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Historians Mobilize to Destroy Their Own Credibility

LowDown

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Stanley Fish calls them out on it in the New York Times:

PROFESSORS are at it again, demonstrating in public how little they understand the responsibilities and limits of their profession....

The claim is not simply that disciplinary expertise confers moral and political superiority, but that historians, because of their training, are uniquely objective observers: “As historians, we consider diverse viewpoints while acknowledging our own limitations and subjectivity.”

But there’s very little acknowledgment of limitations and subjectivity in what follows, only a rehearsal of the now standard criticisms of Mr. Trump, offered not as political opinions, which they surely are, but as indisputable, impartially arrived at truths: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a campaign of violence: violence against individuals and groups; against memory and accountability, against historical analysis and fact.” How’s that for cool, temperate and disinterested analysis?

I doubt that these elites realize how silly they look to ordinary people.
 

RabidAlpaca

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Find a historian that says something you don't like? **** all historians.

LowDown destroyed his own credibility by constantly spamming us with these partisan whine threads.
 

LowDown

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Find a historian that says something you don't like? **** all historians.

LowDown destroyed his own credibility by constantly spamming us with these partisan whine threads.

Sorry, but your crap isn't going to shut me up. Deal with it.
 

joG

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Find a historian that says something you don't like? **** all historians.

LowDown destroyed his own credibility by constantly spamming us with these partisan whine threads.

Credibility's death by a thousand cuts?
 

katzgar

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more right wing anti education stuff, trump in a nutshell
 

RabidAlpaca

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more right wing anti education stuff, trump in a nutshell

He says all the same things about climate scientists or anyone else that disagrees with him. It's all these damn liberal professors brainwashing our children. That's why getting an education dramatically increases your chances of being liberal, it's the brainwashing.
 

humbolt

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more right wing anti education stuff, trump in a nutshell

I have burned all my credentials. Okay. "All my" could be a little misleading. I burned my elementary school diploma, which I might add, I had tastefully colored in.
 

Fenton

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Stanley Fish calls them out on it in the New York Times:



I doubt that these elites realize how silly they look to ordinary people.

They're preaching to the choir exploiting the naivete and ignorance of the younger generation.

Its just propaganda and it seems weve been given a double dose of it over the last 8 years

Ive also noticed a disproportionate amount of movies, mini-series, shows lately dealing with the issue of slavery

I dont have a problem with a thorough and objective account of our Nations past but I do have a problem with exploitation and thats exactly what it is
 

rocket88

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Find a historian that says something you don't like? **** all historians.

LowDown destroyed his own credibility by constantly spamming us with these partisan whine threads.

Everyone who disagrees with the Holy One must be destroyed.
 

rocket88

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They're preaching to the choir exploiting the naivete and ignorance of the younger generation.

Its just propaganda and it seems weve been given a double dose of it over the last 8 years

Ive also noticed a disproportionate amount of movies, mini-series, shows lately dealing with the issue of slavery

I dont have a problem with a thorough and objective account of our Nations past but I do have a problem with exploitation and thats exactly what it is

Yes, all this being against slavery is terrible :roll:
 

Fenton

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more right wing anti education stuff, trump in a nutshell

No its just the Democrats exploiting the ignorance and naivete of their base.

They know exactly who they're talking to when they call Trump a '' racist, bigot, homophobe, misognyst, etc ".

The Democrats have been pandering to the least common denominator for some time now.
 

Glen Contrarian

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Stanley Fish calls them out on it in the New York Times:



I doubt that these elites realize how silly they look to ordinary people.

Did you bother to read what the historians said before you joined in criticizing them? Or did you go with the modern-day conservative habit of "if academia says it, it must be wrong or bad or evil or even *gasp* liberal?"

Yeah, since when should any attention be paid to those who are the most educated among us?

BTW, old sayings usually become "old sayings" for good reason...and one of those old sayings is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That was George Santayana.

Winston Churchill put it a different way:

“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

—House of Commons, 2 May 1935, after the Stresa Conference, in which Britain, France and Italy agreed—futilely—to maintain the independence of Austria.


Yet y'all want the demagogue, and have naught but disdain for those who criticize him, who know better than anyone else that we've seen this movie before...and that it did not end well.

On a side note, Churchill - with whom I normally (but don't always) agree - is a bit of a personal hero and, when it comes to writing, someone I would love to but could never imitate. He was a true master of high rhetoric, of soaring oratory the likes of which few Americans could hope to match. But what would y'all have us elect to the most powerful office in human history? Someone whose speeches are at a fourth grade reading level. Hate to tell you this, but it's almost as if y'all are schoolkids choosing the popular (but stupid) bully over the wonky smart kids. That might be fine for schoolkids, but for a nation with thousands of nuclear warheads? Not so much.

How far indeed has America fallen if we elect Trump....
 

Fenton

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Yes, all this being against slavery is terrible :roll:

Did I say that ? Nope.

There's a difference between offering up a factual historical account and blatant exploitation for Political purposes

Like pandering to reinforce the devisive and destructive narrative that Blacks were and still are helpless and hopeless victims and that they're only hope is to vote Democrat

How do you empower people by telling them they're born victims and their only hope is to rely on Govt ?
 
