A trick title! Now that I have my own (separate from my business pursuits, etc.) blogging site, I can delve more into my various interests and opinion – and HISTORY has always been my favorite subject!
I’ve been accused, over the years, of being “political”. This always seems to scare some folks as they would like to imagine that others should not be able to share their opinions and world views – especially those with which they don’t agree! Yet the same detractors often spend a big part of their lives writing and gossiping about THEIR own political, religious and historical outlooks.
I guess we could label that the “political conundrum”.
Of course, these days anyone who is fairly well informed in matters of history, the wider world and human nature is automatically labeled a “liberal”, “libtard” or whichever other label their masters (usually right wing echo chambers) have used. Many of these prolific commenters (99% without their real names) spend hours each week doing nothing but rebutting each and every piece of common sense or history posted on the internet. It’s gotten so bad that many major media sites have stopped accepting comments and others have made certain their commenters are identifiable. An early internet forum – The Well – came to the conclusion that people act better when “they own their own words”…..I agree. It doesn’t solve every problem of human interaction, but it certainly will taper down the rhetoric.
So, let’s get back to the History and Opinions and whether knowledge automatically makes one a “libtard”. We know, from a Pew poll, that only 6% of Scientists self-ID as being “republican” in terms of party affiliation. Certainly that is one indication that knowledge makes you retarded (grin). Also, we know that the far right in this country spends vast amounts of time beating up on so-called “academia” – the higher your education level, the more they think you have no idea what is going on in this world.
Highly educated populations, such as those in the “libtard” areas like Boston, the Bay Area, etc…..are also considered to wrong when it comes to political/historical matters. This despite the fact that the spark of our country was struck right in that Liberal Bastion of Massachusetts and in many ways (universal health insurance, social services, fire protection, marriage equality) continues to this very day.
But, historically speaking, none of this is new. The USA has a history of “know nothings” which extends back hundreds of years and I suppose other countries and cultures have gone through similar purges. It’s especially ironic today, when the so-called “know-nothings” (racists, anti-education folks, anti-immigrant, etc.) use science and technology is EVERY aspect of their lives – science and medicine, luckily for them, developed by folks who know more than they do!
But the purpose of this screed is not to dump on idiots. That’s being done enough all over the internet. It’s more to give an insight into why I think my own opinions and worldview are NOT political, but instead historical (based on history).
I became an avid reader of history when I was 10 years old – my first source being the World Book Encyclopedia, 1955 edition. I read the whole thing through, fascinated with geography, history and the other subjects in there. My parents used to show me off to company asking “Craig, what is the population of Iowa?” and other such questions – I always knew the answer.
Of course, War is a BIG part of history – especially American history – so I developed a great interest in the Civil War and read many many books on the subject. In the 50 years since I developed my obsession with history, I’ve read many hundreds of books on everything from the founders to african-american history (currently reading up more on this). Over the decades I’ve added my own experiences to the mix – watching history as it was made right before my eyes.
It would be very wrong for me to take in all these inputs and not develop some clear opinions on the longer curve of history. For example, I think that the institution of slavery was perhaps the worse stain on America in our 230 year history – MUCH worse than it’s made out to be. The “know nothings”, who probably either never read or understood the deeper situation, would call my views extreme, liberal or some other of their choice words. Many white folks born and raised in slave states or with racist parents have convinced themselves that the South (and the northern and european and other financiers and benefactors) was fighting for “states rights”, maybe not knowing (or knowing yet not caring) that the same exact slogan was used as a buzzword to protect the legality of human bondage, murder, rape and other crimes.
That’s just one example, although a fairly large one since much of todays’ far-right champions the “states rights” ideals. They use the same phrase to claim why corporal punishment in schools, changing of the history books and other such things are within their rights. That is, they don’t have to teach reality, but rather their reality.
I love a good debate. But I am wont to engage in any with the know-nothings since I am basing at least some of my opinions on actual history. Their willingness to thrown any form of knowledge out the window as they mimic the phrases taught to them by the billionaire financiers of the right…..just aren’t worth the effort.
So, in summary, I really don’t have many political opinions. What I do have is some historical ones.