A Proper Re-Education

reading
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Recently, a PBS attorney was caught by Project Veritas suggesting that children from “Trump homes” should be taken from their parents and re-educated. PBS denounced this slip of the tongue in a public manner and has suggested that this is not indicative of any pattern of behavior. Considering PBS’s reputation (the only public broadcasters that might be further to the left are the BBC and the CBC), it’s hard to take their walking back without a grain of salt.

This lawyer, who was so comfortable uttering such insane rhetoric, was only the tip of the iceberg. I am certain of it. I know from experience. When Donald Trump won the 2016 election, I was outed as a Trump supporter. It is worth noting that I did not vote for Donald Trump, and I cannot vote for Donald Trump…or any American politician, as I live in Canada and am not American. Nonetheless, I was vocal to some colleagues about my support for his pro-life rhetoric and appeasement of Christian voters. So, one day I came into my mail room only to find an article from Psychology Today which suggested that people like me would raise children to be awful tyrants who took advantage of others. I am not here to air my grievances, but only to suggest that we can be sure that this sort of rhetoric is not isolated, even in a foreign country.

The Left is Marxist, thus they love the idea of re-education. They do not generally have to employ this method, as they tend to run the majority of educational institutions, but every now and again they let their true motives slip. I recall when the Colorado Christian baker chose not to “bake the cake;” one of the demands from the state was that he be “educated” on how he ought to act in such situations. But we should not be afraid of re-education. In fact, we should embrace it. I believe that re-education is a good thing, and I hereby advocate for it to be practiced far and wide.

The only difference is that I believe we should be re-educated in accordance with the truth. So often, a smart young man or woman will graduate university only to come out as a committed Marxist or worse; not infrequently going into public service to continue the spread of erroneous ideas. I was no different. I was a secular-minded young man who thought like the world taught me to think, only to find myself at a crisis when my formal education was finished and I had found God. When I realized the stark contrast between my new-found faith and my long-held philosophical and ethical presuppositions, I knew I had some work to do. Thus, I embarked on a path of self-re-education, out of error and into truth. It has been a wonderful journey, and I can attest that in a very short time, your mind will gladly recalibrate itself to the True North of Truth.

So how do you do this?

The first and perhaps most important thing to do—besides living in a state of Grace—is to relearn good metaphysics. Like most millennials, I studied philosophy in some fashion, and a whole host of literature, but I knew nothing of logic or reason. Therefore, I could read Voltaire or Jean-Paul Sartre and, although I may not have agreed with all of their ideas, I took no offense to the irrational nature of their arguments. I did not know what a logical argument was to begin with. I did technically study Logical Reasoning in an introductory course, but it is amazing how confusing and erroneous a class like that can be when the professor is a committed Leftist. I remember the Professor to be a vocal atheist, thus he had no time for objective reality.

The other philosophy course I was required to take was taught by a man who went on about mayonnaise and Utilitarianism. I’m not joking. I was a strong student, graduating Cum Laude, and I remember learning not much from his course, which may have been a blessing. When I finished that course, I vaguely recalled enough information about Deontology, violinists kidnapped for medical treatments, and trolleys running over innocent bystanders (who for some reason just wouldn’t get off the track) in order to pass the course. Needless to say, the combination of post-modernist literature and fraudulent philosophical education helped me to become nothing short of a metaphysical dimwit who could feign intelligence to impress mixed company. 

By some particular grace, a friend recommended I look into St. Thomas Aquinas. Not only did they recommend the Angelic Doctor, but they specifically pointed to an accomplished author with a knack for teaching things to uneducated laymen: Dr. Peter Kreeft. This was a turning point for me, and I looked into Kreeft’s work. I believe if I had gone straight to Aquinas, I would have given up. However, since I found a presentation of true metaphysics that was palatable, I began the process of rearranging my mind at warp speed. I distinctly remember listening to an audiobook series by Kreeft while lifting weights at the local gym. He was explaining the Thomistic method of looking at forms and essences; I was so taken aback by how profound the formulation was that I literally dropped my dumbbell and had to take a knee and regroup. I began to laugh, and I looked around the gym, only to laugh harder, realizing that I had been wrong about reality my whole life

