Are people who talk and write about history necessarily history scholars? No! Just because a person is new to the investigation of American history doesn’t mean that they cannot share what they have discovered. What they don’t know about American history does not negate or discredit what they do know. If I discover a buried treasure of valuable coins, the coins would not be less valuable because I am not a professional treasure hunter. Most people are reluctant to share valuable information because they feel they will be discredited due to their lack of vast subject knowledge. Most likely they are wrong, if what they have discovered has credit in its own right and is truly valuable.
I do not hesitate to share what I have discovered although I am a “learner” and not a teacher. My Christian education has helped a lot in this respect. At first, many years ago now, I was always surprised to find that many false accounts existed in every part of life: Bible commentaries, newspaper articles, the six-o’clock news with Brian Williams, the lives of famous and respected religious leaders: Ted Haggard, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swagger, Yogi Amrit Desai, a.k.a. Gurudev, and a long list of Catholic Priest. There is no area that is untouched by deception, delusion, and outright fraud. What I learned, and learned well, is that everything must be questioned. Many times what is not being said is more important than what is said. The reader of history books and the listeners of sermons should always ask questions, “Why are these ideas being mentioned?” or “What other information is relevant about this person, event, or subject?” or “Why is this important?” We should not be surprised that so much is omitted from history books. What should surprise us is that so few people question the books, or even care. As a Christian I learned that it is a fact that evil persist in this world, and that there is a presence in every individual that has an affinity for evil. This evil is generally expressed as lies and embellishments, because this Evil has a name and he is the Father of all lies, Satan, The Great Deceiver. So, when I find these lies in Public School history books, I am not surprised, it is expected, even in their counterpart, Christian homeschool history books.
American history is one of those things where there is a multitude of buried treasure which has been covered over by the misinformation and outright lies of textbook publishers and their authors. For example, one hunter of buried historical treasure revealed this little gem about Helen Keller. Nearly everyone knows the story of her early life and circumstance. She is taught as an ideal, and not as real person, but as an inspiration to the young, to overcome every obstacle; and that is true, she did overcome great odds, but there is more to her story, or as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now for the rest of the story.” In the second volume of her 1929 autobiography, Midstream, at an age approaching fifty she stressed that she did not want to be frozen in childhood. She said that the meaning of her life lay in what she did after she had overcome her difficulties. In that book she stressed her social philosophy, which she wanted everyone to know about. While she was a very hard working individual herself, she rejected the hard labor of the union mill towns, mining towns, and packing towns she visited. In her own words:
“I had once believed that we were all masters of our fate – that we could mould our lives into any form we pleased. . . . I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life’s struggle. But as I went more and more about the country I learned that I had spoken with assurance on a subject I knew little about. I forgot that I owed my success partly to the advantages of my birth and environment. . . . Now, however, I learned that the power to rise in the world is not within the reach of everyone.[i]
These are terrible and honest words that the textbooks leave out (at least the ones I own). The idea of equal opportunity does not show up in these words of Helen Keller although they inform us as to who this person was and what shaped her social outlook. The idea that there may be no “power to rise in the world,” is forbidden text and territory in the Land of Promise where weakness is forbidden. But, there is more, Helen Keller was controversial in another way. She was a – Socialist – at the same time that she was one of the most renowned women on the planet, and Socialism was dishonorable and shameful, especially so during the Woodrow Wilson era (there’s another subject for questioning). Enthroned as the queen of overcoming all obstacles, enshrined for all the little children to see, and then, she is forgotten, disappearing from the stage, Why? She had no doubt fallen prey to her handlers and her limitations had skewed her senses, were the reasons given for her fall from grace; but Helen, in her bold manner, accused her accusers of being socially blind and deaf, “defending an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much physical blindness and deafness” that she was trying to prevent.[ii]
Men, like nature, generally take the path of least resistance, so when conflicts arise we look for the easy path, and Helen Keller as a card carrying Socialist does not go down well with those who are accustomed to a bland Nationalistic diet. But, this is what Helen Keller wanted to be remembered for. I am not saying I agree with her, I am only saying it is the truth, and that it is hidden from our children by those who want to program our national conscience. History is contingent on what went before us and our children should know those contingencies. The Disneyland approach to American history should be left in fantasyland and not in the schoolhouse. What will hurt us more, the truth or the lie?
Helen Keller has given us a great gift, even if she was a Socialist, which should constantly remind us of the wonder of the world around us and how much we owe to those who have taught us what it means, but she was a Socialist, who sang the praises of the new communist nation that sprang up after the Russian Revolution:
“In the East a new star is risen! With pain and anguish the old order has given birth to the new, and behold in the East a man-child is born! Onward, comrades, all together! Onward to the campfires of Russia! Onward to the coming dawn!”[iii]
Is this the Helen Keller we learned about in grade school? No! She has been sanitized for the young and the simple; she has been cleansed of all negativity against the positive message of perseverance against all odds. You don’t have to agree with Helen Keller, but you do have to know the truth.
The story of Helen Keller is just one example of the details that we have missed in our American education system. Is it important? Only if truth is important. Is it harmful? It’s red pill versus blue pill for those who have seen The Matrix. Difficult reality or a beautiful fiction: Which do you choose to live in? Most people shudder at the idea of living a lie, even if it is a pleasant one. Yes, the truth may sometimes hurt or confuse, but rarely do we learn something that we eventually wish we could unlearn. It is really those who control the matrix, the social scientist, who want us to remain in the dark. I don’t want to promote conspiracy theories, but there does appear to be good reason to believe that social propaganda is not something that is just being used to twist the minds of our enemies. Any good social engineer or marketing guru knows about Hegelian Dialectics to manage and motivate people to achieve certain goals, and history is only one part of that formula.
I said that we would start with the founders, I was mistaken. We will investigate the founders on our next installment.
[i] Helen Keller, Midstream: My later Life (New York: Greenwood, 1968 ), 156.
[ii] Forner, ed., Hellen Keller: Her Socialist Years, 26.
[iii] Hellen Keller, “Onward, Comrades,” address at the Rand School of Social Science New Year’s Eve Celebration, New York, December 31, 1920.