Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Ignorance of this country

As in ignorance of what this country is and where it's been. Smallest Minority links to an article by a university professor about the truly abysmal ignorance of most of his students of American History. It really is appalling.

My daughter brought this to my attention when she was in eighth grade. That was when I found out she'd had Chinese, and African, and all the PC history, but not a single American history class. I was really pissed of by this, and proceeded to remedy it by telling her some things- over time- and showing her some materials I had. One advantage of messing with Buckskinning was having had a subscription to 'Muzzleloader' and 'Muzzleblasts' magazines; lots of articles on early U.S. and colonial history, generally told with good style, and she ate them up. Same for my son.

Another problem; she had a history teacher who was dismissive of anything he hadn't heard of, and if shown the proof got downright hostile. A teacher should be glad to learn of new facts, new stories, not mad about it.

I really don't understand how someone can look at this country, warts and all, and not like it. Especially I don't get those who speak of how awful we are and then heap praises on people like Fidel Castro. (and they get really hostile when you point out what a bastard he is. They also don't like it when you point out that the British and Canadian healthcare systems are pretty bad; they're FREE! and that's all that matters, apparently) Criticize problems, yes. Want to fix them? Sure. But to condemn everything about this country because it doesn't meet some intellectual definition of 'perfect' is a load of crap.

What do you want to bet many/most of those students in the article saw 'Farenheit 9-11' and believed it? And probably never saw any of the listings of falsehoods in it?

One of the things that struck me in the article was how the students thought having to open a book 'is an exotic and particularly cruel form of punishment'. Oh, God, how can you NOT like to read?!?!

If I didn't have to go to work I'd head for the range.

1 comment:

Francis W. Porretto said...

-- Oh, God, how can you NOT like to read?!?! --

Reading requires what Robert Heinlein once called "an extension of the psycho field," and what we less eloquent types call "a little imagination." Even when you're reading nonfiction, your imagination has to be engaged, at least to the extent of visualizing the subject matter.

But sufficient imagination to enjoy reading is not an inborn capacity. It must be elicited and nourished -- and not much effort is going into that these days.

I could cite reasons, but I'm sure you know them all already.