For the first time since the passage of the 1965 Higher Education Act, the Republican Party, in control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, has undertaken to reauthorize the Act. There are two standards according to which this may proceed. The first is expressed in the foundations of the United States, of the Republican Party, and of the conservative movement with which that party is affiliated in its modern dispensation. The second can be found in the Higher Education Act itself. It is possible to follow one standard or the other, but not both. 

The first standard is like the American Revolution itself. It is built around a principle, and it has a plain though ingenious administrative design arising from that principle and intended to protect it. The second standard is like the revolution that has come over American government, especially in the past 50 years—the revolution that gave rise to the modern bureaucratic state. The Higher Education Act of 1965 is a landmark of that revolution. These two standards differ both in principle and in practice. Seeking different ends, they require different means.

Landmark of Progressivism

The Higher Education Act of 1965, a centerpiece of the Great Society, is the first and still the authoritative insertion of the new bureaucratic form into higher learning. The Act is a thing of the greatest importance, but a thing almost without peaks or central features in its language or self-explanation. It and its progeny are all details—details numbering in the tens or hundreds of thousands. They are uncountable and, by any one person, unknowable. Every year these details are adjusted, refined, forgotten, remembered, and reinterpreted in countless ways by countless people. But every five or six years relatively major changes are made by several pieces of legislation. This is what is meant by "reauthorization."

Generally, the Act provides for direct aid from the federal government to colleges and their students. The original edition of the Act lists, on page one, the additional purposes of assisting the people of the United States with "housing, poverty, government, recreation, employment, youth opportunities, transportation, health, and land use." I have not read the whole Act, nor probably has anyone else, so it cannot be said with confidence that it does not regulate breeding practices among adders and wasps. Everything else seems to be in. 

Conservatives, when they argue for school choice (a good cause), like to say that the elementary and secondary schools should be financed on the same principles as colleges, where student aid follows the student to whichever school he pleases. This is true enough, but it is not the aid alone that follows the student. Title IV of the current Act, which regulates colleges accepting federal student financial aid, includes now more than 300 pages of regulations. Failure of a senior college official to comply in a material respect can lead to heavy fines and imprisonment. Hillsdale College does not participate in this federal largesse, but nonetheless I surprised our attorney in Washington once by asking that he send me the regulations. He refused on the ground that I could not understand them. My academic ego was ruffled, so he explained that he could not understand them either; his firm keeps a staff person to do nothing but try to understand them. The Department of Education often calls this person to get her opinion on what the Act might say and mean.

Of course these regulations grow in number and scope every year. Of course they affect profoundly the management deliberations of any college—that is to say, practically every college—that is subject to their commands. The Higher Education Act is the very model of bureaucratic legislation: top down, complex, requiring interpretation of endless details by everyone concerned, and placing power over local things in remote beings whose very job titles are indecipherable, and who have almost no direct contact with the actual things being accomplished. 

It would be a mistake, however, to believe that all principle in the Higher Education Act is lost in detail. The principle is instead to be found there. The number, variety, and changeability of the details are the expression of the principle.

Entrenched Constituencies

This mighty Act is the bog upon which the Republicans now seek to impress their seal, the entangling web upon which they seek to erect their legacy. They have the excuse that they are already stuck in the bog and caught in the web. The bog is watered and the web is spun by two key forces. The first is popular support, and the second is the power of the highly intelligent and well organized people who work in colleges. They are the direct beneficiaries of federal spending in this area, and they attend with penetrating eye all the doings of Washington, especially when it concerns this spending. 

Popular support for the Act is partly grounded in something old and noble in American history: education is seen as the road up, the avenue of promise for all. Popular government, moreover, requires that a capacity for governing be widely spread, that education at all levels should impart the knowledge and civility requisite to good citizenship. Without these qualities, the people who make the laws will not intend either justice or liberty, and the people who live under the laws will not know what to do about that. The preservation of the republic depends, therefore, upon a proper system of education. At its highest, education is the contemplation of the ultimate ends in virtue of which means are selected for the sake of private and public happiness. The people's recognition of education's importance creates favor for a Higher Education Act presumed to serve these ends. 

