HILL: Let’s forget about history — all of it

The American Flag flies during a baseball game (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Let’s assume that one day (let’s say tomorrow) everyone wakes up in America with total, utter complete amnesia of who we are as a people and where we have come from genetically, philosophically or figuratively.

We would have no idea that we are Americans. Nor would any of us know if our ancestors came from Africa, Ireland, Europe, Asia or any Latin country. We wouldn’t know there are hundreds of other nations and cultures from which we came, because there would be no written or oral history of the fabric of any other society and religion.

We would wake up, eat breakfast, brush our teeth and go to work without any understanding or appreciation of the news — because without history, philosophy and religion, there would be nothing to frame anyone’s outlook on life. We’d go about the day as soul-less, robotic automatons responding to basic innate human needs of hunger, shelter, love, hate and self-preservation.

What a miserable existence that would be. For all of us.  We would exist in the living hell of total relativism backed by brute force. There would be no absolute right or wrong generally accepted by our neighbors. Each person would make up their own life rules and ethics all by themselves. The strongest and most devious would figure out ways to dominate others to get what they wanted first, in terms of food, shelter and the amenities of life.

America would be nothing more than a human version of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.”

There would be no cognition of the sacrifices made by millions of people to guarantee that we can live in a free self-governing nation. There would be no remembrance of the horrors of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan that our fathers and grandfathers defeated. Nobody would know that they did so to save the world from returning to the days before self-governance became the norm around the globe.

There would be no memory of the bravery and goodness of souls who have stood up to do the right thing over and over, and to establish our independence in the first place. They would have no memory of the courage it took to defeat and replace slavery with civil rights or the ingenuity it took to create the most prosperous nation on the face of the earth.

It is impossible to erase “only the bad” from our history and leave the good intact. Most of the good that exists comes from understanding what was wrong with our history before good people did the right thing to correct it. Erasing the bad and “canceling history” leaves an incomplete portrait where the bright shades of color and light don’t have any contrast to the darkness of the past.

There would be zero comprehension of a faith in anything supernatural because there would not be any stories, verbal or written, of events or phenomena that happened before — because we would have no memory of anything that came before us. We would not have Anyone or Anything to pray to get us through the hard times of life or worship. There would be atheists in every foxhole, because no one would know from history that anyone before them had relied on Divine Providence to get them through.

There would not be any “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself” because, if we are truthful to ourselves, hardly any of us really loves our neighbors, and certainly not our enemies, unless Someone or Something greater than ourselves tells us to do so.

Philosophers have pondered the dilemma of existence since the dawn of time. Does history really even exist unless we actually experience it with our own ears, eyes and touch? How can we really trust people who write about history anyway?

That is why it is so important to keep all remnants of history intact, not a select set of facts we want to believe. We and future generations need to learn all history, so we can learn from their mistakes and not repeat them.

Thomas Jefferson wrote to his friend Benjamin Rush in 1800, “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Canceling any part of our history is pure tyranny over our minds.  Restricting speech and full and free exchange of information is the best way to create a society that repeats the mistakes of history time and time again.

It is a common trait among communists and the Taliban to try to destroy historical monuments and suppress history.

Americans should not be part of that club.