Interview with Sam Blumenfeld - EC394

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Interview with Sam Blumenfeld
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 86
Length: 0:57:49
TapeCode: ec394
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 394, August the 31st, 1997.

This afternoon Mark Rushdoony, Douglas Murray, Dr. David Mitchell and myself will be interviewing Sam Blumenfeld, and his associate Carlo Dinota, about their plans in the field of education, Christian education, home schooling.

You all know Sam who is a long time Chalcedon man and has been very important in the field of phonics. Sam, it is a pleasure to have with us on the Easy Chair again. Won’t you tell us something about what you are now doing and what you plan to do?

[Blumenfeld] {?} Well, as usual, it is a pleasure to be with you, Rush. And what we are doing now... well, you have known of my interest in literacy...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ...particularly in America all these years and how I have tried to give parents the means to teach their children to read at home, because of the great changes that were made in the American education system by the professors of education in the 1930s, you know, the progressives who decided to change the teaching of reading from alphabetic phonics, which is the proper way to teach children to ... to... to write and to read an alphabetic writing system. And they put in this new look say, whole word sight method that you are very well acquainted with better known as the Dick and Jane method that teaches children to read English as if it were Chinese and ideographic or hieroglyphic system. And, of course, this has created a devastating decline in literacy in this country and as early as 1955 Dr. Rudolph Flesh wrote his famous book, Why Johnny Can’t Read.

So the problem was already known in 1955 and here we are in 1997 and you would think that by now the educators of America would have learned that look say doesn’t work, but instead they are pushing this... they have been pushing those whole language, business which is a far worse ... a far worse brand of look say than we even had back in the 40s and 50s which created such a problem.

So I have written much on this subject and in being critical of public schools I realized that I had to offer parents a means of redressing this situation. And so I wrote How to Tutor back in the early 70s so that parents could learn... could know how to teach their children, reading, writing and arithmetic in the traditional manner. And then I wrote The Alpha Phonics Book which as you know, Rush, is a manual for teaching children to read. And we have been successfully... or selling that book for about 15 years. [00:03:23]

Well, about two years ago I got a call from a lady...[edit]

Well, about two years ago I got a call from a lady in California, in southern California who had worked for an organization that was selling Hooked on Phonics. I don’t know if you are familiar with that particular program, but it was advertised on radio quite ubiquitously and very successful. A... a phonics program, not a very good one, nevertheless, it sold millions, by the millions. Why? Because there was this tremendous need out there. Parents are desperate. They want to teach their children to read phonetically and that is what was available.

Well, this particular lady who had worked for Hooked on Phonics told me that she had used my book and felt that my system was better than Hooked on Phonics and she asked if we ought to promote it in the same way. And I said, “Well, you come up with a business plan and I will see if I can raise the ... the financing for such a company, such a business.”

And so she did work on a plan and I ... and I worked on it also and took it to a Christian friend of mine whose son I had cured of dyslexia, a gentleman who lives in the... in... in the Boston area and he agreed to finance it. So we are launching the Alpha Phonics program nationally so that we can begin to reach the many, many hundreds of thousands of Americans who are so desperate for a decent phonetic reading program, for a good one, one that is simple and easy to use which is basically what Alpha Phonics is all about. It is very simple and easy to use and I know that Mark has used it so he knows. But it is a... you know, anybody who can read the instructions, you need not be a certified teacher. You need not have a master’s degree to... in order to be able to teach someone to read, but so... we are in the... we are in this... we are in the final stages of putting this whole thing together and hopefully in a few month’s time we will be ready to launch this and bring a good reading program to the American people.

As you know, Rush, California is having a terrible time with the literacy disaster that whole language has produced.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] And in Sacramento the legislators have virtually mandated the teaching of phonics, but we don’t know what the final product will be, because the educators are so resistant.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:06:05]

[Blumenfeld] ...to a return to phonics. And, as you know, I have equated the importance of phonics with the... with the importance of reading Scripture, because the Scripture is written in alphabetic writing. And that when you... when you go back to the history of the alphabet, you discover that the alphabet was invented just at the same time that the Scripture was written. So there is a very close connection.

I usually tell the story that when Moses went to Mount Sinai, up to Mount Sinai and God wrote the tablets, he wrote them in alphabetic writing. And I ask the question: Who taught God the alphabet?

