Archive for history

has our ignorance of history doomed us?

Posted in culture, politics with tags , , , on January 3, 2008 by mrbitterness

This is a pretty old post from neo-neocon, but I noticed it as a related link over at Pajamas Media, and it makes a very good point about the nation’s dreadful concept of teaching history. Not to mention, I’m a fan of neo-neocon, so I like giving her props.

The unintended consequences of teaching expurgated history

The consequences of putting history into a blender and turning it into bland, featureless, and easily digestible pap is not just having students who are bored to tears, although that would be bad enough. Nor is it just that history textbooks now have a strong bias on the Left, although that isn’t a good thing either. The worst effect is that such an approach to the teaching of history creates an ignorant and naive populace that is even more condemned than would otherwise be the case to repeat history’s errors.

I’m convinced, for example, that failure to properly teach the history of the wars that we have fought in the past—their complications, controversies, and errors, as well as what led to them and what was accomplished by them—has led to unrealistic and simplistic expectations of warfare itself.

It seems pretty clear that most public schools are less concerned with education than they are Indoctrination. Far too many teachers think it’s their job to till and fertilize the fields of youth in preparation for a grand socialist harvest.

My daughter — her little brother started calling her KoGo, so that’s her handle now — starts kindergarten next year.

While she’ll attend public school (you think I can afford private education on a newspaper salary?), it’s a small-town Southern public school that has proven remarkably resistant to typical Leftist domination.

Students pray over the intercom some mornings, and I’ve never heard a complaint or threat of a lawsuit. There’s a prayer before every football game, and my sex-ed class (almost 15 years ago) was little more than remedial blush-and-giggle, followed by study hall.

However, for that reason, I’m not getting any more specific. I know grievance-mongering trial lawyers or the ACLU (alas, I repeat myself), are always trolling for new targets.

But when KoGo starts kindergarten next year, I will be on guard. Indoctrination is a tough stain to wash out. It took me years to get my mind all straightened out after college, and I traveled in surprisingly right-leaning circles.

But I will augment KoGo’s history lessons with strong doses of truth and context. She needs to understand — in a way that I slowly learned — that what teacher says isn’t always the truth. A modern student must identify the blurry areas, so she realizes a twist of the lens might reveal something different.

2+2 will always = 4. But there are more subjective areas a student needs to understand are up for discussion, and where teacher might not provide all the information necessary for a fully-informed discussion.

Badasses of Eclectic, Ala.

Posted in culture with tags , , on December 21, 2007 by mrbitterness

 There aren’t a lot of news stories out there about Eclectic, other than the pedestrian stuff run in the town newspaper. But here’s one I just ran across.

Texas Minutemen
“UPI, AL Two gunmen kidnapped an Eclectic, Ala., town policeman and used the officer to gain admittance to the home of Carl Ray Barker in the early morning hours. Barker, an Eclectic banker, was taken by one gunman into town to open the bank’s vault, his wife, child, and the town policeman being held hostage by the armed companion pending a safe return from the bank. When the time-vault resisted opening, the gunman returned Barker to his house and, after some debate, took the policeman away with him to get tape for binding all hostages until morning, when another attempt was to be made on the vault. Barker, now held in his home with wife and child by the second armed man, asked if he could make coffee. The robber assented and Barker put water on the stove and got it boiling. “I took the scalding water to the living room,” said Barker. “When he held his cup, I just poured the water in his face and grabbed his gun.” Barker pistol-whipped the robber into submission, loaded a shotgun and waited for the return of the other bandit. When the door opened, the captive policeman dived out of the way and Barker killed the would-be bank robber with two blasts. Barker said he feared for his family’s safety and, “I didn’t want my bank to get a bad name about being robbed.”

Pretty cool. I love that Barker expressed no concern for himself or his family, he “just didn’t want my bank to get a bad name.”

So he poured boiling water in the robber’s face, then pistol whipped him and laid in wait before blasting the partner in crime with some double-barrel justice.

It’s a good thing they didn’t threaten to hurt Mrs. Barker.