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"Identity, Patriotism, and Education" Topic


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Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:55 a.m. PST

link

The essence of America, and of the Revolution, was establishing the proper balance between pluribus and unum.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 7:53 a.m. PST

And what is your idea of a 'proper balance'?

Or, here we go again…

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 8:25 a.m. PST

A typical missive from this type of academic. It uses a lot of words, lots of profound statements & a sprinkling of historical references – but it doesn't actually say much except that he wants his own corner of education to get more attention and, presumably, more funding.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 8:36 a.m. PST

The article is a little too vague for me. Our education system is broken with too much of this "identity" crap. We need to get back to basics of teaching the three R's along with love of country. Deleted by Moderator

On a side note: Why would someone take the time to write a post on a subject they have no interest in discussing. I always get a laugh when someone comes on here and says ‘this has nothing to do with war gaming etc'. Here's an idea, instead of saying ‘bye', just leave and those who want to stay and discuss won't miss you.

BobGrognard07 Sep 2021 9:15 a.m. PST

Possibly because this site is peculiarly subjected to much more political spleen venting than any other wargaming site I know. I'm here it play toy soldiers. Not only do I not care what your politics are, I'd actively prefer not to know and not to have them constantly paraded about. They are divisive and in a minority interest hobby we need to be united by the love of the hobby what we share rather than divided by crazy political nonsense.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 9:27 a.m. PST

Then don't click on a thread that sounds political. Like this one with words "identity", "education" in the title. By posting on threads you don't like all you are doing is drawing more attention to the post. Focus on the posts you like and let others do the same. Censorship is a slippery slope.

BobGrognard07 Sep 2021 9:32 a.m. PST

It's not censorship to suggest that a wargaming web site should focus on gaming toy soldiers. That's called being relevant. If you apply your censorship definition I may as well post asking for advice on changing my car gear box or decorating my living room. I'm not going to do that, it's not relevant to wargaming. So, why do some people insist on bringing up politics at every opportunity? It does this site no favours at all.

Personal logo Silurian Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 9:46 a.m. PST

Expressing an opinion is not censorship.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 10:23 a.m. PST

Yes, I try to be sure the thread title is clear. If the topic doesn't interest you, why are you here?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 10:32 a.m. PST

And what is your idea of a 'proper balance'?

Kevin's question is a good one. It is certainly a fact that America's regions have lost much of their earlier distinctiveness, for better and for worse. Too much distinctiveness leads to civil war. And of course the red/blue cultural divide today is very real and might threaten disunion on down the line; we pray not. Otoh, the states are the "laboratories of democracy" and their differences allow people to "vote with their feet" and move to where their values seem better protected. This "great sort" is a thing, but is it a good thing or a bad one?

It is electronic communications that undermines regional distinctions the most, along with the mass consumer culture. We are much more one society now that a hundred or two hundred years ago. Again, that has good consequences and also bad ones.

Question: does anyone here WANT a country with large segments of its population not sharing any common language or literature or history? Because that sort of Balkanization strikes me as a recipe for civil war.

Personal logo ezza123 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 10:41 a.m. PST

I like the satirical take on the article in the opening paragraph of USAFpilot's first post.

Ezza

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 10:42 a.m. PST

I don't care if African Americans want their own heroes, but they can't have Stephen Douglass or Harriet Tubman or MLK: they are AMERICAN heroes and belong to us all.

Ditto Chief Joseph and Juan Seguin and Daniel Boone and Robert E. Lee. Americans first, other identities secondarily.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 10:48 a.m. PST

Bob, I don't know if you know this, but there are many posts on TMP that have absolutely nothing to do with war gaming, toy soldiers, or history.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 11:18 a.m. PST

Deleted by Moderator maybe you could ask Bill to take down the current poll on best "double entendre song" too, since that has nothing to do with anything TMP. Looks like "Big Balls" by AC/DC is in the lead.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 11:34 a.m. PST

Machinehead, you and Deleted by Moderator are the only two even bringing up politics. Why don't you comment on the article if interested; if not just ignore and move on.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 12:02 p.m. PST

Try reading my first post – that commented on the article and, like this and my second are entirely politics free. They only request that this thread be nuked because two of you are using it to do what the rules of this site are supposed to ban.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 12:20 p.m. PST

Deleted by Moderator what specifically did I write that has you so offended? Why do you want the entire thread nuked? Why are you so against people expressing their opinions?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 12:27 p.m. PST

Plus, the POINT, of the OP and also of my thread, is the need for some degree of unum out of the pluribus. How is it divisive, or even right wing, to argue for a NATIONAL identity that weighs as heavily as the various regional or ethnic ones? hmmmmmm??

