It was only a matter of time before political correctness led to historical revisionism… it’s happening on college campuses around the country. Confronted with the realization that their advocacy is redundant and their demands trifling- these cereal box revolutionaries are targeting our history with their misguided platitudes.
The irony is thick as Liberal college students attack the legacy of Progressive icon, Woodrow Wilson… long heralded a progressive hero by academics, and firmly positioned in Schlesinger’s top 10 of all Presidents– Wilson’s name is no longer welcomed by the students of Princeton. A most unreasonable position considering that Princeton’s status as Ivy League mainstay is due in large part to the career and reputation of Wilson. Aside from changing names and blotting out monuments, the advocacy here advances little past public relations.
As predicted in an earlier post… Jefferson’s name was sure to be a target of the politically correct, kiddie cops. Student protesters in Missouri, and most recently Jefferson’s alma mater, William and Mary in Virginia. “Students” argue his slave holding in the 19th century is so offensive, it warrants removing his presence from both institutions. These judicious, young stewards are enlightened far beyond their 18 or 19 years and clearly understand the human experience better than any nasty slave owner from 200 years ago. The sarcasm is only applied to further illuminate the hubris- this could be the beginning of our end.
Standing up for TJ
Jefferson critic Annette Gordon-Reed… is discerning enough to see advocacy gone too far. She recently told InsideHighered.com –
“I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal, I think Jefferson’s contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story … to pretend that he was not there. There is every difference in the world between being one of the founders of the United States and being a part of group of people who fought to destroy the United States.”
Conspiracies rely upon the unknown… where there is no paper trail, recorded voices, or first hand accounts, conspiracies thrive. Nothing brings out distrust more than secrecy, regardless of its motivation. To say that every conspiracy is unfounded is either dangerously naive, or the weakest defense of a person with something to hide. Where you find enough secrecy, there will always be conspiracy theories- because the historical record is not definitive…secrecy prevents it.
Patsy no longer
Mafia, Cubans, Russians, Alien contact… there has been enough secrecy surrounding John Kennedy’s assassination, and the subsequent investigation, to fill volumes- enough to even prompt another government inquiry. There is so much secrecy, so many unanswered questions surrounding Kennedy’s death that multiple conspiracies competed for the public’s attention. Every avenue unsatisfactorily explored by official investigation is open to scrutiny, followed by conjecture. Competing conspiracy theories have grown more outrageous through the years- many bordering on the absurd.
Mystery in a riddle…
The ebbs and flows of the historical record… now show lone gunman theories back in favor. Every major study of the assassination in the last decade has fingered Lee Harvey Oswald as the shooter. The Grassy Knoll is now a punchline, rather than an epicenter. The new authoritative narrative on the assassination dismisses long sought after eyewitnesses accounts as unreliable, confused, or fraudulent. Tactics utilized by conspiracy theorist for decades have been turned around with chilling effect- on the 50th anniversary of the assassination- believe Oswald acted alone or else.
Never Forget Edward Lansdale- the key man.
Filed under Ephemera, News
Barack Obama’s decision not to attend ceremonies… commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address is drawing controversy. The Obama administration, already under severe scrutiny for the botched health insurance roll-out, was in no mood for more criticism regarding the President’s decision making.
Really not that close? Obama was sworn in on the Lincoln bible….twice
The decision not to attend ANY sesquicentennial Gettysburg…celebrations struck many observers as an odd one. President Obama has gone out of his way establishing historic ties to our 16th President, a fellow Illinoisan. He announced his candidacy in 2007 near the doors of Lincoln’s law office in Springfield, was sworn in on the Lincoln bible in 2009 and 2013, and followed Lincoln’s train route to Washington in 2009. The country sees the connection- Lincoln must mean a lot to this President… why the snub?
Only a photo op ?
Presidents have gone to Gettysburg before… but have avoided the November anniversary- the Gettysburg Address remembrance. Speaking at Gettysburg draws comparisons to Lincoln’s greatest speech- not a fair fight by any measure. Wilson’s speech at the 50th anniversary of the battle in 1913 is generally considered lackluster. Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy all visited Gettysburg during ceremonies honoring the battle- their words were forgettable. Lyndon Johnson is often praised for his words there in 1963, but those were delivered on Memorial Day.
