Abraham Lincoln defined America's representative democracy as "Government of the people, by the people, for the people."

Thomas Jefferson defined the only basis on which such a representative democracy could be maintained:

I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power. --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15278

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384.

The Roman Catholic Church is the greatest and most dangerous enemy of representative democracy that this world has ever known. This is not surprising. The ultimate enemy of the freedoms guaranteed by American democracy is "the great dragon . . . that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:9.) It is he from whom the papacy has received "his power, and his seat, and great authority" (Rev. 13:2b.) Satan knew that the most effective means of destroying the representative democracy of the most powerful and influential nation on earth was to undermine the educational system and thereby bring about an ill-informed populace.

As long ago as the end of the 19th century America's representative democracy was already under intense scrutiny by the papacy. It was seen as a model to be followed in other parts of the world, subject to modification. On the constitutional guarantee of separation of Church and State, Leo XIII expressed his disapproval without qualification. On democratic government in general his denunciation was unequivocal; yet he indicated that under suitable conditions Roman Catholics could work in accommodation with it:


For Italy, Leo adopted a policy marked by an intransigence which produced more or less the same bitter fruits as in France. Leo hoped Germany would force a solution of the "Roman question" and restore the papacy to a position of temporal power. But the Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria, and Italy dashed these aspirations. Leo could expect no help from France, where his policies had, rather, fomented antipapal feeling. When Mariano Rampolla became secretary of state for Italy in 1887, he sought the friendship of the democracies, the United States, and France particularly. Leo was much more in favor of a monarchical paternalism than of a democratic form of government; he feared the latter as an open door to anticlerical and secular policies. In Italy, Leo allowed Catholics to participate in municipal politics, but he maintained the traditional ban on all Catholic participation in national politics almost to the end of his life. In his encyclical letter Immortale Dei (Nov. 1, 1885) Leo denounced democracy as irreconcilable with the authority of the Church, although he did allow that with proper conditions Catholics could work within such a democratic framework. In Libertas praestantissimum (June 20, 1888) he declared personal liberty and freedom to be a legitimate political goal, but he tied the success of such a goal to adherence to Roman Catholicism. Leo sought, in other words, to reconcile the liberalism of his day with traditional Roman Catholic teaching. Although he did not succeed, he laid the foundations for a later development in the mid-20th century. The policies of John XXIII, for instance, reflected Leo's thoughts but took some essential steps forward.

The bottom line is that democracy is "irreconcilable with the authority of the Church," and the Church has not given up, and will not give up, its assertion of authority in all matters spiritual and temporal:

Separation of Church and State

Manifest Destiny or Manifest Heresy?

I would have agreed wholeheartedly with George Sim Johnston who wrote in his recent article "Why Vatican II Was Necessary" that, "The council made it clear that she no longer wanted a confessional state tied to a monarchy; it was high time to make peace with liberal democracy."

But now, after some years of reflection and more careful examination not only of Vatican II but of pre-conciliar magisterial teaching on the matter, I find that Johnston's claim just doesn't hold up. For starters, one will search in vain for the words "monarch", "monarchy", "democracy", "democratic", or the phrase "confessional state" in the conciliar documents. Even the passages that contain the words "government" and "governments" fail to establish the "clear" teaching to which Johnston alludes. Yes, certain passages of Gaudium et Spes indicate a preference for governmental systems that encourage participation by the greater portion of citizens in public life (e.g. Gaudium et Spes §31, 73, 75, echoing John XXIII's Pacem in Terris §26). But such participation can be manifested in any number of governmental systems, including constitutional monarchies. These passages, then, fall far short of a carte blanche endorsement of full-blown democracy, let alone the liberal democracy with which Johnston insists the Church made peace.

On the contrary, as Fr. E. Cahill, S.J. has pointed out, the foundations of liberal democracy are incompatible with Catholicism:

In the theory of the Liberal State, personal human rights are acknowledged, and indeed exaggerated, for they are regarded as paramount, the rights of God and the limitations set by the divine law being disregarded. In actual practice, however, all individual rights are merged in or made subservient to the power of the majority, by which the actual government of the State is set up. Hence the governing authority again becomes omni-competent, although this omni-competence is upheld in virtue of a title different from the title of a deified emperor or a civil body identified with the deity. . . (Underscored emphasis added.)

These frequent warnings and their vindication through subsequent events keep me from following Johnston in heaping unqualified praise on the separation of Church and State as we have it here in the United States. Johnston claims that by (allegedly) doing away with a confessional State and making peace with liberal democracy in the documents of Vatican II, "the Americans, especially the Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray, made their contribution to the council. The Constitution of the United States, which keeps the government out of the chancery, had served the Church well."

He is correct that non-interference of the State in the affairs of the Church does indeed serve the Church well. This is upheld by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical letter to the hierarchy of the United States:

[T]hanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. . .

