Saturday, January 12, 2008


I’ve always been told by those I perceived as cynics that history is that version of events rewritten to serve the interests of the winners. As a foil to that cynicism I have (perhaps naively) always counted on objective historians and people of good faith to ultimately engage the truth, right those wrongs and bring balance to our world.

In that interim we could always expect to see some folks motivated out of ignorance or political-speak to deny, for example, that the Holocaust ever happened. Needless to say, the evidence in all its myriad forms is overwhelming and any attempt to rewrite history here has been met with an equally aggressive effort to preserve and teach that truth.

This reality, however, has recently been taken to a new level with many apparently dedicated to engaging what is now an extraordinary resurgence of political correctness.

I have always been proud to be a product of the “English education system” witnessed by the practices of the best New England prep schools and my very own Lenox School. Perhaps the best aspects of that system are being preserved in the United States, especially when we hear of some incredibly stupid, irrational educational trends in the UK.

We have recently been advised that there are some UK teachers who are sensitive (even unwilling) to teach students in certain age groups subjects that are considered highly charged, controversial and contrary to what they may be taught at home. For example, some UK schools have opted to teach subjects like the Holocaust in religious, social studies or other venues rather than in history classes.

Despite the fact that the national UK Department of Education and Skills recently took these schools to task assuring everybody that this subject is compulsory and will be taught, it appears that we are, indeed, in the midst of a renewed attempt to rewrite or reprioritize history. The Holocaust and all the other horrors that mankind has chosen to inflict on itself should be raised up in our collective consciousness so that we will never repeat them. These subjects should be taught to all students at all levels.

Should we be surprised to learn this last summer that curriculum advisors to the UK Department of Education and Skills decided that Winston Churchill was now “irrelevant” in school history lessons? That revisionist ban, by the way, also includes Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King. Some have proposed that the removal of numbers from math class is surely the next step? To the credit of the school board, a fight in earnest is now ongoing.

That said, I strongly believe that the folks at the UK schools who suggested these changes or decided to alter their curriculum because of sensitivity to certain groups, namely Muslim, are full of crap and should be censured and lose their licenses and positions. In an open society and an environment of higher education the only standard is the truth, period. Anything less is a totalitarian society like the old Soviet Union or the Catholic Church (before Gutenberg) that refused to teach Latin to the masses for generations understanding that the ability to read unlocked the minds of the populous.

We are now in the midst of those who are trying to again make up or eliminate the past. One journalist recently commented that, “It is beyond brazen to think that one can get away with inventing not only ancient history but what everyone saw and read with their own eyes just a few years ago. And yet sometimes brazenness works.” It appears if you have the stones to offer an alternative history, however absurd, there are those who will embrace whatever you have to offer so long as it promotes their agendas.

It seems that we can’t just depend on the historians anymore. For the most part, they have already done their jobs. In this ratcheted, hyper-extended PC environment where even recent inherent truths are being attacked, it’s going to be up to the rest of us to guarantee that history will not be scrambled or rewritten. We have already seen that in the likes of those who choose not to embrace the truth, rather their own agendas.

If you care, let your voice be heard. God knows, the World needs you now, more than ever.


Ned Buxton

No comments: