August 20th, 2007

I ain’t gonna study war no more: Victor Davis Hanson and the teaching of military history

“You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you,” is a quote attributed (apparently incorrectly?) to Leon Trotsky.

Whether or not he actually said it, it seems true.

And getting truer all the time—at least the first half of it, rephrased as “You may not be interested in the study of war…” The insightful and articulate Victor Davis Hanson has written an insightful and articulate article on the subject that I recommend reading in its entirety.

Hanson’s thesis is that modern post-Vietnam-war education has virtually ignored the study of military history, once considered a necessary part of a liberal education that emphasized ancient military history and classical history in general. This has had enormous and dire consequences (a point I’ve made, as well; see this).

Hanson writes about the effect of ignorance of military history:

…by ignoring history, the modern age is free to interpret war as a failure of communication, of diplomacy, of talking—as if aggressors don’t know exactly what they’re doing.

I used to joke, back when I was in high school, that history was easier for earlier generations because there was less of it to learn. But what did I know? History is always being added to, of course. But there’s plenty to go around, and earlier generations concentrated in depth on different aspects of history.

One change that’s readily apparent is the shrinking of the importance of what used to be the center of Western education, classical history. It’s no accident that Hanson writes about this; his interest in warfare comes not only because he has been a military historian, but from his earlier background as a classics scholar.

In 1998, before he became a well-known post-9/11 essayist, Hanson was already concerned about the demise of classical education, with its grounding in what used to be known as “ancient history”—that is, the story of the Greeks and the Romans.

When I was growing up we got some exposure to these basics. But it was perfunctory, and no one even seemed to try to integrate that knowledge in a way that would make it relevant to our lives. Perhaps that’s an inherently hard sell, especially to teenagers.

But I remember finding, during rainy-day explorations of our musty attic (trunks of old clothes, old love letters, old clippings), amidst the wristlet dance cards (dance cards? what’s a dance card?) and the paisley shawls and beaded bags, my mother’s history notes.

My mother had been a history major during the early ’30s, and she had saved all her notes, which she took on yellow legal-sized pads, in a cramped and spidery hand that managed to fit an extraordinary amount of information on a single page (she said it facilitated studying, since she seemed to remember things visually, as I do).

Most of it was about classical history. Things I’ve never heard of and never will, details of names and dates and concepts. She’d had to learn Latin in high school, as well, because it was required, although by the time I got there that was no longer true.

It used to be the mark of a literate person to know such things, and references made to ancient history were assumed to be understood by all who had had even a high school education and certainly a college one. Now, of course, such historical references usually have to be explained.

What was the point of all this study of the ancients? Well, as Wiki puts it in its entry on “classical education,” classical education is not only an education in the classics of Greece and Rome, it’s an education according to a system set up in ancient times by the Greeks and Romans, with an emphasis on history itself as the key to nearly everything:

History was always taught to provide a context, and show political and military development. The classic texts were from ancient authors such as Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Cicero and Tacitus.

…In modern terms, these fields might be called history, natural science, accounting and business, fine arts (at least two, one to amuse companions, and another to decorate one’s domicile), military strategy and tactics, engineering, agronomy, and architecture.

Notice the importance of military history, as Hanson points out. But these things were not taught because it was so important to know the dates and names. There was a loftier goal:

These are taught in a matrix of history, reviewing the natural development of each field for each phase of the trivium. That is, in a perfect classical education, the historical study is reviewed three times: first to learn the grammar (the concepts, terms and skills in the order developed), next time the logic (how these elements could be assembled), and finally the rhetoric, how to produce good, humanly useful and beautiful objects that satisfy the grammar and logic of the field.

History is the unifying conceptual framework, because history is the study of everything that has occurred before the present. A skillful teacher also uses the historical context to show how each stage of development naturally poses questions and then how advances answer them, helping to understand human motives and activity in each field.

I leave it up to you to determine whether your own history classes, or those of your children, come up to this standard. I’m not so sure that older history courses—those my mother took, for example—met it all that often, either, human beings being what they are. But that was the goal, and it was both laudable and designed to create a citizenry that could make informed decisions based on knowledge rather than airy speculation.

The generation that came of age in the 60s (mea culpa, I plead guilty to being a card-carrying member) believed itself to be free of history and its depressing lessons; we could reinvent the world in a way that would usher in a new and far more wonderful age than had ever dawned before. But I learned even in college that we were not unique at all, that history had the strange propensity of cyclically repeating itself with slight changes that could make it hard to recognize the fact that it was happening, especially if one was ignorant of history. And even in my generation’s sense of uniqueness and special purpose to create a golden future superior to the past, we were showing just how repetitive we were being.