In addition to this old and noble reason for popular support of the Act, there is in modern times the acute problem of the expense of college. Since the passing of the Higher Education Act, college expense has exploded, especially in recent years. Every constituency except the richest fears the cost of college in the same way that people fear catastrophic setbacks to their health. (Elected representatives are certainly aware that citizens in the middle income ranges, especially when they are married and have children, tend to vote Republican.) Government help with the cost of education is very welcome to those who have children approaching college age. These people are often unaware of the impact that federal regulation and subsidy of education have upon its cost. Anyway, they want help right now. 

The elites who work in our universities seek power more than wisdom, and they are successful in their quest. The modern research university has made them first the teachers and then the advisors to those who govern. Their predecessors, the fathers of the modern research university, were also the creators of the modern bureaucratic state. Our professors and administrators have inherited a station of prestige and influence, and they mean to maintain it. Any reforms of higher education will be conceived with their advice, settled with their agreement, and implemented by their hands. 

This transformation of the university is a new thing, compared with the ancient lineage of the institution. The modern research university was born in the 19th century and became dominant in the 20th. It was only in the 1980s that college graduates began to think and to vote markedly to the left of others. Still, the new way is deeply entrenched, so deeply that hardly anyone in politics, Republican or Democrat, imagines an alternative to it. The speed, breadth, and depth of its victory are staggering.

Republicans and Education Policy

It would not then be an easy task to make any fundamental alteration to federal higher education policy. It can, however, be extended and enlarged, and to this task the Republicans have set their shoulders. Since Reagan left office they have consistently made the situation worse. The elder Bush ran for president on the hope that he would be "the Education President." The world of the highly educated sharpened its talons at his approach, took his money (or rather, our money), and then campaigned for his opponent after four years. Very satisfactory. 

The younger Bush has, characteristically, brought more energy and thrust to education policy than did his father. With control of Congress, and guided by his long-term colleague Margaret Spellings, President Bush has undertaken major efforts first in elementary and secondary education, and now in higher education. There is both ambition and strategy here, and it is pursued persistently and with resolution in the face of resistance. Secretary of Education Spellings was with Bush in the White House before she went to the Department of Education, and she was with him in Texas when he reformed education policy there. They are close, she is trusted, and in important ways she is very worthy of that trust. What she and the President are doing is bold and well-intentioned, and there is good in it. 

They believe in competition in education, and at the elementary and secondary level they have supported school choice. There is not much of it, but what there is owes to their efforts, and what is lacking owes to the power of the education establishment. The Bush Administration has moreover stopped the move toward federalizing student loans. The Clinton Administration had proclaimed how much more cheaply the government could initiate and manage these loans than the private sector. There is no more talk like that. 

There is bad to go with the good, and not a little. The first bad thing the Republicans have done is spend a lot of money. Since 2001, the year of the September 11 attacks, defense spending has risen 47%. Higher education spending has risen 133%. There are major increases in most higher education programs, especially those regarding need-based aid. Both the amounts available and the upward limits of the income groups to whom they are available have risen sharply. This cascade of funds is unprecedented in absolute amounts, and it exceeds all prior experience in rates of growth, except for the Act's first heady days.

More recently the Republicans seem to have become aware that this additional spending is not quite getting the job done. For one thing, they cannot seem to spend money as fast as colleges can raise tuition. The people they mean to help are not better off, but the colleges are. There is some sense that all this new spending is making rapid tuition increases possible, or anyway contributes to them. Also, Republicans are aware that the colleges upon whom they heap money are the arsenals and training ground of their enemies. 

A Bill and a Report

The key Republican documents so far are two among many. First there is a bill now passed by the House of Representatives, the College Access & Opportunity Act (HR 609). The parallel bill has not yet passed the Senate. Meanwhile, Secretary Spellings has formed a National Commission on the Future of Higher Education (hereafter, the National Commission), and it has published a draft report. After an extension, the full report is due in September. 

