Famed Hollywood legend, Richard Dreyfuss, is not happy with the state of our college campuses or the state of our current political dialogue. The Hollywood icon recently appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight where he spent time ripping everyone on the left for undermining free speech, and then tearing into the American education system for failing to teach Civics to our children.
Dreyfuss is the founder of the Dreyfuss Civics Initiative which is an organization that seeks to revive, elevate, and advance the teaching of Civics in our public schools. Dreyfuss explained that our nation’s schools have not taught Civics well since 1970 and our nation has suffered because of it. Dreyfuss argued that many of our political problems and our cultural schisms have come because our citizens no longer understand the foundational principles of our nation and that has happened because we have failed to teach Civics to our children.
On Free Speech:
“You were talking about the speakers on university campuses. And I am totally, incontrovertibly on your side about this. I think any intrusion into freedom of speech is an intrusion into freedom of speech. And when one of the presidents of one of the colleges said, ‘this is a school, not a battlefield,’ I said, no, it a battlefield of ideas and we must have dissonant, dissenting opinions on campuses and I think it’s political correctness taken to a nightmarish point of view.”
On the Need for Civics Education:
I have withdrawn from partisan politics. I am a constitutionalist who believes that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be central and the parties must be peripheral. What’s most important for me is what you just mentioned haphazardly, we are over 30. Civics has not been taught in the American public school system since 1970. And that means everyone in Congress never studied the constitution and the bill of rights as you and I might have.
And that is a critical flaw because it’s why we were admired and respected for so long, it gives us our national identity, it tells the world who we are and why we are who we are, and without a frame that gives us values that stand behind the bill of rights, we’re just floating in the air and our sectors of society are not connected.
What’s really important is that the assumptions of the left and the right are all skewed wrong. We have t find areas of agreement and areas that we share. And we do share the notion that education accomplishes certain things. One, it turns students into citizens. And, two, it teaches students how to run the country before it’s their turn to run the country. And, three, it teaches the values of this nation.
People come from all over the world or are born into this nation without the values that we have here. That’s why they came here, to get them. And what are they? You can put them in opportunity, rise by merit, mobility, and freedom. That’s what we sell. And if you don’t want that, you’ve chosen the wrong place. And you don’t get a pass by being born here, you have to learn it. Even the Ten Commandments are not known at birth. You must learn them. And we must learn our values and if we don’t, we are fatally, fatally wounding ourselves. We will not have any way to really combat the ideas behind ISIS because we won’t know our own. And we have to.
This 6 minute conversation is packed full of good information and is well worth your time, watch below: