Interview Samuel Blumenfeld - Part 2 - EC342

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Interview Samuel Blumenfeld, Part 2
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 40
Length: 0:55:24
TapeCode: ec342
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 342, July the fifth, 1995.

In this session Douglas Murray, Andrew Sandlin and I will continue to interview Sam Blumenfeld on the subject of education. As I stated in the previous session, Sam is an authority on phonics and on home schooling and has lectured on the subjects here and abroad.

Would you like to take over and guide us into another area of investigation or continue whatever you were dealing with?

[Blumenfeld] Well, there is the ... an area of interest that many parents are concerned about and that is this business of learning disabilities, reading disability, attention deficit disorder. It is an interesting notion that children, you know, would have a deficit in attention. And it is easy to figure out. If you look at what is being done in the schools in the first three grades, particularly with the three Rs, in the primary school. You realize they are doing everything in reverse now. They are no longer teaching the letter sounds before they teach words. So they do that in reverse. The children are exposed to a very illogical way of teaching reading. They are then taught a very illogical way of writing, because they are taught to print first and then they are expected to write cursive in the third grade. Many of them don’t make a good transition, because if you spend two years printing you may develop habits that make it impossible to develop a good cursive. In arithmetic they have done the same thing. They are teaching concepts before they even teach the facts. And now they say that it is no longer necessary to memorize the arithmetic facts, that... of course there is this... this great deprecation of rote learning as being some horrible form of torture, you see, whereas rote learning is really ... is... is the easiest way to learn anything and that is the way we certainly learned arithmetic.

So you have got this reversal going on and it is very illogical and so when children develop attention deficit disorder, what it is telling us is that children do not want to pay attention to nonsense. In other words, they don’t want their minds to be harmed by the illogic of what is being taught in the classroom, because children come to school with a very logical mind. They teach themselves to speak their own language all by themselves. [00:03:11]

As a matter of fact, the Lord has programmed us all...[edit]

As a matter of fact, the Lord has programmed us all with the language faculty. He has programmed us with a grammatical sense, because when children learn to speak, they speak grammatically. They don’t speak ungrammatically. It is normal for them to learn to speak grammatically because they have got a logical mind. God has given us logic software. He has given us a logical mind.

Now when that logical mind then confronts the illogic, the insanity of what presently goes on in the primary school and particularly in kindergarten and first grade, the child develops what is called attention deficit disorder. What does that mean? The child simply refuses to pay attention to what he ... he instinctively feels is illogical and he is trying to defend himself against it.

Now can a child defend himself against what he... the illogic that is trying to damage his brain? Well, I will pose a situation to you. Supposing you were locked in a room and had to listen to heavy metal music for six hours and you know that it would rattle your nerves that you couldn’t stand it. How would you defend yourself? What would you do? You would try to shut it out of your ears. You wouldn’t pay attention it. That is for sure, would you? You would try to shut it out of your ears. You would do something that would nullify the racket that was going on.

Well, these children are doing something quite similar. They are trying to nullify the ... this damaging stimuli, because, you know, that is how the educators look at things as stimulus and response. That is the behavioral technique, stimulus response, S R. And so the only way that they can defend themselves is by developing this attention deficit disorder.

Now what does... what are the... how do the educators solve the problem? Well, they just drug the kids. Ritalin is now being used all over this country. There are some elementary classrooms in which 50 percent of the kids, as many as 50 percent are on Ritalin. Prozac now is being used as one of the drugs, Thorazine. All of these drugs are being used to enable them to control the children so that their minds will be susceptible to this illogical nonsense, so that it will be easier to destroy their minds by destroying their defenses against this illogic.

[Voice] I haven’t heard anyone make the connect yet, but wouldn’t it be feasible to say that teen alcoholism and possibly teen use of drugs is simply their attempt to shut this out, their anesthetizing themselves?

[Blumenfeld] Well, once they, you know, once they can’t read, once they have been... once their minds have been destroyed, badly damaged, it is easier to fall prey to teen pressure an to get into drugs and alcohol, because that is the thing to do. That is what teenage pressure is all about. That is why... that sort of socialization is so destructive because in addition to the destruction that is going on on the academic level, you know have this social destruction and it is very difficult for kids to defend themselves against these... these terrible influences. [00:07:05]

[Voice] You have the great irony that the educators...[edit]

[Voice] You have the great irony that the educators become angry at... at the results that their very policies established in the first place.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yeah, yeah. But... but... but as you know, they know how to... how to manage things. First of all, you have to understand that education today is not in the hands of what you call true teachers or true educators. It is in the hands of psychologists. The system now is controlled lock, stock and barrel from bottom to top by behavioral psychologists or third, fourth psychologists, whatever you want to call it, but they are basically psychologists and it started way back in the early part of the century with G. Stanley Hall and John Dewey and Watson {?} Watson of whom Rush writes in his book The Messianic Character of American Education.