We will not deal here with most of the critical, urgent, compelling, crying, and pressing needs that fill these documents and justify their existence. We stipulate that there ought to be a lot more technology in colleges; that every racial minority should be proportionally represented in every college; that working people, nontraditional people, frightened people, older people, and younger people all need better access to college, especially when they want to go at night, or in the morning or afternoon. We stipulate that the ratings of colleges by the various private firms are not very good and also hard to understand. Yes, college costs too much. Yes, there is a global marketplace, and people need to be pretty darned well informed to have any hope of making a living. In the future, if we are all not a lot smarter and better educated, we will be left behind. Sure enough, kids are embarrassingly ignorant; for example, they cannot add and subtract, nor read the jokes written about their ignorance. These are very important subjects, but there is no room to address them adequately in any publication not produced by the federal government. 

We will linger but a moment on the two big crises that animate both the House bill and the Draft Report of the National Commission. They are the extravagant cost of college and the miserable failures in basic skills, especially math and science but also literacy, of our high school and college graduates. 

About cost, neither the House bill nor the Draft Report recognizes the part that federal subsidy of education has played in the explosion of college costs. The House jumped right over the legacy of Reagan to follow Richard Nixon: it flirted for a time with price controls. The Draft Report has lots of ideas to cut costs, and some of them sound like they might work. Maybe colleges ought to try them. To pass a law requiring them, a law drafted mostly by people not responsible for controlling costs or making a college budget work, is simple hubris. It is not the only hubris in the report. 

The one federal policy that would work is not mentioned at all, despite the fact that the Bush Administration, in another department, has done some of its best work in pursuing it. In health care, health savings accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible policies are making patients more important in the health care system. These patients are spending their own money, and in a miraculous development, they are more careful with it than they are with the money of others. Instead of learning this lesson, the National Commission is promising more subsidies to colleges and threatening regulation if they do not watch their costs.

Problems in math, science, and literacy, the National Commission regards as very urgent, and they are. The Workforce/Education Subcommittee of the President's Advisory Council on Science and Technology, under the excellent Robert Herbold (a board member at the Heritage Foundation and former senior executive at Microsoft and at Proctor & Gamble), finds that our kindergarten students rank with the best in the world in their knowledge of science and math. For each year that they are subjected to the capable attentions of our public education system, they fall a step behind. By the time they graduate from high school, they rank at the 10th percentile in math internationally, struggling to keep ahead of unschooled goatherds in the Third World. The devastation is occurring despite the expenditure of vast sums, despite the regular reinvention of the education system by the experts—not teachers—who are sovereign in its affairs. We have already a centralized, planned, and top-down system. It is in its maturity. Nonetheless, its failures are used to justify its expansion. 

The National Commission has impressive ideas, or anyway an impressive number of ideas, for dealing with the crisis, all built on the same notion: once upon a time, in Camelot, the Soviet Union fired a rocket into space before we did, and so the federal government began funding higher education, and we had a great coordinated national effort, and we became the leaders in science and technology. Secretary Spellings tells this story often. It is the same story that was told back at the time of Sputnik, and it was used effectively to justify passage of the original Higher Education Act.

The story is nice, but it cannot be true. Sputnik went up in 1957, after Americans had invented the telephone, the laser, the transistor, done half the work to discover DNA, settled a continent, and covered it with railways, roads, airports, and communications. We managed to do all of this without the Department of Education. Federal aid to higher education started in small ways a year after Sputnik. We landed on the moon in 1969, twelve years after Sputnik, barely time to get an undergraduate degree and then a Ph.D. No student funded even in the first year can have played an important part in the moon landing. It is simply not possible that federal aid to education had a significant impact on the space race. Nor is it possible that our race with the central planners in Moscow was won by duplicating their methods. The genius of the American people lies elsewhere. 

The Academic Bill of Rights

This revival of the thinking that led to the Department of Education is widespread among Republicans and many conservatives. They are now appealing to the example of the Left as their guide to reform, and in important ways they are proposing to go further than the inventors of the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the Great Society even imagined. Especially is this true when they address the content of higher education, the question of what is taught in the college classroom. The House bill timidly and the Draft Report aggressively take up this question.

