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If you fancy a break from Zimmerman analysis this weekend, Daniel Johnson of Britain’s Standpoint has some thoughts on the receding tide of historical consciousness. That’s to say, for most of the modern age an informed sense of the past was assumed to be an indispensable attribute of a civilized man:

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  • DirtDoc 6 years, 4 months ago

    I think he's confusing a loss of historical conciousness with an increase in the volume of those without it. The sod-housed farmer of the prairie likely had little knowledge of the Greek philosophers, but his voice went mostly unheard. I doubt the author would render those among the "uncivilized". These days the microphone is perpetually in people's face, to the poor where Jay Leno has a segment literally trying to find people who don't know a lot.

    Not to mention the idea that history is non-uniform. The author cites the Greeks and Romans, but what of Harun Al-Rashid? Or Lao Tzu? Also, consider the way in which historical "facts" are co-blended with national self-image. The fact the Howard Zinn has a career is enough to prove that what some may regard as fact is ignorance to others.

    May fear with this article is that it encourages memorization. "Know your philosophers" is the command. Instead, we should be asking "Can you challenge their precepts"? And if not, how do we teach that?

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