Revisionist history

An education commission formed by the Trump administration after last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests issued a report this week equating progressive politics with fascism and accusing American educators of brainwashing kids.

The “1776 Report” prepared by the 18-member commission—with no professional historians—called for “patriotic education,” blasting educators for highlighting the nation’s “sins.” The commission decried the notion that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hypocrites for owning slaves, saying that slavery “has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.”

The report, which President Biden plans to rescind, also claimed that the civil rights movement “almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the Founders.” James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, called the report “a hack job” and “cynical politics.”

My comment: My MA (or Special Subject) at university concentrated on American history leading up to the civil war.

History in part is an exercise in understanding how we got where we got. It is also a study of human nature and motivations and how to avoid the mistakes of the past. History is constantly mis-used to present simplistic and misleading narratives to justify current actions by politicians. However, nothing is ever simple and straightforward, which helps make twisting the subtle and complex truth tempting for those who wish us ill.  You can do worse than examine the messages of Hitler and Mussolini.  There are – ahem,! – more contemporary examples. Beware of them and seek the truth yourself.

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