Wednesday, April 3, 2019

History Matters!

Lone Sycamore Tree Uprooted To Make Way For Street In The Sands Of Tel Aviv. (01 June 1910)
Who are you?

Where did you come from?

Where are you right now?

Where are you going?

If you are a living, breathing, thinking being, those questions should be pretty important to you. We are not alone in this life, we came from somewhere, we're going somewhere.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. 

John Donne

History is important to me, it should be important to everyone. One of the problems with history, is the way it is taught. I have had teachers who felt that the best way to learn history is by rote. The significance of an event isn't important, only where it falls on the timeline of history. Who participated, what happened, when did it happen, where did it happen, i.e. the who, what, when, where - but no why.

Many history teachers leave out the "why" piece of the equation. I have had teachers who would drone on for the entire classroom period, expecting that we would take notes, read the text and regurgitate the correct answers on the exam. They didn't really care whether or not we understood why, for instance, Napoleon fought Wellington at Waterloo, only that he did, and when.

Without knowing the context of that event, knowing every detail of what happened, when it happened, who was there, and where it happened is meaningless.

Then again I have had teachers who made history come alive. They went out of their way to place an event in context, why that event happened, how it happened, and, most importantly (to me anyway) describing what impact that event had on succeeding generations.

While at the American Heritage Museum on Saturday. Nicholas Moran wanted to explain the mission of the museum, he explained it by asking one youngest people there when they were born, specifically, "Were you alive when 9/11 happened?"

The young lad's answer was, "No."

As we were standing near a fragment of the World Trade Center, it was a pertinent question. When asked if he knew about 9/11, he answered in the affirmative. But did he understand the meaning of 9/11, what it meant to an entire generation of Americans? He answered no, he really didn't understand that. He really had no idea of the context of the event and why that event should matter to him personally. (The way the wars launched by that event continue to drag on, it may affect him greatly at some point in the future.)

The museum is not meant to be a static display of a bunch of tanks and other military vehicles. They want to achieve much more than that. I think they will, if all goes as planned...

Here's a nice article on why history matters. I think the folks at the American Heritage Museum "get it." I hope they succeed in their mission. It's immersion therapy for those who hunger for history.

As you stand near the Panther and the T-34-85, a short film plays describing, from the point of view of both crews, an encounter between tanks on the Eastern Front.

I thought the picture of that uprooted sycamore rather poignant.


  1. Good video to further illustrate the new museum Sarge but the link is even more important despite the wall-o-text which seems to defeat too many people. HOW history gets presented in school is important. My tenth-grade history teacher made history come ALIVE, he didn't just trot out dates and dry facts like that article referenced, he got kids to think and answer, he didn't do all the talking, not even most, kids talked the most despite some teachers fearing the "chaos" that might result from that. Guess you can tell history was one of my majors at university huh? An excellent post Sarge.

    1. My minor was History and I had some very good professors at Colorado State. Had a couple of very good History teachers in secondary school as well. The teacher makes a huge difference in the learning process!

  2. My high school history teacher was a 25 year old model. I don't remember one thing she said. Her teaching style was dates/rote. But the class was enjoyable nontheless ;). My college history teacher was a middle aged man that fought in Korea. I remember several of his stories, he weaved in military history with excellent skill. My dad was a wild west history buff, there wasn't much he didn't know about the move westward after the civil war. I've studied the Bible since 1983 not just as the user manual for life and living, but as a valuable lens to focus on the history of the time it was written. The why of it is very important to understand who we are today and why we do things as we do.

    The WHY of history is of extreme importance. Without it, you get poor decision making today. Cases in point: Vagrancy laws were enacted to prevent the spread of disease. Witness LA and it's Typhus outbreak, or San Diego and it's Hep A outbreak... Immigration was controlled in the past and sick immigrants were quarantined until they got better. Witness now TB rates, measles outbreaks, mumps. The majority of those cases are in the "foreign nationals that entered this country without documentation or invitation". , My personal favorite: the respiratory illness that takes a full month or more of multiple courses of antibiotics to defeat that visited south Texas this winter. Never seen that before, not a virus, but a bacteria.

    If we constantly have to reinvent the wheel, we will never advance We will just wander around relearning the old lessons. (Electorial College anyone??)

    1. Excellent points, STxAR.

      Santayana was right.

    2. In some ways, the availability of antibiotics has made us as a culture extremely sloppy.

      Who here remembers when spitting on the sidewalk was the mark of an unlearned and sick man? And why?

      Or why beards went away as a cultural thing for most people in the 1920's?

      Or why everyone used to be taught to cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing?

      Or why kids used to be kept out of school when feverish, and not brought back till 24 hours of non-fever? (And this was without ever seeing a doctor, people just knew not to send sick kids to school.)

      Or remember when wearing orthopedic devices wasn't cool at all, but instead got one stigmatized and shunned, and why?

      TB, Diptheria, Cholera and people who survived the Spanish Influenza for all except the last answer. The last answer, of course, was Polio.

      Diseases that modified our behaviors, changed patterns of doing things because we (as a nation and an over-culture) valued safety and space, and diseases, that could only have their secondary effects treated, ravaged our nation.

