The social Matrix

The social Matrix

Friday, February 24, 2012

There is no better time to misuse history  then election season. Recently, front-runner Rick Sanatorium claimed that government control of schools is “anachronistic,” and began in the age of industrialization. However, Sanatorium,a No Child Left Behind supporter, is not exactly correct.

 Advocacy  for government intervention in education is as old as Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's writings clearly showed that he was outspoken for his support of a publicly mandated educational system.

The misuse of history is not just a product of ambitious politicians, even mass movements such as the Tea Party have misunderstood history. It is the the underlying fundamental belief of the Tea-Party, empowerment of the states and further decentralization of power, that has gathered much traction in last five years.

 However, the historical truth is more nuanced. The truth is that the constitution of 1787 was aimed at concentrating power in the center as dictated under the Articles of Confederation of 1777.

Notwithstanding, the origins of the idea of limited government, the raison de ‘etere of the Tea Party, is not without historical precedence. The founding fathers did fight against the encroaching powers of the British Crown, that levied unfair taxes against the Americans.  Although this logic may be understandable, this is not the only example of historical revisionism by the Tea Party.

A more outlandish example occurred in Tennessee where the local Tea Party movement wanted to erase the fact that the founding fathers owned slaves and mistreated Native Americans. The group is concerned that:

"An awful lot of made-up criticism about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another. "

Perhaps the relationship between the founding fathers and people of color is debatable but to rewrite history simply because it causes cognitive dissonance is disingenuous and an insult to intelligence.

Moreover, the manipulation of history for political purposes, does not fall on neatly delineated ideological fault lines. The liberals are just as capable of misreading history as their ideological counterparts. Take for example Michael Moore's comparison of suicide bombers in Iraq to the Minutemen during the American Revolution or Senator Dick Durbin's comparison of Guantanamo Bay to Nazi death camps.

During the Iraq war,Arian Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, compared the invasion of the Iraq war to the invasion of the Sicilian City of Syracuse by Athens. The only problem with this historical analogy is that they were both democracies. Furthermore, the Sicilian city that was invaded was larger than the Greek city that invaded it.

There is a good reason why George Santayana once said that "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Thus, if we are going to try to use history to advance political, social or economic goals lets at least keep it real.

No comments :

Post a Comment