played like that. What happened?”

“Coach,” the boy replied, “my father died Thursday. He had been blind all his life. Today in Heaven, for the first time, he was watching.”

My friends, the whole world is watching us. We are what stands between the world and slavery. If the lamp of freedom is blown out in America, the whole world will be thrown into darkness.

I am concerned that by a failure of moral courage our nation is needlessly on the road to bankruptcy and dictatorship. The situation we are in today is like the fellow trying to qualify to drive a transcontinental van. His interrogator put this problem to him: “You are coming up over a big hill and you see down before you, going your way, a car with two cars pulling out around to pass. A couple of hundred yards below them is a car coming your way, with two cars pulling out around him. You jam on your brakes — and you haven’t got any. On your left is a huge bluff and on your right is a two-hundred-foot ravine. Now, what would you do?”

“Why I’d wake up LeRoy.”

“Who’s LeRoy?”

“He’s my relief driver.”

“Why wake up your relief driver?”

“Well, LeRoy comes from a little crossroads place out in the middle of nowhere, and he ain’t never seen no wreck like this gonna be.”

On the road we’re on there ain’t never been no wreck like this gonna be unless we can wake up America’s LeRoys and find a way to stop it.

Our President says he is trying to reduce government, and the “Liberals” are screaming to high heaven. He hasn’t reduced the size of government; he has reduced only the rate at which it is expanding. The rhetoric is fine, but painting the organ pipes will not improve the music. If we are to be saved from disaster it will have to be from the bottom up rather than the top down. The fault, dear Brutus, is with ourselves. [If only we had a president who even gave lip service to reducing the size of government. Alas, and the fault still lies with ourselves... —Ed.]

Typical Americans today eat breakfast over their white table cloths and pink newspapers and end the day propped up before boob tubes which slyly undermine every form of decency, patriotism, and self-reliance. The world watches America, and America watches TV. America — once the land of the free and home of the brave. America, now a place in which workers get paid for not working, farmers get paid for not farming, mothers get paid for not marrying, and big businessmen get paid for selling the rope with which to hang us. America, where the only “religious” symbol tolerated in the classroom is Santa Claus.

It is time to realize that a people who lack the morality to stand on their feet and say No will someday have to say Yes on their knees. People who won’t take a stand deserve to take a fall.

In Socialist America today, one-half of the people are already living off the other half, completely or partially. In federalized America, one out of every two households, assuming no duplications, gets regular government checks. That’s even rough on the Post Office, which has to deliver them. I dreamed awhile back that our collectivists had an answer to that too; that they plan to integrate carrier pigeons with woodpeckers, forming a Pigeonpecker Corps. The pigeonpeckers would not only be able to deliver the millions of government checks, they would knock on the door when they got there.

Our total government commitment, including veterans’ benefits, Social Security, and everything bought and unpaid for, is somewhere between nine and thirteen trillion dollars. Mere contemplation of that makes one turn pale as an undertaker’s apprentice. From January first to the middle of June we’re all working for the government. Almost half of the cost of everything we buy goes for taxes. As soon as the politicians find out most of us are taking what they say with a grain of salt, they will raise the taxes on salt.

The American people are being pushed to the wall. An Arkansas farmer wrote this to the Collector of Internal Revenue: “I received your letter about what I owe you. Now be pachent. I ain’t forgot you; and as soon as folks pay me, I’ll pay you. But if this was Jedgement Day, and you no more prepared to meet your God than I am to meet your account, then you sho’ going to Hell!”

How did we get in such a mess? Even the “Liberals” are now talking about Armageddon, the last war mentioned in the Bible when all shall be destroyed. If we are on the brink of Armageddon, who brought us here? These “Liberals” remind me of the boy who murdered his mother and father and threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan. Their response to our demand for spending cuts to Balance the Budget and stop inflation is like that of the fellow in the little country church who was bitterly opposed to the pastor’s suggestion that the church purchase a chandelier. “But why are you so against it?” the pastor asked. “Well, first of all,” said the man, “nobody can spell it, so how can we order it? Second, nobody can play it if we get it. And third, what we really need is more light.”

