Proof of Liberal History Textbooks

The United States should consider adopting United States history textbooks with a more nationalistic approach. Let’s examine an American history textbook just used in my AP US History class - The American Pageant.

Most students go through history class without a question in their mind what they are being taught.

Used in Advanced Placement (AP) United States History courses across this country is The American Pageant. From taking the course I have read through most all of it. We should not dismiss The American Pageant as a nonsense high school history book, because it is a college textbook (AP classes are equivalent to college courses) so it ought to be taken seriously. The majority of students in AP classes are the top students in the school, and will most likely be future leaders.

The American Pageant is hardly a 'nationalist' version of United States history. This does not mean it is objective. When reading it I feel as if I am reading U.S. History from ANOTHER countries perspective.

The textbook glorifies Indians in parts - "Two remarkable Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and the Prophet, concluded that if this onrushing tide were ever to be stopped, that time had come." - yet disparages many U.S. Presidents by the physical/intellectual description attributed to them. Examples include: James Monroe - "Never brilliant, and perhaps not great" and James Polk - "Methodical and hardworking but not brilliant." Surely a president is more remarkable than an Indian in our nation's history.

The authors carefully inject adjectives at just the right time. This catches the student off guard who has little interest in history and strengthens his mind in agreement with his, most probable, left wing teacher. This textbook hardly makes me feel proud to be part of the U.S. (this is when The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and A Patriot's History of the United States come in handy).

Hardly a "Pro-USA" textbook. The authors' point of view crystallizes into anything but an American viewpoint. The authors write, "In 1900 a superpatriotic group known as the 'Boxers' broke loose with the cry, 'Kill Foreign Devils'." Not once do the authors call the Boxer Rebellion a 'discriminatory insensitive action on the part of the Chinese'. Instead, the authors note "patriotic Chinese" formed to kick out foreigners [Boxer Rebellion]. Previously in the text is the Chinese immigration into the United States around the 1880s. Chinese immigration in the United States culminated with passing the Chinese Exclusion Act (barring Chinese immigration). The text describes this act as a "discriminatory measure" and that Americans were acting out of "ethnic prejudice." Although it may be seem discriminatory, it was also realistic. Americans in the Golden State complained about competing Chinese immigrants for jobs and wages (as the Chinese would work for cheap). There is an obvious slant and bias here.

I will leave it up to the reader's imagination on how Columbus is presented in The American Pageant.

This textbook rips Americans delineating them as "racist" and "nativist" in a few circumstances. But when this textbook cites Chinese as kicking out foreigners it does not make them appear racist.

Learning a nationalist history is not "close-minded" or "bigoted." It should not vindicate every past evil. In a nationalist history, the pride and triumph should outweigh the shame and guilt.

A recent news article from Africa:

AFRICAN governments need to apply their political will to find synergy between culture and education, since education is a vehicle of culture.

Japan is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to adopt a nationalist history textbook. One Japanese advocate of the controversial, new Japanese history textbook exclaimed, "I support a textbook that teaches us Japanese to love our ancestors and to love our country!"

About time we do the same here in the United States, in a time when we are being forced by diversity officials to accept, in the name of utopian multiculturalism, that our culture is equal to everything else on earth. Our country will perish if the youth are not taught how great our forefathers were. Why would anyone defend a country they are taught is evil? Knowing that your country is great and that your ancestors were heroes gives your life hope and meaning, despite what anyone says.

If history is our memory, then our memory builds our vision, and our vision in life affects our future.

Posted by Mike Tate at August 28, 2005 8:22 PM
Comments
Comment #75854

America was not conceived as perfect. But those that conceived it had the foresight to understand that if they created a system that could improve, it would develop into a more perfect union.

America must also be understood as part of a larger Western civilization that was also developing and improving. Western civilization is the most successful and freest civilization in world history and America is one of the most successful and freest components.

The PC crowd will jump on this statement. The first thing they will cite is slavery. Slavery existed since before the dawn of history in all major societies. Western civilization was the first to name it as an evil and in consequence to eliminate it.

The second thing they will talk about is racism and xenophobia. Once again, look around. This post mentions the Boxer Rebellion. Talk about racism and xenophobia. Most early societies refer to themselves as something like the “men” or the “human beings”. What does that make everyone else?

The U.S. took in more immigrants than any other country in the history of the world and in some years still takes in as many immigrant as all the other countries of the world combined. If this is xenophobia, we need another definition.

We are Americans. I am very proud of that. I understand the history of my country and I can recite the bad things as well as the good. But our country has grown into a place where minority groups feel free to question the authorities and defy the police, where some of the most successful students in the best universities are the sons and daughters of recent immigrants, where people like me, only a generation away from immigration can feel completely American and where even someone who became a citizen yesterday enjoys the same rights I do and the same rights as someone whose ancestors served with George Washington. God has blessed America and we have taken those blessing and created a great nation, because Americans work to make things better.

Posted by: jack at August 28, 2005 10:47 PM
Comment #75856

Mike T.,

Can you explain why history biased by nationalism is any better than history biased by multi-culturalism? Striving for an unbiased account of history, and perhaps The American Prophet was striving to do that (and failing, maybe), is a good thing. If we continue to portray and learn a one-dimensional, nationalist view of our history then we will never be able to fairly judge the genious and ruthless people and events of our past. Without such fair and honest assessments, how are we to truly learn from history? How are we to understand our present? How are we to guide our future?

- JP

Posted by: JP at August 28, 2005 10:56 PM
Comment #75859

History, be it America’s or any other Ntion or Society is a record of The Human Race search for what is Unalienable Right Regardless. Why? Because Human Nature demands it.

I agree with Mike about a History Course should show the Good and Evil side of The Human Race. However, we would do every student Justice if our school system would permit our teachers to show the evolution of Society Thinking about Right & Wrong as well as how the Natural Course of Human Events are made by prominant citizens taking the Bull by the Horn be it Right or Wrong. Remember, Governments are suppose to take on the Devil of Civilization and provide a common defense for their citizens.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at August 28, 2005 11:09 PM
Comment #75860

As an 80-year-old WW2 veteran, I’ll put in my 2 cents worth. The USA has done some great things, but also some that were not so great, I want students to read a history that tells about both.
I agree with most of jack’s comments, but there have been times in our history, when we didn’t live up to our founder’s visions, the Mexican War, the anti-communist hysteria in the ’50s, and some things that are going on today, such as calling people who oppose the Iraq war as traitors to the USA.

Posted by: Warren Dace at August 28, 2005 11:12 PM
Comment #75861

JP:

I never wanted a one sided view of history. I wrote “Learning a nationalist history is not “close-minded” or “bigoted.” It should not vindicate every past evil. In a nationalist history, the pride and triumph should outweigh the shame and guilt.”

Posted by: Mike T. at August 28, 2005 11:17 PM
Comment #75863

Mike T,

“Surely a president is more remarkable than an Indian in our nation’s history.”

I can be as politicly incorect as the next guy, but that statement is the single most bias, racist, bigoted, statement that I have ever read on this blog.
I hope to never see another of it’s like again.
Shame on you.
Mike I am deeply offended at your bigotry.

Posted by: Rocky at August 28, 2005 11:20 PM
Comment #75866

Mike T.

In the dark ages when I was in school, the “pride and the triumph” were the only things mentioned and any “guilt and shame” were not mentioned at all. Perhaps the modern history texts lean too far in the other direction. The treatment of the people who were here on this continant before we got here is one of the worst blots on western “civilization” that I know of - of course similar things were done to people in Africa by Europeans.

Posted by: Warren Dace at August 28, 2005 11:50 PM
Comment #75868

First of all I agree completely with Rocky. I do believe that it would be the indian figure who was defending his home from conquerers, not the other way around. James Monroe/James Polk were not incredibly significant presidents, but to you they are obviously more important than “an Indian”.

Also, remember that there has never been a period of more than 30 years that America hasn’t been involved in a war or police/military action of some kind. And in the last 60 years how many have been peaceful? In southeast asia, in central and south america, in the middle east, anywhere where there is cheap labor to be added to our capitalist network, or a resource we can exploit. We are a violent nation which imposes ourselves across the entire globe. That is reality. And I don’t believe that they went that far in your textbook, although they outght to.

Posted by: Ryan at August 28, 2005 11:56 PM
Comment #75871

I took history in mostly dark ages of the fifties and sixties. I was taught history is written by the victors, and to expand my knowledge I would have to look to other places than my textbooks. I actually had to use a library, and read books (a most uncommon practice today).

Sacagawea, Shoshone, without whom America may have been very different.

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Chief Standing Bear, Poncas

Dull Knife, Cheyenne

Cochice, Apache

These are folks that stood for something besides greed, that led their people in an honorable way.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 12:29 AM
Comment #75880

Is not learning from history’s mistakes and triumphs the main goal of theaching the subject? For if it is than the “Book” that a student learns by should be a complete picture, not some edited version. True, 30-35 years ago, every student could not have access to all the books at once; however, today’s internet makes it possible for each student to read and learn what happened that made this Human Events occur in the first place.

History may someday say that Iraq II was Right or Wrong; nevertheless, without learning both sides of the story how can our children know the thrid side of the proverbail coin of life (ie Facts)?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at August 29, 2005 1:19 AM
Comment #75885

Hey, how about just telling it like it really was. That’s all. No bull. That would be nice.

Posted by: Richard J. Duran at August 29, 2005 1:48 AM
Comment #75900

History is a story told from someone’s viewpoint. I remember for a long time General Custer was regarded as a “Hero” for fighting the Native Americans. When the movie “Little Big Man” came out, there were protests that they were biased and wrong. People could not believe the Truth, that their US Cavalry simply rode into Indian Villages and murdered every man, woman and child they saw.

Anybody here want to tell me Gen. Custer is a hero?

Posted by: Aldous at August 29, 2005 2:43 AM
Comment #75902

As for the Boxer Rebellion, that is far more complicated than your simplistic description. I suggest you read a more detailed book before you post judgements in Watchblog.

btw. Anyone here tell me who Monroe and Polk was and what they did FROM MEMORY?

