Who is rewriting history?
Peter Heck - Guest Columnist - 3/29/2010 7:30:00 AM
As both a history teacher and a conservative, I have to admit to being quite amused by the foaming-at-the-mouth reaction liberals have had recently to the Texas Board of Education. It seems that the board has approved changes to the history curriculum adopted for use in the Texas public school system.
The New York Times, ever the beacon of objectivity and fairness, described the changes as, "put[ting] a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks."
The reason I find this situation amusing is because when you look at the actual changes approved for the curriculum, they demonstrate an effort to undo the revisionist, multicultural, politically correct garbage that has overrun American and world history texts for a generation. In other words, the left isn't worried about history being rewritten; they're worried about seeing the history they've already rewritten being restored.
Take, for example, the curriculum surrounding World War II. In history texts today, the liberal narrative is dominant: that the United States interned Japanese citizens because of fear, prejudice and inherent discrimination against a foreign race. The Texas Board of Education has now required that narrative to include the reality that in addition to Japanese, both Germans and Italians living in the United States during World War II were also interned.
Or consider the treatment of "McCarthyism." Liberal academics have long used high school and college history texts to portray this era as the lowest example of anti-communist paranoia run amuck. But the Texas Board has now passed an amendment requiring that any retelling of McCarthyism include "how the later release of the Venona papers [PDF] confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government."
Are these examples of "putting a conservative stamp on history?" No. They're simply telling the truth.
Though it may be inconvenient for the left in trying to carry forth their self-loathing, Americans-as-imperial-racists agenda, we did intern Germans and Italians (the same race) as well as Japanese.
And though it may be inconvenient for the left in trying to portray all conservatives as paranoid freaks who see communists under their beds, the Venona documents of declassified information did reveal that there were indeed multiple examples of Soviet operatives in high-ranking positions of American government.
Other examples abound. The left may prefer that free-market giants Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek be excluded from school curriculum in deference to John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx, but the reality is that the Texas Board is right to include them in American economics courses.
The left may find that teaching the violence inherent in the Black Panther movement hampers their lopsided retelling of the Civil Rights era, but the reality is that the Texas Board is right to tell students the full story.
And not just the full story, but the true story. In what I think was the most illuminating example of what's happening in textbooks today, Mavis B. Knight, a liberal Democrat from Dallas, proposed that the Texas curriculum require students to study why "the founding fathers...barred the government from promoting or disfavoring any particular religion above all others."
The problem with Ms. Knight's proposal is that it's simply not true. As the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives pointed out in 1854 while studying this very subject, "At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, [just] not any one [denomination].... The object was not to substitute Judaism or Mohammedanism, or infidelity, but to prevent rivalry among [Christian denominations] to the exclusion of others....There is a great and very prevalent error on this subject in the opinion that those who organized this Government did not legislate on religion."
An error indeed. An error fabricated and perpetuated by the modern left whose allegiance to telling the truth about our past extends only to those phrases, figures, events or occurrences that fit their own ideological agenda.
Ms. Knight is indicative of what the left has been doing to the history textbooks for a generation. They see the events of the past as mere objects to be manipulated, changed, and rewritten so as to provide a catalyst for the social change they desperately desire.
But don't take my word for it. Their current opposition to the inclusion of factual history that they simply don't like, coupled with their continued insistence on trying to include blatantly false propaganda, reveals all you need to know about who is attempting to "rewrite" the pages of our history.
Peter Heck (firstname.lastname@example.org) hosts a two-hour, daily call-in radio program on WIOU (1350 AM) in Kokomo, Indiana. "The Peter Heck Show" comments on social and political issues -- and doesn't shy away from recognizing how faith influences politics. This column is printed with permission.
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