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G. Edward Griffin: The Future is Calling - The Future is Calling Part One PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by G. Edward Griffin   
Tuesday, 12 May 2009 14:20

THE BIRTH OF PROGRESSIVE EDUCATION
Under the orchestrating baton of Nicholas Butler, President of Columbia University
and President of the Carnegie Endowment, an organization was formed in 1884 called The
American Historical Association. This then created a series of controlled groups, called
Committees, each of which focused on a particular segment of the overall educational
mission. After these had published their recommendations, the Carnegie Fund created
another controlled group in 1929 called The Commission on the Social Studies, which
attracted to its membership an impressive list of academic personalities, including the
Superintendant of Schools in Washington, D.C., the Director of the American Geological
Society of New York, the President of Radcliff College, the Dean of the Graduate School at
the University of Minnesota, the head of the Institute for the Study of Law at John Hopkins
University, and eleven professors of history at such prestigious institutions as Columbia
University and the Universities of Chicago, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Other
institutions that provided staff services or facilitated its work in other ways included
Harvard, Stanford, Smith College, and the Universities of Iowa, North Carolina and West
Virginia. The Commission was funding by a $340,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation
– at a time when $5,000 was an excellent annual salary for a college professor.
The Commission on the Social Studies is remembered today for its role in launching
what has come to be known as progressive education. The self-admitted goal of progressive
educators was – and is – to de-emphasize academic excellence in favor of awareness of
social and political issues. That’s the first half. The second half is that those issues must be
presented so as to promote three concepts: (1) National sovereignty is the cause of war and
must be replaced by world government; (2) Personal property should be eliminated because
it leads to selfishness, and (3) people will not assist or cooperate with each other in freedom
so they must be forced to do so by the state. Since those are key features of collectivism, the
unspoken lesson that students learn is that collectivism is good and is the wave of the future.
One of the better known members of the Commission on the Social Studies was
George Counts, Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. After the
Bolshevik Revolution, Counts travelled to the Soviet Union to witness Communism first
hand and returned with the conviction that the Soviet model was the ideal social system.
After the war, when Stalin’s brutality against his own people became widely known and
when Russia resumed an aggressive stance against Western nations, Counts became a critic

of the Soviet regime. His objection, however, was with Stalin’s actions and policies, not his
adherence to collectivism, which Counts continued to advocate. His 1932 book, Dare the
School Build a New Social Order,1 not only expressed his personal views, it was a
popularized version of what the Commission hoped to instill into the educational system. He
wrote:
If property rights are to be diffused in industrial society, natural resources and
all important forms of capital will have to be collectively owned. ... This clearly
means that, if democracy is to survive in the United States, it must abandon its
individualistic affiliations in the sphere of economics. ... Within these limits, as I see
it, our democratic tradition must of necessity evolve and gradually assume an
essentially collectivistic pattern.
The important point is that fundamental changes in the economic system are
imperative. Whatever service historic capitalism may have rendered in the past, and
they have been many, its days are numbered. With its dedication to the principles of
selfishness, its exaltation of the profit motive, its reliance on the forces of
competition, and its placing of property above human rights,1 it will either have to be
displaced altogether or changed so radically in form and spirit that its identity will
become completely lost.

1  (New York: John Day Co., 1932)