Thursday, November 27, 2008

Victor David Hanson on using Latin as a weapon against the illiberal white separatists who run our schools

Four years of high-school Latin would dramatically arrest the decline
in American education. In particular, such instruction would do more
for minority youths than all the ‘role model’ diversity sermons on
Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, Montezuma, and Caesar Chavez put together.
Nothing so enriches the vocabulary, so instructs about English grammar
and syntax, so creates a discipline of the mind, an elegance of
expression, and serves as a gateway to the thinking and values of
Western civilization as mastery of a page of Virgil or Livy (except
perhaps Sophocles’s Antigone in Greek or Thucydides’ dialogue at
Melos). After some 20 years of teaching mostly minority youth Greek,
Latin, and ancient history and literature in translation (1984-2004), I
came to the unfortunate conclusion that ethnic studies, women
studies—indeed, anything “studies”— were perhaps the fruits of some
evil plot dreamed up by illiberal white separatists to ensure that poor
minority students in the public schools and universities were offered
only a third-rate education.

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