Sunday, February 25, 2007

One Europe One History

Czech native Luboš Motl unleashes a rant against a European Union proposal that all schools use a common history book. The idea is being promoted by the German Education Minister Annette Schavan as a means to standardize what all European children are taught. "It is not the idea at all to rewrite history," according to a German government spokesman, but of course this is exactly what a single state approved history requires.

European Universal History Book: What she wants is a synchronization, forcible coordination, making equal. German readers know that the correct translation to German is gleichschaltung. … What does it mean? She effectively wants to eliminate nations from the intellectual map of Europe. ... In the textbook, we will probably learn that the U.S. entered the war by occupation of Normandy in 1944 but the Yankees were finally stopped by heroic allied French and German forces near Pilsen, my hometown.

The unique history of the multiple countries in Europe can be a touchy subject. It turns out a compellation of human events is a very complex task, and defining an official summary of the cumulative actions of millions of people back through generations is a goal for fools or tyrants. Still, as long as education is considered a rightful role for government, there will be public servants arguing that efficiency and equality should justify standardization of curriculum.