In recent years, our perennial pleasure at the anticipated arrival of the warm spring season has been marred by the insidious, cold draft of a developing autocracy in America. Admittedly, we first took particular notice of the trend to such political pathology, with the arrival of Donald Trump on the political scene. It was his demagogic, populist, appeal, to the many reductionist, inadequately educated voters, that enabled his ascendency to the Oval Office.
During his one term in office, Trump exemplified many of the historical indicia of autocracy (with the enthusiastic approval of his numerous, cult-like supporters). These included the disparagement of truth, and the substitution of “alternate facts, significantly, including his “Big Lie,”( concerning his election loss to Joe Biden), followed by his incitement of a violent insurrection, his attack upon the institutional media, his disparagement of science, learning and education, his vocal opposition to immigration, his sub-rosa relationship with the Russian autocrat, Putin, his opposition to health and safety regulations, his demonstrated, racial prejudice and his notable, serial mendacity.
History reveals that a regular part of the tactical propaganda of autocrats is the policy of alteration of the accurately recorded, facts of history, in order to comport with their political worldview and justify their harsh rule. Consistent with the contemporary (worrisome) trend to autocracy, an aggressively, vocal group in our nation, inclusive of many of the somewhat, more literate, as well the typical Trump supporters, have actively sought the redaction of the period of the enslavement of black people, from the curriculum of American education. As is perversely common in fascistic or autocratic rule, they would reframe or abridge history, to suit their skewed, manufactured, version of reality.
History is man’s only record of his past; to modify or abridge that factual record is to, totally, destroy its credibility and value, as a reference guide to present understanding, enlightenment and choice of action or policy. To abridge or alter written history is to devalue it to the point of complete uselessness. The professed rationales for censorship of recorded history are entirely specious and indicative of tactical deceit. One rationale is to avoid embarrassment, or feelings of shame, on the part of young students. The other irrational justification is that it would create disharmony between the races. These asinine statements of purpose, or justifications, are revelatory of a colossal ignorance or naiveté, on one hand, or tactical, motivation on the other. Neither are empirically rational and thus, demonstrative of the absence of any principled justification for historical censorship.
The class of ”protected” young students would, in any event, be apprised of the many decades of black slavery in their various readings and by the highly publicized civil rights movement and public programs, appropriately seeking equality between the races. Newspaper and media reports regularly deal with the subject. Those who profess, that the non-deletion of this dark period of American history would create tension between the races, can be properly, be described as intentionally deceitful, or just plain stupid. It is true that such element of tension, between the races, does exist contemporaneously, in various degrees, which most citizens of goodwill, white and black, have been striving to lessen and ultimately, eliminate.
Furthermore, those who, foolishly, would argue that the study of American history, which is inclusive of its dark periods, would cause discomfort to the young students, will undoubtedly, themselves, suffer the exorbitant price of parental, loss of credibility, on the part of their subsequently, informed children.
By instructive analogy, what would be the value of an accountant, or a business entity, which only records profits and not losses, a baseball team that only counts its own runs and deletes the score of the opposition, or a census taker who intentionally omits to include certain classes of citizens. No justification, real or contrived, would value the results of such useless, tabulations. A Nation’s incomplete history is similarly, useless, (a) since the deleted portion may provide the desired information and, (b) since a subjectively, abridged account of history, empirically, lacks confident factual credibility so that it is not, ultimately, reliable.
The motivation of the right-wing proponents of the abridgment of our history, like the fascistic book burners, are fundamentally, interested in controlling the public’s thoughts and in the alteration of their empirical knowledge. Their desire is mind control, the certain route to autocracy. We have observed, in a prior writing, # 657 (“American Lemmings”) that such enterprise, ultimately, is a “double-edged sword.” Should such misguided American citizens be successful, in their anti-democratic, or pro-autocratic goal, they will suffer, as well as mainstream American citizens, an inevitable, loss of liberty.
We must remember that the educative and candid teaching of our unabridged and complete history (called “Critical Race Theory,” by those foolish and unwitting, lemming-like citizens, who oppose teaching the entirety of American history) does not seek additional grounds for criticism of our Nation, but only the complete, unaltered and accurate presentation of the entire record of our past. Universal knowledge of America’s “dark” periods, additionally, is mandatory, in order that they not be unwittingly repeated.
The irony of the “CRT” opponents is that their point of view, ultimately, is consistent in keeping with autocratic dogma, the application of which is, predictably, productive of limitless “dark periods.”