A couple days ago I got caught in the Wikipedia trap, you know the one where you are looking for a specific topic and end up clicking over five or six other articles to something completely unrelated (the jump from bananas to fossil fuels is not as far as you’d think!). I wound up reading about Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution in the 1950’s.
See, Che’s influences included Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and I quickly realized that in my education, both in high-school and at the collegiate level, I was exposed to the thoughts and ideas of socialism far more than I was to the ideas that were the cornerstones of the nation I lived in, namely liberty and capitalism.
It was disheartening to think that the education system I grew up in focused more on the antithesis of our nation’s principles than the ideas that make America unique. Documents like Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the writings of our founding fathers, the free-market ideas of modern thinker Milton Friedman were all ideas I had to discover on my own.
Perhaps it was assumed that while being taught these ideas about European socialism students knew about the United States’ history, how economies function, and that young minds were truly able to digest the heavy concept of personal liberty. Honestly though, I’m not sure that’s the case. More and more we are seeing that Americans on the whole truly do not have a basic understand of policy, the Constitution and how economies work.
These things need to be taught in schools. The achievements and concepts behind the United States need to be more than just a one week reading assignment in a civics class. Liberty, personal freedom, and the Constitution should be the bedrock of understanding for students in our classrooms.