As a matter of fact, in that book you will find wonderful short biographical studies of all of these individuals. And I think, Rush, in all... of all of those individuals that you studied in that book, how many were Christians who remain Christians?

[Rushdoony] Just one of the early men.

[Blumenfeld] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] I believe Harris was his name.

[Blumenfeld] William Torrey Harris.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] He was a Hegelian, actually.

[Rushdoony] True, but he still had a nominal Christian connection.

[Blumenfeld] I see, I see. Well, in any case, most of them were Humanists or all of them were virtually Humanists or Unitarians or ... and ... and so they... they... they turned American education from a truly place where you learn to a place where you were transformed, where you were worked on, where you were given therapy. [00:09:03]

When Rush and I went to school the...[edit]

When Rush and I went to school the... the teachers were not interested in our feelings or our beliefs or our values. They wanted to add to what we brought from home. They wanted to make us literate and... and of course we respected them and we loved them, because they were doing the right thing by us. They were giving us something which our parents were not giving us and certainly they were not doing anything that would harm our relationship with our parents or would change our values or change our beliefs. Today the whole purpose of public education is to reorganize the belief system of the child.

[Voice] And so it is a tool of social engineering also, clearly.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yeah, yeah. It is a tool of social engineering.

[Rushdoony] One of the problems parents whose children are put on Ritalin face is that if they protest they are put down as very dangerous parents, social reactionaries and implicitly Fascists.’

[Blumenfeld] Yeah, another interesting point about public education is the compulsory aspect of it, compulsory school attendance. The first compulsory school attendance law was passed in Massachusetts in the 1850s. And prior to that 96 percent of the children were attending school without any problem. You didn’t have to force parents to send their children to school. It was in the... especially in America where education was considered absolutely vital and certainly literacy was very high on the list because of the need for biblical literacy, so parents had no objection to them sending their kids to school and the few kids who were.... who were truant were out there and... and it was the ... the Unitarians who decided that it was wrong for that small group of truants not to be in the schools, because they said, they are going to be the delinquents, the criminals of tomorrow. And so they enacted these laws and now they are, you know, universal in the United States, these compulsory school attendance laws and they are always being expanded. They are always expanding the beginning stage, you know. Now I believe they want to go as... as early as three years old, that they would like to if they can do it. And they are going all the way up to 18 to keep these kids in school forever.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Blumenfeld] And separating them from the productive economy except when these kids want to get jobs.

But you have more kids on the streets today who have been expelled from schools than you ever had before these laws were passed simply because they can’t handle them.

[Voice] Kansas City is a good case in point. They just announced on the radio today that of the graduating class was very small from the high schools in Kansas City because 60 percent of the kids had dropped out. [00:12:11]

[Blumenfeld] Oh, and the reason why they drop out is...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] Oh, and the reason why they drop out is quite understandable. By the time the kids are in the sixth and seventh grade they realize they are not learning anything. They realize that it is a total waste of time, of their time. And they would rather be out in the world getting job, because I remember when I was substitute teaching in Quincy, Massachusetts I was dealing with a group of kids who were dropouts. And this was an English class and we were reading All Quiet on the Western Front.

Now the... the courts have ordered these kids in the schools assuming that they are going to do something worthwhile. But all they were doing was reading a novel which, of no great interest to them. And it was a waste of their time. They could have been out earning a living, you see.

For example, in some states they want to deny kids driver’s licenses if they drop out saying that you have to stay and you can’t get a driver’s license. Well, these kids need the license in order to go to work. They are out there in the world and the judge is not at all concerned with what they do in the school when they are forced to be back in the school.

[Voice] Well, Sam, is there a connection between the unusually high teen suicide rate in this country and this destruction of the minds of kids?

[Blumenfeld] Oh, absolutely, because one of the ... one of the ... the... the courses that... or... or... that the psychologists have put into education is known as death education in which the kids are required to write their own obituaries, their own epitaphs. They talk about death a great deal. They visit funeral homes, funeral parlors or, as a matter of fact, one of the TV programs, I think it was 20/20 actually did a piece on death education through some influence of... of friends of mine. And they had a camera follow these kids into this funeral home which is part of their death education program and the mortician brought them into the room where they were embalming, you know, corpses. And there was this one corpse under a... under a sheet, but his toe was sticking out and he asked if any kid would like to touch the toe just to see what it feels like to touch a dead person.

