Friday, April 20, 2007

The Humanist Manifesto

note: I thought it would be useful to see the actual language used in the document.

A Humanist Manifesto I Written 1933.

The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional attitudes. Science and economic change have disrupted the old beliefs. Religions the world over are under the necessity of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience. In every field of human activity, the vital movement is now in the direction of candid and explicit humanism. In order that religious humanism may be better understood we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.
There is great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problems of human living in the Twentieth Century. Religions have always been means for realizing the highest values of life. Their end has been accomplished through the interpretation of the total environing situation, the sense of values resulting therefrom, and the technique, established for realizing the satisfactory life. A change in any of these factors results in alteration of the outward forms of religion. This fact explains the changefulness of religions throughout the centuries. But through all changes religion itself remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature of human life.
Today man's larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and his deeper appreciation of brotherhood have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is nonetheless obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:

First: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

Second: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.

Third: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.

Fourth: Humanism recognizes that man's religious culture and civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his natural environment and with his social heritage. The individual born into a particular culture is largely molded by that culture.

Fifth: Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values. Obviously humanism does not deny the possibility of realities as yet undiscovered, but it does insist that the way to determine he existence and value of any and all realities is by means of intelligent inquiry and by the assessment of their relation to human needs. Religion must formulate its hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method.

Sixth: We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of "new thought."

Seventh: Religion consists of those actions, purposes, and experiences which are humanly significant. Nothing human is alien to the religious. It includes labor, art, science, philosophy, love, friendship, recreation—all that is in its degree expressive of intelligently satisfying human living. The distinction between the sacred and the secular can no longer be maintained.

Eighth: Religious humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man's life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now. This is the explanation of the humanist's social passion.

Ninth: In place of the old attitudes involved in worship and prayer the humanist finds his religious emotions expressed in a heightened sense of personal life and in a cooperative effort to promote social well-being.

Tenth: It follows that there will be no uniquely religious emotions and attitudes of the kind hitherto associated with belief in the supernatural.

Eleventh: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported by custom. We assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking.

Twelfth: Believing that religion must work increasingly for joy in living, religious humanists aim to foster the creative in man and to encourage achievements that add to the satisfactions of life.

Thirteenth: Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life. The intelligent evaluation, transformation, control, and direction of such associations and institutions with a view to the enhancement of human life is the purpose and program of humanism. Certainly religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world.

Fourteenth: The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.

Fifteenth and last: We assert that humanism will: (a) affirm life rather than deny it; (b) seek to elicit the possibilities of life, not flee from it; and (c) endeavor to establish the conditions of a satisfactory life for all, not merely for the few. By this positive morale and intention humanism will be guided, and from this perspective and alignment the techniques and efforts of humanism will flow.

So stand the theses of religious humanism. Though we consider the religious forms and ideas of our fathers no longer adequate, the quest for the good life is still the central task for mankind. Man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its achievement. He must set intelligence and will to the task.
(signed) J. A. C Fagginger Auer—Parkman Professor of Church History and Theology, Harvard University; Professor of Church History, Tufts College.
E. Burdette Backus—Unitarian Minister.
Harry Elmer Barnes—General Editorial Department, ScrippsHoward Newspapers.
L. M. Birkhead—The Liberal Center, Kansas City, Missouri.
Raymond B. Bragg—Secretary, Western Unitarian Conference.
Edwin Arthur Burtt—Professor of Philosophy, Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University.
Ernest Caldecott—Minister, First Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, California.
A. J. Carlson—Professor of Physiology, University of Chicago.
John Dewey—Columbia University. (Known as the father of progressive education)
Albert C Dieffenbach—Formerly Editor of The Christian Register.
John H. Dietrich—Minister, First Unitarian Society, Minneapolis.
Bernard Fantus—Professor of Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of Illinois.
William Floyd—Editor of The Arbitrator, New York City.
F H. Hankins—Professor of Economics and Sociology, Smith College.
A. Eustace Haydon—Professor of History of Religions, University of Chicago.
Llewellyn Jones—Literary critic and author.
Robert Morss Lovett—Editor, The New Republic; Professor of English, University of Chicago.
Harold P Marley—Minister, The Fellowship of Liberal Religion, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
R. Lester Mondale—Minister, Unitarian Church, Evanston, Illinois.
Charles Francis Potter—Leader and Founder, the First Humanist Society of New York, Inc.
John Herman Randall, Jr.—Department of Philosophy, Columbia University.
Curtis W Reese—Dean, Abraham Lincoln Center, Chicago.
Oliver L. Reiser—Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh.
Roy Wood Sellars—Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan.
Clinton Lee Scott—Minister, Universalist Church, Peoria, Illinois.
Maynard Shipley—President, The Science League of America.
W Frank Swift—Director, Boston Ethical Society.
V. T. Thayer—Educational Director, Ethical Culture Schools.
Eldred C Vanderlaan—Leader of the Free Fellowship, Berkeley, California.
Joseph Walker—Attorney, Boston, Massachusetts.
Jacob J. Weinstein—Rabbi; Advisor to Jewish Students, Columbia University.
Frank S. C Wicks—All Souls Unitarian Church, Indianapolis.
David Rhys Williams—Minister, Unitarian Church, Rochester, New York.
Edwin H. Wilson—Managing Editor, The New Humanist, Chicago, Illinois; Minister, Third Unitarian Church, Chicago, Illinois.

A Humanist Manifesto II written 1973.

