The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the ignorance of history in the rising generation. The vast majority of students in elementary, secondary, and university levels are not learning basic historical facts about our nation and world events. They will soon take their places in leadership positions and will likely make decisions without having a basic understanding of important historical facts.
David Hogg is one example of students that are ignorant of historical facts. Hogg is a teenager who survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018. The media has made his name famous because he is a gun control activist who seems to enjoy being in the spotlight. He recently tweeted the following:
Throughout history violence and war only creates more of itself for example WWI->WWII->Korean War->Vietnam and up to today. While nonviolent moments like Gandhi’s, the suffrage movement or Civil Rights movement lead to peace and long->lasting change. Ours will too.
While Hogg is free to publicize his historical ignorance, he is not free from having his lack of knowledge publicly exposed. Jarrett Stepman, an editor and commentary writer at The Daily Signal, recently took on the task. Stepman begins his exposure of Hogg’s ignorance by explaining that Hitler’s Nazi war machine would not have paid any attention to Gandhi’s pacifism. The Nazis were putting people in ovens and gassing them, and they would not have cared if one man or a hundred men were starving themselves to bring public notice to their cause.
Stepman points out that the civil rights movement was not nonviolent. Many black Americans secured and protected their basic rights by owning guns and using them for self-protection. Stepman says, “These so-called non-violent movements occurred in countries with a tradition of respecting the rule of law and individual rights, giving them an actual chance to succeed through ballots instead of bullets.”
Stepman continues by telling how the “nonviolent student protests in the 1980s” in China “were crushed by the state – literally in the case of the Tiananmen Square protest. Historically, repression has been the norm, not the exception.”
Turning his focus to Americans, Stepman says that we have “the right to speak freely and protest” against our government “because young men, mostly teenagers, were willing to take up arms – arms that Hogg and others have so relentlessly crusaded against – and risk their lives to fight for their God-given liberties against the British Crown.”
No one, including Stepman, is saying that war and violence are good things. They are not, and there is no way to justify them except in the case of defending life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, war and bloodshed are sometimes necessary in order to stop evil people– such as Adolf Hitler and his Nazis – from forcing their ideas upon the world.
If Hogg and other members of the rising generation were studying American history and world history in school, he would have known about these events. He might have gained better understanding about the importance of being willing to stand up to the bullies of the world.
Hogg apparently does not have a good grasp of historical knowledge or how our democratic republic operates. Otherwise, he might not have insulted his parents’ generation and threatened them for being on “the wrong side of history.”
Stepman points out that Americans are free to share their views with the public no matter how much they know about history. However, he also says that it is difficult to “have a substantive and productive debate on the issues of the day” with people who do not know the “most basic facts of history.”
Stepman decries the state of our public education system and the lack of knowledge in the rising generation. He says that we have only ourselves to blame because we should have fixed the problem in the education system a long time ago. He claims that our future and our freedom depend on school choice. He says that parents must have the opportunity to choose educational options for their children that will support their own values and principles. This writer agrees with Stepman in that we must fight “historical ignorance and cultural disintegration” by finding a better way to educate the rising generation.