What have we done? Maybe more precisely, what are we doing? We, especially those of us in the academic world, have allowed the hijacking of our national discourse by those that would seek to radically change its structure, its mission, even its very existence. Since the 1960’s, we’ve been teaching people that continual self-flagellation of our national history is noble, and to destroy that which has given hope to countless people throughout the world is necessary.
We continually cut ourselves because of the heinous errors of our collective past rather than celebrate our wondrous accomplishments in spite of them. We seem to be throwing the idea of content of character rather than color of skin onto the ash heap of history, replacing it with a laser focus on ethnicity and feels over everything that would unite us.
We no longer teach proper civics; the tenants of the Declaration of Independence, foundations of the United States Constitution and the importance of civic engagement. Rather, we discuss how we don’t live up to either document and, to some, never have. We pass this rather biased view of both history and civics on to students at all levels without the counter-narrative of the nobility of those founding documents, many teachers preferring to sow division rather than love of country.
Oops, there…I said the three most loathsome words in modern education today: love of country. The notion that one could, nay, even should espouse love of country is more than anathema in education today, it is rejected. To love your nation is to harken back to the beginning of the twentieth century where uber-love of country theoretically led to two world wars, countless insurgencies, and rampant western imperialism that destroyed the world.
Those particular fires were stoked as a blast furnace through this nation’s experience in Vietnam, a war that should never have taken place, but is as much a part of our history as the discovery of the polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk, or the Emancipation Proclamation finally freeing for all time the slaves in the American south.
I am thunderstruck by the notion that collectively, we in education embrace such faulty history as the 1619 Project, a work that has been debunked by a plethora of historians, yet embraced as the basis for many US History classes at all academic levels and fostered at the state and national level. If we are professionals, then why are so many not acting as professionals, doing our due diligence to vet such nonsense before welcoming it into our classrooms and teaching it?
Laziness and cowardice are the only words I can think of, for to not embrace such bad history in the name of political correctness and equity is to invite the wrath of your fellow “woke” colleagues, people who seem today to act with impunity toward others in their belittling and questioning of what you are teaching.
The predictable result is that we are producing, at every level of education, students who are more indoctrinated than taught. We’ve sacrificed critical thinking and counter-narrative analysis to ideological brainwashing.
So many thrust their beliefs and prejudices on unsuspecting minds as educative gospel rather than teaching students to think for themselves. They allow their personal biases to infuse their teaching to the point of infection, spreading said infection to their charges who are pre-programmed to hang on every word of the expert at the front of the room, only to be steered toward that expert’s biases and personal vendettas against whatever they deem our nation’s wrongs are.
To teach pride in one’s nation for some is to stoke the notion of Naziism, a hangover psychosis that still resonates in the West so many years after having vanquished it. They focus on the ills of the West and little else, forgetting that it was the West that fought bitter wars to end slavery, for example, while other nations allowed it to flourish—with some still engaged in it today.
This does not mean to suggest that national flaws of any country should be glossed over or forgotten—to do so is just as damaging. However, just as both sides of an argument should be taught in the classroom, so, too, balance should be fostered as well. Failure to do so, and we are failing with the recent emphasis on Critical Race Theory over proper history, will result in a nation whose core will be eaten away, not allowing the nation to stand.
For some, that is the goal, but those same people have omitted that in the end, the revolution comes for them the hardest. Don’t believe me? Ask Robespierre.