Why Revisionist History is Easy

Sunday, October 24, 2010

For about the last forty years we have seen an influx of revisionist history. It has become rampant in about the last ten years, though, as a way to excuse behaviors.

In Virginia, for instance, they are using a textbook written by a woman with no formal training in history. There is one passage in particular where Joy Masoff makes the claim that: "Thousands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson."

There is no proof that hundreds, let alone thousands, of Southern blacks fought on the side of the Confederacy. When asked where she got the sources she admitted that she had done her research primarily on the internet. Maybe it is just me but if I am going to be writing a historical book, or textbook, I am going to be trying to find every source that I can. I will go through all the records that I can before putting in that book such a huge claim that is completely unproven.

This is why revisionist history is so popular today, you do not need facts to back up your claim.

It is revisionist history that has allowed Bill O’Reilly (who actually is a "student" of history) to falsely claim that United States soldiers massacred Nazi soldiers at Malmedy during World War 2 (when it was the other way around) to excuse the actions of American soldiers and the abuse that they performed in Iraq.

It is revisionist history that has allowed people to claim that the New Deal was a colossal failure while at the same time claiming that trickle down economics has been completely successful.

It is revisionist history that has allowed the claim that the Democratic Party of the 1860s and partially the 1960s is the exact same as it is today while the Republican Party has not changed at all.

It is revisionist history that has allowed Texas to take Thomas Jefferson off the list of thinkers that shaped the formation of America in their textbooks.

It is revisionist history that allows people to claim that in World War 2 we were fighting against Germany to stop the Holocaust, when we did not even know about it until the end of the war.

It is revisionist history that allows people of all political stripes to paint those of a a different political strip as similar or exactly like Hitler or Stalin.

The list goes on and on, but at the end of the day it is very easy to use revisionist history to defend your actions or the actions of someone else, because quite frankly you do not need facts to back up the statements you make.

Unfortunately it is this same revision movement that has made people that use it as infallible against any kind of argument.

The first story came from a New York Times story.

Some more revision:Former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton said on Sunday that "They have great militaries, great armies, but if you check the historical records, Christiane, as you know, we’ve never lost to any of them. We are the top of the pile. We are the best in the world. And we want to stay that way."

He said this in response to a question posed by Christiane Amanpour, "I mean some of the great allies of the United States have. Whether it’s Canada, whether it’s Britain, France, Australia, even Israel allows openly gay men and women to serve in the military. And they have great armies, great militaries."

So the a former Join Chiefs of Staff seems to be saying that the United States has never lost to a military that had openly serving gays.

Where is the proof? Naturally there is none, but it never stops someone revising history to make the assertion.

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