How "Battle for the American Mind" Came to Be
Soli Deo Gloria
Dateline: June 16, Year of our Lord 2022
“You’ve spent years on this book, do you really want to co-author it?” My wife is often the wisdom in our family, and asks good questions. When Pete Hegseth offered to work with me on the Battle for the American Mind book project, he was very deferential– he was all-in on classical education, and he wanted to use his microphone to get the word out. Since then, he’s given a copious amount of credit to me for our joint project. Sure, I wrote a 75k word manuscript. But that’s not the manuscript that was published. By providence, the story goes much further, and was much improved through the joint effort.
In March of 2020, FOX began work on the “Miseducation of America”-- a documentary on education– specifically classical Christian education. It was based on my manuscript that Pete had read, but it was really just cherry picking parts of it that made for good TV. Pete encouraged me to get the manuscript published, and even connected me with a literary agent. But, it seems unknown authors who edit insider magazines and lead associations with long acronyms don’t get published by major publishers. Niche publishers were an option, but only if the goal was to preach to the choir. If we were to get this story out to a broad audience, we needed a better calling card. As the documentary continued development, Pete offered to help out. We decided to work together– he as the adventurous explorer, me as the insider-guide, of sorts.
We started work and the world blew up. First, it was Covid. Then, BLM riots. It never stopped, with CRT legislation followed soon by impeachment, censorship, a questionable election, more violence, Loudon County Schools, kids in masks, mandatory vaccinations, CRT math book bans, and drag queen story hours. What was happening? My original manuscript revealed the depth of the intent by Progressives to captivate our society and subdue our republic, but the effects had been deep and subtle heretofore, not insane and extreme.
This is where the manuscript changed course. Now, it was less about describing a passive captivity where kids were conditioned rather than taught to think. The truth of the thesis was now manifest in bold font: through control of America's paideia, Progressives had a nose-ring into our culture and could take it, and with it political power, anywhere they choose. "Anywhere" has turned out to be frightful.
My research focused on the "burglary" of the Western Christian Paideia during the first half of the 20th century-- progressives slyly slipped a forgery onto the "alarm pressure-plate" of culture-- they replaced the Western Christian Paideia (WCP) with a forgery called the American Paideia. And, I prescribed and described classical Christian education as the solution.
Pete began his research with the second half of the 20th century and the influence of the Frankfurt School which led to "Regressive Tolerance" and the world we're experiencing today. You see, once the Progressives were safely away with the WCP, they could dump the forgery and replace it with a newly minted "treasure"-- the Cultural Marxist Paideia. Voila, we have a brave new world. And, even Orwell did not imagine it so well.
With that, I'm gratified and hopeful that “Battle” will continue its run and become a sustained best-seller. If you haven't yet, order a copy or two and share it with your friends.
My wife's words were wise, but we decided to prioritize a bigger audience over "owning" the book. In the end, with Pete’s contribution, the book came out better than I could have ever done on my own. And, Pete's platform has given it a wide reception.
Soli Deo Gloria