So obviously there is a close connection between biblical writings and the alphabet. I don’t believe the alphabet was invented by a Phoenician businessman who wanted notation, because none of those notations are of any importance today. But certainly the Scripture, the holy Scripture which was written alphabetically and, of course, as you know, when the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” And it is by hearing that ye shall know.

And so we had a... we had to depart from hieroglyphics and ideograms before we could get to the Word of God in a form that could be read by millions of people. So there is a connection there.

[Rushdoony] It is interesting that the first verses of God’s... of John’s gospel which beginning... which begin, “In the beginning was the Word...” John Calvin translated as, “In the beginning was speech.” So Calvin placed a great deal of stress on that fact. Language, thought, requires speech and writing. And the revelation of God is a written revelation. The area of education has been biblical. Before the Christian era, the Hebrews were the great people of literacy, because of the Bible.

And then, of course, with Christianity the need to read the Bible was imperative so that before there were any church buildings there were Christian schools. It was felt that it was necessary to teach the Christian community the Word of God. And in the history of Protestantism, literacy goes hand in hand with the spread of Protestantism, because of the emphasis on the written Word of God. [00:09:18]

So in part, I believe that the whole of the present...[edit]

So in part, I believe that the whole of the present trend in education is an anti literacy trend, because they actually speak of a sizable percentage of the population as the non literate type.

[Blumenfeld] Yes.

[Rushdoony] And the whole point of literacy in western civilization has been to know how to read so that the Word of God can be read. And now it is becoming a closed book, because even many church people are such poor readers that they cannot read much.

It is in the home schooling community that you are getting a revival now and the Christian school community of not only literacy, but reading.

[Blumenfeld] Yes.

[Rushdoony] I have mentioned this before, but it is to me very symptomatic of what is happening. Two of our good friends and supporters, Douglas and Beverly Miller, have with their Preston Speed Publications...

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] ...started to reprint the great G. A. Henty books for boys which adults can read with profit. And Henty very accurately set forth the history of a particular man or era and taught history to millions of readers from the 1880s into the 1920 and early 30s. A great many scholars and national leaders have admitted—that is, in the English speaking world—that their awareness of world events came through reading Henty.

[Blumenfeld] Right.

[Rushdoony] And now he is virtually forgotten, but is being revived and the Christian school and home school communities are the market for the Henty books.

By the way, about 10 years ago I tried to locate Henty books in an Australian bookstore and I was told they disappeared almost as soon as they came in. Now, of course, they are back on the market.

[Blumenfeld] Well, you know, that is what we are trying to do is revive the lost art of reading.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] The Henty books will go a long way to do that. [00:12:09]

Now...

[Rushdoony] Excuse me. I said Doug and Beverly Miller. I meant Doug and Beverly Schmidt.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, Schmidt. Yes.

[Rushdoony] I am sorry.

[Blumenfeld] The... of the publishing company in Pennsylvania.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] What is also interesting is that when I was in Australia, of course, we... the teachers of reading in the United States who have been using... pushing this whole language, that business have been telling us that we are... that it originated in Australia. Actually, it didn’t. It originated in the United States, was brought to Australia where it has been used extensively. And when I was in Australia I was given all kinds of clippings indicating the decline of literacy among young people in that country, that they have a real literacy crisis. As a matter of fact, is crisis exists in all of the English speaking countries.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ...because they have all adopted this dumbing down technique of reading which is dumbing down the population. And here in the United States the dumbing down process has been accelerated by various federal legislation known as school to work also Goals 2000 which basically are ... is the... the formula for dumbing down the nation. And this weekend in USA Today there was a supplement put in by the educators all about that dumbing down process and here ... here is a virtual admission in this newspaper, this advertisement that this is a dumbing down process. Let me just read a little paragraph from it.

It says, “Cornell Study. Three Rs not first with employers. Most employers are more interested in the job applicant’s specialty skills than academic knowledge. According to research by Dr. John Bishop, chairman of Cornell University’s department of human resource studies.”

Incidentally that is another term that has come into use, human resources. You are no longer a human being. You are a human resource, you see. When asked which skills they looked for in hiring, employers almost always rank occupational skills and work habits ahead of reading and math. Based on his research, Bishop concludes, “And education that does not encourage skill specialization is a real barrier to excellence,” unquote.