Events since then make that earlier statement seem far too optimistic. Nazism has shown the depths of brutality of which humanity is capable. Other totalitarian regimes have suppressed human rights without ending poverty. Science has sometimes brought evil as well as good. Recent decades have shown that inhuman wars can be made in the name of peace. The beginnings of police states, even in democratic societies, widespread government espionage, and other abuses of power by military, political, and industrial elites, and the continuance of unyielding racism, all present a different and difficult social outlook. In various societies, the demands of women and minority groups for equal rights effectively challenge our generation.
As we approach the twenty-first century, however, an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed. Faith, commensurate with advancing knowledge, is also necessary. In the choice between despair and hope, humanists respond in this Humanist Manifesto II with a positive declaration for times of uncertainty.
As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to live and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.
Those who sign Humanist Manifesto II disclaim that they are setting forth a binding credo; their individual views would be stated in widely varying ways. This statement is, however, reaching for vision in a time that needs direction. It is social analysis in an effort at consensus. New statements should be developed to supersede this, but for today it is our conviction that humanism offers an alternative that can serve present-day needs and guide humankind toward the future.
The next century can be and should be the humanistic century. Dramatic scientific, technological, and ever-accelerating social and political changes crowd our awareness. We have virtually conquered the planet, explored the moon, overcome the natural limits of travel and communication; we stand at the dawn of a new age, ready to move farther into space and perhaps inhabit other planets. Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving an abundant and meaningful life.
The future is, however, filled with dangers. In learning to apply the scientific method to nature and human life, we have opened the door to ecological damage, over-population, dehumanizing institutions, totalitarian repression, and nuclear and bio-chemical disaster. Faced with apocalyptic prophesies and doomsday scenarios, many flee in despair from reason and embrace irrational cults and theologies of withdrawal and retreat.
Traditional moral codes and newer irrational cults both fail to meet the pressing needs of today and tomorrow. False "theologies of hope" and messianic ideologies, substituting new dogmas for old, cannot cope with existing world realities. They separate rather than unite peoples.
Humanity, to survive, requires bold and daring measures. We need to extend the uses of scientific method, not renounce them, to fuse reason with compassion in order to build constructive social and moral values. Confronted by many possible futures, we must decide which to pursue. The ultimate goal should be the fulfillment of the potential for growth in each human personality -- not for the favored few, but for all of humankind. Only a shared world and global measures will suffice.
A humanist outlook will tap the creativity of each human being and provide the vision and courage for us to work together. This outlook emphasizes the role human beings can play in their own spheres of action. The decades ahead call for dedicated, clear-minded men and women able to marshal the will, intelligence, and cooperative skills for shaping a desirable future. Humanism can provide the purpose and inspiration that so many seek; it can give personal meaning and significance to human life.
Many kinds of humanism exist in the contemporary world. The varieties and emphases of naturalistic humanism include "scientific," "ethical," "democratic," "religious," and "Marxist" humanism. Free thought, atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, deism, rationalism, ethical culture, and liberal religion all claim to be heir to the humanist tradition. Humanism traces its roots from ancient China, classical Greece and Rome, through the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, to the scientific revolution of the modern world. But views that merely reject theism are not equivalent to humanism. They lack commitment to the positive belief in the possibilities of human progress and to the values central to it. Many within religious groups, believing in the future of humanism, now claim humanist credentials. Humanism is an ethical process through which we all can move, above and beyond the divisive particulars, heroic personalities, dogmatic creeds, and ritual customs of past religions or their mere negation.
We affirm a set of common principles that can serve as a basis for united action -- positive principles relevant to the present human condition. They are a design for a secular society on a planetary scale.
For these reasons, we submit this new Humanist Manifesto for the future of humankind; for us, it is a vision of hope, a direction for satisfying survival.

FIRST: In the best sense, religion may inspire dedication to the highest ethical ideals. The cultivation of moral devotion and creative imagination is an expression of genuine "spiritual" experience and aspiration.
We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species. Any account of nature should pass the tests of scientific evidence; in our judgment, the dogmas and myths of traditional religions do not do so. Even at this late date in human history, certain elementary facts based upon the critical use of scientific reason have to be restated. We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race. As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity. Nature may indeed be broader and deeper than we now know; any new discoveries, however, will but enlarge our knowledge of the natural.
Some humanists believe we should reinterpret traditional religions and reinvest them with meanings appropriate to the current situation. Such redefinitions, however, often perpetuate old dependencies and escapisms; they easily become obscurantist, impeding the free use of the intellect. We need, instead, radically new human purposes and goals.
We appreciate the need to preserve the best ethical teachings in the religious traditions of humankind, many of which we share in common. But we reject those features of traditional religious morality that deny humans a full appreciation of their own potentialities and responsibilities. Traditional religions often offer solace to humans, but, as often, they inhibit humans from helping themselves or experiencing their full potentialities. Such institutions, creeds, and rituals often impede the will to serve others. Too often traditional faiths encourage dependence rather than independence, obedience rather than affirmation, fear rather than courage. More recently they have generated concerned social action, with many signs of relevance appearing in the wake of the "God Is Dead" theologies. But we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.

SECOND: Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the "ghost in the machine" and the "separable soul." Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way that our lives have influenced others in our culture.
Traditional religions are surely not the only obstacles to human progress. Other ideologies also impede human advance. Some forms of political doctrine, for instance, function religiously, reflecting the worst features of orthodoxy and authoritarianism, especially when they sacrifice individuals on the altar of Utopian promises. Purely economic and political viewpoints, whether capitalist or communist, often function as religious and ideological dogma. Although humans undoubtedly need economic and political goals, they also need creative values by which to live.

