So our educational system has, I’m mixing metaphors wildly here, force-fed us historical amnesia. And when you do not know your own history, let alone world history, you are prey to demagogues.
Read Part One here
EXCLUSIVE–OBAMA’S REIGN OF ERROR: HOW AMERICA LOST ITS WAY AND IS LOSING THE WAR AGAINST JIHAD (PART 2)
Ralph Peters, the iconoclastic author and military strategist, has been very vocal of late regarding US national security policy and the growth of the global jihadist movement. A former US Army intelligence officer and enlisted man, he is a prolific and very successful author of over thirty works of both fiction and non-fiction, including the essay anthology Lines of Fire: A Renegade Writes on Strategy, Intelligence and Security. Breitbart’s national security editor Sebastian Gorka spoke to the author about the current threats to the Republic and what should be done about them. Here is the second part of the three-part interview; part one is available here.
BREITBART: Let’s zoom out from the officer corps and the military and look at the populace and its attitudes to national security. One of the very peculiar experiences I’ve had since I’ve come on board as the National Security Editor for Breitbart is the often striking lack of depth amongst the conservative population on matters of national security. If anybody makes even a slightly muscular noise about the need for America to do something about an issue, you’re instantly tarred with being a Crypto-Neocon. And then the other option is to be a Ron Paul/Rand Paul “non-interventionist.” All too often, if you look at the comments pages and the reader discussions, the two options Americans seem to have are to be imperialist neocons or naïve isolationists. What do you put this down to? Why is there such a lack of depth in the general discussion given the fact that the Right, the conservatives, were always the home for national security discussion, for strong pro-military attitudes, far more than the Democrats in the last 30 years? What happened? Is this simply blowback from Iraq and Afghanistan?
PETERS: It’s only superficially blowback from Iraq and Afghanistan. It goes much deeper.
I would say a crucial problem is that the conservatives over the last two to three generations turned the education system over to the Left. I mean, people self-segregate, conservatives self-segregated in the business world or the military, and the Left has self-segregated in education, and the result was changes in the curriculum that essentially took history and civics out, except for the most vanilla version of things. You may not like it, but Robert E. Lee had a greater influence on American history than Sojourner Truth did. There’s just no way of getting around it, but our children are much more apt to be taught about an idealized Sojourner Truth than about Robert E. Lee, or Ulysses S. Grant, or Andrew Jackson, or Teddy Roosevelt. The result is that there are today Ivy League-educated young Americans who have no sense of our history, let alone world history.
Also in the interest of protecting our children, we’ve dumbed down children’s literature. When I was growing up in the United States, you could buy history books specifically for kids. If I were citing the ten most influential books in my entire life, right behind the Bible – not as a religious text, but as a guide to human behavior, by the way – right behind the Bible would come The Golden Book of World History which I got when I was about six years old. It was amazingly sophisticated, with brilliant artwork. There was a series called the Landmark Books, actually, by Random House, which were by serious writers like William L. Shirer of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich fame, but simplified for pre-adolescents.
The Landmark series was brilliant. But it too has gone. By the time I got to 6th and 7th grade, I’d read about the Cossacks, the Battle of Britain, the battle of Midway, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, and many other global struggles. You go into a children’s bookstore today, or the children’s section of a bookstore, and there’s nothing like that. So our educational system has, I’m mixing metaphors wildly here, force-fed us historical amnesia. And when you do not know your own history, let alone world history, you are prey to demagogues.