I am in Utah today to give a keynote address at the opening of the new Center for Constitutional Studies at the Utah Valley University. I am honored to follow Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough who gave the opening keynote yesterday. It was an ironic pairing since they will open with a devotee of John Adams and close with a Madisonian scholar. They were able to keep us separate to avoid any fights in the halls. Despite our disagreement over the legacy of John Adams (McCullough seems to blow through that whole Alien and Sedition Act business pretty quickly in his extraordinary book on Adams), I was pleased to read how McCullough warned the audience about the rising dangers posed by citizens who are increasingly passive and detached from their government.
McCullough spoke about the greater need to teach history in this country because “we are raising a generation that is historically illiterate and have a very sketchy, thin knowledge of the system on which our entire civilization is based on. It is regrettable and dangerous.” I agree wholeheartedly with that view as well as his warning that we are becoming a “generation of spectators.” I just spoke on that same need in Florida and the need to reinforce our public schools. The low salaries and pressures placed on teachers in our schools is undermining our educational system and most importantly the fundamental role played by the common public educational system. McCullough stressed “Nobody is doing more important work that will last longer than teachers. We are accountable for what happens in government and the direction of the country and the education of our children and grandchildren.”
I regret that my flight came in after McCullough’s speech, but it was clearly a wonderful way to kick off the nation’s newest major Constitutional Center.
This is my second speech at Utah Valley University and I have been incredibly impressed. UVU is now the largest university in the state and the new Center is an extraordinary addition to the academic institutions in the state. The University wisely selected Professor Rick Griffin as the founder and direction of the Center. Griffin was an inspired choice. He is one of the hardest working academics in the country with a deep background in the scholarship on the Framers and founding documents.
This afternoon I will give the “Finale Address” entitled “The Tax Man Cometh: The Life and Death of American Federalism.”
Source: Deseret News