2 Articles on the Politicization of History

I have been linking to several essays at Law and Liberty lately, and today I have two more. For cultural critique and political commentary from an informed historical perspective, there are few better sources. They have a daily newsletter that I highly recommend as well.

Today, Greg Weiner writes about new California state university curriculum requirements. The state is mandating indoctrination in progressive nonsense under the guise of legitimate history. When the teaching of history is attached to a political agenda, truth is often the first victim. Weiner writes,

More broadly, the problem with the curriculum is not its political imbalance. Were that the case, the solution would be to balance it with other perspectives. The real problem is that it is politicized in the first place.

Also, last week, Richard M. Gamble reviewed Thomas Ricks’ First Principles, a new book about the intellectual sources of the founders of the United States. Gamble’s review is exceptional in modeling historical thinking. He notes the complexity of history as well as the difficulty of capturing a different age and communicating the ideas of that age to a generation that thinks from drastically different assumptions about the world. In short, Gamble believes that Ricks’ book falls short in these areas. In fact, Gamble critiques Ricks for his inability to remove his own political blinders from his narrative about the founders. By Ricks’ telling, the founders come across as early proponents of innovation, but Gamble does not believe the founders would own such a label. Gamble’s conclusion:

It is difficult now for a generation not educated in the way the Founders were to understand them. If we do not even ask the questions they asked—about human nature, power, liberty, self-government, debt and taxes, and empire—can we truly know them at all let alone learn from them? Ricks ends with an appeal to his readers to “know your history.” That advice is needed now more than ever. First Principles is a missed opportunity to confront a new generation with the potential for recovery and renewal lying ready for us in some of our most ancient political and moral wisdom.

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