The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
I'm 31 and I promise we are not all that bad. Not by a long shot.
I horrified a woman who wasn't getting what I talked about in an internet discussion. She was making some sort of noise about Japan not being all that bad. A few photos from Nanking sent her packing.
I don't think I quite explained the point in sufficient detail however.
30 years old, and a historian for the Air Force. I have no clue how someone can get to this age without understanding these things, but on the other hand I have a rather limited knowledge of reality TV celebrities, sports statistics, and smartphone models...
If it makes you feel any better (and it surely does not help me, so take it for what it is worth), I am three years that female's younger, and I have a very comprehensive understanding of both Nazi Germany and Pearl Harbor.
But, then, I was raised in a military family, homeschooled for my middle school years, and sent to a Roman Catholic high school, so I am probably not representative of the norm.
However, even assuming that 31-year-old is the low end of the spectrum... *twitch*
How? I mean, opposite ends of the spectrum, obviously, but to me, not knowing who Adolf Hitler is is on par with never having heard of Jesus Christ or George Washington. It's just a slightly relevant portion of Western History. I'm only 33, and I'm pretty confident we covered that, even in New Mexico public schools (ranked 49th in the nation!) unless I just happened to pick it up afterwards.
Or perhaps, as Linoge says, it comes from having been an Nth gen military brat. (I've got g'g'g'g'g'g'grandfathers who fought [on the right side :D] in the Revolutionary War.) Of course, if you say you actually had to explain Pearl Harbor to your daughter, that makes you a primary source, so I guess my agog has to be tempered by the fact that it's reality. :(
Heck, I'm 21, and I know who he is.
However, I am also English. It's a little harder to miss it around here!
Thank the nea and the dhimmicraps...
BOTH parties are at fault. They BOTH like having an ignorant electorate.
So she never learned in school who Adolf Hitler was and what he did, or about Pearl Harbor, or any of that. It's okay, it's not a big deal.
She learned how to "think critically", so the lack of that information doesn't matter. She can learn all she needs to know about Hitler at any time from Oliver Stone or somebody, right?
I'm also 31, and you know me!
And you're no Hilter!
When I was in high school about 20 years ago, they didn't teach any history more recent than the Civil War, as I recall. I didn't know anything about the Spanish American war except that there was such a thing, until I started reading on TR. Everything I knew about WW2 came from popular culture and those I knew who were alive then, until I took a class on it in college.
Those of us who DO study history are doomed to watch everyone else repeat it.
Mostly because they fall for the same delusions and tricks that suckered some previous society into going stark raving batshit fucking insane.
As you've said before, there's been a deliberate effort over the last years to try to make sure people do NOT know American history and world history EXCEPT as it serves the PC line.
In high school daughter, during a lecture on the Revolutionary War, brought up Murphy's shot at the Battle of Saratoga; teacher said "Never heard of that, unless there's documentation I don't think so." So she called me that evening and asked about it, and since I still that that copy of Muzzle Blasts(sometimes being a packrat isn't such a bad thing) I dug it out for her. Very good article, lots of footnotes and references. She took it to class, teacher looked it over and basically said "Since I didn't know about it and this isn't a proper educational source, it doesn't count" and dismissed it. It wasn't an 'approved' source and he didn't like it, so...
Guest is 31,
Dan P is 30,
Linoge is 28,
Damn! My weekend is off to a good start! Young adults like these following a blog like Kevin's, and having a knowledge of history, there's hope for us all yet.
I'm 57. My grandfather was born in 1895. My father was born in 1917, during WW I. My father and my mother were married just after he returned from WW II, having served in North Africa, Sicily, England, France, Belguim, Luxembourg, and Germany. I was born in 1953, nine months after he returned from serving in Korea during the Korean war. He died while enrolled in the US Army Command and General Staff School. I just missed serving in Viet Nam. I helped (very, very slightly) in the development of weapons that were used in Desert Storm.
Yet NOTHING about this century was taught in any of the history classes that I had through twelve years of public school and four years of university. My family lived it, yet there are young people today who are not aware that there WAS history.
You might have hope, tkdkerry, but I have damned little.
Well, hopefully at least she knows who Aristotle was...
My grandfather, who served in WWII, showed me a book about the concentration camps when I was about 9 or 10, and explained to me just exactly what we were fighting. I can recall the pictures of the victims in that book as vividly today as the day I saw them. I learned about the war from both him and my father, as well as seeking it out for myself. None of this was learned in school.
