The president has begun to address the difference between Islam and the terrorist teachings at the root of the supposed new caliphate called Isis. This is an effort of study, and of liberal education. Unfortunately, for the past twenty or thirty years, we have been systematically destroying liberal education in America. The only goals of education that are publicly admissible, addressed by our president or Governor, have been the goals of jobs, or “opportunity,” and technology. This destruction of education has become so bad that Representative Lucido suggested a civics test for High School graduates. As addressed in a blog, and a letter to him, does he realize that Michigan schools do not study government past the eighth grade? And how will the studies currently funded – such as the one about cockroaches, or the one about trans-fats, or caffeine, how will these studies help us to separate out Islam, with whom we are not at war, from the terrorists, with whom we are at war? All that money, given by the entrepreneurs to the universities, and little did they know that these would be the funded studies.
We have done everything with education except education. We have used the offices to promote our infantile ideas of of numerical equality, destroying the previously white male dominated departments of political science and philosophy. Because these departments were, prior to affirmative action, white male dominated, only non white and non-white males have been hired to full time teaching positions in the past 15 years. There are no unemployed non-white male PhDs in these disciplines, while it is well known that for the past twenty years, white males would not be hired except as adjuncts, part time teachers paid about minimum wage. So, at every community college in the nation, all the adjuncts are white males, while all the full time professors, those paid like professionals, rather than soda jerks, are either not white males or were hired before affirmative action or are nearing retirement. Find the statistics, if you doubt this. The Statistics are not kept, but my guess is 80-90 % of full time jobs in political science and philosophy departments have gone for quota stuffing by the universities, to fulfill federal requirements. This despite the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbids racial preference, for everyone, and not only the some who are more equal than others. Ah, but we have not studied the constitution since eighth grade!
One would think that a PhD in human studies: politics, philosophy, literature, psychology, history, theology- would have the schools looking for these persons. But there is an army of advanced liberal arts degree scholars who are forbidden to teach in High Schools because they do not have “certification.” To teach in High Schools, one must get a Bachelors degree and no more, then take up a special study, once described as how to set up a class room and to be sensitive to other races. These are things we ought have learned in Kindergarten. We grant that how to avoid lawsuits for the district may be a more difficult study. For this we turn to the law scholars, whose goal has been not justice and how to apply the law, but how to make money suing one another. These are trades, and not liberal studies. The same for that science of how to make money proscribing drugs for every malady imaginable, now called psychology and psychiatry. And again for that of how to write grants for studies. We haven studied almost nothing but the greatest books, and taken up residence with the greatest minds of mankind, and we were unemployable in the Michigan education system, and probably anywhere in America. Had we turned our political studies to how to win elections, or been willing to subject the science of the soul to the more limited purposes of government agencies, we may have done well.
The president is right that the distinction between moderate or conservative and radical Islam is crucial to preventing our trouble with certain terrorist groups from becoming a major war. President Bush popularized the phrase “hijacked Islam,” saying that the terrorists had taken over Islam as a hijacker takes a plane. It is extremely important that conservative Islam see this distinction, and it is not guaranteed that they will. The terrorists want the conservatives to see this as a war between the Christian West and Islam, in part because we would not allow them to destroy Israel. The key for us is to drive a wedge between conservative and terrorist Islam. We cannot do this ourselves, because they cannot listen to us. It is a bit like an Islamic Imam trying to persuade David Koresh that Jesus thinks what he is doing is unjust. But we can call for Islamic teachers to clarify these matters. Certain organizations, such as that of Usef Islam (Cat Stevens) promote Islamic education, but the Koran does not emphasize study and critical thinking. So, like our faith-based Biblical teachings, they are in trouble when authority authorizes a false or limited teaching. The authorities must make the distinctions and then teach them, and this raises the question of how, if they were blindly obeying authority, these terrorist movements could get started at all. Something very fishy is at the root of this. The revenge of conservative ethics and the love of one’s own group do not quite explain the limitless injustice and cruelty of these apocalyptic tyrannies. But like the atheistic apocalyptic tyrannies, these kill more of their own people than the targeted enemy. The true interest of conservative Islam is clearly on the side of humanity.
