July 16, 2016

"Along with Historians Against Trump, groups like Writers On Trump and Citizen Therapists are organizing in defense of the ideals in which their professions are grounded."

"Historians Against Trump will be marching alongside these and many other groups as part of the peaceful protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. We will continue our work into the fall, publishing essays and articles that place Trumpism into historical perspective. We have a professional obligation as historians to share an understanding of the past upon which a better future may be built. This means equipping the public with historical skills and narratives that are 'factual, accurate, comprehensible, meaningful, useful, and resistant to cynical manipulators who sell snake oil as historical truth.'"

Historians are mobilizing and aggregating in an effort to wreck their credibility.

I ran across that because Stanley Fish is calling them out, in a NYT op-ed that begins "Professors are at it again, demonstrating in public how little they understand the responsibilities and limits of their profession." Excerpt:
The claim is not simply that disciplinary expertise confers moral and political superiority, but that historians, because of their training, are uniquely objective observers: “As historians, we consider diverse viewpoints while acknowledging our own limitations and subjectivity.”

But there’s very little acknowledgment of limitations and subjectivity in what follows, only a rehearsal of the now standard criticisms of Mr. Trump, offered not as political opinions, which they surely are, but as indisputable, impartially arrived at truths: “Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a campaign of violence: violence against individuals and groups; against memory and accountability, against historical analysis and fact.” How’s that for cool, temperate and disinterested analysis?

77 comments:

buwaya puti said...

I havent kept up with Stanley Fish.
Why is he making sense all of a sudden?

buwaya puti said...

Also,
What passes for undergrad history these days ...

MisterBuddwing said...

Well, as Samuel Butler said, "God cannot alter the past, but historians can." Maybe this group thinks it can determine the future as well...

The Drill SGT said...

Historians, and their associated professional organizations, like other professional organizations should avoid both politics and religion.

Historians are relatively benign, but how would we feel about IRS Agents for Hillary, or Secret Service Agents for Trump.

rhhardin said...

Fish made his name attacking Wayne Booth's book "The Rhetoric of Irony." Punch up, not down, being the rule.

The Drill SGT said...

"1984" was an warning, not a game plan...

'He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.'

- G Orwell

rhhardin said...

Those who are ignorant of history are destined to take it again.

rhhardin said...

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a campaign of violence: violence against individuals and groups

I don't even see how this gets to be a meme.

JAORE said...

Oh noes the PROFESSIONAL historians are on the march.

Hide the wimmenz, hide the baaaaayeeez!

dreams said...

Not to worry, history is written by liberal historians, the narrative for the ages.

Sebastian said...

"Historians are mobilizing and aggregating in an effort to wreck their credibility." Assumes a fact not in evidence.

"Stanley Fish is calling them out, in a NYT op-ed that begins "Professors are at it again, demonstrating in public how little they understand the responsibilities and limits of their profession."" Sorry, Fish, those responsibilities and limits are socially constructed, don't you know. The Prog project knows no limits. Sure, it would be nice if they operated like proper scholars, yadda yadda yadda, as Milton might or might not put it. But they don't and they won't.

buwaya puti said...

Historians arent benign.
What you are told of the past creates your attitudes in the present. Who your enemies are, who your friends are, what is good, what is bad, what is prudent and imprudent.

The teaching of history, by its nature, is political indoctrination, and every aspect of curriculum, emphasis and method is politically loaded.

Not that anyone is getting much history at all, these days. They seem to have concluded that the kids are too dumb and lazy.

Meade said...

Hysterians Against Trump

David Begley said...

Renamed, Disciples of Howard Zinn.

Levi Starks said...

How will future historians describe the actions of today's historians?

buwaya puti said...

Begley is right.

Fernandinande said...

Historians are mobilizing and aggregating in an effort to wreck their credibility.

Is that sentence from engrish.com ?

Michael K said...

"What passes for undergrad history these days ..."

My daughter, at the U of Arizona five years ago was taught, and expected to regurgitate on exams, that the "Silent Majority" of the 1960s was made up of "white people who refused to accept the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

No mention of Vietnam or Nixon.

They were also taught (In a course on American History Since 1877) that the Plains Indians taught the white settlers how to farm.

The Plains Indians were hunter-gatherers and did not farm. Navajos and Hopi farmed.

Skeptical Voter said...

Yer average history/sociology/psychology/"studies" professor could not find ziz or zir backside with both hands and a seeing eye dog in the real world.. For one thing they are confused about pronouns--hence the reference to,ziz and zir..

