Dear Friends of ACA,
In reading one of the textbooks of one of our classes (no, I did not grow up with the benefit of a classical education, so I’m doing catch-up), I ran across a quote by Thomas Jefferson, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” (Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard J. Maybury)
We at ACA are committed to reversing the trend toward ignorance and indifference.
This quote caught my attention because, a few nights earlier, I had seen some “man on the street” interviews with college-aged individuals. The questions were simple — such as “Can you name the Vice President?” — yet most of those questioned could not give the correct answer. Listening to the various responses was distressing, when one realizes that these individuals will vote for candidates to hold office in our country. Such a situation is a huge warning for all of us.
If Jefferson is correct, which I fear he is, then being intellectually informed and aware is of vital importance to our nation. We at ACA are committed to reversing the trend toward ignorance and indifference. The job and challenge for us at ACA, as well as the job of our families, is to help our students and children to think and reason clearly and deeply.
We seem to be living in an upside-down culture where right is wrong and wrong is right, and lying becomes a virtue if you can deceive those around you, or even a whole nation. Perhaps one of the gifts we need to seek, besides knowledge, is that of discernment. Right discernment is only possible if the Lord helps us, and it grows out of a life lived with good character where one has the knowledge and integrity to make wise choices. If the Lord is not at the center of one’s life, making wise decisions and discerning the times will be difficult.
Education at Augustine is aimed at making good, educated, moral men and women who can guide their own lives and influence society, no matter what profession the student pursues. Such individuals can think and reason when others simply follow the herd. Such individuals have always been sought out. It is also true that such individuals often must learn to stand alone and have the strength of character to do so.
Such goals are important! Jefferson and the founders of the nation would say so. Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” Robert Winthrop in 1852 put it even more bluntly: “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man, either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.” (Assumptions That Affect Our Lives by Christian Overman)
Such are the challenges of our students. It is an exciting time to be a discerning Christian. Pray that we at ACA will be up to the challenge that the Lord has laid before us.
Larry J. Ehrlich
Larry J. Ehrlich, D. Phil.