Friday, October 14, 2016

History

One of the crowning achievements of the public school system is its ability to make the amazing and the fascinating seem dull, pointless, and even downright unpleasant. Its goal is not to educate, not to awaken young minds, nor to open eyes to the expansive vistas of the intellectual landscape.

Rather, public schooling aims to propagandize, to induce malaise, and to blind eyes to truth. Once the wings are clipped and the chains secure, it goes about its task of creating good little voters, workers, taxpayers, and (State) worshipers, to paraphrase Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor.

And so, I was not very old before I was agreeing with Henry Ford that "History is bunk." Whatever Ford meant by it, to me it meant that History was boring and irrelevant. I continued to think that way for over thirty years.

My beliefs about History changed almost overnight several years ago after a friend recommended a podcast by a guy named Dan Carlin, called Hardcore History. Carlin is, in his words a "fan of History," not a historian, but his synthesis of the sources and his presentation are illuminating and exciting in a way I never believed possible. He covers topics ranging in time from the ancient world to approximately the era of World War II.

But, highly entertaining though they are, the chief value of Carlin's work is to chronicle and illustrate the nature of Man and the State, neither of which have changed, ever. Mankind does indeed repeat his foolishness from generation to generation. It is also evident that when men do not remember the past, we will believe just about anything.

I would say that his podcasts have become required listening in our homeschool curriculum, but a requirement hasn't been necessary. The children have been listening to them (and buying them!) on their own. My daughter has enjoyed them so much that she is actually interested in reading History. We have conversations around the dinner table about the Persian Empire, the futility of the world wars, and how the entrance and exit of the Mongols from the world stage follows so closely the biblical pattern of God raising up a nation to accomplish His purposes.

Thanks, Dan, for changing my mind about the importance of studying History.

Monday, October 10, was the anniversary of one of the most important events in the history of Christendom, the Battle of Tours. In 732 AD, Charles Martel halted for good the advance of Islam into Europe. At the Faith and Heritage blog, Clive Sanguis writes that had they not,
There would have been no peaceful Middle Ages, no Reformation, no Western civilization, no colonizing of the New World for Christ, no scientific revolution or artistic treasures. The entire history of the West might have been unrecognizable.
Thirteen centuries later, Christendom only exists in remnants living in quasi-captivity within the pagan legacy of Western Civilization. But, the new Islamic invasion has been underway for well over a decade.

History repeats, but I wonder if it will have a different ending this time.

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