So, smart moms in two homeschool social-media groups of which I’m a member are super-excited about Hillsdale College’s free “Constitution 101” course. “Hillsdale’s conservative, so it must be teaching Christian-centered history,” they say.
“Hillsdale doesn’t accept grants from the federal government or participate in federal financial-aid or student-loan programs. How principled,” they opine. “Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levine both endorse Hillsdale as being an ‘authority on the Constitution’, so it must be quality curriculum,” they hope.
Hey now, not so fast. Let’s not take all these assumptions on face value.
For years, I’ve been receiving and reading Hillsdale’s monthly mailed newsletter Imprimus, which highlights guest lectures, speeches by visiting professors, and articles by intellectuals associated with the college. It sometimes features valuable articles by modern thinkers I respect and offers up opinions that are not status quo. But not always.
In fact, Hillsdale as a place of learning is overall a neocon institution. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, like history professor Brad Birzer, and his wife and history lecturer Dedra Birzer.
Much has been written and discussed about neoconservatism. In short, they were ex-Trotskyites who abandoned the left decades ago, and they and their descendants have been pushing for foreign interventionism, open borders, and giving up on the culture war, all while claiming to be for “Founding principles.” These wolves in sheep’s clothing pretend to be patriotic, yet undergird the very ideologies that are tearing America apart.
Larry P. Arnn, who delivers the first video lecture, is president of Hillsdale and also on the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Foundation – a neocon think-tank that alleges to advocate for limited government and fiscal responsibility, but simultaneously lobbies for foreign entanglements and “spreading democracy” through bombing campaigns. In other words: globalism a la the military-industrial complex while America burns.
This isn’t guilt by association. Rather, it’s just connecting the dots. So, is it any wonder that I’m skeptical of this free Constitution course? Therefore, I signed up to see what all the fuss is about.
One need look no further than the welcome email. The “about” section describes how the course will dive into “the Declaration of Independence and The Federalist Papers,” yet no mention of The Anti-Federalist Papers.
So, already we know that the curriculum is slanted toward the Hamiltonian view of America, and not the decentralized view of Founders like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, Sam Adams, Richard Henry Lee, and James Monroe. Thus, Hillsdale is planting their flag on the hill of empire, not that of states’ rights. THIS is a problem, my friends.
With the most charitable view possible, I understand that this could be an oversight. After all, many learned people don’t even know that there’s a collection of writings called The Anti-Federalist Papers, which argued that the U.S. Constitution would grow the federal government and eventually lead to an all-powerful executive branch akin to monarchy. Prescient, wouldn’t you say?
In fact, if it wasn’t for the anti-federalists, we wouldn’t even have a Bill of Rights – the only fleeting safeguard against federal overreach and the complete eradication of our God-given liberties. These amendments sure ain’t a cure, but can you just imagine how even more embroiled in tyranny our lives would be without it?
Okay, this was probably just an innocent mistake, you say. So then, let’s take a gander at the “overview” portion of the email. Hillsdale faculty who teach the lecture series tell us that “American political history is defined by three great crises.”
Number One: the American Revolution. No duh.
Number Three: progressivism. Yep, couldn’t agree more.
But Number Two? Hmm. Here’s what they say.
No, no, no. This is complete historical revisionism. It’s the stuff of Marxist Eric Foner, Straussian Harry Jaffa, and plagiarist and “Lincoln idolater” Doris Kearns Goodwin, who’s wont is to demonize Robert E. Lee as a foot fetishist. Yet, these snake-oil salesmen are all lauded as the popular “historians” of the Washington elite.
Why? Because they and their self-righteous ilk, like Victor Davis Hanson, Dinesh D’Souza, Jonah Goldberg, Ben Shapiro, and all the talking heads at Fox News (save Tucker Carlson), use this misinformation to construct a narrative of America as an “idea” that wasn’t realized until St. Lincoln “freed the slaves” and smashed those evil racists below the Mason-Dixon Line.
