Friday, May 13, 2005

Quote of the Day

In the course of another fine effort, Victor Davis Hanson, writing about World War II and revisionism at National Review Online, offers a truly excellent quote that can be modified and applied to other entities other than History. The quote: "revisionism requires knowledge of orthodoxy." In other words, before one can legitimately question a historical consensus, one must be familiar with that consensus. Hanson bases this on the point, for instance, that
American textbooks discuss World War II as if a Patton, Le May, or Nimitz did not exist, as if the war was essentially the Japanese internment and Hiroshima. That blinkered and politically correct focus explains why so many Americans under 30 are simply ignorant about the nature and course of World War II itself. Similarly, the British have monthly debates on the immorality of their bombing Hamburg and Dresden.
As far as applying Hanson's mini-theory in another "arena," one could just as easily replace "revisionism" with "morality" to have "morality requires knowledge of orthodoxy." Or, more boldly, "morality requires knowledge of religion." We can be comfortable that we know what morality is only because of the firm foundation of religion from whence it (mostly) came. If we remove that religious "foundation" before building the "house" of moral instruction for future generations, their house, with nothing to firmly support it, may sink into the soggy soil of immoral relativism.

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