Section 103 of the College Access and Opportunity Act contains a statement on "student speech and association rights." The "Bill Summary" released by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce says that this section is modeled on the Academic Bill of Rights, an idea proposed by David Horowitz. Horowitz, a lion on the campus and an effective guerrilla fighter in good causes, has reason to make his recommendations. He knows first hand, by visiting dozens of college campuses where he is a popular speaker, how skewed are the opinions that reign there among the faculty. His idea of an Academic Bill of Rights is to turn to advantage the notion of balance and value-free neutrality to which those campuses pay lip service. Here is how he describes it:

All higher education institutions in this country embrace principles of academic freedom that were first laid down in 1915 in the famous General Report of the American Association of University Professors, titled "The Principles of Tenure and Academic Freedom." The Report admonishes faculty to avoid "taking unfair advantage of the student's immaturity by indoctrinating him with the teacher's own opinions before the student has had an opportunity to fairly examine other opinions upon the matters in question."

In other words, an education—as distinct from an indoctrination—makes students aware of a spectrum of scholarly views on matters of controversy and opinion, and does not make particular answers to such controversial matters the goal of the instruction. This is sound doctrine and common sense, and in one form or another it is recognized in the academic freedom guidelines of all accredited institutions of higher learning in the United States.

In another place, Horowitz writes: 

There are no "correct" answers to controversial issues, which is why they are controversial: scholars cannot agree. Answers to such questions are inherently subjective and opinion-based and teachers should not use their authority in the classroom to force students to adopt their positions. To do so is not education but indoctrination.

There are truths here, which give the statement plausibility. Certainly students should not be browbeaten by their professors, and anyway good students are not persuaded by this tactic. One ought not to draw conclusions without examining all the serious arguments on every side. Evidence must be eagerly sought and neither suppressed nor distorted. Faculty members, highly trained and carrying serious responsibilities, must have latitude in pursuing their work. These concepts are part of the substance of the academic life; they are old, much older than the American Association of University Professors and John Dewey. 

The Heresy of Orthodoxy

Indeed, if the principles of academic freedom are real, they cannot have been laid down first in 1915. The very adjective "academic" is taken from Plato's ancient teaching ground. The first universities were operating, in the later 12th century, more or less as we know them today. A couple of centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson worked with fellow revolutionary James Madison to design a college curriculum; these men committed treason rather than submit to violations of freedom of speech and conscience. Madison wrote to Jefferson that it "is certainly very material that the true doctrines of Liberty, as exemplified in our political system, should be inculcated on those who are to sustain and may administer it." Then, he commits a heresy by speaking of heresy:

After all, the most effectual safeguard against heretical intrusions into the school of politics, will be an able & orthodox professor, whose course of instruction will be an example to his successors, and may carry with it a sanction from the visitors.

Did Madison really mention "a sanction from the visitors," meaning the governing board of the college? What can he have been thinking? But before we condemn him as a bigot, we should remember his résumé. He cannot have meant that he wished to raise up generations of automatons, men who might, for example, do the bidding of a king or aristocrat merely because they were in awe of authority. That would be the kind of man Jefferson and Madison had lately expelled from the new nation by force. The co-author of the Federalist, the constitution writer whose preparation for that work was an academic study both exhaustive and profound, cannot have meant that education should be one-sided, partial, partisan, or shallow. 

Jefferson is famous for writing that there are such things as the "laws of nature and of nature's God." His colleague George Washington spoke of the moral and political instruction to be found "in the economy and course of nature." They were talking about a "nature" and "laws of nature" that are accessible to reason, and better known if the reason is trained to see them. Jefferson and Madison thought that an educated man would have investigated these matters, indeed, that he would have come to some conclusions about them that would decisively shape his life. Students, when they are young, must have a reason to begin the journey of learning, or they will not begin it at all. If they start out indoctrinated with the facile notion that "there are no correct answers," they will be relieved of the burden of looking for them. They will be launched on a journey that can lead only to nowhere.

Liberal Game on a Liberal Field

Madison and Jefferson are not alone here. College after college has been founded with such words as virtue, honor, piety, freedom, right, and goodness in their mottoes and their missions. These are words of value, and they are controversial words. This means in the academic setting that they must be debated and discussed. At the same time it must be realized that whole institutions, many of them lasting centuries, have been built to teach or "indoctrinate" students with the principles that underlie moral and intellectual virtue. 

Are the purposes of those institutions rendered obsolete by the principles of academic freedom that were "first laid down" by the American Association of University Professors? That is the position of that association. It is precisely indoctrination in its new progressive principles that has remade the university into the thing we have today. By that transformation colleges have not gained but lost in openness, profundity, civility, and high purpose. The universities built on the new principles are a scandal of uniformity, of contempt for the unorthodox, of disdain for the backward folk who take the foundations of their colleges or their country seriously. 