They may be a big deal in the groves of academia, but in the real world they are no smarter than a butter and egg man from Des Moines.

Gusty Winds said...

Do you think the historians have read the Venona Papers? They probably all tow the left wing line that there was no communist threat, and McCarthy was just a witch hunter. They probably believe Alger Hiss was a victim of lies.

Disingenuous idiots.

Meade said...

"They may be a big deal in the groves of academia, but in the real world they are no smarter than a butter and egg man from Des Moines."

Yes but they do have one thing a Des Moines egg and butter man doesn't have. A diploma!

Meeeea said...

Blogger rhhardin "Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a campaign of violence: violence against individuals and groups."

"I don't even see how this gets to be a meme."

I know! They are at it already, f'ing with the truth. Historians my ass. As some Nazi said, "I have no conscience, Hitler is my conscience." Only in their case I'm not sure whom or what guides their conscience--Hillary? Soros? Marxism?

Chuck said...

I loved that op-ed; thank you, Professor Althouse, for blogging it.

I strongly suspect that Stanley Fish is no more inclined to vote for Trump than I am. (Although in fact I may vote for Trump.) But I endorse every word of that op-ed. And I feel certain that Fish would apply these principles to several dozen other contentious issues in American society.

gspencer said...

These are the experts who hold the unshakeable opinion that FDR was the bestest ever president cum dictator.

William said...

Napoleon sent an army to reinstall slavery on Haiti. It never occurred to him to free the slaves in Egypt or the serfs in Russia when he brought Liberty, fraternity, and equality to those countries. The Napoleonic Code severely restricted women's property rights. The Louvre Museum is filled with art works looted from the countries he invaded......There were some notable exceptions, but for the most part artists, historians, and intellectuals made him the hero of his age. This includes not just French writers like Hugo and Stendhal, but also such luminaries as Goethe, Kant, and Beethoven. Even English writers like Byron and Carlyle fell for that Man of Destiny horseshit.......There's absolutely no valid historical reason to believe that historians have any better purchase on the meaning of current events--or, for that matter, even past events--than the rest of us.

gspencer said...

It (DJT promotes violence)gets to be a meme because the left provided the violence and then ascribed it to him. Then that line is repeated endlessly. Until learned.

David Begley said...

Meade channels The Wizard of Oz.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

They were also taught (In a course on American History Since 1877) that the Plains Indians taught the white settlers how to farm.

That is some concentrated ignorance there. Wikipedia is more accurate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_Desert

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm about to ask a sincere question, not expecting an answer. So maybe it's a sincere rhetorical question, or perhaps more of an admission:

There's that famous Santayana quote about learning history or else being condemned to repeat it. I never fully got that. I mean, put to one side the condemnation part. Nobody seriously believes not doing your homework is a sin and God's gonna getcha.

What's the mechanism? In medicine, for example, when judging the value of a treatment, they talk about the reproducibility of outcome, as in clinical trials. But they also talk about identifying a mechanism. There might be some reproducibilty of outcome for acupuncture, but there's no known plausible mechanism.

Personifying history, and believing that it has will and that it wants to repeat itself seems to me like a religious concept . . . good vs. evil. Satan at work must be resisted.

I just recently learned of the word "postdiction."

Thought I'd toss that in with the salad.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Eric the Fruit Bat

I never took the quote as a personification of history, I took it to mean that if you don't learn from experience then you are going to continue to make the same mistakes.

Michael K said...

" the word "postdiction."

The trouble is that postdiction was tried in global warming and still doesn't work.

The formulas can't "postdict" what happened.

The Godfather said...

In 1964, psychiatrists tried the same gambit against Goldwater: Believe us professionals, Goldwater's mentally ill. My father, a psychiatrist, thought this was totally unprofessional; you don't state a diagnosis of someone you've never examined.

It didn't make any difference in 1964, because Goldwater was doomed anyway. The historians' effort this year is doomed for a different reason: Their claims will only be believed by people that are already die-hard Hillary! ites.

shiloh said...

Free speech marches on, even at Althouse occasionally.

So Althouse, does your cruel neutrality bull shit prevent you from ever giving a personal opinion or taking a political stance? Rhetorical.

btw, when you and your buddy were "documenting" Scott Walker's assualt against public sector unions (5) years ago your opinions were flying fast and furious!

Pro-trump groups, if there are such an animal nowadays, are equally welcome to show their solidarity in Cleveland. btw, whatever happened to the tea party patriots? Did someone burst their balloon.

