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There is No Future Without Remembering Our Past

What kind of future do we have if we destroy our past?

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We all watched in horror this past summer as radical leftists and anarchists tore down our statues, those monuments that help us remember our past and our history. They are also working overtime to remove true American history from our schools. Why would they do that? What are the ramifications? Simply put, they must destroy our actual past so they can create a fabricated past – one that allows them to use it as a foundation for a radical takeover of America.

PragerU recently released a video by social critic Douglas Murray and he explains what is happening and why in this thought-provoking video (transcript of the video is below). Watch here:

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Transcript:

What kind of future do we have if we destroy our past?

Has anyone who has pulled down a statue of Churchill, Lincoln, or Columbus thought to ask themselves this question?

I doubt it.

The presumption that we can stand in perfect judgment over the lives of historical figures is not merely foolish and unfair, it’s dangerous.

Consider what the statue destroyers are, in effect, saying.

They are saying that people in history should have known what we know.

That’s tantamount to saying, they should have known the future.

This is, of course, absurd.

Yet more and more, people believe it.

Why?

Simple.

It’s what they are taught.

It is the fruit of an education system that long ago prioritized “empathy” over facts; that believes the ultimate point of history is not to learn lessons from it, but to judge it from the pre-ordained left-wing conclusions about such ill-defined concepts as social justice, equity, and tolerance.

Apart from breeding ignorance, this kind of education invites the student (the child, really) to be judge, jury, and executioner over issues that they (and increasingly their teachers) know little or nothing about.

Because no one has bothered to teach them the nuance, complexity, and context that is history.

It also breeds arrogance:

“I know things these people did not know. Therefore, I am better than they were. They have nothing to teach me. In fact, I must teach them.”

And down comes the statue.

A new, “better” history must take the place of the old one.

In America this impulse has culminated in The 1619 Project — an initiative started by The New York Times and now in schools everywhere — which attempts to make the arrival of the first African slaves into the American colonies the foundational date of the American republic.

1776? The American Revolution? In the new history that was just about protecting the Founders’ slave interests. These men — some of the most remarkable humans to have lived at any time — are to be understood simply by their attitude toward this one issue.

The 1619 Project seeks to portray America — the freest, most prosperous nation in world history — as exceptional only in one respect: insofar as being exceptionally bad.

This is a purposefully destructive view of history. It is one intended to pull down rather than build up.

A healthy, humane, and – in the truest sense – liberal mind does not view history as a mere playpen for our moral judgment. It recognizes that people in the past acted on the information they had, just as we do today.

Sure, it would have been nice if the Founders of America had abolished slavery in its Constitution. Some, in fact, tried very hard to do so. But had they been unwilling to compromise, there would be no Constitution and no United States. All the sacrifices of the Revolution would have been lost. So, a compromise balancing the interests of the northern states and the southern states was reached.

It would have been nice if the Japanese had surrendered before atom bombs were dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but they didn’t. President Truman had to make his decision based on the information he had at the time — that an Allied invasion of the Japanese home island would cost at least a million lives, both American and Japanese.

Of course, the woke mind abhors these subtleties. It knows that it is right and that everybody before our current age — year zero — should have known better. Anyway, they were all bigots. Why should we give them any benefit of the doubt, let alone admire them or learn from them?

Well, maybe because, like everyone else, the great figures of the past did the best they could under the circumstances in which they found themselves. That their efforts largely succeeded is why we are here.

When someone tried to give Sir Isaac Newton credit for his world-changing discoveries in physics, the great man demurred. He said he was only able to achieve what he did by standing on the shoulders of the “giants” who went before him.

Today’s Left rejects Newton’s humility. It doesn’t believe that we stand on anyone’s shoulders. It imagines that if we could only liberate ourselves from the dusty, misguided, and misinformed ideas of the past then we might see further, fly still higher.

This view is wrong.

Divorced from our past we would be utterly lost. We would not rise but plummet. We would be forced to start again with far less insight, and with far poorer examples as our guides.

Ironically, thanks to the statue destroyers, the great figures of the past have never looked greater.

I’m Douglas Murray, author of The Madness of Crowds, for Prager University.

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Politics

What’s This Fuss About Conservatives Not Joining the Left in Cheering for Ukraine?