My family moved a lot when I was a kid.
I learned about the Revolutionary War in elementray school in Virginia. I learned about Lewis and Clark, Custer and Fetterman, Red Cloud and Geronimo in middle school in Utah. I learned about the political and colonial dance between the English, the Spanish and the French around the Gulf of Mexico, the Seminole and the Karankawa, La Salle and La Fitte, in high school in Texas.
So I already considered myself extraordinarily lucky when it came to having a chance to learn history. And then I got to learn about WWII from my best friend's dad, who had the coolest t-shirt I have ever seen in my life.
On the front, a picture of Adolf himself. Above and below, in heavy gothic lettering, "Adolf Hitler, World Tour 1939-1945".
On the back, 'concert dates'. As you go down the list, you start to see "London - Cancelled", "Moscow - Cancelled", "Washington DC - Cancelled", until finally you get to the very bottom of the list: "Live at The Bunker, Berlin - SOLD OUT".
It was very cool hearing about it from someone who had "made the tour". Every time I saw that shirt I wanted to laugh and cry both at once.
*cackles* Okay, I'm not sure that shirt is in good taste... but it is funny, in a black-humor kind of way 8-)
I'm quite certain that it was not in good taste. That was part of its charm.
Thirty-one year old not knowing about Hitler and concentration camps is pretty bad, but can you imagine the kind of insular environment that produces high school students who have never even heard of al Qaeda? Stuff that happened after they were born?
Man: I can only look at the evidence that I see. Al Qaeda took credit for driving planes into the World Trade Center.
Girl on right: [Starts laughing]
Boy off-camera: Al Qaeda?
Man: True or not true?
Boy off-camera: Al ... Kay-da?
Man: Al Qaeda.
Boy off-camera: [with a mocking tone] Al Kayda.
I just finished reading through Sarah's link. (Both pages.) Here's the best sentence in the whole thing:
"You can't reason someone out of a position they were never reasoned into to begin with."
I went over to AR-15 and read more of that thread. In the process, I came across this comment, which I think is worth sharing:
"The average person is pretty ignorant, and this applies to many who have gone through more modern and recent advanced schooling. I found it interesting talking to a guy in his 80s who had a Master's and was a professor of history. He said that the coursework required to get his high school diploma was more difficult and required much more thinking than what most colleges require now to get a Bachelor's Degree outside of very technical fields. He also got his Master's fairly recently and said aside from more work from a physical perspective it was not harder to get than the Bachelor's degree he got in the late 1930s. Standards seem to have dropped precipitously in the last century. Heck, just look at the English curriculum from the 8th grade around the turn of the 19th century and compare it to today's college level English 101. The 8th grade course from back then is more thorugh, advanced, and difficult, and that's just pon the grammar and spelling portion.
I actually wrote a paper on this and I think that part of the problem is that we go to school more for the certification because a job requires and just do whatever steps we have to to get there if we can and pay the required monies if necessary. Education has also in many cases stopped being about discovering Truth, which is the key to genuine knowledge. Rather, the focus seems to be more on facts or the sum of all facts and not much more, and that will only get you so far and is easily perishable in the mind. I actually think this is the bigger problem.
Just look at how an important figure might be addressed. Let's say Niccolo Machiavelli gets brought up in a lesson. Most of the time all you will be taught or just expected to know (with or without being told it directly) is his name, where he was from, that he wrote "The Prince," what his title or job was, and when he was born and died. Knowig this is pretty much next to worthless. You haven't learned anything from being able to recite these things. What is important and what is only addressed by the best of instructors when and where they can is what the significance of his work was, how it impacted rulers and history, how it affected ideas regarding governance and politics, and what the philosophical or other origins of his writing are and how they are significant and impacted the contemporaries of Machiavelli; it is also good to know how he can be applied to day and his influence and presence (intellectually and practically speaking) in today's world. The other facts are only needed to help put these things into context.
With the holocaust, I have never seen it addrssed for more than a couple of weeks and you only are taught that it happened, that Hitler was behind it as well as the Nazis, that it was in the context of a world war, when it took place and where, and who the targets were and who and how many people died. You learn that it was bad. You learn about some girl named Anne Frank and that she wrote a diary and you read some parts of it. Outside of that it is not approached very much. It leaves the student with nothing to really give it significance, without an ability to understand why it happened and thus no ability to understand ways to prevent it from happening again in a political context, and without understanding the impact of those events upo history. It just becomes a small set of facts easily dwarfed by all the others you are told and required to kow that one can easily forget about it, especially when it has no apparent application anywhere in their later life. Given this and the fact that most people, at least three quarters, are not really all that bright and often could care less about history, it is not surprising to me at all that many people would be so ignorant, even someone with a Master's degree.