Posted by: Aldous at August 29, 2005 2:47 AM
Comment #75904

Gee, Aldous, Monroe did serve two terms.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 2:58 AM
Comment #75906

All,

Expecting a writer to write without including any bias is too much. Writer’s are human too, folks. And, believe it or not, textbooks have to be written. If you want an “accurate” view of history, read many books from various view points. Better yet, invent a time machine (preferably one where you can only watch) and see for yourselves. Lots of things are left out in any historical account that might have seemed insignificant at the time, but turned out to be pivotal.

How long did it take for us to figure out that it was the fleas that spread the Black Plague? At first it was blamed on immigrants. Then it was blamed on poverty. Then, more specifically, it was blamed on migrating rats. Then, scientists figured out it was the fleas on the rats that spread the disease. How many lives would have been saved if people had gotten past their phobias and just practiced better hygeniene?

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:00 AM
Comment #75908

Rocky,

“I can be as politicly incorect as the next guy, but that statement is the single most bias, racist, bigoted, statement that I have ever read on this blog. I hope to never see another of it’s like again. Shame on you. Mike I am deeply offended at your bigotry.”

Woah. His statement was offensive, yes, but not quite that offensive. I have Souix heritage and am proud of that. I know the Native Tribes did much to shape our country. However, so did our Presidents. His view is very egocentric, and short-sighted, but lampooning him isn’t going to help.

Correct him and ask him, nicely, to apologize. You’re much more likely to win him over that way.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:07 AM
Comment #75909

Stephanie,

And Nostradamus was one of the folks that figured that out.

Go figure

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:09 AM
Comment #75912

Stephanie,

“Correct him and ask him, nicely, to apologize. You’re much more likely to win him over that way.”

No offence meant, but I don’t care if I win him over or not. His, is a message that I don’t care for. He is a writer here, you won’t see Jack or David or Stephen, or even Eric make such a blatent stereotypical remark. Well….maybe Eric.

I think that Mike T needs a hobby.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:17 AM
Comment #75913

Rocky,

I don’t think anyone here is at risk of befalling Nostradamus’ fate, but then again, with our health care system so out of whack…?

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:17 AM
Comment #75914

Mike T., then you know very little of the history of Tecumseh. He was a brillian man, far more so than many of our Presidents. I would put him equal as a leader of his people and the tribes of others, to George Washington. Washington was not a brilliant politician, and not much on military education. He was however a great leader of men, commanding immense respect and loyalty from those following his lead, and extracting from them more than they themselves thought was in them. Such a man was Tecumseh, pronounced Tay-cum-thay with emphasis on the last syllable.

I am not an historian of Presidents like McCullogh, author of the new book 1776, or others. But, it would appear from your comments that your main objection is that anyone would dare to compare an American Indian as greater leaders or strategists than some of our Presidents. Well, fact is, we have had some great presidents and some not. And in any culture, there will be great leaders and many not.

Many Americans want America to be viewed as the greatest thing ever to happen to the earth. It just ain’t so, in all ways, and these people get their undies in a twist when any scholar points such things out.

Objectively, America in the 2004 and 2005 years is bringing death and destruction and terror to far more civilians in the world than any other nation on earth. We have managed to drop bombs on civilian populations and shoot bullets and other missiles into the homes and neighborhoods of innocent men, women and children, creating more so called “collateral damage” than any other nation on earth during this period.

We call those others who kill innocent civilians for their political aims terrorists, but when we do exactly the same, we call ourselves righteous and justified. We call those who died on 9/11 victims of heinous acts of brutality. We call those innocents who die in Afghanistan and Iraq, collateral damage like a dent on a car bumper, and we don’t call it brutal, we call it necessary.

Therein lies your problem Mike T. with history. Historians record the good and the bad, the perfections and faults. What I suspect bothers you is the utter lack of Orwellian censorship of our history books and absence of whitewashing to support your desire to see America as a panacea to all earths and humans ills. Thankfully, the 1st Amendment prevents, to some extent, that desire from coming true.

Reality is a bitch, past or present, and living with that bothers a lot of folks. I think it is sad that so many Americans lack the capacity to recognize our greatness and celebrate it without losing site of inequities and flaws and mistakes of the past. For in losing sight of those, we have little hope of ever improving.

More and more Americans rely on the Might makes Right justification for all that we do. If it is American power that makes it so, then the outcome, regardless of how many are negatively affected, is right, justified, and necessary, and ain’t nothing going to convince such people otherwise. It is Manifest Destiny in action.

Well to that I say, every great civilization in history, many lasting much longer than we have, all succumbed to demise at the hands of their own excesses of confidence and ability. I see America following that same path. And the reason is simple. We as a people refuse to recognize the truth and reality of what we are and are about. We are the aggressor in the world today, using 9/11 to exercise our military might wherever, and whenever we choose and for whatever purposes we choose. We are terrorizing millions in the Middle East with our bombs and bullets. And we are fiscally bankrupting our children’s future here in the doing. Our government has laid a $16,000 increased tax debt on every current breadwinner in America and every young person who will enter the work force in the next couple years, compared to Dec. 2000.

Do you think a mother in Iraq shot as ‘collateral damage’ says, no big deal, it was an American bullet that ripped my insides out, so I can’t hate them? Reality, its a bitch. And 9/11 gave us a taste of what men and women and children in Afghanistan and Iraq are feeling toward America today. But we have no empathy for them, not really.

Our main concern is coming out of this smelling like a rose at any cost to others or ourselves. This is the mindset of those who want to whitewash our history books, and who cannot see we are creating more enemies of America in the world today than we are making friends.

But screw them, Right, Mike T.? We are the greatest, the best, because we are the most powerful. We cannot do wrong, we cannot err, unless we criticize ourselves for not doing better, right?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2005 3:18 AM
Comment #75915

Rocky,

This is probably going to sound worse then what you said, but…

This is the first time I’ve really noticed him. So, I’m not quite ready to form an opinion.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:19 AM
Comment #75917

Stephanie,

Actually, Nostradamus was one of the first “doctors” to realize that sanitation might be a factor. He insisted that the homes of those not yet infected be cleaned up, and as a by-product of the clean-up the rats that carried the fleas left and the plauge subsided. He didn’t relate the two until later.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:22 AM
Comment #75920

Rocky,

Perhaps I’m misremembering my history lessons, but I was under the impression that he was thought to be a quack at the time and died of gout (not my prefered way to go).

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:24 AM
Comment #75922

Stephanie,

This is his third thread that I am aware of. His rants in those three threads have been about how students are being screwed by the school system and he blames it on the liberals.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:29 AM
Comment #75924

Rocky,

Well…for me here, the school system is being screwwed by all the big, bad greedy people. Since I’m about to switch roles with my husband, and thus go back into the work force, I would very much like to go back to college in the next year or two. However, tuition costs have risen 30% in the last two years (under a Democratic governor, btw) and right now student loans don’t even cover all the costs. So…unless something changes for the better, I’m screwwed.

As for students who can’t think past their text books…is it any wonder our education system is a mess if people won’t take responsibility for their own learning?

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:35 AM
Comment #75925

Stephanie,

He actually went to medical school (the name escapes me). He dropped out (or got dropped out) after only a few months. He did recieve further training from a renowned surgeon.

He did die of gout. he was 63 when he died.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:36 AM
Comment #75927

As I have said before, most of the childrens primary and secondary schooling problems have to do with inattentive parents.

He blames liberals, wants to give everybody a voucher, and everybody will live happily ever after.

The end

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:40 AM
Comment #75929

Rocky,

Does the fact that he went to medical school mean he was taken seriously by his contemporaries, or that he wasn’t? Make it a little more obvious for me, I’ve been up for 18 hours straight now.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:41 AM
Comment #75930

Rocky,

Well, since we’re talking about fairy tales, my time machine comment wasn’t so out of place.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:43 AM
Comment #75931

Mike,

The examples you cited show that your book attempts to (and usually succeeds at) be accurate, honest, and fair. If that’s what you see as a Liberal book, I’m glad to hear it.

Seriously, you astound me. A while ago you posted an article that multiculturalism is bad because it inevitable rips countries apart, an argument that fell apart on the barest cross-examination. Yet here you support nationalism instead, the ideology that has caused more death and suffering in the last century than any other idea (WWI, both theaters of WWII, Rwanda, Bosnia, etc.).

The fair and balanced approach that your textbook takes is useful both for passing along the facts, but also for being able to interact with other cultures (within the U.S. and without). A nationalist approach would lead to students and adults less able to work within the emerging global economy.

Posted by: LawnBoy at August 29, 2005 3:49 AM
Comment #75934

Steph,

“Does the fact that he went to medical school mean he was taken seriously by his contemporaries, or that he wasn’t?”

One of his patrons was Cathrine Medicci. He was somewhat respected in his time.
I for one, am skeptical of the faith put in his “predictions”.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:53 AM
Comment #75937

Rocky,

Oh, I wasn’t even going to touch on his predictions.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 3:58 AM
Comment #75939

Steph,

Shouldn’t you be in bed. I think that I will be going there myself soon.

Check the other collumn for info on the quote.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 4:03 AM
Comment #75943

Rocky,

Already did.

Should I be in bed? Yes, but insomnia due to stress is normal for me.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 4:07 AM
Comment #75946

Steph,

It was a long hot day here, 113F. I am about had.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 4:12 AM
Comment #75948

Rocky,

Eee! Now I know why I don’t want to live in Arizona. Yuck!

Good night, sleep well, and dream of wrestling with fiesty horses.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 4:16 AM
Comment #75950

You Betcha.

The same to you.

Well, maybe not the horses.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 4:18 AM
Comment #75955

Nostradamus was remarkable in that he cured people AFTER they got the plague. This is remarkable since the Black Death was incurable at the time and recovery had nothing to do with your doctor. There is no documentation on the methods he used but there is no proof he believed in hygene.

Posted by: Aldous at August 29, 2005 5:13 AM
Comment #75956

Aldous,

Always the contrarian, huh?

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 5:17 AM
Comment #75969

From memory: Monroe was responsible for the doctrine which exercised our imminent influence over our hemisphere. Polk was an expansionist President that wanted to invade Canada, but for some reason, never followed through on his plans. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am no genius, but that is what I remember from the history I have been taught. I learned little about Tecumsah in school. I read about the Indian side of American History later in life, on my own. I admire all three of these men. Your history book may say that our two President’s were not brilliant, but so what?Tecumsah may have been brilliant, but it really didn’t take much of a brain to figure out the way of life they were used to was coming to an end. What did his brilliance get him? Death?

