Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Revisionist history

I am of the strong belief that if you are going to be teaching history, you need to be unbiased. Throwing in leading words like "smacked of" "seemed" "supposedly" "fittingly" "malevolent" and so on is inappropriate. These words make for a more interesting read, but tend to sway someone into believing things were a certain way. Present the facts, let people decide for themselves.

I am reading a book about the Cold War, and since the repercussions of those decades are just now starting to show themselves, I don't think anyone can declare how it is. There are a few perceived victors. The communists, although I haven't heard their side of the history, I'm sure it exists and is fascinating; the Reagan conservatives who won a moral victory; and the liberal socialists who are ashamed of the US for putting up such a ridiculous fight. It happened the way it happened for a number of reasons, and it will be interesting to see how it affects the future. I feel its important for the events to be laid out without bias so that future generations can look at this time period for ways to deal with the current situation abroad. How are we to handle countries that hate us for what we have intended to do for them and to them? What stance do we take in defending our allies? How will our dealings affect our security at home and as we travel? What will it do to our markets and prosperity? Sometimes I wish I had more time to study it, but would it make a difference? Would leaders of a country learn from history and choose a different path, or take the same one with a different result? I suppose its like chess, you have to think many moves ahead, but it's so unpredictable with so many reactions and outcomes.

On one hand, perhaps the US should turn isolationist. Limit business abroad, work to become self reliant, and tell our allies to shove off. On the other hand, would our economy survive and would our borders be any safer? And what of our moral obligation to defend the weak? Should we become involved in all countries' disputes and live up to our "world police" reputation? Oh so many questions! I love it!

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