Yes, more light — and then more work, involvement, education, political action, and prayer.

The graveyards of history prove that great nations get what they deserve. Few, if any, have ever been conquered from without unless they were rotten within. Our nation was founded by men who believed in God, in individual freedom, in high moral values, and in personal responsibility. Whether we survive as free men or slaves depends upon whether we can stop the trashing of America by resurrecting our moral and spiritual strength. The time could be approaching when the question will not be whether America can be saved but whether America is worth saving. Sodom and Gomorrah were not. If God were to help us save contemporary America, he might have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.

I think our problems result from the fact that the American family is in deep trouble. Almost all married couples used to remain that way; now more than half get divorced. Today, marriage is like flies on a window. Those on the outside want in and those on the inside want out. And millions multiply and divide without ever crossing the line. What used to be “living in sin” is now called “alternative lifestyle.” More and more girls have unlisted husbands, and their babies are born breakfast style: snap, crackle, but no pop.

At the heart of this disintegration is public education. It is a horrible and expensive failure which is undermining our economy and our morality by producing uneducated, undisciplined, and purely secular young people. There is a direct relationship between rampant crime and the banning of Bible-reading in the government schools. Our young people are under attack and we have stripped them of their defenses, leaving them unprepared to deal with a world in which every depravity is glorified in color and stereophonic sound. There is great anguish about the pollution of our air and our streams, but that is nothing compared to the pollution in our magazines, textbooks, TV, and movies. The very thought of that is as repulsive as S.E.I.C.U.S. sexpert Mary Calderone. When Mrs. Calderone enters a room, the mice jump up on chairs.

The agnostic pragmatists and atheistic humanists who call themselves “Liberals” have taught a generation of our children: (1) That there are no clear distinctions between right and wrong; (2) That there are no eternal verities, no absolute truths; (3) That environment determines truth, and since environment constantly changes, everything is relative; (4) That “life adjustment,” not inculcation of principles and disciplines, is the correct purpose of education; and, (5) That patriotism, if not a joke, is as Victorian as chastity and courtesy.

It is important to remember how influential teachers can be in the direction a child’s life will take. Think of your own life. Or, think of that poor, ugly, ignorant boy who once lived in a “tobacco road” shack. His mother was born of illegitimate parents. His father was the town drunk. As a child he read books by the light of a wood fire. He had little schooling. But his childhood hero was a schoolmaster named Graham, who electrified that youngster with a lifetime love of learning. The boy educated himself, through his own efforts and at his own expense, to become the man generations of Americans have most revered. His name was Abraham Lincoln.

Suppose his teacher, Mr. Graham, had been an atheist, or a homosexual, or a Marxist. Or, suppose Mr. Graham had been a teacher on strike for more pay and fringe benefits; or was an advocate of free love, the mythology of equality, or “affirmative action.” Would we have ever heard of Abraham Lincoln?

Many parents rate the buildings to which their children are bused as more important than the quality and character of their teachers. Thus, we have elegant edifices and exotic athletic fields serving students who laugh at morality, don’t know the multiplication table, who have come to believe that the average profit American businesses make is more than fifty percent, instead of the five percent which it really is.

In recent years the public-school system has become the wholly owned subsidiary of the National Education Association. The N.E.A. is a powerful, ruthless union dominated by secular humanists and other radicals. Dr. Tim LaHaye says:

“If parents really knew what humanism is and how much time is spent brainwashing their children with it in the name of education, we would have to restrain them from overthrowing the public schools by force and violence. Really, it is that bad! The only thing that saves the public sector of education from igniting a massive parent outcry is that parents do not understand humanism. If parents realized their taxes paid for the teaching of atheism, evolution, amorality, an autonomous self-centered lifestyle or a Socialist one-world view, they would take the schools to court for violating the First Amendment.”

