Widespread Rejection of Framers Constitution.
Today most judges and legal scholars march to the sound of a different drum than that heard by the Framers of the Constitution. In fact, in recent years many have had such disdain for the Framers Constitution that they have openly ceased even giving the appearance of respecting it. For example, Professor Leonard W. Levy, a highly regarded constitutional scholar and author has written that the Supreme Court
is and must be for all practical purposes a continuous constitutional convention in the sense that it must keep updating the original charter . . . it simply cannot decide cases on the basis of what the Constitution says. (Against the Law: The Nixon Court and Criminal Justice, by Leonard W. Levy, p. 29-30; Government by Judiciary, by Raoul Berger, p. 342.)
That attitude of disrespect for the Constitution and the Framers who drafted it represents a reversal of the traditional American feeling of near reverence for the Constitution and the Founding Fathers. What caused so great a change? In this Introduction it seems appropriate to comment briefly on a few causes that are particularly pertinent to this study.
The Reece Committee.
After the Second World War many Americans were concerned that the great foundations seemed to be using their grant-making power to undermine traditional American beliefs and attitudes. (It should be emphasized that the comments about the activities of the great foundations do not apply to vast majority of American tax exempt foundations.) In 1953 the House of Representatives appointed the Reece Committee to investigate the question. The committee selected Norman Dodd as its Research Director.
The Ford Foundation.
In a 1977 interview with Michael Loyd Chadwick, Mr. Dodd told of a conversation he had in November 1953 with Roman Gaither, President of the Ford Foundation. Mr. Dodd quoted Mr. Gaither as saying:
Mr. Dodd, we operate here under directives . . . which emanate from the White House . . . . The substance of the directives under which we operate is that we shall use our grant-making power to alter life in the United States so that we can be comfortably merged with the Soviet Union. (Norman Dodd Describes Initial Shock, by Michael Lloyd Chadwick, The Freeman Digest, June 1978, pp. 4-5.) [p. iii]
The great obstacles to such a merger were the Constitution and the American peoples belief in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers. How were those obstacles to be overcome?
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Mr. Dodd also told of an experience he had with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The prior president of that foundation was Alger Hiss who had been sentenced to prison for perjury in denying under oath that he was an agent of the Soviet Union. The new president was a Dr. Joseph Johnson, who did not seem to be as familiar as he might have been with the prior activities of the foundation or the contents of its minute books. He agreed to make the minute books of the foundation available to a member of Mr. Dodds research staff for two weeks. (Ibid. p. 5-6.)
Altering Education to Discredit the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.
The following comments by Mr. Dodd pertain to what the foundations minute books showed about the trustees objectives after the first World War.
They came to the conclusion that . . . they must somehow get control of education in the United States . . . . They then divided the task in parts, giving to the Rockefeller Foundation the responsibility of altering education as it pertains to domestic subjects, but Carnegie retained the task of altering our education as it pertained to subjects beating on our international relationships. (Ibid. p. 6.)
They had in mind the discrediting of the American founders and the demeaning of the nations Constitutional structure of government. So they approached several of the most prominent historians of that day with this proposition but they were turned down flatly. (Ibid. p. 6.)
The Trustees then decided that it was necessary for them to build their own stable of historians. They therefore approached the Guggenheim Foundation which specializes in the awarding of fellowships and said, When we discover a likely young person who is studying and looking forward to becoming a teacher of history, we will take him to London to pursue his studies. So they took 20 or so to London and there they were briefed in what was expected of them. This group then returned and eventually became the most active influence in the American Historical Society. (Ibid. p.6)
This coincides with the appearance . . . of book after book, the contents of which cast aspersion on the early leaders of the country and relegated their ideas to the realm of myth. (Ibid. p. 6.) [p. iv]
The committee reports also document how the textbooks that previously had been used were removed and new textbooks were substituted. Instead of transmitting traditional American beliefs, the new textbooks undermined them. The following are a few extracts from the Reece Committee Final Report on Relations Between Foundations and Education. (Freeman Digest, June 1978, p. 16.)
In the field of education it seems clear that foundations have played an almost controlling part in promoting uniformity and conformity on a national scale. (Ibid. p. 18.)
The aggregate import of this document financed by the Carnegie Corporation was that our American way of life was a failure; that it must give way to a collectivist society; that educators must now prepare the public for a New Order; and traditional American principles must be abandoned. (Ibid. p. 22.)
The story of the Building America textbooks is as good an example as any of the attempt by radical educators financed by foundations to suborn the schools. (Ibid. p. 36.)
Mr. Sargent pointed out instance after instance in which the attempt was made to destroy our traditions and to use the schools for political propaganda. (Ibid.)
The report of the Senate Investigating Committee on Education of the California Legislature . . . severely condemned these books and labeled them as subtle attempts to play up Marxism and to destroy our traditions. (Ibid.)
The books, along with a great amount of propaganda, lampooned some of our great traditional figures such as Lincoln and Jefferson and in contrast exhibited Stalin in friendly light. (Ibid. p. 37.)
The evidence forces the conclusion that the movement which resulted in the use of the school systems to change our social order was basically socialistic in nature. Its purpose was to turn educators into political agitators. The term collectivism was frequently used by the organs and agents of the movement. That term will do as well as socialism if one prefers to use it. (Ibid. p. 39.)
