An Interview With Larry Grathwohl (Part 2)
Rotting America from the Inside
The day after Barack Obama’s re-election, unrepentant terrorist-turned-“education reformer” Bill Ayers posted an open letter to the president on his blog, focused on educational matters. Specifically, it was a straw man-filled plea to resist private influences in public education, in the names (naturally) of “freedom” and “democracy.”
Perfectly echoing his intellectual forebear, John Dewey, Ayers tells Obama that “When the aim of education and the sole measure of success is competitive, learning becomes exclusively selfish, and there is no obvious social motive to pursue it.” (See my discussion of Dewey’s near-identical remarks, and their meaning, here.)
Ayers even concludes his post by citing his hero by name. Reminding Obama of the progressive University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, where Ayers, Obama, and “your friend Rahm Emanuel” all sent their own children, he urges Obama to universalize this schooling through the public system, and concludes:
Good enough for you, good enough for the privileged, then it must be good enough for the kids in public schools everywhere – a standard to be aspired to and worked toward. Any other ideal for our schools, in the words of John Dewey who founded the school you chose for your daughters, “is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy.”
In a typical leftist projection, Ayers, one of America’s foremost living experts on the methods of destroying a democracy, argues that only by following his prescription may democracy be saved. And, in a perfect parallel of the modern progressive ratchet, in which government causes a problem through regulation, and then advocates more regulation as the solution to the problem, Ayers responds to the death of education under the hundred year influence of Dewey (“the father of modern education”) by proposing to salvage the public schools by infesting them with even more Deweyism.
And make no mistake about one point: Ayers is not merely invoking Dewey as a respectable cover for his subversive agenda. Deweyism is his subversive agenda. Ayers and his fellow “reformers” are to Dewey what Lenin was to Marx. Marx was an intellectual who wished to undermine Western civilization. Lenin was a thug who sought to bring Marxist principles into full practice through propaganda, armed revolution, and sophisticated lies. Likewise, Dewey hated American liberty and individualism, and wished to undermine them through socialist education. Ayers is Dewey’s less civilized, more “practically-minded” disciple.
Having laid the groundwork regarding the methods and goals of Ayers and the Weather Underground (WU) in Part 1 of this interview with Larry Grathwohl, we turn now to the significance of this radicalism in today’s terms, particularly with regard to modern education.
DJ: Several members of WU and SDS, most famously Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, but also Howard Machtinger and others, have become prominent childhood education and “children’s rights” activists and theorists. What do you make of this?
LG: Having failed to accomplish their goal of destroying capitalism and U.S. imperialism when they went underground and began their strategic sabotage, it is my belief that they decided to accomplish this goal by infiltrating the educational system and using it to their own [ends]. Reflecting on this it is obvious that Bill Ayers, as an example, has been a professor of education and thus has been teaching our teachers for at least three or four generations. As you pointed out in your article, “Good News: You May Be Spared Execution,” the result of this has been that many students and individuals have been educated to believe that the United States is an evil empire and should be punished if not eliminated. This means that many will simply give up and comply with whatever the future may hold or impose upon them when people like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn are able to succeed in their ultimate goal of the destruction of the U.S.
So it is my conclusion that what the WU failed to accomplish when they went underground and began their strategic sabotage is now being accomplished through the educational system and the political means that they have gained by supporting such people as Barack Obama and his Chicago supporters. I tell people today that we are losing our freedoms because of the attacks that emerge from the left and are targeted on all of our basic societal organizations. God is eliminated from the classroom, the history of our country is no longer being taught, but rather a revised edition which depicts our people and our nation as enemies of the world and of all that is good and right. This includes church, religion, veterans, educational institutions and any organization that supports the greatness of our country and the strength of its institutions.
Presently, our president tells us that there is no economic problem, the national debt is not something to be concerned about, and that the Constitution is outdated and needs to be replaced or at least revised. And because of this educational problem there are people who no longer know what the Constitution is or the reasons for its existence, so how can these people be expected to defend it? This has been accomplished through control of the classrooms and through the constant political babble that the left puts out and that people are simply unprepared to defend [against].
DJ: What would you say to Democrats, Republicans, and academics who point to Ayers' years of “academic respectability” as an argument against identifying him with the statements or actions of his radical days?
LG: Bill Ayers has never apologized or recanted on the goals of the WU from the 1970s and ‘80s. Furthermore he has stated that his only regret was that the WU didn’t do enough. There are pictures of him leaving the courthouse when he was exonerated for his crimes while part of the WU and he states, “guilty as hell, free as a bird, isn’t America wonderful?” Bill and Bernardine have continued their political activities in regards to their support for the Occupy Wall Street movement in which Bill has led classes on how to disrupt and defy authority. Bill and Bernardine have participated in the activities of Code Pink which has been involved in the Middle East and in creating the turmoil in that part of the world….
Bill Ayers has not changed his ways, has not changed his goals or his objectives. He is now traveling around the country giving talks to people telling them that they are very close to changing this country and making it into what he wants it to be and that they should not give up at this point. He also tells them that they cannot completely depend upon Barack Obama to create this new order and that they must not fail because they are so very close to accomplishing their mission of changing America forever.
DJ: Would you willingly allow your own child to attend a school or school board in which the teachers were trained, and the educational goals set, by Ayers, Machtinger, or likeminded others? If not, why not?
LG: My answer to this question is no. Absolutely not. I want my children and grandchildren to be educated in a way that they have the ability to make up their own minds about issues without having been indoctrinated into the Bill Ayers way of thinking. It is my belief that teachers today are more interested in teaching social resistance rather than reading, writing and arithmetic. The result is that we have a tremendous number of young people who are unable to read or write, or add and subtract. They are however very capable of protesting when they think that their individual rights have been imposed upon, [and] feel that they are being punished if they have to do homework and learn the basic precepts of our country and our government. In many cases they don’t even know that the Constitution exists, and if they do they are taught that this is a document written by old white men 200 years ago and that it is meaningless in today’s world.
I encourage people to send their children to private or parochial schools and if this is not possible they should home educate their children in order to assure that they learn the true history of America and the necessary tools to be a good citizen and be able to contribute and to succeed in our society.
Author’s note: There are a hundred compelling reasons for removing your children and grandchildren from the public schools, regardless of any practical or financial inconveniences this may cause you. If the one you have just heard from Larry Grathwohl – that the progressive revolutionary intentions and methods of Bill Ayers are being woven into the mainstream of modern education, in effect establishing the re-education camps of the WU’s hopes – is not forceful enough to move you, then I give up.
To be continued in Part 3.
(A version of this article originally appeared at American Thinker.)