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At first glance, most of us thought Russia was out of line invading Ukraine. But then some leading conservatives started questioning things. They got sick of the Democratic-controlled government and MSM whitewashing history and not explaining to the American public how the war came about. We just got out of three years of COVID-19 misinformation, so bad that it probably led to the needless deaths of conservatives overreacting in disgust to the misinformation, so we’re highly skeptical right now of being told how to think. 

 

But the MSM then turned the right’s skepticism around on them and made them look like they supported Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is something completely different. They cherry picked statements by conservative leaders in order to do this.

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In a segment entitled, “Our leaders are lying about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and it’s insulting,”  top conservative Tucker Carlson said, “They’re forcing the entire American population to mouth childish slogans about good versus evil. It’s insulting, but worse, it’s not helpful.” 

 

He suggested looking to leading UK conservative Nigel Farage to understand the skepticism. Farage warned eight years ago not to provoke Putin, “the moral of the story is if you poke the Russian bear with a stick, don’t be surprised when he reacts.” Farage criticized the European Union’s expansion — and why not, conservatives have warned against a one-world government for years. He said encouraging Ukraine to join NATO, combined with NATO conducting joint exercises in Ukraine, needlessly provoked Putin. Bombing Libya —which many believe was a mistake now — and arming the rebels in Syria exacerbated the pressure. Farage pointed out the moral relativity involved, it’s not all black and white, “in the war against Islamic extremism, Vladimir Putin … is actually on our side.” 

The Biden administration has been a disaster so far, from the bloody withdrawal from Afghanistan to record inflation and now the Russia-Ukraine war. So Democrat hacks are desperately spinning to look good, forced to defend their actions under President Barack Obama that deliberately antagonized Putin, bringing this on. They’re spinning Carlson’s remarks, especially his obviously sarcastic ones, into making him look like he supports Putin, which isn’t accurate. And they conveniently leave out the fact the Democrats stand to benefit financially from a war in Ukraine. 

 

So far, the Biden administration is doing almost exactly what Carlson advises (Carlson merely seems a little more hesitant about some of the sanctions)  — not getting involved militarily to stop Putin, since the ramifications could drag us into another Vietnam War, or at best, another Iraq War.

 

Sen. Rand Paul was criticized for questioning giving Ukraine financial aid, but that’s because he’s one of the biggest fiscal hawks in Congress, concerned about “taxpayers who are struggling to buy gas, groceries and find baby formula.” Trump said the invasion was “genius,” but that’s not the same as agreeing with it. 

 

A lot of the quibbling gets into the minutiae. Some on the right point out that Ukraine is not a democracy, then get slammed for pointing that out as if they’re on Russia’s side. Well according to ratings and rankings of how democratic countries are, Ukraine’s scores are mediocre. The  Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2021 rankings place Ukraine at 86th in the world, tied with Mexico, in a section of countries described as “hybrid regimes” due to their authoritarian leanings. Russia is ranked 124, in the authoritarian section.

 

Where is the questioning of the left’s motives? They jeered at the right for many years for being too interventionist, accused conservatives of trying to make the U.S. the world’s police. Now they’re doing exactly what they accused us of with a straight face; they’ve become more interventionist than the right. Biden said Putin is a war criminal who needs to be removed from office. So where were they defending the U.S. in Vietnam and Iraq? 

 

It’s surreal watching them condemn the type of statements some on the right are saying that they themselves said about Vietnam. Former Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a conservative Democrat, has been slammed for asking on Carlson’s show, “Are we prepared to see our loved ones burn alive in a nuclear holocaust in a war with Russia over Ukraine?”

 

Evangelicals, who generally represent the conservative base, support Ukraine over Russia in similar numbers to the general population. This is more evidence some of our conservative leaders are deliberately being misinterpreted by the MSM.

 

Amost no one supports Russian troops murdering thousands of Ukrainians. It all comes down to the Democrats cleverly twisting the words of prominent Republicans. During CPAC this year, a plane flew overhead with a banner stating “Putin Welcomes CPAC to Orlando.” Tellingly, it didn’t come from the right; a Democratic political action committee paid for the banner in order to spin the false mantra. 

 

The Democrats are attacking the right for doing what we do, fully analyzing all aspects of a political issue. Unlike them, we value the freedom to think for ourselves and do not enjoy being told by the government and MSM how to think monolithically. 