In other words, so that is why the trend is away from knowledge, away from... the... the development of academic skills. And that is why you have big business now in collusion with big government, big labor unions, big education to dumb down the average American. And, of course, is goes completely against the whole idea of what education originally was supposed to be. [00:15:24]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ...was the expansion of mind and Spirit through being able to read.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] So here it is ... it is official now. They are dumbing down the kids because they say that employers no longer need kids with knowledge. And so in a way we are going against this ... this incredibly strong trend that is being pushed by government and big business. But we really have no choice if we want to revive literacy in this country and if we want to give every child the chance to become a full human being, because, after all, when you learn to read it is more ... it is... it is for more than jus getting a job. It is for more than just being a human resource. It is for being a compute... a complete human being in relation to God, in relation to one’s God, you see.

So we have quite a job on our hands.

[Rushdoony] Education has always gone down hill in the western world whenever there has been a de-emphasis by the churches on the centrality and importance of Scripture. There is a close relationship between the two. And language has strayed and become corrupt when it departs from the simplicity of the biblical language, whether it is French or German or English or whatever.

[Blumenfeld] I read a column some years ago published in 1971 that was put out by an engineering group that studied the ... the use of American vocabulary in America. And they discovered that Americans were losing vocabulary at a rate of one percent a year. And in this study they also discovered that the people who had the highest vocabularies in America are the top CEOs, the top presidents of corporations, that it is language that enables them to reach the top, their love of language, their delight in language, their ability to handle language.

So I thought to myself, if language is the key to success, economic success, here in California they want to teach the kids {?}...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ...which goes in the other direction toward the destruction of their ability to use language. And how evil can these educators be to deprive these young people with a firm knowledge of English so that they can build on that? I mean it is... it is... it is criminal

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:18:13]

[Blumenfeld] And ...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] And ... and that is because this is a government education system.

[Murray] Sam, is this academic devolution driven by elitism? In other words, the people at the top, are they trying to preserve their position?

[Blumenfeld] Absolutely. They call themselves the cognitive elite.

[Rushdoony] There is an important aspect to this and at the moment I cannot recall the title of the book, but one scholar wrote an analysis of the collapse of the Soviet Union and he said that when the revolution occurred there was almost no literacy in Russia. The peasants were, by and large, illiterate. And this illiteracy continued. Now in order to catch up with the rest of the world, Stalin early on emphasized literacy. And the schools began a radical program of hard core teaching. In the 20s they adopted Dewey’s philosophy.

[Blumenfeld] Right.

[Rushdoony] They found it was destroying their children. So they dropped it and went back to a hard core literacy, knowledge centered curriculum.

Well, by the 80s they had a population that was quite well educated, educated in terms of old fashioned standards. And this scholar felt this was the death of Russia. People in spite of the lack of access to good information, were now putting two and two together and finding that the whole system was wrong. And under Gorbachev it started to crumble. And now the great need, I would add, is a moral and religious structure to their entire perspective so that they can create a new system. But the author’s conclusion was: The development of a high degree of literacy destroyed the Soviet Union.

I do recall the early to the mid 70s my uncle bringing over his niece from Soviet Armenia. She was a teacher of physics in a high school there. And her visit here was very, very interesting. She found the high school teaching in the sciences pathetic. She went to Stanford and visited there and said their introductory courses in physics and the other sciences were comparable to the high school training in the Soviet Union. [00:21:44]

So their stress on a solid educational program was...[edit]

So their stress on a solid educational program was turning out some remarkably literate graduates. However, they were not able then to go out and develop these skills in their chosen fields because every area was so controlled they couldn’t think independently.

Well, what it did within 10 years was to create an explosion there in the Soviet Union. People suddenly no longer believed Gorbachev. They no longer believed their politicians. And they don’t know. So there is a great deal of cynicism, but no direction given. And that is why they are currently in another crisis. They need a moral, a religious perspective to govern their literacy, their education and give them a focus.

But meanwhile we are, as you know well, Douglas. You have described more than once what is happening in American high schools and how we are dumbing down the student population.