It may all depend on where you live. I took an American Political Science college course that made special note of how important the Contract with America was. I laughed. I cried. But it was a good read.

Posted by: weewillie94 at August 29, 2005 7:10 AM
Comment #75982

Mike T.,

A nationalist perspective on history must be one-sided, even if it does not vindicate past evils. Pride and triumph, just as shame and guilt, may come from personal interpretation of events documented by historians. Why should historians include their bias?

Imagine the treatment of Tiananmen square by a nationalist Chinese history book. If documenting it at all, it would likely overshadow the efforts of the student democratic movement with the importance of maintaining stability and communist service. Would that be a fair and unbiased treatment of events?

- JP

Posted by: JP at August 29, 2005 8:13 AM
Comment #75988

Mike T.

I think that you make a good piont. Being in school myself right now I know how infuriating it can be to be taught something that you know is tainted. I’m not saying that I agree with all of your comments (some of them were a little harsh), but I do agree that a change has to take place in our school systems.

I agree that a lot of history books nowadays are one sided. Some are obviously written by liberals. And then again some are just plain wrong, i.e. my 5th grade history book (I can’t recal the name) telling us all that blacks enjoyed slavery and were grateful to the white man for it. Talk about an obvios wrong answer!

But in the end it is up to the reader to find the truth for him/herself. If a person really cares about their country then they will seek discover the truth about history. That is what I have had and am still having to do.

Posted by: Cherish at August 29, 2005 8:38 AM
Comment #75998
yet disparages many U.S. Presidents

C’mon Mike, let me hear you say President Carter was a great President. :)

Frankly, the book sounds pretty balanced. If the worst thing about the wests subjugation and exploitation of China is, “‘patriotic Chinese’ formed to kick out foreigners,” they’re letting us off easy

Seriously, I have to believe the book covers how we really kicked their asses for the Boxer insurgency and really tightened the screws on trading concessions, took over new ports, and extorted mineral and resource rights. We pretty much ran China after that. The signs in Shanghai read, “No dogs or Chinamen allowed”.

A lot of people don’t realize the US and other Western countries occupied China for about 100 years. I hope the book mentions all that.

I am proud to be an American, because on the whole, we’ve been a powerful force for good. But sometimes, Americans are greedy, arrogant, and stupid in their dealings with the rest of the world. I think reminders of that in our history books are a good thing. Tell it all, the good and the bad; the parts that make us proud, as well as the parts that make us think.

Posted by: American Pundit at August 29, 2005 9:35 AM
Comment #76004

Before you dismiss my knowledge in U.S. History, I got the highest possible score on the AP US History exam.

Rocky previously wrote:

Mike T,

“Surely a president is more remarkable than an Indian in our nation’s history.”

I can be as politicly incorect as the next guy, but that statement is the single most bias, racist, bigoted, statement that I have ever read on this blog.
I hope to never see another of it’s like again.
Shame on you.
Mike I am deeply offended at your bigotry.

Apologizing only ignores historical fact. Our presidents lead this nation to where it was now. Our greatest presidents - Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson - outshine any Indian on the continent. I am not saying no Indian was NOT a great leader. In the Cherokee’s history or Sioux’s history, an Indian was obviously more important than any President Jackson or President Jefferson. So it is only right and fair to make the same accusation, coming from a USA perspective, that our presidents are more remarkable.

David, although I am a nationalist I was against the Iraq war (Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11). I also want to know about the shame in our past history, but in most history books the shame outweighs the pride.

Posted by: Mike T. at August 29, 2005 10:08 AM
Comment #76024

Sorry if you don’t approve, but the United States did not have a perfect history. I am against a completely one-sided, liberal textbook, but when it comes to white treatment of peoples such as Native Americans, I woudn’t consider going against the whites necessarily ‘liberal.’
You don’t sound conservative, you sound racist.
Aso, my AP US Hitory textbook was about evenly liberal and conseratve, and often neutral. Even when it came down to white treatent of slaves and Native Amricans, it did give some social justification for it and glorified people such as Buffalo Bill and also showig his downsides, while glrifying the actions of Lincoln whil questioning his intentions.

Posted by: Daniel at August 29, 2005 11:01 AM
Comment #76031
Before you dismiss my knowledge in U.S. History, I got the highest possible score on the AP US History exam.

And I got a 4/5 despite having not studied and not slept the night before because I took a red-eye from San Francisco that left me so tired that I fell asleep at least once during the essay portion.

So, now that the pissing contest portion of the debate is done, what is your definition of Nationalist? And why on earth do you think it’s a good idea?

Posted by: LawnBoy at August 29, 2005 11:23 AM
Comment #76042

Mike T.,

“Before you dismiss my knowledge in U.S. History, I got the highest possible score on the AP US History exam.”

And that is truely tragic.

“Apologizing only ignores historical fact. Our presidents lead this nation to where it was now. Our greatest presidents - Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson - outshine any Indian on the continent.”

And making statements like that shows that bigotry can only be surpassed by ignorance.
Manifest destiny was bullshit!

You didn’t compare our “greatest” Presidents, you compared Polk and Monroe.
What’s so remarkable about Jackson?
What in your opinion makes him a greater President than, say, Teddy Roosevelt, or Lincoln?
Jackson signed the bill authorizing the making of treaties so America could relocate indian tribes off of land he wanted to annex.
Manifest Destiny again.

You want American history to be about white European males.

If we cannot tell the whole story, why tell any story at all?

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 11:40 AM
Comment #76066

Now Rocky,

You can’t play both sides of the fence here. Was it not you, that were extoling the virtues of our slave-owing, women’s rights-denying “founding fathers.”

Posted by: Kim-Sue at August 29, 2005 12:49 PM
Comment #76070

You can call the history of this country “The good, the bad, and the ugly”. Surely there was a lot of the latter two. Can’t deny it. Did we learn from it? Yes. There is in that same history ambition, adventuresome, strength, determination, progress, inventiveness and the developement of the country we are with all its warts and with all the goodness and magnificence in which we take pride. To be proud of one does not negate the other.

Posted by: Dee Lee at August 29, 2005 1:07 PM
Comment #76072

Kim-Sue,

“You can’t play both sides of the fence here. Was it not you, that were extoling the virtues of our slave-owing, women’s rights-denying “founding fathers.”“

The ignorance of that statement is overwhelming.

You and Mike should get along just fine.


Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 1:22 PM
Comment #76079

I say, tell it like it is. History is much more interesting, illuminating, and memorable when we present it in all it’s human complexity.

The more I look at our history, the more I am convinced that we in the present have very little understanding about how things really worked in the past. We have no real sense of the toll of infectious disease, the way political parties worked, or many other things. I am in part a Liberal because I know what the good old days really were like.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 29, 2005 1:56 PM
Comment #76085

Mike—

There is nothing wrong with being proud of American history or it leaders—mostly former presidents you point to in your post. The situation in American public education is this—Americans are descended from a variety of cultures, religions, etc. All of which have their own histories that overwhelmingly out number the United State meager 200+ years.

An “American” of Indian descent may not consider John Monroe or Jame Polk to be heros! Because in his/her frame of reference, they aren’t. Does that mean this Indian is any less “American” and doesn’t have hope or meaning in life? Of course not.

I will use myself as an example—Rocky pay attention this time—I was educated in what was, at that time, one of best public school systems in the country. I learned the Thomas Jefferson was a “renaissance” man! For the longest time, he was one of my favorite US presidents. My information on TJ was limited, just as your is now, to text books. As I got older and more information became available to me, I formed my own opinion about TJ. An intellect, definitely, a prolific writer, undeniably, a major player in shaping what we now call the USA—there can be no question, his signature is on so many of the documents fundamental to establishment of the USA. That is the picture of TJ that most people like to have. I have come learn other things about TJ that in my mind shake his credibility as a “renaissance” man. I think his intellectual prowess, writing ability, political contributions are undermined by other factual characteristics of TJ, characterists that are more important to me than how smart he was and how well he wrote. This is my opinion because of values, beliefs, pride in my cultural heritage (and the like) that cause me to scrutinize TJ differently now then when I was younger. This is just one example from a single individual.

The difficulty in having a nationalist history as you may envision is that American history encompasses so many frames of reference, all American, all important, all worthy of consideration in American public education. I think that textbook may be just a little more valuable than you may realize. It got you thinking! Read more, learn more! Exam the fact and formulate your own positions. It is okay for you to have the pride in the forefathers that helped shaped what we now call the USA. Just remember, that American’s views on American history are colored by much more than textbooks, whether liberal or conservative in slant.

It is too onerous an objective for Primary/Secondary education—public, private, homeschooled whatever—to attempt to soley take on the responsibility for shaping the values, beliefs, knowledge base of this nation’s youth. As cliche and unappealing as it may be to you; It takes a village.”

One more thing Mike T, being at “the head of the class” does not translate into future leadership of anything, including a nation as great at this one. Case and point, the current recognized leader of the “free” world was at best a “C” student.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at August 29, 2005 2:21 PM
Comment #76096

Kim-Sue,

“I will use myself as an example—Rocky pay attention this time—I was educated in what was, at that time, one of best public school systems in the country.”

And despite the vast storehouse of knowledge you claim to have received, you, like Mike, haven’t aquired the wisdom to use it.

For his time, Jefferson was at least as enlightened as you claim to be with your 20-20 hindsight.
To truely put history in perspective, if we brought Mr. Jefferson into this century he would still be a renaissance man, but would he be a slave owner? I doubt it.
Mr. Jefferson was who he was, facts are facts, and your opinion doesn’t change that. You want to condemn the man for the times he lived in. Did the man have faults? Sure and I would imagine that even you have some as well.
Times have changed, people have changed. You don’t seem to be able to grasp that Jefferson’s contributions have helped change them.

Prejudice is learned, and someone has done a grand job teaching it to you.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 3:03 PM
Comment #76106

The idea of a nationalist textbook is as bad an idea as one that doesn’t explain why things were done. I’m currently taking an Anthropology course in college and the text does do the same sort of thing. It’s embracing other cultures, which is fine, but at the same time not letting things be defined by the same “cultural” terms in the United States. It’s fine for other countries to have a culture that accepts homosexual marriage, but it’s not fine for the United States to have a culture that doesn’t accept it, SPECIFICALLY because it’s accepted elsewhere. Using that same logic we should embrace things like cliterdectomies as a way to lower teen pregnancy. All it comes down to is a seperate set of rules for the United States.