Why might this be? The trouble with pragmatism, they say, is that it does not work. The relativism and utilitarianism of the progressive doctrine are an invitation to the assertion of the will. This doctrine begins by undercutting the whole point of college, which is—choosing a traditional mission statement at random—to provide "such moral, social and artistic instruction and culture as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of the students." (I borrow from the Hillsdale College Articles of Association, 1855.) In the older view, students should be invited to look, not to themselves and their own opinions, but rather outwards and upwards, beyond themselves to something against which they can judge the choices they must make. Shakespeare is beautiful and instructive, but not usually at first. He takes work. What justifies the work is the idea that some great thing awaits the one who does it successfully. The one who fails will be defective, in some important sense, in his ability to grasp the beautiful and the profound. You can pass a law that no child will be left behind. That does not make it so. 

But if the measure of things is human opinion and, by extension, human making, it follows that one ought to assert oneself. Be a maker! Create your truth! Your world! This is why radical causes spill from college campuses faster than widgets off an assembly line. This is the engineering project at the heart of the modern university. The work of the progressive academy is to articulate new and ever new ideas of correctness, and to enforce them upon a population that now must wait for the wise and powerful to create their world. 

Apart from the fact that the progressive idea of academic freedom undercuts the principles of college, and apart from the fact that it robs the student of his reason to study anything outside himself, it has the disadvantage that it will not work. Well-intentioned advocates like Horowitz apply this principle to open campuses up so that conservatives will not be hazed from the student body and the faculty. But this is to play on a field that the liberals prepared, and they have long since perfected the game. In most universities, hiring is done by faculty committees dominated by members of the academic department where the position is to be filled. The hiring of ideological friends is done with a wink and a nod, not in writing and never as an explicit criterion of employment. Within the existing system, the only way to fix the problem would be to introduce explicit ideological criteria into the hiring process. But Horowitz has agreed that this should not be done. His first principle is that it should not be done. Whether or not one agrees with that first principle, no sensible person would favor a federal law that required the introduction of the "ugly word" (Churchill's phrase) ideology into academic hiring. 

The attempt to regulate speech in classrooms is doomed to the same failure. A federal law will be a clumsy instrument, ultimately interpreted by a bureaucracy in profound sympathy with academic liberalism, and implemented by academic liberals who enjoy dominance in the academy now. They have built the system, and they are masters of it. Whatever makes it stronger will make them stronger, too. 

Why, anyway, should one attempt to combat these evils by shoring up the fortresses in which they are sheltered? Another idea would be to strengthen their victims. It is not the federal bureaucracy that needs more authority. It is the parents who send their children off to college in hopes they will not be ruined; and the trustees, alumni, and friends who are lectured by their alma mater when they object to its radicalism.

Failure of Understanding

We have proof in the House bill, and still more in the work of the National Commission, how little the problems are understood among Republicans. The National Commission is especially serious about enforcement. It means to make things clear, orderly, and disciplined. It will do that by using the methods of the Higher Education Act to reform the Act. Indeed, it will go beyond any method imagined by the original Act into a new world. There will be national standards. Compliance with them will be examined through a test administered to every student in the land. The results will be published so that everyone may see. Accrediting agencies, which will be nationalized or anyway more tightly regulated, will use these "outcomes data" to accredit or to withhold accreditation.

All the vices of "teaching to the test" are latent in these proposals. Charles Murray writes of the No Child Left Behind Act that it has not improved test scores and that it creates an atmosphere of endless drilling, which is bad for learning. He bases his conclusions on the kind of close statistical analysis of which he is a master—in this case, however, analysis done by the Harvard Civil Rights Project. He agrees with them hardly at all in his political views, but their research seems sound. He is probably right that the tests actually stand in the way of learning. 

