Interesting op-ed* in today’s N&R Ideas section from Guilford College history professor Damon B. Atkins, who expresses concern that hipsters sporting The Gap’s Manifest Destiny T-shirt might not really know what ‘Manifest Destiny’ is. Imagine that.

Fair enough —I just happened to read in the NY Times how “historians find in Polk’s adventurism the imperialist tendencies they see in the supporters of our more recent, unpopular wars.” As for the debate over what’s being taught and not taught —and learned and not learned —in universities, I’ve expressed before how shockingly little young people know about our nation’s history. We’ve been living it for the last four years.

So imagine my surprise when I read who’s responsible for such historical ignorance:

The John Locke Foundation’s North Carolina History Project maintains a Web-based encyclopedia of North Carolina history, but Manifest Destiny, Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears are not important enough to merit their own entries.

….Perhaps this is the sort of history McNairy studied 35 years ago and sought to capture on his T-shirt. The Locke Foundation’s founding chairman, Art Pope, leads a contingency of recent appointments to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions.

His presence promises to strengthen ongoing efforts to influence the UNC system, on the one hand through an ideologically driven effort to do away with the sorts of programs that have helped promote cultural diversity in the curricula (particularly ethnic studies), and, on the other hand, through reducing financial setasides from tuition increases, and effectively denying financial aid to many of those priced out of the UNC system.

I’ll ignore the professor’s cheap shot and give him props for being concerned about ‘those who are priced out of the UNC system’ especially since he teaches at a private university where the tuition ain’t cheap. But students aspiring to attend Guilford College realize that “such an opportunity comes at a hefty price.”

*Link added Monday morning….