The Basis of Americanism
I thought that the essays written by Nicholas Collin (1746-1831) just might be beneficial with today’s discord. Listed in a work entitled, Friends of the Constitution, Writings of the “Other” Federalists, 1787-1788, Rev Collin had featured three of his essays printed in the Independent Gazetteer, Philadelphia, on 18, 21, and 28 September, 1787. Although his essays began appearing before the Federal Convention concluded, they also continued after 17 September, 1787, when the Constitution was proposed.
It is interesting to note that the concerns of that time centered on the most rudimentary of elements. Rev. Collin, who was the pastor of the Old Swede’s Church in Philadelphia, cautioned that “the stability of republics depends upon ‘fixed principles and settled habits.’” These were most notably, “education, morals, religion, manners laws, and learning.” Simple elements yet obviously crucial to an orderly and productive society. And likewise, it is these very useful ingredients that our society has, in one manner or another, discarded.
One in particular, “manners,” is not even considered in whispered conversation of today. During my lifetime, this has gone from a mainstay to the trash heap of unimportance. Do we now see the results from such a rash deformity in society?
And how about “morals?” Now, here’s a sea change. Again, during the same span of time, what was, isn’t! Gone are the days where virginity was a valued asset and chastity was a given. Today, parents advise their daughters as to the pill assurances against pregnancy since “they’re going to do it anyway.” All this within roughly a fifty year span.
As for “education” and proper “learning,” although “home schooling” has become fashionable and productive, most of our children endure the indoctrinations from a public,or more to the point, governmental education. As such, the federal authority avoids proper or useful learning for fear that those who learn too much will reason that the federal authority lacks authority! Obviously, this hampers learning and eliminates a basic understanding for applying citizenship to our daily lives. Consider that American History, Civics, and even cursive writing skills have all follow the the demise of the horse and buggy transportation mode.
And last but far from least, there is the ban on religious education within a school curriculum. In particular, Christian references of any sort are forbidden. Odd since our Forefathers considered such instruction as fundamental to a complete and sound education. In totality, the Supreme Court put the finishing touches on this when they disallowed prayer in school in 1962. What was normal practice since our Founding was somehow ruled unconstitutional. How those august nine black robes could run roughshod over our First Amendment which explicitly states that “prohibiting the free exercise” of our religious freedoms shall not be permitted, is a testament to the peculiarity from judicial interpretations.
Given the disappearance of what Rev Collin itemized as basic requisites for societal “stability,” can we begin to see just what our course of action should address? It certainly isn’t more tax revenue allocated for “smaller classrooms!” Nor is it the rupturing of the family unit with this sudden modern day emergence of a career mom.
Our materialistic value system must be realized for what it is! It is a shallow replacement for achievement and toil. It produces debt and continued wanting. It attacks the very heart of productivity and worth.
This chasing of unworthiness, whether it be objects denoting status, self glamor or indulgence are synonymous to a marginalized existence. This syndrome of instant gratification takes hold when the valued and proven essentials of normal society become passe.
Rev. Collin stated that “It is very pernicious (destructive) merely for a temporary advantage to sour the public mind, and weaken all the social virtues, which are the bonds of civil union.” Also, “A bad influence on manners and government is a serious affair.”
There is a reason why our Founding Era has been deliberately ignored and forgotten. It presents the way back from our current ruinous path. We have elected “a bad influence” within all branches and levels of authority. What we are witnessing is what Rev. Collin described as a “serious affair.” We must return to our Foundational beginnings for it is there that government and society were in its most agreeable and serviceable mode.
Jim Bowman, Author of
This Roar of Ours