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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Vanderbilt Tries to Throw Some of it's Own History Down the Memory Hole

Back when the Soviet Union was still around, jokes and anecdotes were commonplaces about how Soviet textbooks had to be rewritten every time a new leader appeared. Similar things happen under all totalitarian regimes because the totalitarians want power over all of reality, including the past.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville is not a totalitarian regime, of course, but it certainly seems to have succumbed to a tendency of our contemporary Political Correctness Police to take a similar view about rewriting history, at least that part of American history that includes mention of the Confederacy.

Win Myers at Democracy Project has the details here and in today's issue of The Washington Times. With his usual precision, Myers explains the fundamental issue at hand:

"Leaving for others the arguments over the Civil War's causes and effects, what is most disturbing about Vanderbilt's original scheme is the underlying belief that the past is merely a weapon in contemporary culture wars, putty in our hands to be shaped according to our desires."

Put another way, those who would erase the mistakes of the past make it impossible to learn from them.

BTW, congratulations to Myers, who is becoming the new managing editor of "The American Enterprise," which is the flagship publication of the fine think tank of the same name. He's one of the Blogosphere's most graceful and knowledgeable scribes and this move to AEI could be a large step towards a much-deserved recognition by a far wider audience.