Punchinello’s Chronicles

November 14, 2009

History for No Reason or Motivation

Filed under: Word of the Day — Punchinello @ 4:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Remember when you took history classes in high-school? I went through the system back in the 1960s, and what I mostly remember is outlines. We were told to take our history book home, read pages something through something, then outline what we read. It was probably the most stupid set of classes I ever took in school.

When we arrived in class the next day, the teacher would go through an endless list of dates and seemingly tell us why those dates were important. My takeaway from ALL of history, back then, was that it was utterly pointless, totally boring, and meant absolutely nothing whatsoever to my personal life.

Maybe today’s “jobless recovery” is the same thing as “meaningless history?”

Generations of students have learned about history from this perspective, I think. We learn the “what” of history, but excepting from highly unusual teachers, we learn nothing at all about the “why” of events. We’re taught (spoon-fed) events, but never told about motivations. If we happen to get a teacher interested in motives, usually they have to do with the historical figure wanting more stuff — more power, money, land, glory…whatever. Why they want that stuff, nobody knows. It’s a mystery.

But what about motive? WHY should we be learning about history? WHY did the formation of Nazi Germany lead to a world war? WHY are the framers of the Constitution important? How come Jesus got killed? Why is Islam such a big religion? How come so many people are starving in Africa?

More often than not, kids in history classes are told that something happened because someone made it happen. Jesus was killed because the Roman Empire put him on trial, he wasn’t going along with the program, he was found guilty, and Blam!…end of story. Oh…wait…you’re not allowed to teach religion in public schools!

Do you suppose there’s ANY connection whatsoever between the religious aspects of Christianity and today’s headlines in the Middle East? Nah…can’t be. All that past “stuff” just happened. No particular reason, it just accidentally happened. It’s like the Fort Hood shooter who killed so many people by accident. No reason, no motive, nobody knows why he did anything. It’s all a complete mystery, just like most of “history” — as we’re taught the subject.

Some of the key aspects of history, the most fundamental issues the human race has experienced, have to do with the conflict between individual freedom versus centralized authority. WHY did so many nations have slaves? WHY did Rome fall? Yet we apparently never explain to students the motives behind much of anything.

And we never examine any of the “ism” taking place in the wide landscapes of nations rising and falling. That would be “political science,” and everyone knows that we shouldn’t ever teach something like that in school! Why, it would be as dangerous as teaching the basics of economics, for gosh sakes!

How many people today actually understand what’s so bad about socialism? Apparently, very few! Polls are showing that the majority of people in the UK seem to “feel” (operative word) that capitalism is horrible, capitalism has failed, and that capitalism is all about greed.

I wouldn’t be surprised if similar polling results come out of the US. How come? It’s because we’re never taught that socialism, capitalism, fascism, statism, and so forth are the underlying process in history.

We’re never taught that entire nations, societies and empires are organized around a clear political philosophy. W’e’re never taught about those basic philosophies. We’re never taught about the fundamental meaning of religions or moral systems and how they relate to the countries and dates of history.

Ask your kids or whatever kids you happen to have around you if they know anything about what’s wrong with socialism. Ask them how come China’s organization (of government) isn’t all that great. Ask them how come the Soviet Union collapsed.

Don’t get involved in when these things may have taken place. It’s not important. But ask these kids WHY all this “stuff” happened. Then consider the ramifications of having 50 years of public education that either ignores or actively hides these motives and reasons.

When we have national administration leaders telling us that Chairman Mao is a “great philosopher,” we’re in major, major trouble! When we have large numbers of people who believe that either the Holocaust never happened, or if it did happen, it wasn’t “all that bad,” we’re in trouble! Most importantly, when few people can understand what’s so bad about socialism, then you can count on the fact that America will likely vote to become a socialist nation.

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