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A Case for the American Story

Timothy Goeglein’s new book makes the case that American parents don’t pay enough attention to their children’s education.

American flag in classroom
(Thinkstock Images/Getty Images)

Toward a More Perfect Union: The Moral and Cultural Case for Teaching the Great American Story, Timothy S. Goeglein, Fidelis Publishing, 187 pages

John Adams would approve of Timothy Goeglein’s new book, Toward a More Perfect Union—not just because Goeglein quotes Adams, but because the whole book demonstrates a point Adams made: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” That really is the crux of the matter: If we let the barbarians run the country, it will not survive—nor, really, should it. 


Goeglein tells us how close the barbarians are to running the whole show. It is a chilling story, and because it is, it is okay to be chilled. But it is not okay to despair. “Despair is a mortal sin,” William F. Buckley used to say. The barbarians’ goal is to destroy the America built by our Founding Fathers and replace it with something else: a country filled with people who loath its history and feel guilty for the sins they are told they and their ancestors committed. 

The villains have even admitted they are trying to distort history. Nikole Hannah-Jones, who produced the “1619 Project” promoted by the New York Times, is openly seeking to abolish the U.S. as we know it, says Goeglein. She seems to assume America was corrupt from the beginning. But she looks like an opportunist, lying her way to TV fame. She admits that her writing is essentially fiction, saying that her work was only “journalistic” not historical—whatever that means. At the New York Times, as we have come to discover, “journalistic” is just a synonym for “fictitious.” 

Hannah-Jones was preceded by Howard Zinn, who conceded that his goal was to denounce Western civilization. America is a triumph of Western civilization, so whoever wishes to destroy the West must first tear down its monuments and destroy America. Zinn criticizes the Founding Fathers with abandon—which raises the question, how the devil did Zinn’s history book become so widely used? There’s a story waiting to be told: Who promoted Zinn? (A topic for Goeglein’s next book?) 

Monuments have meaning. They tell us things. They remind us of our history—and how our thinking can change from generation to generation. We need more monuments. We need a monument to Howard Zinn. And perhaps one to Hannah-Jones, too, though she is still young, and we don’t yet know how much damage she has done. Of course, the monuments to Zinn and Jones would be statues standing on their heads, to indicate to posterity what fools they were, and that we knew what fools they were. 

But until then, is it we who are the fools? Goeglein writes, “Whole generations of Americans have grown up without understanding basic economics, mistrusting the motives of the nation’s Founding Fathers, and spurning and vilifying those who have made great sacrifices to create, and then preserve, our constitutional republic.” Yes, but whose fault is that? We can’t blame everything on the perfidious New York Times


Goeglein refers to slavery as America’s original sin. That is a trope that is popular these days, but it is not entirely accurate. Certainly the left—the Hannah-Joneses and Howard Zinns of the world—see it as a sin. But sin is a Christian concept, and Zinn was not a Christian (who knows what Hannah-Jones is or what her understanding of sin is). 

There are problems with the concept of slavery as America’s original sin. First, “America” can’t be guilty of sin any more than a Buick can be. Only individuals sin. And no one alive today was a slaveholder, which obviates the second issue: the Christian idea of sin includes the possibility of repentance and forgiveness. Don’t try that one on the Zinns, the Hannah-Joneses, and the New York Timeses of this world: They are not guilty of the sin of slavery, but you are, and you can never be forgiven! And don’t forget it. And neither can this country be forgiven, not even after the Civil War, in which 620,000 Americans died. 

Slavery was a worldwide phenomenon. It was not invented by Americans, and it existed in the land discovered by Columbus centuries before 1619. Hannah-Jones picked that date only so she could blame the people who founded this country and disparage our constitutional republic. They lecture you on the sin of 1619 to distract you from what the left has done and continues to do. 

Let us talk to them about the radical delegitimization and undermining of families by liberals in the 1960s and 1970s. (In 1965, the black illegitimacy rate was 24 percent; by 2021, it was about 64 percent.) And let’s talk about how welfare money provided a disincentive for marriage, which liberals saw as a source of female oppression. Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a prescient paper on those subjects in 1965—and the liberals called him a racist.

And let us talk about how the liberals have sold and continue to sell black Americans into the slavery of a broken public school system, with the teachers’ unions their new slavemasters. In 2022, 84 percent of black fourth-graders scored below proficient reading level. You can’t blame the Founding Fathers for that. 

Hannah-Jones et al. have no interest in the role America played in eliminating slavery because they have no interest in history: Their goal is to maim America.

They will succeed if American parents don’t pay more attention to the education their children are getting. That, essentially, is the message of Goeglein’s book. Americans must stop trusting their local public schools. They must take more interest in their children’s education and understand how left-wing teachers, school bureaucrats, politicians, and the media are distorting their children’s understanding of American history. Goeglein says they must prepare their children to stand up for the truth—no small task for a young child. 

Parents must not despair (school boards can be frightening), but in order to see that their children are properly educated, they must go to war with their local education establishments. They need to retake their schools, now in the hands of left-wing teachers in thrall to Howard Zinn, Hannah-Jones, and the New York Times. The fate of the nation rests on them.

And they must hurry.