Friday, April 17, 2009

Speaking of forgetting history,

or in some cases covering it up, Kevin posted this quote:
When a society loses its memory, it descends inevitably into dementia. Allowing the cultural relativists to annex the education system ultimately destroys the grown-up world, too. - Mark Steyn, The loss of societal memory
Which reminded me of something. So I went to a bookshelf and found Man-Kzin Wars VII. If you've never read any of the series, one of the basic points is that the UN, running the world, had decided that the best way to make things peaceful and everyone easy to control(they didn't put it that way, of course) was to change history and control all aspects of culture: take out of the histories mention of wars and any aggressive action, suppress any writings that hinted at fighting for something, no games allowed that used aggression to win(very bad attitude, wanting to win),the whole works. To the point that people finding old family stuff like unapproved books, weapons(VERY broadly defined), any kind of keepsake of the sort were often sent away to camps; they may have been contaminated with unapproved knowledge and had to be isolated. And they managed to mold people into a forced pacifism in which even an offhand remark of the improper kind would get you reported. And quite possibly taken away. All of which turned out to be a bit of a problem when the Kzin showed up for dinner.

Well, at the start of some chapters in this book are quotes from various people speaking of history being lost, or flatly changed. For instance:
One of the largest of all British local council libraries, at Brent, lately destroyed approximately 66,000 of its 100,000 books. The explanation which the council gave for this destruction was that the offending books were "books on war, history books and other books irrelevant to the community."
R.J. Stove, Where Ignorance is Bliss, 1993
My first-year politics tutorials this week dealt with Nazi foreign policy and the lead-up to the war. I decided to loosen things a bit and just generally chat....How strange that university politics students should never have heard of the little ships that took the British Expeditionary Force off the beaches in May 1940. Or de Gaulle. Or a Spitfire. No knowledge of any of it..... This was the stuff that was supposed never to be forgotten thirty, forty years ago. Next week we do the Holocaust....

Letter to the author, October 19, 1991

Or how about
One of Japan's ubiquitous television crews took to the streets last week to find out what people thought about the forthcoming fiftieth anniversary of Pearl Harbor.... Such has been the rewriting of history in Japan that many teenagers had not even heard of Peral Harbor and several expressed amazement Japan had fought a war with the United States.
Gareth Alexander "The War Japan Chose to Forget,", Press Itern, December 3, 1991

It's been a long time since I read any of these books, I can't remember if any of the others have such notes. But these alone point to something scary as hell: that there are people and groups who have made specific effort to remove some history from the record, and to slant what remains. Sometimes for reasons of pride, sometimes for shame, sometimes to push their own views and goals. Which, unsurprisingly, usually involve them and other 'enlightened' ones controlling us. All for our own good, of course.

And theirs, but the won't speak of that.

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