THIRD: We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life. Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures. Happiness and the creative realization of human needs and desires, individually and in shared enjoyment, are continuous themes of humanism. We strive for the good life, here and now. The goal is to pursue life's enrichment despite debasing forces of vulgarization, commercialization, and dehumanization.

FOURTH: Reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses. There is no substitute: neither faith nor passion suffices in itself. The controlled use of scientific methods, which have transformed the natural and social sciences since the Renaissance, must be extended further in the solution of human problems. But reason must be tempered by humility, since no group has a monopoly of wisdom or virtue. Nor is there any guarantee that all problems can be solved or all questions answered. Yet critical intelligence, infused by a sense of human caring, is the best method that humanity has for resolving problems. Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled. Thus, we are not advocating the use of scientific intelligence independent of or in opposition to emotion, for we believe in the cultivation of feeling and love. As science pushes back the boundary of the known, humankind's sense of wonder is continually renewed, and art, poetry, and music find their places, along with religion and ethics.

The Individual*
FIFTH: The preciousness and dignity of the individual person is a central humanist value. Individuals should be encouraged to realize their own creative talents and desires. We reject all religious, ideological, or moral codes that denigrate the individual, suppress freedom, dull intellect, dehumanize personality. We believe in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility. Although science can account for the causes of behavior, the possibilities of individual freedom of choice exist in human life and should be increased.

SIXTH: In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct. The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized. While we do not approve of exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression, neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered "evil." Without countenancing mindless permissiveness or unbridled promiscuity, a civilized society should be a tolerant one. Short of harming others or compelling them to do likewise, individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their life-styles as they desire. We wish to cultivate the development of a responsible attitude toward sexuality, in which humans are not exploited as sexual objects, and in which intimacy, sensitivity, respect, and honesty in interpersonal relations are encouraged. Moral education for children and adults is an important way of developing awareness and sexual maturity.

Democratic Society*
SEVENTH: To enhance freedom and dignity the individual must experience a full range of civil liberties in all societies. This includes freedom of speech and the press, political democracy, the legal right of opposition to governmental policies, fair judicial process, religious liberty, freedom of association, and artistic, scientific, and cultural freedom. It also includes a recognition of an individual's right to die with dignity, euthanasia, and the right to suicide. We oppose the increasing invasion of privacy, by whatever means, in both totalitarian and democratic societies. We would safeguard, extend, and implement the principles of human freedom evolved from the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, the Rights of Man, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

EIGHTH: We are committed to an open and democratic society. We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the workplace, and voluntary associations. Decision-making must be decentralized to include widespread involvement of people at all levels -- social, political, and economic. All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives. Institutions should be responsive to expressed desires and needs. The conditions of work, education, devotion, and play should be humanized. Alienating forces should be modified or eradicated and bureaucratic structures should be held to a minimum. People are more important than decalogues, rules, proscriptions, or regulations.

NINTH: The separation of church and state and the separation of ideology and state are imperatives. The state should encourage maximum freedom for different moral, political, religious, and social values in society. It should not favor any particular religious bodies through the use of public monies, nor espouse a single ideology and function thereby as an instrument of propaganda or oppression, particularly against dissenters.

TENTH: Humane societies should evaluate economic systems not by rhetoric or ideology, but by whether or not they increase economic well-being for all individuals and groups, minimize poverty and hardship, increase the sum of human satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life. Hence the door is open to alternative economic systems. We need to democratize the economy and judge it by its responsiveness to human needs, testing results in terms of the common good.

ELEVENTH: The principle of moral equality must be furthered through elimination of all discrimination based upon race, religion, sex, age, or national origin. This means equality of opportunity and recognition of talent and merit. Individuals should be encouraged to contribute to their own betterment. If unable, then society should provide means to satisfy their basic economic, health, and cultural needs, including, wherever resources make possible, a minimum guaranteed annual income. We are concerned for the welfare of the aged, the infirm, the disadvantaged, and also for the outcasts -- the mentally retarded, abandoned, or abused children, the handicapped, prisoners, and addicts -- for all who are neglected or ignored by society. Practicing humanists should make it their vocation to humanize personal relations.
We believe in the right to universal education. Everyone has a right to the cultural opportunity to fulfill his or her unique capacities and talents. The schools should foster satisfying and productive living. They should be open at all levels to any and all; the achievement of excellence should be encouraged. Innovative and experimental forms of education are to be welcomed. The energy and idealism of the young deserve to be appreciated and channeled to constructive purposes.
We deplore racial, religious, ethnic, or class antagonisms. Although we believe in cultural diversity and encourage racial and ethnic pride, we reject separations which promote alienation and set people and groups against each other; we envision an integrated community where people have a maximum opportunity for free and voluntary association.
We are critical of sexism or sexual chauvinism -- male or female. We believe in equal rights for both women and men to fulfill their unique careers and potentialities as they see fit, free of invidious discrimination.

World Community*
TWELFTH: We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate. Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and a world order based upon transnational federal government. This would appreciate cultural pluralism and diversity. It would not exclude pride in national origins and accomplishments nor the handling of regional problems on a regional basis. Human progress, however, can no longer be achieved by focusing on one section of the world, Western or Eastern, developed or underdeveloped. For the first time in human history, no part of humankind can be isolated from any other. Each person's future is in some way linked to all. We thus reaffirm a commitment to the building of world community, at the same time recognizing that this commits us to some hard choices.

