Never Be Surprised

Academics say the darnedest things… in the cozy confines of the University system.  Impressionable undergrads eagerly hang on every word and grad students serve as willful accomplices as they look to continued advancement.  Peer review is a veiled threat at best, considering the lock step that seems to permeate academia.  Even when a proven fraud like Ward Churchill is called to account, academic circles are reluctant to police their own because of the lofty standard  “academic freedom.”(The investigation revealed that Churchill had received tenure without a PhD in addition to plagiarism and fraud charges.)

Devaluing the term "genocide" since 1978

Devaluing the term “genocide” since 1978

So, say whatever you please, professor… tenure has your back.  History professors proclaim “changing the narrative” as the driving force behind their scholarship.  Everything we’ve learned about America is wrong… so, like a Seinfeld episode of note, the opposite must be true: The founding of America actually had a negative impact on human history, the Founders were greedy imperialists in training, and ALL 15 Presidents before Lincoln owned slaves…. that’s right- ALL of them.

Surely, you jest...

Surely, you jest…

This would come as a shock to John Adams and his son… both from Quincy, Massachusetts.  James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, and Martin Van Buren would likewise have an argument to such an absurd notion.  Millard Fillmore was only in office two years, but slave owning cannot be included on his resume.  Even Virginian William Henry Harrison had abandoned the practice by the time he entered public life.  Members of the Founding generation hated the institution, yet felt trapped by it- Jefferson described having a wolf by the ears.  As the abolition movement grew, later Presidents sought to defend slave owning rights, but their arguments were swept away in the tide.    But, to listen to many academics today, the Presidency was nothing more than the last line of defense for the slave owning class.  Never be surprised at what nonsense seeps out of our universities… our hard earned dollars make this “academic freedom” possible.




Filed under Ephemera, News

5 responses to “Never Be Surprised

  1. Yikes! Though undergrads do tend to hang on every word their history professors say, I hope these young up & comings retain their BS meter to cipher through grandiose soap boxing. Grad students on the other hand, as slaves to their tenure track masters, must keep up appearances of agree-ability…or at least till the master leaves the class.

  2. This makes me very sad about the state of things but I’m glad that there’s still people like you who have the guts and intelligence to realize that history and the telling of it is political. It’s unavoidable.

    I find it amusing when people blog about a historic document or something but then shy away when you make comparisons with events of today–isn’t that where wisdom comes from?

  3. Politics and history have a precarious relationship. Too often folks make false analogies and teeter dangerously toward presentism, also known as the historians fallacy. I believe conductive wisdom comes from being able to discern the past without making preconceived judgments or comparisons. Some comparisons are inevitable; however, should not be the main concern with studying history; studying history ought to focus on the preservation of our collective memory.

    • Most of the nonsense(like this example) come from academics outside of established history departments. Historians tend to be more careful and deliberate (Churchill was not a trained historian.) A student of mine brought my attention to this particular interview and was troubled by the matter-of-fact approach the scholar in question took.

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