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"“Fake History” is More Dangerous Than “Fake News”" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 12:40 p.m. PST

"Donald Trump and others have complained a great deal about the pervasiveness of "fake news." What is less commonly spoken about is that for decades professors have also taught a good deal of "fake history." Fake history promotes false narratives, twists the facts, or omits certain key facts altogether. And it is this fake history that has established the foundation for fake news.

There are three respects in which the spread of fake history has been particularly dangerous and served as the foundation for attempts to spread fake news. First, some historians and political thinkers present extreme leftists as heroes worthy of emulation. Second, these same people too often twist history in order to present victims as oppressors and oppressors as victims. Third, these individuals often conveniently omit key statements by the nation's founders and other historical figures…"
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GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 1:23 p.m. PST

Seems to me like the historians aren't the only ones who like to twist facts because of their political beliefs.

Just another right-wing diatribe made to look like clever and informed comment.

The pot calling the kettle black.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 2:05 p.m. PST

I disagree. Some interesting points in the article, especially re Mao Zedong, and the issue of freedom of religion. Definitely not a right wing diatribe IMO.

Calico Bill27 Nov 2019 2:06 p.m. PST

Sorry Gil, it's mainly leftists as the article states. But the article is correct no matter the side. I'm sure all of us have noticed a change in POV if you read about the ACW in particular. Like the news, getting "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is getting harder.

Quintus Valerius27 Nov 2019 2:43 p.m. PST

Got to admit, I'm with GildasFacit. It seems to be a mainstream American thing: extreme leftist = mainstream centralist for the rest of the planet.

It always appeared strange to me that in the USA "liberal" is considered left wing! To us (UK) liberal is centralist.

I think that we can all agree about Mao and Stalin being (murderously) "extreme", however!

Deleted by Moderator

Murray Quarmby27 Nov 2019 3:09 p.m. PST

Not really a TMP topic but maybe…
Australian here.
I think we all know of people who misunderstand history to support their own views. I've had a Canadian tell me that Canadians burnt the white house down (…well it was the British and it wasn't called the White house then) and an Englishman tell me how Australia abandoned the British Empire (…well it is closer to the truth to say we were not profitable and kicked out).
The above were statements from fellow players at conventions to younger players in the context of their games – funny in a way but also part of our own responsibility to debate and correct.
Whilst these are usually just personal delusions and justifications, and I likely have my own, there should be a genuine concern when these type of people get into responsible positions (writers, politicians, etc.) and try to turn such statements into established fact.

Col Durnford Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 3:36 p.m. PST

They used to say the winner wrote the history. If that's the case then it appears we lost the Cold War.

I just watched part of a Cold War documentary on AHC and it should have been called a communist apologist view!

USAFpilot27 Nov 2019 4:14 p.m. PST

The author graduated first in his class at Harvard. I hardly think he is "right wing" having gone to Harvard. Though he probably came in close contact with the leftist he talks about.

By the way don't confuse "liberal" with "leftist". The left likes to call themselves "liberal" but they are the complete opposite in every way. The left wants complete government control of every part of your life. They want the gov't to take care of you; the nanny state. The right believes in individual responsibility and hard work.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 4:17 p.m. PST

Never let the facts get in the way of your message.

Quintus Valerius27 Nov 2019 5:07 p.m. PST

Don't know about the left calling themselves liberal, but I always say to people, don't confuse me for a liberal…I'm not that far to the right! ;)

jwebster27 Nov 2019 11:53 p.m. PST

I think his statement is true in general, but that it is more applicable than he realizes. I agree that he has a right wing bias and I think that this article is disingenuous, in that he is emphasizing certain historical events to further his own agenda.

I grew up in England during the cold war. There were a lot of people who idolized Stalin. As more information became generally know about the horrors that he perpetrated, these people became a lot quieter.

On the other side, an enormous amount of history was made up in the late 19th Century, by many different countries, or simply omitted. American history classes generally omit the extent to which the Native American population was deliberately destroyed. They also don't emphasize the extent to which the Robber Barons acquired wealth illegally.

He also talks about the separation of Church and State, implying that there is no historical basis for that concept. Any look at the history of Europe would see many religious wars and how governments persecuted people because of their religious beliefs. This was the driving force behind some of the early immigrants to the USA. How can he possibly think that separation of church and state has been misrepresented ? I'm sure he doesn't, but he has an agenda to push.

I don't know if "fake news" is a real thing, but fake history certainly is. This article is an example of the kind of pseudo-intellectual writing that frightens me. It sounds convincing, but is cherry picking history to promote his agenda.

Probably not the right place to rant, but ….


Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2019 11:59 p.m. PST

Probably not the right place to rant

Hardly a rant, sir. I fully endorse your measured response.

It is difficult to conflate the political systems even of democracies. I have long been aware of the fact that the most right wing politician we have in OZ would be more or less a middle of the road American politician. And what Americans label as "socialist" is more or less middle of the road & mainstream here.

I smile, somewhat, when I consider my cautious conservatism and old fashioned political ideas could be misconstrued as dangerous and extreme socialism by my American friends.