However facts are facts, and writings by people in the formation of the nation are well documented and lend to explaining the reasoning of the actions. There’s no reason for any textbook to be wrong in both the things that happened and the reasoning of them. Whether those things were right or not is irrelevent for the purposes of learning of them. I just think it’s easier for teachers to get students to regurgitate this nonsense than “dates” and “names”. I hated my history teachers that started off, first day, telling us we won’t have to remember dates. What’s the point then. We don’t need a national textbook, we need national standardized testing of American History (and I HATE standardized testing). It’s the only way we end this embarressment of our newer citizens passing their immigration tests having more knowledge of American History than our High School Seniors.

Posted by: keith at August 29, 2005 3:39 PM
Comment #76123

AP said: “I am proud to be an American, because on the whole, we’ve been a powerful force for good. But sometimes, Americans are greedy, arrogant, and stupid in their dealings with the rest of the world. I think reminders of that in our history books are a good thing. Tell it all, the good and the bad; the parts that make us proud, as well as the parts that make us think.”

AP, your statements on Iraq are horse dung, but your statement above is one I simply could not improve upon. Excellently stated. :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2005 4:25 PM
Comment #76129

Keith said:

We don’t need a national textbook, we need national standardized testing of American History (and I HATE standardized testing). It’s the only way we end this embarressment of our newer citizens passing their immigration tests having more knowledge of American History than our High School Seniors.

Absolutely dead right on!

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2005 4:34 PM
Comment #76151

I’m taking AP history next September and my textbook is Nation of Nations by Davidson et al

Considering my school is located in MA I think it would be very likely that my textbook is the one with the greatest chance of having a liberal bias. Let’s see if we can uncover any.

The Boxer Rebellion:

Unrest soon threatened to close the door (the USA’s open door policy in China). Chinese nationalists, Known to Westerners as Boxers for their clenched fist symbol, formed secret societies to drive out the “fon kwei ” or foreign devils. Encouraged by the Chinese empress, Boxers murdered hundreds of Christian missionaries and their followers and set siege to foreign diplomats and citizens at the British Embassy in Beijing. European nations quickly dispatched troops to quell the rebellion and free the diplomats, while President McKinley sent 2500 Americans to join the march to the capital city. Along the way, the angry foreign armies plundered the countryside and killed civilians before reaching Beijing and breaking the siege.

I don’t see any bias there.

Also, if you believe an American textbook on American history should be any different than a Native American or European textbook on American history than you surely must want bias in history textbooks.

Posted by: Warren P at August 29, 2005 5:22 PM
Comment #76171

All:

Now that I am awake and well caffeinated, I will try this again:

Mike T.

Let me see if I understand your complaint. Is it your position that it is wrong for a COLLEGE textbook not to include the whole story of a particular segment of history? If so…didn’t you learn anything BEFORE you got to college?

I’m sorry, but anyone who will let their own beliefs and opinions be totally formed and shaped by ANY textbook or any single book whatsoever deserves to be mutton. My ONLY exception for this is those who are at the natural disadvantage of a below-average IQ, and thus usually struggle with abstract concepts. Such people need and deserve our protection, preferably in the form of caring people who know them, love them and are willing to invest the time it takes to help them form their own opinions on matters.

We are each responsible for what we accept and do not accept. We are each responsible for our own education. If you’ll drink at whatever pool of water you’re led to, then it is your own fault when you’re led to the slaughter.

Rocky,

I sincerely apologize. After reading Mike T.’s subsequent comments I better understand where you were coming from and agree with your conclusions. Sometimes giving people the benefit of the doubt is tedious, yet I persist, or at least try to.

Kim-Sue,

Your arrogance and your assumptions are ridiculous. Those of us who’ve had the pleasure of reading those comments Rocky has made in the past know that your accusations are completely baseless and only degrade yourself. You make yourself impossible to take seriously.

And, once again…

For everyone here:

I really don’t care whether our textbooks are multi-cultural or nationalistic, though, IMO, they should be an equal balance of both.

What really does bother me is what is covered. This may be atypical (because I attended many different schools throughout my scholastic career), but when I graduated high school (after taking two years of college courses) I knew very little about contemporary history, American or otherwise. I had to learn that on my own (currently with the help of many of my fellow bloggers here, thank you). Ancient world history I knew. Early American history I knew. Anything after the Reconstruction (following the American civil war) I had to glean on my own. Except, of course, I remember one whole chapter of a social studies textbook that concerned itself with the importance of pop culture starting from Marilyn Monroe. If this is atypical, great! If not, then this needs to be fixed.

RE: the Boxer Rebellion, China & “foreign devils”

Uniting China was a difficult, lengthy process that still hasn’t been fully accomplished. During the time before, during and for at least a while after the Boxer Rebellion (early 1900s), the Chinese considered any foreigner a “foreign devil,” even if that foreigner was from the next province over, or even the next village. However right or wrong the Boxer Rebellion was, it certainly couldn’t be considered a surprise if one also considered Chinese culture and fear at the time.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 7:14 PM
Comment #76180

Every other country teaches their students that THEY ARE THE BEST. Look at textbooks in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Mike T. at August 29, 2005 7:54 PM
Comment #76186

Mike T.,

And you’d like to aspire to the openess and fairness of Saudi Arabia? Who cares what “every” other country teaches. Truth is truth. Much like journalists, historians should strive to document truthful, unbiased accounts of fact, not nationalist interpretation of fact. Let students of history decide what to be proud of and what to prevent.

- JP

Posted by: JP at August 29, 2005 8:14 PM
Comment #76190

Mike T.,

“Every other country teaches their students that THEY ARE THE BEST. Look at textbooks in Saudi Arabia.”

So, you’ve studied the textbooks of EVERY OTHER COUNTRY now? That is incredible, as in “not credible.”

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 8:25 PM
Comment #76191

Stephanie,

Thanks for the complement.

Posted by: Rocky at August 29, 2005 8:25 PM
Comment #76214


History should not be an equal opportunity employer. Without Washington, the U.S. would not exist in its current form. Without Harriet Tubman …? Without Lincoln, the U.S. would probably be split into two or more parts. Without Red Cloud . . ? We judge on what did to change subsequent events.

Writing history involves more leaving things out than adding them in. No picture is complete and every story must be told from some point of view. This is not dishonest. Since we are Americans, we should tell history from our point of view, while trying to take into account that others might have different viewpoints.

America is imporant objectively. It is the richest and most powerful country in the world. That is why people in Congo, Sri Lanka or Switzerland might study the U.S., while the U.S. might not study them. There is only so much time in the day, after all.

Posted by: jack at August 29, 2005 10:01 PM
Comment #76215

Unfortunately, the truth of history is in various shades of gray. Nothing is exactly black and white. So to get any grasp of the real history of America, one should read all accounts available to them. Never take one thing at face value and believe it whole heartedly. But to take this advice a few people would have to pull their head out of the sand and think on their own.

Posted by: cl morrow at August 29, 2005 10:02 PM
Comment #76222

jack,

“America is imporant objectively. It is the richest and most powerful country in the world. That is why people in Congo, Sri Lanka or Switzerland might study the U.S., while the U.S. might not study them.”

I would contest that as Americans we should know our history more thoroughly, indeed as thoroughly and objectively as possible; not that we shouldn’t have at least some rudimentary understanding of the history of other nations.

cl morrow,

“But to take this advice a few people would have to pull their head out of the sand and think on their own.”

Not to mention read voraciously.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 29, 2005 10:26 PM
Comment #76253

Rocky and Stephanie,

Why don’t the two of you get your heads of the encyclopedias. Take a look at books about TJ contained in the library of his university. The University of Virginia. You can even review his own writings.

TJ is just a start. There are many other areas of American politics and history which may enlighten and extend your “Schoolhouse Rock” mentality.

Of course I realize that your mentality may, in fact be a product of your youth and inexperience. In which case, please pardon (and hopefully forgive) the curtness.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at August 30, 2005 2:38 AM
Comment #76270

Kim-Sue,

I went to school in the fifties and sixties, but you would know that if you weren’t just trolling to give people a hard time.

Read the posts next time. You may actually learn something.

Posted by: Rocky at August 30, 2005 9:37 AM
Comment #76324

Kim-Sue,

Actually, Schoolhouse Rock is older than I am. My husband was watching that when he was a kid, and so we got the videos for our kids, which is the only reason I know what you’re implying.

However, I have studied history. Was TJ perfect? No. The only one I know of that fits that description is Jesus Christ. However, imperfect doesn’t make him any less of a man, and as far as men goes, TJ was a great one.

Now, the truly unfortunate thing about your comments is this, you’ve established that you aren’t likely between the ages of 14-18 as I had suspected, and thus aren’t likely to outgrow your arrogance. That is a truly sad thing.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 30, 2005 1:36 PM
Comment #76375

Warren Dace
As an 80-year-old WW2 veteran, I’ll put in my 2 cents worth.

Thankyou for your service to our great country.

Mike T.
I never wanted a one sided view of history. I wrote “Learning a nationalist history is not “close-minded” or “bigoted.” It should not vindicate every past evil. In a nationalist history, the pride and triumph should outweigh the shame and guilt.”

To liberials anything “nationalist” is one sided and bias.

Richard J. Duran
Hey, how about just telling it like it really was. That’s all. No bull. That would be nice.

I HEAR YOU LOUD AND CLEAR.


Posted by: Ron Brown at August 30, 2005 5:59 PM
Comment #76416

Stephanie,

“Sometimes giving people the benefit of the doubt is tedious, yet I persist, or at least try to.”

The benefit of the doubt is probably the best way. Mostly I just bash about, but sometimes it has a tendency to just piss people off.

Seriously, thanks for the kind words.

Posted by: Rocky at August 30, 2005 8:56 PM
Comment #76459

Stephanie and Rocky!

That is so ironic! I also thought you were 14-18 years old. Now that I know that you are not I won’t feel so guilty. Before the two of you point fingers at anyone about arrogance, re-read your own posts. Examine your own words. Take a good long hard look in the mirror.

