"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
~Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
~John Adams, 2nd President of the United States
What if "the whole mass of the people" are educated and informed, but in the wrong way? If education does not include morality and religion, what of our Constitution? If education does not preserve and promote the principals and values that lead to liberty, what of our liberty?
It is certainly possible to educate and inform and at the same time destroy liberty. The children being "educated" in Islamic State schools today will certainly not grow up promoting liberty - especially not for women or religious minorities. The children educated under the communist regime of Mao Tse-Tung, or in the former USSR, were not "informed" in ways that lead to lasting liberty. Tyrants everywhere use education to teach children the "proper" worldview in order to maintain their tyranny.
If we want liberty, if we want to remain a free people, then WHAT is taught in our schools and HOW it is taught are critically important. An educated and informed citizenry can maintain liberty only if their education has inculcated in each one the principles that preserve liberty. And what are those principles? There are many, touching on standards and practices of government, of economics, of social reform, of cultural plurality, of freedom of expression and assembly, and so on. These many, though, must find their foundation in a smaller set of guiding principles about who people are and how they should be treated. The most free nations the world has ever seen have been those informed by and grounded in this smaller set of principles, which are ultimately moral and religious principles having their origins in the Christian Bible.
The evidence is overwhelming that a fundamentally Biblical orientation toward humanity, morality, and religion formed the foundations of the US Republic, and were a routine part of our Founder's thinking and vision, including Adams and Jefferson. The historical evidence is overwhelming that countries and cultures that largely embrace these Biblical principles become markedly more free than those that do not.
We have a tremendous heritage of liberty in the United States. Is the education of our children promoting morals, principles, practices, and religion that will tend to lead toward the preservation and promotion of that liberty? If a primary objective is to maintain our status as a free people, how well are we building an educated and informed citizenry that knows what liberty requires, and is committed to personal action that promotes the common good in our communities and across our nation?
Happy Independence Day! May we never assume that freedom is the norm, (history tells us it is not!) or that a free people need not work to maintain their liberty!