What MAGA Folks Fail to Grasp Can Only Be Corrected Effectively by Education in the Humanities

There has been a lot of loose talk in some circles about the perceived need to “Make America Great Again (MAGA).” But the problem seems to be that those who are most vehement in their use of this slogan have very little understanding of what made America “great” in the first place.

While the rest of the world knows a great deal about American history, Americans themselves fail to grasp what others understand as a plain fact.  The United States was founded upon the premise of the genocide of the indigenous populations, built upon the labor provided to it through hundreds of years of trade in slaves and sustained throughout its history by a series of imperial resource wars designed to conquer ever more territory in the Western hemisphere or guarantee access to raw materials beyond its borders.

The  only means of dispelling this ignorance effectively is to expand — not eliminate — the capacity for critical self-understanding taught through a detailed and thoughtful study of local, national and global history, the arts and the humanities.  It is hardly surprising, therefore, that ideological MAGA enthusiasts are launching a pitched battle against the humanities and the teaching of history across the country.


Former President Trump has played an important role in stoking this ignorance, since he calculated it could help muster political support in his desperate and failed attempt to falsify the results of the 2020 national election.

Trump’s personal agenda — diffused pervasively through social media and sympathetic news channels — has seized the minds of a violent minority within the Republican Party, triggering a string of ideologically motivated acts of violence.

Fmr. lead investigator for the January 6th Select Committee speaks out

MSNBC Jan 20, 2023

Moreover, these same forces seem devoted to oppose any kind of education in the humanities (history, culture, social studies, languages, etc) that could help us all to understand the dilemmas American culture now confronts both within its own borders and throughout the world.

DeSantis blocks AP African American history course | ABCNL

ABC News Jan 20, 2023

ABC News deputy political director Averi Harper breaks down the move by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the backlash and what role this decision could play for AP courses nationally.

The sad and tragic outcome of this approach to promoting education-as-indoctrination is that stereotypes become rigidified and there can be little hope of transcending the current impasse in self-understanding for Americans caught in our cultural dilemmas of “Rubbish and Racism.”


We need to learn from the insights of the poet, William Butler Yeats as he noted nearly a century ago about the sentiments in the civil war in Ireland

“We had fed the heart on fantasies;
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare.”

W. B. Yeats, Meditations in Time of Civil War

American culture has fallen into the same trap.  Only a deeper understanding of the humanities can offer us a way forward.

Further sources:

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