Patricia Harris, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under the Carter Administration, outlined precisely what secular humanism seeks to do in America. Speaking at Princeton on September 23, 1980, she said: “Any attempt to Christianize America would be dangerous for Democracy.” She went on to say that unless conservative Christian concepts were soundly beaten, the “gains made by humanism would have to be won again.”

Dr. Sidney Simon, developer of Values Clarification, the process by which children’s values are now changed in the public schools, identified the central theme of the secular humanist doctrine when addressing the convention of the Wisconsin Education Association. He said: It’s O.K. to lie . . . . It’s O.K. to steal . . . . It’s O.K. to have premarital sex . . . . It’s O.K. to cheat . . . . It’s O.K. to kill . . . if these things are part of your own value system and you have clarified these values for yourself. The important thing is not what values you choose, but that you have chosen them yourself — freely and without coercion by parents, spouse, priests, friends, ministers, or by social pressure of any kind.

Probably Mr. Simon’s most famous and oft-quoted statement among groups of concerned citizens who are working to stop use of Values Clarification in the schools is: “The schools must not be allowed to continue fostering the immorality of morality. An entirely different set of values must be nourished.”

How could professional teachers tolerate such an outrage? Many won’t and resist or leave; others are too ignorant or cowardly or morally corrupt to do either. The best of them are overpowered by the worst. According to an educational testing center in Princeton, New Jersey, twenty percent of our public-school teachers don’t even know how to read, write, or add past an eighth-grade level. In Oregon, a kindergarten teacher who had been given A’s and B’s at Portland State University was recently found to be functionally illiterate.

But we cannot blame the sad state of American education on the teachers alone. The state of American homes is so bad that we are sending swarms of young savages into the schools who make teaching by anyone but saints who are also karate experts all but impossible. In 1979, 110,000 teachers were attacked by students (a fifty-two percent increase over 1977-1978), and hundreds of millions of tax dollars are lost each year from vandalism, thefts, muggings, and arson in the schools. Parents, TV, “Liberal” politics, permissive judges, and society itself must share the blame.

Our public schools have become baby-sitting services for thugs, and thugs have little interest in learning. Dr. Russell Kirk says, “The average high-school student today takes 25 percent less English, 35 percent less World History, 35 percent less Government and Civics, 30 percent less Geography, and 30 percent less Science and Math than students a generation ago. He is assigned less than half the homework, and the textbooks he is given have been written with a reading level two years lower than the grade he is in.” Only slightly more than half of today’s high-school graduates are “functionally literate” — that is, able properly to read and write. Fast-foods outlets are now putting pictures of hamburgers, fries, and shakes on cash-register keys because so many of their young employees don’t understand letters and numbers.

Did you hear about the senior, in the progressive high school, who won a prize in mathematics? He said that two times twenty was thirty-four. But that was the closest anybody came.

Failure at the lower level is in turn reflected in college curricula. An advertisement for De Paul University offers courses in advanced ballroom dancing, aerobic exercise, cake decorating, camping and backpacking, country-and-western dancing, horror film appreciation, massage, Mexican cooking, professional woman, self-hypnosis, stress reduction, and Tai Chi (whatever that is). In fact, the I.R.S. gave tax-exempt status to the Church of Wicca at St. Charles, Missouri, to teach witchcraft. The taxers declared: “Donors may deduct contributions to you as provided in Section 170 of the code. Bequests, legacies, services, transfers, or gifts to you for your use are deductible for federal estate and gift tax purposes . . . .” I have no doubt that a school of prostitution could get tax preference so long as it did not discriminate racially.

For instance, Christmas was observed at Hunter College as students started celebrating their Christmas vacation with wine, scotch, vodka, and bourbon in the main cafeteria. Many unconscious students were later carried to the college infirmary. Marijuana was smoked openly. In the afternoon a free showing of the obscene film Woodstock was featured, along with free beer. Kathryn Hopwood, Dean of Students, said that a student lounge would be turned into a “detoxification ward” if it were needed.

