Sunday, April 18, 2010

The 60s Bonfire of the Vanities

Peter Hitchens bemoans the self-derisive, politically correct version of history that's being shoved down the throats of kids in the U.K. these days. He blames the mush-brained revisionism on the decade when everything changed (and got all bollixed up):
Can we have our history back?
You know, the story we all used to have by heart, of how our liberties were founded by Magna Carta, of defeating the Armada, of the Civil War, the Restoration, the Glorious Revo­lution and the Golden Age that followed, of victory abroad and peace and prosperity at home?

There’s time enough in later life to find out that the reality is more complicated.

The basics are still true, the tale of an extra­ordinarily lucky country uniquely blessed by geography and nature, developing in two small islands one of the greatest civilisations the world has ever seen, based on individual liberty. Who wouldn’t be proud and pleased to be living in such a place?

And who – knowing these things – wouldn’t instinctively stand and defend those liberties against insolent authority, panic-mongering morons trying to make our flesh creep with exaggerated tales of terror, numbskull Ministers who can’t see why Habeas Corpus matters, wooden-headed coppers who want to be continental gendarmes, demanding our papers?

To be deprived of this knowledge is to be like the beneficiary of a generous will, whose wicked stepfather keeps him from knowing that this document, which could change his life for ever, is locked away in a safe.

I would have liked my own children to learn such proper history, except that by the time I found out the sort of confusing, demoralising trash that passes for history in today’s schools, it was too late.

As I gazed in disgust at the feeble, babyish pamphlets – designed in many cases to undermine the version I was taught – and scraps of photocopied paper which nowa­days do the duty of textbooks, I wondered what had become of the histories I had studied.

They had vanished in some vast ­Sixties bonfire, in many ways as bad as Hitler’s book burnings, part of the great destruction of knowledge and continuity that took place in that accursed decade...
To add my own 2 farthing's worth: My son, who attends a private Jewish school, had three "sections" in Social Studies this year: Canadian aboriginals, mapping and Vikings. Now, I realize the school is fulfilling provincial educational requirements, and no offence to aboriginals or Vikings, but, sorry, I do not get the rationale behind this particular curriculum. It's easy to see, though, that some refugees from the 60s likely had a hand in coming up with it.

No comments: