Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yet another reason I hate my History textbook

I really hate my History textbook. I hate that it's extraordinarily anti-communist and willing to rationalize anything done in the name of 'democracy', not matter how atrocious. I hate how it dedicates hundreds of pages to empty parts of history, then barely covers events like World War II.

I hate how they often miss important events. The entire Pacific theater in WWII between Midway and Iwo Jima is missing entirely - almost 3 years of one of the bloodiest wars in history. Meanwhile, it fails to mention the 8th Air Force and its bombing of Europe, or the Luftwaffe, except for 3 sentences on the Tuskegee airmen.

And now, I've found a definite place where the book is absolutely wrong. I states about Francis Gary Powers and his U-2 spyplane: "Four hours after Powers entered Soviet airspace, a Soviet pilot shot down his plane, and..."

This is absolutely untrue. There are 3 possible scenarios, but in none of them was his plane shot down by another plane. In the official version, his plane was shot down by a salvo of 14 SA-2 surface-to-air missiles, one of which also brought down a MiG-19 that was chasing him. In a second version, he was brought down by a second launch of SAMs. In a third, he was attacked by a stripped-down (gunless and armorless) MiG, that either rammed him or broke the U-2's fragile wings with his jet wash.

In none of those possibilites was he shot down by a Soviet pilot. FAIL.

(The book is The Americans by Gerald A. Danzer, et al, and published by McDougall Littell.)


DTH Rocket said...

So (just out of curiousity) what is your opinion on communism?

The EGE said...

Like a threesome - works on paper but not so much in real life. But it's never given an objective treatment - it's just expressed as universally bad, without any explanation.

DTH Rocket said...

The reason I don't like communism is that you can't very well go far in life. You're considered greedy if you have more material wealth than someone else. Usually though, its because you contributed more to society. That's basically what money is: a representation of how hard you've worked. So when government levels the playing field and makes everybody at the same status (poor), it doesn't matter how much you work. There's no motivation. As a result, the entire society suffers.

That's why it urks me to see this nation starting to slide in that direction. Capitalism is the only thing that works, even if some people are greedy.

Anyway, some people might not know why they don't like communism, but I do. I agree with you though, people should actually understand what it is before arriving at a conclusion.

The EGE said...

@DTH: I don't like communism either. When everyone is forced to be absolutely equal, things fall apart, and any leader has the opportunity to become a dictator.

However, I do like limited socialism, like in Sweden and to a lesser degree in most of western Europe, where capitalism rules, but the government has more regulatory power, welfare is better designed and implemented (not just more, but more efficient), and although one can become rich, they will be taxed more because they made that money off other, who are now correspondingly poorer. The US is becoming slightly more socialist, yes, but that's merely a small swing of the pendulum in the liberal direction. Communism is NOT merely an extension of the liberal spectrum - it's an entirely separate spectrum. Nowehere has communism come from peaceful means - it's always been an armed takeover of the government, usually from an external power. Communism isn't really on the left/right political spectrum, as it combines the very worst parts of both left-wing and right wing.

Besides, communism is efefctively dead. The last major totalitarian/communist state, China, is slowly fragmenting and no longer poses a signifcant threat to the US.

Please note that this broke my policy of arguing about politics online. Hence, I will not write any more about it, and i will not publish any more comments you make on the subject. Thank you.

~~~~The EGE

@eloh said...

I hated history until I was a junior in high school and we got a new teacher that year. He told us to take a long look at our history book, that first day...because he would never ask us to even read the cover again.

He told us the truth, sometimes hard to hear. I fell in love with history that year and love it more every day.

The EGE said...

I'm very envious of your history teacher, eloh. Of my 3 history teachers, one was pretty good and taught US government, and the other 2 have been very boring and followed this textbook (same one both years) exactly.

~~~~ The EGE