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America’s History Deficit Has Put Our Democracy in Crisis

democracyIt would appear, based on the stories making news these days, that the younger generations among us are hell bent on revolution— but not the kind that gave us the Constitution and a way of life that made America the envy of the world.  Rather, it’s more like the Russian revolution that enslaved hundreds of millions of people for nearly seven and a half decades from 1917 to 1990.  But it appears that the young anarchists among us, including those with a so-called progressive agenda in Congress, are oblivious to that fact and are willing to risk our freedom to give it a try.

As Winston Churchill put it: “A Nation That Forgets It’s Past Has No Future.”

How could this be?  Perhaps a recent opinion article in the Wall Street Journal signed by six former U.S. Secretaries of Education holds the answer.  As co-authors Lamar Alexander, Arne Duncan, John King, Rod Paige, Richard Riley and Margaret Spellings put it: “Following years of polarization and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the world’s oldest constitutional democracy is in grave danger. We stand at a crossroads, called to protect this democracy and to work toward unity.”

The progressive movement is specifically targeting America’s youth by sugar-coating the idea of socialism.  Take the article with the headline “What Is Democratic Socialism [is that an oxymoron] and Why Is It Growing More Popular in the U.S.?” that appeared in Teen Vogue, which bills itself as “the young person’s guide to saving the world.”  It was written by Samuel Arnold, an associate professor of political theory at Texas Christian University, and it focuses on what he seems to be promoting among the teenage audience– the socialist ideal.

For example, he cites a list of reasons why “socialism is much more democratic than capitalism;” reasons such as “socialism would harness our collective wealth to meet everyone’s basic needs, or so its advocates maintain. No longer would some people be fantastically rich while others are reduced to begging in the street. Key needs like food, shelter, health care, education (including college), and retirement support would be “decommodified” — provided to all, regardless of ability to pay.”

I guess it works in countries like Red China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela etc. – socialist paradises whose citizens, for some reason, are routinely seeking to escape.

Meanwhile, the success of socialist Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sanders likes to bring up is a myth that has been debunked; it doesn’t exist.  Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of economics at the University of Georgia, explained it in a Forbes article: “To the extent that the left wants to point to an example of successful socialism, not just generous welfare states, the Nordic countries are actually a poor case to cite. Regardless of the perception, in reality the Nordic countries practice mostly free market economics paired with high taxes exchanged for generous government entitlement programs.”

Bernie Sanders has long referred to himself as a socialist rather than a member of the Democratic Party, which has naturally led to a lot of questions about what socialism means to him. He consistently references the social models of the Nordic states — especially Denmark — as his idea of what democratic socialism is all about. But, not long ago, in a speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that while he’s flattered to see Denmark discussed in a widely watched US presidential debate, he doesn’t think the socialist shoe fits.

“I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

So, why is socialism gaining traction among the younger generations.  Maybe it’s because they don’t know better, because they didn’t pay attention in history class.  As the late Dr. Bruce Cole, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, once put it: the U.S. is “a country of historical amnesiacs”

The National Assessment of Educational Progress issues its so-called Nation’s Report Card every four years and the recent report cards they’ve issued show that tAmerican schoolchildren have an “alarming” lack of knowledge when it comes to our nation’s history.

Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos put it this way: “In the real world, this means students don’t know what the Lincoln-Douglas debates were about, nor can they discuss the significance of the Bill of Rights …  And only 15% of them have a reasonable knowledge of U.S. history.  All Americans should take a moment to think about the concerning implications for the future of our country.”

Another former Secretary of Education, Dr. Rod Paige, had this to say: “History is an important and integral part of the foundation upon which our education system is built. It provides a logical context for our lives as Americans. It offers an understanding of how to overcome adversity and how to learn from our mistakes. It teaches us about ourselves—who we are, how the U.S. came to be a model for democracy in the world and why our melting-pot population has played and continues to play such an important role in the country’s development and success. If we don’t teach our children these things, they will be doomed to a lifetime of doubt and struggle.”

The Bolsheviks had a willing population of gullible peasants ready to take up the communist cause when they overthrew the Czar back in 1917.  Is it too much of a reach to believe that those who would like to see our American democratic republic take a left turn are counting on the history deficit of our unwitting younger generations to promote a socialist agenda?

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Allen
8 months ago

Another article that seems to be stuck within the paradigm that the Globalists are pro-Socialist. And that the Globalists are all situated within the Democrat Party.

In reality, the US is an Oligarch Country controlled by a relatively small circle of elites who want to dominate and protect their own turf. Biden and Harris are controlled by big money and will do very little beyond give lip service to the Socialists. Trump simply disrupted their march towards total control. They successfully curbed his leadership by convincing the masses that he was bad and racist.

And now even our elections have become unreliable as a method to check the elite power brokers.

Last edited 8 months ago by Allen
JJ Johnson-Smith
8 months ago

Parents of ALL children of ALL ages, MUST stay ever-vigilant of what their kids are being taught in schools! Home-School or join a Home-Schooling Pod, but get your kids OUT of Liberal Hands!

Marlyne
8 months ago

Very well-written article and many important points made of issues that aren’t often mentioned.
Several teachers & education people in our family, and over & over I hear how our children are only being taught to take standardized tests, a re-written history, and never to think for themselves. Everything that’s made this country great and worth giving our lives for is being destroyed by elected-officials (specifically in D.C. swamp) but also by us citizens by doing nothing. If all we are able to do is vote & pray…vote & pray. Thank you, Rebecca Weber, for this much needed article. This seems to be our last-chance wake-up call as a nation. How I pray we do wake up & at least go down fighting and taking a stand for right, truth & good.