If you want a real education you really have to take it upon yourself. The schools for the most part will not give it to you. I learned far more in independent studies on my own time than I ahve learned in all of my formal schooling combined."
I think he really nailed it about learning a series of basic facts without any context or meaning of those facts.
So, where's the idiot fuckwit, bravely defending the woooonderful institution of education that we all deride on an almost daily basis around here?
BTW, I felt kinda...OLD when I saw tkdkerry's posting of some of the ages of our frequent posters. Damn.
Fuckwittery in the comments to this post.
Not necessarily all that new, alas, I think it goes back to the Fifties or earlier. In a discussion with another person at work (he occasionally proclaimed/yelled "I am DUTCH, not DEUTSCH!" if anyone noted his "German" accent) I happened to mention the Hanseatic League - which shocked him, he did not think any Americans had ever heard of it. Asking around later, I discovered only two of us USA-born citizens - both graduated High School in the early Sixties - had.
The Hanseatic League (very simplified) was a conglomeration of trading states (and free cities) along the northern European coast. I thought everyone knew that.
Then again, some of us probably played too much AD&D when we were kids. i think you could learn more history just by reading the 1st edition Dungeon Masters guide than in 2 or 3 college courses.
32 here. My grasp of history is pretty firm, on both the Texas and U.S. levels, and I went through public schools. Of course, I've always been a bit of a history buff...my fascination with the weapons of wars past has gone in all kinds of directions.
I am shocked, but for a different reason. I am surprised that her school didnt wallow in the Holocaust with touchy-feely "experiences" and projects.
Saying "I'm 25 and I know who Hilter was" feels like saying "I'm 25 and I can do sums!" I attended public schools, but I suspect I learned about this bit of history from my family. My paternal grandparents lived through the London Blitz and my maternal grandfather was a Marine in the Pacific Theater.
Having been required to attend "Math for Welders" on my way to certification in that art, where the first week covered addition and subtraction, and multiplication and division didn't come until week two, apparently it's not that astonishing of a bar anymore.
Having taken (and passed, I suppose I should add) college calculus at that point, I wept on attendance, until I was able to churn the bureaucracy enough to test out of the class.
Good grief. And to think I used to shake my head at people that didn't know who Blackjack Pershing was.
Saying "I'm 25 and I know who Hilter was" feels like saying "I'm 25 and I can do sums!"
Reminds me of Chris Rock's rant in Bring the Pain:
..."I take care of my kids."
You're supposed to, you dumb mother******! What kind of ignorant sh*t is that?
"I ain't never been to jail!"
What do you want, a cookie?! You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having mother******!
My kids are in the public "schools", and we've spent considerable time teaching them what we think they should know and unteaching them some of the nonsense they've been exposed to. You know where they got their best civics courses? Just guess...
Oddly enough, I recognize some of the books they use from when I was in high school. I was fortunate enough to attend a highly-ranked public high school where we were expected to learn it the old-fashioned way. We used those books in our civics classes. (Yes, it was still called "civics" in that system.) This was in the late 70s.
Despair is a sin, but it's getting harder and harder not to sin these days.
Considering that my Great Grampa was two steps ahead of the Italian police's arrest warrant for being a labor organizer, we got a lot of education in what Fascism was. One of my best friends growing up's grampa was a truck driver in WW2 in Germany, he told stories of when they delivered to the camps.
I almost ask what country did those kids grow up in...
The oddest moment about it for me was while playing pen and paper role playing games. It was a historically based WW2 (with magic and demons). Several players accepted magic and demons out of hand but had to be shown in history texts that some of what I was describing was real-world.
I'm 35, and my BA is in History. My favorite prof served in the Pacific during WWII. Just for shits and giggles I took his 100 level American History course.
I honestly don't remember him discussing Hitler, but we sure covered Guam and Guadacanal to death.
He also had a "You go learn about Vietnam on your own. You're not trapping me in that discussion" policy that he kept intact for 25 years.
Everybody knows that Pearl Harbor is the place we didn't give up after the Germans bombed it.