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Fenton

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Did you bother to read what the historians said before you joined in criticizing them? Or did you go with the modern-day conservative habit of "if academia says it, it must be wrong or bad or evil or even *gasp* liberal?"

Yeah, since when should any attention be paid to those who are the most educated among us?

BTW, old sayings usually become "old sayings" for good reason...and one of those old sayings is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That was George Santayana.

Winston Churchill put it a different way:

“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

—House of Commons, 2 May 1935, after the Stresa Conference, in which Britain, France and Italy agreed—futilely—to maintain the independence of Austria.


Yet y'all want the demagogue, and have naught but disdain for those who criticize him, who know better than anyone else that we've seen this movie before...and that it did not end well.

On a side note, Churchill - with whom I normally (but don't always) agree - is a bit of a personal hero and, when it comes to writing, someone I would love to but could never imitate. He was a true master of high rhetoric, of soaring oratory the likes of which few Americans could hope to match. But what would y'all have us elect to the most powerful office in human history? Someone whose speeches are at a fourth grade reading level[/B]. Hate to tell you this, but it's almost as if y'all are schoolkids choosing the popular (but stupid) bully over the wonky smart kids. That might be fine for schoolkids, but for a nation with thousands of nuclear warheads? Not so much.

How far indeed has America fallen if we elect Trump....


Oh the irony.....

Hillary Clinton's blatant pandering...



Bernie Sanders selling Snake oil to idiots...
 

rocket88

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Oh the irony.....

Hillary Clinton's blatant pandering...



Bernie Sanders selling Snake oil to idiots...


So what you're saying is that Trump is no better than Clinton. Yet, we should vote for him instead, because they're basically the same.
 

rocket88

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Did I say that ? Nope.

There's a difference between offering up a factual historical account and blatant exploitation for Political purposes

Like pandering to reinforce the devisive and destructive narrative that Blacks were and still are helpless and hopeless victims and that they're only hope is to vote Democrat

How do you empower people by telling them they're born victims and their only hope is to rely on Govt ?

Everything is a vast left wing conspiracy. We can't even have a movie about slavery without it being meant to brainwash people into thinking liberalism is good. Like the communist propaganda of the Muppets and when the name of the Barman villain was chosen to make Romney look bad.
 

Captain Adverse

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Did you bother to read what the historians said before you joined in criticizing them? Or did you go with the modern-day conservative habit of "if academia says it, it must be wrong or bad or evil or even *gasp* liberal?"

Yeah, since when should any attention be paid to those who are the most educated among us?

BTW, old sayings usually become "old sayings" for good reason...and one of those old sayings is, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That was George Santayana.

Winston Churchill put it a different way:

“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

—House of Commons, 2 May 1935, after the Stresa Conference, in which Britain, France and Italy agreed—futilely—to maintain the independence of Austria.


Yet y'all want the demagogue, and have naught but disdain for those who criticize him, who know better than anyone else that we've seen this movie before...and that it did not end well.

On a side note, Churchill - with whom I normally (but don't always) agree - is a bit of a personal hero and, when it comes to writing, someone I would love to but could never imitate. He was a true master of high rhetoric, of soaring oratory the likes of which few Americans could hope to match. But what would y'all have us elect to the most powerful office in human history? Someone whose speeches are at a fourth grade reading level. Hate to tell you this, but it's almost as if y'all are schoolkids choosing the popular (but stupid) bully over the wonky smart kids. That might be fine for schoolkids, but for a nation with thousands of nuclear warheads? Not so much.

How far indeed has America fallen if we elect Trump....

No farther than we have already drifted when the other option is a Hillary Clinton. :shrug:

I've read your link to the open letter.

Professor Fish, the author of the N.Y. Times article, is correct when he states that these historians are cloaking their political opinions in an appeal to authority. Asserting that their authority as teachers of history makes their statements more valid than statements from those without a degree and college-level history teaching experience.

The four authors call themselves the "Historians Against Trump Organizing Committee," a clearly political organization, not an academic one. The list of "members" are from various part's of the country who have signed on in support of their "letter."

I have a couple of advanced degrees. I have also taught History at both High School and College level. I don't agree with their position, for many reasons not the least of which is their blatant attempt to cast Trump as a new-age Hitler.

Now Trump would not be my first pick, and I have already posted my views on his weaknesses and capabilities. But like most elections it boils down to the lesser of two evils, and while I might have voted third party as usual, I can't when it comes to electing a President who has the power to appoint at least one, and likely more Justices to the Supreme Court immediately after being elected. Even so, I do not agree with the positions in that open letter.
 
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Glen Contrarian

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No farther than we have already drifted when the other option is a Hillary Clinton. :shrug:

I've read your link to the open letter.

Professor Fish, the author of the N.Y. Times article, is correct when he states that these historians are cloaking their political opinions in an appeal to authority. Asserting that their authority as teachers of history makes their statements more valid than statements from those without a degree and college-level history teaching experience.

