The Only Legitimate Reason to Own and Carry Firearms

2ndAmendmentI seldom share my personal opinions on the issue of gun control due to its emotional nature and the typical over reaction I have experienced from a public with little exposure to firearms.

But now I feel compelled to add to this volatile narrative by expressing a position that I almost never hear, nevertheless one that I believe to be the foundation for all accurate responses to the anti-gun lobby.

So here it is, the sentence that has had Americans up in arms (pun intended) for 200 years:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I don’t want to spend any time on the concept of militia and what it meant then versus now,  I want to focus on “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

When people try to defend the 2nd Amendment with rhetoric about the right to hunt or engage in shooting for sport or even home defense, they are actually doing the pro-gun adherents a disservice. It’s not about hunting or hobbies or self-defense. It is very much about all Americans being armed and trained.

I think I can sum up the varied concerns on this issue in one statement; namely, anti-gun advocates desire to diminish the ability of private individuals to commit mass violence on the general public. Whether this is initiated by mentally unstable individuals, those of criminal intent, or even the commission of terrorism against the state, it is suggested that the restriction of privately owned firearms will solve this concern.

columbinecafeteriashooting

I have to be honest, the way anti-gun advocates verbalize this concern seems manipulative to me. Seriously, who doesn’t want to eradicate murder? Who’s ok with mentally ill people shooting others or violent crime at any level? The problem is that the gun control side of the narrative has tried to posture themselves as the only people who are concerned about decreasing crime and the well being of citizens. Can we just state for the record that people who own and carry firearms are as equally concerned about law and order as those who want to prevent private ownership of guns?

A corollary to this concern is the question by sincere anti-gun advocates–why does a private American citizen need an AR-15 rifle (an AR-15 is the 1959 civilian version of the M-16 military service rifle which is no longer in service, it was replaced by the M4 carbine)?

To answer these not-so-modern questions (the 2nd Amendment was first challenged for these very same reasons in Bliss v. Commonwealth 1822), let’s look at the broader picture. Why was the right to keep and bear arms written into the U.S. Constitution in the first place? What was the original intent of the framers and US citizens at the time the Constitution was written?

billofrightsWhen the Bill of Rights was legislated, 189 proposed amendments were submitted. James Madison, removing duplications, boiled them down to 17, and 12 were approved by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Ten of the original 17 were ratified, and the right to bear arms was established as the second amendment. By overwhelming acclaim, the right to bear arms was seen as a vital component of the plan of freedom vouchsafed in the Constitution. Not only did all fourteen state legislatures see this as an indisputable right in 1791, but also the vast majority of the citizens themselves approved this measure.

But the question remains—why? Why did early Americans vote to allow ordinary people to own and carry firearms in the open—in public? Were they unaware of the risks? Were they insensible to the violence and damage that firearms can inflict?

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Since firearms were part of the daily life of colonial America, even the most ardent gun control advocate today would have to agree that these people clearly understood the dangers and risks of weapons in public even if the technology of the time was limited. In fact, most early Americans not only owned and carried firearms, but their weapons were often of the same caliber and size as those used by the military. So their stanch support for the second amendment couldn’t have been ignorance or a lack of experience. So why would they knowingly allow, encourage, and in fact, demand that anyone who wanted to—could own and carry a weapon in public?

The answer is as simple as it is compelling. They feared a oppressive government more than mass public gun violence. History is replete with human rights violations by kings and governments against the citizenry.

William Blackstone, arguable the greatest influence on early American jurisprudence, stated in his Commentaries on the Laws of England that, “the last auxiliary right of the [king’s] subject . . .is that of having arms for their defence, suitable to their condition and degree, and such as are allowed by law. [But this] is also declared…a public allowance, under due restrictions, of the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.” [Commentaries 1:139 – Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: A Facsimile of the First Edition of 1765–1769. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.]

What he is saying here is that while a case can be made for reasonable restrictions on ownership of weapons, the whole point of private individuals “keeping and bearing arms” is to provide the means whereby free men can exercise the natural right of resistance and self-preservation, when the sanctions of society and laws are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression. Oppression is the unjust or cruel exercise of power or authority. Since Blackstone is specifically numerating the rights of a subject, the threat of oppression he discusses here can only be that of the ruler or government.

BISHOP'S WARS - 1639-41 ENGLISH CIVIL WAR - 1642-51

BISHOP’S WARS – 1639-41
ENGLISH CIVIL WAR – 1642-51

The colonial and early American mentality regarding private ownership of firearms was to ensure the most fundamental of all human rights—the right to resist, the right to self-preservation. For 150 years prior to the American Revolution, the early Americans watched this very conflict of self-preservation against tyranny in their own motherland of England. And the colonists themselves experienced oppressive government beginning with the Stamp Act of 1765. For the next 11 years, they watched with great anxiety the encroachment of government into every aspect of their lives including the forced quartering of British soldiers and the confiscation of weapons and ammunition. They knew firsthand how a government could justify infringement on the rights its citizens.