I am astounding to know that you are my contemporaries or older. But if taking personal attacks at me makes you feel superior and intellectual you go right ahead. I should have to explain to “adults” that there is no one definition of greatness. You think TJ is a great man, good for you. I think there are even greater men than him. Not that he was ever the point of the origianl forum. I only use him in a response to one post until the two you reared your self-righteous pathetic heads.

I was explaining this situation to my brother today. I told him, “I think I was trying to have a high level discussion with highschool students that are not equipt. He said, probably not, that is the way white folks are now a days. I guess he was right! And that my friend Stephanie, is even more sad.

Rocky—why don’t you just try and reading. I wouldn’t stake 50 cents that you will learn anything, but you never know.


Posted by: Kim-Sue at August 31, 2005 12:42 AM
Comment #76464

Rocky,

You’re welcome. And I don’t think you bash about…well, not most of the time, anyways. ;-)

Posted by: Stephanie at August 31, 2005 1:01 AM
Comment #76465

Kim-Sue,

So, you ARE a child! Hmmm. That does explain a lot.

Are there greater men than TJ? Certainly. Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Moses, Mohammed, George Washington, Chief Joseph, Gordon B. Hinkley, the Dali Lama, Pope John Paul II, Siddhartha Gautama, just to name a few.

“Examine your own words.”

Here’s some of your own words to examine.

“That is true, my views are the only one that count! I have tried to get that across in all my posts. I believe I have said that in every one of them. Finally, I see Steve was able to get you to understand. Lucky for you, I am also always right!”

Your arrogance far surpasses my own.

“He said, probably not, that is the way white folks are now a days. I guess he was right!”

As does your racism.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 31, 2005 1:16 AM
Comment #76471

Kim-Sue,

I know that I have had enough of your gas. I don’t know who pissed in your Wheaties lady, why don’t you go beat them up.

I do read, constantly, not to mention the fact that I have the world right here at my fingertips.

Despite the fact that you have no respect for anyone elses opinion, you demand respect for yours. That is a sad commentary on the way you were raised.

I am entitled to my own opinion. I am comfortable with it. At my age I have aguired the wisdom to realize that everybody has warts, that includes those that we hold in high esteem. I can see beyond those faults and see the acomplishments underneath.

To wrap this all up.

I really don’t care what you think of me or my opinion, but I am secure enough in it to grant you yours.
If someday when you grow tired of talking to yourself and actually have a topic that interests me, we may have a discussion. I don’t really see the possibility of that happening, but stranger things have occured.

Have a life.

Posted by: Rocky at August 31, 2005 2:18 AM
Comment #76481

Kim-Sue,

One last thing.

Here is the first post I wrote having anything to do with you.
Please read it, then tell me where is the personal attack?

“Kim-Sue,

“Our founding fathers were not flawed? So you think slavery was a good thing? You think black people should be considered as property? You agree that women should wait for more than one century before they can vote and be part of the political process?of course that would be white women only, not black female property?”

You do know that all men (and women) are the products of their time and can’t be judged by our “morality”? That slave ownership, however repugnant to you or I, was an accepted practice even into the last century?
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, dispite their faults were some of the greatest men of their time, to call these men racist would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. By our standards today everyone then was a racist.
If Mr. Jefferson hadn’t written those words, slavery might have been in existence even today.

Have you been anywhere else in the world?
Many if those “rights” you take for granted don’t exist in far too many countries.

Recognize the men and women of history for their faults, but don’t judge them with 21st century eyes.

Posted by: Rocky at August 28, 2005 11:09 PM”


Could it be you think that I personally attacked you because I dared to contradict you?

Belive me when I say, I don’t need you to respond to feel fulfilled.

Posted by: Rocky at August 31, 2005 4:33 AM
Comment #76489

All:

I just discovered this web site a cuple of days ago and supposed it to be a great venue to disscuss political matters. Being only 18 I thought that I would learn a lot from the blogs and subsequent comments, I was wrong. Get off of your high horses and just stick to the subject. What’s with all of the personal attacks people?

Posted by: Cherish at August 31, 2005 8:00 AM
Comment #76572

Cherish,

We are all people of our times. Right now our country is very divided and many people who do this on a regular basis are easily set off. When some one with no practical advice and a lot of arrogance comes along attacking people, they will be attacked back. That’s human nature.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 31, 2005 1:17 PM
Comment #76602

As the last guy standing that is ok to lampoon, and hate, and call names (that being mostly white Christian male from the south who is also a republican) Let me ask the question, who here has been oppressed by the Man lately? Good grief butch up Nancy’s, did not your mother ever tell you: Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me? And should they bring sticks and stones, the second amendment would allow you to protect yourself (But I digress, that is another topic)

History is full of good, and bad guys on all sides, let’s face it. The education machine that is out there is bent on convincing Americans that they are from an evil linage. Ok we made mistakes, are we still doing so? All can vote (and even some who should not al la illegal aliens, and convicted felons) segregation was a bad idea, no longer state sponsored, interment for the Japanese was a bad idea, are we interring Arabs because of the war in Iraq? NO! So what is the problem? Government schools are the problem, lets get rid of the public education system, or at least let in some competition and give the tax payers their cash back so they can make the choice, and not allow Marxist complete control of our youth.

Political correctness is nothing more than “New Speak” al la 1984
Funny how the Left seems to think that tis us on the right that would like to limit things such as free speech, when they regularly attack talk radio as “hate speech” and are actively trying to get the plug pulled so that the Hildabeast can run in 08’

In reality the manta of the left should be:”Well, communism has only killed over 100 million people, let’s give it one more chance!”

I am Looking forward to the revolution when the seditious and treacherous are made to pay for their crimes.

May God almighty save the United States of America from those who would destroy her.

Sean

Posted by: Sean at August 31, 2005 2:53 PM
Comment #76718

Hi All:

Just touring the blogging fields and came across this gem. I needed to comment, it is actually well written. I just have a “what if” question/comment:

In response to kim-sue, Stephanie responded with this:

“Are there greater men than TJ? Certainly. Jesus Christ, Ghandi, Moses, Mohammed, George Washington, Chief Joseph, Gordon B. Hinkley, the Dali Lama, Pope John Paul II, Siddhartha Gautama, just to name a few.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 31, 2005 01:16 AM

IT is not my intention to offend anyone with the Following post, This is just something I have always asked myself.
My question is this has anyone ever questioned their own beliefs and come up with this question, We have proof that Pope John Paul II was an actual person, as were Siddhartha, George Washington, Ghandi, Chief Joseph, Gordon B. Hinkley, The Dali Lama, is the living embodiment of Budha on earth.
Since there is no way of proving their exhistance of these last three could it be that
Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed, combinations of what traits a good leader should have all rolled into one sort of Concept man. Men that never lived, however these “Men”, Brought upon us, with out ever having exhisted a view or concept of what we should strive to be? Ethically, Morally, and Faithfully.

Not looking to influence anyone.

Just wondering if anyone else thinks Like I do.
Wayne

Posted by: wayne at August 31, 2005 6:50 PM
Comment #76730

Wayne,

I have asked myself (and others) those questions before. Moses, I don’t know. Jesus of Nazareth, there is actually documentation of his existence from the Romans. Mohammed, there is actual documentation of his existence from Jews and Christians who fought with him. I cannot provide links, because I’m not that savvy, but I’ve heard of historians refering to such documents.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 31, 2005 8:05 PM
Comment #76812

Mike T.,

Everything that has happened in this country is part of it’s history. To include only that which is about the white man taking what they felt was rightfully theirs, would be a travesty. Many men and women of many races have contributed to the fabric of what we call the United States, to include all of their exploits would require a library of books.
Just because someone you feel is more important gets short shrift is probably more up to the editor of the book than anything else.
That said however it is important that those that made sacrifices be included as well.
Somewhere the balance has to struck between all that are part of the history if America.

I would ask you what was remarkable about Chester Arthur, or James Garfield?
What makes these men (other than they were elected President), more remarkable than Crazy Horse, a man that had an incredible impact in the settlement of the west?

Posted by: Rocky at September 1, 2005 12:16 AM
Comment #76843

Rocky,

Hey, Crazy Horse has a cool statue.

What does Chester Arthur or James Garfield have? Their memorials seem down right boring in comparison. That’s got to mean something, right?

Posted by: Stephanie at September 1, 2005 3:13 AM
Comment #76861

Stephanie,

The Crazy horse memorial is just down the road from Mount Rushmore.

I did pick those two because of the lack of accomplishments during their terms.

James Garfield was asassinated and served less than one year.

Posted by: Rocky at September 1, 2005 6:21 AM
Comment #76866

Wayne,

“Since there is no way of proving their exhistance of these last three could it be that
Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed, combinations of what traits a good leader should have all rolled into one sort of Concept man. Men that never lived, however these “Men”, Brought upon us, with out ever having exhisted a view or concept of what we should strive to be? Ethically, Morally, and Faithfully.”

Since Stephany has already made the piont that there are documentations of the real life existance of all three, I will not get into that right now. (I don’t have a link for the documents either.) But think about this, would it really be so bad to have a leader such as any of these three? Jesus, for example, was able to lead many hundreds of his people by faith, trust, sincereity, kindness, and much, much more. He lead many loyal followers without the use of brainwashing or strirring up hatred in them. Even when faced with persection and death they all stayed true to Him.

Now would a leader such as that really be so bad? In my opinion, our country could use a leader like that. Especially now.

Cherish

Posted by: Cherish at September 1, 2005 7:57 AM
Comment #76885

Cherish,

We have such leaders; they’re just not political, or at least not very.

Gordon B. Hinkley and the Dali Lama certainly fit that description, and though I don’t know much about the new Pope, I bet he does as well.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 1, 2005 10:05 AM
Comment #76888

Stephanie,

One question: What religion are you? If you don’t mind my asking.

Posted by: Cherish at September 1, 2005 10:15 AM
Comment #76923

Cherish,

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), but I have studied most of the major religions and I respect them all. Gordon B. Hinkley is the living prophet of the LDS church.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 1, 2005 11:36 AM
Comment #76957

Stephanie,

I know about Gordon B. Hinckley. I’m a Later-day Saint too. I figured you were as well. I just thought I’d make sure.

Posted by: Cherish at September 1, 2005 1:14 PM
Comment #77085

Cherish,

:-) Far too many people I’ve talked about don’t have a clue who he is; I’m glad you do.

