Not their finest hour
By Lisa Fabrizio
Sir Winston Churchill once said, "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." Although he did indeed write, as well as make much history, it will be of no avail to him personally now that he has been dropped from the official list of persons required for study by English school students from the ages of 11 to 14.
In an effort to improve the minds of their youth, in lieu of studying the man who was dubbed ‘The Greatest Briton of Them All' in a 2002 BBC poll, they will instead concentrate on "debt management, the environment and healthy eating." That's right. One of the men most responsible for English still being spoken in England is to be shunted into the dustbin of schoolroom history in favor of more time to teach the kiddies about the evils of global warming and red meat.
Churchill is not the only heavyweight to receive the historical heave-ho, since Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King have also been deemed unworthy of study. Of course one can understand the dropping of Hitler from the curriculum. After all, according to certain American congressmen, there's no reason to study him when he is presently alive and well and living on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, U.S.A.
Officials say that lopping off trivial subjects like the War of the Roses, the life of King Henry VIII and the study of French, German and Spanish--languages that formed bonds of cooperation with England's neighbors--will provide room for students to learn Russian, Chinese, Urdu and Arabic. Draw you own conclusions here.
In the English department, Shakespeare has been spared, as have contemporary authors such as Douglas Adams, a noted sci-fi writer and a self-proclaimed ‘radical-atheist'. I point this out because the curriculum goes on to say that it is "no longer compulsory to teach the influences of the Bible, Arthurian legends and Greek mythology." It appears no accident that the Bible is mentioned in the same breath as ‘legends' and ‘mythology'.
In the field of Geography, emphasis will be placed on "climate change, the tsunami and the effects of buying cheap clothes on the Third World," while science classes will concentrate on subjects in which all pre-teens should be well-versed: "in vitro fertilization, stem cells, vivisection, nuclear energy and the moral and ethical implications of science."
All of this will no doubt serve to create a generation of fresh-faced, self-hating, little Eurocrats, but very few Englishmen; and almost none of the stripe of Winston Churchill. But I'm sure that's the point. Or it might be that it's just another case of the mediocre trying to elevate themselves by demoting the exceptional. Or just maybe the anti-Churchillian concept of appeasement is the goal. After all, try and imagine the following emanating from the pen of a twenty-something English lad educated under today's proposed guidelines:
Disagree as one might with the young Churchill's views on Christianity, there is no question that he was eerily prophetic on the subject of Islamism and, were he alive today, he would be appalled by western reticence in fighting the War on Terror.
Churchill is esteemed by some as the greatest statesman, historian and orator of the English-speaking people. There are no great orators today, especially in America. We have no oratory but we have plenty of talk and most of it is of the mealy-mouth variety as embodied by the new English curriculum.
But in this time of national peril, the Churchillian quality most called for is his bullishness in defense of country when he felt he had right on his side; the same sort presently and thankfully displayed by Der Fuehrer in the White House.