And how ignorant of that past. Would a classical education have helped? Probably. But that was one of the things we wanted to throw away with the bath water.

War is another thing everyone would like to throw away. After all, as Hanson writes (quoting as British strategist Basil H. Liddell Hart): “War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it.”

To understand this is to understand the way human beings function. To understand the way human beings function, one cannot ignore the past. History may be a nightmare from which we (along with James Joyce), are trying to awake, but any awakening that could possibly happen cannot come from turning away from the study of history, but turning towards it.

Like it or not, the history of Western culture and Western civilization is founded on its beginnings in Greek civilization, and in their military history as well. There is much we can still learn—and need to learn—from it. Hanson understands this; the study of military history can help answer the following vital questions:

Why do wars break out? How do they end? Why do the winners win and the losers lose? How best to avoid wars or contain their worst effects?

The entire issue of classical history and military history dovetails—strangely enough—with one of the major concerns of therapists as well, and that is the understanding of human nature and its lessons for future action. It’s a topic that can hardly be studied in a vacuum, moral or otherwise. You might say that one of the main goals of therapy is to help the client understand the patterns of his/her own personal history and how this knowledge can inform his/her future. The same is true for learning any history; in focusing on the past we are trying to learn the best way to affect the future.

I’ll let Hanson have the last word on the subject:

We must abandon the naive faith that with enough money, education, or good intentions we can change the nature of mankind so that conflict, as if by fiat, becomes a thing of the past. In the end, the study of war reminds us that we will never be gods. We will always just be men, it tells us. Some men will always prefer war to peace; and other men, we who have learned from the past, have a moral obligation to stop them.

[NOTE: The title of this post refers to the lyrics of this song.]

35 Responses to “I ain’t gonna study war no more: Victor Davis Hanson and the teaching of military history”

  1. William Elms Says:

    Not long after Donald Rumsfeld resigned, I saw him (on television) speaking at, I think, a college somewhere. When asked what he would recommend a young person do to best come to grips with their future, Rumsfeld’s simple words were “study history”.

  2. gcotharn Says:

    We must abandon the naive faith that with enough money, education, or good intentions we can change the nature of mankind so that conflict, as if by fiat, becomes a thing of the past. In the end, the study of war reminds us that we will never be gods. We will always just be men, it tells us.

    This quote reminds of the modern day citizens who wish to “make a difference” and/or “change the world”. These admirably spirited citizens are nevertheless advertising their ignorance of history/philosophy/religion. Were they less ignorant, they would conceive and express goals which were more gracefully integrated and enmeshed with the history of man and of nature.

    “Changing the world” certainly vibrates with I am God implications. Make a difference does also, insofar as it implies judgment upon men and women who have the temerity to engage in unenlightened, non-difference-making careers and campaigns of action. I like what Woody Allen said (and he adapted it from many who came before him): If you’re a comedian, and you want to make a difference: write better jokes.

    Our national ignorance imperials us. neo mentioned the historical allusions which once sprinkled American conversations. VDH mentions the roll call of American generations which preserved our nation for us. This very day, Shrinkwrapped mentions highly educated and civilized friends who cannot believe Islamic fascists cannot adapt to Western Civilization’s values. Those friends – and wonderful people I am quite confident they are – betray their lack of education in the areas of history/philosophy/religion. Those friends – those wonderful, lovable, historically hamstrung people – imperil our nation.

    Full disclosure: once upon a time, I used to utter those very phrases: Make a difference; change the world. I was advertising an ignorance I still endeavor to lessen (via reading neo-neocon, Victor Davis Hanson, and Ymarsaker, et al! — oh, and by vicariously shooting Milan Kundera into my veins – which, of course, is a great and valuable pleasure!).

  3. gcotharn Says:

    Correction:
    Our national ignorance imperils us.

    Maybe it imperials us also (as I accidentally typed), in a Marie Antoinette kind of way, as in: before the fall.

  4. Jamie Irons Says:

    Neo,

    Not until I had finished medical school did I begin to learn Greek (a lot) and Latin (less), all on my own time, and simply because I thought these languages were intrinsically beautiful. I have read the Iliad in the original, and when I finished it, I felt I had experienced something of surpassing beauty, and unspeakable horror. I last read completely though the Iliad in the early nineties, but I still look into my favorite passages, like the meeting of Achilles and Priam, or the description of Achilles’ shield, from time to time.

