Ignorance is Love

According to a study referenced in a recent article in the newspaper, those with a better grasp of Canadian history tend to have a less intense pride in their country than those who don’t, which proves what politicians have been saying for centuries: If they don’t see it, it never happened.

Findings of a survey of 1500 Canadians showed that those with merely an elementary-school education were more likely to be proud of the history of Canada than those with high school education, and considerably more likely than those with a college or university education.

This can say a number of things. To begin with, I have to question the legitimacy of the survey. For instance, what percentage of the Canadian public has only an elementary-school level of education? Highscool ecucation is fairly universal now adays, right? So, these respondents must have been of an older generation. I’d say it’s fairly safe to say that there are value and judgement differences from one generation to the next, and it doesn’t take an academic to see that pride in nation and pride in national identity or history has declined through the decades.

But, let’s set that aside and address the question of pride and history. To begin with, the history of Canada is generally taught and understood in precisely the manner that any country’s history is communicated; it leaves out the really nasty parts and makes pretty the things that aren’t appealing. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the iconic painting of General Wolfe dying on the Plains of Abraham, surronded by his men and accompanied by a weeping aboriginal.

False. Made up. A Sham.
Wolfe didn’t die on the Plains of Abraham with battle raging around him, he died in Quebec City.

Or the photograph depicting the driving of the last spike in the construction of the railway. Actually, the people gathered looking all proper and industrious and bearing the hammer were the pompous pricks that drove the politics of the railway. The photo was carefully staged.

History is written by the winners, and creative license is used quite liberally.

Any country’s real history is filled with ugliness. But ugliness isn’t something people are proud of. We can’t be proud of the rampant rape and murder of natives when the British came ashore. It’s undeniably ugly the way we treated the natives of the maritimes like sport, hunting and killing them like animals for the fun of it. We’ve castrated the mentally infirm to ensure they didn’t breed. The RCMP planted undercover agents in crowds to stir up a riot so they could violently beat it down.

We come from ugliness, and ugliness persists to one degree or another.

And we’re only talking about Canadian history here. If we were to look at human history, my throbbing disdain for humanity would be more understood and probably even shared, if you have half a mind of your own. Of course, having disdain for humanity also means that I generally regard the likelihood of others having functional brains, fractional or otherwise, highly improbable.

What’s more disturbing is that the article goes on to note that the dweeb from the association responsible for the survey declared that emphasizing teaching the more general and uncontroversional portions of Canadian history creates a populace with a greater pride in their past.

Because that’s what we want, people that are proud of an illusion.

It’s easier to hide the ugliness than it is to explain the truth. Accountability, after all, never made anything easier for anyone.

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