Let’s preface my rant by saying, I love history. History has been and always will be one of my favorite subjects. It is one of the few things that captured my attention and my imagination. To me, it has always been fun to read about our past times and ask, “What if”. It is mind blowing how a chance occurrence or crossed paths can change the course of history. History is not only fascinating but it is also so very important for a society. There is a reason why it is taught from elementary all the way through graduate studies.
Past is prologue.
Learning history can prevent you from learning mistakes of the past. Am I in the minority with this opinion? I watched a program last night where Judge Andrew Nepolitano was seriously trying to argue that the American Civil War was unnecessary because slavery was dying out by itself and that people should not hold Abraham Lincoln in such high regard. This is an educated man that was making such an insane argument. For the sake of this rant’s length, I will not even delve into the numerous reasons why he is wrong but it takes me to my overall pet peeve, revisionist historians. Granted, many perceive a bias in the news however they choose to get it. Many even try to give their own spin on history. But, as in Nepolitano’s case, to outwardly change historical facts to suit your purpose is wrong. Even worse, they are changing history to suit their ideology. It should be the other way around. You should suit your ideology around historical facts. Another example is “historian” David Barton that has argued that the modern day separation of church and state is not what the founders of our country wanted. One of his most blatant lies is his misrepresentation of a Christian Thomas Jefferson as one of the foundations of trying to make his argument (Jefferson was at best agnostic but probably atheist). His “facts” were so false, that his own publisher pulled his last book off shelves.
What troubles me most, is that future generations are depending on us to document history. To pass it down as accurately as possible that so others can learn. What will happen if we start revising history and future generations try to learn from that? It troubles me a great deal. Recently, I was having an exchange with a libertarian where I was trying to explain to him that the closest thing to a free market that we have recent in recent history was 2000-2008 thus causing the Financial Meltdown of ’08. He refused to believe despite all of the facts that I had showing the deregulatory actions that made Wall Street a Laissez-Faire environment. This exchange caused me some reflection. Perhaps he could not see a repeat of lax regulation and how it correlates to poor economic conditions. Then the realization occurred to me that as a country, we did not learn from Herbert Hoover’s inaction leading to the Great Depression. We, as a country, failed to learn from history.
How many times must we practice the definition of insanity?