Jewish World Review August 15, 2013/ 9 Elul, 5773
Don't know much about geography
By Victor Davis Hanson
Over a half-century after Cooke wrote that lighthearted song, such ignorance is now all too real. Even our best and brightest -- or rather our elites especially -- are not too familiar with history or geography.
Both disciplines are the building blocks of learning. Without awareness of natural and human geography, we are reduced to a sort of self-contained void without accurate awareness of the space around us. An ignorance of history also creates the same sort of self-imposed exile, leaving us ignorant of both what came before us and what is likely to follow.
In the case of geography,
Obama's geographical confusion has become habitual. He once claimed that he had been to all "57 states." He also assumed that
In reference to the
When in the state of
The president's geographical illiteracy is a symptom of the nation's growing ignorance of once-essential subjects like geography and history. The former is often not taught any more as a required subject in our schools and colleges. The latter has often been redefined as race, class and gender oppression to score melodramatic points in the present rather than to learn from the tragedy of the past.
The president in his 2009
Closer to home, the president claimed in 2011 that the
Recently, Obama claimed that 20th century communist strongman
Even more ahistorical was Vice President
Our geographically and historically challenged leaders are emblematic of disturbing trends in American education that include a similar erosion in grammar, English composition and basic math skills.
In the zero-sum game of the education curriculum, each newly added therapeutic discipline eliminated an old classical one. The result is that if Americans emote more and have more politically correct thoughts on the environment, race, class and gender, they are less able to advance their beliefs through fact-based knowledge.
Despite supposedly tough new standards and vast investments, about 56 percent of students in recent
A degree from our most prestigious American university is no guarantee that such a graduate will know the number of states or the location of
As a rule now, when our leaders allude to a place or an event in the past, just assume their references are dead wrong.
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
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