M4rtinFierro28 Nov 2019 1:01 a.m. PST

" Many American academics are quick to condemn the horrendous actions of Adolf Hitler, but they are much more reticent in discussing comparable behaviors by Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong."

Very interesting to note that he doesn't name a single academic there, just sticking to a vague and unverifiable "many". He does name an Obama communications director who likes Mao. This person is an academic? Can we talk, in the same terms, about the people Trump has put into bureaucratic positions as "academics" and talk about who they lionize…?

He then goes on to imply that the left was somehow trying to make Hitler into a victim, which is not true. And then he talks about how it's not being mentioned that the War of 1812 started because of British impressment of American sailors. Not sure where he gets that from, because every history I have read has mentioned that issue.

He makes a very hair-splitting difference between the Constitution and its amendments, saying that freedom of religion isn't in the constitution (it's in the amendments). Technically, he's right, but I very much doubt he'd make that distinction, say, when discussing conservatives' claims to their "constitutional right to bear arms". Is that also "fake history" or are we dealing with two weights and two measures here?

If this guy did go to Harvard and graduated with honors, he should know better: he should cite sources, name names. However, it should be noted that he is a professor of education, not history, and that his focus seems to be highly involved with proving Christian values (or at least his version of them) as superior to others. He doesn't seem to be a disinterested — or even properly trained — person when it comes to judging what is and isn't "fake history".

A masters in Education from Harvard does not qualify one as a historian and it doesn't seem that Dr. Jeynes, for all his prolific writing (14 books and 165 articles) has ever, himself, written a peer-reviewed historiographical text.

He HAS, however, written a book called "What would Christ do?" So perhaps Jesus is simply speaking through him, hey?

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2019 7:52 a.m. PST

Author was discussing "separation of church and state", not specifically freedom of religion. His point was there is a difference in the two statements.

1st Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Andrew Preziosi28 Nov 2019 8:45 a.m. PST

"The left wants complete government control of every part of your life. They want the gov't to take care of you; the nanny state."

USAF Pilot…instead of WHAT? The Current System…that let's the Military Industrial, Pharma-Medical Industrial Complexes get almost all of our taxpayer money, while Billionaire's pay (almost) NO TAXES at all?

I call BS…plain and simple!

No one WANTS a Nanny State, but free Healthcare and Social Security for all would help everyone, as long as it's based on successful Euro-Japanese models.

"The right believes in individual responsibility and hard work."

So do I, except we need a level playing field, because there are still elements of our population that do not get a fair break and NEVER have or will, no matter HOW HIGH they rise to the top!

I could go on, but I think that's enough for now…

SBminisguy28 Nov 2019 9:39 a.m. PST

" Many American academics are quick to condemn the horrendous actions of Adolf Hitler, but they are much more reticent in discussing comparable behaviors by Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong."

Very interesting to note that he doesn't name a single academic there, just sticking to a vague and unverifiable "many".

I had three outright Marxist professors (one of whom was a hardcore Feminist-Marxist to boot) when I went to the University of California, Davis, and one who was a Maoist. They were not interested in educating, they were there to proselytize. If you challenged their narrative they would attack you in class. If you didn't vomit back their narrative in the papers you submitted, they would ding your grade. As soon as you figured out the class was an unfortunate waste of time that you had to endure as part of your major (International Relations) and just feed back their blech to get by, the easier it was to manage.

I now am a dad, and I've had to manage the narrative my son has been fed since elementary school. In K-6 the historical bias was a mild but ever present assumption, a miasma, that America is a racist oppressive misogynist country. The eco-stuff was waaayyy over the top, all the "science" course presented AGW/Climate Change as an unchallengeable scientific given which could only be solved by collectivist global action….sigh…

In one of his Middle School classes he had a militant vegan feminist "language arts" teacher -- that was interesting. Every book assigned was gloom and doom, the evils of corporate food, blah blah. Over all his history text book was OK, except for the section on Islam which was a total fantasy. Now we're in high school…sigh…

IN any event, my goal has been to try and teach my kid how to think, analyze, research on his own and come to his own conclusions. So if you're parenting, be active in your kids' school work -- know what they are reading, what they are being exposed to and then talk to them about it.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2019 10:12 a.m. PST

As a retired secondary history teacher I agree with SBminisguy. Parents must be aware of what their children are being taught and compensate accordingly. I got out in time before getting in trouble for my views.

Personal logo Dschebe Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2019 10:48 a.m. PST

'Quod natura non dat, Salmantica non præstat'

Nor Salmantica nor Harvard.


USAFpilot28 Nov 2019 11:25 a.m. PST

Who is John Galt?

Dn Jackson29 Nov 2019 3:56 a.m. PST

"I grew up in England during the cold war. There were a lot of people who idolized Stalin. As more information became generally know about the horrors that he perpetrated, these people became a lot quieter."

