This image has popped up at least four or five times in my Facebook feed in the last couple of days, and instead of starting the exact same fight in several different places I’m just gonna go ahead and start it here. I don’t know who the hell Joseph Sobran is, and I’m not about to Google him, but I’m pretty sure he’s either a moron or a racist. Because let’s spend just a few seconds thinking about what might have changed in American history and American culture since nineteen fucking fourteen.
Actually, no, let’s not even start with that; let’s start with the fact that it ain’t exactly hard to find high school Latin classes nowadays. Greek might be a trifle more difficult but it’s not like it doesn’t exist. And who was taking Greek and Latin a hundred years ago in what Sobran is stupidly referring to as “high school”? Rich white boys. Basically the only folks who had access to any postsecondary education of any kind at all in 1914.
Just to make sure we’re clear: “High school” as an institution in this country barely even existed in 1914. You got through sixth grade or so and that was it. Maybe the top five percent of everybody got further education beyond that, and if they did, they sure as shit didn’t call it “high school.” It was college prep, generally under individual tutors. You didn’t start seeing any real broad-based concept that people should attend school for twelve years until the late 30s or early 40s, and even then if you weren’t white and male and relatively well-off you could fuck right the hell off.
Brown v. Board of Education was in 1954, for Christ’s sake, which means we weren’t even trying to educate anybody in this country who wasn’t white until sixty years ago. And even then… hell, if you can’t remember the struggles over public schools in the sixties you have no business commenting on education in this country under any circumstances. If you are able to take a look at the incredibly vast way in which access to education has expanded in this country over the last hundred years and your take-away from that is “Durrr, people used to be smarter,” then you should not only throw yourself into a lake but you probably ought to never speak to me again.
Sub-rant: I’m also sick to fucking death of hearing about colleges and people affiliated with them complaining about having to remediate incoming freshmen. If only there were some mechanism by which colleges and universities could determine who was able to enroll in their classes! OH, right, they’re completely one hundred percent in charge of that. Raise your standards or quit fucking bitching. Assholes.
EDIT: Fuck it; I went ahead and Googled Joseph Sobran. Oh gee look I was exactly right: he was an anti-Semite (speaking of people who generally weren’t allowed access to higher education in 1914) and a Holocaust denier. So, great job, folks; this is an awesome guy to put dumb-ass quotes from on your Facebook page.