And what kind of a name is "Steyn" anyway? Matthew Yglesias muses on Mark Steyn's refusal to think of women, Blacks, immigrants, et cetera as real Americans:
Matthew Yglesias: American History: Mark Steyn offers some typical conservative complaining:
Mark K, while I was down in Australia a while back, they had a big Education Summit going on, and the then Prime Minister, the great John Howard, used a marvelous phrase to me about how they wanted to teach Oz history — as an “heroic national narrative”. We don’t do that. In fact, we don’t teach it as any kind of coherent narrative at all. We’ve taken Cromwell’s advice to his portraitist to paint him “warts and all”, and show our kids all but solely the warts — spreading disease to Native Americans, enslaving blacks, interning the Japanese. Any non-wart stuff is mostly invented out of whole cloth: the US Constitution has its good points but they all come from the Iroquois, and the first Thanksgiving is some kind of proto-Communist celebration of collective farming.
A few months back, my little boy came home from Second Grade and said to me, “Guess what we learned today?” I said: “Rosa Parks.” He said: “How did you know that?” I said: “Because it’s always Rosa Parks.” And, if you don’t learn it in the context of any broader historical narrative, it’s just a story about municipal transit seating arrangements.
I’m fascinated by how common this depiction of American education is considering that it’s 100 percent false. No doubt there are bad history teachers and bad history classes in the United States, but anyone who’s vaguely in contact with reality can tell you that U.S. history is very much taught as a heroic national narrative. But since contemporary American conservatism is eye-deep in racism, Steyn can’t quite seem to grasp that teaching people about Rosa Parks and so forth is part of the heroic narrative of the victory of American ideals over the worst impulses of human nature. Similarly, the much-bemoaned-by-rightwingers greater attention given in recent decades to the contributions of women and ethnic minority groups is about trying to expand the circle of people who feel invested in the national narrative.
I don't think this depiction of American education is common at all. It is found largely in the pages of National Review and other publications even further into wingnutland. And, as Matt says, Mark Steyn cannot read this as part of the heroic American narrative of opportunity for all because he does not believe in that heroic American narrative.