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since June 19, 2001



    Book Review, Alberta Report, 1998 05 04, page 44 

    History, beaten to death by a gang

    Inept educators ...ignorant media...pusillanimous bureaucrats...scheming academics  all of them took cudgels to a noble, nation-building subject.

    By J.L. Granatstein 
    HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. 
    156 pages, hardcover, $22 

    Who killed Canadian history?  Take your pick from a whole phalanx of villains, all arguably guilty.  Some appear to be more culpable than others, however, and you may not always agree with author J. L. Granatstein as to the worst offenders. 
       That Canadian history is indeed dead -- or at best on life support -- is hard to dispute.  Survey after survey has lately demonstrated that most young people today know scarcely anything about the origins and development of this country, and most of their parents are also "culturally illiterate."  Distinguished historian Granatstein himself observed a catastrophic decline in his 30 years at York University, Toronto.  Honours history students of the mid-'90s, he found, possessed less than half the knowledge and capability of the predecessors of the 1960s — and these were the brightest, best and most interested. 
       Had student intelligence deteriorated?  Certainly not, but elementary and high school history courses assuredly had.  That process began in the 1930s, when the "child-centred" disciples of educational philosopher John Dewey decided knowledge was unimportant and attitude what counts.  Then came Social Studies, whereby non-chronological and unrelated segments of history could serve to demonstrate any point you liked.  Meanwhile, provincial education departments kept cutting back such historical content as remained, especially western European, British and Canadian.  Here Mr. Granatstein gets to the major current villains: provincial bureaucrats who want to teach only regional history; the federal government, for not even trying to introduce national standards, and for continuing to pour millions into Pierre Trudeau's divisive multi-cultural policies; local ethnic lobbies, and school trustees that cave in to them; the media, interested only in digging up historical scandal; finally, the "social historians," especially the Marxist and feminist contingents, who seized control of university history departments and have fragmented and distorted the entire discipline. 
       Only an Ontario centrist like the author will be persuaded that Canadian history has lost out to regional.  Nor will many Westerners likely share his faith in federal bureaucrats as its saviours. But Mr. Granatstein's arguments on the media, multi-cult forces and certain social historians are very convincing indeed.  Allied in their devotion to current political correctness, these are all intent upon rewriting Canadian history with little reference to actual fact. 
       Thus great achievements (such as the valiant liberation of Holland by Canadian troops) are ignored, while anything at all dubious (such as relocation or internment of aliens in wartime) must be magnified and distorted out of recognition.  Presenting Canada warts and all is fine and right, says Mr. Granatstein-but not warts only. 
       He is naturally most illuminating on the infighting in academe.  Funny too.  In one delightful instance, the women's studies feminists discovered Ontario's first woman lawyer, Clara Brett Martin, who against all odds was called to the bar in 1897.  She soon became a heroine, with lecture series and research centres named after her-until they further discovered that she was anti-Semitic, and had to quickly re-inter the otherwise admirable Clara. 
       The main point, Jack Granatstein contends, is that "history happened."  Each generation must interpret it anew-but not undo it to fit our current ideological attitudes.  Canada has a fascinating history, during which mostly British influence produced a country universally admired as a very fine one. 
       So why can't we tell our children about it-and our immigrants too?  If we do not, he warns, Canada may not long remain so admirable. 

                                     —Virginia Byfield

    Ted Byfield, dedicated his weekly editorial (page 52, of the same issue of the AR) to comments about J. L. Granatstein's book.  Amongst other things, he said: 

      "Mr. Granatstein also answers another question that has always  intrigued me.  Why did the university history faculties.stand meekly  aside while their subject was eradicated in the school system, or was  converted into an instrument of ideological indoctrination.  He explains  that the history faculties were taken over first by the Marxists, and  then by the feminists.  As long as it was their propaganda that was being promulgated in the education system, and it always was,  why should they complain?"

    Ted Byfield appears to underestimate the importance of an agenda of deliberate obfuscation and suppression of the achievements of the "patriarchy" as executed through the women's studies programs throughout the world.  It is not so much that the feminists gladly accepted the program of eradication of the subject of history, but that they actively promoted and accelerated that program.  It isn't that the faculties stood idly by but, rather, that feminist-dominated faculties actively promoted the purging of texts and the curriculum of all politically incorrect content. 
         The extent of the impact of women's study programs on history is apparent when one looks at library listings at the Edmonton Public Library.  For example: there are 1954 listings under the heading Women, but there are only 369 listings under the heading Men.  What is particularly noticeable is the tenor of the women's books.  A large proportion depicts women as victims of a patriarchal society.  Few, if any of the men's books listed make a comparable impression.  The proliferation of publications in women's studies is but one manifestation of the impact of feminist teachings on our society.  Certainly, with feminists in control of what is being taught at our universities and in all other sectors of education, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the history being taught to our students is largely comprised of feminist propaganda. 
         When all sectors of the media are under control of the feminists, as it is increasingly coming to be, the re-writing of history along the lines of what George Orwell envisioned in "1984" will be completely under the control of the State — a feminist-controlled state. 

    J. L. Granatstein was the guest on the Dave Rutherford talk show yesterday (broadcast in most of western Canada), 1998 05 05.  The subject of the discussion was Mr. Granatstein's book. 

See also:

Feminism For Male College Students — A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry Harry (Off-Site)

2001 02 02 (format changes)
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)
2007 12 14 (reformated)