Okay, so in 1765 according to Blackstone and the experience of Colonial America, it seems you could make a case that gun ownership was understood to be a deterrent to political/military tyranny. But certainly mankind has evolved and matured so much since that time that those kinds of concerns are no long an issue…or are they?

slide_10It is easy to sit here in the year 2016 and not remember the horrors of the last century. All over the globe egomaniacs ruined the lives of millions, in large part, because the people themselves had no means to stop the aggressor. Think of Tito from Yugoslavia, Pol Pot of Cambodia, the military cabal of Burma, and the unbelievable atrocities of China’s Mao. Then there were countries like Spain and Germany, Italy, Russia, and Japan, where the central powers deliberately moved to confiscate all civilian weapons prior to revealing the more sinister part of their plans.

Entertaining the naïveté of not fearing the possibility that democracies can and often do evolve into usurpatious tyrannies is inconsistent with the actual facts of six thousand years of human experience, and this same naïveté and or ignorance of history, led to the near collapse of Europe just 70 years ago.

Because history has demonstrated that over time governments tend to concentrate power and ultimately if unchecked will violate rights, the American framers believed that unrestricted private ownership of firearms was required to keep the ever expanding and egocentric nature of government in check.

There is no counter to the evolving usurpatious-democracy argument. You can call someone out for conspiracy theories, but in the final analysis, the evolution from democracies and republics and democratic republics to tyrannical socialist and fascist states is not fantasy. It has happened many times in the past and considering the cyclical nature of history, it will likely happen again in the future. How many people in ancient Greece or Rome felt their rights were protected when suddenly government changed its mind? We could literally list hundreds of governments who have violated their citizenry. What makes our situation any different?

MilitarizedPolice1Many have said that perhaps private ownership was needs centuries ago, but now nearly all areas of the United States have police forces for such things and the US military is the strongest in the world…exactly. The whole point is regardless how much protection-infrastructure a city or a county or even a state has to protect the people, unless the people retain the ability to resist and self-preserve, there is always the looming likelihood that as power centralizes, individual rights diminish in value and those same government forces will be used against the very people they were designed to protect.

This is exactly why the Framers built the second amendment into the Constitution. They were readers of history and understood human frailties in the passage of time.

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So am I suggesting that the US government will become oppressive and tyrannical and will require armed citizens to fight for a restoration of their freedom? No. I am not predicting that. But it is precisely the fact that I can’t predict it that causes me to see the wisdom in the private “keeping and bearing of arms.” I am simply pointing out that anyone who has studied the Roman Republic/Empire or further back the Greek City States or to near present times with Nazism under Hitler, will come to the conclusion that humanity runs in cycles and that knowing the problems and solutions of the past can be very constructive today.


featured_post_03Normalcy Bias
( a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster and its possible effects) dictates that no one in America wants to even consider the possibility that their government could evolve into some kind of tyrannical authority violating the rights of its citizens, but with the documented evidence of historic governmental maleficence, it would be cowardly and irresponsible to not consider the possibilities and make provisions to counter them. I want to close with the words of Tucker, Madison, Webster.

St. George Tucker was an officer in the American Revolutionary Army, a Professor of Law and a Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. His studies in law included private mentoring from the most respected lawyer and professor in Virginia, George Wythe. Tucker states, “This may be considered as the true palladium (palee-dium) of liberty…. The right of self-defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” (Tucker, St. George. Blackstone’s Commentaries: With Notes of Reference to the Constitution and Laws of the Federal Government of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 5 vols. Philadelphia, 1803. Reprint. South Hackensack, N.J.: Rothman Reprints, 1969.)

Though James Madison did not serve in the military on account of his poor health, he was nevertheless a champion of liberty, the youngest delegate in the Continental Congress, and was instrumental in writing and ratifying the US Constitution, he noted that, “It may be a reflection on human nature, that devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”  – Federalist Papers #51 – James Madison

Noah Webster served briefly in the Connecticut Militia during the American Revolution, but found his true calling in supporting the war effort writing articles in support of the break with Great Britain. He supported the intellectual development of the fledgling country by writing pamphlets, primers and dictionaries to unify language and national identity. In support of the new national charter he said, “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed, as they are in almost every country in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops.”
– Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787

 

YOUTH FOR AMERICA: It’s Back and Has Found A New Home

YFA (2)

It has always been truethe youth are the future.

So what does your future hold?

Are you prepared to step into your GREATNESS?

2

Monticello College hosts Youth For America retreats because we take your future leadership serious.

But nobody said that learning about great American leaders and developing your own leadership skills had to be boring.