Pope St. Pius X insists that to have the Church and the State separated, with the State failing to acknowledge the Catholic Faith as the true religion-as it is in the United States-amounts to a grave injustice to God . . .

Pope Pius XI noted that this refusal on the part of the State to give Jesus Christ and the Church He founded due public recognition is very far from a matter of indifference . . .

We should reflect carefully on what the Catholic Church has solemnly taught concerning the right ordering of civil government. This is especially true as our nation continues to advance, often by force of arms, a particular variety of liberal democracy as the only system of government worthy of any nation. For some, my insistence that the present position of the government of the United States with respect to the separation of Church and State is not rightly ordered will seem a sort of blasphemy, albeit a secular one. But as Catholics, our first obligation is to the teaching of the Church and not to the founding documents of our country.

Roman Catholicism is incompatible with representative democracy's "Government of the people, by the people, for the people." It is therefore reasonable to expect that Rome will always seek to undermine such a system of government. One means of doing so is by degrading the educational system to bring about an ill-informed populace. Pope Benedict exposed this philosophy of the papacy in 1979:

Hans Küng and Pope Benedict, old friends and archrivals have a cordial meeting

In a sermon on Dec. 31, 1979, Ratzinger defended the action against Küng in terms that would become familiar: "The Christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of these little people against the power of intellectuals."

The following observation and a comparison with the above statement of Pope Benedict is made in a CATHOLICA.COM.AU Editorial Commentary about the diversified media tycoon Rupert Murdoch titled:

The trouble with Rupert

So what is Murdoch's great skill?

As argued two paragraphs ago, Murdoch's great skill is not going to be found in his management styles nor his personal sincerity and integrity. We think Murdoch's great skill is in an uncanny ability to "read the mind" of the average citizen. Murdoch understands what is called the "lizard brain" or "reptile brain" cravings of the ordinary person whose main interests in life centre around "eating, roots and leaves". Page 3 "tits and bums" sell newspapers by the tens of millions. The ordinary person is not interested in the lengthy philosophical and theological conversations we have in places like Catholica — their attention span is limited to about the 140 characters allowed in a tweet. They crave entertainment and distraction far more than they crave information and enlightenment. Rupert Murdoch really does understand the mentality of the average Jo and Sally Blo in the suburbs in any of the major countries of the Western world. Rupert understands how to feed their needs for "entertainment and distraction" in ways that attract massive readership numbers, or massive electronic media audiences, and through that, massive advertising revenues. The question is: is that good for the overall health of human civilisation? Is there a question of "balance" involved here?

In many ways it might be compared to the philosophy of Joseph Ratzinger who said back in 1979:

"The Christian believer is a simple person: bishops should protect the faith of these little people against the power of intellectuals." (Allen,130)

Rupert plays the same game in the secular sphere of society. And he has become without peer at doing it. Just as Pope Ratzinger seems to believe that if the "ordinary person" wants miracles, weeping statues and simple devotions and pieties he will deliver it to them; Rupert has worked out if all the average citizen craves in life is celebrity and sporting star gossip, tits and bums titillation, political scandal, and acres of massage parlour and dating advertisements he'll deliver it to them by the truckload and denuded forest. It's a great way to make money.

One cannot help but note that here is an excellent description of the science of propaganda which distracts minds from the serious issues of life - Pope Benedict XVI subscribed to it, and Rupert Murdoch practices it. With this in mind, it is not surprising that a boast of "TEA PARTY UNITED™" is that "FOX NEWS "IS" CATHOLIC NEWS!," and "The vast majority of FOX NEWS Hosts and Analysts are Devout Catholics."

Probably as major a role as Fox News has played in television newscasting has also been played by a Jesuit priest named John McLaughlin. He created a television punditry show called "The McLaughlin Group" which degraded political discourse by "treating politics as another form of televised entertainment and setting aside more nuanced examination of current events for heated confrontation among the panelists":

John McLaughlin, center of influential TV pundit chat show 'The McLaughlin Group,' dies at 89

If you recently tuned into a cable news program centered around politics, and the discourse drifted into something more akin to a combative holiday dinner than buttoned-up Beltway chatter, you have John McLaughlin to thank.

He was a tireless conservative voice whose long-running weekly public television program "The McLaughlin Group” helped alter the shape of political discourse since its debut in 1982. . .

When it debuted, "The McLaughlin Group" stood in sharp contrast with "Firing Line,” "Washington Week in Review" and other political programming of its day, with a contentious atmosphere in which politicians were set aside in favor of giving voice to opinion journalists. . .

For all its influential qualities, critics scolded the show for treating politics as another form of televised entertainment and setting aside more nuanced examination of current events for heated confrontation among the panelists, who generally reflected the host by skewing white, male and conservative.