THIRTEENTH: This world community must renounce the resort to violence and force as a method of solving international disputes. We believe in the peaceful adjudication of differences by international courts and by the development of the arts of negotiation and compromise. War is obsolete. So is the use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. It is a planetary imperative to reduce the level of military expenditures and turn these savings to peaceful and people-oriented uses.

FOURTEENTH: The world community must engage in cooperative planning concerning the use of rapidly depleting resources. The planet earth must be considered a single ecosystem. Ecological damage, resource depletion, and excessive population growth must be checked by international concord. The cultivation and conservation of nature is a moral value; we should perceive ourselves as integral to the sources of our being in nature. We must free our world from needless pollution and waste, responsibly guarding and creating wealth, both natural and human. Exploitation of natural resources, uncurbed by social conscience, must end.

FIFTEENTH: The problems of economic growth and development can no longer be resolved by one nation alone; they are worldwide in scope. It is the moral obligation of the developed nations to provide -- through an international authority that safeguards human rights -- massive technical, agricultural, medical, and economic assistance, including birth control techniques, to the developing portions of the globe. World poverty must cease. Hence extreme disproportions in wealth, income, and economic growth should be reduced on a worldwide basis.

SIXTEENTH: Technology is a vital key to human progress and development. We deplore any neo-romantic efforts to condemn indiscriminately all technology and science or to counsel retreat from its further extension and use for the good of humankind. We would resist any moves to censor basic scientific research on moral, political, or social grounds. Technology must, however, be carefully judged by the consequences of its use; harmful and destructive changes should be avoided. We are particularly disturbed when technology and bureaucracy control, manipulate, or modify human beings without their consent. Technological feasibility does not imply social or cultural desirability.

SEVENTEENTH: We must expand communication and transportation across frontiers. Travel restrictions must cease. The world must be open to diverse political, ideological, and moral viewpoints and evolve a worldwide system of television and radio for information and education. We thus call for full international cooperation in culture, science, the arts, and technology across ideological borders. We must learn to live openly together or we shall perish together.

Humanity As a Whole*
IN CLOSING: The world cannot wait for a reconciliation of competing political or economic systems to solve its problems. These are the times for men and women of goodwill to further the building of a peaceful and prosperous world. We urge that parochial loyalties and inflexible moral and religious ideologies be transcended. We urge recognition of the common humanity of all people. We further urge the use of reason and compassion to produce the kind of world we want -- a world in which peace, prosperity, freedom, and happiness are widely shared. Let us not abandon that vision in despair or cowardice. We are responsible for what we are or will be. Let us work together for a humane world by means commensurate with humane ends. Destructive ideological differences among communism, capitalism, socialism, conservatism, liberalism, and radicalism should be overcome. Let us call for an end to terror and hatred. We will survive and prosper only in a world of shared humane values. We can initiate new directions for humankind; ancient rivalries can be superseded by broad-based cooperative efforts. The commitment to tolerance, understanding, and peaceful negotiation does not necessitate acquiescence to the status quo nor the damming up of dynamic and revolutionary forces. The true revolution is occurring and can continue in countless nonviolent adjustments. But this entails the willingness to step forward onto new and expanding plateaus. At the present juncture of history, commitment to all humankind is the highest commitment of which we are capable; it transcends the narrow allegiances of church, state, party, class, or race in moving toward a wider vision of human potentiality. What more daring a goal for humankind than for each person to become, in ideal as well as practice, a citizen of a world community. It is a classical vision; we can now give it new vitality. Humanism thus interpreted is a moral force that has time on its side. We believe that humankind has the potential, intelligence, goodwill, and cooperative skill to implement this commitment in the decades ahead.
We, the undersigned, while not necessarily endorsing every detail of the above, pledge our general support to Humanist Manifesto II for the future of humankind. These affirmations are not a final credo or dogma but an expression of a living and growing faith. We invite others in all lands to join us in further developing and working for these goals.

Those signing Humanist Manifesto II include:Isaac Asimov, science fiction writer who regularly writes for Playboy Magazine;Edd Doerr, Americans United for Separation of Church and State;Bette Chambers, President of American Humanist Association;Alan F. Guttmacher, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America;Paul Kurtz, Editor of The Humanist;Lester Mondale, former President, Fellowship of Religious Humanists and brother of Walter Mondale;B. F. Skinner, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University;Norman Fleishman, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood World Population;Betty Friedan, Founder, National Organization of Women.

