A Different Drum

You turn on the radio for the weather report: “Sunny and warm today, with a high near 80.  Light breeze out of the south at five miles per hour.  Chance of rain less than ten percent.”  Outside your window, you watch the winds rage and the rains pour.  Which are you going to believe, your senses or government-backed science?

Coming away from the window, you pick a modern history textbook off the shelf, and you read that modern times are marked by progress.  The past was a sewer of racism, sexism, bigotry, and ethnic oppression, but in the past 150 years, mankind has reached ever higher levels of technology, enlightenment, and humanity.  You experience a brief moment of doubt: two world wars, terrifying dictatorships that killed hundreds of millions of people, the disappearance of all standards in the arts, manners, and morals, and an upsurge in prejudice and violence against your own dwindling minority of straight white Christian males.  Which are you going to believe, the evidence you can see and hear all around you, or academics living off government subsidies?

You quickly shake off all doubts and pass the good news on to the children: Liberated from history, they—and not just individual men and women but the entire human race—“will rise on stepping stones of their dead selves to higher things.”  The civilization of their ancestors, with all its...

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