John McLaughlin, provocateur of public affairs TV, dies at 89

John McLaughlin, a former Jesuit priest, speechwriter for President Richard M. Nixon and conservative provocateur whose pugnacious style as a host of a political chat show helped usher in the era of impolite punditry, died Aug. 16 at his home in Washington. . .

For more than three decades, Mr. McLaughlin sat in judgment of national political trends on “The McLaughlin Group” and goaded journalists and pundits into moving beyond fact into the argumentative terrain of ideological talking points and rhetorical hyperbole. . .

At times, “The McLaughlin Group” felt more like a cross-talk show than a talk show, with the host interrupting his guests’ trains of thought or bellowing “Wronnng!” to express disapproval of their statements.

His approach forever changed audience expectations of public affairs programming. Mr. McLaughlin’s impact can be glimpsed almost any night on cable news channels, for better or worse. And although no one ever mistook Mr. McLaughlin for a digital visionary, his show’s staccato approach to wringing opinions from guests previewed the Internet’s addiction to fast and unprocessed news bites. . .

Look at ‘The McLaughlin Group’ now and it looks positively quaint,” said Syracuse University television historian Robert Thompson. “The kind of thing McLaughlin was doing is being done in so many places.”

It is not without significance that John McLaughlin was a Jesuit, an unusual right-wing member of the Order to be sure, but nevertheless one of them. In the Chapter "The Jesuits" of Christian Edwardson's book Facts of Faith foresaw a rude awakening for America as the result of allowing the Order to carry on their work peaceably. In the chapter of the same book titled "Making America Catholic" the author stated:

The Roman hierarchy knew that the older Protestants, who had read about the persecutions of the Dark Ages, and who knew some of the inside workings of the papal church, would never become Catholics. Rome's hope lay in capturing the younger generation. If the Papacy could cover up those dark pages of its history, when it waded in the blood of martyrs, and could appear in the beautiful modern dress of a real champion of liberty, as a lover of science, art, and education, it would appeal to the American youth, and the battle would be won.

   The Jesuits, who through years of experience in Europe, have become experts in molding young minds, are now establishing schools everywhere, that are patronized by thousands of Protestant youth. They have also undertaken the delicate task of Romanizing the textbooks of our public schools, and books of reference, in order to cover up their past, and to whitewash the Dark Ages.

The author proceeded to document changes made in ROMANIZING TEXTBOOKS. He further documented REVISING BOOKS OF REFERENCE; MUZZLING THE PUBLIC PRESS; CAPTURING THE PUBLIC LIBRARIES; and CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS, all of which are of profound significance in "dumbing down" the populace. Facts of Faith was published in 1943. Consider how much farther the degradation of the American educational system has advanced over sixty years later!

As alarmingly large numbers of the American populace are embracing ideologies and personalities inimical to the preservation of the nation's representative democracy, many are sounding the alarm about the "dumbing down" of the people:

Newly Discovered Eighth Grade Exam From 1912 Shows How Dumbed Down America Has Become

Have you ever seen the movie “Idiocracy”? It is a movie about an “average American” that wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover that he is the most intelligent person by far in the “dumbed down” society that is surrounding him. Unfortunately, that film is a very accurate metaphor for what has happened to American society today. We have become so “dumbed down” that we don’t even realize what has happened to us. But once in a while something comes along that reminds us of how far we have fallen. In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 was recently donated to the Bullitt County History Museum. When I read this exam over, I was shocked at how difficult it was. Could most eighth grade students pass such an exam today? Of course not. In fact, I don’t even think that I could pass it. Sadly, this is even more evidence of “the deliberate dumbing down of America” that former Department of Education official Charlotte Iserbyt is constantly warning us about. The American people are not nearly as mentally sharp as they once were, and with each passing generation it gets even worse.

Just check out some of the questions from the eighth grade exam that was discovered. Do you think that you could correctly answer these?…

-Through which waters would a vessel pass in going from England through the Suez Canal to Manila?

-How does the liver compare in size with other glands in the human body?

-How long of a rope is required to reach from the top of a building 40 feet high to the ground 30 feet from the base of a building?

-Compare arteries and veins as to function. Where is the blood carried to be purified?

-During which wars were the following battles fought: Brandywine, Great Meadows, Lundy’s Lane, Antietam, Buena Vista?

A copy of the exam is posted below. Today, it would be a real challenge for many college students to correctly answer most of these questions correctly… [Cf. the article itself for the copy of the exam.] . . .

It also doesn’t help that Americans (especially young Americans) are absolutely addicted to entertainment. Americans spend an average of 153 hours watching television each month, and when we aren’t watching television we are watching movies, playing video games, surfing the Internet, etc. . .