    That single book is almost a liberal (in the old sense of the word) education in itself.

    Jamie Irons

  5. Ymarsakar Says:

    In 1998, before he became a well-known post-9/11 essayist, Hanson was already concerned about the demise of classical education, with its grounding in what used to be known as “ancient history”—that is, the story of the Greeks and the Romans.

    If it wasn’t for the internet, Neo, and 9/11, I wouldn’t have known jack about war or history. I took AP European history but… well that would just make you more European.
    The AP European history instructor scoffed at the idea that battles or wars constituted great historical moments. She got the rest of it correctly, though, fortunately for me.

    Like it or not, the history of Western culture and Western civilization is founded on its beginnings in Greek civilization, and in their military history as well.

    Studying Hannibal Barca, Julius Caesar, and Crassus gave incredible insights into modern day warfare. That and Rome Total War. The simple tactics and logistics of moving stuff around; they are so complex yet so simple when understood.

    Deception, political advantage, coups, triumverates, consuls… it was the meat of life back then. The study of the economic effects of the withdrawing Roman Legions on local Briton economy and security. The study of the historical effects of Total War between Carthage and Rome, decided in the 2nd and 3rd Punic Wars. All helped me see the possible ways things could lead to, in the now, when given limited information. The rest depended upon calculation, accuracy, and creativity. The man that has studied a million chess games of the Grandmasters could still make a mistake on his own.

    The entire issue of classical history and military history dovetails—strangely enough—with one of the major concerns of therapists as well, and that is the understanding of human nature and its lessons for future action.

    Why else did you think I started reading your A Mind is Hard to Change series concerning Vietnam? ; )

    The ability to predict a general’s actions rests upon how well you understand the way his mind works. But the way to understand the actions of a person’s mind, one must understand basic human psychology, so what better place than to look at the blog of a [ family ] therapist, psychologist, or psychotherapist?

    and Ymarsaker, et al

    I am but a simple student, gcotharn, at the feet of masters such as VDH, Petraeus, Clausewitz, Sherman, MacArthur, etc.

    In the field of psychology, I pay humble attention to the Masters: Neo-neocon, Dr. Sanity, Shrinkwrapped, and Siggy.

    That single book is almost a liberal (in the old sense of the word) education in itself.

    Jamie Irons

    The Iliad is the story that Grim Beorn recommends in order to understand the myth making process and to also understand the power of myths (beliefs). He was talking in relation to how the Iraqis see us.

    Ironically, this is also another text I used for my ongoing education

  6. Jon Baker Says:

    The Peloponesian War, fought by the Naval power Athens and her allies on one side, and the Land power Sparta and her allies on the other is quite the study. You have the difficulties of a Democracy in War shown by the internal politics of Athens with men like Pericles who wished to fight a mostly defensive war on land at odds with those who wished to prosecute the war differently. You see the shifting alliances of the satelite city states, some of whom switched sides during the war, at times by internal betrayal. You see Greek warfare devolve from one of rules to outright savagery. You see Athens give up a Strategic victory, when they allowed a significant number of Spartan Soldiers to escape from an island the Athenian Navy had trapped them on. You see disease ravage one of the City States in part because of internal decisions the leadership had made. You even see the Greeks trying to get the Persians to side with them against their fellow Greeks- This only a few years after the Persian invasion!
    For whatever it is worth, I recommend the Book “The Peloponnesian War” by Donald Kagan. I read it twice in 2005, (I have no social life) now you have made me dig it out of my otherwise packed book boxes and read it again!

  7. Jon Baker Says:

    One more thing. As anyone reading Neo-NeoCon probably knows, America was founded as a Republic, not a Democracy. Our Founders knew of the internal trouble in Democratic Athens during the Peloponnesian War. I only wish our political leaders on both sides would stop calling the U.S. a “Democracy”. It was never meant to be ruled by an uneducated mob. Politicians who rely too much on opinion polls negate the strengths a Republic has over a Democracy. Of course, career politicians are part of our problem today.