Why Our Schools Teach Socialism

by Joe Larson

Marxism and Humanism are the predominant philosophies of America's education establishment, yet every day we send the public schools our most precious gift, our children, to be "educated."
Our schools are filled with sex education, political correctness, environmental extremism, global unity, diversity training (pro-gay indoctrination), and "higher-order thinking skills" boldly claiming that, in order to become a higher order thinker, one must first believe absolutely that there are no absolutes!
Our schools are filled with violence, murder, extortion, rape, unwanted pregnancy, drug use, disrespect, and foul language. Test scores have been declining for decades as the numbers of children who cannot read continue to increase.
While the pontificators wonder why this is so, many parents and citizens have figured it out. Although earth worship, paganism and the occult flourish in public schools, the Greatest Story Ever Told, based on the greatest book ever written, the Holy Bible, which tells of the greatest teacher who ever lived, Jesus Christ, is not used or even allowed. The Bible was America's first textbook, but today it is referred to as a collection of fables.
America's educational system began to decline with the introduction of socialism, given impetus by the increasing involvement of the federal government. Lenin said: "Communism is socialism in a hurry." Socialism, therefore, is Communism by gradualism rather than by revolution. The socialist "Fabian Society," forerunner of most socialist groups in America, had as its motto "Make Haste Slowly."
"Democratic socialism" became the battle cry for socializing the United States. The goal was to "permeate and penetrate," then control from within. The socialists' first target was education, and they attacked with deceitful language. There were no badges or socialist labels; followers described themselves as "liberal," "progressive," and even "moderate." Words were the weapon of choice in this new war. By changing the meanings of words, socialists concealed their true purpose.
This massive social engineering was carried out under the banners of "reform" and "social justice." These innovations are in the public interest, Americans were told. They promote true democracy, humanitarianism, and, of course are "for the children." The buzzwords of socialism were and still are "social" and "democracy" (i.e. social science, social studies and socialization of the child).
In the early 1900s, unrest in Europe brought thousands of socialists to America. Many held degrees in psychology, sociology and psychiatry (the behavioral sciences) and a number of them became university professors.
Norman Thomas, a socialist and member of the American Civil Liberties Union, boldly told the world: "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."
John Dewey, known as "the father of modern education," was an avowed socialist and the co-author of the "Humanist Manifesto." The U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities discovered that he belonged to 15 Marxist front organizations. Dewey taught the professors who trained America's teachers. Obsessed with "the group," he said, "You can't make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society, which is coming, where everyone is interdependent."
Author Rosalie Gordon, writing about Dewey's progressive (socialist) education in her book What's Happened To Our Schools, said: "The progressive system has reached all the way down to the lowest grades to prepare the children of America for their role as the collectivists of the future. The group - not the individual child - is the quintessence of progressivism. The child must always be made to feel part of the group. He must indulge in group thinking and group activity."
After visiting the Soviet Union, Dewey wrote six articles on the "wonders" of Soviet education. The School-To-Work program, now in our public schools in all 50 states, is modeled after the Soviet poly-technical system.
In 1936, the National Education Association stated the position from which it has never wavered: "We stand for socializing the individual." The NEA, in its Policy For American Education, opined: "The major problem of education in our times arises out of the fact that we live in a period of fundamental social change. In the new democracy [what happened to our republic?], education must share in the responsibility of giving purpose and direction to social change. The major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual . . . Education must operate according to a well-formulated social policy."
NEA specialist Paul Haubner, tells us, "The schools cannot allow parents to influence the kind of values-education their children receive in school; . that is what is wrong with those who say there is a universal system of values. Our goals are incompatible with theirs. We must change their values."
Chester M. Pierce, M.D., Professor of Education and Psychiatry at Harvard, had this to say: "Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our Founding Fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It's up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well - by creating the international child of the future."
Some politicians agree. Former Nebraska state senator Peter Hoagland said: "Fundamentalist parents have no right to indoctrinate their children in their beliefs. We are preparing their children for the year 2000 and life in a global one-world society and those children will not fit in."
In the Humanist Magazine, Jan./Feb 1983, John Dunphy wrote: "The battle for mankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom . The classroom must and will become the arena of conflict between the old and the new . the rotting corpse of Christianity and the new faith of humanism."
Bureaucrats, politicians and educators regularly appear on television blaming either parents or lack of funds for the failure of our schools. Their prescription is always the same: more money and more government control. For well over 50 years, American voters have fallen for these fallacies. Victor Gollancz, a famous socialist publisher, explained why he believed that socialism would take over America: "Christians are not exactly bright, so it will be easy for socialism to lead them down the garden path through their ideals of brotherly love and 'social justice.'"
It's time for Christians to stand up for their families and their faith and put God in charge of this nation and its schools. Restoring America is that simple.

Joseph R. Larson is Board Chairman of the pro-family organization Restoring America ( He is a frequent guest on talk radio and has written articles on China, education and the Constitution for newspapers across the country.

Education charlatans and quacks

by Walter Williams

So many Americans graduate high school and college having learned what to think as opposed to acquiring the tools of critical, independent thinking. Likewise, they have learned little about our nation's history. As such, they fall prey to the rhetoric of political charlatans and quacks. Let's look at a couple of examples.
One of the arguments against international trade is that companies such as Nike and Gap Inc. exploit workers in Third World countries by paying them wages far lower than those that prevail in the U.S. and other developed nations. Are the workers being exploited? It all depends on how you answer the following question: If someone comes along and offers you an opportunity superior to any other that you have, is "exploitation" an appropriate term to describe that offer?
Put more concretely, if a U.S. company pays a Cambodian $3 a day, when his next best opportunity – digging through trash at a nasty dump – yields 75 cents a day, has that company made him worse off or better off? If your answer is "better off," how can "exploitation" be an appropriate term to describe the transaction?
You say, "It's exploitation because the worker should have been paid more." I think George Mason University should pay me more. Is it appropriate to use the term "exploitation" to describe my relationship with George Mason University?
Now let's turn to history. Dr. Condoleezza Rice said, in an October 2003 speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, "When the Founding Fathers said 'We the People,' they did not mean me. My ancestors were considered three-fifths of a person." Though not Dr. Rice's intention, this common misunderstanding of history is often used to discredit the great men who founded our nation – without telling the whole story.
The Founding Fathers struggled over the issue of slavery. George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, Patrick Henry and others were highly critical of slavery, describing it as a " lamentable evil," "disease of ignorance," "oppressive dominion" and "an inconsistency not to be excused."
The delegates at the 1787 Philadelphia Constitutional Convention had to negotiate many contentious deal-breaking issues. Slavery was one of those issues. The Southern states made it clear that they wouldn't vote to ratify the Constitution if it abolished slavery or ended the slave trade. Delegates from slave states wanted slaves counted as whole persons for the purposes of determining representation in Congress. That would have given the South greater political power.
Delegate James Wilson offered a compromise whereby slaves would be counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of determining the number of representatives a state had in the House of Representatives. The corresponding compromise was to set 1808 as the year to abolish the slave trade.
There's little question that slavery is an abomination and a gross violation of human rights, but the Founders had to decide whether there'd be a Union. Had morality been their sole guide, the Constitution would never have been ratified and a Union would not have been created.
One question we might ask those who condemn the Founders is whether black Americans would be better off or worse off today with the Northern states having gone their way and the Southern states having gone theirs, and as a consequence no U.S. Constitution and no Union.
Americans' ignorance of our history and inability to think critically have provided considerable ammunition for those who want to divide us in pursuit of their agenda. I don't usually buy into conspiracy theories, but it's tempting to think America's charlatans, quacks and demagogues are in cahoots with the teaching establishments at our government schools and colleges to dumb down the nation.

