The importance of history…

From Totem Park, Victoria, BC. Precise locatio...
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I’ve always thought that an appreciation for and understanding of our natural treasures and cultural heritage is an important thing. It would seem that many don’t agree, and in many ways, we are actively dissuaded from being proud of our history these days.

Being persuaded by our politicians and educationalist, to constantly hang our heads in shame about any of our historic events however, doesn’t actually change them. We were once a proud nation, a people that could stand with heads held high, today it feels like we’re obliged to be sorry for everything and anything, even if it wasn’t our fault.

But people in this country often sit in judgement of historic events with a modern viewpoint, simply for reasons of political correctness. Our history is what made us who we are today, it’s not something we should be embarrassed about. Shouldn’t we all be proud about who we are, where we came from and how we got here?

I can however understand why some would shy away from that feeling of pride after all, there is also much to be ashamed of, both in the past and today.  Pride in excess can also be a dangerous thing; the South African Apartheid system and the German Nazi party before them are just two examples in point.

Too much pride can also breed arrogance however, in many ways I envy those nations that aren’t afraid to be proud of who they are. When you travel in Europe most of the indigenous people still have that pride gene where as in England, we’re even fearful of celebrating our Patron Saint‘s day for fear of upsetting someone.

As any regular visitor will know, I’m not the greatest fan of Americanisms. I don’t like much of the ethics and stuff we have imported from the States and, loud brash arrogant Yanks would do well to stay at arm’s length. That said, and as I’ve highlighted in previous posts (see here), there are parts of the American psyche that I actually do like. One of them is their inherent love and support of their (all be it short-lived) culture and history.

In general, the American people are proud of who they are, they value all that is good in their nation (and unfortunately some of the not so good), they appreciate the icons and totems of their culture that made them what they are today and, they promote those icons fervently. Take the subject of State Symbols in the USA as a case in point.

Recently the BBC reported that; Utah had become the first US state to designate an ‘official’ state firearm.  It joins the other officially designated State Symbols like cherry the state fruit, topaz the state gem and the seagull which is the state bird. (Read BBC Report)

A firearm as a State Symbol may have annoyed some of those in anti-gun lobby however; those who are up in arms (excuse the pun) and suggesting a gun as a state symbol is distasteful are actually missing the point. Given the American connection with the gun as an everyday tool, and their constitutional right to bear arms, the choice of a Browning M1911 automatic pistol is hardly surprising and also highly appropriate. Despite the weapon having been in continuous production since 1911, which alone testifies to its design quality and longevity, the M1911 was also the forerunner of many modern military handguns across the world. It is iconic in historical terms if nothing else.

Our whole social system is based upon tribalism and any good tribe needs its own set of icons and totems. They are the things that give us a sense of belonging, a physical or theoretical point whereby our tribe can rally together. It’s also one of the psychological reasons behind gang culture, that inherent human need to be accepted as part of a particular group.

We should all be tolerant and understanding of other groups and individuals in society but we mustn’t be ashamed of who we are. Denying our history and constantly pandering to the thoughts and desires of any minority group, who happen to have a loud voice, ultimately isn’t good for you or the society you live in.

How about trying a spot of time in my gang for a change, instead of the anarchical, liberal or criminal one you’re in at present!

2 thoughts on “The importance of history…

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