“Jesus, for example, was able to lead many hundreds of his people by faith, trust, sincereity, kindness, and much, much more. He lead many loyal followers without the use of brainwashing or strirring up hatred in them. Even when faced with persection and death they all stayed true to Him.

Now would a leader such as that really be so bad? In my opinion, our country could use a leader like that. Especially now.”

Do you think Hinkley doesn’t fit that description? Or were you speaking strictly political?

Posted by: Stephanie at September 1, 2005 5:56 PM
Comment #77443

Stephanie,

I know that GBH fits my description perfectly. And if more people would actually take a religous leader such as him more seriously then the world would be a much better place. Unfortunately they don’t. So yes, I was refering to a strictly political leader. I think that that would help get the piont across for more people.

Posted by: Cherish at September 2, 2005 4:25 PM
Comment #77487

Cherish,

You may know this, or it may not have occured to you. So, don’t feel insulted if you know it.

The Jews rejected Jesus because they were expecting a mighty king (political leader) and thus lost whatever good they personally could have gotten from the Son of God.

A few good men (or women) who’ll lead this country to the best of their ability is a great thing to hope for and to work for and even to pray for, but your words imply a political savior…which is not how things tend to work.

Few individuals are up to the task of being a political savior, and it is rare that any individual can make the changes necessary by his or herself. Ghandi did great things, but only AFTER the people got behind him. Right now far too many people are being led astray by political propaganda to be able to unite behind a single political figure that could unite us. At least, that is my opinion. With any luck, I’ll be proven wrong and quickly so…for I fear civil war if we cannot get past partisan politics.

“…wars and rumors of wars…”
1 Ne. 14:16

Posted by: Stephanie at September 2, 2005 6:15 PM
Comment #77517

Stephanie,

That hadn’t occured to me. Thanks.

Cherish

Posted by: Cherish at September 2, 2005 6:58 PM
Comment #77553

Your welcome, Cherish.

Posted by: Stephanie at September 2, 2005 7:58 PM
Comment #112457

In Defense of Mike:

Well, in California 1 in 3 students drops out of the high school system.

Today’s Conservatives are stupid. But Liberalism has made a shambles of the once venerable public educational system in California where I live. Most college educated people are liberals, most administrators and bureaucrats are liberals, most school boards are composed of liberals .

History - the good the bad and the ugly should be taught. Much of Liberalism however has been utterly blindsided by political correctness. The amazing thing is that most liberals cannot see it.

Like life, history is shot through with coincidence. Consider the sudden resurgence of political correctness in the wake of the communist collapse in Europe, seemingly disparate events with no apparent connection. But coincidence is often only a statistical illusion, a bit of hocus-pocus which, on closer examination, can be explained by the laws of cause and effect. Viewed in a broader context, the air of mystery dissolves and a connection emerges: for the New Left, the defeat of the Soviet Bloc was a sign from on high that mankind was on the threshold of an Age of World Peace, that the time had come to conquer the evils of society itself. Verily, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Now that the threat of armed conflict has been eliminated from the human landscape, man can advance to the next stage of his social evolution and create an organic social order, a dream that has eluded him from time immemorial.

But there is a problem: man himself. Beguiled by the idols of the cave, he is a brutish creature ruled by ignorance and superstition. Despite spectacular advances in science and technology, mankind remains stubbornly irrational and depraved.

Piffle, say the social revolutionaries. Human nature isn’t immutable. Just as the human race evolved biologically, it is wired to evolve on a social plane, to make ‘moral progress.’ Mankind is still young and the universe unfinished. All that is necessary to ascend to the next level of his spiritual evolution is verbal discipline, for man to cleanse his mind of inappropriate thoughts and attitudes. Language rules thought and thought is destiny. If we establish a program of linguistic hygiene, purging speech of all the verbal correlates that predispose us to wrong-doing, we will remove the precursors of immoral conduct. In removing man’s unconscious biases with corrective speech, we divest him of any premise for iniquity and contain his capacity for inhumanity.

Recent victims of genocide, a crime that has grown progressively more efficient with technological advances, may take a less optimistic view of man’s ‘moral progress’; that aside, this program has an ominous ring to it: substitute the word ‘subversive’ for ‘incorrect,’ and you have the old Communist Party line for thought control and the suspension of free speech for the greater good of the state. In The Darkness At Noon, Rubashov, an old guard Bolshevik imprisoned and tried for treason by the Soviet government he helped create, is asked by the man in the next cell why he was arrested. Using the prisoners’ quadratic alphabet he taps out an enigmatic message against the wall of his cell: “Political divergencies.” Ruling Party members made it clear in the early stages of the revolution that the free exchange of ideas would not be tolerated, a necessary precaution, since even a casual scrutiny of Marxist doctrine would reveal its philosophical contradictions.

Ironically, it was a policy that hastened rather than forestalled the failure of Soviet Communism.
How ironic it would be if the conquest of world Communism were to result in its revival in cultural form, as a kind of psychological deprivation, or a reductionist mindset, that interprets the self as a spiritual nullity. What a triumph for the forces of totalitarianism if, by a mere verbal substitution of the word ‘incorrect’ for ‘subversive,’ they could retire the familiar apparatus of social repression (intimidation, arrest, imprisonment, torture, murder, blackmail, exile) and implement an invisible censorship to vindicate the Marxist worldview. The police state would no longer require vast bureaucracies of agents and informants, Gulags and labor camps, to achieve the utopian social order; it need only endoctrinate men to police their own thoughts.

Ideology does not like a vacuum. Is Doris Lessing’s intuition that political correctness is ‘the heritage of communism’ correct? Have the dispossessed ghosts of the Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Club found a new home in the Victims’ Revolution? While such a transformation in tactics may not be what Marx had in mind when he called for the ‘forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,’ it’ll do in a pinch; and it comes not a moment too soon for the moribund Communist movement. As any good Marxist will tell you, the Communist revolution was supposed to take place in a decadent capitalist society, not in a Slav agrarian economy like Russia’s, leaving many to wonder if Russia’s ‘great socialist experiment’ was anyhing more than Czarist thuggery masquerading as ideology. But if, as die-hards of the Marxist rearguard maintain, Communism has never failed because it has never been faithfully implemented in any society, what is this but to say that Marxist doctrine in its ‘pure’ form is so perversely utopian and politically regressive it has never captured the imaginations of able men?
Commenting on the doctrinaire incompetence of the Soviet apparat in Putting Up With the Russians, British journalist Edward Crankshaw, wrote: “this is a milieu almost impossible for the foreigner to present to his own countrymen. I have had to work with such officials in war and peace. Their sycophancy, their barefaced lying, their treachery, their cowardice, are so blatant, their ignorance so stultifying, their stupidity so absolute, that I have found it impossible to convey it with any creditability to those fortunate enough never to have encountered it.” Paradoxically, it is just this milieu that we are encountering with increasing frequency in the West.

Absent the lethal methods of coercion and intimidation at the disposal of a Communist terror state, how would you go about inducing the personal and moral degradation of the Russian milieu in American society? You would revive class and cultural warfare by invoking an inclusive group of perpetual victims, and deploy an army of self-deputized carpet-baggers to interpret and codify their every resentment, invented or real. You would create a repressive atmosphere of fear and paranoia by publishing exhaustive lists of forbidden words and ideas so arbitrary, capricious and frivolous that no person would dare think himself exempt from suspicion. In short, you would promote Pavlovian conditioning in the form of political correctness, to insure that no one would speak, put pen to paper, or think an original thought, without first asking, “Mother, may I…?” The result? A reflexive Marxist police state in all but name.

That militaristic regimes and police states contain the seeds of their own destruction is, of course, a historical truism. After interrogating senior officials of the Nazi party in the aftermath of World War II, intelligence analysts from the U. S. State Department expressed surprise at their mediocrity, observing that, with exception of few men like Albert Speer, they were ‘a bunch of jerks,’ an opinion shared by many Germans at the time. How a gang of inept sociopaths succeeded in taking over the country that produced Kant, Goethe and Beethoven is still something of a mystery. Most Germans you ask about this simply shrug and say they awoke one morning and found the Nazis in control. Though the Nazi Party seized power in stages, over a period of about fifteen years, the recollection of many ordinary citizens is of an event that took place overnight.

Something of the same illusion of suddenness attends the arrival of political correctness. It seems only yesterday that cases of PC began appearing in the press and the evening news. There was about these initial incidents a sense of suspended disbelief and complacency, and its early critics were accused of hysteria. Katharine Whitehorn, a British journalist, wrote:
“The thing has been blown up out of all proportion. PC language is not enjoined on one and all—there are a lot more places where you can say “spic” and “bitch” with impunity than places where you can smoke a cigarette.”

Few observers understood that by the time a cultural phenomenon has come to the attention of the media, it is already deeply entrenched. Typical of reported incidents was U.S. Congresswomen Pat Schroeder’s criticism of the aircraft industry. She complained that current specifications for the cockpits of fighter aircraft conformed to only 85% of the general population. Fighter cockpits should accommodate 95% of the population, insisted the stalwart egalitarian. Aeronautical engineers patiently explained that an ejection seat designed to hurl a 250 pound man clear of a mach 2 fighter, would toss a 110 pound woman into high orbit.
When sensitivity collides with common sense, the result is invariably absurdity, and incidents of this kind have provoked hoots of laughter from both the right and the left sides of the aisle, along with the growing contempt of the public. But even as critics whoop it up in the aisles, it looks as though PC partisans may have the last laugh. Imperceptibly, the victims’ revolution has acquired the ubiquity of smokers’ cough and the momentum of a runaway freight train. A sense of inevitability hangs in the air, and there are ominous signs of a fait accompli. Doubters who consider political correctness a camp phenomenon or a passing fad are invited to read the New Yorker review of the movie What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, where the mentally retarded brother is described as ‘mentally challenged.’ Evasive, patronizing and inelegant, tortured circumlocutions like this have crept into the writing of discriminating writers who would have considered them ludicrous a few years ago.

