Sunday, June 26, 2005Anne Applebaum has evinced a major concern at the lack of historical knowledge exhibited by today's youth, a problem that Kevin Drum notes is not limited to children. On the other hand, Philip Klinker argues that such ignorance is actually good, since countryies obsessed with history can be a little psychotic.
I'm not not so sanguine as Klinker. Not just becaue of the hoary old Santayana line about being doomed to repeat what we don't learn from the past. Political demagogues can manipulate that ignorance to their own ends - just look at the "Lost Cause" rhetoric coming out of the South.
Democracies need educated citizens. If all we lacked was history, perhaps Klinker would have a point. But does history represent the only hole in the voters' knowledge? I'm not so sure.