Too Angry to Add a Word

 

REAGAN KOHL JENNINGERLynne Cheney, writing in this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

—President Ronald Reagan, speech at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 1987

President Reagan’s challenge to Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev remains one of the most dramatic calls for freedom in our time. Thus I was heartened to find a passage from Reagan’s speech on the sample of the new Advanced Placement U.S. history exam that students will take for the first time in May. It seemed for a moment that students would be encouraged to learn about positive aspects of our past rather than be directed to focus on the negative, as happens all too often.

But when I looked closer to see the purpose for which the quotation was used, I found that it is held up as an example of “increased assertiveness and bellicosity” on the part of the U.S. in the 1980s. That’s the answer to a multiple-choice question about what Reagan’s speech reflects.

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  1. user_124695 Inactive
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    And who wrote these famous lines, may I ask?

    • #1
  2. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Oh my goodness Peter, I’m am so sorry. This makes me cry and I heard that speech and was so proud of our President. Really PROUD! And that wall came down.

    • #2
  3. viruscop Member
    viruscop
    @Viruscop

    If anyone is wondering about the context of the question that Lynne Cheney is referring to, see question 23 on page 15.

    • #3
  4. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Well, it was assertive… and it needed to be.

    Reagan was bold (using the words of Peter, and in turn Peter’s German hostess) so that others could be bold. There can be no action without hope. Those immortal words provided a hope that few dared to claim.

    As for “bellicosity”, liberals use the word only in reference to the assertive actions of conservatives. When liberals are assertive, the word used is “courage”. What can be done about these distortions? Exactly what you are already in the process of doing, Peter: write a better history.

    • #4
  5. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Oh my god.  That is . . . disheartening.  Have we located the 23 year old who wrote the question?

    • #5
  6. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Ah yes. And by contrast, the posture of submissiveness and appeasement is working out so well.

    If you receive a high grade on a test that shows you have ingested the Howard Zinn perspective completely, is that really a sign of achievement in history?

    • #6
  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Education is a noble calling whether it occurs in a classroom, a bedroom, or a bar.

    From a recent Denis Prager column:

    With very few exceptions, good can only be achieved one by one by one. That’s why, if you want your name remembered by many people, you have a far better chance of accomplishing it by doing evil than by doing good. And that’s why most great evils are done by movements that want to change the world. If you really want to change the world for the better, work on making better people, not a better world.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Peter, wear it as a badge of honor. Henceforth, you are “the aggressive and bellicose Peter Robinson.” Post that on your office door. Have the credits for Uncommon Knowledge updated. Maybe we need a new Ricochet bumper sticker that says, “I hang out with the Aggressive and Bellicose Peter Robinson.”

    • #8
  9. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    At this point, what difference does it make?

    • #9
  10. user_1152 Member
    user_1152
    @DonTillman

    Arahant:“the aggressive and bellicose Peter Robinson.”

    Yeah!

    • #10
  11. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Well I for one am finally ready to reject the false sense of “patriotism” that I now realize was just jingoistic claptrap drilled into me by hetero-normative oppressors and I’ve been reviewing a few other presidential quotes over the years for the micro-aggressive language that was lost on me before the scales fell from my eyes.  Just a few shocking examples so far:

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance
    (Thomas Jefferson, clearly laying the groundwork for future surveillance on American citizens)

    Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power
    (Abraham Lincoln, who clearly thinks that only men belong in positions of power)

    Whatever you are, be a good one
    (Abraham Lincoln, ostensibly making amends for his misogynistic language with this flippantly “inclusive” comment)

    Speak softly and carry a big stick
    (Oh don’t even get me started)

    • #11
  12. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    PLEASE Peter, tell me this was for April Fools Day…..

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @TitusTechera

    Aaron Miller:Reagan was bold (using the words of Peter, and in turn Peter’s German hostess) so that others could be bold. There can be no action without hope. Those immortal words provided a hope that few dared to claim.As for “bellicosity”, liberals use the word only in reference to the assertive actions of conservatives. When liberals are assertive, the word used is “courage”.

    Maybe conservatives should at least in secret start liking this epithet, bellicose. In the conservative lexicon, it should be defined as the proper attitude in face of tyranny.

    • #13
  14. user_521942 Member
    user_521942
    @ChrisWilliamson

    Arthur Schlesinger wins again. From an old blog at andrewsullivan.com:

     Arthur Schlesinger, just back from a trip to Moscow in 1982, said Reagan was delusional. “I found more goods in the shops, more food in the markets, more cars on the street — more of almost everything,” he said, adding his contempt for “those in the U.S. who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink.”

    If only we’d continued placating the Soviets, the two worlds could have merged without war.

    This points to the need to “capture the robes.”

    • #14
  15. profdlp Inactive
    profdlp
    @profdlp

    Whenever I have an optimistic thought about the future of our education system something comes along to immediately remind me why I gave up on it the last time.

    • #15
  16. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    My favorite example of increased aggressiveness and bellicosity….

