Leighton Smith: What use is history if we do not learn from it

Leighton Smith,
Publish Date
Sat, 9 Mar 2019, 10:41am
Bill Gates on CNN last month encouraged raising the American CGT. Photo / AP
Bill Gates on CNN last month encouraged raising the American CGT. Photo / AP

Leighton Smith: What use is history if we do not learn from it

Leighton Smith,
Publish Date
Sat, 9 Mar 2019, 10:41am


An email to me this last week included a historical quote. So unsure was I as to its alleged source, I did a word search. Confirmation came readily from a number of sites including the BBC.

The quote was "when an opponent declares, I will not come over to your side, I calmly say, Your child belongs to us already. You will pass on. Your descendants however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community".

In short, you are irrelevant, we own your kids.

Who was the author and does it really matter? What concerns more is what propaganda was adrift? But even more important is how did it eventuate that someone could control the lives and families of so many?.

It's all a matter of history, or maybe lack of history. How to explain that so many lessons from the past are irrelevant today?

Could it be the absence of history teaching in education, and what little is taught mainly skates the surface.

A new analysis published by "Perspectives on History" reveals disturbing figures.

From the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of 49 majors of all disciplines since 2008, majors in history have suffered the steepest decline. In the change in degrees 2011-2017 history is ranked 49, down 33 per cent.

Topping the rankings is Exercise Science, up by almost 60 per cent. It has been suggested that for millennials "history began the day they were born and if not then, then yesterday".

Throw it all together and you get headlines like, "Socialism's Millennial fans don't even know what it is", New York Post 4 March 2019. "Millennials - ignorant of socialism's appalling economic and human rights history - increasingly embrace socialism and its naively unrealistic prescriptions for ending all human want".

There is likely a contributing factor to history's demise.

A British study questioned the cost of a Masters versus the income value for job applicants.

History, along with other humanities has little to no value over a Bachelor's Degree.

But costs run into tens of thousands, particularly for foreign students. The answer is to go on to a Doctorate, which is enough to put the average graduate in debt for life.

What has this got to do with New Zealand? Well, it's a global society, don't you know.

So, education, employment, technology, social media, housing, politics and trade, just for a start. Have you noticed a reduction in the humour quotient in your life - it's world over.

Far too many intersections to have humour as a black mark on your employment record.

Every day, every single day, there are attempts to destroy the culture and life that most of us grew up with.

Dr Seuss is the latest to be assaulted. Theodore Seuss Geisel published books for kids "highlighting the absurdity of human nature and calling on people to be better versions of themselves".

Seuss died in 1991. Now, according to a couple of "critical race scholar-activists" his works were racist, sexist, and unrepresentative. Most startling is the complete invisibility of women and girls of color across Seuss' entire children's book collection.

I missed out on Dr Seuss. Don't know why, but I did read all the Enid Blyton books in the Famous Five series along with the Secret Seven.

The Five were a bunch of kids, smart for their years, including a girl who didn't want to be a girl and was called George. Enid Blyton books have had some PC challenges in recent times.

But every day it goes on. Diana Soriana, a political science student of three years changed to Boston University.

During a recent meeting with the Department she suggested more intellectual diversity, "more debates in the classroom as opposed to the assumption during class that everyone agrees.

She was turned on. One student said debate was too aggressive a word and discussion would be more suitable. Another compared her to another student regarded as a neo-Nazi.

Neither of the two academic staff present spoke out in her defense as she was mocked.

The young Socialists in the American Congress are excitedly pushing for major tax changes.

The CGT proposed for this country, is it a Socialist tax? By default, yes. While we could argue around the fringes, by its addition to the Government armoury it provides further ability to drain the taxpayer's pocket.

Bill Gates, multi-billionaire, on CNN last month encouraged raising the American CGT. The idea is to "soak the rich". That would make Michael Cullen giggle.

In New Zealand a CGT would do most damage to the ever threatened middle class, such as it is. Those who have strived to establish financial independence and personal responsibility.

The Gates of this world along with the top 1 per cent in this country will take care of themselves, thank you.

The statement at the top of the column was made by Hitler, Adolf Hitler. Is there a warning in it?

Look to history.

PS: This column was approved by a millennial. Truly.