Indeed, the left has always been better at protesting. Go figure! Hey, you have to be motivated to get on your feet and go outside, contrary to your con couch potatoes ...

>

Wasn't their a debate here recently re: personal prejudice and how everyone has it in one form or another and to varying degrees.

The truth shall set you free!

I yield back the balance of my time to Althouse cons agreeing w/each other ad nauseam.

virgil xenophon said...

"That is some concentrated ignorance there."

GREAT phrase--A'm ah stealin' it!!! (And so VERY true regards both the liberal arts and the Witch Doctor crowd.)

And yes, Begley IS right. Zin is the Anti Christ of American education. (Or "functional equivalent " as they say in academia--gotta keep my academic union-card in good standing..)

And William posits an exceedingly fine analogy which absolutely destroys the pretensions of all those "really smart" people who strain to convince the hoi polloi of the error of their ways.

William said...

Whether you study cooking at the Culinary Institute or digestive processes at John Hopkins, you are still destined to feel hunger. In like way, whether you study history or ignore it, history will happen and, for the most part, in unpredictable ways.

mccullough said...

History is not a profession

William said...

My study of history leads me to believe that capitalism works better than communism. This is an extremely debatable proposition among most academics.

Michael K said...

"you don't state a diagnosis of someone you've never examined."

You might remember the scene in "Anatomy of a Murder" where the psychiatrist sat at the prosecution table and then testified about the defendant's mental state. It didn't work out well that time.

In 1964 people were far more trusting of government and Johnson had not yet blundered so badly in Vietnam.

I voted for Johnson, the only vote I've regretted. I thought Goldwater was a terrible candidate and, even though I was quite conservative at the time, voted for Johnson as more competent. In 1962, I supported Joe Shell for governor. I was still convinced Nixon was a loser. I had voted for him in 1960 but thought he was finished. I voted for him in 1968 but liked Shell better in 1962.

Richard said...

I am really impressed with the credentials of the organizing committee:

Amy E. Harth, PhD Student, Union Institute & University, Overland Park, Kansas
David Schlitt, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Brian Dolber, independent scholar, Los Angeles,CA

The fourth member, Caroline Luce, didn’t even bother to sign the petition.

damikesc said...

Remember, these people really do think Hillary did bad things. Honestly. That's why they go on and on about it so....oh wait.

Chuck said...

Next up for debunking: the newspaper columnists who take on the mantle of "Fact Checking." And that malignancy is spreading, to television and radio.

There is nothing wrong with checking facts. Of course. That goes without saying. But that is fact checking with lower-case "f" and "c". James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal -- a fan of this blog-- inveighs against the conceit of "Fact Check" operations. Fact checking, I used to think, is what all newspaper writers did.

Otto said...

Professors as a whole are a gutless group - '68 capitulation at Columbia and Cornell plus all the currents events at Yale and Mizzlou. They are separated from the real world, with no real competition, no long hours, a captured audience and no accountability. Add the great salaries and benefits and you have a soft life - in my day there was a saying " if you cannot do, teach". So out of the 4 public values of peace, justice, liberty and freedom they have peace at the top of their list. Don't rock the boat. Trump scares them , as a business man he will look at education more from a common sense viewpoint instead of feeding education $$$$ because it is our solution to all the ills of a supposed class society. Believe me their is nothing altruistic in their cause, just self preservation.
BTW Mead my father was a butter and egg man with no diploma and he was just as smart as any professor I had.

SukieTawdry said...

Many would rightly agree with Michael Frisch, who once famously suggested that historians and their audiences learn from each other and share authority for creating a more meaningful and usable past.

Usable how and by whom?

Meeeea said...

Richard @9:51:
Don't pick on that Amy chick, she's a troubled soul! From her blog:

"...And each one of us has individual problems. As I struggle emotionally with all of these things, I wish I knew how to be a better activist. I wish I knew how not to worry about my small problems. My chronic pain seems to prevent me from doing so much. My massive debt and all the time it takes to manage a small budget to avoid it getting too much worse prevents me from contributing much financially to the causes I care about.