Come join us for a week of fun, new friends and mentors, and some of the most incredible beauty you have every seen.

DSC03464 copyClasses, colloquia, hiking, lake trips, bonfires, and wilderness skills training will stimulate discussions and help you remember why this is the greatest country on earth.

 

7Perhaps most importantly, you will meet some of the best youth in the nation—youth like you who care about the important things, and you will make new friends that will change your life forever.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to enjoy the beauties of the Blue Mountains and catch the vision of a lifelong Thomas Jefferson Education on the campus of Monticello College!

MC Eggs in HandThis retreat includes:

  • Nationally renowned MC speakers and faculty
  • Transformational classes and activities
  • Learning the power of the classics
  • Wilderness survival skills
  • Alternative habitat construction
  • Exciting simulations
  • Understanding the importance and price of freedom
  • Great food
  • Incredible mountain hiking trails, lakes, and streams
  • Fun, fun, fun in typical Monticello College style

Location: Monticello College Campus – Monticello, Utah

Date: July 4-9, 2016

Who Can Attend: Ages 15-20. Limited to 40 participants

Cost: $529 per attendee

To register : info@monticellocollege.org

HOLY SNOW! Tree Planting Date Moved Back

snow

WE ARE STILL ON OUR WAY, But With Modifications!

Everything below is the same except that we are concerned that if we get more snow it will interfere with our planting schedule…So we are moving the date back two weeks to APRIL 22-23, 2016. Sorry we have no control over the weather. The upside is that you will get to rub shoulders with our new cohort of students, who will have just started classes the week before.

THE NEW DATE FOR THE ORCHARDS TREE PLANTING WORK PARTY IS APRIL 22-23, 2016.

A number of you have indicated that you are planning to attend. Please check your schedules and let me know if you can still come.

Details for the Work Party

65 fruit and nut trees have been purchased for an April delivery.

We will plant all of these trees during our APRIL 22-23, 2016 volunteer work party. We would love to have you join us!

On April 8th at 9:00 am MT, we will begin planting trees and work both days until the job is done. We can use all the help we can get.

It will be too chilly for most people to camp out on campus so we recommend that you secure housing with a local motel (cheap rates right now).
blue-mountain-horseheadMONTICELLO MOTELS – Most under $100 per night.  I recommend that you secure housing right away.

We can house a few same gender volunteers or a full family in our in-town classroom/admin. office.  Call me for details (435 590 1661).

We will provide tools and lunch both days.

Things To Bring:

A variety of outerwear (it is hard to predict the weather)

Work gloves

Warm hat

Work boots

A couple pairs of grungy work clothes (you will get very dirty)

Sun glasses

Water bottle

THE NEW DATE FOR THE ORCHARDS TREE PLANTING WORK PARTY IS APRIL 22-23, 2016.

PLEASE CONTACT ME AT 435 590 1661 OR EMAIL AT SB@MONTICELLOCOLLEGE.ORG IF YOU PLAN TO PARTICIPATE SO WE CAN PLAN PROPERLY.

Orchard Update 

We have purchased 45 bare root apple trees, 10 bare root pear trees and 10 bare root filbert/hazel nut trees.  We will plant these trees with the added protection of trunk guards and deer fencing to protect them from voles, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and deer.

apples-in-boxes.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smartOnce all three orchards are completely planted and the trees are producing (5-10 years after planting) we can expect the following harvests:

·       50 lbs. per apple tree or 2,500 – 3,000 pounds of apples annually

·       30 lbs. per hazelnut tree or 450 – 500 pounds of hazelnuts annually

·       30 lbs. per walnut tree or 450 – 500 pounds of walnuts annually

·       50 lbs. per pecan tree or 700 – 800 pounds of pecans annually

·       60 lbs. per apricot, plum, and pear tree or 2,500 – 3,000 of fruit annually

Mature Hazelnut Trees

Mature Hazelnut Trees

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Part Two – Three Types of Schooling

thomasjeffersoneducationmediumC H A P T E R  

T H R E E

Three Systems of Schooling

“Teaching, like farming and healing, is a cooperative art. Understanding this, Comenius in The Great Didactic again and again compares the cultivation of the mind with the cultivation of the field; so, too, Plato compares the teacher’s art with the physician’s.”

“…only when teachers realize that the principal cause of learning that occurs in a student is the activity of the student’s own mind do they assume the role of cooperative artists. While the activity of the learner’s mind is the principal cause of all learning, it is not the sole cause. Here the teacher steps in as a secondary and cooperative cause.”