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 12:28 p.m. PST

machinehead, why "bile"? Can you cite a specific?

advocate07 Sep 2021 12:58 p.m. PST

Seriously, this is a miniature gaming site. Don't try (like the commies) to take it over from within. As for the poll, "This is ridiculous "has it by a short head.

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 1:38 p.m. PST

I see a lot of people upset with this article, and absolutely no indication that anyone understood any single part of it. Is there something from within this very article that is the matter? Or are people just baying at the moon because they hear others doing it?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 1:44 p.m. PST

Yes, why not address either the OP or my comments on it, which are based on several close readings of t and a lot of thought. If you are not interested in the topic, there are many other things to read.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 1:45 p.m. PST

But I do want to hear from machinehead why he calls the article "bile".

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 2:24 p.m. PST

Regarding the article, it's not clear that the author actually understands the social movements and public debates to which presumably he is indirectly referring. He seems to imply that so-called identity politics dampens political engagement and diminishes interest in civil society (wrong: for better or worse, it has produced extremely active participation in civil society and politics). He implies that a surge in tribalism is concomitant with a lack of interest in national history and identity (wrong: the right and left movements today are extremely, extraordinarily even, interested in history and the meaning of history today). He suggests that group narrative and meaning threatens to replace the meaning of national identity (wrong: what is being contested right now in the public sphere and in politics is precisely that… what it means to be American). The fact that he is writing this article is indicative of how these are not forgotten truths but rather hot topics and up for perennial discussion, reevaluation, contestation and reimagination.

Rather than taking his argument at face value, it's more helpful to think of the author's article as simply one end of the spectrum in a range of views being hotly and actively contested right now. This is just a position paper in the realm of meaning, the debate and contestation over the concept of American national identity that is the ideological superstructure that facilitates American political institutions and mechanisms.

BobGrognard07 Sep 2021 2:32 p.m. PST

The problem is that it's impossible to ignore the political content here because it's posted on such a regular basis and it is absolute nothing to do with wargaming. I'm not saying the article isn't interesting, I'm saying that it's not relevant. It's not about wargaming, it's not about military history.

It always seems to end up with posts that really overstep the bounds of normality and sound like highly politically motivated rants. If my son or daughter were getting into wargaming and I came here to see what it was all about, I would really be concerned by some of the things I saw. This isn't a private chat room where people can say what they like. This is the very public face of the hobby. All too often that face is a somewhat ugly one.

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 2:43 p.m. PST

BobGrognard, I'm not very familiar with the general history board so I can only take your word for it. It is surprising to me that posters cannot put their analytical cap on and discuss an academic article now and then.

Noggin, this section of TMP is for history discussion.

noggin2nog07 Sep 2021 2:49 p.m. PST

And what history was discussed in the article?

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 2:57 p.m. PST

There's a lot of history being discussed… the idea of a liberal education as a bedrock of American society, the idea of a national identity and origin, the deployment of historical self-understanding as a tool of national communitas, the early founders' conceptualization of the political society (e pluribus unum). This is the philosophical stuff that gets mulled over in the run up to the Civil War, for example, and of course the American War of Independence as well.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Sep 2021 3:52 p.m. PST

It's not censorship to suggest that a wargaming web site should focus on gaming toy soldiers. That's called being relevant.

Forum rules have been set by the membership. They have voted repeatedly to allow historical discussions on the forum. Other subjects have been voted in or out, depending on the mood of the membership – for example, it's currently OK to discuss movies, but that was off limits a few years back.

Ditto… and Robert E. Lee. Americans first, other identities secondarily.

That seems obviously false. Lee was a Virginian first, that's why he fought against his country.

It always seems to end up with posts that really overstep the bounds of normality and sound like highly politically motivated rants.

Then why didn't you hit the Complaint button? We've received ZERO complaints about politics in this topic. The only reason I took a look was because of a non-political complaint.

mildbill07 Sep 2021 3:57 p.m. PST

Lee was as almost all Americans in that there state came first. That was one of the issues 'the late unpleasantness' decided.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:12 p.m. PST

I have learned something once again about partisan think tanks here. I believe that much of this is born of partisan outrage, stoked by changing dynamics in America. Its not really historical when there is a current political agenda behind it.