I wish I didn’t feel so alone. I’ve never had what I call “real” friends. No one calls me just for fun. I don’t have people in my life who want to do things with me. I’ve never understood why. Magazines might tell me that this is because I’m not thin or the right kind of pretty. That hurts, but it doesn’t hurt as much as thinking I’m just not good enough to have “real” friends. Everyone can feel alone. And because I do, I often feel like I don’t have much political power, but I want to do something. I join groups. I sign petitions. I will do this more. I will write more, because this is the only power that I know that I have right now. And there is one more. I am angry and hurt. I am so gladdened that I know so many people on social media who are angry and hurt too. They are not apologists for acts of terror. They are not looking the other way. And more importantly they care about people every day. They care about people of color. They care about gay people. They care about Muslim people. They care about refugees. They care about people who are suffering. Every. Day. Not just when the news says it is time to care. And they make their voices heard. They are active. Much more so than I. And I learn from them. They make me a better person."

Laslo Spatula said...

Meeeea said...
Richard @9:51:
"Don't pick on that Amy chick, she's a troubled soul! From her blog.."

I was just in the middle of writing "Ms. Meadows, Clinically Depressed Therapist", and now I see I shouldn't have bothered.

That is good stuff.

I am Laslo

Meeeea said...

Hi Laslo, she's a poster child for NPD. See https://pracadamy.wordpress.com

Richard said...

Great find Meeeea. I gather the people who signed the petition didn’t do any due diligence on the organizing committee. If they were practicing their profession you would think that they would look at who was behind the petition before they signed it. However it appears that many/most of the people that signed the petition are not historians.

Meeeea said...

And a bit on Dolber, doing his part to indoctrinate college students from SUNY to UCSB:

"Introduction. Brian Dolber. Abstract

This collection of essays originated from a pre-conference at the 2009 National Communication Association (NCA) meeting in Chicago, "The 'New' New Economy: Media and the Economic Crisis," which Mark Hayward and I co-chaired. The financial collapse of Fall 2008 had laid to bare what critical scholars of communications are always cognizant of-- that capitalism, and particularly neoliberal capitalism, is an unsustainable system. No longer a fringe area of inquiry, understanding the relatio-ships between media and economies is now becoming central to making sense of, and hopefully addressing, problems in our social and cultural environment."



geoffb said...

Not a new thing. "In Denial" by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr.

Jupiter said...

William said...
"My study of history leads me to believe that capitalism works better than communism. This is an extremely debatable proposition among most academics."

That's because you define "works" so that an economic system "works" when slave children in Zambia get cancer from smashing apart computers to get a few cents worth of recyclable metal, while professors in New York get paid hundreds of thousands per year to babble meaningless drivel and undermine the society they parasitize.

Doesn't that seem kind of debatable to you?

Michael K said...

"Doesn't that seem kind of debatable to you?"

Interesting to see all these new commenters with blank profiles.

rehajm said...

Are these the same revisionists who've successfully separated Barney Frank from his accountability in the banking crisis?

Laslo Spatula said...

"Ms. Meadows, Clinically Depressed Therapist"

I see people everyday, driven to despair by the dysfunction of their own minds, and it only makes me sadder. I want to help them, but how can I help when I know there is no Hope...?

Several of my patients are suicidal. How can I help them when the Abyss is the only Truth in this world? I wear a hat to cover the patches of my scalp where I have pulled out my hair...

I see their fears, and know they are right to be afraid: it would be pointless to tell them otherwise, yet I do, I tell them that meditation may help, that they can control their actions through self-awareness and deep breathing. Ha! The only real options are alcoholism or a prescription drug stupor...

Sometimes I wonder if they can smell the alcohol on my breath; due to black-outs I seldom remember patient sessions at all. All my patients blur into each other: the commonality is that Death alone will put our problems at Peace...

There is one patient that is consumed by the idea that tiny invisible spiders are crawling over his body. When he talks I can feel the spiders, too, under my hat, swarming over the raw red patches of bare skin. I want to tell him that I feel them, too, but that would only solidify his despair, so I suffer the spiders in silence...

Sometimes I poke the skin on my thighs with a pin, where no one can see. When I look at the tiny droplets of blood I can discern faces, and the faces haunt me until the alcohol takes them away...

Another of my patients is a stalker, he is obsessed with a woman he once had coffee with. He has delusions that All Will Be Good once they are together: well, delusions and exquisitely detailed rape fantasies. And who am I to say that this Happy-Ever-After couldn't be True? I certainly don't want him to rape her, but -- really -- in the Big Picture -- does it even really matter? We are just bags of tattered flesh...

I am very drunk, but I will drive to the Liquor Store to get more alcohol. It's OK, I make the drive drunk all the time...

I am Laslo.

boycat said...

As if the Group of 88 at Duke were so prescient and accurate in their assessments.

damikesc said...

