One way to measure the fears of people in power is by the intensity of their quest for certainty and control over knowledge.The current administration doesn't just try to control what we remember about our past. They also remove information that is critical of their decisions from government studies and facts that don't agree with their ideology from government websites. They teach sex education and lie about condoms. They sell books at the Grand Canyon stating that it was formed by Noah's flood. They simply repeat lies until we are supposed to accept them as truth. They choose not to believe in global warming. They attack Iraq, which had no weapons of mass destruction, and then wonder why the other two countries they have designated as part of "the axis of evil" speed up their nuclear weapons research. They decide that the public doesn't need to know about pollutants that can effect the health of their children.
By that standard, the members of the Florida Legislature marked themselves as the folks most terrified of history in the United States when last month they took bold action to become the first state to outlaw historical interpretation in public schools. In other words, Florida has officially replaced the study of history with the imposition of dogma and effectively outlawed critical thinking.
***One of the bedrock claims of the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment -- two movements that, to date, have not been repealed by the Florida Legislature -- is that no interpretation or theory is beyond challenge. The evidence and logic on which all knowledge claims are based must be transparent, open to examination. We must be able to understand and critique the basis for any particular construction of knowledge, which requires that we understand how knowledge is constructed.
Except in Florida.
The best way for authoritarians to stay in power is to frighten the public and keep it stupid. Remove evolution from science. Remove information on human sexuality and birth control from sex education. Remove interpretation from history. Subvert the ability to think critically, and no one can be critical of you.