As a nation, our conscience was pricked by the horrific death of George Floyd and the collective outrage of American citizens speaks well of us as a country. History has many examples of countries, governments, and citizens which do not regard human suffering as something worth condemning. In fact, many times, this type of treatment is sanctioned by the state as official policy. Thank God, we live in a country which sees this as the moral outrage it is and demands better. While our country can sometimes be viewed as hypocritical, this can only be true of a place that has established ideals to live up to. Countries with no moral philosophy or high-minded principles cannot be hypocritical because they do not hold themselves to a standard. It is our willingness to hold ourselves to noble values, and occasionally fall short, that makes America special.
Western Civilization is the first in human history to prioritize the innate dignity of each person through its political and moral philosophy. In fact, the natural state of man over that time has been grinding poverty, punctuated by horrific violence, terminating with an early death, often at the hands of the powerful. Historically speaking, the natural state of man has been one of bloodshed, tribalism, and unmitigated self-interest at the expense of men, women, and children. A thorough and truthful education in history reveals man’s inclination toward cruelty and persecution of those that are different.
The application of the virtues which are fundamental to Western Civilization, brought us out of this darkness and taught us to rise above our basest instincts and embrace the better angels of our nature. These ideals do not come automatically or easily to us as humans, as history has shown, they exist only as potentials that must be brought to fulfillment through education. Western ideals, which include: rationalism, self-criticism, the search for truth, freedom of religion, the rule of law, equality before the law, freedom of conscience and expression, human rights and human dignity, representative democracy, and free market capitalism built the most successful and most moral society in human history. These were theories which had been around for ages, refined in Europe, and finally codified under the banner of a state in America. This is the course of study which our students engage in each day. A curriculum which affirms the dignity of all.
Our founding documents say it plainly, “All men are created equal.” To the extent that our country is not living up to the principles handed down to us, we, as a society and personally, need to make changes. To that end, it is right and just and inextricably American to peacefully protest and demand our just inheritance. However, it is not a just reaction to violate the rights of others in demanding your own. We support equal treatment under the law for ALL people. We also support the earnest men and women of law enforcement who protect our natural rights as human beings each day.
It is through a proper education that Americans can understand our rights and responsibilities and learn other, more important, lessons of humanity, understanding, prudence, justice, and mercy. It continues to be the mission of Ascent Classical Academy to educate our young people in the way of truth, beauty, and goodness and to be a part of the solution.