If you don’t know where you came from and whether it was a good place to be, you could wind up choosing to go back there—whether it’s in your best interest or not. There’s a post up over at Acculturated that deals with the problem of historical illiteracy among college graduates and the effect that could have on civic discourse.
To make sense of contemporary policy debates, you need a certain amount of perspective. If you lack that perspective, you can be more susceptible to overreaction and partisan hysteria.
Take the issue of executive power and national security. If you don’t know what Lincoln did during the Civil War (suspend habeas corpus), what Woodrow Wilson did during World War I (severely restrict civil liberties), or what Franklin Roosevelt did during World War II (put Japanese Americans in internment camps), it’s hard to have any real perspective on the actions that George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump have taken in the war against Islamic terrorism.
Read the whole thing.