Patriotism in the American Education System
The debate regarding the education of our children has been going on since the institutionalization of education and will continue as long as we are a liberal democracy full of free thinking citizens. People will always have an opinion and we will, most likely, never be able to please every single person. William Galston and Robert Fullinwider are in full support of teaching a version of history that promotes patriotism and inspires those learning of it to feel a sense of pride and a duty to, in a sense, carry on the mission of the American heroes that have come before us and done great things in terms of the progress for our country. Harry Brighouse is quite different than Galston and Fullinwider in that he believes that by keeping the full truth, gruesome or not, from those that are being educated that we are doing a great disservice to them. I tend to side with Galston and Fullinwider with the feeling that our history needs to be taught in an inspiring sort of way. What benefit do we truly gain by teaching young Americans that yes, in fact, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great American whose work during the Civil Rights Movement was essential to where we have progressed to as a society today, but he was also an adulterer and plagiarist? By revealing the holes in an American hero’s character we are diminishing his greatness and his impact on the people that have learned of his story years and years after he made such a monumental impact on our country and the progress to end segregation. The gain from sharing that knowledge is extremely minimal compared to the damage it does to the credibility of his work that he is truly known and greatly respected for. It is much simpler and much more productive to producing patriotic citizens if we leave certain, inconsequential parts of the story out. This doesn’t mean we lie to anyone, we simply tell the part of the story that generates the desired feelings of national pride...
Bibliography: Fullinwider, R. (1996). Patriotic History. Cambridge University Press, pages 203-225.
Galston, W. (1991). Civic Education in the Liberal State. Cambridge University Press, pages 470-478.
Schlesinger, Jr., A. (1999). The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society. W. W. Norton & Company, pages 12-37.
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