Worse than the tests' ineffectiveness and waste of time will be the fact that they will be expressions of the worst forms of political correctness. One should fear this, first of all, because the National Commission is not interested in that subject. It justifies its reforms on the ground that math and science knowledge and literacy are poor, and college costs too much. This is true, but not exhaustive. Certain matters formerly thought important do not come up in the Draft Report nor, apparently, in the deliberations of the National Commission. The Draft Report does not mention religion, God, or morality. It does not mention history as a subject of study. It does not mention the Constitution, either for what it commands or allows, or as a subject of study. Although busy governing, the Report does not mention government as a subject of study. Philosophy, literature, happiness, goodness, and beauty are not to be seen. These terms abound in the mission statements and mottoes of American colleges whenever they are older than a hundred years, and in most of the younger ones.

A Mad World

The Draft Report is devoid of any echo of the purpose of education as it is trumpeted in our first national documents. It contains no whisper of the sentiments from the Northwest Ordinance, those regarding "religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind." It does not so much as murmur the hallowed idea that students should learn the lessons upon which our republic was built, the teaching of which is the reason government would be interested in education in the first place. Have they read no Lincoln? For example, his prescription for public schools:

that every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby [be] enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions….

The tests that will decide the fate of colleges will be devised later. One does not have to guess about their nature; they will be prepared by the most influential academics. Or one can observe the tests they write now. Take, for example, the College Board's Advanced Placement Program, and specifically its Teacher Guide, AP English Literature and Composition.

Today's English Literature departments are alive both with excitement and controversy. Nothing seems simple anymore, particularly where the introductory courses are concerned. There is little consensus among English teachers when it comes to goals, curriculum, approaches to literature, or even definitions of literature, or rather literatures….

There is no agreement, then, about the meaning of the thing that is being taught. Formerly, there was a more "robust regard for textual authority." Now, 

perhaps most importantly … "objectivity" and "factuality" have lost their preeminence. Instruction has become "less a matter of transmittal of an objective and culturally sanctioned body of knowledge," and more a matter of helping individuals learn to construct their own realities….

And finally: 

Contemporary educators no doubt hope students will shape values and ethical systems as they engage in these interactions, acquiring principles that will help them live in a mad, mad world.

Forget for a moment the selfishness, lassitude, and despair that are latent in this notion. The student is taught that the world is mad: find your own way, gentle child. If the text does not appeal to you, never mind. You are only looking for your own reality: a little thing, but thine own. Find what comfort you may in it. Little wonder that half the opinions of the Supreme Court today read as if the Constitution were unavailable to them. Little wonder that members of Congress write about education requirements ad nauseam, ignorant all the while of the great documents by which education was built in our country. 

These will be the tests. College students will take them, and colleges who do not prepare their students to excel on them will be held up to ridicule and may be denied accreditation. Poor parents, whose children will be taught to devalue all that has bound their family together. Poor students, if they want to waste their time in the love of Milton or Aquinas or Plato.

Old Truths for New Urgencies

To repair all this and place the education system on a better footing, there are two things that need doing, neither of them proposed so far during this reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The first is that we should return control of college to private people to the utmost extent possible. The Federal government should do what Reagan suggested: go back to the things it has the constitutional power to do. As it withdraws, it should mimic the great acts of education support from our past, the Northwest Ordinance and its companion, the Land Ordinance of 1785, and the Morrill Act signed by Lincoln. It should decentralize authority to the states. Or even go one better. Let taxpayers keep their money, if they are prepared to spend it for something so vital to the public interest as education.

The second thing is to recover the tradition of liberal and civic education that has helped to keep us free by teaching us the purpose of our freedom. To do this, we will have to be willing to take positions on subjects that are "controversial." We will have to organize our colleges to study the great documents of the American past and those upon which that past was built. This will involve us—gasp—in the study of the Western canon. This is not merely a good thing, it is "urgent." The National Commission goes on at length about what is "urgent," but it forgets a point evident in this little paragraph from an influential man of our day:

You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator.

This is from a statement given to the American people by Osama bin Laden on November 24, 2002. He objects specifically to the thing that makes us what we are, the principles of civil and religious freedom. This man and his friends have killed more than 5,000 of us already. They seek weapons to kill us en masse. They offer us peace only if we agree that the right to make a law comes from appointment to their priesthood. Here is an urgent matter. We are in a war, likely to be a great and terrible war, a war for the central principles of our land. Perhaps we ought to study those principles. Then maybe we can remember the meaning of the doctrine that "resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."