And then he took them into the crematorium and he opened the little door and there were some ashes there and he took a little shovel and he asked them if they would like to touch the ashes. [00:15:03]

Well, some kids were daring enough to be...[edit]

Well, some kids were daring enough to be... there were other kids who were standing against the wall who looked as if they were about to pass out. I mean, that is the sort of thing that goes on in American schools today.

So this... this preoccupation, this focus on death is, as Rush has pointed out, it is Humanism, humanistic education is ... is teaches a love of death, you see.

[Voice] Absolutely.

[Blumenfeld] But he... they who hate me love death.

[Voice] Love death. That is right.

[Blumenfeld] You see?

[Voice] Sam, you are completely a book dealing with this Goals 2000 O B E, it goes under different names. Would you just take some time, maybe, to discuss that and the threat that this poses to education in this country?

[Blumenfeld] Well, the book is entitled The Whole Language O B E Fraud. And what I have done is I have gone through the history of the whole reading problem beginning way back with Dewey and the rest of them and bringing it up into the present time with whole language which is a new development of this whole word method with very... very strong deconstructionist elements in it now. We have ... we have all heard of Deconstructionism, you know, that it is taking apart a text and...and... and making it meaningless because words are supposed to have ... not have meaning. And how philosophers are able to just say that and actually write about it and expect us to understand what they mean is the sort of a contradiction in terms, isn’t it? And now they have applied it to primary teaching, to the teaching of reading. They have told the kids that now youngsters, kids, don’t read the text for its accuracy, for what the writer writes. Read it for what you think it should say, you see.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] And... and they call it, you know, creative... you create your meaning. You don’t retrieve meaning from the text, but you create your own meaning and, of course, that opens the doors to such an incredible lunacy. And the kids are being taught that way, to substitute words, to, you know, edit the thing, to interpret it, because they claim that there are no absolute meanings to anything.

[Voice] Well, we have a Supreme Court that has been doing that of a number of years, don’t we?

[Blumenfeld] You are right in a sense.

But this whole... this whole business of Relativism, that nothing is absolute, is part of the philosophical drive to destroy the sense of Absolutism which is the Word of God and the Bible. And, of course, that is our... and that is what America is based on. It is based on Scripture. It is based on Absolutism. And I think what has happened is that the philosophers have reached a dead end. And {?} more or less realized that, that they... that modern philosophy had reached a dead end. The had to now deal with meaning, with words, with language and if they could destroy that, then there was nothing else to do. Then you would just go back to pre literate times which is what? Barbarism. [00:18:32]

[Voice] That is right...[edit]

[Voice] That is right.

[Blumenfeld] Total complete, you know, cave man Barbarism. And this is... this is so contrary to the needs of a technological civilization that how can you have an education system that is using Barbarism as its... as its basic view of language, this... this preliterate sense and... and ... and keep a civilization like this going.

[Voice] Well, you know, there guys argued against this... what he calls the logo centrism idea.

[Blumenfeld] Right.

[Voice] The logic centered view of meaning. And really the opposite is a barbaric...

[Blumenfeld] Right, right. You make up your own language. You make up your own meaning. What kind of a society can you have?

I think they are just totally destructive of this {?}.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] I was using in some writing I was doing for the report a book today, a book without words, pictures by a professor of art. Not a one of the pictures had any meaning to it. They were all meaningless scribbles. And on the back cover of the book one prominent contemporary observer said that this man’s art represented the universe, because the universe has no meaning. Therefore, if you portray a meaningless art, you are accurately portraying the universe around us.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Now, given that factor, sooner or later they are going not have to say, “Why education? Why not prepare children for nothing but a life of pleasure?”

[Voice] That is right, Rush.

[Rushdoony] They are already doing that in a great deal of what they are teaching.

[Voice] Oh, sure.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Rushdoony] So little by little they are going to reduce all children to the level of mindless Polynesians who are interested only in pleasure and have no morality.

[Voice] Just a pure Hedonism.

[Rushdoony] A pure Hedonism. Yes.

[Blumenfeld] Well, that is exactly what we are getting.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Blumenfeld] Are children who have no sense of what it is to go out into the world and to work for a living. [00:21:05]

Although you... and I will tell you, you know the human race is not as easy to destroy as the liberals and the Deconstructionists would like to accomplish.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] You know, it is common grace.

[Blumenfeld] Because I am ... I am always astounded at the number of kids who come out of public schools with their heads still screwed in all {?} and who go out and get jobs and...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ...and who do whatever they have to do. It is a shame that so much of their time has been wasted in these schools that teach nothing, but they have to really educate themselves, you see, when they get out of these... these public schools. And then, of course, you... you can’t ignore the fact that there are some decent teachers throughout the public school system. The system is big enough so that there are many teachers there who do their work quietly, who are decent human beings, Christians, who try to do a decent job and do influence some kids in a positive way. So because they can’t get rid of all the good teachers. They can’t get rid of the all of the Christians and ... but my point is that is that you take... you take an awful chance when you put a child in the public school because you don’t know what you are going to get. You are playing a sort of Russian roulette.