“Like the farmer and the physician, the teacher must be sensitive to the natural process that his art should help bring to its fullest fruition—the natural process of learning. It is the nature of human learning that determines the strategy and tactics of teaching.” —Mortimer J. Adler

On the first day of school, the little boy waved to his mother and turned to run down the bright hallway to class. His teacher smiled and pointed out his desk. “This is going to be great,” he thought. “I love to learn new things.” After a few fun stories, the teacher handed out crayons and paper and announced that it was time to draw a picture. The little boy enthusiastically  grabbed the crayons and began to imagine all the things he could draw: mountains, lakes, airplanes, his family, his dog, the ocean, the stars at night…Hundreds of ideas raced through his creative little mind. His teacher, seeing that he had started drawing, stopped him and said that today the class would be drawing flowers. The boy’s mind again ran wild: daisies, daffodils, roses, carnations, violets, lilacs, pansies, mixed bouquets, green gardens full of rainbows of colors…

pink_flower-1969pxThe teacher again interrupted, informing the class that today they would be drawing a certain kind of flower. Taking colored chalk, the teacher went to the board and drew a green stem, with two leaves, and four identical pink petals. The little boy, eager to please, dutifully copied her drawing. After several attempts, his drawing looked exactly like hers. The teacher congratulated him for doing such good work.

As the school year passed, the little boy became a very good student; he learned to listen, obey instructions and get the right answers on tests. His parents were very proud of him, and his teacher was impressed with his excellent progress. When the next school year arrived, the boy had done so well in his classes that he was enrolled in an accelerated program. During the first week of class, the teacher handed out crayons and paper and announced that it was time to draw a picture. The little boy, still in love with art, enthusiastically picked up his crayons and waited for instructions.

After several minutes the teacher noticed that the little boy wasn’t drawing. “Why haven’t you started?” she asked. “Don’t you like to draw?” “I love to draw,” responded the little boy, “but I was waiting for you to tell us what the assignment is.” “Just draw whatever you want,” the teacher smiled and left the little boy to his creativity. The little boy sat for a long time, watching the minutes tick off the clock and wondering what he should draw. Nothing came to mind.

Finally, in a burst of creative inspiration, he picked up his crayons and began to draw: A green stem, with two leaves, and four identical pink petals.

The story is indicative of an entire generation of American education, which has been called “the cloning of the American mind.” Fortunately, the tragedy is not complete because many parents across the nation are reaffirming their role in educating their children.

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The Coming Renaissance in Education

A renaissance is coming to American education, and frankly home schoolers are uniquely positioned to take advantage of it. All parents can do it, regardless of the geography of their children’s learning environment, by emphasizing the highest levels of quality and excellence and settling for nothing less in the education

of their children. In history, and today, there are three major types of schooling:

1 Conveyor Belt education, which tries to prepare everyone for a job, any job, by teaching them what to think. This includes rudimentary skills designed to fit them to function in society. Most public schools are conveyor belt schools, though there are many excellent teachers in the public system who use leadership methods.

2 Professional education—from apprenticeship and trade schools to law, medical and MBA programs—which creates specialists by teaching them when to think.

3 Leadership education, which I call “Thomas Jefferson Education,” teaches students how to think and prepares them to be leaders in their homes and communities, entrepreneurs in business, and statesmen in government.

Each of the three major educational systems has its own goals, methods and curricula, and each prepares its students for certain types of careers and lifestyles. Educators and parents at all levels benefit from understanding all three systems.

The Conveyor Belt System

Duncan YoungkidsHistorically the primary goal of public schools, the reason they were instituted, was to educate the poor so they could get a job and take their place in society. The middle class already had private schools and apprenticeships, and the wealthy were tutored at home. Successful nations in history have had professional schools and leadership education, which complement each other. In class societies, the middle classes have tended toward the professions while the aristocracy received leadership education.10 Of course, that left out the lower classes, so many nations established public schools to educate the poor. This always improved the nation— delinquency, poverty and enslavement were replaced with widespread literacy and functionality, with resulting increased prosperity and opportunity.

In addition to these considerable benefits of public schools, they often came with a down side. Consider two of the most successful cases: Eighteenth Century Germany, and Nineteenth Century Britain. Each instituted public schools to educate the poor, and the standard of living increased. But eventually the professional and leadership schools deteriorated because they simply couldn’t compete with free, government-subsidized schools.

In each case the educational system and later the governmental system collapsed or at least convulsed. The lesson seems to be that if you have all three systems working together, society benefits. But when nearly everyone is getting an education for the poor and hardly anyone is being trained as a leader, the whole nation suffers. Conveyor belts may have an important place in society, but it is essential that they don’t become a monopoly and that professional and leadership training schools are maintained.

The Professional System

businessmen-conveyor-belt-580x358The second type of education is the professional system. Private schools arose from the apprenticeship tradition of training youth for specific trades or professions. From kindergarten through the twelfth grade, the purpose of prep schools is to get students into college or technical school; then it is to get them into a trade or law school, CPA or MBA program, medical school, etc.

