Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Letter to My Class As We Start US History


As we begin another fall semester, once again it's time to remind students of a few things which directly reflects their ability to think for themselves. In our postmodern world, I frequently have to warn students with a bullhorn to step away from from postmodernism before they hurt themselves.

Since most of the students who enter my classes have absolutely no idea what postmodernism is, nor the influence it has on their thinking, I try to point out the basic flaws with the interpretive garbage they've been fed in high school and in college.

Here's part of the announcements that we start with in my class:
In high school and in some college courses, when writing essays, you may have been taught to offer claims (opinions) and then justify your opinions with examples from the text. This is not a good means of coming to an understanding of historical texts. This method is, unfortunately, taught in many high school history books and in the newer high school curriculum. Unfortunately as well, most college textbooks (including our own) fall into the trap of forcing poor interpretations onto the texts without trying to understand the plain meaning. 
This is a very poor way of understanding history. By trying to form opinions, without first understanding the texts, you bring biases to the text which have been taught to you by people who despise history.
Please make an honest effort to understand the meaning of the additional readings texts without bringing your own opinions into their interpretation. You'll find a whole new way of thinking that will open up your mind to what history can actually teach us. I'd much rather you just summarize a text than tell me your opinions about whether you believe it or not. You'll learn more about history if you form opinions about the texts after you've read them, rather than before you read them.
The problem with postmodernism is that its arguments are entirely circular. Students are indoctrinated in its Mysteries at an early age, and so never see the double standards. Postmodernist circular reasoning creates students who have little or no ability to recognize the fallacies of the arguments. It prevents students from understanding sound arguments as well.

So students, as we start another new year, I urge you all to step away from postmodernism before you hurt yourselves.