The Importance of the Teaching of History

"By dismissing the past or by giving it only cursory textbook treatment, modern education produces students whom T.S. Eliot called "provincials of time." These students regard the past with ignorant condescension, assuming that all its scant benefits, through some mysterious process of progressive evolution, have been retained, while its evils have for the most part been shed away. They are infected with the fever of progress, supposing that the mere passage of time acts like a great threshing machine, discarding the chaff and preserving the wheat. Whatever kernels of truth this world ever possessed are somewhere in the loaf now being proffered by science. Nor, in this condition, can the young stomach the medicine of the past, with its stern warnings and meticulous instructions for human improvement printed on the label. In a school predicated only upon science, the student can be nothing more than what he is. That, to be sure, can be developed- and human development results from yielding to certain inner patterns of truth (to which only the psychiatrist is privy), not from imposing the crushing obligations of a historical dogma or of an Ideal Type. The student is not asked to bear any responsibility for a past from which he is intellectually and existentially cut off."

David Hicks
Norms and Nobility