This is done by teaching them when to think. The law student is trained to handle legal issues, the medical student to effectively handle a medical situation, the manager a business concern. Such students are trained to be creative, to pull together information and use it to make decisions and marshal the talents and resources under their stewardship. Their specialized knowledge makes them valuable as experts in their field, and an important part of an interdependent system where other experts tell them when their knowledge is to be applied and what to do outside the scope of their expertise.

The professional system does what it’s designed to do—create expertise. And if you need a doctor, a lawyer or a manager for your business, you are glad they are well prepared. The professional system has been very effective in achieving its goals, but it is not a substitute for leadership training.

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The Leadership System

STUDENTS IN OUTDOOR CLASSES AT MONTICELLO COLLEGE

STUDENTS IN OUTDOOR CLASSES AT MONTICELLO COLLEGE

The third educational system is leadership preparation, which has three primary goals. First, its purpose is to train thinkers, leaders, entrepreneurs and statesmen—individuals with the character, competence and capacity to do the right thing and do it well in business, government, church, school, family, entertainment, research and other organizations.

The second goal is to perpetuate freedom, to prepare people who know what freedom is, what is required to maintain it, and who exert the will to do what is required. These two goals are accomplished by the third: teaching students how to think. Those who know how to think are able to lead effectively and are able to help society remain free and prosperous. Those who know only what to think or when, no matter how valuable their contributions to society, are not capable of maintaining freedom or leading us to real progress without additional leadership skills.

The success and perpetuity of our “American way of life” depend upon leadership education. Leadership education can be found in certain public school classrooms, a few private and charter schools, and many home schools. Of course, there are conveyor belt home schools just as there are leadership public classrooms. Unfortunately, many home schools are considered inferior by other schools; and the antipathy and relative contempt seem to be mutual in most cases.

outIn truth, there are high quality public schools, private schools and home schools, just as there are mediocre and poor ones. The key is for parents to find the best education possible for their children and implement it. Parents should choose the school that offers the best educational opportunity for their child. Despite current stigmas, homeschool is one legitimate option.

Homeschooling has a long and successful tradition. Actually, it has two traditions: first, the very wealthy have always educated their children at home, some through professional tutors and others with the parents as mentors; and second, many of the greatest thinkers, leaders, statesmen, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists of history were self-educated.

Wherever the student sits to study, at public or private school, or at home, leadership education is based on several powerful traditions: student-driven learning, great teachers, mentors, classics, and hard work. Together these form the tradition of leadership education, what I call Thomas Jefferson Education, a tradition which is sorely needed in modern America.

I am firmly convinced that Thomas Jefferson Education is the direction education must, and will, take in the coming decades. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”11 This thought has brought me much hope as I have seen the future in the faces of thousands of parents and teachers I have spoken with across the nation.

I have been so impressed with the parents, public and private school teachers, college and university professors, and a few excellent private and charter schools that are applying the principles of Thomas Jefferson Education. Wherever the elements of Jefferson Education are present, parents and teachers nearly all have in common courage, energy and dedication. The future is in good hands with their children and students at the helm.

1,000 Oaks LeadersFACE TO FACE WITH GREATNESS SEMINARS (FTF) have supported over 300 communities with their two-day TJed seminar since 2001. If you want to know more about Dr. Brooks and Face To Face With Greatness Seminars, call 435 590 1661 or email sb@monticellocollege.org.

A Thomas Jefferson Education: More Important Today Than When Written in 2001 – Part One

I first met Oliver DeMille in 1990. I was helping to run a youth program called Youth For America (we are relaunching YFA this year) and he was a featured speaker even though he had not yet graduated from college.

We became fast friends and by September 1992 it was my honor to help him open the doors to our first college. For the next seventeen years we worked closely together and brought the concepts of Thomas Jefferson Education to thousands of families across the country.

I consider this book of such importance, especially right now, that I am dedicating blog space  for the next few posting.  Please do yourself and your family a favor and take 15 minutes to read this.

 

thomasjeffersoneducationmediumC H A P T E R

O N E: Two Towers

“Lay down true principles, and adhere to them inflexibly.

Do not be frightened into their surrender…”

— Thomas Jefferson

Oliver, turn on the radio, now!” There was an urgency I’d seldom heard in Dr. Brooks’ voice, and he hung up without saying anything else.

So I hurried to the radio and switched it on. Frankly, I am not a morning person and had failed to answer his three earlier phone calls. But on the fourth set of long rings, I finally picked it up.

We didn’t have a television in our home—part of a typical summer routine for our family, meant to get us all to study, talk and build relationships instead of waste our family time in front of the set. The radio told of an event that would change the world, and I immediately called Dr. Brooks back and told him to contact the student body and call a campus-wide meeting.

It was the morning of September 11, 2001.