    • #16
  17. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Peter, it is a mark of the importance of those words that they were destined forever to infuriate. I understand the anger, but you should in fact take this as a tribute.

    You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it, as Thatcher said. And at least we have practice on this one.

    • #17
  18. Capt. Aubrey Inactive
    Capt. Aubrey
    @CaptAubrey

    I would like the author of that question-someone who at least thinks they know history- to show me another example of American bellicosity that was associated with so little real bloodshed. That’s all I can think of to say that does not violate the code of conduct.

    • #18
  19. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Reagan was assertive and only had to fight a few small battles (Granada, Libya bombing etc.). Obama lacks assertiveness and we are up to our eyeballs in military involvements with no end in sight. So who is more “bellicose”? Assertiveness is in fact a way of AVOIDING war.

    • #19
  20. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    The correct answer is C, The expansion of peacekeeping efforts.  Of course, few recognized it at the time.

    • #20
  21. Mama Toad Member
    Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    In yesterday’s Daily Shot, I liked the suggestion of reading Howard Zinn’s History to learn all about American history… but that was satire.

    This is what our brightest American young people are being taught, or is that indoctrinated into, with your and my property and income taxes.

    I homeschool my students, and I warn them: Be afraid. Your peers are not being taught either what is actually, factually true, or how to distinguish propaganda from truth. My students are told and taught that they must be warriors because the war continues.

    The Wall came down because of Peter’s and Reagan’s words, not war.

    But did we win, and are we winning?

    The battle rages on…

    • #21
  22. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

    Is an example of “increased” “white privilege” of the ’60s.

    • #22
  23. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Just the other day I was attempting to explain to my daughter why it hurts my heart more than my wallet to pay money for her to take the AP test after she’s done with the class, and you’ve provided the perfect example. The scariest part is that it only gets worse from here. In university is where the brainwashing level indoctrination begins, and that costs even more!

    • #23
  24. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    1. It is an example of increased assertiveness. 15 years earlier, we were balancing interests and tamping down tensions; culminating in advice from our very own President to accept the status quo ante of a world half free and half slave.

    2. The unlikely President negotiated the Helsinki Accords. Arguably a significant failure of Soviet Diplomacy.

    3. In context, Reagan’s speech was less Lexington and Concord, more Yorktown. Not the end of the beginning, the beginning of the end.

    • #24
  25. user_2967 Inactive
    user_2967
    @MatthewGilley

    Peter, you have to add a word – many words. You are a Hoover Fellow. You are a Dartmouth College Trustee. Even better, you wrote those words. See to it that the folks at AP eat those words and begin teaching what those words really mean.

    • #25
  26. Illiniguy Member
    Illiniguy
    @Illiniguy

    Arahant:Peter, wear it as a badge of honor. Henceforth, you are “the aggressive and bellicose Peter Robinson.” Post that on your office door. Have the credits for Uncommon Knowledge updated. Maybe we need a new Ricochet bumper sticker that says, “I hang out with the Aggressive and Bellicose Peter Robinson.”

    Sweater loosely looped around the neck optional.

    • #26
  27. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    What is most infuriating is that the word “bellicose” would be used despite the question writer’s having the benefit of hindsight.

    The truth has been told even in the popular culture. Is it possible to see the film “The Lives of Others” and come to the conclusion that Reagan was too bellicose about the bifurcation of Berlin?

    • #27
  28. Chris Member
    Chris
    @Chris

    The King Prawn:Just the other day I was attempting to explain to my daughter why it hurts my heart more than my wallet to pay money for her to take the AP test after she’s done with the class, and you’ve provided the perfect example. The scariest part is that it only gets worse from here. In university is where the brainwashing level indoctrination begins, and that costs even more!

    Agreed.

    Two nights this week we have discussed APUSH around the dinner table as our eldest prepares to take the test.  The main comfort for my wife and me is that today we are able to provide a sounding board and, if he does well enough, he won’t have to sit through it at lord knows how much a credit hour.  It is sobering to know that once he is off to university the chances of hearing a temporizing “center right” perspective will be much less.

    • #28
  29. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    A “bellicose” remark would have been “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall or else we’ll attack.” Or even “Mr. Gorbachev, we’re going to tear down this wall.”

    Even at the age of 23, when I considered myself not just a liberal but a leftist, I loved that speech.

    Which, incidentally, means there’s hope for all the “liberal” kids who come across it in the AP test, too.

    • #29
  30. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    No-one’s brought up the key fact here, not on Ricochet, nor in Cheney’s article: this is part of Common Core, and Obama and Ayer’s so-far-successful campaign to radicalize American education.

    This is what Jeb Bush says he supports when he cluelessly continues to support Common Core.

    The head of the College Board is a fellow by the name of David Coleman.  Take a moment to read through that, and then review this:

    “In addition, Coleman is on record as saying he believes there is “a massive social injustice in this country” and that education is “the engine of social justice.””

    Common Core Roots Lie in Ties Between Barack Obama, Bill Ayers

    • #30
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