In 1964, psychiatrists tried the same gambit against Goldwater: Believe us professionals, Goldwater's mentally ill. My father, a psychiatrist, thought this was totally unprofessional; you don't state a diagnosis of someone you've never examined.

It also, unintentionally, brings into question the usefulness of the entire profession. If you can diagnose somebody you never met off of a few clips off of television, then what is the need for the long sessions to discuss the issues a patient may have? Why can they decipher Trump's issues but not the ones paying them to help?

There is nothing wrong with checking facts. Of course. That goes without saying. But that is fact checking with lower-case "f" and "c". James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal -- a fan of this blog-- inveighs against the conceit of "Fact Check" operations. Fact checking, I used to think, is what all newspaper writers did.

You'd think so, wouldn't you? What is the point of editors and all if not to make sure the facts are right? If I type "Hillary is Satan", will an editor let it pass as long as it is punctuated properly?


That's because you define "works" so that an economic system "works" when slave children in Zambia get cancer from smashing apart computers to get a few cents worth of recyclable metal, while professors in New York get paid hundreds of thousands per year to babble meaningless drivel and undermine the society they parasitize.

Doesn't that seem kind of debatable to you?


I'll bite. Since you think capitalism does not work better than Communism, enlighten us how Communism works better.

mockturtle said...

In 1964, psychiatrists tried the same gambit against Goldwater: Believe us professionals, Goldwater's mentally ill.

I remember it well. "In your guts, you know he's nuts". I wasn't yet of voting age but would probably have voted for Goldwater

mockturtle said...

Stalin killed far more than did Hitler and yet the left never accuses anyone of being a 'Stalin'.

Joe said...

From the original article:

Historians Against Trump does not align itself with any political party or candidate.

But that's not true, is it? There are two choices; Trump or Clinton. If you oppose Trump, you defacto support Clinton. And vice versa.

cubanbob said...

These revisionist 'historians' see a kindred spirit in Hillary. There really isn't more to this than that.

Roger Zimmerman said...

Stanley Fish is opposed to the concept of objectivity, full stop. There is therefore nothing surprising about this opinion - historians are pretending to objective, which is not possible (per Fish), so they should stop (per Fish). Of course, one might ask what basis Fish has for holding this view, but that would obviously be an absurd question in Fish's world. There is no possible realistic basis for any opinion, so stop discussing this, and just focus on deconstructing the origins of your (our) biases.

Lots of fun for an academic. But I bet he doesn't have the brake lines in his car cut, just to see if that will have any objective consequences. I do hear, however, that he is a fair professor that does not penalize students for having different views than he. Come to think of it, that's fully consistent with his philosophy, as well, so good for him.

Now, in fact, the opinions he is criticizing in this Op-Ed do not seem to be well founded (if they are definable at all). But, the way to oppose them is to not tell the speakers that they cannot be objective (so should therefore shut up), but to explain _why_ it is there arguments are (objectively) wrong.

I guess that's an exercise left to the student.

Static Ping said...

Plato's republic lives.

Robt C said...

I was too young to vote in '64, but I engaged in my first political statement: I took two "GOLDWATER" bumper stickers, cut them apart and reassembled them to say "OLD TERDWATER"

I thought I was really clever.

dunce said...

They have worn out the "expert" and "studies" meme. They are quickly dismissed after a few seconds perusal as liberal screeds rather than serious thoughtful opinions. Unfortunately many are actually government funded reports. Your taxes being abused and wasted. Often they have as little claim to authority as celebrities championing political causes.

rcocean said...

Meanwhile, a bunch of "Historians" also published a manifesto against Trump. The trouble is no one cares.

Which as it should be. I've been reading history for 30 years, and the current bunch of History professors are biggest bunch of worthless, time wasting shits, ever, ever.

If you've see them on C-span or try to read their books, you have to assume they decided to become college professors because of the cute co-eds, the long vacations, and the left-wing politics. An actual desire to write or teach about actual y'know *History* doesn't seem to have been a factor.

rcocean said...

Professors as a whole are a gutless group

No, they're not "gutless" - They're Leftists.

No, they're not "cowards" - They're Leftists.

No, they're not "Confused" - They're Leftists.

No, they're not "Stupid" - They're Leftists.

Quit imagining, hoping, wishing, praying, they're just like you. They're aren't - They're Leftists.

Jon Burack said...