Dr. Shanon Brooks

Dr. Shanon Brooks

There is a longing that perhaps we all feel in the beginning decades of the Twenty-first Century. Maybe human beings have always felt it, but something unique seems to be growing and spreading in our world today. Mediocrity, which became the norm and in some circles even the goal between 1968 and 2001, seemed to lose its hold on that tragic morning when the whole over.

Since “9/11,” we now live in a different world. It remains to be seen what the Twenty-first Century holds in store, but we learned a few things on that morning that are valuable lessons for the future. First, every generation faces its challenges. The modern feeling of invincibility and the view that peace and prosperity are the natural state of things has been brought into question. Most of us are much more painfully aware of just how fragile our enjoyable lifestyle really is. Even the return to normalcy in the years since 9/11 only masks the new sense of vulnerability Americans now feel.

The looks on the faces of my students as I walked into the main classroom told me what a shock this really was. The questions were emotional and basic: “How long will it last?” “What can we expect in the days and even years ahead?” “What will this mean to the future of our nation?” “Are all my plans and dreams for the future gone forever?” and “What should I be doing to help?”

These young people felt something new that day, something you don’t ever forget. Virtually all who experienced those feelings that morning are deeply changed. They know it could happen again, on any day at any given moment—and they live with that. Moreover, somewhere inside many people actually expect it. The youth of 9/11 are no longer living in a world of Comedy, where we all feel an underlying security that everything will turn out well.

We lived through one of those junctures in history when a world of Comedy shifts to Tragedy, and with this on our minds, day after day, week after week, through each holiday season and with every new year, our souls steel with each passing month and our subconscious emotions prepare us for what is ahead. I believe we all feel it on some level—even those who deny it.

Dr. Oliver DeMille

Dr. Oliver DeMille

Preparing for Leadership

“What can I possibly say to these young people?” I wondered, wishing my father were present. He had served in Vietnam, and seemed to have come home with an ability to face any crisis—evenly and calmly giving brief words of wisdom that soothed and protected. My own experience hadn’t prepared me for this. When the Gulf War began in 1991 I watched in technicolor in a university auditorium and discussed the evils of war with my college classmates. By 2001, the ten years since that event felt like an eternity.

In fact, it was an irony that most of my students were supposed to discuss the book Alas Babylon that morning. This modern classic, set during the Cold War, opens on a morning when a nuclear war changes the face of the land and the people who survive. Clearly, reading the book wasn’t anything like the reality of terrorists flying planes into buildings right now—in the real world.

I looked into the faces of the students, and wondered what to say. Fortunately, before I opened my mouth Dr. Einar Erickson stood. He probably saw me in the same light as the students: young, shell-shocked, and scared. If so, he was right. Dr. Erickson, who had lived through Pearl Harbor, told of that time over fifty years before. By the time he finished, two things had occurred. First, I think everyone in the room was moved to tears.

And second, we were calmed and anchored. Things would work out, there were a lot of decisions ahead for our generation, and there was much work to be done. As students and faculty, we could either ignore these events and escape into campus life, or we could take this head on, realize that great things are going to be asked of our generation, and set out to prepare ourselves to help fill the leadership drought around the world. Dr. Erickson said all the right things. He gave us something to do.

He led.

When I got the microphone back, I was ready. “At some point in your life,” I said, “you will face a situation where you are in a leadership position and dozens—maybe thousands or millions— look to you to lead. When that occurs, you won’t feel ready. But you will have to lead anyway. Today, we’re going to do something that in all probability isn’t being done anywhere else. We’re going to simulate the Situation Room at the White House today, and we’re going to learn what’s happening.”

And second, we were calmed and anchored. Things would work out, there were a lot of decisions ahead for our generation, and there was much work to be done. As students and faculty, we could either ignore these events and escape into campus life, or we could take this head on, realize that great things are going to be asked of our generation, and set out to prepare ourselves to help fill the leadership drought around the world. Dr. Erickson said all the right things. He gave us something to do. He led.

a04_0RTRMNRGWhen I got the microphone back, I was ready. “At some point in your life,” I said, “you will face a situation where you are in a leadership position and dozens—maybe thousands or millions—look to you to lead. When that occurs, you won’t feel ready. But you will have to lead anyway. Today, we’re going to do something that in all probability isn’t being done anywhere else. We’re going to simulate the Situation Room at the White House today, and we’re going to learn what’s happening.”

I assigned each student to a team led by a faculty member and told them they had thirty minutes to find out the positions and names of every person who would likely be advising the President today and to appoint a student to fill each position. Then I gave them one hour to research the person they were role-playing, and to meet back with recommendations for the President. I don’t know if other groups simulated this event that day, but just like Pearl Harbor or Chamberlain’s visit with Hitler, I’m sure it will be simulated by many students at many schools in the years to come.

