History and the High Price of Forgetting

The reason we study history is because certain patterns repeat themselves. And this is where our education system has been failing us so terribly for decades, in part because of “multiculturalism.” Circa 1990, it became fashionable to condemn the teaching of history in our society as too “Eurocentric” and this academic trend, along with a general contempt for “dead white males,” had the effect of demoting the study of the history of our own culture in favor of “inclusive” history about African, Asian and Latin American societies. But this involves a misunderstanding of why we study history at all. The peasant living under a hereditary monarchy, or a goat-herder in a nomadic tribal society, would have no use for the study of history. In a non-democratic polity, it is only the leadership caste which has need to study history, as a guide to statecraft. However, in a republic, where every citizen is eligible to participate in the decision-making process — at the very least, as a voter — the study of history as part of a general education becomes much more important. How are we to participate intelligently in politics if we don’t know history? And the reason we study ancient Greece and Rome, rather than the Mayans or the Chinese or some other culture, isn’t because of racism or “Eurocentrism.” It’s because Greco-Roman civilization produced the earliest models for representative government, and because these civilizations left behind a written record, including such valuable resources as Thucydides.

At the beginning he asks “Have you ever read Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War?” Yes, I have. I also recommend it.

Source: History and the High Price of Forgetting

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cruithni

Right-wing, Conservative, Constitutionalist, Christian, Heterosexual. How else can I offend you today?