G Schalk
8 months ago
Reply to  Marlyne

A hundred years ago, students were taught ‘HOW to think’, instead of ‘WHAT to think’
That is not the case today.
What to think is easy. How to think is difficult.

Rich
8 months ago

The younger generation has for the most part never had to sacrifice for anything. They only imagine that they can keep all of the benefits of capitalism and get more “freebies” from the socialist system. If you don’t want to get educated on history, you won’t know where you may be headed. If you won’t take a stand for the right things, you will fall for anything. The horizon looks dark.

Gloria P. Sterling
8 months ago

It isn’t that they didn’t pay attention in class. The reason is they were taught the incorrect history and believe the “reconstructed” history that is now taught in our public schools. We need to get back to teaching the truth. Good books to read and have are two of the best by Peter Marshall and David Manuel (both of whom are now deceased): “The Light and the Glory” and “From Sea to Shining Sea”. Both of these are thoroughly researched and use the actual journals of people in the past, such as our first President, George Washington. Christopher Columbus’s journals were researched, also, and used, along with many others. Not just truth, but interesting to read. “You shakk know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus’s own word in John 8:32 NKJV.

Don Graves
8 months ago

Thanks for those referenced books. I’ve heard of them, but not yet read.

Stephan
8 months ago

The United States is not now, and never has been, any kind of Democracy. We have a Constitutional Republic. That fact seems to be the most forgotten (or ignored) piece of our history.
A democracy, of any kind, is simply an elected dictatorship.
Don’t make their point for them. Remember OUR history and call the United States what it is, a Constitutional Republic.

Steve
8 months ago

It seems all that is highlighted in history classes any more is how various groups of people were exploited and oppressed. The black slaves of the south, the Chinese and Irish who were slaves on the railroad, the way rights were denied blacks even after being freed as slaves, etc. We are raising a group of victims. Young people who either think they are owed something for the wrongs dealt to their ancestors, or ashamed of who they are because maybe their ancestor committed some un-humanitarian act. True history educates us on what happened when, and shows the progress we have made since then. It shows the mistakes we made so we can learn from them and not repeat them. It also teaches us of the sacrifices our soldiers made to protect this nation and what it stands for, and gives us a basis of national pride to unify us as one people……..As proud Americans, no matter where our ancestors came from.

Gary
8 months ago

PLEASE stop talking about our democracy, the United States of America is a Constitutional Republic. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner.

Fixer
8 months ago

The Leftists of the 60’s and 70’s became the teachers of the next generation. With their version of history in place you see why the current crop of teens and 20’s are so willing to embrace socialism and communism.

Barry Courtnay
8 months ago
Reply to  Fixer

They wanted to change history in the ’60s. So they digested lysergic acid diethylamide, which their minds never recovered. They hated America in the ’60s just like they hate America today. We allow them to teach these half-truths about our history. The youth of today want everything gave to them from free schooling to free healthcare and a place to live. I was taught a long time ago nothing’s free that’s worth having! Till our younger generation realizes they have been taught lies, it will be hard to change their mindsets. For those the don’t know what lysergic acid diethylamide (is) back in the day the drug LSD or acid change some minds and how they thought.

Brian L
8 months ago

These are just the beginning. Everything on that list plus much more are needed to ‘stop the steal’. Why else do you think the socialists are so addament about opening up voting to anyone who wants to?

Bob L.
8 months ago

I get tired of hearing “our democracy”, even from conservatives and conservative news sources, we were given a constitutional republic by the founders, not a democracy..

Jeanette Fenton
8 months ago

So true. We studied lots of history in grammar school with the understanding that it helps us see what errors were made in the past and why we have the government we do have. In high school we learned much more including a full understanding of the government, it’s parts, the Constitution and Bill of Rights as well as how to write a bill and get it voted on. Vital information to know and understand to be a contributing citizen. Terrible it isn’t included or taught with a prejudiced angle.

Rik
8 months ago

The responsibility lies with the Republican Party! … They should ALWAYS BE REFERRING TO TODAY’S SO-CALLED DEMOCRATS for what they REALLY ARE: COMMUNISTS!!!

Diana Erbio
8 months ago

Well said! If we don’t teach the younger generations our history and how the structure of our government protects our individual unalienable rights, our republic will be lost.

PaulE
8 months ago
Reply to  Diana Erbio

All very true. In general, our generation pretty much did a lousy job of ensuring that our children and grandchildren had a firm understanding and appreciation of not only our nation’s history, but the history of the world and how it all interacts.

Parents seem to have pretty much abrogated all responsibility for teaching their children anything to the schools which they send their children. With most schools today being just political indoctrination centers preaching the tenets of socialism non-stop, is it any wonder there is a massive up-tick in socialism’s appeal? The end result today being that most millennials and gen z’ers are functionally illiterate when it comes to actual, real American or world history and that they overwhelmingly favor socialism.

Diana Erbio
8 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Sadly, you are correct for the most part. It’s up to us to spread our history. I started my Statue Page and Blog Series as a way to try to reach other Americans with our history in small bits at a time.

Lauren R MacArthur
8 months ago
Reply to  Diana Erbio

Parents have abrogated responsibility for almost everything, as we have been moving toward this condition for several decades. It is more than one or two generations that have not learned our history. The books have been being rewritten, and the professors and teachers have been teaching their biases at least since the 1940s, and perhaps before that. Today’s parents and teachers cannot teach our history because they have no idea what it is. P.S. There are a FEW teachers who have researched and do their best to teach, but so few that few of your young people are able to to take advantage of it.

Gloria P. Sterling
8 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Most parents, not all, are very lax concerning what their children are learning and/or don’t really care enough to investigate.

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