A few Gentle Readers have written to ask “Why no 9/11 post, Fran?” Honestly, I thought about it for a while, and decided that I had nothing sufficiently fresh to say on the subject. Anyone who’s been following my screeds will know how the event affected me, and frankly, I can no longer afford that degree of outrage. My blood pressure is high enough to power a moonshot already.
However, beloved Co-Conspirator Linda Fox’s piece just below got me thinking about an aspect of the thing that, perhaps, hasn’t yet been adequately discussed. It relates to a process that’s been in progress for at least six decades. If you’ve been blessed with children, you’re probably familiar with it: the deconstruction and reassembly of American history to support the program of the America-hating Left.
The traditional role of history was inspirational and cautionary. Men studied history to be inspired by exampled of noble actions, to enrich their limited experience by that of others, the draw sustenance for their lives from the lives of others. There was a negative side to this study of history, too: One could find there indications of the limits of what should be attempted, be reminded of the consequences of precipitate action, , discover anew what is beyond his power to alter, be chastened by the records of the failures of others. In short, history has usually played a conservative role in society. It was a major obstacle to reform, as men customarily thought of it and utilized it.
Some reformists, who were also historians, realized this. James Harvey Robinson, writing in the early Twentieth Century, declared: “History has been regularly invoked, to substantiate the claims of the conservative, but has hitherto usually been neglected by the radical…It is his weapon by right, and he should wrest it from the hand of the conservative.” In short, Robinson, as a would-be reformer, perceived that history must be reconstructed in order to make it an instrument of reform. The older history must be deactivated; it must be replaced by a “new history.”
[Clarence B. Carson, The Flight From Reality]
Dr. Carson wrote the above in 1969, when the lineaments of the current, pernicious trends in education were only just becoming visible. I remember one that speaks in a particularly ominous voice: Child-Centered Education, whose ruling principle was stated thus: “We don’t teach history; we teach Johnny.”
The root idea of CCE was that the child’s emotional reactions to his lessons are important indicators of whether and what he’s learning. Therefore the “educator” must be sensitive to those reactions and use them to improve his lesson plans and his teaching technique. Thus it was implied that CCE would be an aid to effective education in the traditional sense: it would help the student to learn better.
Through the imposition of CCE, the course material, traditionally the responsibility of the teacher to provide and the student to learn, was displaced from the classroom’s focus. What mattered was the how the students reacted: with interest, with boredom, with doubt, with rejection, or with a dispreferred evaluation — dispreferred, that is, from the “educator’s” point of view. As Leftists had been infiltrating American classrooms for some time already, especially in the “soft” subjects, it was the perfect justification for a complete reframing of the teaching of history. The new frame would not exalt the American experiment in individual liberty under Constitutionally limited government, but would emphasize any negative aspects of our history it could cast to America’s detriment.
I escaped high school before this became the dominant approach to the teaching of history. Subsequent classes were not so fortunate.
I could spend thousands of words sketching the evil evolution that has followed the perfusion of juvenile education by CCE and the ideas it engendered. Fortunately for you, Gentle Reader, there’s no need. Anyone who’s had even a brushing contact with juvenile education these past forty or fifty years will know what’s become of it. Its worst effects have been in the soft subjects, but it has even reached the “hard” ones such as mathematics, where there are indisputable laws that draw indelible lines between correctness and falsehood.
History is probably the worst affected of all subjects. It’s been deeply colonized by America-haters. It’s produced many classes of deluded graduates, some of whom are gone on to careers in education and the media. It is their predilection – their preference — to arrange for major events to be “spun” in a fashion that makes America and Americans look villainous.
Recent major events, such as the attacks of September 11, 2001 upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, are not exceptions to this pattern.
Older persons, who were not subjected to the shift from education in the events of history to indoctrination in how to arrive at politically correct evaluations, remember those attacks with fury and a thirst for vengeance. Those who’ve come after us have had a different range of reactions: “What did we do to deserve this?” is, if not absolutely dominant, a strong contender for first place.
He whose teachers and peers have persuaded that we “deserved” 9/11, whatever the rationale, is unlikely to remember the events of that day in a light conducive to fury and national resolve. He doesn’t have the “Remember Pearl Harbor” mindset we older Americans share.
Historical factual knowledge – the facts and the order in which they occurred – must be primary. Causes and evaluations are secondary. Beneath it all – ‘fess up now, you knew this was coming – must lie a foundation of moral and ethical precepts. “Thou shalt not murder.” “Thou shalt not steal.” “Thou shalt not covet.”
Nineteen young Muslims, crazed by the teachings of a murderous, covetous creed, took upon their shoulders a mission to inflict mass death and destruction on the United States. Fueled by that creed’s promises of a sybaritic paradise for “martyrs,” they accepted their own deaths as the price. They killed more than three thousand Americans and inflicted more than $100,000,000,000 in immediate and secondary economic harm on this nation. They acted from hatred and they reaped what hatred usually reaps.
Yet many are unable to stop asking “But why? What did we ever do to them?” It’s the mindset contemporary education and media have imposed upon them. They can’t shake it…and merely bringing them the facts of the event, equating them with the horror and sacrifice of that day, does nothing to help.
The dimensions of that mindset have become all too clear in the twenty-one years behind us. The two largest sequels to 9/11, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), may have been ill-conceived, but they were propelled by a righteous fury which, if not perfectly uniform among American in 2001 and 2002, prevailed over all other reactions.
Ironically, it took less than a month before the carpers of the Left demanded to know our “exit strategy” from Afghanistan. “Why are we there, spending American lives? Justice? What’s that? When will we be done assaulting these poor people? What have they done to us to deserve it?”
I’ve just looked at the time: it’s 8:45 AM on this sunny, placid Tuesday in September. As of this moment, it’s been twenty-one years and two days. It took less than a month, Gentle Reader, to deactivate the history of 9/11 and its sequels. Draw the moral; I have.