The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America

There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It's the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.

Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, says in an article in the Washington Post, "Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture; a disjunction between Americans' rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism."

There has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries. Richard Hofstadter, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his book, Anti-Intellectualism In American Life, describes how the vast underlying foundations of anti-elite, anti-reason and anti-science have been infused into America's political and social fabric. Famous science fiction writer Isaac Asimov once said:

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Mark Bauerlein, in his book, The Dumbest Generation, reveals how a whole generation of youth is being dumbed down by their aversion to reading anything of substance and their addiction to digital "crap" via social media.

Journalist Charles Pierce, author of Idiot America, adds another perspective:

"The rise of idiot America today represents - for profit mainly, but also and more cynically, for political advantage in the pursuit of power - the breakdown of a consensus that the pursuit of knowledge is a good. It also represents the ascendancy of the notion that the people whom we should trust the least are the people who best know what they are talking about. In the new media age, everybody is an expert."

"There's a pervasive suspicion of rights, privileges, knowledge and specialization," says Catherine Liu, the author of American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique and a film and media studies professor at University of California. The very mission of universities has changed, argues Liu. "We don't educate people anymore. We train them to get jobs."

Part of the reason for the rising anti-intellectualism can be found in the declining state of education in the U.S. compared to other advanced countries:

After leading the world for decades in 25-34 year olds with university degrees, the U.S. is now in 12th place. The World Economic Forum ranked the U.S. at 52nd among 139 nations in the quality of its university math and science instruction in 2010. Nearly 50% of all graduate students in the sciences in the U.S. are foreigners, most of whom are returning to their home countries; . . . [The entire article is highly educational - excellent reading.]

The Dumbing Of America

"The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself." Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today's very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

This is the last subject that any candidate would dare raise on the long and winding road to the White House. It is almost impossible to talk about the manner in which public ignorance contributes to grave national problems without being labeled an "elitist," one of the most powerful pejoratives that can be applied to anyone aspiring to high office. Instead, our politicians repeatedly assure Americans that they are just "folks," a patronizing term that you will search for in vain in important presidential speeches before 1980. (Just imagine: "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain . . . and that government of the folks, by the folks, for the folks, shall not perish from the earth.") Such exaltations of ordinariness are among the distinguishing traits of anti-intellectualism in any era.

The classic work on this subject by Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter, "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life," was published in early 1963, between the anti-communist crusades of the McCarthy era and the social convulsions of the late 1960s. Hofstadter saw American anti-intellectualism as a basically cyclical phenomenon that often manifested itself as the dark side of the country's democratic impulses in religion and education. But today's brand of anti-intellectualism is less a cycle than a flood. If Hofstadter (who died of leukemia in 1970 at age 54) had lived long enough to write a modern-day sequel, he would have found that our era of 24/7 infotainment has outstripped his most apocalyptic predictions about the future of American culture. . .

The Dumbed Down Democracy

Are you smarter than an immigrant? Can you name, say, all three branches of government or a single Supreme Court justice? Most Americans, those born here, those about to make the most momentous decision in civic life this November, cannot. And most cannot pass the simple test aced by 90 percent of new citizens. . .

We know that at least 30 million American adults cannot read. But the current presidential election may yet prove that an even bigger part of the citizenry is politically illiterate — and functional. Which is to say, they will vote despite being unable to accept basic facts needed to process this American life.

“There’s got to be a reckoning on all this,” said Charlie Sykes, the influential conservative radio host, in a soul-searching interview with Business Insider. “We’ve created this monster.”

Trump, who says he doesn’t read much at all, is both a product of the epidemic of ignorance and a main producer of it. He can litter the campaign trail with hundreds of easily debunked falsehoods because conservative media has spent more than two decades tearing down the idea of objective fact.

If Trump supporters knew that illegal immigration peaked in 2007, or that violent crime has been on a steady downward spiral nationwide for more than 20 years, they would scoff when Trump says Mexican rapists are surging across the border and crime is out of control. . .

The dumbing down of this democracy has been gradual, and then — this year — all at once. The Princeton Review found that the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 were engaged at roughly a high school senior level. A century later, the presidential debate of 1960 was a notch below, at a 10th grade level. By the year 2000, the two contenders were speaking like sixth graders. And in the upcoming debates — “Crooked Hillary” against “Don the Con” — we’ll be lucky to get beyond preschool potty talk.

How did this happen, when the populace was so less educated in the days when most families didn’t even have an indoor potty to talk about? You can look at one calculated loop of misinformation over the last two weeks to find some of the answer.