      Then antibiotics came... and we, as a nation, got lazy.

      Read an article that during the late 1960's, during the hippie and free love era, in New York City and in California especially, that doctors were seeing illnesses that they could only describe by their basic effects, Flush, Itches, Runs, etc. And the diseases matched ones only described in ancient medical texts, pre 1830's medical texts. Diseases that were caused by not bathing, sharing everything, malnutrition (even in the '60s doctors were seeing people die of vegetarianism) and other such preventable ailments.

      See that scruffy (p)Antifa person with the mouldylocks (white dredlocks) and you instantly cringe away from them? That's your mind telling you to run from a diseased person. And, sadly, it's true.

      History is a wonderful thing, no? Not just full of kings and countries, of gloriously antiseptic battles and such.

      And, now, as STxAR has pointed out, all the diseases and afflictions that our ancestors fought so hard against are back.

      Hopefully we'll all be around to see our civilization react and clean it's act up again. (Though, reading both BayeauRenaissanceMan and RaconteurReport yesterday (4-2-19, or 2-4-19 if you do Euro dates) give the monthly Ebola update, well, will we survive?) . Check out the followup post, too, on personal protection equipment. It's grim, but truthful. Aesop basically makes a point that when the Big E hits, running away and hunkering down for a long time is the only survivable move. Unfortunately he's right. Shooting E-zombies may be the only way to survive...

    3. In San Fransisco, during The Summer of Love, hippies in unwashed communes were coming down with diseases that only military doctors, who had been to third world countries had ever even heard of. Much less knew what to do about.

    4. If certain elements in society wish to regress to the Stone Age, we should, by all means, assist them in such an endeavor. First by transporting them to a remote corner of some leftist paradise. No, not San Francisco or Seattle, perhaps China, or the old Soviet Far East. Let them live in squalor alongside their socialist brothers and sisters.

  3. The "WHY" is the most important, and also the only part of history that can be debated or is even worth debating.

    1. Yup, it's the why which takes History beyond interesting and into important.

  4. Hey AFSarge;

    Another excellent post. History is important because if a people forgets their past...what MADE them who they are as a people, or get it denegraded by people from the Frankfurt School and replaced by the new "History", then the people will be lost, they will have no foundation for their greatness and drift away into history.....I wonder if the Roman empire had Visigoth activist....?

  5. What gets me irate are those who spout off about history as they think it should be. They want to correct the errors, as they see it, of the past.

    Our local rag occasionally prints,"100 years ago" excerpts from their archives. Some of the assaults on civil liberties and attitudes wrapped up in 'patriotism' are similar to our current Progressive dominated state government. Both churn my stomach.

    1. Yes! Revisionist history, where the progs try to change the what AND the why of History.

  6. And not only the 'Why' but the Context of 'When, Where, Why, How, etc.' Context matters. If slavery by whites is so bad, then why is slavery by swarthy middle-easterners or africans or asians (all three areas have great slave cultures to this day) perfectly acceptable?

    Why is one religion bad and another good?

    In my day, it was the running down of the Crusades, and why they were Bad and Mean and Okay. How dare those nasty Christians spend 300 years fighting to protect other Christians and Jews against the nice enlightened Islamic Horde?

    And how dare, how DARE those Iberian barbarians attempt to fight against, let alone win, the cultural humanizing of the islamification of Spain? Mean old Catholic Iberians.

    And the Spanish Inquisition was just out to torture like millions of people for the fun of it, and had nothing to do with the same fight against islam, right?

    Or who the original 'Hammer' was and why he was so very very important to Western Civ.

    Or why Western Civ was and still is so very important?

    Context matters. Yes, Charles Martel may have been a bit of a neo-barbarian, but, dangit, he saved Europe in the 700s, stopping the jihad butt-cold in France and forcing it to stay in Spain for almost 800 years. But we're taught, if we're taught at all, that CM 'The Hammer' was just an unedumacated barbarian who was unclean, uncouth, probably picked his nose and ate boogers and snails and such. He's not important at all...

    1. Make no mistake, there is an element in the West which is doing its best to destroy Western Civilization, little knowing that they will be the first to go up against the wall if the West does collapse. Useful idiots. History tells us that, wishful thinking by leftists teaches us nothing.

    2. Wishful thinking leftists teach us that our education system is not working as it is not passing on the message that socialism does not work, for like over 100+ years, in many forms and variations, so to quit wasting time and get on with capitalism. That is why history is important---to learn and remember the lessons learned in the past, so we don't waste time/treasure/blood re-learning those lessons all over again!!!!

      Can you tell how sick and tired and grumpy I am over having to listen to complete total utter nonsense day in and day out on the news about total NONSENSE?!?! Complete Bullcrap!!! When did the gene pool get so very shallow??? grumble grumble grumble...kicking the rant box back into the corner...

    3. Very nice rant Suz. All true!

    4. Over 100+ years? Try at least as early as the Cathars and other Albigensians of the 12th century, the Scottish Levelers of the 17th century, our own Puritan founders at Plymouth, many of the failed towns and communities out west, all before Marx and Engels decided to vomit out their special theories of stupidity.

      And I agree, very nice rant. Please keep it up.


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