Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dumbed Down History

Like I have said in this space, I have been learning a lot from blog discussions and following up with research of my own. It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the sun is shining and there is a nice breeze, so of course I am sitting inside at home reading and writing.

I have just read an article called “Getting Lincoln Half Right and Half Wrong” by Thomas J. DiLorenzo at http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo94.html. Following is a comparison between what I learned in school and what the article claims.

School

DiLorenzo

Lincoln was a good man.

Lincoln was a cold-hearted egoist.

Lincoln was a lawyer.

Lincoln was a wealthy railroad lawyer whose clients were mostly giant corporations.

Lincoln freed the slaves.

Lincoln was a white supremacist.

Lincoln preserved democracy.

Lincoln arrested political opponents and shut down opposition newspapers.

Lincoln preserved the nation.

Lincoln destroyed the Jeffersonian system.

I am not a Lincoln scholar so I am not in a position to say which side of the table is right, if either. I would, however, tend towards believing DiLorenzo.

What I will question today is what I was taught in history classes. Living for many years in a post-communist country, I know that my Czech friends and acquaintances were exposed daily to communist dogma in school. Now it seems to me that my experience in the US was not very different. We were obviously taught history from a slanted angle aimed at convincing us that America was the greatest country in the world and our way was the best way. For example: we were taught not that we pointlessly massacred the indigenous populations of North America, but that we were guided westward by “manifest destiny” – clearly nothing more than political propaganda.

Why were we taught that way? Education should not be dumbed down for children. History classes would have been much more interesting if we had been given the opportunity to discuss and debate, if we had been able to decide for ourselves whether our country’s leaders had made the right decisions. Developing an ability to think critically is so much more important than memorising names and dates. It seems that our education system was designed to produce factory workers rather than thinkers. When we grow up we watch dumbed down news so that we continue to not think for ourselves. It now seems to me that it is all a plot to keep power in the hands of those who have always held it, to preserve the status quo.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Not very different" from "communist dogma?" Hmmm.

Riggs is Crazy said...

I would need to know more about DiLorenzo before I form an opinion here. Someone could write a glowing piece on Bill Clinton 100 years from now and people might not realize that it's complete garbage.

Ludovic said...

All education is designed to make children citizens of particular countries and to believe in the unity and coherence and appropriacy of the system that they are entering into. Its those old concepts of hegemony and 'imagined community' at work.

Dave said...

I highly recommend DiLorenzo's book, The Real Lincoln. Fascinating. Turns what you learned about Lincoln on it's ear. Then follow that up with learning about Robert E. Lee. Lee, as a man, puts Lincoln to shame, but since he was a dread Confederate he doesn't get the respect he deserves. Same goes for Stonewall Jackson.

Max said...

Ludovic - yes, you have hit it right on the head. I think the big problem is that most of us never realise that we are constantly being fed a healthy diet of BS.

Murphy said...

Now we're getting somewhere. Max, you've finally, after all this time, said something worth reading! It sounds like you've learned more from DD's blog than you did in all your years in law school. DD's right. Read DiLoreenzo's "The Real Lincoln"... will blow you away.

Max said...

Murphy, if nothing else I have written is worth reading, why are you still hanging around here?

And not to take anything away from DD, as he has indeed been an influence, but my thoughts are a composite result of ALL of my learning and development.

Maybe at some point I will read The Real Lincoln - it sounds worthwhile, but for now I'm exploring other stuff.

Sinister Steve said...

I just read the new 2005 NFL Football forecast. It is a pretty good read. I highly recommend it.

Murphy said...

I feel I should point out that, although SS is sarcastic and tries to act as if he doesn't care, he also has read "The Real Lincoln". In fact, it was his copy of the book that I read.

Anonymous said...

I should point out that I truly don't care and do truly care more about the 2005 NFL forcast then reading about some jackass with an axe to grind over Lincoln...or Lee's slight...or whatever.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!?

Sinister Steve said...

no really, i didnt read "The Real Lincoln". Until there is a movie I cant discuss this topic. I am of the opinion that you could probably write a "real" book about every political figure throughout history.

Max said...

Anon,

I will be drafted into a fantasy football league as I am every year as the token girl despite the fact that I stopped paying attention to football when the Rams left LA. So when the time comes, will you please help me with my pre-draft rankings?

Thanking you.

