Don’s LTE poses some interesting questions

“The balance struck between patriotism and national introspection should reflect the consensus of the community, not an educational elite.”

Why should those qualities be zero sum? Does studying our history, blemishes and all, dilute the love of country? if so, then are we encouraging patriotism at the expense of history?

“…values and ethics, both of which are taught by life, not professors.” And with regard to human sexuality, parents will have to bear the consequences if wrong.

By the time the offspring fledge, they better have some values and ethics in their human portfolio or society will pay the price…dearly. if so, then don’t we all have a strong vested interest in the outcome?

19 thoughts on “Don’s LTE poses some interesting questions

  1. RE: “Does studying our history, blemishes and all, dilute the love of country?”

    It can, and that’s the problem. A separate problem is whether the blemishes, as taught, are truthful.

    RE: “don’t we all have a strong vested interest in the outcome?”

    Maybe so, but there’s a big difference between recognizing that community interests exist and using them as an excuse to do bad things.

    The question at hand is whether parents have an unalienable right to control their own children’s education. I can think of no justification for saying they don’t.


  2. “ It can, and that’s the problem.”


    I have no problem in challenging fake history. But history is very interpretive since we have to rely on writings and archeology to sort out events and causes of events. There are dozens, if not more, biographies about Jefferson. And new information surfaces periodically. The Civil War has a myriad of books.

    Are you assaying that we should censor history and just keep the parts we are comfortable with?

    A parents right to education is not total. A family that raises and trains shoplifters and pickpockets would be a problem for the rest of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “Are you aaying that we should censor history and just keep the parts we are comfortable with?”

      No, I am pointing out — as did Plato and Aristotle — that it matters what you teach, how you teach it, and when you teach it. I am also proposing that parents have an inherent right to participate in the decisions those variables make necessary.

      I think your question about censorship is misguided in another respect. It ignores that children are incapable of advanced learning. Censorship of some kind is therefore unavoidable.


    2. First, the editing of the letter was somewhat clumsy. It wasn’t so much about conforming to the wishes of individual parents as conforming to the consensus of the community.

      But any teaching of history is going to be incomplete. Time does not allow for studying the full complexity. Where does filtering, or editing, become censorship or indoctrination?

      We have mentioned Columbus, Jefferson and Lee here and their relationship to slavery in the US. A fair treatment of any of the, would consume a week or more of class time. That’s not going to happen. At most, any of them is going to get maybe 15 minutes. So, what do you include and what do you leave out? And is what is included even true. Did Columbus really bring home hundreds of slaves to Spain on 2 caravels that barely had room for their crews?

      Lee fought for the South, but was it to defend slavery? Or what he saw as his country, that being Virginia? To decide, you would have to look to his actions outside his military duty, and if you do that you will find him an incredibly decent man, if somewhat paternalistic, toward the only slaves he ever held, those his wife inherited, and all of whom he freed within 5 years of her father’s death. As executor of George Cusits’s will, Lee went to incredible lengths to avoid separating families. Does that sound like someone who would fight a war to preserve slavery?

      Will the wokesters get that across? Or it is purely white hat/black hat for them?

      So, finding balance is necessary, and leaving it purely to the extreme left teachers is not going to provide a true picture of our country.


      1. RE: “We have mentioned Columbus, Jefferson and Lee here and their relationship to slavery in the US. A fair treatment of any of the, would consume a week or more of class time.”

        Exactly. There are also purely logical constraints. For example, if one is teaching the basic ideas behind America’s founding, one can logically omit any reference to slavery.


        1. “…omit slavery…”.

          I think that is what the right wing wants. Yet the economic and political importance of slavery is undeniable. Slavery was allowed in our Constitution, the founding document of our nation.

          Want to eliminate that, too? Civil rights legislation, Jim Crow, voting rights, the 14th Amendment…skip them as well.

          You can’t eliminate the story of slavery since both it and the post Civil War era codified the practice and it’s segregationist aftermath.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. RE: “Yet the economic and political importance of slavery is undeniable.”

            You seem to think so, but slavery is logically unnecessary in many topic areas. For example, the separation of powers doctrine (referring to the three branches of government) doesn’t require a discussion of slavery. Nor does federalism, nor even the Bill of Rights.


          2. Federalism was very much a part of the Constitution that gave us the issue of states rights. That is how we could keep a Union of slave and non-slave states under one governing body.

            I still don’t see the problem of teaching our history, warts and all, rather than tap dancing around the impact of slavery and White supremacy in our nation.

            We have an imperfect system of government, but is better than most and has lasted longer than anybody else’s (other than Iceland I think).

            Hiding the skeletons only makes students suspicious and leery when the truths come out.

            Just the fact that we did preserve the nation after a brutal Civil War is testament to our national pride, even if some of the post-war actions were egregious.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. RE: “I still don’t see the problem of teaching our history, warts and all…”

            The problem is who defines “warts and all.” If it is you, then I may ask for a chance to speak at a school board meeting.


