Missed this editorial yesterday, probably because it was in the LA Times which I find incredible:
Not knowing history is worse than ignorance of math, literature or almost anything else. Ignorance of history is undermining Western society’s ability to talk straight and think straight. Parents must attack the problem by teaching their own children the facts. Only fools would rely on the schools.
Ignorance of history destroys our judgment. Consider Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill), who just compared the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Stalin’s gulag and to the death camps of Hitler and Pol Pot ? an astonishing, obscene piece of ignorance. Between 15 million and 30 million people died from 1918 through 1956 in the prisons and labor camps of the Soviet gulag. Historian Robert Conquest gives some facts. A prisoner at the Kholodnaya Gora prison had to stuff his ears with bread before sleeping on account of the shrieks of women being interrogated. At the Kolyma in Siberia, inmates labored through 12-hour days in cheap canvas shoes, on almost no food, in temperatures that could go to minus-58. At one camp, 1,300 of 3,000 inmates died in one year.
“Gulag” must not go the way of “Nazi” and become virtually meaningless. Europeans love calling Israelis “Nazis” ? a transparent attempt to slough off their guilt like rattlesnakes shedding skin. (“See, the Jews are as bad as we were!”) I’d like to ban the word “Nazi” except when applied to ? Nazis. Lawbreakers would be ordered to learn what Nazi actually means.
I was amazed to hear about teenagers who don’t know Fact 1 about the Vietnam War draft. But I have met college students who have never heard of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ? the genocidal monsters who treated Cambodia in the 1970s to a Marxist nightmare unequaled in its bestiality since World War II.
To forget your own history is (literally) to forget your identity. By teaching ideology instead of facts, our schools are erasing the nation’s collective memory. As a result, some “expert” can go on TV and announce (20 minutes into the fighting) that Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever “is the new Vietnam” ? and young people can’t tell he is talking drivel.
I didn’t copy the whole thing so visit the site and read it, it’s well worth it.
I find it equally amazing as the author at the ignorance our kids, and many adults have about history. To attempt to call Iraq another Vietnam is ludicrous, and they would realize this if they knew the first thing about that era in history. Equally ludicrous is the attempt to compare Gitmo to the Soviet Gulag’s or Pol Pot….it’s just amazing that someone is even attempting to compare the two. But I guess that is the state of education in our Country.