[Voice] Yes. There is a very high percentage of teachers that send their own kids to...

[Blumenfeld] Yeah.

[Voice] ... to private schools.

[Blumenfeld] Absolutely.

[Voice] Well, it is so illogical. Back in the Cold War would we have wanted to send our children to be educated by Communists? You know, in Russia? We would say oh, no. And yet why would Christians want to turn their children over to the enemy, people who are ideologically opposed to the faith? Well, it just doesn’t make any sense.

[Blumenfeld] You know, the ironic thing about the teaching of reading is that in Russia they don’t have such a thing as ... or in the Communist countries they don’t have such a thing as... as dyslexia or reading disability, because they have used intensive phonics to teach reading in the Soviet block.

Now how did that happen? Well, early in the revolution, after the revolution {?}, Lenin’s wife was greatly influenced by John Dewey. And she put in the look say method and the Dewey program in the schools of Russia and it created such learning problems, so much illiteracy that the central committee of the Communist Party in 1932 made a complete reversal. They threw out the Dewey program and they reinstituted a strong phonetic method of teaching reading. And also they went back to subject matter. And as a result they produced engineers and ... and, you know, and scientists who were able to do even under that kind of Stalinist regime, were able to build this huge, you know, industrial machine that exists in the Soviet Union. Now they didn’t have freedom, but they knew how to read and the only way that they could be prevented from reading the books they wanted was through censorship. [00:24:16]

Now our educators in ...[edit]

Now our educators in 1932 were very much aware of the experiment failed in Russia. They knew that it had produced the kind of results that forced the Communist Party to reverse itself and yet they proceeded to inflict American children, to impose on American children the very system of education which the Soviets had thrown out. And this was written about in American publications and their disappointment in the Soviet Union and I... and critics on our side also pointed out that, hey, the... it has failed. Why are we doing it here? Why are we going to put it in here?

And all of that this been forgotten now. Nobody thinks about that and nobody knows about it. But it is in my book and I quote all of these various professors and writers who knew what was going on there and so this story is revealed for all to read.

And it points out that ... that this method of teaching does cause these problems and that our educators decided to keep these at the school, in the schools deliberately because they wanted to transform this country into whatever their image was of a... of a Socialist society.

[Voice] And this is part of the impetus behind the Goals 2000 O B E, too, is that not correct?

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes, yes. Outcome based education is simply the ... it certainly turns American public schools into humanist parochial schools, because the outcomes are humanist outcomes. And part of that program is to reorganize the mentality of the young people so that they will become humanists. Or you know, when people say, “Well, what is wrong with outcomes?” There is nothing wrong with outcomes. I mean, Christian schools have outcomes. Catholics... the outcome of the Catholic school is supposed to be a good Catholic, you know, who can read and read and write. The outcomes that the Humanists want, of course, are humanistic outcomes. And, as you know, Humanism is a religion. It is not merely a... a philosophy. It is a religion. And there is among Humanists this dispute over whether Humanism is a religion or whether it is anti religion, non religion.

But even Atheism is a religion.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] Wouldn’t you say that, Rush, that Atheism is a... is a... is a religious view?

[Rushdoony] Yes. Religion in most cases is not a belief in God. It is a belief in man, in spirits, in forces. But most religions are not theistic.

[Blumenfeld] So that would explain it, you know. So even the... even the Atheist Humanists who claim that they are not religious... they just don’t like the word religion, because it has got the connotation of ... of Theism and also of belief in... in Mysticism. See, many of those Humanists are very much against New Age, practices which they think is, you know, a denial of reason, a denial of rationality. [00:27:44]

[Rushdoony] One of the things I feel that inadequate...[edit]

[Rushdoony] One of the things I feel that inadequate attention is given to is the whole question of language learning and television. I think one of the great corrupters of vocabulary in recent years has been television. If you think back to the 30s, 40s and 50s the average student was not only literate, but his vocabulary was fairly good. And you have to remember, of course, that when I went to school in the 20s and 30s the average student was subjected to a great deal of poetry. And poetry is superb in teaching people the rhythm of language and the beauty of language.

