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Rick Perlstein - Is There a Republican War on History?
Posted: 20 June 2011 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Recently, we’ve seen a spate of news stories—and news incidents—about involving conservative politicians and activists getting details wrong about American history.

There was, most infamously, Sarah Palin saying that Paul Revere, on his famous midnight ride, rang bells and “warned the British.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS4C7bvHv2w

There was Michele Bachman, claiming that the founding fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Actually, the constitution explicitly treated slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of apportioning representatives to different states.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/bachmann-america-was-founded-on-diversity-video.php

And then was David Barton, conservatives’ go-to guy on history, suggesting that Tom Paine was, basically, a supporter of creationism.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/laurilebo/4736/david_barton:_creationist_founding_fathers_settled_debate_over_evolution/?comments=view&cID=18746&pID=18744

To try to figure out what’s going on lately with conservatives and history, we turn to a historian, Rick Perlstein. Perlstein is the author of several books including Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of American Consensus, and Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. He’s also a regular contributor to a variety of publications including The American Prospect and Mother Jones.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/rick_perlstein_is_there_a_republican_war_on_history/

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Posted: 20 June 2011 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Is there a Republican War on History?

It would appear so….much the same as there also very much appears to be a Democratic War on History. 

History has been called a set of myths agreed on.  It’s a changeable consensus, varying rather widely with any disinterested analysis of the actual reality of the past. 

I see remarkable revisionism on both the Right and the Left.  And while the Left tends to enlist academia more in construction of its fictions, it seems no more concerned with damage to truth than the anti-intellectual approach of the Right.

The main difference would seem to be the added damaged done by the Left to academia and scientific method in its efforts, and especially to the credibility of academia with much of the public.  I see this as far more serious a matter than the day-to-day prosaic issues which may (but usually do not) turn on the academic validation of projections of one set of myths (as advocated against others).

It seems to me you’re seriously confusing ‘history’ with popular fable.  One can find no accurate reality in popular fable, no matter from what quarter the political wind blows at any particular time.  The popular myths of the Left are no less egregious than those of the Right.  Neither seems particularly more destructive or dangerous than the other.  The decline of ‘popular opposition’ you note is likely just a groundswell of opposition to what is widely perceived as the Leftist ‘prejudice’ of academia, in general.  The declining tendency to ‘call’ public figures out because their ideas, for better or for worse, differ with the generally accepted academic view very likely simply represents the bankruptcy of academic credibility with a large (and perhaps growing) segment of the general public.

In using Science and Academia for political advocacy, more is risked than the issue at questions, those institutions themselves are also, increasingly, risked in the effort as well.

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Posted: 21 June 2011 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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What a title,I don’t think there is a war on history.Sara Palin,Bachman,and the others are just morons.Perlstein’s comments on the function of universities and learning being rooted in liberal tradition is interesting,I never considered that before.

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Posted: 21 June 2011 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, we treat most everything as a war here in the U.S.  It’s become something of a rhetorical trick—it signifies we’re serious, or at least want to be appear to be serious.  But I think there is no deliberate effort involved in this case.  Ms. Bachmann may simply have believed the Founding Fathers were still alive at the time of the civil war, fighting, though rather feebly, on the Union side.

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Posted: 21 June 2011 06:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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ciceronianus - 21 June 2011 04:40 PM

Well, we treat most everything as a war here in the U.S.  It’s become something of a rhetorical trick—it signifies we’re serious, or at least want to be appear to be serious.  But I think there is no deliberate effort involved in this case.  Ms. Bachmann may simply have believed the Founding Fathers were still alive at the time of the civil war, fighting, though rather feebly, on the Union side.

Agreed,it also doesn’t help that most Americans know so little about history that they can’t see inaccuracy in what the officials are saying.

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Posted: 21 June 2011 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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pdenorte - 20 June 2011 04:00 PM

In using Science and Academia for political advocacy, more is risked than the issue at questions, those institutions themselves are also, increasingly, risked in the effort as well.

I’ve also seen this from both the “right” and the “left.”

Although, if given the chance, I prefer to name names rather than use those terms, or the similar “conservative” and “liberal,” which don’t actually mean the same thing. It’s too easy to make unwarranted generalizations when applying those labels.

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Posted: 22 June 2011 01:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, by all means, lets make war on history.

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Posted: 22 June 2011 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hasn’t history always been somebody’s delusion?

psik

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Posted: 22 June 2011 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Seems we still live in Machiavellian times.

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Posted: 23 June 2011 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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pdenorte - 20 June 2011 04:00 PM

I see remarkable revisionism on both the Right and the Left.  And while the Left tends to enlist academia more in construction of its fictions, it seems no more concerned with damage to truth than the anti-intellectual approach of the Right.

pdenorte, I don’t necessarily disagree with you.  But without any specific examples, your argument comes off as kind of weak.  Chris and Rick gave plenty of examples of right-wing revisionism.  Please give one or two examples on the left.  (I’m not suggesting that you can’t.  I just want to see you flesh out your generalizations).

