LESSONS FROM FOUR DECADES WANDERING THE WORLD
Zach & Rebecca 8 Feb 2003
Some notes for Joanna Brooke, Rhys, Zach, Jacob, Mackenzie. Carolina, Rebecca, Andrea, Rebecca, Rylie and the other new citizens of the 3rd millennium CE.

We first left the US in 1966, and have spent the majority of our time since outside the US. Those years of living and visiting and studying in many countries, and regions of the US, have been a great education for an American from a white, southern Presbyterian, middle class background, and schools considered to be good.

They have been years of discovery that my history education was at best incomplete, and often wrong. History to my teachers and their texts was Israel, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Dark Ages and Renaissance/Reformation, followed by the conquest of the world by the "enlightened" western Europeans. China did not exist until Marco Polo, Japan until Admiral Perry, the Incas and Aztecs until the Conquistadors, or India until the British arrived. Africa south of Egypt was not worth a mention except as a source of slaves. How wrong those teachers and texts were!

But the past is just the context for other matters often of critical importance for ourselves and coming generations. What about race, religion, and the environment? In those and other fundamental questions I have found that the world is quite different from the precepts learned as a youth.

But poor as my education was, it seems that things are even worse today. Discussions with educators, the comments of many of the paid pundits in the media, and talks with younger generations indicate that our educational system is leaving the young basically ignorant of the past, without much interest in the present outside their immediate sight, and with little appreciation for looming future problems.

So whatís new? Hasnít it always been that way? Yes, but now the political process is resulting in such people becoming state governors, members and leaders of Congress, and now also a president. We have even achieved a situation where one of the leaders of the Republican party brags about his ignorance of the outside world.

But that is not new either. What is new is the enormous impact such people can have. Leaving aside the power which lies in the hands of the president to destroy the earth as we know it, and the fact that any president controls far less than the political ads claim, the leaders of the US still have an enormous (potential) impact on the world. Ignorant leaders bode ill for the future of our republic, and certainly create chaos in the Middle East.

The following are personal views, not scholarly papers. They are generally without footnotes or sources. If you object to something, or find it incomprehensible, don't just turn away. There is some reason for each statement - do some research yourself.

Or - a day spent without learning something is a day of your life wasted. Learning and experiencing the new is fun, and important.

Dan Gamber
last update 15 May 2008

Essays

Who are all these people?

Borders are forever

Who owns land?

Taxes are (a necessary) evil

Numbers don't count

Modesty - what's that?

Modesty 2 - HIDE THAT BODY!

Driving - a trying experience

The God(s) of our fathers

The Faces of Christ

Why Fear of the Crescent?

Christianity = Tolerance, Islam = Terror

Racism - not (just) black and white

Am I White or Black?

"Family Values"

Why is financial reporting always about comparisons with the guesses of analysts?

How to Manage an Organization

One More Museum on the National Mall

last update 13 August 2008

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