[Murray] Well, it is almost irrational in the face of the crashing failure of the look say method. There has to be some other motivation behind continuing on. More money isn’t going to solve the problem. Larger plant facilities for schools don’t seem to solve the problem. More teachers, smaller class size, none of these things that have been held out as the panacea so the teaching methods have to faulty, but, you know, has anyone written a scholarly investigation as to why the resistance to... to making the change?

[Blumenfeld] Well, Douglas, it is because what you say is... is failure to them is success, you see. They are not ... they like the idea that we have this declining literacy and the... and the only solutions they suggest are solutions that don’t work, but require more money, because they want more money. And ... but they are very pleased. The cognitive elite wants a dumbed down human resource system. And they are getting it. That is the... and... but, you see, you are talking about parents who want to see change. And the only way the parents can see change immediately is as to put a child in a decent Christian school and there are not too many of those available or to home school and that is what accounts for this phenomenal growth of home schooling in America. [00:24:31]

Parents have decided that they can’t wait for the schools...[edit]

Parents have decided that they can’t wait for the schools to reform themselves. And, frankly, the schools have no intention of reforming themselves. All you have to do is read the supplement to see what their... the supplement in the newspaper, to see what the trend is. It is toward the development of a human resource system that does not emphasize knowledge, that does not emphasize academic skills, but emphasizes vocational skills.

So we know that in their own words now what they are up to. And... and that is why you are seeing this... this truly wonderful revolution on the part of parents to remove their children from the schools.

And, of course, Dr. Rushdoony has been writing for years about the need to get the government out of the education system and to separate school from state. And finally there is an organization that is going to... that is promoting that and Rush is going to be speaking there and Carlo is also going to be speaking at that conference in November. This is their third national conference. But the only solution is to get the government out of the education business.

I realize that that is a very radical idea, but it is the only true solution to the problem. The problem today among Christians is that too many Christians still think that you can reform the public schools. And that cannot be done. It cannot be done and the sooner that Christians wake up to the understanding that the educators, the powers that be, the establishment have no intention of giving parents what they want, the sooner the Christians understand that, then they will leave the system in larger numbers.

But how many people are home schooling now, Rush, would you say? About a million or two?

[Rushdoony] Easily that.

[Blumenfeld] Yes.

[Rushdoony] The figures in many states are closely guarded, both at home school and Christian school conventions you normally in many states cannot get into any of the... the sessions without a badge, because there are too many state officials who want to find out the names of the schools and the number of homeschoolers, any kind of information like that, because they are very much upset by the competition. [00:27:18]

[Blumenfeld] Yes, I know that Dr...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] Yes, I know that Dr. Goodlad of the University of Washington, you know, believes that the government must control home schooling. He has come out and said it in education week. And so we can ... we know that up ahead there is going to be a major confrontation between home schoolers and the state. And ... but I don’t know. I think the home school movement has reached critical mass.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] As... as...

[Rushdoony] I think such a point came in 1980 when the superintendent of public instruction on taking office here in California issued a statement against {?} home schooling. And his intentions were to start shutting them down.

Well, immediately about 110 to 20,000 letters hit his office. He was not a fool. He did a little calculating. He figured 120,000 that means 240,00 adults who are parents, a quarter of a million and their friends, their relatives. Those are too many voters to offend. So he immediately issued a statement saying that that was a statement issued in his name by an overly zealous associate. So he backed down.

Well, the same has happened elsewhere. In some states the first home school convention, I am told, in one major state consisted of 28 adults. Now they have three across the state, or they did at the end of the 80s. And each filled a huge public auditorium. Now that is the growth that has taken place.

They are trying now, I believe, more through legislation by the United Nations to outlaw them on the grounds that they are discriminatory, because they discriminate with regard to creed.

[Blumenfeld] Right.

Incidentally on this issue of teaching methods, teaching reading, some of them are actually accusing phonics as being religiously oriented, you see? [00:30:02]

[Rushdoony] Interesting...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Interesting.

[Blumenfeld] Therefore, it should not be in the schools because it has religious connotations, you know.

[Rushdoony] Very interesting.

[Blumenfeld] And that is the various tacks they are taking. So that we know that the Socialists, the new world order people, the Humanists are trying to do everything in their power to stop this development, home schooling development and reinstitution of phonics.

[Rushdoony] We will continue in a moment, Sam. Please turn your tape over at this time.