Even the august L. A. Times, flagship of the Times-Mirror colossus bestriding downtown Los Angeles, succumbed to the victims’ rights agenda, and its stylebook committee codified a new set of amendments proscribing such phrases as ‘Dutch treat.’ This, of course, is absurd, but typical of the comic contradictions that arise when the totalitarian mind attempts to interpret culture. The charm of slang is its inherent bias, and even members of the Times stylebook committee must know that you cannot eliminate evil from the world by expurgating language. Nor is that their purpose. During the debriefing of a KGB agent who had defected to the West during the Stalinist era, a CIA official asked him why the Communist Party line was so patently stupid. Didn’t this actually work against loyalty to the state? The KGB agent laughed and replied that you cannot create an atmosphere of terror by requiring people to believe in reasonable things. In order to instill the maximum fear, guilt and self-loathing necessary to cow people into abject submission to the state, you must demand that they believe, or at least act as though they believe, in something that is manifestly absurd. The list of forbidden words and phrases enforced by the thought police at the L.A. Times certainty satisfies this condition, and is a useful reminder that the armory of social repression is not only rather lethal, it is utterly impersonal. Those who resort to coercive censorship, whether they are the egalitarian thistlebottoms at the L.A. Times or doctrinaire thugs of the KGB, wield the same bloody axe. The results are uniformly destructive to the human spirit.

Those least alarmed by the erosion of society’s moral and intellectual life are those who have none themselves. It is easy to understand the crude appeal of political correctness to liberal yahoos of the New Left (closet fascists posing as 60’s liberals): it provides them with a ready store of social causes that require no thought and confers instant moral authority on all those who profess to champion them; less obvious is its attraction to the intelligentsia. The cynical tactics of manipulation and intimidation are a throwback to the police state; the childish faith in the efficacy of social engineering hopelessly naïve; and the unctuous solicitude for minorities and clammy compassion for the unfortunate betray a predilection for moral exhibitionism that is both offensive and an affront to human dignity. What self-respecting liberal could be taken in by such fatuous posturing? What is Pat Schroeder doing telling Lockheed how to build jet fighters? Why have hard-nosed journalists developed a sudden Pollyanna fixation? Why are distinguished publications, famed for their aggressive editorial independence, appeasing self-anointed victims’ groups and groveling before sanctimonious minorities?

More to the point, why would any society beset with real social problems (pandemic crime, the worst educational system in the industrialized world, an imploding socioeconomic infrastructure, in a world where terrorist states have access to nuclear weapons, etc.) squander its limited moral resources on the frivolous moral distinctions posed by PC partisans? The question answers itself. The PC movement is both a potent distraction from more intransigent social problems and an ersatz substitute for the patience, wisdom and expertise needed to solve them; while the emergence of a class of PC carpetbaggers guarantees that, as the lurid melodrama of the victims’ revolution unfolds in the full glory of its irrelevance upon the stage of jaded public consciousness, grave issues of national survival will continue to be pushed further into the background.

An invention of the educated elite, political correctness is essentially a class phenomenon, i.e. designer morals for yuppies of uneasy conscience. While PC partisans agonize over whether to call persons of African descent ‘blacks’ or ‘Negroes,’ tens of thousands of Africans are dying of starvation, AIDS, and in tribal warfare. Socioeconomic groups informed by the stark exigencies of survival haven’t shown the slightest interest in the hair-splitting subtleties and scholastic quibbling of victim taxonomy. Coincidentally, these are the very social groups PC purports to champion; but this would not be the first time a subversive agenda and questionable motives had been concealed by a smokescreen of concern for the common man.
Elaborate stratagems to compensate penalized minorities and avoid giving pain to others, e.g. quotas, affirmative action, preferential treatment, euphemistic speech, censorship, and other palliates, often achieve the very opposite. By drawing attention to, and stigmatizing, the victim’s disability, they serve only to confirm that he hasn’t enough self-esteem, dignity and imagination to deal responsibly with his own problems. As a corollary, such a strategy tends to encourage self-pity and the manufacture of sensitivities without end, promoting an autonomous culture of victims and empowering sanctimonious minorities and PC carpetbaggers with unearned moral authority. Each and every one of us constitutes a minority of one, and no amount of sympathy or fellow-feeling, however well-intentioned, can ever remove the pain of man’s isolation or the tragic nature of the human condition.

PC zealots hold that if we attend to minutiae, larger issues will take care of themselves, that if (say) you proscribe ethnic humor, genocide will become, literally, unthinkable. This is the rank fallacy of the feckless harridan who supposes if she natters at her husband for smoking, he’ll never visit a whorehouse. It’s whistling in the dark. Not only does it lull society into a false sense of security, but the persistent recourse to euphemism and circumlocution corrupts and debases language, and the coercive atmosphere of guilt, fear and intimidation surrounding this capricious censorship inhibits the easy give-and-take of human discourse, the life-blood of democratic institutions, and ultimately of man’s own social and spiritual life. Recalling his early education in the highly regimented German school system, Albert Einstein observed that his natural curiosity was so completely blunted by the harsh discipline of his authoritarian schoolmasters, it was years before he fully recovered his love of learning and the joy of discovery. It is a common mistake for the champions of sensitivity to assume that we are vulnerable in our affective life, when it is our cognitive life that is at risk. Human feelings and emotions are, by comparison, robust and resilient, whereas human understanding, the capacity to conceive and learn, is a delicate and fragile instrument requiring continuous nurture.

The latest cause célèbre of the victims’ revolution is cash reparations for the descendants of American slaves. With an unerring instinct for lurid controversy and eccentricity unmatched even by the tabloid press, Harper’s Magazine conducted a forum in its pages called, “The Case for Reparations.” One would have thought that the casualties of the American Civil War had gone a long way toward the cancellation of that debt. Perhaps a visit to America’s Civil War cemeteries would appease some of the twice- and thrice-removed ‘victims’ of Nineteenth Century slavery. But the victims’ movement is about the here and now and historical amnesia; which perhaps explains why PC partisans have never bothered to deal with several inconvenient facts surrounding Negro victimology. Consider, for example, the curious preference of African-Americans for Muslim first and last names. Why have no liberal scholars ever bothered to mention that it was not Christian missionaries, but North African Arabs and Berbers who organized and ran the black slave trade? In a similar vein, there is no linguistic evidence that ‘welshing’ on a debt is a slur on the inhabitants of Wales (the verb originated in the the resistance of Welsh school children to English language instruction), yet its use is forbidden by the PC handbook. When the coin of the realm is moral indignation, historical truth is a devalued currency.

Political correctness is the triumph of sensitivity over truth; but it is more and less than that. The following editorial appeared on May 5, 2003, in The Desert Sun, a newspaper of the Gannet chain located in the Palm Springs area:


“”“Our VoiceFind other names for Sports teams’Redskins,’ ‘Braves’ have no place in today’s sport arenas Those who use Indian names for mascots or sports teams probably don’t intend to offend anyone, but the point is that they do. As a state, it’s time to reassess our thinking and the pay heed to the sensitivities of American Indians. The tool available to begin the sea change in act––and attitude––is Assembly Bill 2115. The proposed legislation aims to protect tribes from having names traditionally associated with Indians such as “Redskins” or “Braves” used for mascots or teams names by the state’s public schools. The only question here is: What took so long for such legislation to surface? Dismissing the issue as much ado about political correctness does not eliminate the dispute or change the feeling of those American Indians truly offended. Why prolong such a needless point of friction? “So-called Indian mascots reduce hundreds of indigenous tribes to generic cartoons,” Cornel Pewewardy writes in “Why Educators Can’t Ignore Indian Mascots.” “These ‘Wild West’ figments of the white imagination distort both the indigenous and non-indigenous children’s attitudes toward an oppressed––and diverse––minority. Schools should be places where students come to unlearn the stereotypes such mascots represent…” It’s been more than 30 years since the National Congress of American Indians launched a campaign to bring an end to the use of Indian sports mascots and other media stereotypes. Still, there’ work to be done as is evidence by AB 2115. There are those who trivialize the issue, saying tribes should be more concerned about unemployment, health care and poverty on the reservations than about sports team caricatures. But this issue transcends a distorted cartoon. For any student of history, it is apparent such caricatures are rife with racism. It is that simple. The bill has support from a broad range of educational and Indian organizations, and rightly so. According to the March issue of Sports Illustrated, 83 percent of Indian nationally want professional sports teams to stop using Indian Names. How many times and in how many ways do they need to deliver that message? The time has come for sports teams in California to stop turning to Indian-themed mascots to generate cheers. It brings shame to the teams and to the schools. It’s time to take the issue to a higher plane.”“”“”“””

This Gannet newspaper proudly displays the First Amendment at the top of its editorial page, but it is doubtful anyone in the editorial department has read it lately. The fact that Assembly Bill 2115 did not pass is scant consolation; like propaganda, censorship is atmospheric, it succeeds even when it fails. The adherents of political correctness can lose all the battles and still win the war.

Although the authors are quick to distance themselves from political correctness, this editorial is a classic specimen of PC fascism. Notice how cleverly the reverence for the authoritarian power of the state and the invitation to group-think are folded into an unctuous solicitude for a penalized minority. The empathetic author professes to be inside the minds of the ‘victims’ feeling their pain and anguish (the idea being, apparently, to inflict maximum survivor guilt on the rest of us).

It is all so familiar: the travesty of benevolence, the clammy compassion, the absurd demands, the bogus scholarship and invented statistics provided by special interest groups (Pewewardy is not an anthropologist and Sports Illustrated is not a scientific journal). If Some American Indian tribes have developed ethnic sensitivities, perhaps it is because cleverly-worded survey questions suggest that they should. Other polls indicate that American Indians are blandly indifferent to team logos, and even if they were not, what legal authority would this give the state to dictate linguistic usage? Do American Indian tribes own the trademark rights to these common English words? And what does the adoption of team logos like ‘Aztecs,’ ‘Braves’ and ‘Redskins’ have to do with crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater (the abuse of free speech cited by Justice Holmes)? Surrendering autonomy to special interest groups is hardly what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they framed the Bill of Rights.