The four authors call themselves the "Historians Against Trump Organizing Committee," a clearly political organization, not an academic one. The list of "members" are from various part's of the country who have signed on in support of their "letter."

I have a couple of advanced degrees. I have also taught History at both High School and College level. I don't agree with their position, for many reasons not the least of which is their blatant attempt to cast Trump as a new-age Hitler.

Now Trump would not be my first pick, and I have already posted my views on his weaknesses and capabilities. But like most elections it boils down to the lesser of two evils, and while I might have voted third party as usual, I can't when it comes to electing a President who has the power to appoint at least one, and likely more Justices to the Supreme Court immediately after being elected. Even so, I do not agree with the positions in that open letter.

Y'know, I might agree with the thrust of your argument...but when one of the ones speaking out against Trump is none other than David McCollough...it's really hard for me to see such an historian (quite possibly America's most prominent historian after Will Durant) speaking out against a politician if he did not feel it was absolutely necessary. That, and it's also hard to claim that he is somehow a raving liberal.
 

Captain Adverse

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Y'know, I might agree with the thrust of your argument...but when one of the ones speaking out against Trump is none other than David McCollough...it's really hard for me to see such an historian (quite possibly America's most prominent historian after Will Durant) speaking out against a politician if he did not feel it was absolutely necessary. That, and it's also hard to claim that he is somehow a raving liberal.

Each is entitled to their opinion. No one is arguing against this.

Grouping together as "historians" and trying to couch it as an "expert position" is an appeal to authority.

If Mr. McCollough wishes to oppose Trump, well and good.

Cloaking himself in the robes of an academician and instructing others in how Trump is not a good person? I don't care how many academic accolades he may have garnered...his OPINION is still just that; an opinion, and not a "historical fact."
 
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Glen Contrarian

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Each is entitled to their opinion. No one is arguing against this.

Grouping together as "historians" and trying to couch it as an "expert position" is an appeal to authority.

If Mr. McCollough wishes to oppose Trump, well and good.

Cloaking himself in the robes of an academician and instructing others in how Trump is not a good person? I don't care how many academic accolades he may have garnered...his OPINION is still just that; an opinion, and not a "historical fact."

Is it or is it not true that one who is steeped in history is significantly more likely (though certainly not guaranteed) to have a better grasp of what's going on today? I think you'd agree with that statement.

Does your own considerable knowledge of history generally give you an advantage in your discussions of issues with others? I'm almost certain you'd agree with that statement, too.

History provides no hard-and-fast guarantees of what may or will happen in the modern day, but it's one of the best guides we have...and so it's incumbent on those who know history the best to warn the rest of us when they see a type of danger which they are the best-equipped to recognize.

That said, I do so enjoy discussing and debating with someone who is in many ways more knowledgeable than myself. I am grateful for the discussions with you.
 

katzgar

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He says all the same things about climate scientists or anyone else that disagrees with him. It's all these damn liberal professors brainwashing our children. That's why getting an education dramatically increases your chances of being liberal, it's the brainwashing.


there is no brainwashing you are making foolishness up
 

Captain Adverse

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Is it or is it not true that one who is steeped in history is significantly more likely (though certainly not guaranteed) to have a better grasp of what's going on today? I think you'd agree with that statement.

Then you would be wrong. The study of history gives us a better understanding of what happened back then. It is not a primer on what the present will bring. That's because the social dynamics of each era, and locale, while sharing some basic similarities also diverge in many others.

While I agree with the quote "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” which was actually coined by Edmund Burke, although modified by George Santayana to "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it;" the idea is to learn from past mistakes, but also taking into consideration the differences in the context of the present social dynamic.

Does your own considerable knowledge of history generally give you an advantage in your discussions of issues with others? I'm almost certain you'd agree with that statement, too.

I only partially agree. If the subject is in an area of history I have personally studied, then I have some advantage, yes. If it is in an area of history I have not studied? Then not so much.

If the topic is in an area completely outside the context of history or my other educational background, experience, or training? Then the only advantage I might have is greater experience in researching sources to seek support for my position; which might still be completely wrong!

History provides no hard-and-fast guarantees of what may or will happen in the modern day, but it's one of the best guides we have...and so it's incumbent on those who know history the best to warn the rest of us when they see a type of danger which they are the best-equipped to recognize.

Again I can agree. But that is not my concern in this situation. My concern is when a group of Historian's express a political opinion based solely on an appeal to their academic authority. That's the point of the OP article you cited. Not that their opinion is wrong, but that they are basing it on who they are.

I agree with the article's point about Ruth Bader Ginsberg's right to express a personal opinion, as long as it was not cloaked in her mantle of authority as a Supreme Court Justice. It might cast a negative light on her judicial impartiality if any legal case comes before the Court involving Trump, but that remains to be seen since she did not state it was her position as a Supreme Court Justice.

That said, I do so enjoy discussing and debating with someone who is in many ways more knowledgeable than myself. I am grateful for the discussions with you.

Thank you. And I am sure you can see that while we may disagree on certain subjects, I respect your willingness to discuss the issue rationally and with an open mind. :)
 
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