Simulation is a powerful learning tool, and that day was a sobering and life-changing experience for all who lived through it. A second lesson of the day is that when crisis comes, we naturally turn to God. Before we broke for our research, one student raised his hand and asked if we could please pray. The room unanimously consented, and another student volunteered to say the prayer. We all felt the enormity of the task our world was facing, and more tears were shed during that prayer.

People from many faiths and churches prayed that day in the United States, including many who hadn’t set foot in a church for a long time. Across America, the level of religious observance increased that day.

A third lesson from 9/11 is that when crisis hits, we automatically look to leadership. As we were preparing to break into groups for research, the door opened and in walked several former students. They were no longer enrolled, but when they first heard the news of the terrorist attacks they immediately grabbed a change of clothes, jumped in their vehicles and drove to Cedar City—one student drove five hours and arrived just as we were making plans.

Of course, the whole nation looked to President Bush, just as people in other nations looked to their leaders. In crisis, leadership determines direction and our level of success—or failure. Unfortunately, in such times it is too late to prepare leaders. They must be trained, educated, and gain the needed experience before crisis occurs. Yet it is precisely in the years and decades before crisis that peace and prosperity convince the world that such leadership is not needed—making a living takes hold of society and material goals drive schools, teachers, parents and students alike.

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Professional training and job skills are all that people seek from “education,” and the concept of leadership education is considered quaint, outdated, frivolous, or absurd. Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind was widely sold, but sparsely read and soundly rejected by a generation of educators. His suggestions, which would have helped prepare a generation of leaders for the Twenty-first Century, were mostly ridiculed or ignored, just as the same suggestions by Jacques Barzun had been disregarded a generation earlier and those of Adler and Hutchins a generation before that.

Perhaps in the wake of 9/11, such prophetic warnings will be more closely considered. Certainly the warning signs had been there for over a decade—terrorists were planning attacks on American soil. And in the broader context, a time is soon coming when a generation of leaders will be needed, when a society trained on the mostly narrow or otherwise deficient educational offerings that are now the norm in our nation will not be enough to overcome the challenges we face.

This is the fourth lesson of 9/11, which it seems no society ever wants to learn: that we must learn from our past and heed the cycles, trends, and historical patterns that inevitably (in one form or another) repeat themselves. Santayana was right: if we don’t learn the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them.

Is Mediocre Education Enough?

A fifth lesson is that although wisdom is usually thought to be found in the elderly, in times of challenge it is often the young who provide answers. Many of the older generations, who lived and loved and raised families and went to work every day in a world of peace and prosperity, seem fully addicted to a view that crisis is just a passing fad, that everything will quickly return to normal if we just ignore the depth of the problems. As the months after 9/11 turned into years, adult America was only too happy to go back to “business as usual,” telling itself that maybe this was just a tragic one-time event that has passed and won’t return.

The young have no such illusion—they doubt they’ll ever receive a Social Security check, and most of them are sure that serious conflicts are ahead. Naturally, they seek to prepare themselves— often bewildering their parents who wonder why they don’t just focus on credentials and secure jobs. “As if any job will be secure in my world,” the under-thirty crowd quips.

A sixth lesson is that the young are all about one thing: making the world better. They want to do something, not just leave it to others. And with their leadership, a surprising number of the earlier generations join in the cause. A growing cadre of people are aligning their futures with leadership. This is not the “electronic herd” of 1980s yuppie fame or the dot.com millionaire crowd of the 1990s, but a new generation of social entrepreneurs, future societal leaders and statesmen who are convinced that something is happening in the world, that it is time for a new energy, a new direction and new way of doing things.

In science, art, health—and just about every other arena—there is a momentum building. But the idealism still has to face a glaring reality: in history there have been many such movements, and most of them have failed. Pure and simple. Failed.

The ones that succeeded, such as the generation of American Founding, the period of Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi’s successful revolution and Martin Luther King Jr.’s after him, did so in two waves: a wave of great leaders, preceded by a wave of great teachers. These are the two towers of any successful generation.1 Without both, no generation effectively achieves its potential. Without one, the other never materializes. This is the seventh lessonI learned on that fateful day: if we don’t have the education, we cannot expect to have the leadership.

Thankfully, national leaders from all political views joined with international statesmen to condemn the terrorist attacks and re-focus the nation. But what if the crisis had been longer and harder, what if it was just the beginning of a period of world destabilization and challenge, what if the September morning that opened the Twenty-firstCentury was just the beginning of a long day with many challenges ahead? What if?

HighTech-1024x768Do we live in a time after the crisis where we can relax, enjoy, and get back to decades of smooth and routine living? Or are we at the beginning of a century or even a decade of turmoil? More to the point, should we be emphasizing the education of accountants, movie directors and secretaries, or using the educational years to train a generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, and statesmen?