A big political lie often starts on the Drudge Report, home of Obama-as-Muslim stories. He jump-started a recent smear with pictures of Hillary Clinton losing her balance — proof that something was very wrong with her. Fox News then went big with it, using the Trump adviser and free-media enabler Sean Hannity as the village gossip. Then Rudy Giuliani, the internet diagnostician, urged people to Google “Hillary Clinton illness” for evidence of her malady. This forced Clinton to prove her stamina, in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, by opening a jar of pickles. . .

It appears that Donald Trump has triggered this general acknowledgement of the progressive degradation of American education. There is now an awakening to the realization that something is drastically wrong, but the blame does not appear to be laid on the Jesuits. This is not surprising. The Jesuits are by nature and history a secretive and conspiratorial organization. The truth of all their activities is probably stranger than fiction, and difficult to detect. This is manifest in the fact that the modern American educational system is universally attributed to only one man - an educational philosopher named John Dewey:

How did Ultra Progressive Dewey Become America's Patron Saint of Education?

In considering modern liberal plagues, are there any worse than America’s debased “free” education system? John Dewey, patron saint of American education, ruined our school curriculum while adamantly rejecting religion yet touting of secular humanism. In fact, not only did the atheistic Dewey sign the Humanist Manifesto I, but the prolific writer probably authored much of it, as well.

The American education system is built from a model designed by Dewey, one which rejected the classics, any emphasis on rhetoric and logic, or rote memorization. Instead, the pragmatist Dewey valued experience over facts, logic or debate. In fact, the deeply progressive and anti-traditional Dewey held Marxist presuppositions. In John Dewey: An Intellectual Portrait, Sidney Hook describes his impact:

In America’s intellectual coming of age, no person has played a more important role than John Dewey. There is hardly a phase of American thought to which he has not made some contribution, hardly an aspect of American life which he has left uninterpreted. His influence has extended to the schools, the courts, the laboratories, the labor movement, and the politics of the nation.

But what has been the impact of Dewey’s ideas? As Dewey was not so much interested in individual student learning, but instead the child’s adaptation to a state-dominated society, we can well-guess the effect has been catastrophic.

The mystery deepens when one reads statements such as the following by Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J.:


In a feature article published in Education Digest in 1950, we read: "It is conceded on all hands that John Dewey is our outstanding educational philosopher; his influence on American education has been immense."[1] This, in one sentence, is a summary of the Dewey legend. For, although it is true that Dewey's influence on American education has been immense, it is only in a very qualified sense that we can call him an outstanding philosopher. Certainly a philosopher's real greatness is not to be estimated by the mere extent of his influence, but also and especially by the effects, good or bad, which his philosophy has had on contemporary civilization and will have on subsequent civilization. Measured by this standard, Dewey's tide to fame must be balanced by the extent of the evil which his principles of social naturalism and pragmatic experimentalism have produced in the United States.


Under modern progressivism, school discipline and work, which have been of the essence of education since the dawn of history, are to be substituted with freedom and play. According to Dewey, ". . . children should be allowed as much freedom as possible.... No individual child is [to be] forced to a task that does not appeal.... A discipline based on moral ground [is] a mere excuse for forcing [pupils] to do something simply because some grown-up person wants it done."

Written in 1915, these ideas have been adopted in thousands of American schools. Writing on the subject in 1951, a Catholic educator made this observation:

One of the principles that are doing as much as anything else to undermine American schools is the fixed notion that education has to be fun. We won't have our children subjected to anything hard or bothersome. We have practically adopted as a national education motto: "If it isn't easy, it isn't educational."

Perhaps Hardon was a renegade Jesuit, but this is not necessarily so. The following quotation in the chapter of Facts of Faith titled "The Jesuits" probably provides an explanation:

Rene Fulop-Miller says of the Jesuits:

"In actual fact, the Jesuit casuists deal with two forms of permissible deception, that of 'amphibology' and that of reservatio mentalis. 'Amphibology' is nothing else than the employment of ambiguous terms calculated to mislead the questioner; 'mental reservation' consists in answering a question, not with a direct lie, but in such a way that the truth is partly suppressed, certain words being formulated mentally but not expressed orally.

"The Jesuits hold that neither intentional ambiguity nor the fact of making a mental reservation can be regarded as lying, since, in both cases, all that happens is that one's neighbor is not actually deceived, but rather his deception is permitted only for a justifiable cause.'''–'' The Power and Secret of the Jesuits," pp. 154, 155.

There is documentation which establishes the connection between John Dewey's philosophy of education and the Jesuits:

Recovering the Social Dimension of Reflection

In this regard, I will engage in a sort of ressourcement (a return to the roots) of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus ( Jesuits), in order to show how programs inspired by his vision at Jesuit universities can recast reflection as a more relational practice. Ressourcement is a French word associated especially with a theological school advocating renewal through a return to the sources (particularly the Church Fathers). Joseph Ratzinger captured the importance of the movement when he wrote: “Whoever reads [Henri] de Lubac’s book [Catholicisme, 1938] will see how much more relevant theology is the more it returns to its center and draws from its deepest resources” (Ratzinger, 1988, p. 11). Recognizing the distinctive American context of teacher preparation programs, I will treat John Dewey similarly. . .