  8. Jon Baker Says:

    Sorry Neo, I am talking too much, but I found something that is relevant here from a very old book: “What has been will be again, and what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.” From Ecclesistes 1: 9-11 (Words of King Solomon, son of King David of ancient Israel) (Translation: New International Version, copyright 1984, by International Bible Society)

  9. jfehr Says:

    I was in grad school in the 70s studying military history and watched the field wither away. By the time I left in 1980 you could count on your fingers the number of graduate schools which offered any classes in military history and fewer still who offered masters or PhD programs. The entire career path just vanished.

  10. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Hanson writes:

    “Bin Laden attacked on September 11 not because there was a dearth of American diplomats willing to dialogue with him in the Hindu Kush. Instead, he recognized that a series of Islamic terrorist assaults against U.S. interests over two decades had met with no meaningful reprisals, and concluded that decadent Westerners would never fight, whatever the provocation—or that, if we did, we would withdraw as we had from Mogadishu.”

    How can someone who purports to be a military historian leave out the obivious here: What radicalized bin Laden against the US was not the wimpiness of US military power, but rather its presence in Arab lands.

    Indeed he anticipated a military response which could then be used to attract radicals to his cause.

    Speaking of the importance of studying military history, I haven’t heard much talk around here about “No End in Sight”

  11. Lee Says:

    What “radicalized” bin Laden was Islam.
    No end in sight, indeed. The West has been fighting it for 1400 years.

  12. Lee Says:

    So has the East, by the way.

  13. Grimmy Says:

    For those wanting to start getting up to speed on military history, as it applies to the west and development of western military thought, I offer the below as suggested reading:

    “Roots of Strategy” edited by Brig. Gen. T. R. Phillips.

    This is a collection of writings that were used and considered useful throughout various phases of european rediscovery of military development as applies to nations, rather than tribes.

    Subtitle is “The 5 Greatist Military Classics of All Times”. The book contains:
    “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu, 500 B.C.
    “The Military Institutions of the Romans” by Vegetius, 390 A.D.
    “My Reveries Upon the Art of War” by Marshal Maurice de Saxe, 1732.
    “The Instruction of Frederick the Great for His Generals”, 1747.
    “The Military Maxims of Napoleon”

    The book was originally published in 1940 and is a reprint.
    The editor gives a nod to Clausewitz’ work “On War” as another great work that provided much of the abstract theory underlying the conduct of campaigns in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and of WW1.

    The editor also mentions Admiral Castex of France for having produced significant strategic studies.

    The editor has this to say in the introduction:

    “Little as modern historians like to admit it, great nations have been built by war, and it has been by war that they have been overthrown. Much history has been stultified by the failure of civilian students to pay any attention to the modification of military ideas and the improvements in military possibilities. This, it was Napoleon’s ability to use the military possibilities of his time that set the course of history in Europe. Today, the dark clouds of war again seem to be lowering and threaten to make more profound changes and deal greater destruction than ever before.

    It is hoped that this volume, containing the most influential military works of the past, may increase appreciation of the effect of military ideas on the course of history and the fate of nations, and assist in demonstrating the historical importance of military thought.” – Thomas R. Phillips, 1940.

    So, as neo and others have pointed out, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Old problems are new again. That is how it is, has been and forever shall be.

  14. Ymarsakar Says:

    Listening to Unk will radicalize anyone.

  15. mary Says:

    What radicalized bin Laden against the US was not the wimpiness of US military power, but rather its presence in Arab lands.

    What ‘radicalized’ bin Laden and his Muslim supremacist ilk was the presence of non-Salafists in ‘Arab’ lands. The presence of Jews, Copts, Zoroastrians, Communists, Socialists, Americans, Russians, Hindus, Christians, animists, secularists, Buddhists and other non-Salafists also ‘radicalized’ bin Laden and his Muslim supremacist friends. That’s why they’ve ethnically cleansed millions of people from ‘Arab’ lands – because that’s what armed supremacist groups do.

    Do you agree with bin Laden and his radical friends when they claim that a land that was once occupied by many varied groups should be all Arab and Muslim?

  16. Trimegistus Says:

    I also suspect the reflexive opposition to war stems from the Vietnam era. But not in the way we normally think — it wasn’t the horrors of Vietnam, but rather the horrors which followed.

    Consider: if you opposed the war in Vietnam because you didn’t want to be drafted, and after the U.S. defeat watched that whole region turn into a nightmare of tyranny and mass executions, you have two psychological options:

    a) You can admit that you are a coward and that your cowardice contributed to the rise of tyranny and death; or

    b) You can take refuge in the idea that all war, any war, is so bad that tyranny and mass executions are a fair price to pay for avoiding war.

