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Teaching national mythologies doesn’t help society address problems

October 29, 2020
Anonymous young girl wrapped in the American flag.In a RealClearEducation op-ed, Rochester philosopher Randall Curren and his coauthor Charles Dorn argue that there is “little merit in the notion that love of country is something that can be taught through celebratory history.” (Getty Images photo)

When President Trump spoke at the National Archives to mark Constitution Day in September, he said that schoolchildren are taught a “twisted web of lies” about the country’s history because of “left-wing indoctrination.” He declared that “Our youth will be taught to love America with all of their heart and all of their soul.”

But “we see little merit in the notion that love of country is something that can be taught through celebratory history,” Randall Curren and Charles Dorn write in an op-ed at RealClearEducation, a global education news and commentary website.

Curren, a professor of philosophy and of education, and chair of Rochester’s philosophy department, is an ethicist who works across the boundaries of moral, political, legal, environmental, and educational philosophy. His books include Living Well Now and in the Future: Why Sustainability Matters (MIT Press, 2017) and Aristotle on the Necessity of Public Education (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). He and Dorn, a professor and chair of education at Bowdoin College, are coauthors of Patriotic Education in a Global Age (University of Chicago Press, 2018).

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Category: Voices & Opinion