The big issue for me in the recent Afghanistan Ultra Modern thread was the lack of historical perspective. It seemed ultra partisan to me to trash the President, in office for 7 months. Just blamer culture. The other 19 years of American involvement, the massive defeat of the Soviet military there, the British problems in the 1840s and 80s, all seemed forgotten.

This is just not the place for this. It might boost participation for a bit. But it often jumps the track pretty quickly into Current Events, which is not the title of this board.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:12 p.m. PST

On Lee as an America, just read APRIL 1865. Recall, too, that the Confederates put Washington etc on their currency. Lee would have seen no conflict between his identity as Virginian and his identity as American. Until FORCED to pick one.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:18 p.m. PST

All right, let's address this specific passage from the OP:

There are many reasons why the politics of identity has gained such strength in our times, and those reasons vary from group to group, and identity to identity. But one should begin with that need to belong, and to belong to something specific and distinct, something that distinguishes oneself from the lonely crowd of a deracinated mass society.

But more importantly, the politics of identity has grown beyond proper bounds because the national ethos has faltered and faded, leaving a vacuum to be filled. The identity group can serve, as all intermediate forms of organization do, as a mediating institution between the individual and a large, impersonal, and highly transactional state. It can be a vehicle of political protection and a source of bargaining power for those who feel the benefit of it. That is not always a bad thing, and can in fact have positive aspects, as a feature of a well-functioning pluralism. Arguably the ward-heeling ethnic urban politics of generations ago, for all of its corruption, was helpful to the process of ethnic inclusion and fuller political engagement, so long as there is a strong national ethos counterposed to it.

McClay is saying that identities below the general one of American are not necessarily bad, are in fact often good. The problem, he is arguing, is that there is less and less of a "strong national ethos" pushing back against it. It should be a balance, or a tension, and the weakness of the national end has resulted in the bad effects of the regional or ethnic ends being less in check.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:24 p.m. PST

Lee was reconstructed, and so resumed being an American. All those who fought the USA and later became good Americans are Americans. The would include the Tories, the Confederates and those Native Americans who fought the USA as well. They are all part of American history and usually they and certainly their descendants identify as Americans.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:26 p.m. PST

BobGrognard, do you see ugliness HERE, in the OP, or in my posts on this thread? If so, kindly point them out.

always seems to end up with posts that really overstep the bounds of normality and sound like highly politically motivated rants.

Can you point to posts here that overstep the bounds of normality and sound like highly politically motivated rants? Either by me, or in the OP?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:27 p.m. PST

Mike, yes, absolutely. And our internal conflicts, including the bloody ones, are part of who were are.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:35 p.m. PST

Achtung, I do not think you fully understood the OP. You use the terms "implies" and "suggest", and may be misreading what McClay wrote. For example, you wrote:

He seems to imply that so-called identity politics dampens political engagement and diminishes interest in civil society (wrong: for better or worse, it has produced extremely active participation in civil society and politics).
But that is directly contrary to what he said, thta I quoted,
Arguably the ward-heeling ethnic urban politics of generations ago, for all of its corruption, was helpful to the process of ethnic inclusion and fuller political engagement

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

docmb--kudos for your posts. Always makes me think, as do most of the replies. In many areas of society, we lack a reasoned, respectful debate.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 5:46 p.m. PST

Thank you, Mike.

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 6:56 p.m. PST

Doc mcb, I think you may have actually misunderstood my point. Let me try to be more clear:

The author is setting up this relationship or "tension" as you call it between the tribalism of identity politics on the one hand and the reparative ethos of nationalism on the other. He suggests that this tension can be a productive one, but that these are forces that pull in different directions and that the absence of one would ruin any weal of the other.

I am arguing that this dualism is merely a rhetorical device meant to promote the author's own political perspective. This analytical distinction between the tribalism of identity politics on the one hand and the communitarianism of some nationalistic ethic is entirely overwrought and overblown. After all, e pluribus unum is not some tenuous balance of natural forces. It is a process of meaning-making that this author is himself engaged in, that all the contemporary social and political movements on both the right and the left are engaged in and that most Americans are engaged in when they claim to talk "matter of factly" about current events.

The author wants to draw this analytical distinction between identity politics and nationalistic consciousness, yet in reality the public exercise of identity politics is actually itself a platform for contesting and defining what it means to be American. One is not distinct from the other—rather one flows from the other and returns to it in a process that we call popular politics and civil society. His distinction between the two is untenable and betrays a poor understanding of what these groups are actually doing. It is all simply part of the same process of the continual development and contestation of the social imaginary.