For example, a month or so ago Dorothy and I were in Cajun country in Louisiana, the heart of the old Evangeline country. Coming back it was interesting to us how very few people who are below 60 knew anything about Evangeline. And that was a bit of a shock, because everyone of our age had been exposed to Longfellow’s poem “This is the forest primeval,” and so on. And the beautiful and very sad tale of Evangeline going back to 1750 when with the French and Indian War the French settlers in Arcadia, Newfoundland were transported and dumped at various ports in the American Colonies and some of them struck out across the wilderness for Louisiana knowing it was French territory. And people were separated at times from their loved ones.

Well, we were exposed to good literature and to poetry and we knew the English language. But today the jargon and corrupt patois of television is routine on television. And most children learn more from television than they do from the modern public school. There result is we have a situation of very great decline linguistically.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, absolutely. As a matter of fact, that is one of the great terrible things that is happening to our culture is this decline in vocabulary.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:30:52]

[Voice] In use of words and it was a ...[edit]

[Voice] In use of words and it was a ... there was an organization that counts... that does a... a research on ... on language usage, on vocabulary. And they have come to the conclusion that Americans are losing vocabulary at a rate of one percent a year, that the vocabulary of the average American is shrinking. And I remember reading an article about that in a... in a Dallas newspaper in which he said that the people who rise to the highest levels in government and industry are those with the biggest vocabularies.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] That vocabulary plays a very important role in how one fares in life.

[Voice] People... adults are no longer ashamed to sell poorly.

[Blumenfeld] Well, I know. Even teachers can’t spell these days. That is the horrible thing about it.

[Voice] It is the old adage of readers will be leaders, you see.

[Blumenfeld] Yeah, absolutely.

[Voice] And to{?} critically and that is where they lost the...

[Blumenfeld] You are right. Readers will be leaders. Now I happen to be tutoring a youngster. I was asked by these friends of mine in Concord, Mass to tutor their son, Bond, who was in the first grade. He was being very poorly educated. As a matter of fact, he was... he couldn’t read because they were using whole language in his class. All he was doing was guessing and... and looking up in the air and all kinds of things and so his mother wanted me to teach him to read.

Well, I started teaching him to read and I ... I was almost in a state... a despairing of his ever being able to learn, because I mean, it was so difficult for him to just focus his eyes on the... on the letters that the only way I could get him to focus was to have him spell the world. You know, so he had to actually look at the letters. And he would squirm and he was all over the place and trying to look at the words sideways and upside down and finally, gradually I was able to break down that... these awful habits and now he is an excellent phonetic reader. [00:33:12]

He still has a few little bad habits and I keep stressing...[edit]

He still has a few little bad habits and I keep stressing that accuracy is more important than speed. But the point I am making is this. What I do with him is I have him read books that were written in the 1850s and 60s because the vocabulary is richer. The sentences are longer. And here he is now in second grade and he is ... and we started reading a book that I told him that only high schoolers can read and so he was quite ... now he wants to read that, you see.

So progress can be made, but he would have been a basket case had he remained in public school And yet I realize that the only way to... to enhance his literacy is to have him read old books. Like for example, the Henty books. One of these days I am going to introduce him to the Henty books which are...

[Rushdoony] Good.

[Blumenfeld] ... very rich in vocabulary and tell excellent stories. That is where we get our vocabulary from. Rush and I got our vocabulary from books.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] Reading. We didn’t get it from the radio. We didn't get it from...

[Voice] That is right.

[Blumenfeld] ... from the playground and we ... we didn't get it from our parents. My parents didn’t even speak. You know, they spoke broken English, so I didn’t it from them. We got it from reading Shakespeare and from reading Milton and reading Dickens and reading great works of literature. That is where you get vocabulary.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] And all of that is gone.

[Rushdoony] Well, in the 1940s into the beginning of the 1950s I was a missionary on an isolated Indian reservation. They spoke at home and on the playground and everywhere else either Paiute or Shoshone. English was a school language or a church language.

Now the interesting thing was, because the radio reception was meager and poor and this was before television, the English of these children was school English. It was good. And in recent years as I have seen the deterioration of spoken English by young people who come from generations of American background, I am appalled.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] They do not speak as well as those Indian children did. And I am sure those children have been corrupted in their speech nowadays. But we have a language crisis. Ours is a civilization that depends on literacy. The reading of the Bible is diminishing in many circles. Newspapers are shutting down one by one in any cities across country, because of a lack of readers. [00:36:21]

And so we have a crisis of the English language...[edit]

And so we have a crisis of the English language.

[Blumenfeld] That is true. And... and... but the point is, you see, what the educators are saying that... well, reading isn’t as ... isn’t as important as it used to be because we have got all this oral communication and visual communication and image communication so that really the written word what they have done is downgraded the value...

[Voice] That is right.

