The Tipping Point is a book by Malcolm Gladwell published in 2000. In it, he posited that social trends proliferate in the same way as epidemics and that asurprisingly small number of people can bring it about. Gladwell describes three factors required for this to take place: 1) influencers, 2) a “sticky” idea, and 3) the proper context. Influencers are connectors, gurus, and salesmen who serve as persuaders to provide the idea’s rationale. The stickiness of an idea has to do with how well it excites the hearer which, in turn, has to do with how likely the hearer is to pass the idea along. The context relates to the receptiveness of a population.
Think about the American Revolution in these terms. We can surmise the influencers from our history lessons – Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Adams, George Mason, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Paine come to mind. Actually, the “Founding Fathers” necessarily fall into this category.
An idea like secession from Great Britain is such a radical notion that it would surely stick in the mind of hearers. Many other “sticky” ideas, especially today, are refined through testing and analysis.
Context is an interesting idea. I’d describe it as “good soil,” (to use a biblical phrase) and it refers in general to people conditioned to hear, consider, and adopt the idea. John Adams once said that the American Revolution “… was in the minds and hearts of the people, a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations…. This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affection of the people, was the real American Revolution.”
Note the religious overtones ascribed by Adams to the taking up of the Revolution. What is it that prepared this good soil? It is arguably to be attributed to the pulpits of America. (I recommend the book, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era.) Historians Ranke and Bancroft both concluded that John Calvin, a sixteenth century theologian, is the father of America. When the prime minister of England, Horace Walpole, heard of the colonial revolt, he exclaimed, “Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson!”
While there’s no way to know the exact portion of colonists who at the beginning supported the idea of separation from England, estimates range from 5% to 30% with most settling on a 10-12% figure. Gladwell, in his book, suggests that 6% is a tipping point (although he cited no statistical studies).
This has me thinking that, although not broadly recognized, we may be at a tipping point for the idea of abolishing government schools. In terms of tipping point factors, how’s this for a sticky idea:
Government schools are compulsory religious (humanist) education.
They teach a different morality than what Mom & Dad teach at home and they force us to pay for it!
To tip this idea over into the mainstream, we need to be the influencers. We need to suggest in our workplaces, in the public square, and in the market place that government schools are not inevitable, not desirable, and not unassailable. And we need to hammer home the fact that government is forcing us to pay for religious education that is abominable in our eyes.
Last, we may have the context. Because of covidiocy, many public schools shutdown over the last two years, forcing many parent to become much more involved in their children’s schooling. Many have learned, to their horror, of the great wickedness going on in the government’s education of their children. Those who are already homeschooling or otherwise educating their children outside the reach of humanists welcome the swelling of the ranks. Their horror is old news. The newcomers to homeschooling – well, their horror is fresh and raw. Good soil, indeed.
The numbers of children being homeschooled currently exceeds Gladwell’s 6% threshold. Now is the time to provide some additional contextualizing from our pulpits.
Our humanist opponents hate Christ and they hate even more the idea that He is King of kings. John Dewey, in many ways the architect of today’s public schools, wrote, “You can’t make socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society….” In the religious creed called the Humanist Manifesto, he wrote, “We are convinced that the time has passed for theism, deism, modernism, and the several varieties of ‘new thought.’” In other words, all competing religions are bunk.
This is a religious war and our opponents are advancing. Their banner displays the sacred cow: “Public Education.” The wickedness on display in America over the past two years is inconceivable apart from a populace thus educated. They are largely unhindered by what passes for the church in America whose pulpits are unwilling to confront obvious evil.
May God have mercy on us for our failure to confront the sacred cow.
– John Bingaman, May 2022