Russell and Duenes

What Did You Learn About Benito Mussolini?

with 2 comments

mussoliniI’ve been listening to Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Facism in my car, and these questions keep coming up in my mind as I listen: Why wasn’t I actually taught history at my award-winning, nationally recognized public school? Surely my high school had to rank up there with the elite public high schools across the country. So why did I not learn that Benito Mussolini was something other than just an overweight, bumbling, two-bit facist dictator? Why did I not learn the true origin and nature of the “Palmer raids?” Why did I not learn the real facts of Woodrow Wilson’s “progressivism,” which was far more oppressive, dictatorial and truly “facist” than anything McCarthy cooked up? Of the fact that the forebears of modern liberals, not conservatives, were eugenicists? That war was advocated by many leading liberals because it enabled a greater Statism in our nation? Why was I not taught to make connections between the history of ideas and movements – particularly “progressivism” – and the fruit they actually bear in our current lives? Why was it all so one-sided – particularly when it came to men like Wilson, TR, FDR and their supporters – thin and brushed over?

Not enough time in the school year? The bell rang? The teachers didn’t know this stuff themselves? The public school curriculum at the time forced teachers to jam more than 200 years of history into less than 200 hours of instruction? Maybe these things were taught and I just didn’t care and wasn’t paying attention? Surely that’s true to some extent, and I deserve the lion’s share of the blame for not caring enough about my own early education to pursue it with any vigor.

One thing I do know, however; my U.S. History teacher was showing us “North and South” with Patrick Swayze and Kirstey Alley for our unit on the Civil War. That tells you quite a bit. And I seem to recall that my U.S. Government and Economic classes didn’t do much better. It’s unfortunate, but my guess is, quite common.



Written by Michael Duenes

October 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

Posted in Duenes, Education

2 Responses

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  1. I am reading a bio of Bonhoeffer (with my kids, it’s a kids version mind you) right now and I’m learning more about Hitler than I recall from HS days. Esp. the pre war years from a German perspective.

    Andy M

    October 19, 2014 at 11:52 am

    • Of course, another thing we were not taught, and no kid today is taught, is how similar many of the Nazi domestic social programs are to the programs liberals tout today. Indeed, many of the forebears and ideological colleagues of today’s liberals lauded the Nazi’s and Mussolini’s policies for their supposed administrative efficiency and statist “beneficence.” Yet it’s only conservatives who can be “fascists” in today’s political and educational culture. It’s a complete reversal of reality, both present and historical. BTW, you’d love Goldberg’s book. I’d suggest getting yourself a copy.


      russell and duenes

      October 19, 2014 at 12:42 pm

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