ePub Intellectual Schizophrenia ePub

by Rousas John Rushdoony

This is Rushdoony's foundational book for understanding education.Readers will find it much easier, and much more engaging than "The Messianic Character of American Education."Though that is a fine work, it is a slow and difficult read, though oftentimes brilliant.

"Intellectual Schizophrenia" deals with first matters, beginning with a brief history of public education in America.He writes that education became the "cure-all" for social problems during the Enlightenment, and remains so today.This messianic concept is irreconcilable to the Calvinistic view of education.Thus, at the outset, the believer and unbeliever are at odds over the teleology, or purpose, of education.

Modern education has become statist by necessity, since in the Enlightenment view, there is no ultimate authority.The state becomes that authority and thus the individual is subsumed under the state, and personal freedom is consequently subordinated to the state, or polity.

The Vantillian antithesis so fundamental to Rushdoony's philosophy is established early.He writes:

"Long before Bacon, man set himself a false ideal for knowledge.Man’s original sin involved the postulate of an ultimate epistemological and metaphysical pluralism which gave equal ultimacy to the mind of man and of God, as well as to time and eternity.Hence, there was no eternal decree, and only time could be the test of anything, together with experimentation and exhaustive knowledge.In terms of this, true knowledge became either illusory or at very best—tentative."p. 19

This pagan understanding of knowledge has crept into the church and pervaded all levels of society.This rejection of God is a turning toward death.p. 27-28

This then becomes the heart of Rushdoony's thesis:

"In every area we have what can only be characterized as intellectual schizophrenia, a split personality.On the one hand modern man, ‘Christian’ and non-Christian, in dealing with the practical necessities of any particular area of science or of learning, must be theistic, must assume the ontological trinity, in that he must posit an eternal decree, a unity in life and learning and a correspondence to ultimate reality of numbers, etc.Let him hold to as radical a relativism as he may, he still acts in terms of an eternal decree.
As a result, he is caught in the tension of intellectual schizophrenia and is a divided person, a house divided against itself.The growing tension of modern life is due precisely to this schizophrenic element in all learning.The more relevant science and learning become to everyday life, the more irrelevant they become in theory.Man is schizoid in his attempt to function apart from God, to use the things of this creation while denying their creator and the eternal decree behind all reality.Man apart from God is guilty of what Van Til calls the Cainitic wish, the desire that there be no God, but whenever and wherever man tries to eliminate God, he ends up by eliminating all reality."p. 30-31

It is only the consistent, epistemologically self-concious Christian that "can teach in the confidence that there is a unity of learning in his school in that the ontological trinity is the presupposition of all factuality, and that all facts are created facts and hence God-given and consistent facts.He can avoid thereby the intellectual schizophrenia of our age, for himself and his students."p. 36

This is actually the purpose of Christian education—"to declare that no fact is a fact apart from the ontological trinity, that all facts are personal facts precisely because they have been created by a personal God who alone is the true source of their interpretation, and that, because the whole created universe came into being by the act of that one God, whose eternal decree undergirds all reality, learning is not illusory and all learning has a fundamental unity."p. 39-40

Once he has established his thesis, he goes on to critique the government schools.Rushdoony's criticism is thorough and absolutely devastating.It is worth quoting at length to give the full context.Public educators beware, this quote will induce either amens, or anger:

"Educationally, the child considered in terms of needs must be given automatic promotions to prevent any sense of inferiority, frustration or maladjustment.Socially, the same child must be guaranteed cradle to grave security lest a psychic trauma be produced.The cure for failure to learn is to devaluate learning, and the cure for social failure is to devaluate success.Inevitably, the only teachers who succeed in terms of such schools are those who share in the basic premises, or supinely permit their propagation with the result that, despite the academic degrees, the teachers are less and less teachers and more and more propagandists of the statist creed.Their obvious inferiority has been substantially demonstrated by the army’s draft deferment testing program, which reveals that not only are prospective teachers the lowest in intelligence and ability of any group, and by a substantial margin, but that those who are headed for school administration are a radically inferior group.As Whyte comments, on analyzing the figures, ‘It is now well evident that a large proportion of the younger people who will one day be in charge of our secondary-school system are precisely those with the least aptitude for education of all Americans attending college.’Educators are unwilling to admit these facts, and, when forced to, plead that low pay drives away the better prospects.But the falsity of this claim is apparent when it is realized that the same applies to systems with high pay, and the fact that administrators, usually well paid, represent the lowest calibre of all.Money then is not the issue, because at least administration would draw men of intellectual ability and aptitude.The fact is that statist education, resting as it does on a philosophy repugnant to free and responsible men, does not and cannot draw a high level of men.Christian schools, often paying less, are nonetheless able to draw dedicated men and culturally literate men, this in spite of handicaps a young and developing concept in education faces."p. 78-79

He is unwilling to give Christians a pass on the status quo and requires their action—they "must attack the fundamental statist concept."He equates the disestablishment of state churches with the eventual disestablishment of state schools.I thought this was one of the most brilliant insights of the book, that in the former age, "The cause of religion then required compulsion, even as the cause of education now requires compulsion, even as the cause of education now requires compulsion and the state."

This secular age, and "To this culture, compulsory state religion seems radically wrong, but not a compulsory state education.But between the two no real difference exists; both require the compulsive power of the state for whatever the culture deems necessary.Compulsion in religion was in an earlier era a social necessity, even as it now is in education."p. 118-119

Rushdoony then comes to a positive view of education—the Christian view.But even here, he spends more time arguing what Christian education must not be.He warns that "The teaching of the Bible in the Christian school as its basic religious and cultural premise, can be wholly or partially neutralized if certain non-biblical presuppositions govern the teaching."He also writes at length warning against moralism.

"For Scripture, the godly man is the saved man, not the self-consciously good man.It is not a contrast between moral and immoral but between godly and ungodly, holy and wicked, and the moral man, as witness the Pharisees, can epitomize ungodliness.Yet the moralistic construction creeps into Christian thinking." p. 82

As he's written elsewhere, in his "Institutes of Biblical Law," I believe, he uses the example of Rahab in warning against moralism.Though I don't entirely agree with his explanation, it is a powerful argument. p. 83-84

He warns against projecting "modern secularism onto the Bible."It is not a normal view of life, and is irreconcilable with the Bible.p. 85If God is not God, man is not man, and all becomes "relativity."Instead, "The Bible must be taught in terms of its claimed ramifications, which are far-reaching.The law, for example, is particular and principal."p. 86

This is another great section of the book, as he uses Deut. 25:14 and "the muzzling of the ox" as an example of how biblical law must be understood.p. 86

He brings this together toward the end, arguing that the statist nature of public education is mystical—requiring the individual's mystical union with the whole—mass man.For that is what education is for in the Enlightenment view—the integration of the one into the many.This explains the establishment of the public school, as the church was state-established in the previous age.This explains why there is such opposition today to homeschooling and public education.It is a religious concept, which is why two years later Rushdoony published "The Messianic Character of American Education."

Like all of his works, the book is uneven.There are portions that are slow, but there are pages and pages of brilliance and piercing insight that most authors could only dream of themselves.There is so much in this book that I didn't even mention that are worth writing about, but read the book for yourself, you won't regret it.

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Book Title
Book Author
PublisherRoss House Books
Release date 05.09.2000
Pages count180
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
File size6.1 Mb
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