Why should we study history? in a piece in the American Historical Association Peter Stearns verbosely tries to justify studying history, as if he was trying to justify his profession: While he is on the right track when he asserts that:
Any subject of study needs justification: its advocates must explain why it is worth attention. …Historians do not perform heart transplants, improve highway design, or arrest criminals. In a society that quite correctly expects education to serve useful purposes, the functions of history can seem more difficult to define than those of engineering or medicine. History is in fact very useful, actually indispensable, but the products of historical study are less tangible, sometimes less immediate, than those that stem from some other disciplines.https://www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/aha-history-and-archives/historical-archives/why-study-history-(1998)
Then he goes on to add over 15 000 words as justification for studying history covering the following
- History Helps Us Understand People and Societies
- History Helps Us Understand Change and How the Society We Live in Came to Be
- The Importance of History in Our Own Lives
- History Contributes to Moral Understanding
- History Provides Identity
- Studying History Is Essential for Good Citizenship
- What Skills Does a Student of History Develop?
- History Is Useful in the World of Work
But Stearns apparently fails to apply his lecture to the world around us: To enforce Protestant orthodoxy, for example, England used the same tactics as the #Taliban and the #Chinese during the Cultural Revolution, or the Puritan vanguard whose mission was dedicated to the destruction of an entire world view. On September 8, 2021 NPR published a piece titled: Virginia’s Massive Robert E. Lee Statue Has Been Removed— was lifted into the air by a crane:
On Wednesday, the state of Virginia removed the 12-ton statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee more than 130 years after it was installed in Richmond.
Despite its massive size, it was lifted from its pedestal in one piece and is headed for storage. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, was there as the statue came down and appeared pleased by its removal. A crowd also chanted and cheered as the statue of Lee — atop a horse — was lifted into the air by a cranehttps://www.npr.org/2021/09/08/1035004639/virginia-ready-to-remove-massive-robert-e-lee-statue-following-a-year-of-lawsuit
As soon as Joe Biden was installed President, Democrats pushed for a restoration bill as described by Forbes’ Gina Heeb in the piece titled Democrats Push For Reparations Bill, Testing White House Support:
Congressional Democrats renewed their push for a federal study of racial reparations at a committee hearing Wednesday, the latest test of whether President Joe Biden would support compensation to Black Americans for centuries of slavery and systemic racism in the U.S…..
It has garnered the support of more than 170 co-sponsors in Congress, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, who introduced the bill known as H.R. 40, said at the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing
While Cancel Culture is Not a New Construct – It’s Been used to Impose a Different Worldview Stearns fails to tell us that perhaps we failed our history class. Or perhaps we have been plagued with fake historians. People often rewrite history for a number of reasons: money, power, revenge, jealousy and so on. Take for instance the English invention of the Black Legend used to vilify Spain, the Catholic Church and Mixed Race people. Or the lies that Saint Junipero Serra maltreated native Americans. It was quite the opposite
Or take for instance Bill Clinton, Obama and AntiCatholic historians blaming the Catholic Church and the Crusades for Islamic Terrorism. Bill Clinton in a 11/7_2001 speech at Georgetown University, not unlike AntiCatholic historians, blames the Catholic Church and the Crusades for Islamic terrorism!
The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967 requires all “consumer commodities be labeled to disclose net contents, identity of commodity, and name and place of business of the product’s manufacturer, packer, or distributor. .. The Act authorizes additional regulations where necessary to prevent consumer deception”
But much more important than what touches our body is what touches our mind! How about new labeling regulation for mainstream media, high tech and historians?
From NPR’s Nina Totenberg‘s reporting on SCOTUS MaskGate, to the Business Insider/CSPAN claim that Historians ranked President Trump among the worst presidents in US History to the coverage of the Covington Kids, The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial, the Russia Hoax, the censoring of Hunter Biden’s computer and on and on.
But I digress. Perhaps we should study history to avoid making previous mistakes, to use as a general benchmark to show the human spirit can reach the impossible, as seen in the present and to guard against fake historians/
As Carl Young, Assistant Professor of Classics and one of the two professors teaching Hillsdale College’s newest free online course, “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic.” puts it:
As I’ve discovered in my own life, to learn from Rome’s triumphs and disasters is to receive a rich moral and political education. And I think our schools—and we as a nation—would be far better off if we spent more of our time studying the great figures and events from Roman history.
The course explores the great deeds of Romulus, Lucretia, Cato, Scipio Africanus, Cicero, Caesar, and others as well as the virtues that made ancient Rome great and examine the challenges that led to its collapse.”
A worthwhile endeavor, as many books gave been written about the Rise and Fall of America. And considering what is going on around us today, some would say we are rapidly approaching the end of the American Experiment. “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic” is set to be released on March 15. To reserve your spot , click on the link provided: Perhaps we can learn how to avoid the Great Fall.
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