We’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.
We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.
More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.
The American Founders drew on an astonishingly wide range of historical sources and an appropriately jaundiced view of human nature to craft the world’s most stable and free republic. They invoked lessons learned from the Greek city-states, the Carolingian Dynasty, and the Ottoman Empire in the Constitution’s defense. And they assumed that the new nation’s citizens would themselves be versed in history and political philosophy. Indeed, a closer knowledge among the electorate of Hobbes and the fragility of social order might have prevented the more brazen social experiments that we’ve undergone in recent years. Ignorance of the intellectual trajectory that led to the rule of law and the West’s astounding prosperity puts those achievements at risk.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:
Continue reading “The path of civilization”
[Counter-history’s] function is polemical. [Its] method consists of the systematic exploitation of the adversary’s most trusted sources against their grain — ‘die Geschichte gegen den Strich kommen.’ [Its] aim is the distortion of the adversary’s self-image, of his identity, through the deconstruction of his memory.