I have begun again a reading of the Koran, beginning with my current hypotheses, that it is about Justice and Charity, that Mohammed brought the Monotheism of Abraham to the Arabs, and that while it does not prohibit war nor the self defense of Islam, does not promote injustice of any kind against either Jews or Christians. The Koran is medieval, written in the seventh century, while the Christian scriptures are ancient, and this matters, because medieval religion includes persecution. In the first two chapters, the Koran calls on the believer to have faith in this book and message or face the fires of hell, and this is more than in the whole of scripture combined. The medieval picture of the world can barely be squeezed out of the Old and New Testaments. But this islamofascism, this new tyranny, may be a certain revenge of the medieval, in the history of the conflicts between East and West. I have learned from Chapter 2 that Mohammed intends to reject both Moses and Jesus, as additions to the religion of Abraham, and to base Islam on this. I had thought Islam followed the Ten Commandments. Still, they must follow the law after Noah. There are teachings of charity and chastity, if the old traditional or conservative ethics are sometimes imposed despotically. There are amazing teachings, too, like about Khadir and the Ephesian youths in Chapter 17. The apocalyptic teachings will be the most important. We have the three frogs of Revelation 16, and the possibility that terrorist Islam is the False Prophet. It seems way too early, but these are the three who by ideology gather the three who come toward Armageddon.
More interesting is the strange sense of allusions to works like the Nativity of Mary and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, as though these works, reprinted in the Roberts and Donaldson, were available in Byzantium. The Quran is another window into these things. I received my text from the official Islam people, and promise to treat it with respect, though not because we fear anyone. In certain circumstances, we only read secular works, out of respect for the texts and the people of the texts.
We have always, though, been gravely concerned that the teaching of Christianity is forbidden most Islamic nations, and appeal to them to allow it. But consider the things forbidden in the American colonies before the Declaration! Our openness is the revolutionary teaching, and is foreign to most the rest of the world.
I should have been able to read the Koran a long tome ago. But since my studies are not funded, I have never had the time. My nation has had me painting, doing labor, and rolling my own cigarettes, because these are the truly important things. I have written on the Revelation, which is published above, and on music, which is soon to be published, because these studies might actually sell, and so the effort can be justified regarding my creditors, as the only way I will prevent the people from being stuck with my school loans.
Another reason that I do not like to talk about the Koran and the Revelation is that our government may construe this study with whatever suspicion they wish, and our constitutional rights have become meaningless. No one would do anything if someone started piling on their general terms that sound bad to make a particular seem to fit that does not fit. (There is no English word for this practice, a shadow casting done with words). I could easily be an adherent of a “fringe ideology” that thinks apocalyptic-ally. Better watch those guys! And what do we care? Perhaps our government will infiltrate these suspicious sorts. Maybe they could get one suspicious sort to fall in love with their infiltrator. Is that not the most effective surveillance? But what do we care? And who would ever do anything about it? So maybe it is safer to leave these studies alone, since security is the only good. Or perhaps the president, as the only person free of the U. S. executive agencies, has the liberty needed for such an inquiry.
In my book on the Revelation, I had warned as early as 2010 of a more radical group arising out of Iraq. It was clear that Al Qaeda was beating us strategically, by sparking civil war with the Shiites. I also suggested we consider how we would respond to an attack on Rome. Foresight is one result of education, but its cultivation is not the same as “jobs” and “technology.” We can be mistaken. But read Plato’s Republic, in book VII, about the turning of the soul. This is the most important thing about the nature of man and education, and our psychology cannot even approach its study. They do not even admit that there is a psyche or soul, so that we sometimes have to say, “That thing your thinking with, and the thing I’m talking to, that is thinking.” But if we do not know the highest faculties of the soul, we do not know the health of the soul, nor can we hold a single thing correctly in the science of education, except by accident. Our scientists look at neurons lighting up in areas of the brain, and, following a freshman philosophy error, think this is knowledge.
If anyone wants to come along, I am going to take up my Introduction to Philosophy course, which I used to teach at St. Mary’s of Orchard Lake. I want to write on Plato’s Euthyphro, since my philosophic friends think, from my New Testament studies, that I must have forgotten the most elemental things about the conflict between religion and Philosophy. We used to do this book, along with Apology and Crito, in the Introduction to Philosophy class at Salem Academy. Perhaps we could have Salem Academy Online, and even publish a newsletter with essays and miscellany. We also did classes on Plato’s Republic, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet. We tried to do books of the Bible, Genesis, Exodus, Job, Daniel and Revelation. The project died for lack of a place. As the fool says, “…a house to put his head in.”
The liberal arts are dependent upon society for support, and yet society cannot possibly understand them. But it turns out that liberal education is the one thing most necessary to national security, when our people and our policy makers cannot distinguish between Shiite and Sunni, Islam and Isis, nor between liberty and tyranny. What part of the goals of Jobs and technology covers these things?
Next we will blog on how liberal arts is one of the few things we can do to counter the emptiness of soul that allows for drug addiction in America.
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