    Few people are honest and brave enough to admit a), so among the American Left (which is pretty much the lineal heir of the anti-Vietnam war movement), b) is the default.

  17. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Hanson recommends “War: Ends and Means” by Seabury and Codevilla.
    In their forward, they make the point that so few of their students have any grasp of history or military affairs that any traditional discussion of the subject amounts to starting in the middle. The student is left unable to grasp the simplest concepts due to a complete lack of exposure to the subject.
    Their book is for that person. It presumes absolutely no previous knowledge on the subject. It’s not particularly long, is organized in discrete chunks, and is interested in Just War theory, quoting, among others, Augustine at length.

    For those with a familiarity with the subject(s), it’s a good book anyway, rounding up details we encounter individually. And it’s a handy thing to have in the back of one’s mind when discussing such issues with the kind of people described in the forward.

  18. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Mary asked:

    “Do you agree with bin Laden and his radical friends when they claim that a land that was once occupied by many varied groups should be all Arab and Muslim?”

    What did I write that would make you ask such a question?

    Insisting on accuracy about someone’s motivations does not imply agreement with them.

  19. Christopher Says:

    I’d also suggest, in an off-handed sort of way, that a lot of common SF is also responsible for the unwillingness to consider military history – the “Star Trek” view of the world; a future in which, magically, all strife has been eliminated and only less advanced races fight – and even they can be co-opted to the Federation’s view (vide the Klingons). And if we must fight – well, it’s because some Evil Entity (be it the Empire, the Borg, the Vast Al Franken Monster) is keeping us from our pursuit of pleasure, which seems to be the only thing the Left will fight for.

    (interesting thought – had Bin Laden targeted the California porn industry rather than the Twin Towers, would the left be shrieking for his blood?)

    But, neo, you made an observation about whether our own history classes came up to VDHs standard. Mine didn’t, though I was gifted with an enthusiastic Western Civ teacher who was an ardent Victorianist, so the period 1830-1900 is as familiar to me as my own hand. But I have always felt – anachronistically, I am sure – that an educated person should be familiar with Plato, Aristophanes, Cicero et. al., and so have over the years tried to educate myself in the classical canon.

    I am embarrassed that I cannot speak Latin or Greek, and equally embarrassed that I have never read “The Divine Comedy” or “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” And I am 43. So am I an aberration, or do others of my generation feel the same?

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    Trimegistus: I wrote a post, part of the “A mind is a difficult thing…” series, on that very subject (since there’s a glitch in the comments section for doing links, I’ll just show the whole thing):

    http://neoneocon.com/2005/04/28/mind-is-difficult-thing-to-change-2/

    However, I disagree with your analysis somewhat. For the most part, I think that once the draft was over, and once Vietnamization had the effect of our having few or no troops in combat, the news from that area of the world dropped off the radar screens of many, if not most, of the war opponents, who considered their work finished. Thus, the events that followed were not noticed all that much. For those who noticed, the excuse was that we had somehow caused those things to happen through the war itself, rather than through the pullout.

  21. Loyal Achates Says:

    Well, if there’s anybody who hasn’t studied war history, it’s the Bush administration.

    Zing! or, as Samuel Pepys once said, ‘Cuds zookes! What is become of my lobsters?’

  22. mary Says:

    What did I write that would make you ask such a question? Insisting on accuracy about someone’s motivations does not imply agreement with them.

    Your statement: What radicalized bin Laden against the US was not the wimpiness of US military power, but rather its presence in Arab lands implied that you agreed that these lands were ‘Arab’.

    Furthermore, it also implied that you agreed that the American presence on ‘Arab’ lands was, as bin Laden has said, causing these lands to be impure, and that our impure presence had somehow managed to ‘radicalize’ a previously friendly entity, the traumatized supremacist bin Laden.

    Your statement ignored the well-known decades-long Salafist campaign of ethnic cleansing that bin Laden and his ilk have been waging in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia and is therefore, not accurate.

    Your willingness to spread inaccurate information does imply that you agree with this information. Or, it implies that you’re totally clueless.

  23. naverhtrad Says:

    The first part of your blog post doesn’t tally with my own personal experience. I graduated from Classical High School, and though I personally didn’t learn the Greek or Latin languages, but concentrated instead on German, our class covered much of classical Greek literature and history (including the famous battles). But overall, I fear that you may be right.