If you or anyone you know is looking to embark on a similar path, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not only suggest a school of metaphysics that is true, but more importantly, to offer a palatable presentation that will actually penetrate the mind. I am not an accomplished Thomist, and I rarely consult the Angelic Doctor, but from this encounter with true philosophy, I was able to more easily digest other great thinkers. Within a couple of months after this rendezvous with Aquinas, I read Augustine’s Confessions; something I would not have been able to do previously, as it would have been too difficult.

After I sufficiently relearned how to think, and to be honest—how to learn—I began to crack open books by authors I never even heard of. Many Christians take it for granted that C.S. Lewis, for example, is such a beloved author. But, outside of Christian culture, C.S. Lewis is simply the man who wrote a children’s story that became a set of movies. Granted, his theological positions suffer from his Anglicanism, no matter how high it may have been, but he was a man of giant literary and historical intellect. 

I was directed toward Lewis by the same person who directed me toward Kreeft, only to find out that Dr. Peter Kreeft was as much an apostle of C.S. Lewis as he is of the Catholic Faith. This is a main reason why I recommend authors like Lewis and Kreeft, as they tend to run in literary circles, whether that be contemporary or posthumous. As a result, I was exposed to a myriad of essays and fiction that never dawned the reading lists of the Enlightenment-inspired course material I studied. The drivel that is presented as good literature in most schools, both fiction and non-fiction, is soul-sucking. This atmosphere of literature leaves the student intellectually anemic, with no substance or foundation. Thus, discovering good literature is something like a ‘coming back to life.’ I distinctly recall devouring books in a matter of hours, something I could never force myself to do during my studies; it was as if I had taken the mask off from over my mouth and I could finally breathe.

I believed, when I realized I had so much to learn, that I was going to have to spend my days absorbing mountains of non-fiction works in order to catch up. But, as I read the biographies of men like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and others, it dawned on me that they always pointed to men like Shakespeare or Chaucer for their intellectual inspiration. Even when a man like Chesterton presented a factual history of Saint Francis of Assisi, or of the history of the world in “Everlasting Man,” his works were written like a story. 

We see the world in pictures, and we hold these images in our minds. When we absorb facts about life, we associate them with what we already see in our mind’s eye. Much of what we imagine is based on lived reality, but perhaps even more is based on fanciful imagination. So, if we want to learn what the great authors have to tell us, then we must learn to see things the way they saw things. In a sense, we must allow them to fill our imagination with the good things they want to give us. What a gift this is, especially for a culture that has steeped its youth in HBO, brutal realism, and pornography for decades. Pure and artistic literary artwork overshadows the nonsense heretofore acquired. 

I might even say that reading the great works of fiction teaches a man more than the great works of history, because a timeless story or fable will teach a man about the unchanging realities of life, even as the events of history come and go. A man who reads Homer or Dostoyevsky will know more about the human condition in all generations than a man who spends years attaining a PhD in most disciplines. 

A proper re-education is one of the most joyful adventures one could embark on. It’s like discovering you had a family you never knew you had—even better, it’s like discovering that this family has been waiting for you to return to your patrimony the whole time. Our educational institutions may be, at present, largely run by the Marxists and maniacs, and they may hide themselves behind complex fortresses of technology and post-modern doublespeak. However, the remedy to this conundrum is not so complicated; in fact, it is as simple as opening up a good book. 

[Photo Credit: Shutterstock]

Kennedy Hall

By

Kennedy Hall is the author of two books. He is married with four children and lives in Ontario, Canada. His work can be found at kennedyhall.ca.

Crisis Magazine Comments Policy

This is a Catholic forum. As such:

  1. All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
  2. No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  3. We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
  4. Keep it brief. No lengthy rants, urls, or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
  5. If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
  6. All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
  7. Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)
MENU