The growth of Christian and home schools has been so phenomenal that it is beginning to fulfill, to a degree, the dire prediction in the mid 50s to late 50s of one public educator that if the movement were allowed to grow it would, by the end of the century end public education.

Well, it won’t end it. But it is coming closer all the time. And this is why especially at the top in the National Education Association, there is such a frenzied hostility to the movement, because they recognize their failure.

I know as I mentioned once some years ago on a tape on the matter in one state where I testified before a senate committee trying to frame legislation to control home schools and Christian schools as well, that we proposed that there be a standard test applied to all such schools, but only if all public schools and their students were subjected to the same tests. And if their students failed to meet the qualification to the same degree as was required of the Christian and home schools, those state schools be shut down.

Unanimously the public school educators who were present cried out in anger at that, which really did more than all our testimony to cinch the matter in the eyes of the members of the senate committee. And they spoke out then more sharply than we would have ever dared to.

[Blumenfeld] Yes. Yeah, it think one of the great indicators of the failure of the public school system today is the fact that four million children must take Ritalin every day in order to attend school. [00:33:05]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] And Ritalin is a very powerful drug.

[Rushdoony] That is right.

[Blumenfeld] It is, you know, and so here are kids who are being told to say no to drugs and yet every day they are told to say yes and are plied with ... with a drug in order to be able to sit in a classroom.

[Rushdoony] One father in my travels told me that his son was required to take it. And he said, “My son is a highly intelligent boy. I am very proud of him. His problem in the school is that he is always overly eager to ask questions, because he wants to know. And for that reason they want him silenced and to be made into a zombie through Ritalin.” It is a very ugly thing. He said, “I would like to challenge them in court on this, but I have been told my child can be taken away from me.”

[Blumenfeld] Yeah, it is a... it is a ... extremely dangerous situation. And, as you know, Rush, when you were going to school and I was going to school, there was so much... there was no such thing as attention deficit disorder.

[Rushdoony] No.

[Blumenfeld] And there was no such thing, of course, as Ritalin.

[Rushdoony] Or dyslexia.

[Blumenfeld] That is right. And I... I... I analyzed the situation and I ... and it occurred to me that the reason why there was no attention deficit disorder when you and I were going to school was because of the configuration of the classroom.

As you know, we sat in desks that were bolted to the floor in rows.

[Rushdoony] yes.

[Blumenfeld] Our focus of attention was with the teacher at the front of the room. She taught us all the same thing. There was no such thing as an individual learning program. The rooms were rather bare. There wasn’t much distraction, maybe a picture of George Washington or an American flag. You were required to be silent. If you were talkative you could be sent down to the principal’s office. And the teacher was using very rational methods of teaching, phonics, spelling, arithmetic, et cetera. And so there was no... no attention deficit disorder. You couldn’t possibly have an attention deficit disorder in such a classroom. And it didn't exist.

Well, now if you fast forward to the configuration of today’s public elementary classroom, you enter it and what do you see? First of all the children are no longer seated in desks in rows. They are seated around little tables. They are chatting with one another. They are pestering one another. They are doing all sorts of things, annoying one another. The teacher is no longer the focus of attention. She is wandering around the room. They now call her a facilitator, you see. Her desk is somewhere in the corner. Every child has a different education plan, so nobody is learning the same thing. The room is full of distractions. The walls are covered with all kinds of posters and dinosaurs and cartoons, Mickey Mouse. Then you have got gerbils and rabbits and fish tanks. And then you have got mobiles hanging from the ceiling. You have got some kid sitting under a table doing something. [00:36:38]

I remember when I was in Australia and visited this...[edit]

I remember when I was in Australia and visited this first grade classroom, one of the ... one of the children was on the floor stretched out on the floor writing some, you know, working on some large poster while another child just sat in the corner doing nothing. And I thought to myself, well, this is an incubator for attention deficit disorder, because you cannot learn without silence. You cannot learn without a focus of attention. And you cannot learn if everybody is learning something else and pestering you.

And so today’s new classroom, as I say, is an incubator of attention deficit disorder. And all of the new school buildings are being designed to create this atmosphere.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] ...of distraction and disorder and chaos. And... and that is going to increase the number of kids that are going to be in Ritalin.

