John V. Denson's, A Century of War — Lincoln, Wilson & Roosevelt (2008, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama), is an excellent tool for teachers seeking to inoculate students against pathogenic propaganda designed to indoctrinate rather than educate. The book provides a sharpened rhetoric and semantic precision that reflects its author's many years as a successful defense trial attorney.
A worthy defense counselor must be a skilled communicator, able to convert complexity into simplicity and to present it with enough drama and indignation to keep a jury focused on the points of his case. In the immediacy of courtroom battle, success saves the innocent from injustice, while defeat can destroy the life, family and property of the innocent.
These same hard-won skills enable Denson to lay his case on the line in dynamic, hard-hitting prose right from the start:
"One of the purposes of this book is to show the importance of revisionism because I believe it is one of the main keys to developing a general will to peace for the future. … A study of history like this will help make people more aware of the fabricated propaganda that appears as history today, not only in the history books, but often in the news media about the causes and the effects of war.
In both the opening and closing paragraphs of this book, (his opening and closing arguments), Denson expresses a deep desire for what he calls "a general will to peace." Make no mistake about Denson's desire for peace; He does not mean the peace of a cave in the desert mountains a solitary confinement cell, or the peace that comes with surrender to evil. His book makes it apparent that he is no "peace-at-any-price" intellectual.
Believing that one of the greatest obstructions to this general attitude toward peace is the calculated, deliberate, lying ("fabricated propaganda") fed to American students through their History textbooks and exposure to "television history channels," Denson writes:
"I am advocating the careful study of history for the purpose of developing this will to peace…. Americans in particular seem to be very naïve about the real causes and effects of wars and tend to accept at face value the reasons given by politicians…. (we must) learn the truth about the real causes and effects of wars so we can see through the false propaganda used by political leaders to convince us to go to war. … This book, hopefully will contribute to creating that general will to peace by showing the benefits of true revisionism and how important it is to learn the lessons of history in order to prevent wars in the future."
"Learn the lessons of history …" As simple as that sounds, no one knows better than a successful trial lawyer, (or this History teacher), that uncovering the truth, in important issues in controversy, is usually far from easy. It is a tall order. Especially so when the other side, has twisted the truth so expertly … and for so long.
Those of us who teach history must first learn the truth so we can teach the truth. And that's not, teach whatever we think is the truth, or what we ourselves have been taught is the truth, but what is in fact the truth. Further, we must teach it in a way that creates in our students an excitement that, in turn, stimulates curiosity and the urge to study and learn more of the truth.1
At the same time, it will be important to know that conscienceless men with elitist attitudes have killed men, women and even children, sometimes individually and sometimes by the millions, in order to hide the truth, or to have it "twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools." And we must remember that other men have given their lives in an effort to help us know the truth about ourselves so that the truth can make us free … so that truth and freedom, in turn, can provide the necessary ingredients for Denson's general will to peace.
Denson, like most thinking people knows of the incredible productive power of knowledge, truth and peace, and that those who seek to separate us from our power have for the last 200 years been winning battle after battle in this World War for the minds of men. To many it appears that they are poised for another major advance and that if anything is going to be done about it, the hour is late. What is required of course is nothing less than an all-out intellectual insurgency; one willingly waged by those intellectuals we call the Remnant.
- In Time magazine, March 1949, Albert Einstein observed, "It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that our modern schooling methods have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of the young, for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation stands mainly in need of freedom. Without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail." Einstein's use of the word, holy separates the vital curiosity that stimulates humans to wonder about inventions, discoveries and the Big Questions of human life from such common or idle curiosity as "Who d'ya think's gonna win the Super Bowl?"