View Point

By Terry Bosgra

Saturday, March 15, 1997

We must keep
seeking answers to life’s
larger questions

The glue that has held this country together, I believe, has been our dedication to the proposition expressed in the Declaration of Independence, that "All men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator" (not by other men or the Constitution) "... with inalienable rights."

It is the dedication to that proposition that makes us Americans and unites us as a nation.

I suspect that today the majority of social scientists in America's elite universities and our major media principals would not endorse that proposition as written, if they were really honest about it. They do not believe that rights come from a higher authority, one with the capacity to endow rights unconditionally.

Today most of our universities have departments of political science and economics that are completely mired in a cult of irrelevance and useless mathematical methodologies.

A longtime editor of a professional journal recently stated in an interview that he is amazed at the absolute dullness and lack of new ideas in the 1,000 or so articles that he reviews annually. The scholars and experts who write for these journals do not ask the important questions that address genuine human problems. Instead they deal with puerile, simplistic questions of peripheral importance. We see articles on the mating habits of gorillas, a study of fashion, taxing tar in nicotine and basketball scoring methods.

Our young people who travel through our institutions of learning come out more confused than when they went in. They are turned loose without a vision or sense of direction, and subsequently are drying up our entitlement resources or filling the correctional institutions. All of this mess and moral debilitation is protected by unaccountable faculties secured in an antiquated tenure system.

John Lenczowski, the former director of European and Soviet Affairs under President Reagan, suggested once that the fundamental questions our great institutions of learning must wrestle with are these:

First: The nature of man. Is he an empty vessel? Does he have a moral nature? Is he perfectible, will he always be capable of committing evil?

Second: What is the source of law, morals and rights? Do they come from God? Do they come from nature? Do they come from human reason? Or do they come from those with the biggest gun?

Third: Is there a transcendent objective moral order whether it comes from God or nature?

Fourth: Is there a God? Or was there, and did he die, as was espoused in the '60s?

These are profound questions that every human being, whether consciously or unconsciously, wrestles with at some time.

Having been born in Europe, but lived here 37 years, I did not attend the educational institutions here, but the result is in the evidence and I wonder, is America's future at risk? Have we ever raised questions regarding the moral conduct of our leaders of the gravity that are posed today?

No matter how hard he tries, I don't think our current president will succeed in making his last 20 years vanish.

Today more than ever before, we need George Washingtons, Abraham Lincolns, or Winston Churchills, but will our educational institutions produce such leadership? Individuals with courage and vision, men and women who can lead with absolute transcendent and moral standards.

We have enjoyed a few hundred years of freedom with high moral standards. Much of this freedom was paid for by those whose grave markers stand today in such places as Normandy, Midway, Arlington and Punchbowl. Is it worth defending?

Mark Twain was once asked what he thought of Wagner's music and he replied: "It's not as bad as it sounds."

I wish I could say that about our educational system, which my children have come through and now I must entrust my grandchildren, too.

Terry Bosgra is a longtime insurance agent
who lives in Hawaii Kai.

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