By the way, I use the words "suggest" or "imply" not because I am not confident in my reading of the text, but rather because the author hasn't actually argued anything at all… he has simply asserted things he believes to be the case. There is no theoretical or methodological structure to this fluff piece of an article, but if he has written something that has a more vigorous argument to it then I'd be happy to read that. What is far more interesting than any of the claims of the article itself is what the article is actually doing, how it is involved in the production of meaning.

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 7:34 p.m. PST

I will say it is pretty funny to me that the banner picture the article uses for e pluribus unum is literally and unironically just a bunch of white ladies (seraphim). I mean, what exactly is the nature of their plurality? The resistance setting on their Pelotons or the specific ratio of banana to guava in their Jamba Juice?

I kid, I kid, but it just goes to show how meaning is constantly being remapped to suit new political and social visions. I think there is a substantial segment of the population that would consider this article a bit tone deaf and missing the point, which perhaps speaks to BobGrognard's concern over the inevitability of bad faith responses to articles like this.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 7:49 p.m. PST

Achtung. okay, though I think "tension" can cover a lot of what you are saying. Obviously RE Lee was in tension between loyalties -- as who of us might not be, at some point? Surely the colonists felt that tension, hence the reluctance to declare independence; they were PROUD of being British (for the most part).

I can list my various "identities" in some order of priority -- for me it would be Christian, then man (husband and father -- i.e family) and then American, and then, probably, conservative. Those are in accord with one another, most of the time, but can and do conflict, sometimes, and I can IMAGINE taking up arms against the USA, if even higher loyalties required it; a horrible prospect.

I think you are correct -- and I am quite certain Bill McClay would agree -- that the subsidiary identities combine (what used to be the "melting pot" or the "fruit salad") to produce, to some significant degree, our vibrant and open-minded and dynamic and free society.

But yes, some of us see evidence that our national consciousness is weakening, for a variety of reasons. and need strengthening.

Btw, McClay's essay is the wrap-up publication of a symposium; haven't read the other pieces, but I'll guess they move into more of the specifics you were missing in McClay's.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 7:53 p.m. PST

link

Here's the introductory blub to the symposium which explains its scope and summarizes all the papers.

Achtung Minen07 Sep 2021 7:56 p.m. PST

That makes sense, it read more like general remarks than an essay. Anyway, interesting food for thought,

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 7:59 p.m. PST

I think there is a substantial segment of the population that would consider this article a bit tone deaf and missing the point,

Yes indeed, which is precisely why the argument must be made. You DO think that people should be challenged in their thinking and assumptions, right? :)

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 8:03 p.m. PST

Achtung, I commend to you the Epilogue in McClay's LAND OF HOPE, on "the shape of American patriotism." Basically it is a shared history, a collective MEMORY. I have no objection to African-American or any other hyphenated-American history, so long as it is subsumed in the larger story of us all. Otherwise at some point it will not be US but them and them and those over there -- hating on one another.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2021 8:07 p.m. PST

This link also takes us to the article "Why the Left is Losing" which follows the article you reference, followed by a politicized Covid article, etc. And that's what this is all about.

Nobody made Lee choose to break his oath. He was not forced to do this. I am challenging your assumption. This is a history topic.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Sep 2021 10:49 p.m. PST

This link also takes us to the article "Why the Left is Losing" which follows the article you reference, followed by a politicized Covid article, etc. And that's what this is all about.

Surely you can focus on the article in question. I mean, if I posted a link to an article at The Guardian website, would you then be offended by the editorial and a book review?

Also, posts by some troll accounts have been removed.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2021 1:45 a.m. PST

+1 Tortorella

This is nothing but right wing trolling. The linked website and other sites like it, are disgusting. No Bill I can't just focus on the article in question. Why are you allowing links to such websites on a forum that is suppose to be about gaming?

When I saw the anti-vaccine article I got angry. It is the worst this country has to offer. Vaccines save lives. The reason we are having to wear masks is because of all the people who are not getting vaccinated. Two people at work died from this and another that has had to learn how to walk again.

This website is part of the problem. Not clicking on it is not the problem. The problem is that this is allowed here makes me and others feel unwelcomed. Most will look the other way but I can't. This is so wrong.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2021 1:48 a.m. PST

Do you guys even game the American Revolution and if not why are you posting here?

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