Education Matters

By John F. McManus (Interview)
Published: 2000-02-14 06:00

In addition to her work with the U.S. Department of Education during 1981-1982, Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt served overseas with the American Red Cross during the Korean War and with the U.S. Department of State from 1956-63. She is a free-lance writer specializing in education and has seen her work appear in numerous publications including THE NEW AMERICAN. Her new book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America, contains a wealth of documentation indicating that the moral and academic crises in public education are not accidental but by design.

Q. How did you get started as an education watchdog?
A. My family returned to the U.S. from the West Indies in 1970. After living outside the country for 15 years, we settled in Maine. When one of my two sons brought home an open-ended questionnaire seeking information about his and our family’s values, I knew something was wrong. Then I saw incredible things going on in the schools: Kids rolling around on the floor; self-concept training; all this fuzzy, mushy, touchy-feely type instruction. I also discovered that our school district was led by a Harvard-trained superintendent who later admitted to me that he considered himself a change agent.
I began complaining to the principal and the school board about several programs, even about the curriculum itself. After two failed attempts to get elected to the school board, I won a position in 1976. I have to laugh now because they counted the votes three times in hopes of finding that I hadn’t triumphed! Soon, a retired public school teacher came to me and asked me to attend an in-service training conference entitled “Innovations in Education.” An ally, she even paid for me to attend. That conference was a real eye-opener, and I have been on my “white horse” ever since.

Q. What did you discover at this conference?
A. All attendees were given a copy of The Change Agent’s Guide to Innovations in Education, the bible for bringing about change in our schools and communities, written by Ronald Havelock of the University of Michigan. We were even taught how to identify resisters and, because this is precisely what I was, they were unknowingly teaching me how to identify myself. Part of the instruction dwelled on techniques to influence community leaders — businessmen, service club members, doctors, and others — to gain their support for the introduction of absolutely disastrous programs. This manual, funded by the U.S. Office of Education (the forerunner of the Department of Education), gave suggestions about how to “sneak in” controversial and “innovative” methods of teaching in such areas as health education, drug and alcohol education, sex education, suicide education, death education, critical thinking education, and other types of “education.”
At this point, it occurred to me that no one ever termed math courses “math education” or reading courses “reading education.” From that day forward, I have been suspicious of any school course that has the word “education” attached to it. But that’s a small point. I’d lived in socialist countries and traveled in Communist countries, and my husband is a European who lived under both the Nazis and the Communists. And here I was being taught at federal expense to identify “resisters” who were opposed to these socialistic dumbing-down proposals.

Q. Did you have any success as a member of the local school board?
A. My efforts succeeded in banning values clarification, putting an end to subjecting the children to survival games, and introducing a mere five minutes of grammar instruction per day, which was all they would allow for such a vitally important subject. Nevertheless, two weeks after I left, everything I’d worked to accomplish was overturned.

Q. How were you able to get yourself into an important position in the U.S. Department of Education?
A. Through the efforts of a good friend in the White House, I was appointed Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED). OERI was, and still is, the office out of which the controversial national and international educational restructuring has been funded. I worked in this position for more than a year and was summarily relieved of my duties because I leaked information to the press about an important technology grant which would control the content of curriculum at the local level. My superiors didn’t want details about what they were implementing to become known.

Q. What else were you asked to do while working for OERI?
A. Hundreds of these mind-altering, values-destroying programs were funded out of my office. ED sent a huge catalog entitled “Programs that Work” to every facilitator center in the United States. These programs were then introduced into classrooms everywhere. Of course, what ED urged stood in stark contrast to the desires of virtually all local school boards. I had arrived at the funding and philosophical source of what I had objected to as a local school board member: the death-mentality survival games; “no right/no wrong” values clarification; behavior modification; globalist education; non-absolutist critical thinking. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to stop any of it.

Q. Is this why you compiled your new book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America?
A. Yes, I call it a “resister’s book.” It’s a compilation of information from a variety of sources going back over many years. It contains statements and position papers issued by individuals and organizations that are deliberately and maliciously working to achieve behavioral changes in students, which will ultimately alter society in general. These ideas and individuals have virtually taken over the schools of America, which are certainly not providing what is commonly understood as education. They’re dispensing subversive indoctrination.

