Education, Moral Values, and Democracy

Lessons from the German Experience

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History is not very popular these days. We apparently live in an age that has turned its back on the past. To many, history is what Henry Ford said it was—bunk—with little relevance to either individual or collective life. This would appear to be especially true of college students, who are staying away from history classes in droves. Perhaps that is because, as one friend put it, they have not lived long enough to be conscious of history, let alone understand it. But the student generation is not alone in what the sociologist Robert Nisbet, quoting T. S. Eliot, calls “disowning the past” in favor of a present that is progressively more impatient with yesterday.

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