[Rushdoony] About a year ago I was heart sick when read that the great English poets are no longer required reading in our universities and their English departments. Well, I read some of the writings of Shakespeare, most notably Macbeth in grade school.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] Learned it... portions of it by heart, a most exciting story, very dramatic. And I read other classics and my cousin Edward now deceased, I was vey close to him. He went to school in a two teacher country school and he learned more than I did, because his school was backward for the ... the day. And he had not only Shakespeare, but in grade school he read George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss and others of the novels...

[Blumenfeld] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ...of the English language. All that is gone now.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes. Well, not only that, but also with this distracting, confusing and chaotic classroom, you have the most irrational teaching methods every developed.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:39:00]

[Blumenfeld] Whole language, invented spelling, the...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] Whole language, invented spelling, the new, new math, not the old, new math, but the new, new math which is even worse than the old, new math. And the result, of course, is that kids are ... their minds are literally being destroyed.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] They don't know how to think. They have no sense of logic. And they are graduating school without even being able to read their own diplomas.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Do you men have any questions to ask of Sam?

[M. Rushdoony] It seems... is it a planned strategy for the public schools? Are they... I should say, the educators, to keep changing the names of their plans? I know for years I am old... I haven’t been around for that long, but I know from the 60s we keep reading, well, yes, the public school has problems, but we have instituted reforms. Things are changed. And, of course, they change text books every few years anyway with new editions. And we are looking to the future now and ...and... and we have solved the problem. And it seems in the last 10 years they keep coming up with new programs whether it is whole language or goals 2000. This group or that group comes up with a new name. This is a new development. And always to give the impression that the public schools are moving forward and you can’t look at the past. You can’t talk about look say because we haven’t done look say in many years.

[Blumenfeld] Yeah, yeah. Well, there is some truth to the... to the idea that they change things, but they don’t change them for the better. That is the... that is the whole problem.

Take, for example, one of the great arguments in favor of whole language is that they use real literature. They are not using these inane little stories from the Dick and Jane days of see Spot jump and look, look, go, go and that sort of thing. But, of course, the interesting thing about those little inane stories is that they did not cause kids to have nightmares. They were rather harmless, you know. But the kind of real literature that is being taught today is usually about the occult, about witchcraft, about mutilations, horror stories and the kids are having nightmares.

So, yeah, they are... they are reading more interesting literature, but at the same time they are creating a great deal of emotional problems among the kids. And... and you have death education which is thrown into it, this increased suicide among young people and ... and the lowering of... of general standards. For example, recently when I was in southern California in a... in a restaurant with a group of our colleagues, we were being waited on by a very nice waitress and she was interested in what we had to say and we were talking about home schooling. And we asked her about her own education and she said that she had gotten a very good education at her local high school, Paris, California and that she was an honor student. [00:42:03]

Well, I asked her...[edit]

Well, I asked her. I said, “Do you know the dates of the Civil War?” She didn’t. And I said, “Well, do you know the capital of Hungary?” She didn't know that. Finally I said, “Do you know the capital of England?” She didn't know that, you see. So there is a person. She thought she was well educated.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] But she knew nothing. And... and that is, you see, they are being fooled. They are being led to believe that they have been well educated by their schools, because they have got, quote, an honor ... they are an honor student. And she didn’t know anything.

[M. Rushdoony] I saw an interesting article of about two or three years ago. It was by the former secretary of education in California, the same one who had thoughts of shutting down home schooling who later went to prison, by the way.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[M. Rushdoony] But he was out of jail and... and he was... there was an extensive interview to the effect that whole language is a disaster. California jumped into it before they knew what they were doing. Its results have been completely disastrous. His idea was: Let’s go back to the system that worked. Let’s go back to the Dick, Jane and Sally, which was... which he described as an excellent method of reading.

[Blumenfeld] Oh.

[M. Rushdoony] And so even when they talk reform, or going back to... to something that worked, they are going back to the wrong thing.

[Blumenfeld] Yes.