Q. Can you be more specific in summarizing their overall goal?
A. They seek to destroy absolute values and cast aside the importance of right and wrong that form the basis of any stable and free society. In other words, they want to undo what our nation’s founders established. To achieve this goal, they seek to train our children precisely as animals are trained, through a Pavlovian conditioning process innocuously called outcome-based (performance-based) education. Those who are “trained” instead of being educated receive tangible rewards for their “correct” answers. A distinct result of such programming is fear to take a principled or controversial stand, or at least a disinclination to do so because there is no reward forthcoming. This is how animals are trained. But human beings are possessed of free will, have intellects, souls, and consciences, and are not mere brute animals. For years, the schools have been giving children this non-absolutist trash, and it has ultimately resulted in such horrors as the Columbine massacre.

Q. When you went to Washington at the beginning of the Reagan administration, weren’t you expecting that the Department of Education would be abolished?
A. That’s what we wanted, and that’s what had been promised. Recall that throughout 1980 candidate Reagan had stated his intention to do away with both the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. But, once elected, he appointed Terrell H. Bell as Secretary of Education. Bell had been the Commissioner of Education in the old Office of Education during the Ford Administration. He had actually lobbied Congress for the creation of the new cabinet-level ED during the Carter years. Then, in 1982, a courageous colleague, National Institute of Education (NIE) director Edward Curran, recommended that the NIE, the research and development arm of ED from which most of the destructive programs emanated, be abolished. Bell immediately fired him. Any expectation anyone still had that ED would be abolished disappeared completely.

Q. How did you acquire all of the materials you cite in your book?
A. During the period I served at ED, I saved or copied many of the documents crossing my desk. Eventually expecting to be dismissed, I started storing them in the home of a friend. When the hammer dropped on me, I already had what I needed. Plus, I have acquired many friends throughout the nation who have supplied me with the product of their own valuable research.

Q. After being fired and returning to Maine, what did you do?
A. First, I went on a nationwide speaking tour. I believe I spoke in 40 different states explaining the federal education agenda. I knew that parents were being told that they’re “taking things out of context” when they objected to something going on in the schools. They needed direct quotes from official documents drafted by the subverters themselves. They needed to know that there is a deliberate plan to dumb down their kids and to destroy the nation’s values — a two-pronged plan to destroy this country. My book provides the ammunition necessary to help the growing number of citizens who wish to expose these planners and keep America free. I don’t want any American ever again to be confronted with “That’s your opinion” when they object to the outrages to which their children are being subjected. If they have my book, they can document their “opinions.”

Q. Give me a specific example from your book of the kind of information needed by parents in order to show deliberate design in the effort to remake American education.
A. For a full week during the summer of 1974, members of the Chief State School Officers Institute representing the 50 state educational departments met at a plush resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They were given recommendations by an array of top leaders of the U.S. Office of Education and other invited specialists such as Alvin Toffler and Willard Wirtz. The report coming from this conference, published and funded by the federal Office of Education, states that “technology has created a new relationship between man, his education, his society” — a relationship in which “the home, the church” cannot meet current challenges. Conclusions reached at this conference included the following: “Individuals need more … participation in group decision making”; “problems of the future must be solved based on values and priorities set by groups”; “the states should … provide alternatives to earning the high school diploma”; “Educational credit should be available to students for activities related to their studies in work, volunteer action, community participation, school volunteer programs and other programs contributing to the betterment of the home, school, community and society.” These are precisely the type programs that are now enshrined in virtually all of the nation’s schools.

Q. Did the United Nations set out from its creation to influence the U. S. educational system?
A. In 1946, within a year of the founding of the UN, a Canadian psychiatrist named Brock Chisholm spoke before the organization’s World Health Organization (WHO) on “The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress.” In his talk, he actually recommended “the reinterpretation and eventual eradication of the concept of right and wrong.” By 1948, when Chisholm was serving as the executive director of WHO’s Interim Commission, the journal International Conciliation published his 1946 speech. It contained a glowing preface by his good friend, Communist spy Alger Hiss. Chisholm wanted all teachers retrained in the psychiatric methods. It is from this type of thinking, combined with the pervasive influence of UNESCO, that behavioral science and values clarification programs were created and introduced into America’s schools.

Q. What exactly has UNESCO’s role been in the restructuring of American education?
A. As far back as 1947, under the Truman administration, the President’s Commission on Higher Education issued a report entitled “Higher Education for American Democracy,” which pronounced that education “must be conditioned essentially by policies established by the State Department and by ministries of foreign affairs in other countries.” More specifically, it then stated: “Higher education must play a very important part in carrying out in this country the program developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.... The United States Office of Education must be prepared to work effectively with the State Department and with the UNESCO.” What began in 1947 has continued and grown ever since.

Q. Obviously, the takeover of American education began a long time ago.
A. Yes, and I have numerous citations in my book showing the planned subversion from as far back as the late 1800s and the early part of the 20th century. For instance, in 1934, the American Historical Association published Conclusions and Recommendations for the Social Studies, a book funded with a large grant from the Carnegie Corporation. British socialist Harold Laski enthusiastically endorsed this report as follows: “At bottom, and stripped of its carefully neutral phrases, the report is an educational program for a Socialist America.” And he was absolutely correct because this book calls for changing the United States from free enterprise to a planned economy.

