Revolutions often begin with disconnecting people from the past. Adolf Hitler understood this. In Mein Kampf Hitler stressed “the importance of winning over and then training the youth in the service ‘of a new national state.’” When an opponent declares, “I will not come over to your side,” he said in a speech on November 6, 1933, “I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already…. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.’”
And on May 1, 1937, Hitler declared, “This new Reich will give its youth to no one but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.”
Consider that the vast majority of our nation’s children are educated by the government. Whatever is in the textbooks, the teachers must teach. Who’s writing the textbooks? Most textbook companies produce their books for two major states, California and Texas, since they have the most students. Textbook writers aren’t going to produce books that California rejects. There’s too much money involved. The less populated states end up purchasing textbooks that are heavily influenced by California educators.
Older adults still have a memory of the past, but as each generation gets on in years, that memory is lost on younger generations if they are not taught the truth about our nation’s past. George Orwell’s 1984 explained it this way: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” He went on to describe the method to wipe clean the history of the past:
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right. I know, of course, that the past is falsified, but it would never be possible for me to prove it, even when I did the falsification myself. After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains. After the thing is done, no evidence ever remains. ((George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949), 156. The quotation can be found on page 195 of this electronic version.))
We can’t let that happen. If schools refuse to teach the truth about the past, it’s up to us to do an end-run around them. We still have freedom of the press, but with all that’s happening today, it too might become a distant memory.
Our textbooks have been rewritten to rewrite the past. It’s been going on for a long time. For example, the erosion of the original intent of Thanksgiving as it was practiced by the colonists and sanctioned by presidents and Congress, can best be illustrated by the way some textbooks handle the subject.
One elementary school social studies book has thirty pages of material “on the Pilgrims, including the first Thanksgiving. But there is not one word (or image) that referred to religion as even a part of the Pilgrims’ life. One mother whose son is in a class using this book wrote . . . that he came home and told her that ‘Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians.’ The mother called the principal of this suburban New York City school to point out that Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims thanked God. The principal responded by saying ‘that was her opinion’ — the schools could only teach what was in the books!” ((Paul C. Vitz, Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1986), 3.))
Grove City College Professor Paul Kengor recalls a conversation he “had with a friend who works in the children’s section at Barnes & Noble” and “regularly briefs [him] on the latest political correctness and rank secularism pervading today’s books.”
She told him that in all the books on Thanksgiving, only one mentioned that God was the one being thanked.
Kengor asked her, “What are they giving thanks to?”“They’re just thankful,” she said vaguely. “They’re simply thankful.”
“Thankful for what?” Kengor asked.
She again emphasized: “They’re just thankful.”
A study by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum “found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms,” and this is after American history and civics classes in high school and college.
Is it any wonder that the foundation of the American Republic is being ripped apart? We shouldn’t be afraid of any part of our nation’s past. The truth, and nothing but the truth is essential in order to move forward. The thing of it is, there are those who are trying to remove the essential elements of our nation’s history that make our ability to make moral judgments impossible.