November 27, 2006

Dwelling on the past

No Thanks to ThanksgivingIn the United States, we hear constantly about the deep wisdom of the founding fathers, the adventurous spirit of the early explorers, the gritty determination of those who "settled" the country--and about how crucial it is for children to learn these things.

But when one brings into historical discussions any facts and interpretations that contest the celebratory story and make people uncomfortable--such as the genocide of indigenous people as the foundational act in the creation of the United States--suddenly the value of history drops precipitously and one is asked, "Why do you insist on dwelling on the past?"

This is the mark of a well-disciplined intellectual class--one that can extol the importance of knowing history for contemporary citizenship and, at the same time, argue that we shouldn't spend too much time thinking about history.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
So, there really is a difference between dwelling in the past and dwelling on the past, or so it would seem.
writerfella just loves it when ostensibly educated people encounter thoughts not entertained in their philosophies. Or as that much-quoted loquacious anonymous soul has put it, "To become educated is to move from cocksure ignorance to informed uncertainty."
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'