[Blumenfeld] ...of the written word. And, of course, the big secret is, however, is that if you want to become a member of the elite, you have to be illiterate.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] So, you see, this is the ... this is the ... you might say the strategy of the elite...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ... to keep things for themselves, to dumb down everybody else and to reserve true literacy for a very small group of people.

You take, for example, Bill Clinton. I don’t think much of his politics or his ideology, but he is a good reader. He has got good vocabulary. What he does with it is unfortunate. But he knows how to read.

[Voice] They are... they are writing in a code that is hard to decipher. You are reading to a business communication, political statements.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yeah.

[Voice] They are virtually written in a code that the average person can’t understand. Judicial decrees, any legal document...

[Voice] A lot of academic reports.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] Insurance policies.

[Voice] Right.

[Voice] The average person, you know, they are being worked over by all these groups.

[Voice] Right.

[Voice] And they... they don’t know... they can’t understand it.

[Voice] But you are right, Sam. It is sort of the revival of the bread and circuses for the masses, you know.

[Blumenfeld] That is right. That is right. For example, this whole business of the Rhodes Scholarships. There they recruit the highly literature youngsters out of American schools. And then they ship them over to England where they are indoctrinated in this, you know, this Rhodes vision of a new world order. And then they are sent back to the United States to become members of the ruling class.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] And if you look throughout the... the court systems, Supreme Court judges, senators, presidents.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] Rhodes scholars. I mean, you have such a high concentration of Rhodes scholars now in ... in... I the government and in places of power, that ... that they understand the value of literacy. And back in the old days when you had hieroglyphic writing and you had idiographic writing, the power was held by the scribes and the priests and the scholars who had command and control over the written language, you see.’

[Voice] Yes, that is right.

[Blumenfeld] And they could rule... they could tell the rulers, the emperors what to do because they were, you know, they had access to the written record. [00:39:18]

And that same thing is being...[edit]

And that same thing is being... is happening now. We are getting this elitist control of ... of the written word and twist it in any way they want and the rest of the population is being dumbed down and ... and being subjected to television and bread and circuses.

[Voice] As you said, and that is why the elitists consider phonics such a threat.

[Blumenfeld] Absolutely.

[Voice] You mentioned the other night in the lecture here at Murphy’s about this article.

[Blumenfeld] Yeah.

[Voice] ... that the reintroduction and revival of phonics is somehow a right wing conspiracy or something.

[Blumenfeld] Exactly, exactly. You see and that is why the home schoolers they are going to be so far ahead of the rest of the American population, because they will know how to read.

[Voice] Pretty soon personnel agencies will have a separate department just for people that they can farm out that can read.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Blumenfeld] Well, it is... it is happening and, of course, you know, they... the... the excuse they give is, well... well, all this new technology, you really don’t have to know how to read. You see? Why, you know with word processors and all of that. But you can’t handle all of that without a knowledge and command and mastery of the language. I mean....

[Voice] At least to read the manual.

[Blumenfeld] It is all based on language. And the computer is based on language.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] And a mastery of language. And those who master the language will master the culture.

[Voice] I was pointing out the other night Neil Postman wrote his book, I told you, Amusing Ourselves to Death.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] ...in which he demonstrated how the... our western culture is being transformed from a word oriented to a visual...

[Voice] Right.

[Voice] ...oriented culture. I think he talked... he gave one example, the Lincoln Douglas debates. And he compared them to modern presidential debates. I mean, there were substantive issues.

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] ...dealt with at those debates. And they were well attended and people would hang on every word.

[Voice] Right.

[Voice] Whereas today they important thing is, you know, how much power is on the nose and turn the head the right way and is your hairstyle proper and, you know.

[Voice] And the sound bytes.

[Voice] And a sound byte. Yes. [00:41:07]

[Blumenfeld] You know...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] You know. And... and so they don’t really convey much of any...

[Voice] No.

[Blumenfeld] ... of any ... any substance.

[Voice] No, if... if you were to go back and read those debates, apart from the visual effect that you would find out there is virtually no substance to them, the modern debates.

[Voice] Sam, I wanted to ask you a question. There seems the history of the 20th century seems to hold a lot of instances.... there is a thread that runs through all of the dictatorships of the 20th century and the indoctrination of the youth. How far... is this a 20th century... strictly a 20th century phenomenon or does this go back in the history of education?

[Blumenfeld] Right, I would say it was always known that...

[multiple voices]

[Blumenfeld] That...you know, that Plato certainly in his Republic I mean, the... a very important part of that whole plan was the education of the youth. I mean, Christians have always known that. So have the young people had to be educated in the... in the knowledge of the Lord and in the Word of God. I mean, that has always been pretty well understand that education does shape a child’s future.