Yet, he, and the system he helped create is still held up as a model by many on the left. Even after the horrors were exposed, many ignored them. For example; the New York Times had a reporter in Russia during the 1920s. Walter Durante was awarded a Pulitzer prize for his glowing reports on how socialism was doing wonderful things in the Soviet Union. Even after it was found out he knowingly lied about the famine and the horrors perpetrated on the kulaks, the New York Times still refuses to return his Pulitzer.

"American history classes generally omit the extent to which the Native American population was deliberately destroyed."

Really? When I was in high school in the 1980s that was about all we heard. There was nothing about the genocide native tribes practiced on each other or the empires that were being built by the native leaders, (such as Powhatan), when the English showed up.

"They also don't emphasize the extent to which the Robber Barons acquired wealth illegally."

What laws did they break? Considering the very loose laws of the time I'm very curious about this. The fact they're still referred to as 'robber barons' a pejorative given to them by left wing reporters of the time indicates to me they're still vilified.

"He also talks about the separation of Church and State, implying that there is no historical basis for that concept."

There wasn't. When the Constitution was written some states, Maryland for example, had official state churches.

How can he possibly think that separation of church and state has been misrepresented ?"

Because it has been. The idea that there would be a totally secular state in the 18th century wasn't a concept at the time.

M1Fanboy29 Nov 2019 7:22 a.m. PST

I can second some of what I call the "politicization" of history. It's gotten really bad depending on the school. And considering I finished my degree at CUNY Brooklyn? It was downright awful.

I distinctly remember being asked to do a "Marxist Feminist" analysis of a Massachusetts women's textile workers strike in 1843. Considering Marx wasn't to write his first treatise for oh say, another twenty or so years IIRC, I thought the analysis flawed. I said as much in class. Considering this was a undergrad seminar that was mandatory for all majors in the department, I was told I had doomed my chances of ever going to get into a "good" grad school.

Couple that with a "women in history" class that was also mandatory for majors (It satisfied the non-traditional history requirement), where the professor spent much of her time shouting down most of the men in class…you can see where to me, the rot begins.

And, funny aside. The summer (2000) before I took the seminar, I was asked what kind of history I was into by the instructor. I said "Military History". She said I'd never get a job in the field! That military history was so "over". Then 9/11 happened. Yep, most folks in academia really have no clue. Their agenda has become so dogmatic, I dare say they're ruining professional history. I was personally turned off of advancing in the field, and now I am a cybersecurity tech writer. Pays better IMO.

Moreover, I find the better history, at least in our field, is the stuff that isn't academic histories. I give you exhibit A. A gent named Don Fox did a two volume history on my grandfather's division during the war. It was well done, plenty of sources. He'd be sneered at by plenty of professors. So what, I've seen what they go ga-ga at. Jared Diamond? Guy is a hack. I read Guns, Germs, and Steel. It was all over the map IMO and I've read better.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Nov 2019 5:28 p.m. PST

Selective perception is a problem, not only in history, but certainly including it.
So, without using sources and patience, any debate on history can quickly degrade into the more or less (more les) polite exchange of opinions.

ninthdoc29 Nov 2019 10:06 p.m. PST

I started seeing it when I returned to university part time in 2003 working on a psychology degree (I was a police detective working child abuse cases at the time). I was at the University of Texas at Dallas. I sat in class after class listening to professors preaching their opinions and beliefs as if they were fact. That was when I realized that students were no longer being taught to question and find the facts for themselves; they were being spoon fed propaganda and told that it was fact.

I left school. I tried to go back to online college 2 more times. That was about 5 years ago. I turned 48 last Friday. I'm never getting a 4 year degree (I have an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice). I will either make money from freelance writing, coding, writing novels, or creating 3D sculpts (still learning that one).

I'm too old to pay for a degree that doesn't mean squat taught to me by people who have an agenda that I do not agree with. I can do more learning important abilities on my own using the skills that I was taught 25-30 years ago.

von Schwartz30 Nov 2019 6:30 p.m. PST

Let's see, a Harvard grad and a professor of Education at a California university, oh yeah, he's objective and non-partisan.
That said, I did agree with a lot of what he said, but he mixed in fact with equal amounts of rubbish to make it sound well thought out and erudite.
I cannot understand the socialists and communists, let's see, I want to base my government organization on some half-baked theories cooked up by a couple of late 19th century anarchist slackers who never really accomplished anything productive in their entire lives. And lets not forget the huge successes of socialism and communism in more or less recent years, the USSR, the entirety of the Communist block countries (during the Cold War), Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam, Venezuela, Cuba, and a number of small African and Central American nations.
Name me one thing, just one thing, that the government has EVER done more quickly, more efficiently, and less expensively than the private sector? Tik tok

Apache 630 Jan 2020 5:24 p.m. PST

While getting a masters degree in Adult Education, in 2005, during a course that was supposed to be about pedagogy, I was "taught" that the US in 2004 was the most racist and sexist country in the history of the world, by a 33 year old Doctor who it turns out had never travelled outside of the US. Of course it was completely irrelevant to the course he was supposed to be teaching.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2020 9:56 p.m. PST



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