          4. Speak away. That is the accepted way to effect your belief about what school should teach. If you have enough support, elect officials that suit your agenda.

            Liked by 1 person

          1. The war was to preserve slavery according to secession articles put forth, speeches and policies of the seceding states. We’re they all lying?

            Lee was trained and employed by the United States of America. He had a commission. He swore an oath of loyalty to the Constitution and the US.

            Are you telling us that Lee was ignorant of the issues? If his skills helped prolong the war and it’s deaths and destruction, how is a hero, to be venerated by huge monuments and memorials?

            Our Civil War was fought not to overthrow a despot by a suffering populace. It was started by the aristocracy to keep about 4 million men and women in permanent chattel status for economic gains.
            Once that reality is understood, the histories of our early founders becomes clearer as a part of our history that needs telling so it won’t be forgotten. One can still love our country and understand our checkered history at the same time.

            In my opinion, the line between exceptionalism and hubris is very murky.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Of course Lee knew the issues, and he frequently referred to slavery as an abomination. But as he said when he refused command of the Union Army, he could not raise his sword against Virginia.

            Of course, you are stumbling onto the heart of the matter. People and history are complicated.


          3. I am not denying that history of humans is complicated. Except if the powers try to scrub and mythologize for propaganda. The Lost Cause was such an effort.

            My contention is that we should not try to derive patriotism from false narratives.

            Lee may have had virtues and we should include those as appropriate descriptors of an influential man in history.

            But “cherry tree chopping” history does no one any good when people learn the truth later.

            “Those who ignore history…”. Well, it is easy to ignore history if you only hear the one side you find favorable. In addition, it is the mistakes and egregious behaviors that need to be studied and recalled if we want to avoid repetition.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Well, I guess you’re going to have to decide whether you want the schools to teach history or a narrative that supports your policy.

            Patriotism then and now are different. You can’t honestly apply today’s primacy of loyalty to the nation to a time when people were loyal to their state.

            The term United States then meant a union of sovereign nations for common cause.


          5. The constitution was drawn up to replace a weak Articles of Confederation. The AC did give states all the leeway, but no cohesive national government to bind them together.

            We had no federal judiciary to settle interstate issues. No Congress of the people, just a vote per state.

            So, to answer your question, I want history, not my, or your or Molly McGee’s version supporting some policy.

            If the AC had survived to 1860 I feel certain secession would have been successful, but the “grand experiment” would have failed.

            “In order to form a more perfect Union…” are not just pretty words. We needed, and finally got, a stronger federal government. It was no longer a club that members could come and go as they pleased.

            PS: Those who think there is no state loyalty today have not been to an Alabama football game. 😇

            Liked by 1 person

  3. “So, to answer your question, I want history, not my, or your or Molly McGee’s version supporting some policy.”

    Regarding how to teach history, all of you may find Wilfred M. McClay’s book – Land Of Hope – quite interesting.

    As for teaching history I think sticking to facts is valuable. Regarding slavery, which should be taught in our schools, it was a moral issue as well as an hypocrisy known by our founding fathers and leaders from 1776 through 1865.

    As Lenrothman points out many issues had to be resolved after winning our independence (which by the way was won by southern states) least of which was the issue of slavery at that time. This is likely due to the majority of the first 13 states being slave states and therefore unlikely to change.

    But change was coming. In 1784 Thomas Jefferson authored the Norwest Ordinance which was approved by congress in 1787. Article 6 states the following:

    “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.”

    Does this look familiar? This led to the states starting to come into balance between slave and non-slave states as new states in the northwest territory joined the Union.

    When balance was achieved Missouri wished to become a state; but this would disrupt the balance that existed. So the Missouri Compromise in 1820 was reached wherein Massachusetts gave up the territory now known as Maine so that it could become a state. The balance, a hallmark of federalism, was maintained.

    But the issue was not resolved. Along came the civil war. Contrary to what has been stated herein, slavery was not initially the single primary issue at hand, Lincoln initially was unconcerned with slavery; he was more concerned with restoring the Union. But by the end of the civil war slavery had become the primary issue noted in both the writings of Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.

    The 13th amendment was ratified after the civil war but unfortunately Lincoln was assassinated prior to its ratification.

    The time it took to read this little bit of history probably took less than 15 minutes. It is based on facts, not interpretation. I see little reason it could not be taught in our schools…..time permitting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good post. It also bolsters the fact that slavery was the primary motivator, if not the only one, for secession. To clarify, the Civil War was not the result of trying abolish slavery by the North in the short term, but rather to preserve slavery in the slave states in the longer term. Secession was the instigator to divide the nation and the reasons were, as mentioned, well outlined in documents like the articles of secession and speeches. But even the Missouri Compromise and Fugitive Slave Law, among other perceived threats to slavery, were all about maintaining the “peculiar institution”.

      White supremacy was pretty well accepted even among the anti-slavery groups. Even Lincoln.

      Blend supremacy with economics and guess who gets the short end of the human stick.

      Liked by 1 person

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