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Some of my H.S. teachers were liars.

February 15, 2016

Photo on 2-9-15 at 8.56 AM

In high school in Dillon, Montana, from 1963 to 1967, I would have to characterize some of our teachers as sociopathic liars.  Yes, and I’m thinking most of my classmates would agree with me.  If I attend our 50th class reunion next year, I’ll get the opportunity to ask them.

Well, the most egregious of them was our American history teacher.  This was class was required.  I don’t think anyone else taught this but Mr. Ankeny.  Poor Mr. Ankeny!  If he believed half the stuff he told us I’d say he was badly misinformed.

What lies did he tell? you ask.  Well, he told us that black slavery in the United States was not such a bad thing.  He told us impressionable 15-year-olds that slaves were expensive, so their “owners” had to feed them and take good care of them.  Once freed, the former slaves were just poorly educated impoverished types, worse off than before.  That line of thought, which I now find to be racist, seemed plausible to our almost entirely white students, including me.  Me?  I just wanted to pass the class.

The best way to blow that liar’s argument out of the water would be to suggest that he ought to be a slave if it was so good to be one.  I’m still trying to parse the sentence I found once in Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22.”  “Is it better to die on your knees and live standing up?  Or is it better to die standing up and live on your knees?”  Anyhow, the answer to that question would have allowed the students in Dillon to grasp the truth.  If they could parse it.

Another infamous untruth from the same propagandist, in the same high school at the seat of the John Birch Society in Montana:  The United States has the highest standard of living in the world.  Pursuit of self interest with capitalism is the only system that would keep us all from becoming communists or, worse yet–because it heralds communism–socialism, which sounds wonderful [emphasis his] but leads to a kind of grayness and godlessness.  The US did not have the corner on standard of living, especially for people of color.  Our nation was not founded on capitalism, but on the Constitution.  I fear Mr. Ankeny was just a puppet of those who were living off the “Red Scare” of McCarthyism.


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