LMU’s CF notes the influence that Jesuit “concepts and goals” and the thought of John Dewey had on its composition. In this regard, LMU is not extraordinary, for both influences ( Jesuit and Dewey) are acknowledged in many of the CFs of Jesuit institutions. As members of communities of memory (Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 1985), teacher educators at Jesuit institutions in the United States have both Ignatius Loyola and John Dewey as resources to help them to address the deficiencies in the understanding and practice of reflection. In particular, the thought of John Dewey can serve as a resource for reconsidering teacher experience as the proper principal object of reflection, and the thought of Ignatius Loyola can likewise serve as an important resource for reconsidering reflection as a social, intermental practice (as opposed to an individual, intramental one). . .

What is Ignatian Pedagogy?

In December 1985 the Jesuits published The Characteristics of a Jesuit Education not as a new Ratio Studiorum but as a tool to approach contemporary Jesuit/Ignatian education, according to Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., then Father General of the Jesuits who said, “The Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm presents a frame­work to incorporate the crucial element of reflection into learning. Reflection can provide the opportunity for students themselves to consider the human meaning and the implications of what they study.” (Address at the Ignatian Pedagogy: a Practical Approach Conference, April 29, 1993)

The Ignatian pedagogical paradigm (which predates John Dewey’s work that incorporates many of the same elements by centuries) starts with these themes: context, experience, reflection, action, evaluation. It uniquely characterizes the relationship the faculty member has with the student he/she attempts to create a teaching/learning environment. . . (Underscored emphasis added.)

We do not need to understand all of the highfaluting words and phrases in the quotations from the two preceding articles to see very clearly that John Dewey's philosophy of education is identified with Ignatian pedagogy. Thus was the foundation laid for the McLaughlin Group's "treating politics as another form of televised entertainment and setting aside more nuanced examination of current events for heated confrontation among the panelists" ("John McLaughlin, center of influential TV pundit chat show 'The McLaughlin Group,' dies at 89," above,) and a general lowering of standards throughout the body politic. The degradation of the American educational system has been buttressed by the dissemination of Roman Catholic propaganda, and the suppression of opposition by intimidation. A highly respected and brave journalist by the name of George Seldes wrote:

This pressure [of the Catholic Church on American journalism] is one of the most important forces in American life, and the only one about which secrecy is generally maintained, no newspaper being brave enough to discuss it, although all fear it and believe that the problem should be dragged into the open and made publicly known. (VATICAN REJECTION OF FREEDOM OF THE PRESS; The Vatican Propaganda Machine: The Spanish “Civil War” Lesson.)

Rome has shaped the course of a history which has led to the present time when alarm bells are ringing as a bigoted fascistic, white supremacist, con-man threatens to capture the presidency of the United States.

From the period of the presidential primary election to the present:

America, you’re stupid: Donald Trump’s political triumph makes it official — we’re a nation of idiots

Trump's rise proves we're full of loud, illiterate and credulous people — and he's a mirror of them

“I love the poorly educated.” — Donald Trump

Before any votes were cast, when Donald Trump was the theoretical front-runner, the optimists preached patience. Just wait, they said. This will blow over. He’s a clown, a huckster, a TV personality. There’s no way he can win. It’s just not possible.

Well, it’s not only possible – it’s likely.

Trump won again in Nevada on Tuesday night, by a massive margin, and he may well sweep the Super Tuesday states. If that happens, and it’s the most probable outcome at this point, the race is effectively over. Trump will have won the nomination of one our two major parties, and he’ll have done it with extraordinary ease. [He did.]

I hate to have to say it, but the conclusion stares us in the face: We’re a stupid country, full of loud, illiterate and credulous people. Trump has marched straight to the nomination without offering anything like a platform or a plan. With a vocabulary of roughly a dozen words – wall, Mexicans, low-energy, loser, Muslims, stupid, China, negotiate, deals, America, great, again – he’s bamboozled millions of Americans. And it’s not just splenetic conservatives supporting Trump or your garden-variety bigots (although that’s the center of his coalition), it’s also independents, pro-choice Republicans, and a subset of Reagan Democrats.

This says something profoundly uncomfortable about our country and our process. A majority of Americans appear wholly uninterested in the actual business of government; they don’t understand it and don’t want to. They have vague feelings about undefined issues and they surrender their votes on emotional grounds to whoever approximates their rage. This has always been true to some extent, but Trump is a rubicon-crossing moment for the nation.