All this is obvious and, therefore, trivial; less obvious and trivial is the chilling effect this whimsical censorship has on our daily lives. The worst part of such proscriptions is not that they enjoin free speech and assembly––after all, Assembly Bill 2115 did not pass––but that they cast a shadow of inhibition over human discourse that paralyses the free flow of ideas, making spontaneous thought all but impossible, undermining not merely the substance of free speech and thought, but the impulse itself. The more absurd the proscription, the more effective the inhibition of thought, the threat of moral opprobrium tapping one of man’s most reflexive and instinctive fears, the rejection of society.
The use of sham research and statistics is an attempt to impart a veneer of rationality to a belief-system. Political correctness, like its collectivist predecessor, is a political faith based on a nihilistic interpretation of man. PC zealots are less concerned with the welfare of minorities than they are with imposing their reductionist view of man on society. The premise of this editorial is not that we should accede to the manufactured sensitivies of minorities (this is only a tactical diversion); it is that minorities, and humanity in general, lack the spiritual resources and imagination to deal with poor taste and vulgarity, without the intervention of the state. That is the premise. The effect is simpler and far more lethal––a toxic cloud of fear and paranoia that surrounds every impulse, thought and decision we make, to the exclusion of thought itself, leaving us to confront the anarchy of life with the spiritual nihilism and anemic social philosophy of liberal ideologues. The unstated message of this editorial is that we are all sinners in the hands of an angry Marxist God.

Editorial pieces like the one above have been appearing in newspapers and magazines all over America. The editors of these publications were not acting on instructions from the Comintern, and the they would probably be shocked to hear themselves described as cultural Marxists. The liberal press has adopted this editorial bias second-hand, compliments of the victims revolution, and it is the result of information deprivation. Like the fascists and Bolsheviks before them, the rank and file of the New Left come from a narrow, ill-educated segment of society. And for them information deprivation starts early, in the American educational system, i.e. an educational system informed by liberal obscurantism. For the most part, those who embrace PC censorship have no idea where it originated.

Some historians have referred to the Free Speech Movement of the ’60s, and Bill Lind has argued persuasively that the phenomenon dates as far back as the Institute for Marxism founded in 1923 at Frankfurt University, better known as the ‘Frankfurt School.’ The Frankfurt School was a hotbed of ‘scientific Marxism’ overseen by a faction of leftist ideologues, including deconstructionist Herbert Marcuse, who assembled to brainstorm over world Communism’s greatest impediment to success, Western Individualism. Their solution? Undermine Western cultural values.

This is not the whole story, of course; there were some distinctly American trends in play: progressive education had a key role as did its co-ideology scientism; and there is an unmistakable whiff of the puritanical in PC moral fervor, and an obvious lineage to the Abolitionist movement; lastly, there is the gamy stench of anti-intellectualism, i.e. the repudiation of the West’s Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian heritage.

But the roots of the PC mindset go much deeper than bankrupt political philosophy, Puritan guilt and messianic zeal. There is a common thread running through all these manifestations of the phenomenon more fundamental than any of them: Utopianism, or the timeless myth of terrestrial paradise. Utopianism is the Promethean impulse to remake human nature and society by the sheer exertion of human will without reference to moral limits, a Western pathology Marshall McLuhan called ‘elephantiasis of the will.’

We are indebted to Arnold Toynbee for his analysis of millennial movements. Utopianism, he tells us, is an attempt either to recapture the past (‘archaism’) or scrap the past and cut short to the millennium (‘futurism’), and is associated with senescent institutions and societies in decline. Because creativity is a process that articulates itself moment by moment, societies in a period of dynamic growth and self-discovery, e.g. such ongoing enterprises as the Periclean Age, the Italian Quattrocento, the English Renaissance, the Enlightenment and Colonial America, do not evolve according to a definitive plan, and there is little inclination to formulate doctrines for success in the midst of success. It is only after things have gone wrong, during a ‘time of troubles,’ that political thinkers, in a desperate attempt to shore up the ruins of a collapsing civilization, resort to shallow prescriptive remedies. Plato’s Republic, a utopian manifesto that followed the catastrophe of the Peloponnesian War, is a notorious example of this kind of ad hoc political thinking. Plato’s solution to Athens’ social problems, of which the judicial murder of Socrates was symptomatic, was the creation of an elite academy of philosopher-kings to the rule a state based on the Spartan military model. Plato’s preference for a regimented oligarchy was a repudiation of the historic synthesis of democracy and culture that had made Periclean Athens the envy of the other city-states, the political miracle Pericles called ‘the education of Hellas.’

The education of America has become a lightning rod for PC revisionism, and the history of American education is a history of contending educational philosophies, beginning with Ciceronian humanism, and ending with a decline into relativism, multiculturalism, and obscurantism.

The displacement of humanism and metaphysics by scientism, and its handmaiden scientific specialization, in an increasingly secular society has created a moral vacuum and spiritual malaise felt at every level of American life. The American university now finds itself populated by a generation of students who are culturally illiterate and spiritually adrift. Reared in an educational milieu of sterile methodology and moral relativism that has trivialized its sacred texts and great books, they view their own society as a militant technocracy rather than a universal culture, and their contempt for Western values extends not only to its democratic institutions, but to its norms for civility as well. As a result, the social disintegration that was once confined to the inner city, has now invaded the genteel precincts of academia, and American campuses have become the scene of unprecedented anti-social behavior, including an alarming increase in racial incidents and such crimes as date-rape.

This was fertile ground for political correctness and baffled university officials have responded in typical PC fashion. Treating symptoms, rather than causes, they called for strict censorship of offensive speech and instituted Draconian disciplinary codes; and, in an attempt to defuse racial tensions, implemented a multicultural curriculum. Some of these desperate ad hoc disciplinary measures were not only silly, such as Antioch College’s sex code, they were flagrant violations of free expression, and were subsequently struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. The humanities curriculum, already eviscerated by deconstructionism and ‘scientific’ scholarship, was further debased with courses in gender-politics and black studies, while prestigious institutions, like Stanford University, dropped their Western Culture course requirements altogether. Today it is possible to graduate from a major American university without having read any of the great seminal works of Western civilization, i.e. the books the Nazis tossed on the bonfire.

The parallels to Plato’s Republic uncanny, but should surprise no one; while the dynamics of social creativity are unique, the pattern of social failure is always the same. The society that has lost touch with the dynamic vision responsible for its success is rarely able to rekindle the creative spark from the cold ashes of failure, or even to arrest decline. Hypnotized by its own pathology and impatient for quick solutions, a society in decline typically discounts its earlier achievements. The allure of the exotic is irresistible to those who no longer understand their cultural origins, and they cast about for solutions outside their own society. Just as Plato rejected the achievements of Periclean Athens and turned to Sparta for inspiration, banning poets as enemies of the state, university officials discarded the Western canon and enforced multiculturalism with police state censorship and the suspension of due process. Instead of reaffirming the universal values of Western society that have bound diverse cultures to one another for centuries, they promoted cultural relativism, a strategy that accelerates dissension and social collapse.

P.S. To those of you disparage Thomas Jefferson … The difference between a black slave on Jefferson’s plantation and the modern Chinese factory worker who make 40 dollars a month is that the black slave on jefferson’s plantation, by all indications, had a better life and was better treated.

In India today 1 in 6 people is born to the lowest caste known as the untouchable caste. They are slaves.

Put things in perspective. Jefferson is one of the most brilliant political minds and thinkers the world has ever known and he has probably created more freedoms for more people than at any time in human history. To disregard and villify him because he owned slaves in the 18th century is very stupid.

P.S. To those of you disparage Thomas Jefferson —he is one of the most brilliant political minds and thinkers the world has ever known and he created more freedoms for more people than at any time in human history. To disregard and villify him because he owned slaves in the 18th century is very stupid.

Huge numbers of Wealthy Chinese immigrants to America today have made their fortunes paying workers $40 week in the sweatshops of china. Nobody really condems them, and yet how many of them will make the kind of contribution that thomas jefferson made ?

The difference incidentally, between a black slave on Jefferson’s plantation and the modern Chinese factory worker who make 40 dollars a month is that the black slave on jefferson’s plantation, by all indications, had a better life and was better treated.

Conservative are so stupid, but liberals are evil (Searle)

You completely lack perspective.

Posted by: marc sommes at January 12, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #260688

this book is fake
its hard enough with liberal teachers, can’t we at least have a textbook that isn’t biased. every sentence is aimed at promoting liberalism. anything conservative is treated like a joke.

Posted by: pro guy at September 1, 2008 2:27 AM
Comment #353792

Teaching only the liberal point of view is dangerous. It places blame and guilt without reason and should be held liable for endorcing hatred.

Posted by: Coco at September 28, 2012 4:42 PM
Comment #354110

I would just like to teach U.S. History from a textbook that at least likes the United States. The only one I am aware of is “A Patriot’s History of the United States.”

It rubs me raw reading a textbook that clearly dislikes the United States.

Posted by: Dean at October 5, 2012 3:40 PM
Comment #364089

I would like to provide the below example of how bias
creeps into our textbooks and thus into the public general thinking:

American Civil War

The student textbook, America’s Story, Hardcourt Brace & Company, 1997, page 370, states that ex-slave, Sojourner Truth, who spoke to crowds against slavery, believed that slavery could be ended peacefully. And that ex-slave, Frederick Douglas, argued in his speeches that only rebellion could end slavery. The textbook follows by saying,
“In the end, Douglas was proved right”.
“The nation that grew large and strong would soon be divided by civil war.”

Do you see how written history and perceptions and morality can be tainted by false statements like this?
Douglas was NOT proved right
All history shows is that militant radicals like: Abe Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, William Lloyd Garrison, and John Brown, took matters into their own hands and forced history to turn out in their favor by starting a war before anti-slavery peace lovers had the necessary time to end slavery without violence.

Anti-slavery peace lovers like: Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe (of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” fame), and Harriet Tubman (called “Moses”), all women, could just as likely have had success with their methods given the time, and without the militant radical’s interference. Perhaps the ladies’ solution of changing American hearts and values was just around the corner within a few years. Or perhaps at least quicker than war and reconstruction. And just look at the partial cost of that war (600,000+ lives lost).
What if Moses had had militant radical competition while he attempted to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt peacefully? We know Moses’ way worked. But had radicals caused the Children of Israel to rise up against the Armies of Egypt at the same time Moses was doing things peacefully God’s way, and had the radicals changed the course of history their way, history would once again be written that militant radicalism alone wins out, specifically, that the only way that the Children of Israel could have been freed from Egypt was by bloodshed and rebellion. In Modern time, that equates to, the only way to end global terrorism was to start a 9 year bloody war in Iraq (2003-2011).

Posted by: Eric at April 12, 2013 12:32 PM
Comment #381266

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