[Voice] So if you wanted to create a Socialist dictatorship in this country, then that would be absolutely necessary to carry forward this indoctrination of the youth.

[Blumenfeld] Well, you know, the interesting thing about that is we are getting... the kind of dictatorship we are getting is one of consensus more than, you know, and... and one of fear. For.... take for example what happened in Waco. It was simply meant to put the fear of the government into people, to tell them, hey, if you don’t behave yourself, this is going to happen to you. And most Americans got the message.

Take, for example, what happened in Oklahoma City with that bombing. Nobody knows really who did it and why it was done. All they have is some people in custody that are implicated. But what was the result of that? What did the government do? It immediately accused the right wing...

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ... it accused all of us of somehow being responsible for what happened there. And so that put fear in us. As a matter of fact, I was invited to speak at a meeting of ... of the New Hampshire militia. And the reason I was invited because they wanted somebody to speak on education. And so I had to think twice about that.

I said, “My heavens, with the climate of fear that we have with this sort of, you know, whipping up the American people in this... into this hysteria about the militias, should I go there?” And I said, “If I don’t, if I hesitate because I am afraid, they have won, you see.” I am not going to let them put the fear into me.

And I went up there and I had a wonderful time. it was held in this tiny little town in... in northern... in New Hampshire. And, you know, this... this town was the size of Alecito. And ... and the press... the entire press of the world was there. The New York Times was there, Time magazine, all the cameras. And they were looking. Where are the guns? Where are the guns?

Well, nobody had any guns. This was an educational meeting, you see. But the press, I mean, and we began to ask who is paranoid?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] Who are the paranoids? They are the ones... they are the ones who were seeing a militia man under every bed.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[Voice] And that is something far more powerful ideas.

[Voice] That is right.

[Blumenfeld] Yeah. Yeah. But we had ideas and there was an excellent meeting. I enjoyed it very much and it was wonderfully done and surprisingly we got very fair coverage.

[Rushdoony] Good.

[Blumenfeld] Because the... the... the ... the reporters saw that there was really nothing wrong, you know? And everyone was very articulate in expressing their ideas, you see.

[Voice] But Douglas has made a good point there. If we put it in the hands of educators, this power , then they really can form a tyranny.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Voice] And that we have really lived to see that to a large extent. [00:45:26]

[Blumenfeld] Well, that is true, I mean, but we have...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] Well, that is true, I mean, but we have to resist it.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] I mean, so here in this little town of Cornish, New Hampshire was an exhibit of Americans exercising their freedoms regardless of this climate of fear. And I compared it to what the Germans did, the Nazis did in 1938 when this Jewish youngster assassinated a German diplomat in Paris and the German... the Nazi government then whipped up the people into this frenzy and you had what was known as crystal night.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Yeah.

[Blumenfeld] ...in which the synagogues were burned and the Jewish shops were just destroyed. The windows were broken. You use the glass and that was the crystal, the so-called that is where crystal night comes from, all the... the broken, you know.

[Voice] Yes. Shop windows.

[Blumenfeld] The shop windows and all of that. Whipping up the country. And Clinton did the exact same thing.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] You know, de Tocqueville said that was ... that is the most dangerous tyranny which is not direct, but which creates the climate of the country in which everybody is afraid to break the conformity.

[Blumenfeld] Well, but thank God the American people did not buy it.

[Voice] That is right. We have resistance.

[Blumenfeld] And... and thank God that... that the people on our side refused to be intimidated. That is a very important lesson. We ... we learned that, that we should not cave in to that kind of intimidation on the part of the government and who knows what will come out of this Oklahoma City {?}.

It is... first of all, whoever did it certainly wasn’t... it wasn’t doing anything for our benefit.

[Voice] No, not at...

[Blumenfeld] It didn't help the right wing in any way. So they are... you know, it is very suspect as to who did this. I mean... if they wanted to find a place where strange things happen, I would not be in the militias, it would be at Fort Riley, Kansas, where all of these guys got to know one another.

[Voice] That is right.

[Blumenfeld] God knows what they were doing at... in Fort Riley, Kansas, in the army.

[Voice] Careful. I took... I took basic training at Fort Riley.

[multiple voices]

[Voice] I got to shovel horse manure from Patton’s... the stall where they kept Patton’s horse.

[Voice] Well, that was a long time ago, wasn’t it?

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Wasn’t it?

[Voice] A couple of years ago

[Voice] Well, Rush has made it clear over the years that we believe in regeneration and not revolution, you know.

[Blumenfeld] Well, that is what is important about the Reconstruction, you know, that is what we are doing. And it is important to provide that kind of leadership. [00:48:03]

[Voice] That is right...[edit]

[Voice] That is right.