Trump’s wager was simple: Pretend to be stupid and angry because that’s what stupid and angry people like. He’s held up a mirror to the country, shown us how blind and apish we are. He knew how undiscerning the populace would be, how little they cared about details and facts. In Nevada, for instance, 70 percent of Trump voters said they preferred an “anti-establishment” candidate to one with any “experience in politics.” Essentially, that means they don’t care if he understands how government works or if he has the requisite skills to do the job. It’s a protest vote, born of rage, not deliberation. . .

After the official start of the presidential campaign (mid-September Wall Street Journal op-ed):

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates Says Trump Is ‘Beyond Repair’

“He has no clue about the difference between negotiating a business deal and negotiating with sovereign nations.”

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who has served both Republican and Democratic presidents, sharply criticized Republican nominee Donald Trump’s ability to lead the United States, writing that the business mogul was “beyond repair” when it came to national security.

“At least on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief,” Gates wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Friday evening.

Gates wrote that Trump was clueless when it came to the American military and foreign policy. Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin repeatedly, threatened to not defend NATO countries, said he would “bomb the shit” out of ISIS and seemed unfamiliar with Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Mr. Trump is also willfully ignorant about the rest of the world, about our military and its capabilities, and about government itself. He disdains expertise and experience while touting his own—such as his claim that he knows more about ISIS than America’s generals,” Gates wrote. “He has no clue about the difference between negotiating a business deal and negotiating with sovereign nations.

Gates ran the CIA under President George H.W. Bush and served as defense secretary under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He wrote that all the leaders he served were smart enough to listen to their advisers ― even if they didn’t take their advice. Trump, he worried, would not.

The world we confront is too perilous and too complex to have as president a man who believes he, and he alone, has all the answers and has no need to listen to anyone. In domestic affairs, there are many checks on what a president can do; in national security there are few constraints,” he said. “A thin-skinned, temperamental, shoot-from-the-hip and lip, uninformed commander-in-chief is too great a risk for America.”

Case in point: just last week, Trump threatened to start a war with Iran over hand gestures. . .

With the Trump ascendancy in the Republican Party the immediate prospects for the theocracy that has been the goal of the Religious Right for four decades has become murky. Before Donald Trump's triumph in the presidential primary election campaign, Ted Cruz was the favorite of the Evangelicals. He was also favored by the Catholics. In this combined choice of Evangelicals and Catholics was a menacing prospect for those who oppose all theocratic government, and especially one to be dominated by the Church of Rome. Now the Religious Right is divided. The Evangelicals have readily embraced Trump, while the Catholic leaders deplore his nomination by the Republican Party:

Leave It to Trump to Split a Catholic-Evangelical Bloc That’s Generations Old

Catholics now represent the latest demographic challenge for Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions. As the Washington Post recently reported, a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute found that Catholic voters preferred Hillary Clinton to Trump by a crushing 23 percent margin, 55-32. With less than a third of Catholics intending to vote for him, Trump has fallen well below the support GOP candidates typically enjoy from Catholic voters. George W. Bush won the Catholic vote in his 2004 reelection, 52-47. Although John McCain and Mitt Romney both lost among Catholic voters, they still managed to win 45 percent and 48 percent, respectively.

Why have Catholic voters rejected Trump? All year Catholic commentators and media outlets have provided their thoughts, but they have largely been overlooked by a mainstream media more fascinated by the story of evangelicals and Trump. As early as August 2015, the independent Catholic news site Crux noted that Trump’s aggressive anti-immigration stance put him at odds with Catholic bishops who were lobbying Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Writing in National Review earlier this summer, the political scientist Michael J. New commented that Trump’s “Catholic problem” likely stemmed from Trump’s harsh rhetoric on Latino immigrants who many American Catholics see positively as the future of their church, but also because of Trump’s attacks on Pope Francis.

After Trump selected Mike Pence as his running mate, Christopher Hale, the executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, called the Trump-Pence ticket the “most anti-Catholic GOP presidential ticket in modern history” because of not only Trump’s many shortcomings but also Pence’s record of blocking the Catholic Church’s efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in Indiana. . .

The news that some 80 percent of white evangelicals plan to vote for Trump seemed astounding enough when the latest polls were released. But now compared with Catholics and Mormons rebuffing Trump, evangelicals’ overwhelming support for Trump offers damning evidence that they care more about political power than principles in this election cycle.

In the pages of the Washington Post, Mark Rozell argued we were seeing a “splitting apart” of the coalition of evangelicals and conservative Catholics who have voted together for Republican candidates for nearly four decades. If polling patterns hold up in November, 2016 may yield the greatest difference between Catholic and evangelical voting since the 1960 election where at least 75 percent of evangelicals voted for Richard Nixon over John F. Kennedy compared to only 18 percent of Catholics. But in the ensuing years, evangelicals and Catholics increasingly found themselves political partners in opposing abortion, pornography and gay rights, and in electing Republicans to higher office.