 

Look at our conflicted history with Afghanistan. The U.S. supported the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s against the Soviet Union, which enabled the Taliban takeover in the 1990s. But that switched after 9/11, and we worked with NATO and the Northern Alliance to topple the Taliban regime in 2001.  

 

The Democrats are trying to deflect from the fact Putin is not afraid of Biden, so Biden is ineffective at bringing the war to a close. Many believe if Trump had been in office, Putin would have never dared to invade Ukraine. They had “detente,” a word the MSM will never bring up now, but what effectively worked under President Ronald Reagan in dealing with the Soviets. Putin held a begrudging respect toward Trump, and was secretly terrified that if he pushed him too hard, Trump would hit back hard. The real question people should be asking is why have the Democrats decided to do a 180 on interventionism for this war. 

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Education

Academic Underachievement As a Permanent Condition

Academic achievement occurs through individual effort: One boy and one girl after another rising above

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On the state and local level, as decisions are made about how and in what form we will educate the nation’s children, an age-old issue remains. The underlying causes of income inequality and civil unrest likely has less to do with media-inflamed coverage and more to do with a lingering issue that few people want to earnestly discuss: educational disparity.

In virtually every U.S. school system, the disparity year after year, decade after decade, and even longer, in mathematics competency, reading proficiency, test scores, honor roll status, and graduation rates, between African American students and other students is disturbing.

A Disturbing Reality

Here in the third decade of the third millennium, with a male African American high school dropout rate at 40% across the U.S., can anyone view the situation optimistically? Any responsible American would understandably be concerned.

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As Eric Hanushek, who is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, exclaimed “It’s remarkable.” Following his extensive analysis of the situation, he remarked, “I knew that the gap hadn’t been closing too much, but when I actually looked at the data I was myself surprised.”

In one community after another, and one school system after another, when strenuous efforts to bridge the gap do not bear fruit, invariably someone yells “foul,” as if some grand conspiracy is occurring and a magic wand, yet to be waved, could suddenly redress all. And, as if hard-working, dedicated teachers are not attempting their utmost for each of their students.

An Undesired Path

Consider the school system in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. This locale, deemed, “The southern part of heaven,” by a variety of writers, is among the most progressive in the United States. The teachers and educators here have a vested interest in demonstrating that their school system, beyond all others, can succeed in the vital area of closing achievement gaps between whites and minorities.

Nevertheless, year in and year out the gap remains. So, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education becomes primed to try anything! Another in an endless line of supposed “fixes” was to eliminate the advanced math classes in the middle schools and to lump all non-pre-algebra students together, with similar plans to eliminate other advanced classes such as in language arts.

Just as you cannot easily erect a sound building on quicksand, and you cannot expect to solve a decades-old problem by starting with a shaky foundation. Taking a lowest common denominator approach to developing school curriculum has never consistently worked, anywhere. It frustrates the students and dramatically increases a teacher’s burden – all such students must then be taught at individual learning speeds. Do you know any superhuman teachers? If so, could you afford them?

Face the Real Issues

Permanently closing the academic gap between underachieving students and the rest of the student population requires addressing reality – airing the truth about the disparity – not resorting to politically “correct” psychobabble and curricula finagling for another ten years, and then another ten, and then another.

This disparity encompasses such issues as the number of hours the television is on in given households, family or parental encouragement for completing homework assignments, a regular workspace, and established hours for studying in a quiet environment, among other factors.

Until solid analysis, exploration, and programs that address these issues are undertaken, no amount of wrangling with classes will prove to be the “winning formula.” And, school boards will have no chance of effectively addressing the continuing problem of poor academic performance among student groups.

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story The Sign of Four, detective Sherlock Holmes says, “…When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The schools in U.S. communities routinely exhaust talented teachers with a task that cannot be solved by them, nor is it theirs to solve.

Students Eager to Learn

However improbable to those who wish to pretend otherwise, academic achievement occurs through individual effort: One boy and one girl after another rising above and cracking the books, then coming to class as serious students, eager to learn, and primed to excel. Such achievement is not likely to occur any other way.

Otherwise, expect that income inequality and civil unrest will continue for decades into the 21st century.

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