One of the main reasons I was drawn to Traditionalism was my interest in history (among many other reasons) specifically, medieval history. I’ll try not to rant too much on what passes for a modern education, but it is probably a bit necessary to explain.
I was probably around 19 or 20, a sophomore in college, before I realized that I was not going to be taught anything about history. I basically knew only what I had taken the time to learn on my own and whatever had been offered as part of my degree, which is to say, history since 1960.
I remember taking a 200 or 300 level class on Modern American History. I can’t remember exactly what the circumstances were, but one day in class it was determined that maybe only 1/10th of the class knew which nations fought on either side during World War II. Most could name only Germany and America, a few mentioned Canada or Britain. Only 1 or 2 knew that the USSR and the US fought on the same side.
I was especially surprised since, at the time, the History Channel specialized in almost constant WW II programming, so it wasn’t like the majority even had to crack open a book, all they would’ve had to do was simply change the channel and pause for a few moments.
I suppose I should point out that I didn’t go to some elite University on one of the coasts, nonetheless, I was no doubt surrounded by people whose grandparents had probably served in WW II, Korea, or whose parents had been in Vietnam, and most still had simply no notion of the conflict at all, the participants, timeframe, world politics, etc…
This bothered me immensely. I took it personal, I suppose. And it inspired me to educate myself a bit more. I was interested in Political Science and government, so I thought (quite patriotically) that in order to understand American society it was best to start at the founding principles, not in 1968, so I began reading all the classics I saw cited as inspiration by Adams, Jefferson, and all the rest.
I started reading Cicero, Plutarch, Tacitus, Xenophon, Thucydides. It was an escape into another world where civics actually existed. Idealized, no doubt, but still, much preferable to my own time. Of course, this reading led to Machiavelli, Tocqueville, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Heidegger and others… to Strauss, Arendt… And so many more. It all seemed to be connected by a string, because, in fact, it is.