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Posted: 24 June 2011 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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pdenorte - 20 June 2011 04:00 PM

Is there a Republican War on History?

It would appear so….much the same as there also very much appears to be a Democratic War on History. 

History has been called a set of myths agreed on.  It’s a changeable consensus, varying rather widely with any disinterested analysis of the actual reality of the past. 

I see remarkable revisionism on both the Right and the Left.  And while the Left tends to enlist academia more in construction of its fictions, it seems no more concerned with damage to truth than the anti-intellectual approach of the Right.

The main difference would seem to be the added damaged done by the Left to academia and scientific method in its efforts, and especially to the credibility of academia with much of the public.  I see this as far more serious a matter than the day-to-day prosaic issues which may (but usually do not) turn on the academic validation of projections of one set of myths (as advocated against others).

It seems to me you’re seriously confusing ‘history’ with popular fable.  One can find no accurate reality in popular fable, no matter from what quarter the political wind blows at any particular time.  The popular myths of the Left are no less egregious than those of the Right.  Neither seems particularly more destructive or dangerous than the other.  The decline of ‘popular opposition’ you note is likely just a groundswell of opposition to what is widely perceived as the Leftist ‘prejudice’ of academia, in general.  The declining tendency to ‘call’ public figures out because their ideas, for better or for worse, differ with the generally accepted academic view very likely simply represents the bankruptcy of academic credibility with a large (and perhaps growing) segment of the general public.

In using Science and Academia for political advocacy, more is risked than the issue at questions, those institutions themselves are also, increasingly, risked in the effort as well.

...so all ‘history’ is fable and nothing is ‘true’? So it is then arbitrary, this thing of history, right? Well, no need to go any further. Thank you, I’m stupid.

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Posted: 24 June 2011 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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ciceronianus - 21 June 2011 04:40 PM

Well, we treat most everything as a war here in the U.S.  It’s become something of a rhetorical trick—it signifies we’re serious, or at least want to be appear to be serious.  But I think there is no deliberate effort involved in this case.  Ms. Bachmann may simply have believed the Founding Fathers were still alive at the time of the civil war, fighting, though rather feebly, on the Union side.

LOL Sure it is deliberate what Ms. Backmann is doing. Right wing people are plundering but not many are willing to stand in front of a mic and say it out of fear…which leads to further breaking.

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Posted: 24 June 2011 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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What the right is doing is plundering deliberately, consciously…all be it for nothing, which is groundless. But no one is saying exactly that, out of fear. What many do realize is things are going to get much worse if they will not stand up. Ms. B. knows what she saying is groundless, she already knows but who is going to ask her about this? I would like to ask Rick Perlstein, is plunder groundless. LOL

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Posted: 24 June 2011 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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neolib=plndr - 24 June 2011 11:02 AM

What the right is doing is plundering deliberately, consciously…all be it for nothing, which is groundless. But no one is saying exactly that, out of fear. What many do realize is things are going to get much worse if they will not stand up. Ms. B. knows what she saying is groundless, she already knows but who is going to ask her about this? I would like to ask Rick Perlstein, is plunder groundless. LOL

Plunder is on your mind alot isn’t it?

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Posted: 25 June 2011 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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neolib=plndr - 24 June 2011 10:48 AM

...so all ‘history’ is fable and nothing is ‘true’? So it is then arbitrary, this thing of history, right? Well, no need to go any further. Thank you, I’m stupid.

That may be a slight exaggeration.

But just because something is true, does that mean it is IMPORTANT?

A history teacher asked what general said “nuts” to the Germans at The Battle of the Bulge during WWII.  That incident was put into a movie but I didn’t know his name then or now and don’t care.

But how many history books point out that Henry Ford donated money to the NAZI party in the 1920s.

Hitler gave Ford an award in 1938.

http://www.traces.org/henryford.html

It wasn’t in any history book that I was given in school.  So if history is TRUE PROPAGANDA it is not worth much.

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Posted: 25 June 2011 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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...sure it is, why do you think the planet is melting today? This is why we are going through everything that we are going through—it is plunder which has been happening for hundreds of years by the banking institutions which btw brought us the institution of slavery and the industrial revolution that followed, etc. Pose for a moment that across the land Governors and legislators are attacking the sovereignty of Labor at the same time not one Governor or legislator can legally speak of safety issues when discussing nuclear power plants, they can’t in the least say a word.
So why don’t we change the subject with the Ms. Bachmanns of the world instead of being in awe of the stupidity by which they speak; all life forms on planet Earth are in decline and if you undermine the sovereignty of Labor(i.e. indigenous peoples, unions etc.) the matter will only be exacerbated—the planet will only continue to be in decline…which will lead to massive genocide…for nothing!
  This is why I say, plunder is groundless.

[ Edited: 26 June 2011 02:05 AM by neolib=plndr ]
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