An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics

by Robert P. George & George Weigel

In recent decades, the Republican party has been a vehicle — imperfect, like all human institutions, but serviceable — for promoting causes at the center of Catholic social concern in the United States: (1) providing legal protection for unborn children, the physically disabled and cognitively handicapped, the frail elderly, and other victims of what Saint John Paul II branded “the culture of death”; (2) defending religious freedom in the face of unprecedented assaults by officials at every level of government who have made themselves the enemies of conscience; (3) rebuilding our marriage culture, based on a sound understanding of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and (4) re-establishing constitutional and limited government, according to the core Catholic social-ethical principle of subsidiarity. There have been frustrations along the way, to be sure; no political party perfectly embodies Catholic social doctrine. But there have also been successes, and at the beginning of the current presidential electoral cycle, it seemed possible that further progress in defending and advancing these noble causes was possible through the instrument of the Republican party. That possibility is now in grave danger. And so are those causes. Donald Trump is manifestly unfit to be president of the United States. His campaign has already driven our politics down to new levels of vulgarity. His appeals to racial and ethnic fears and prejudice are offensive to any genuinely Catholic sensibility. He promised to order U.S. military personnel to torture terrorist suspects and to kill terrorists’ families — actions condemned by the Church and policies that would bring shame upon our country. And there is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government. (Underscored emphasis added.)

Complicating the picture in the Religious Right alliance is the Tea Party, whose existence can be traced directly back to the Moral Majority, which was the creation of the Roman Catholic Church:

The Tea Party has found a Leader in Trump

What do you mean there’s still a TEA Party? And that crass Trump their leader? He may be boorish, but he’s American’s best hope for moving the ball back against the liberalism that is destroying America.

Didn’t Obama and Boehner destroy that movement? Wasn’t that defeated with Ted Cruz? Didn’t Jeb Bush say he could win without the TEA Party base of the Republican Party? Haven’t TEA Party conservatives condemned Trump as unworthy?

First off, until you destroy Christianity, patriotism, and capitalism, there will always be a TEA Party. We are not a political party. We are AMERICANS! We still love Ted Cruz. We still love Rush Limbaugh. We still love America because Democrats haven’t yet turned it into a socialist banana republic hellhole belonging to the dregs of world culture. And now we love Trump! . . .

Like the grassroots TEA Party movement, Donald Trump is a grass roots candidate who threw his hat into the political ring for the people. Many were unsure of Trump’s intentions, but he has made his position clear. Trump is not as refined as Ted Cruz who is obviously a genius, but you don’t become a billionaire by being a dumbass. Trump’s genius is in dealing with people and getting things done despite corrupt politicians, and pushing back liberalism to restore America is what we need to get done! Ted is a great conservative Christian, but he doesn’t fight and win like Trump does. It is questionable whether he could have defeated Jeb Bush who wanted to push conservatism aside and work with Democrats without the Republican base.

Portage County Tea Party leader says party backs Trump

Tom Zawistowski wasn't a Donald Trump supporter before Ohio's primary election earlier this year.

The head of the Portage County Tea Party backed Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Other Tea Party leaders around the state were behind retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson or Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

But Trump is the Republican nominee, and Zawistowski and others in the movement in Ohio made it clear Aug. 27 that he's their choice for the White House.

Trump, Zawistowski said, is surrounding himself with people who Tea Party groups support, and the billionaire businessman is on the same page on an array of issues." Do I want Donald Trump as my next door neighbor? Probably not/ but the point is that he's surrounded himself with a lot of people that we do like. He's come out with Supreme Court justices -- that's obviously huge for us."

"We want our constitution, we want freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, we want our Second Amendment rights, we want freedom of religion," Zawistowski said. "When you look at the candidates, it's very clear there's a difference between Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In spite of all the warnings by opinion-makers in the American body politic, even right-wing theocrats, Donald Trump may be a hairsbreadth away from becoming the President of the United States. This is a direct consequence of the deliberate "dumbing down" of America, as is now generally recognized, and responsibility can be laid on Rome through the instrumentality of the Jesuit philosophy of education. There is a lesson in all of this for Seventh-day Adventists, who no longer value deep study of the Bible, having joined an illiterate world of Protestants. With a certainty Roman Catholic, and very likely Jesuit, influence is responsible.

Could a Trump presidency serve the purpose of Rome, present appearances to the contrary. This should not be discounted. She is practiced in making accommodation with tyrants.

"What the Jesuit Order is for the left wing of the Roman Catholic Church, Opus Dei is for its right wing. (Hegelian politics at its finest, for the Roman Catholic Church cannot lose if it has strong ties with both ends of the political spectrum!)" (From Opus Dei in the USA)