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Friday, 31 March 2017

History and Historical Ignorance

1617 Pardon of Sir Walter Raleigh Folger Shakespeare Library
Recently, I was glancing through the National Post when I stumbled upon Lord Conrad Black responding to a Dr. Sussman from Western University. Who accused Black of being an apologist for Christianity and accused him of diminishing the historical crimes of Christians. The response from Black was driven by the accusation by Sussman that Nazi crimes were driven and sanctioned by Christianity.

Obviously, this is an odious comparison and cannot be compared to modern day Islamic Jihadism, but it raises a larger point. 

Historical literacy in Canada is very poor. For example, a professor I am familiar with is working to establish the Alberta High School Social studies curriculum (it's sad enough we don't have a public school history program instead it's mixed with an odious "Social Studies") He is the only non-teacher on this board and is fighting for a basic factual education in the high schools. Meanwhile, the teachers are arguing for "concept" based thinking and "thinking strategies" rather than content. Yet, without content, how can you A) connect facts and causality, and B) contextualize the world around you. 

People with no historical literacy cannot explain the religious strife in the former Yugoslavia and the ethnic and religious violence there; they cannot understand why our parliament's executive is formed the way it is, or why the written constitution is so malevolent when applied to a Westminster and Common Law system of government and jurisprudence; nor can they understand facts like that Islamic slavery was much more abundant that slavery in the Christian world and lasted much longer; or that the Boer "concentration camps" where in no way like the concentration camps that emerged in the former Nazi Germany. 

These are just some examples of the basic problems of historical literacy. This does not also include the fact that when we teach people "conceptual" and "critical thinking" it is too often teach them to tear apart the world around them without actually instructing them on how to rebuild the civilizational, intellectual, and ethical foundations of the world around them. 

This problem can be traced to other problems with the education of teachers in this country. The idea that education in Alberta does not require a specific degree in the discipline to be instructed, but only a rudimentary Education Degree is a horrific oversight, that does children in this country a grave disservice. 

Just a thought. 

Btw the teachers in training I've met are fools and relatively unintelligent, and studies on college majors by IQ bears this out. Education students eg) future teachers average a 10-15 point difference between other college majors. Further evidence for the fact that teachers aren't the brightest. It's U.S data, but still pertinent.