Stanley Fish is right. I say that as someone who will not vote for Trump. My friend Ron Radosh, who also will not vote for Trump, has weighed in as well. History is a job, a technical and interpretive form of creativity - about the PAST. Moral judgment has a place in it, yes, but NEVER at the expense of an iron-clad adherence to strict standards of evidence. This means YOU DO NOT GET TO PREACH TO THOSE WHO HOLD ALTERNATE INTEPRETATIONS. All you get to do is evaluate interpretations against standards of evidence. In politics, on the other hand, moral judgments are prospective - about future events for which there is no evidence. NO HISTORIAN ON EARTH has any claim to greater wisdom about that than any other human being alive. History is not a priesthood. These people do not understand and do not have any decent respect for the limits and real value of history as a craft

mockturtle said...

I truly hate history written through the filter of modern worldview, which is why I often prefer contemporaneous works when they are available.

Harold said...

"Yes but they do have one thing a Des Moines egg and butter man doesn't have. A diploma."

That may not be true, and is an affront to the common man in the street. I work as a boiler operator, no degree required. I ha e a B.S. in Political Science. A Des Moines egg and butter man might have gotten himself a marketing degree to learn more and grow his business.

Robert said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrkN5Pqh5ok

Fourth of July 2016 Speech (Proposed) Lincoln-like, if you will... Lyceum, the pattern.

Unknown said...

What in the world is a butter and egg man?

David E. Young said...

Many historians wrecked their credibility long ago. The professional historians' 2008 Heller case brief, which overflowed with factual errors and removed the Second Amendment from its actual Bill of Rights developmental history, is a clear case. Look up Root Causes Of Never-ending Second Amendment Dispute for fact checking of the historians' assertions based on extensive period sources that directly contradict them. If uninterested in details, look up Why DC's Gun Law Is Unconstitutional, a History News Network article that summarizes the historical errors in the historians' Heller brief.

Strelnikov said...

So, this Stanley Fish dude. Is he the son of Fish from "Barney Miller"?

Michael Edward McNeil said...

The Plains Indians were hunter-gatherers and did not farm. Navajos and Hopi farmed.

Hopi (settled agriculturalist stonemason towns-dwellers for more than a millennium), yes. Navajo — traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers, who picked up a pastoral (herding sheep) lifestyle from the Spanish a few hundred years back (the only Native American people to do so) — no. Indeed, the Navajo in earlier times were among the nomads who raided the long-settled Hopi — a wearisome pattern repeated all through history, Old World and New.

(As we see, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Beyond that, another example from the same erroneous statement quoted above….)

It turns out, too, that there were both settled and nomadic peoples on the Great Plains. Nomadic peoples (like the Sioux) were indeed hunter-gatherers, but settled peoples such as the Mandan (on the Missouri in what's now North Dakota; host to Louis & Clark during their expedition) did farm (corn, beans and squash) — as well as hunt and gather (especially after Indian domestication of the horse in the 18th century [under Spanish influence there too] made bison hunting both much more fruitful and less hazardous).

Not that even settled “Plains Indians taught the white settlers how to farm” (maybe Indians did so in Massachusetts, with regard to growing corn, but not here). For one thing white farmers already knew corn, but tended to plant wheat (unfamiliar to the Indians) out on the high plains anyway. For another, the Mandan — after previously being reduced mightily by earlier epidemics — were almost completely wiped out (along with many another plains tribe) by the devastating smallpox pandemic of 1837 (with only a couple of hundred Mandan left after surviving it). That's long before significant numbers of whites arrived in this vast, Sioux-run region.

David R. Graham said...

"fell for that Man of Destiny horseshit"

You are neglecting the phenomenon of afflatus.

David R. Graham said...

"All you get to do is evaluate interpretations against standards of evidence."

But the evidence you use/allow is merely sense-based, horizontal. Direct, vertical evidence you shun because, while it is inchoately tangible, it is not sensory and therefore reproducible.

I'm a theologian, classical Christian variety (Logos Theology), and whenever I stumble upon a book-learned who essays to define their profession, I know they have excised the transcendent from their calculations.

William Chadwick said...

In fairness, there were going to be similar groups centered around Hillary Clinton: "Historians Against Queen Cacklepants," "Writers Against Nurse Wretched," and "Citizen Therapists Analyze Crazy-Eye-Killa Clinton." But as soon as these groups were announced, the pet dogs and cats of the organizers disappeared under mysterious circumstances, and so the groups were disbanded.

Peter said...

"Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a campaign of violence ..."

Thereby justifying violence against Trump and those who support him? Perhaps the author of that has never heard of psychological projection (or at least assumes that such faults can only belong to those with lesser intellectual power than the speaker)?