[Rushdoony] You referred to the fact that Americans are losing their vocabulary at the rate of one percent a year. How great is the vocabulary today? It used to be quite high.

[Blumenfeld] Yes.

[Rushdoony] When I was young. It was estimated in certain parts of the country at least to be 100,000 words. Then I heard years later 20,000. What is the estimate now?

[Blumenfeld] I don’t... I don’t know this. The particular article that I read was published in the 70s.

[Rushdoony] Oh.

[Voice] So here it is 20 years later which means we have lost another 20 percent of our vocabulary.

But you can see it in ... in... in how children speak, young people speak.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] They come out of school and I.... I usually tell them, you know, they have got 20 words in their vocabulary, three of which are pizza, hamburger and, you know, and...

[Voice] The rest only have four letters.

[Blumenfeld] And Mickey Mouse and the rest have four letters, right?

But you listen to a conversation of these kids and they are talking about concretes, you know?

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] They don’t... they can’t deal with abstraction.

[Voice] Conceptualization.

[Blumenfeld] Yes. They can’t deal in philosophical ideas while a couple of years ago at a home school conference where I had my little booth and I was sitting there. There were these two little youngsters, Christian youngsters having a very profound conversation about theology. They couldn’t have been more tan 13 years old. And I thought, my heavens, I mean, they are talking about ideas.

[Voice] Yes, that is right.

[Blumenfeld] And I hadn't heard that come out of the mouths of young people for so long that I thought that it would never occur again.

[Rushdoony] It used to be a fact, not too many years ago that with drill retarded children could get through most of the courses in grade school very successfully, but that when it came to anything beyond that their inability to deal with abstract ideas caused them to fall behind rapidly.

[Voice] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Up to that point, they could be as good as any other child, often better.

Well, now what we are seeing is the inability of intelligent children to grasp abstract thinking.

[Blumenfeld] Well, yes. They are turning our healthy children into, you might say, defective children. In other words, they are exhibiting the ... the... the brain patterns of defective children who cannot handle abstraction. So in other words our educators have found the means to take perfectly healthy children and make them defective. [00:51:09]

[Voice] Yes.

[Voice] Turn them into the intellectually walking wounded.

[Blumenfeld] That is it. And ... and... and if you look a the methodology being used in the schools and you understand that these programs were devised by the world’s leading behavioral psychologists, these programs were not devised by little old ladies sitting on back porches.

[Voice] No. That is right.

[Blumenfeld] They were devised by the world’s leading psychologists who understand how the brain works. You would know that what they are doing is... is purposeful.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] That is, I call it, a non surgical pre frontal lobotomy. And it is performed in these schools through this look say whole language technique of teaching reading which so damages the brain of the child that most children cannot function beyond that. In other words, some of the kids even regress in their vocabulary. They are not even as good as they were, because they fall back on what they can really handle with their... with what they feel secure with. And that is why vocabulary sort of stops growing at the age of six in our society now.

[Rushdoony] In a forthcoming issue of the Chalcedon Report I have a book review of a book by a man named Storey on church music and how church music is regressing. It is taking its queues from rock music.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] And the damage is being done thereby to both sides of the brain so that it is a very critical situation.

Well, our time is nearly over. Do you have any final questions or comments?

[Voice] I was thinking just a couple of minutes ago, Sam, about this myth of non verbal intelligence today, the real emphasis on feeling as a matter of intelligence and Relationalism. I noted that some of the O B E meeting that... rallies the rallies that were in Ohio, the idea that we don’t think only in words. I think that is really a dangerous idea.

[Blumenfeld] It is, because words are the only thing we do think in.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] As a matter of fact, the reason why you don’t remember what you were doing at the age of two is because you didn’t have the vocabulary, you see.

[Rushdoony] Right. I know that is true that words are basic to thinking, because I know having been brought up speaking Armenian and then learning English at school, that about the time of college my thinking shifted from Armenian totally to English. Up until that time I would think in both languages using apt terms of speech and ideas. But at a particular point I shifted over to English. And I realized how important words and language are to thinking. You cannot think without them. [00:54:22]

[Blumenfeld] Absolutely...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] Absolutely. Did you find that the Armenian language sort of limited you in your thinking in that because English expanded your thinking processes with an expanded vocabulary that that is why the transition was so...

[Rushdoony] Well, yes and no. It was {?} that my Armenian was family....

[Blumenfeld] Oh, I see.

[Rushdoony] ...oriented and church oriented. So the... because of the Armenian Bible I had considerable Armenian knowledge and vocabulary.

Well, our time is up. Thank you all for listening. Thank you, Sam, for coming again and God bless you all.

[Voice] Thank you.