Why Conservatism Has Lost the Battle for the U.S. Government

It Was Institutional Insurgency, Not The Political Process

By Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News

History –The Politicians and Non-Politicians

While the politicians normally associated with the rise and success of liberalism/ progressivism include William Jennings Bryan, Teddy Roosevelt, John Dewey and Clarence DarrowJohn Dewey and Clarence Darrow, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Barack H. Obama, there were two other high profile, non-politician Americans who were extremely instrumental in preparing the socio-philosophical-political battlefield for the final victory of liberalism/ progressivism. One was the philosopher, psychologist, and educator, John Dewey, and the other was the criminal defense attorney, Clarence Darrow.

Assault on the Educational System

John Dewey (1859-1952) was born in Vermont and entered into his own as an academic at Johns Hopkins graduate school where he came under the influence of the thinking of the German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel, and his Hegelian Dialectic (that is, a thesis generates an antithesis, generating synthesis, which overcomes the conflict by reconciling at a higher level the truth contained in both the thesis and antithesis). The Hegelian principle that everything is subject to change and, hence improvement, played an important part in Dewey’s development of his philosophy of “instrumentalism.” (Instrumentalism was basically synonymous with the philosophical tradition of “pragmatism,” that is, the linking of theory and practice.) In Dewey’s world guided by instrumentalism, there was no absolute truth. Therefore, everything was malleable and changeable according to how society chose to dictate change through its governing institutions. Dewey’s statist philosophy negates the concept of “free will” as government takes precedence over the individual, and the government’s needs must consequently be paramount over any needs or desires of the individual.

Instrumentalism was the core of Dewey’s belief that, through experimental psychology, he had developed a revolutionary scientific methodology to be applied to the human sciences. He taught as a professor of psychology at the universities of Michigan, Minnesota, and Chicago before settling at Columbia University, where he had a monumental impact on U.S. teacher education through his work at Columbia’s Teachers College. In fact, he is founding father of the current U.S. educational system. Dewey’s most influential work and the one that has been the basis of his success in undermining American public education was Democracy and Education (1916). The premise of this pernicious book, which implanted malignant liberalism/ progressivism like a cancer in the U.S. public school system, was that the individual is only a meaningful human being through his or her contribution to society, and the society only has meaning from its manifestation in the lives of each of its individual societal members. In short, it was Dewey’s belief that society should supersede the individual as the primary purpose and beneficiary of the educational process. The individual existed only to serve society. Socialization trumped factual learning. Not surprisingly, during a 1928 visit to the Soviet Union, Dewey and Soviet educators formed a mutual admiration society, and Dewey borrowed heavily from the Soviet model in his subsequent work.

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