The above is only a tiny sampling of a great amount of material that might be presented to show that at the very least the ideas and attitudes absorbed by students going through our public education system need to be reexamined and contrasted with information withheld from them. It is hoped that such a reexamination will result in the development of a sounder understanding and appreciation of our American constitutional freedom system. [p. v]
Disrespect for Framers Constitution Flows from Different World View.
There is another cause underlying the present widespread disrespect for the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers that should be considered in relation to this study.
It is important to bear in mind that a persons beliefs concerning the nature and function of government and its relationship to the people who live under it are controlled by the persons world view that is an outgrowth of that persons faith.
This applies even to a person who claims to be an atheist or an agnostic. Such a person may feel he is being rational or scientific, but his commitment is still really based on a sort of negative faith.
Influence of Secular Humanist Ideas.
The predominant negative attitude toward the Constitution of the Founding Fathers is not surprising since it is a natural consequence of commitment to the secular humanist faith which was so ardently promoted by John Dewey and has become the predominant faith of our educational establishment.
Since most of our people are products of our educational establishment, it is natural that many of their ideas are secular humanist ideas. This applies even to many who profess to continue their commitment to Christianity.
The success of John Dewey and other secular humanist leaders in inculcating secular humanist ideas into successive rising generations of young Americans is strikingly evident when a person reads the detailed provisions of Humanist Manifesto I and Humanist Manifesto II and the publications of humanist organizations such as the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies and compares those proposals with the politically correct ideas that predominate today.
These comments should not be taken as a blanket criticism of teachers who in many cases try to be as truthful and fair as they can in a difficult situation. But unfortunately too many fine dedicated teachers are unaware that they are being used as instruments to promote a particular religious world view.
The Secular Humanist Vision of Freedom.
While secular humanism professes to favor individual freedom, its vision and method of operating are oriented to molding and controlling people through the compulsion of government laws and regulations. In fact, under secular humanism the very freedom that [p. vi] is considered to be so desirable is itself subject to such limitations and contraction as government officials may deem appropriate.
The secular humanist concept of freedom to the extent the government deems appropriate is strongly reminiscent of the Russian constitution that guarantees freedom to the extent determined by the government.
The similarity to the Russian Constitution is to be expected since Humanist Manifesto I expresses a strong endorsement of socialism and redistribution and Humanist Manifesto II reemphasizes the desirability of society providing for the needs of the poor including a guaranteed annual income.
Founding Fathers Vision of Freedom.
The Constitution arose out of an entirely different world view. It was the Founding Fathers conviction that freedom could not survive under a system in which government is empowered to determine how much freedom the people should have.
The freedom preserving approach the Framers used in the Constitution was to keep the government small and limited to make it possible for freedom to survive. But if government were kept small and limited, how would order be maintained and societal problems be solved.
The approach of the Framers as approved and ratified by the American people was to look to religion and especially Christianity rather than government compulsion to provide the operating power to make it work. This is why John Adams was correct when he made the following statement:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. (The Supreme Court and Public Prayer, by Charles E. Rice, p. 47.)
Secular Humanism Against Christianity.
This brings us to another reason those oriented to secular humanist thinking are so opposed to the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Secular humanism is strongly opposed to Biblical religion and especially Christianity. For example, Humanist Manifesto I clearly states that one of its purposes is to replace Christianity.
In fact, the focus of Humanist Manifesto I is the establishment of a new man-made religion suitable for our modem age. It includes such statements as modem science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values . . . . there will be no uniquely religious emotions and attitudes of the kind hitherto associated with belief in [p. vii] the supernatural . . . . we consider the religious forms and ideas of our fathers no longer adequate . . . . man . . . alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams.
Similarly, Humanist Manifesto II includes such statements as traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-heating God, assumed to love and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith . . . we find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural.
The following quotation from a prize winning article entitled A Religion for a New Age in the Humanist magazine may help shed light on the use of our educational establishment to proselyte students to the secular humanist religion.
I am convinced that the battle for humankinds future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity . . . . These teachers . . . will be ministers . . . utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level . . . . The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the newthe rotting corpse of Christianity . . . and the new faith of humanism. (A Religion for a New Age, by John J. Dunphy, Humanist, Vol. 43, No. 1 [January/February 1983], p. 26, quoted in Who Owns the Children, by Blair Adams, p. 11.)
Extent of American Belief in Religion and Especially Christianity as the Operative Principle of the Framers Constitution.
Some may question whether the Framers really looked to religion and especially Christianity to be the operative principle of the Constitution and whether the American people realized it and approved of it. Here is what was reported by Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman who traveled extensively in the United States in the 1830's and spoke to many Americans who were alive during the founding era of our country.
I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion . . . but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society. (Democracy m America, by Alexis de Tocqueville, Vol. I, p. 316.)
How strongly the Americans felt about the relationship between religion and freedom is indicated in this statement by de Tocqueville.
The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other. (Ibid. p. 317.) [p. viii]
The Purpose of this Work.
The purpose of this work is to discuss the principles and provisions of the United States Constitution in the light of the tradition of the Founding Fathers. That tradition is not only unashamedly religious, but it recognizes religion as an indispensable ingredient for the successful functioning of our constitutional system.
Since Latter-day Saints have been charged with a special responsibility to uphold and protect the Constitution, this work includes many references to LDS teachings.
It is my hope that all will benefit from this work regardless of their religious affiliation.
Jerome Horowitz [p. 1]
The Constitution of the Founding Fathers
By Jerome Horowitz