Max

sinister steve said...

mm,

Do i not even exist to you anymore? Guess ill quit posting on your site.

Max said...

Sorry, SS. Of course you exist for me. Short attention span: only responded to the last message I saw.

Will you please help me too? I generally need all the help I can get with football.

I am holding my own in baseball, by the way. Currently in 6th place in a league of 12, 8 games out of 1st, coming off 4 straight winning weeks.

Apologies once again.

Scientology Rules! said...

Of course I'll help!!! Here is the first tip...don't listen to SS. He is clueless...just look at his thoughts on the Bungles for proof.

Also..the great ANON is trying to find his blog name...so you will see a few until I get it right.

Dave said...

MM,

If you get the chance, choose Carson Palmer as your QB.

Max said...

Thanks, Anon and DD.

Anon, keep trying, I am quite sure that Scientology Rules! is not the right name for you. I'll try to think of something for you too.

Anyone else have ideas for Anon?

Sinister Steve said...

how about:

raymond babitt (rainman)
arnie (whats eating gilbert grape)
Karl Childers (sling blade)
Sam Dawson (I am Sam)
Mike Shanahan

All are good names for retards.

SS Sucks said...

SS...you are changing your name?

Ok...go with

'Tardo, King of the Close Eyes.

It would fit you well...

Sinister Steve said...

ss sucks,

you should give yourself a name the "brothers" would be proud of like:

cornbread
the anonymous BIG
Shorty

Tom Cruise in Love said...

Mmm...interesting

How about..

Foot Long
Cracker Jack
60 Cent

Max's Threesome said...

Max...back to Fantasy Football...capitalized because it deserves it...the Rams leaving LA? Wow...I had no idea you were so old school. When did you leave the good 'ole US of A?

sinister steve said...

or maybe something more fitting:

man-gina
wife wears pants
45 cent after taxes

ss still sucks said...

come on...you can do better then that!

W loves U said...

SS...go with:

I Heart W!
W 4 Ever!
W..Love Him or Die!

sinister steve said...

w loves u

im not changing my name. anonymous is

Max said...

Max's Threesome

Nice name.

"Old school"? I had to check this morning to see what year the Rams left LA. I wasn't counting moving to Anaheim (1980) as leaving LA, I was thinking of their departure to St Louis (1994). But anyway, I had probably stopped paying attention to football before that. Although I did watch the Super Bowl in 2004.

When did I leave the USA? I have been out nearly my entire adult life:
1. Israel 1987-1988
2. Scotland 1989-1990
3. Czech 1992-2002
4. England 2002-2004
5. Czech 2004-

Thank you for showing an interest.

Monkey said...

Lincoln seems to be the topic of many heated discussions in America these days, according to Dali.
See: http://tinyurl.com/99a4k
and
http://tinyurl.com/bnzyv

Dave said...

Monkey,

Revisionist history on Lincoln has become a cottage industry. The Lincoln idolators are not happy about it because it is de-mystifying him. I say, "Bring it on!!"

Max said...

Ahoj Monkey! Welcome back.

I had no idea that de-mystifying Lincoln was a big thing. Someone (or everyone) has to be more responsible about making sure that I know what is going on in America.

Don't Hate Abe said...

But what's the point? What does this this new information do for anyone and what do you do with it?

Me: Damn you, you liar!! (slap)

My 3rd Grade Teacher: Ow!

All this Lincoln crap does (or any revisionist history crap) is give a bunch of jackasses a fat paycheck. Lincoln was a jerk - so what? Why pay your hard earned $ to some hack to hear about it?

Max said...

I've not paid anything to fellow bloggers or to read stuff on the internet.

The point of the information is to MAKE YOU THINK.

Max said...

...and your 3rd grade teacher was not a liar; just one of our fellow citizens who believed what s/he was taught.

Abe 4 Ever! said...

It does make me think....think that the Lincoln Hater's need a life!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of historical propaganda aimed at children, last 4th of July I watched a SchoolHouse Rocks video that had all the songs about American history (Great American Melting Pot, The Preamble, Mother Necessity, The Shot Heard Round the World, and my favorite, Sufferin' Until Suffrage. The history's not exactly accurate, but the music's great!

G said...

Just because something is written doesn't mean it is worth thinking about. Check out some of the neo-Nazi hate sites. Do they make you [i]think?[i/] A legitimate thinker is able to discriminate.