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Those Who Don’t Know History…

September 15, 2008

Came across an interesting article over at the National Review this morning about the importance of history and the tragedy of its declining role in education.

Money quote:

That doesn’t mean that lessons should not be drawn from World War II or Vietnam. But it does mean that we should do so within the context of the rest of history. We need the big picture. And that is just what is disappearing from our schools. No wonder, then, that current challenges like the war on terror are forcibly jammed into the mold of the last century’s wars. We simply don’t remember anything else. Could the ancient Roman experience with Jewish extremist terrorism have any lessons for Americans prosecuting a war against Islamic extremism? Could the Hellenistic Greek response to Roman hegemony help us understand European attitudes toward America’s position as the world’s lone superpower? Who knows? Who cares? After all, that’s “ancient history.” The Founding Fathers believed that an education grounded in the Classics (read in Latin!) was an essential foundation for good citizenship. Today that’s just trivia — useful for winning on Jeopardy! — but not much else.

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