Q. Does your book supply any information about the 1985 United States-Soviet Union Educational Agreements?
A. Indeed it does and I expect that some of what I have included will surprise those who place “conservatism” and conservative heroes above adherence to the U.S. Constitution. These incredible agreements opening the door to the introduction of Soviet-style education into America’s schools were signed by U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. Then, Edwin Feulner, who today leads the Washington-based Heritage Foundation but who was then the presidentially appointed chairman of the Commission on Public Diplomacy of the U.S. Information Agency, urged speedy acceptance of recommendations contained in the agreements.

Q. You have a very negative opinion of the widely publicized and increasingly popular voucher system. Why don’t you like vouchers?
A. Very simply, vouchers are a mechanism to gain control over private schooling, and eventually even over homeschooling. If vouchers are used by parents to pay for education outside the government schools, then the issuer of the voucher (the government) will step in to certify that the alternative form of education meets government standards.
In my book, I cite the work of a savvy Texan named Billy Lyon who showed that many educators and politicians use the term “choice” as a substitute for “vouchers.” What they really seek is control. For instance, Lyon pointed to Albert Shanker, the late American Federation of Teachers leader, who stated: “It may be that we can’t get the big changes we need without choice.” President George Bush announced, “Choice is the one reform that drives all others.” And former U.S. Secretary of Education Lauro Cavasos expressed his desire “to use the power of choice to help restructure American education.” When these people employ the word “choice,” they mean “vouchers,” the back-door approach to gaining control.

Q. What is your overall answer to the problems you have uncovered?
A. Prior to 1930, the United States had the finest education system in the world. We should be very proud of that fact. And we could easily return to that preeminent position, but doing so has to be based on a realization that federal money not only isn’t the answer, it’s the root cause of declining test scores and all the other problems we have discussed. Federal money has been used for behavior modification, not for academics. It has been used for values clarification, not to strengthen biblically-based morality. And it is being used to “dumb down” America’s children, not educate them as their grandparents were educated.

The first step that must be taken is to abolish the Department of Education. Once that’s accomplished, we will see the collapse of all the state education departments that get as much as 70 percent of their operating budget from ED.

Rudy Giuliani, NO Fiscal Conservative

by George Marlin

When Steve Forbes was seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, then Mayor Rudy Giuliani ridiculed his proposal to scrap the federal income tax code and replace it with a simple flat-tax. Giuliani called Forbes plan a "mistake" and said if implemented "would really be a disaster."
Despite these smears, Steve Forbes now believes Rudy embraces the flat-tax concept and endorsed him for president claiming he "will inspire the next generation of the Reagan Revolution."
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani speaks during his campaign stop at Valley High School, Tuesday, April 3, 2007, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nirmalendu Majumdar)
Apparently Forbes forgot that when running for mayor, Rudy Giuliani showcased his liberal credentials and boasted he would "rekindle the Rockefeller, Javits Lefkowitz tradition" of the Republican Party and "produce the kind of change New York City saw with Fiorella LaGuardia and with John Lindsay."
Here's a sampling of the change the Rockefeller-Lindsay brand of Republican liberalism gave New York: During Governor Rockefeller's 14-year tenure, he brought New York State to the verge of bankruptcy. When Rocky entered office, his first budget was $2 billion, when he left office his last budget was $8.7 billion. Thanks to 18 tax increases he signed into law, New Yorkers were the most heavily taxed citizens in the nation and their state had the highest public debt in the nation. Viewing the mess he inherited from Rockefeller, Democratic Governor Hugh Carey said: "I've seen delicatessens in bankruptcy in better shape than the State of New York."
The Upper East Side Republican-liberal social engineer mayor, John Lindsay, financed New York City's big government agenda with creative fiscal gimmicks including phantom revenues, capitalization of expenses, short-term debt rollovers, false revenue estimates and excessive long-term borrowing. And Lindsay increased nuisance taxes, water rates, sewer taxes, commercial rent tax and instituted the city personal income, general corporation and unincorporated business taxes.
Mayor Lindsay's reckless fiscal policies were directly responsible for the City's 1975 default on debt.
Following in their footsteps, Mayor Giuliani declared that pledging no new tax increases is "political pandering." He also said "when I ran for mayor both times, I was asked very, very often to do the following: Pledge that you will never raise taxes. I refused to do that. Pledge that you will lower taxes. I refused to do that."
When Giuliani endorsed liberal icon Mario Cuomo for governor in 1994, he called the Republican-Conservative George Pataki's 25 percent state income tax cut (cloned from the Forbes-inspired New Jersey income tax cut) "irresponsible" and a "shell game that would hurt everyone in the state."
Forbes points to Rudy's fiscal management of New York City as proof of his conservatism. "Giuliani," he claims, "turned an inherited deficit [$2.3 billion] into a multimillion dollar surplus." It's true that during Giuliani's first term when times were tough, he contained costs and made some tax cuts. But what Forbes failed to point out is that in Rudy's second term, when the economy was booming, he abandoned fiscal restraint and became a big-spending liberal. City budget expenditures jumped 25 percent – twice the inflation rate – and Giuliani left his successor a projected operating deficit of $4.5 billion and New York's citizens with the highest tax burden in any major municipality in America.
Rudy Giuliani, a legatee of Nelson Rockefeller and John Lindsay, fails on every fiscal and cultural issue that are dear to conservatives. And one can only hope that Steve Forbes and his friends will learn before it's too late that life-long liberal Rudy Giuliani is employing conservative rhetoric merely to patronize them.
George J. Marlin is an author, former Conservative Party nominee for mayor of the City of New York, former two term Executive Director and CEO of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.