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

A new and deeply meaningful rite of passage

We have a new United States citizen. This guy did it right despite some government stupidity:

When I met Miss D. in 2009, she encouraged me to pursue the matter, and after we married, I did so – only to run into a bureaucratic roadblock.  You see, the USCIS (which handles citizenship applications) wanted five years worth of tax returns, to prove I was paying my fair share towards our nation.  However, because my income had been workers-compensation-related for several years (and thus not taxable), I hadn’t met the minimum taxable income threshold that requires one to submit a tax return.  This did not satisfy USCIS, unfortunately – no tax returns, no citizenship!

I therefore approached the IRS and asked to file amended tax returns for the appropriate period, only to be told that this would be a waste of that agency’s time and resources (because I still wouldn’t owe any tax, after all), and therefore I should not do so.

See? Government idiocy. He waited five more years, filing the appropriate tax returns.

Becoming a US citizen will be a very solemn, moving moment for me.  I take the oath of allegiance very seriously.  I’ve already sworn part of it when taking the oath of federal law enforcement office as a prison chaplain, well over a decade ago.  The citizenship ceremony will add to that an abjuration of any and all previous loyalties.  In that sense, it’ll be a final, formal, legal and official severing of my ties to South Africa, where I’d spent almost two-thirds of my life so far.

An immigrant who did it right. A successful author whose books look interesting and are now on my ‘to buy and read’ list. Welcome, Peter Grant!

Source: A new and deeply meaningful rite of passage

Armed Washington State Residents Stop Nail Gun Theives

(I know, the headline misspelled thieves.)

They didn’t expect to be surrounded by about six customers with guns raised.

One customer was standing in front of the car, yelling at the alleged thieves to get out.

“He won’t shoot, run him over,” one of the suspects reportedly said.

The driver pulled forward, causing the man confronting him to land on the hood, court papers say.

Another customer shot at the driver’s side front tire, according to documents. A third fired twice at the rear tire.

Well done. They should be given recognition for upstanding citizenship. But…

The Police in Marysville are looking to find the armed citizens who fired the shots that flattened the suspects tires.

The armed citizens are, with considerable justification, refusing to get involved further. These citizens should be found. They should be applauded. They should be celebrated.

But I doubt that’s why police in Washington State want them.

Source: Armed Washington State Residents Stop Nail Gun Theives