In recent weeks, Donald Trump has made clear his intention to counter subversive and seditious programs in public schools across the nation, and I want to make sure—very quickly and briefly—that conservatives understand that we can wholeheartedly support this effort without compromising our stance for limited government and respect for our system of federalism and states’ rights.
Yesterday (September 17th), Donald Trump announced his intention to sign an executive order to create the 1776 Commission that will promote patriotism in education. This initiative will be tasked with countering the subversive and frankly seditious 1619 Project launched by radical Leftists and the New York Times.
A lot of conservatives think we have to be entirely hands-off. They think that because education is a state issue (and I fully support it remaining a state issue), the federal government and the President have no role. They are wrong. In a recent Supreme Court case, Justice Thomas made some simple points that are important to consider in light of this debate.
The case was Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc. (Yes, Soros) Soros’ group challenged a government policy that requires foreign organizations to articulate a public stance against prostitution and sex trafficking to receive federal funds from one of our aid programs.
The Court determined that *foreign* organizations (here, Soros affiliates) must comply with this policy or forego the U.S. funding. Justice Thomas wrote a concurrence in which he made an excellent point that is good to consider in the context of this dust up about the 1776 Commission.
Thomas said: “’The First Amendment does not mandate a viewpoint-neutral government.’ Thus, the Government may require those who seek to carry out federally funded programs to support the Government’s objectives with regard to those programs. After all, the Constitution itself ‘impos[es] affirmative ideological commitments prerequisite to assisting in the government’s work.’ It excludes viewpoints such as communism and anarchism, stating that those engaged in government work must swear an oath to support our Constitution’s republican form of government. See Art. VI, cl. 3.” (internal citations omitted).
Thomas makes very good sense. The states accept a lot of money from the federal government, and comply with the various requirements that Congress attaches in order to receive those funds (hello, South Dakota v. Dole in which SCOTUS held that highway funds can be conditioned on a drinking age of 21–every state complied). Public schools receive federal funds. The idea that America has to stand by while public schools teach our children to hate their own country is suicidal and downright insane. We don’t have to fund seditious programs; we can mandate pro-America curricula.
Throughout this whole debate is the underlying reality that, as a society, we have lost the idea of objective truth. People no longer think they can make a definitive judgment on what is right and what is wrong. That’s a terrible error. We have to have the courage to make real judgments again and defend our principles. I am very proud of President Trump for taking this step, because all our efforts are in vain if the next generation thinks this country and its Constitution are oppressive and evil. Let’s support Trump in this and help him defend the Constitution.