Can we still call upon our better angels?
No President wants to be compared to Lincoln,… especially during times of political difficulty. Despite the dangers of historical context, Presidents in the 20th century made the journey to Gettysburg- for appearance if nothing else. The current President allowed present difficulty to cloud his judgement- an army of spin doctors and acolytes are trying to repair the damage in cyber space, but a legitimate opportunity at historical remembrance was missed. It is entirely reasonable that the people question his alleged fidelity with Lincoln.
Gettysburg Address edition
- Lincoln did not write the speech on the back of an envelope during the train ride to Gettysburg- he worked on the speech in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, making minor alterations after arriving in Gettysburg
- “Under God” is in the original speech. Secularists enjoy speculating Lincoln omitted those words, but three separate newspaper transcriptions include them- the reporters were in the crowd that day.
- There is no photograph of Lincoln giving the speech- the one known photo captures Lincoln returning to his seat after speaking… a recent discovery may show Lincoln before the speech.
- Lincoln composed the address without speechwriters. This is one of the few Presidential speeches where this can be positively asserted.
- The exact spot of the address is still in doubt. Scholars now acknowledge that both commemorative plaques in the National Cemetery are incorrect.
November 19, 1863- nice hat, Abe
Thomas Jefferson: The Author of America… by Christopher Hitchens, Harper Collins, New York, 2006.
It is awfully difficult to review a scholarly… work by a wordsmith as eminent as Mr. Hitchens. Rarely is prose this well crafted, little criticism can be levied against it from a grammatical or stylistic perception. This thin volume on Jefferson is forthright and at times cogent. Hitchens admires his subject, and leaves little doubt as to the book’s intent. The criticism lies in his interpretation of Jefferson- the scholarship is questionable at key points, diluting the effectiveness of his arguments.
During the book tour… Hitchens proclaimed his Founding Father biography “came complete with genitals.” The implication was that his study would not cast Jefferson in marble, but show all of his faults, even his alleged dalliance with Sally Hemings. An odd inclusion considering the author’s intention of explaining how Jefferson “authored” America. But even the most talented writers seem unable to resist the perverse pleasure of speculating on the romantic entanglements of a man who went to extraordinary lengths to conceal his. Hitchens believes the two facets are inseparable, but his book never explains why.
Hitchens desperately wants Jefferson to be an atheist… in fact, Jefferson’s perceived antagonism to organized religion is what prompted Harper Collins’ invitation to write this volume. Hitchens discovers what many atheists and agnostics have learned- that Jefferson did have religious beliefs-albeit, not traditional Christianity. Not deterred, Hitchens rues, “As to whether he was an atheist, we must reserve judgment.”
Author of America
Beyond these critical points, Hitchens produces a… repetitively modern biography of Jefferson- complex, frustrating, flawed-yet essential. The world lost one of its great writers in 2010 when Hitchens passed. When the younger generation looks to discover his work, this undistinguished effort should be excused.
The recent Islamic terror attacks in Paris… have reignited the debate over so-called “Islamophobia” and discrimination against Muslims. The actions of a minority seem to be attracting more scrutiny to all followers of the religion. The discussion as to what “moderate” Muslims must do to combat radicals in their faith is completely legitimate.
Good, Christian Men?
Examples of violence against Muslims are being exploited… now for greater political gain. Such attacks are cowardly and counterproductive- but the reaction to them is becoming just as dangerous. Social media is buzzing with the awful comparison of Islamic motivation for terrorism and Christian ties to the Holocaust. Some are even going as far as to portray Hitler as some kind of Christian warrior exterminating the Jews for Jesus’ sake. The misguided attempts to defend moderate Muslims have hoisted this clumsy moral equivalency on an overly-impressionable millennial generation. Social media is alive with “Don’t blame Muslims for Paris, unless you blame Christians for the Holocaust.” This tripe passes for intellectualism to younger people today….
No reasonable scholar has ever considered National Socialism as… anything but a political and ideological movement. The leading scholar on Hitler and Nazism, Dr. Ian Kershaw, considered Hitler’s religious ramblings a farce; the dictator was in fact anti-christian. Using Christianity as a convenient tool for propaganda is a far cry from killing people in the name of a religion, citing its holy book as your dogma.