*BAIT AND SWITCH*

A new friend of mine, Brian Rogers, publishes an interesting blog at http://faithpoetrythought.blogspot.ca. He touches occasionally upon freedom issues, although with a much more muscular and academic erudition than I bring to the task.

On February 4/17 Brian published some thoughts with the intriguing headline “The Bait and Switch.” What was the subject? Freedom! More specifically, he considers what freedom should mean in the delivery of public education.

Authoritarians have baited the public education trap they set for the rest of us with cheese that looks and smells like freedom! Send your children to us, they claim, so that we may teach them to be free to question every prejudice and belief, to hold on only to what stands up under scrutiny.

That is, teach them to be free to question every prejudice and belief except one, which must remain unchallenged: the prejudice that says that the meaning of human life does not, and can not, depend upon a transcendent source – that prejudice must remain unquestioned!

No one must be free to drink of the wisdom, the poetry, and the virtue of those who have gone before us challenging that authoritarian principle which prohibits finding transcendent meaning.

A wise person recently pointed out that if we accept only scientific proof as rational and declare everything else irrational, then we exclude from rational reflection most of the searching and deepest questions human beings face: those areas in which empirical proof is not possible, which require rational reflection – judgment, not proof.

Whatever that bait cheese might look and smell like, what you get isn’t really freedom! By ruling out an option that is unacceptable to them, authoritarians have sprung a cruel trap on our children and those of us who entrust our children to the public education system. They have switched the bait for something deadly.

Why do I call this an authoritarian bait and switch? It’s because the prejudice against finding meaning in transcendent sources ultimately serves those in power by snuffing out higher loyalties than those which we owe to state authorities.

Even those whose beliefs reject finding meaning in any transcendent source, if they wisely value freedom, will not raise their belief to unquestionable status. They know that what goes around will eventually come around. Sooner or later their belief too will be prohibited.
STEPHEN WOODWORTH

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