[Voice] Having... having been through the schools of education, regrettably, even at a Catholic college, I find a religious universities, their schools of education are also {?} by Humanism.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] It is inescapable. And I often joke around, but, you know, you cannot get a ... a ... a PhD in education if you praise people like Sam Blumenfeld. You will get a PhD in education if you come up with a new fangled even untested technique. So the idea of reforming the system, in my opinion, is impossible, because you are going against a Leviathan. And you add the... the Radicalism of the school... of the schools of education. Now my experience is at a Catholic university, the Radicalism, and the Humanism, et cetera. Parallel that also with the movement throughout every university across the country to undermine western civilization. And I attended NYU as an English major. And I attended Villanova University, a Catholic college as an undergraduate. At Villanova I learned Shakespeare. At New York University department of English I learned to rebuke and indict Shakespeare for being a chauvinist, among other things.

So what you have at the universities right now, especially in the liberal arts and in political theory is deconstruction which is nihilistic, essentially. [00:45:05]

[Rushdoony] Yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] So what you have in the schools of education, the radicalism there is clearly evident in the rise of deconstructive thought in... in most major universities in America, a very French influence.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, the... yeah. You find deconstruction in the... in the primary classroom. I think I did an article for Chalcedon Report on deconstruction influences in the primary classroom in America, because whole language, basically is... is derived from deconstruction... deconstructive philosophy.

[Voice] The... the language of... of... if you have... attending a university seminar today in... in English, it is all deconstructive theory. Namely you will be studying Jacques Derrida, Baptine, Harold Bloom, the hermeneutical mafia from Yale who created this deconstruction movement. And you are going to find that the language that they use in terms of the catch phrases, symbiotics, logos, et cetera.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yeah.

[Voice] ...is very similar to the language being used in... in whole language instruction books.

[Blumenfeld] Sure.

[Voice] Dr. Kenneth Goodman, one of the gurus of whole language, I mean, his language calling the reading a psycho linguistic guessing game. He is a deconstructionist through and through. So the idea is pervasive. Deconstruction is a revolution in the schools of education throughout the universities and even in the law schools.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ... at Yale University, for example, and they are... they are... there are theoretical approaches to law. And so...

[Rushdoony] One prominent deconstructionist professor said that his criticisms of Shakespeare were more important than Shakespeare. Now that is their perspective. They have no respect for any achievement that was a part of the world of Christendom. It is only their deconstructionist world of radical anarchism that is productive of anything they treasure.

[Blumenfeld] They are also critical of Aristotle. I mean, they... they... they are trying to overthrow all of rational thinking. It is totally irrational, nihilistic form of fraud. And what are they going back to? Knowing the world through emotion and superstition.

As a matter of fact, now, there is a book... a book has been written called Emotional Knowledge.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, you are probably familiar with the name of Ezra Pound.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes.

[Rushdoony] Now over the years I have read most of Pound’s works. I have read everything I could find about Pound either in it or all of it. So my familiarity with the literature of... by and about Ezra Pound extends to perhaps 25 to 30 books. [00:48:18]

Now the interesting thing that is rarely ever brought...[edit]

Now the interesting thing that is rarely ever brought out is that Pound very early on said, “There are two eras in the history of man, the era of Jesus Christ and the era of Ezra Pound.” And what he represented was a radical deconstruction. That is why Pound’s writings are so esoteric. They can forgive anything in Pound, his anti Semitism, his hostility to every kind of thing representative of Christian faith and civilization, because they see him as a radical anarchist as far as the established order is concerned.

So distinguished figures in the modern world have written at length in praise of Pound and to excuse and to exalt any kind of nonsense he has produced.

You are familiar with that, no doubt.

[Voice] Absolutely. I... as a matter of fact, I... at Oxford they were planning on giving an honorary doctorate to the famous deconstructionist Jacques Derrida. Apparently the board at Oxford were up in arms and demanded that this not be done, because, they argued, that he represents, you know, this ... this anarchist destructive viewpoint toward society and towards literature and philosophy, et cetera.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] But also what I find reading deconstructive literature, pure deconstructive literature like a Harold Bloom of Stanley Fish at Dartmouth, the language is so blatantly Marxist.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Voice] ...and revolutionary in terms of victimization and oppressor and oppressed as well.

[Rushdoony] In fact, one of the best attended conferences ever in the history of the particular group was to a Marxist professor’s convention about a year ago. So they have not budged an inch nor retreated. They are taking over the universities to a greater degree constantly.