    The sad thing is, the classical Greeks understood fully the dangers of pride and overreaching, even in service of a cause that seems moral. It’s a story retold again and again, by Herodotos on the non-fiction side and by Aeschulos on the fiction side. When the prideful attain power, it often leads to the doom of all. When the names of Xerxes, Agamemnon and Menelaos figure into one’s thinking, as well as the ultimate fate of the Western Roman Empire, it’s very difficult not to see Bush in the same light.

    Even sadder, it seems that Bush is as blindly determined as Xerxes to attain a military victory where even using the language of military victory would hardly seem meaningful.

    (Another thing that kind of gets on my nerves – when most people discuss Christianity they hardly pay any homage anymore to the gentile theologians and philosophers who nurtured the infant religion in its troubled kerygma: Origen Adamantios, St. Gregory Nysses and St. Justin Martyr, for example.)

  24. Synova Says:

    Star Trek is certainly a child of its time.

    A whole lot of popular science fiction, however, is a study of war.

    What I wanted to say wasn’t about SF, but about computer games. Military History may not have a place in our schools any longer but it certainly does have a place in the games our children play. Those hoping to impose this kinder, gentler, ignorance on the next generation will and have failed.

    For those military history doctors who don’t find a place in academia because there are no positions available, it might do to look for a game manufacturer instead.

    If nothing else, it’s deliciously subversive.

  25. Synova Says:

    That song (ain’t gonna study war no more) is about dying. The river in negro spirituals is usually death. I’d say “always” but no doubt there is a song where the river isn’t death so…

    Down by the riverside… is when I’m getting ready to die… I ain’t gonna study war no more.

    But the tools, the gold sword… I don’t think that the song is even saying war is bad, the struggle is probably only “war” in a metaphorical way, but fighting it isn’t a bad thing, just as death isn’t a bad thing, but is final rest from the good fight.

  26. Lee Says:

    Synovia,
    What you said reminds me of something historian Shelby Foote said in Ken Burns’ Civil War series about the battle of Chickamauga:

    “Chickamauga is an indian word, and like all indian words is translated “the river of death”.

  27. Trimegistus Says:

    Neo:

    Perhaps our different views are the result of differing ages. I grew up post-Vietnam — going to school with kids named Nguyen and Pham who occasionally mentioned how they had to flee their homeland to avoid being murdered. The “boat people” and the Cambodian killing fields may not have been headline news, but they were part of the intellectual landscape.

    But of course reasonable people may disagree.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    There’s a three generation split it seems. The Vietnam Boomer generation that are now in power, the generation after Vietnam which shares some of the same traits but less of the psychological memories(or at least directed somewhere else), and the generation that grew up in the 90s predominantly.

  29. The Unknown Blogger Says:

    Whoops, sorry Mary, I can see we truly have no reason to be speaking to each other!

  30. Lee Says:

    Unknown Baby,
    Yet, you still felt compelled to say so, as if Mary cares.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    Unk always avoids superior forces and engages only inferior forces. A sound doctrine for armies, if I may say so, though less so for individuals.

  32. armchair pessimist Says:

    Another aspect of the study of Latin: it is brainwashing for citizenship in our civilization.

    In year 1 you jump into a language whose vocabulary seems limited to words like virtue, courage, duty, wicked tyrant, the state, consul, liberty….

    How could it not influence young impressionable minds towards the very civic virtues that our acursed boomer generation shunned?

    Of course it was the generation that went before that failed to slap them back onto the right path. Perhaps having gone through the depression and then WW2 the “greatest generation” was just too plain exhausted to care.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Greatest Generation didn’t want their children to have to face the same challenges, therefore they sheltered, spoiled, and tried to keep their children safe and boxed in. Never having to fear the real world. Well, the real world touched them nonetheless, except it wasn’t the Vietnam War, it was KGB funded Psychological warfare and brainwashing.

    You can’t protect people by keeping them in a box or a cage or a pedestal. They must learn how to protect themselves. In this case, the Vietnam generation failed. They failed not only themselves but the people that sought their protection, which is a blood stain that no amount of words or protestation may erase.

  34. Ymarsakar Says:

    When Kennedy says the Iraqis must standup and protect themselves, what do you think he means? What do you think a man that fauking couldn’t protect the woman in his own fauking car, means when he says others are too protected?

  35. US History Notes Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.
    Thanks,
    Joe

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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