Saturday, December 21, 2013

There and Back Again

Yes, after all these months, I still look like this.

I've had a nine month hiatus and it's time to begin anew. Sometimes life gets in the way of doing what we'd like to do. It's funny that way.

Today, I bumped into one of the last real friends I had in my department at the college where I teach. He's retired now and taught political science courses on world politics and on political conflict. It's a shame that he no longer teaches, as he is one of the "old school" social sciences professors. That means that he hasn't been taken in by the new social sciences obsession with the dogmas of oppression.

What are the "dogmas of oppression" you ask? I'm glad you asked that. This is the current trend in history, political science, sociology, and, of course, all of the "studies" classes that focus nearly all attention on how oppressed one group or another is. Every modern social science text from kindergarten through the end of college preaches this dogma, nearly excluding all other ideas.

For example, in a recent text I reviewed in US history, the chapter containing the 1920s didn't mention the rise of the automobile industry. It didn't mention prohibition. It never mentioned the phrase "The Roaring 20s." It didn't talk about changes to the middle class. It didn't talk about the rise in the film industry. It didn't mention how much radio changed the US.

What did it mention? It talked about how oppressed blacks and women were during the 20s, including a completely inaccurate portrayal of "flappers."

When I teach this period in US history, yes, we talk about the problems all Americans faced. We also talk about W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. We talk about the Harlem Renaissance. We talk about Jane Addams and Susan B. Anthony. And we also find time to talk about cars and movies, business and farming, politics and religion.

In short, what we talk about are the positive and meaningful contributions of the men and women who made history. What we don't talk about is the incessant pessimism of the dogmas of oppression. Yet these dogmas are the only history our children and our young adults are taught. With such a limited view, it's no wonder the next generation understands nothing of the ideals of the US. It's no wonder the next generation has become a generation of ignorant thralls who think "fairness" is government entitlements, who think "equality" is two men getting married, and who think "tolerance" is stamping out dissent.

I miss my friend in the department, and I miss the days when children were taught how to think and not what to think.