Uncle Gabby wrote:
This is what’s known as revisionist history. You see, there are more historians in universities today who need to write a doctorial thesis etc, than there are new discoveries. Pretty much every piece of evidence from every age and culture has been throughly examined and written about. History has been exhausted. There is nothing new to talk about. We are in the age where people just make up random shit on the flimsiest of evidence, just so they’ll have something new and different to talk about.
That’s a very fair critique. Any idea how we could fix that?
Not really. We’d have to shut down most of the bullshit higher education industry in this country. Not only do most of the kids in college not need a college education, most are functionally illiterate and shouldn’t have graduated highschool. I’m not talking about affirmative action cases, I’m talking about white upper middle class kids from the suburbs who write like they flunked out of kindergarten. Aside from elite fields like law, medicine, engineering, etc. most would do better with apprenticeships. For example, look at most of the teleprompter readers on the evening news. The only thing they learned in college was how to shotgun a beer and use a plan-b contraceptive. They would have learned far more from a year interning full time at a local station, going out with reporters and camera crews into the field, helping to edit stories. And this internship could have been done in highschool, instead of having a bunch of spanish and geometry shoved down their throats that they forgot within weeks of graduation. But there’s too much money to be extracted from the middle class with book costs, student loans, etc.
So to do away with revisionist history, you’d have to shut down 90% of the universities, which are superfluous anyway, which would thin out the number of history professors in this world, and that would reduce the pressure to make up new shit. Or you can just about ignore everything that’s been written in the last 50 years, which doesn’t draw very heavily from what I guess you could consider the established dogma.
I guess part of the problem is that history is treated as a science, but it’s not, it’s a narrative. In science, you run experiments to test a theory. The best you can do in the study of history is check the archeological record to see if it matches the narrative. But all this tells us is whether or not something happened where people say it happened. It doesn’t tell you whether or not it could have happened somewhere else. You can also run carbon dating to see if an artifact is as old as it should be. But all of that has been done pretty thoroughly in the last 100 years.
The problem with treating history as a science is, In science, if you can find one exception to the rule, the rule is no longer valid, and has to be re-shaped to fit the exception or thrown out entirely to make a new rule. And a lot of these revisionist historians build their entire case on a single new straw, as if anytime you find a new letter, or artifact that doesn’t fit, you can just throw everything else out. If someone found a 200 year old letter in Vienna by someone who claimed to have had gay sex with Mozart, suddenly Barnes and Noble’s is flooded with books about how Mozart was a closet case. But history doesn’t work like that. It’s like reviewing a play in football, you have to have overwhelming evidence to override to ruling on the field. If you find one letter, or ten letters it means nothing. They could have been written by a crack pot, or a pathological liar. But some fool will try to make a buck off it, because everybody wants to be published, and he’ll probably get published, because it’s new and interesting and different.