How often have all of us, at one time or another, found ourselves lamenting the failure of our schools and colleges to teach history in the modern classroom? “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” That quote appears to have originally come from George Santayana, a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist who lived and worked in the latter part of the nineteen century and continued his legacy until the mid twentieth century.
Education seems to have moved on to social issues and the politically correct position of the time rather than providing perspective of the historical events who make us who we are. Young people are essentially carefully programmed drones who have been submersed in the philosophies of their teachers. Severely neglected are core educational concepts such as history, reading, writing and communication skills. Children leave school (that includes our colleges and high schools) woefully unprepared for the real world while being ingrained with opinions which are entirely unsupported.
What would you say if I were to tell you that the current epidemic of class warfare was nothing new but existed as far back as 350 BC? One would think that, if history were truly and effectively being taught, we would know that it existed that long ago and was an element in the destruction of a society. Frankly, then as now, this war was joined and even driven by the writings and pronouncements of the educated elite Plato actually described Athens as being bifurcated or decidedly two cities. He declared one as a city occupied by the poor and one by the rich. One was openly at war with the other.
Men of means were forced to defend themselves against claims of wealth and property ownership as if were a crime. As with all confrontations, it was inevitable that one would gain control over the other. Just as we are experiencing today, class envy led to higher taxes and the essential destruction of upper and middle classes. Government will inevitably crumble, usually resulting in the takeover by a despot with an iron hand who returns order but exacts an awful price in terms of freedoms lost.
Last week, for example, we experienced a day of remembrance—December 7 marked the day of that vicious attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941--which changed the world forever. Probably, aside from the awful death toll of a sneak bombing raid early on a Sunday morning, the saddest thing to be said is that we have people who don’t truly understand what happened. We’ve since apologized for bombing the perpetrator, after a bloody 4-year conflict, in an effort to end the killing and destruction.
Although it was evident to everyone back in 1945, the introduction of such a frightening display of power was the best solution to end the bloodletting forever. The results were nightmarish but the result was undeniable. No one I knew felt good about what had happened. Wartime, itself, is basically inhumane but it seems there will always be those among us create war for a variety of reasons, but especially over territory and financial considerations.
It’s always best to end any conflict by any means necessary and as soon as possible.
There are many among us who, through the years, have become either taught of convinced that everything that happens in the world is America’s Fault. We have a large swath of college students who have matriculated believing that, somehow, this country is inherently evil because we have committed missteps while becoming the world’s most benevolent super power. I suspect there will be a day of rude awakening if those people are ever successful in their efforts to diminish America’s power.
The best solution so much of the misinformation we are fed in schools and through a biased media is to either buy books and read them or go to the library while they still exist. Social media and the internet have taken a huge toll on American intellect in areas of social interaction. Anyone expecting to get an unvarnished view of history or current events should not expect to find them on Facebook or any of the on-line news sites. Far too much of today’s writing, even with newspapers, is cloaked in advocacy journalism.
One of the wonderful lessons available to all of is that it is never too late to learn and knowledge is the greatest weapon available to combat tyranny in the educational process being foisted upon the last two or three generations. I realize it might sound trite but awareness of the truth can be a great tool to combat the dumbing down of America. We’ve seen all of this before and no matter how fashionable some of the socialistic thinking currently being foisted on all us may appear to be, please remember: we’ve tried it all before somewhere in history and it never works. Nothing is worth surrendering one’s freedoms for!
But, as always, that’s only one man’s opinion.
Fred Hall is publisher of the Dinuba Sentinel