America must be cleansed of her “original sin” of slavery. It’s all presentist rubbish. Lincoln was no friend of the black man and certainly no freedom fighter.
In fact, no American’s ideology has ever been more contrary to Founding principles than was Dishonest Abe’s. Because of his totalitarianism and subsequent worship, we now have a federal government that micromanages every aspect of our lives, as well as increased social division. We have lost states’ rights and voluntary association, which were cornerstones of America’s founding. We have attained the “idea,” and people couldn’t be any unhappier. Kinda makes Number Three seem silly, now don’t it?!
We are living in the Hamiltonian vision of America, which metastasized into the cancer known as Lincolnian nationalism throughout the 20th century and has devolved into today’s “managerial state” (as the late Sam Francis called it). Out with the voluntary compact of sovereign states. In with the cult of Unionism and pegging Confederates as the heretics.
It is this “propositional nation” mythos which is the basis for all this “reform” we’re drowning in today. It has opened the door for secular-humanism, radical egalitarianism, and universalism. It has smashed localism for centralization; destroyed equal justice under the law for the evils of “equality;” routed traditionalism for post-modernism; and annihilated self-determination for statism. The tale is how the neocons and their uber-leftist cohorts push for “permanent revolution.”
And to do this, they must incessantly tear down the traditions that rooted Jeffersonian America up until 1861. Since the progressive notion of “exceptionalism” was fashionably spreading across the growing 19th-century landscape, the remnants of subsidiarity that survived only in the South had to be extinguished to attain the nation-state. And because it is still the only place where this Jeffersonian ideal exists, her people must be maligned and their culture razed.
In the name of “progress,” the South must continually be demonized and distorted in order to “deify the idea of America.” To attain this new world order, the “pogrom against Southern history and symbols,” as historian Clyde Wilson describes it, must carry forward. It is the linchpin for the con.
Today, the invasion (Third-World socialists, instead of Yankee soldiers and carpet-baggers) and total war (political correctness, cultural genocide, and anarcho-tyranny, instead of amassed Federal armies invading, killing, raping, pillaging, and burning cities to the sea) may look different. But make no mistake, puritanical-progressive conquest and Reconstruction still roll on. There may not have been 700,000 deaths … yet, but the goal is nonetheless the same.
If Americans get this wrong (meaning, the real crisis that occurred from 1861-1865 and the ensuing cultural Marxist “remaking” of America that has followed unabated), we cannot fully understand any history, much less have a firm grasp on current events, keen eyes for charlatans, or an understanding of modern threats which imperil any shreds of liberty that may be salvaged from the Lincolnian wreckage.
Like all good propaganda, the Hillsdale hearsay is peppered with grains of truth, giving it the illusion of fact. Christian homeschoolers, please do your homework before buying into this dangerous paradigm. Don’t get conned. After all, there’s nothing more important than truth.
Just because something’s free doesn’t mean it’s worth your time or money … or soul. In fact, it will end up costing your children (and their posterity) way more in the long run.
• For more on neoconservatism, dig into the voluminous writings of American sage Patrick J. Buchanan, historian Boyd Cathey, and retired humanities professor and author Paul Gottfried.
• For the truth about the War Between the States, check out the work of stalwarts the Kennedy Brothers, historian Clyde Wilson and professor Thomas DiLorenzo, the blogs of yours truly, and articles and podcasts by historian Brion McClanahan and the indispensable Abbeville Institute.
• And for politically incorrect curriculum, please consider purchasing real history courses at Liberty Classroom and McClanahan Academy. I promise: they’re worth every dirty Lincoln penny.
Truth warrior, Jesus follower, wife, and boymom. Apologetics practitioner for Orthodox Christianity, the Southern tradition, homeschooling, and freedom. Recovering feminist-socialist-atheist, graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and retired mainstream journalist turned domesticated belle and rabble-rousing rhetorician. A mama who’s adept at triggering statists, so she’s going to bang as loudly as she can.