Monday, January 30, 2006

It's a problem that effects us all (but mostly liberals)

Suzanne Fields, conservative commentator, picks an unusual cultural touchstone for her latest article; The Colbert Report and "truthiness."

She does get the essential concept of "truthiness," that is truths that are from the heart not supported by facts or logic. And then she uses it to discuss Columbus day.
Columbus Day celebrations, for example, once were occasions for celebrating the achievements of Christopher Columbus, but it has become the venue to indoctrinate impressionable students, telling them how much better the world would have been if Chris had not sailed that Ocean Blue. "Since the 1970s, the dominant voices within academic history have worked to generate a widespread cynicism about the nature of Western democracies, with the aim of questioning their moral and political legitimacy," says Keith Windschuttle, an Australian historian who wrote "The Killing of History."

. . . Such ideological history can be the result of sloppy research and a dependence on questionable secondary sources, but more to the point, it derives from politically correct manipulation that replaces the disinterested search for truth with emotional appeals to denigrate and deconstruct the legacy of Western culture.
Of course the problem with this is that I know that the version of Columbus's story I was taught in elementary school was chock full of "truthiness," as well. And whatever the ideological motivations regarding anti-Columbus historians, they are no more offensive than your own ideological motivations in criticizing such work. Probably less so. Writing an anti-Columbus book doesn't imply that you can't write your pro-Columbus book in response. Writing off one side of the debate as motivated by "truthiness" is on more shaky ground, in my opinion.

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