[Blumenfeld] Incidentally, one of the questions I am always often asked by parents of home schoolers is: What do we do about college? And I tell them that, well, don’t send your child to your local liberal college, because all they are going to do... all they are going to get is generally Marxism, Liberalism, Humanism, et cetera, that if you want your child to read the great books he won’t get them in today’s colleges and universities. It is better to let your youngster do it at home when he has the time to do it, because after he spends four years reading all the wrong books, he will never have time to read the write books.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:51:39]

[Blumenfeld] And that goes for economics as well, you...[edit]

[Blumenfeld] And that goes for economics as well, you know. If you want to know something about Austrian economics, you are not going to get it from your local school.

And I point out there are a couple of decent schools, maybe Bob Jones University is a Christian school or Pensacola Christian College of Hillsdale. But that is about it. And... and they don’t even, you know, they... they have their problems, too.

[Rushdoony] Yes. Yes.

Well, we have started to take over elementary and secondary education. Now we need to take over higher education. If someone would endow us with millions I would immediately go into that field, because the need is so great and so many, many people write constantly. Where can I send my son or my daughter to get a college education?

And there really are no outstanding examples of colleges.

[Blumenfeld] That its rue.

[Rushdoony] ...especially from a Reformation and Reconstructionist point of view. There are some that are passable, but outstanding ones, no.

[Blumenfeld] Well, I remember some years ago, Rush, I asked you if there was a decent Christian theological college in the United States and you said there were none.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] Have you changed... has there been any change since then?

[Rushdoony] There are one or two that are safe places to go, but they are not outstanding. They are under funded and usually the weakness is they are too denominationally oriented. And it is always better for a school to be theologically oriented, faith oriented rather than to a group of churches, because their loyalty will be then to the hierarchy, not to the faith.

[Blumenfeld] I remember when I was in Australia. Fred Nile told me that when he attended the theological school he found that their purpose was to undermine his faith.

[Voice] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] But that... that theological colleges do that normally it is routine that they undermine the faith of the students who come in and turn them into skeptics and to Humanists.

[Rushdoony] When I was in seminary the young man in the room next to me in the dormitory bragged that he had gotten through a course on the Old Testament with top grades without cracking the book. So he didn’t know the content s of the Old Testament, only what he was told about it. And he had given them back what they had taught. [00:54:44]

Later on he became a professor, I believe...[edit]

Later on he became a professor, I believe.

Now this is what is happening. The ignorance is appalling.

Well, we have about four minutes left. Are there any last minute questions you would like to ask? Or, Sam, is there anything further you would like to say?

And what I do want you to say is where they can write to get the information about the program you are going to start. It doesn’t mean they will get an immediate answer, but at least they will then have your ... their name on file with you in order to provide you with an address to send things in due time.

[Blumenfeld] Oh, good. The company is called Literacy Unlimited Incorporated. And our address in southern California is 31 724 or 31724 Railroad Canyon Drive, Canyon Lake, California 92587. And our phone number is 909 244 0485 and my extension is 105. So if anybody has something they would like me to know about and, incidentally, Rush, I will probably be reviving my newsletter, which, as you know, was...

[Rushdoony] Good.

[Blumenfeld] ... has been discontinued. And we will be reviving it later on.

[Rushdoony] Now when you write an article for the Chalcedon Report about this new venture, please be sure to give that information again.

[Blumenfeld] I will. I will.

[Rushdoony] And, Carlo, be sure to remind him of it.

[Voice] I will.

[Blumenfeld] Yes, it is... it has been quite an adventure and we are going to see great changes ahead.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[Blumenfeld] We are going to be doing some really revolutionary work. [00:57:01]

[Rushdoony] yes...[edit]

[Rushdoony] yes.

[M. Rushdoony] I... I take it this is a for profit company?

[Blumenfeld] Oh, yes. It is a... a normal...

[M. Rushdoony] That is good.

[Rushdoony] And you are moving out here from Boston?

[Blumenfeld] Oh, no, no, no. We are ... we will... we will have our eastern office...

[Rushdoony] Oh.

[Blumenfeld] ...editorial. The office in California will deal with the telephones, advertising, telemarketing and that sort of thing, so....

[Rushdoony] Well, thank you, Sam. Our time is about up and thank you all for listening and God bless you.