One wonders how long it will be before some parent of a ruined daughter comes to the campus and removes Dean Hopwood’s hair by the roots. And how long before somebody institutes a criminal lawsuit against the officials of institutions like Hunter College for “contributing to the delinquency of minors.” And how long before some beleaguered taxpayer brings suit to prohibit use of tax money to build or maintain educational bawdy houses.

Better to be uneducated than miseducated. But there is no good excuse for either. Our public libraries contain the knowledge of the ages, making higher education free for the asking. Meanwhile, our colleges are sinkholes of misinformation and immorality. Students there are soaked in psychology and saturated with sociology. But they can’t write, they can’t spell, and what history they read is often fabrication. The only Latin they are likely to know is a belly-dancer. And Emerson, Shakespeare, Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Swift are (respectively) a TV set, a fishing rod, breakfast, pipe tobacco, and ham.

Neither Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, nor Shakespeare had the grammar-school credentials to get admitted to any of today’s colleges. And all but Christ might have been ruined if they had been.

Education is not merely schooling. Our education started the first day of our lives. Education is a continuous development of mind, heart, and character. Character is like an iceberg: The part which counts for most is below the surface. When we cash in our chips for this life, the only thing of any value which we can take with us is our character. It is a victory, not a gift. Character knows no race, creed, color, or circumstances. Hardship builds character like forging makes steel. Our Republic was built on individual freedom, individual opportunity, individual responsibility, and great character. No struggle, no Lincoln; no wilderness, no Moses; no cross, no Christ; no adversity, no victory.

Will a highly educated person, lacking in character, stand up and be counted for God, family, and country? No, he’s either neutral or on the other side. Trying to get such a person to act in defense of principle is like nailing an apple pie to the wall, or hugging a cloud, or trying to determine what connection there is, if any, between the National Council of Churches and Jesus Christ.

But the One World humanists claim that building the character of our children to reflect our Christian principles and love of country shows moral immaturity. They remind me of the man who sued his wife for divorce because she was so immature. He said: “Judge, that woman would even barge into the bathroom while I was in the tub, and sink all my boats!”

The only thing some people worship is the ground in which their head is buried. But louder than the noise of the “bad people” is the silence of the “good people.” Many of the “good people” in this country have no higher concern than how to stay awake on a full stomach. As General Van Horn Moseley said: “Those who have the most to lose will be the last to resist.” In fact, some people just refuse to believe that our country is in trouble. They’re like the drunk on the Titanic who, when he heard the crunch, said: “I ordered ice, but this is ridiculous.”

There are even Conservatives who won’t engage in politics until they get a perfect candidate. Like the old maid who had waited so long for the right man to come along. Her little nephew said: “Auntie waited so long for her ship to come in that her pier collapsed.”

Reminds me of the young pastor who was preaching on the imperfections of man: “I myself am guilty of many sins of omission and commission. I dare say there’s not one among you who even thinks he’s perfect.” He was appalled when a little fellow timidly rose in the rear and held up his hand.

“Sir, do you mean to say you think you’re perfect?”

“Oh no, Reverend! I’m just standup in lieu of my wife’s first husband.”

Those of us fighting and working to stop the trashing of our country need to remember that the very word American ends in “I can.” We need to work as if everything depended on us, and pray as if everything depended on God. Why should God do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves? One of the penalties for refusing to participate in public affairs is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. History is not made by Moral Majorities. History is made by dedicated minorities. And inspired individuals.

But don’t wait for “inspiration,” go to work now. Don’t be like those who complain that, being neither a writer or a speaker, there is nothing they can do. Peter didn’t tell Christ, “Sorry, I can’t help you, I’m only an ignorant little fisherman.” God didn’t decree that the only birds in the woods that would sing would be those who sang best. If so, there would be no singing. The bird’s obligation is the same as ours: to sing the best we can.

Tom Anderson was a nationally syndicated columnist, a publisher and farmer, and probably the most entertaining public speaker in our country. He was the American Party candidate for Vice President in 1972 and for President in 1976.

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