John Adams is credited with saying that he studied government and law so that his children could study math and science and his grandchildren art and literature. Which generation are we? And more importantly, which are our children? As I looked into the eyes of fifty young people on September 11, 2001, I saw a generation of leaders.

I also saw a haunting drought of schools teaching leadership or training leaders. I had already written the first edition of A Thomas Jefferson Education (which carries the subtitle: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century), but on that morning it took on new meaning. The question on my mind as I went home exhausted that night was: “Is the education our children are receiving on par with their potential?” It has plagued me ever since. Between that day and this, I have posed this question to tens of thousands of parents, teachers, administrators, legislators and students, and I have seldom received a satisfactory answer. It is time for a change in our educational system.

We Must Do Better

Performer on stage in theater

It has been over twelve years since the first edition of A Thomas Jefferson Education was published. Since that time, my wife Rachel and I, as well as a number of others, have spoken in hundreds of venues to tens of thousands of people about the Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) model. We have done so on university campuses, private primary and secondary schools, in public elementary and high schools, and at convention centers, country clubs and town halls to professional educators, homeschooling parents, legislators, corporate executives, and interested community members.

We have met many wonderful people and seen thousands of them apply the Thomas Jefferson Education principles in their homes, schools and organizations. We have made literally thousands of new friends, and we have watched them improve their own education and pass on a higher level of excitement for learning to their colleagues and children. In short, we have witnessed a small revolution as many families, schools and companies have made drastic educational changes and seen the quality of their learning significantly increase.

But it is not enough.

“Is the education our children are receiving on par with their potential?” The answer is still a resounding “no.” The current educational system must change. This book is a call to that change. As such, it is obviously both audacious and insufficient. But it is a start. Our children deserve the very best education possible, not the most “realistic.” They need, and want, the highest quality education that exists, not the most practical. To those who criticize the Thomas Jefferson Education model, I have learned to simply ask, “When you look into the eyes of your children and grandchildren, when you picture their greatness and potential, do you feel that they are getting the education that is up to par with who they were born to become?”

Genius in Our Homes

Greatness isn’t the work of a few geniuses, it is the purpose of each of us. It is why we were born. Every person you have ever met is a genius. Every one. Some of us have chosen not to develop it, but it is there. It is in us. All of us. It is in your spouse. It is in each of your children. You live in a world of geniuses. How can we settle for anything less than the best education? How can we tell our children that mediocre education will do, when greatness is available? Like on the morning of 9/11, other calls will come to our generation in the years ahead, announcing new challenges and introducing new opportunities. Our generation, and that of our children, will face its share of crises, just like every generation in the past. When those calls come, will we be ready?

The answer depends on how we educate the next generation.

 

Monticello College Orchards Spring Work Party 2016


barnWE ARE ON OUR WAY!

65 fruit and nut trees have been purchased for an April delivery.

We will plant all of these trees during our April 8-9, 2016 volunteer work party. We would love to have you join us!

On April 8th at 9:00 am MT, we will begin planting trees and work both days until the job is done. We can use all the help we can get.

It will be too chilly for most people to camp out on campus so we recommend that you secure housing with a local motel (cheap rates right now).
blue-mountain-horseheadMONTICELLO MOTELS – Most under $100 per night.  I recommend that you secure housing right away.

We can house a few same gender volunteers or a full family in our in-town classroom/admin. office.  Call me for details (435 590 1661).

We will provide tools and lunch both days.

Things To Bring:

A variety of outerwear (it is hard to predict the weather)

Work gloves

Warm hat

Work boots

A couple pairs of grungy work clothes (you will get very dirty)

Sun glasses

Water bottle

PLEASE CONTACT ME AT 435 590 1661 OR EMAIL AT SB@MONTICELLOCOLLEGE.ORG IF YOU PLAN TO PARTICIPATE SO WE CAN PLAN PROPERLY.

Orchard Update 

We have purchased 45 bare root apple trees, 10 bare root pear trees and 10 bare root filbert/hazel nut trees.  We will plant these trees with the added protection of trunk guards and deer fencing to protect them from voles, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and deer.

apples-in-boxes.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smartOnce all three orchards are completely planted and the trees are producing (5-10 years after planting) we can expect the following harvests:

·       50 lbs. per apple tree or 2,500 – 3,000 pounds of apples annually

·       30 lbs. per hazelnut tree or 450 – 500 pounds of hazelnuts annually

·       30 lbs. per walnut tree or 450 – 500 pounds of walnuts annually

·       50 lbs. per pecan tree or 700 – 800 pounds of pecans annually

·       60 lbs. per apricot, plum, and pear tree or 2,500 – 3,000 of fruit annually

Mature Hazelnut Trees

Mature Hazelnut Trees

That’s approximately 7,000 pounds of food produced on campus not to mention all of the other crops and our fish harvest.

This is a huge step in campus sustainability and we have all of you to thank for this.