Revisionist History

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of revisionist history. OK, those with their hands raised get the fuck off of my site. I have a friend who’s political orientation I would best describe as Democrat. I don’t mean to say he’s liberal or “progressive” but a Democrat. Everything the party says is correct and if he disagrees with it he performs endless mental gymnastics until he “understands” why he was wrong and the Democrat Party was right. Needless to say a red flag was raised upon reading the following statement by him:

The Republicans are clearly on the wrong side of history over the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell just like there were during the Civil Rights Act of 1964…

It was an interesting statement to say the least as the second part is completely false. My response was as follows:

[Name Removed] I usually don’t question your knowledge of history dealing with the civil rights movement but I think we need to have some clarification from you:

The Civil Rights Act vote breakdown shows far more Republicans (by percentage as there were fewer of them in the legislature at the time compared to the Democrats) voted for the bill than Democrats.

Likewise the filibuster was done by a Democrat.

If you’re going to make claims that the Republicans were on the wrong side of that bill you should clarify what you mean by that. Because as I see it a larger percentage of the Republican party supported the bill.

Of course he never posted a counter argument as there isn’t one and he couldn’t admit that his beloved party did something reprehensible to him. When you look at the vote breakdown of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 you find the Republican party (in both houses) had about 80% of their people voting in favor of the bill while the Democrats only had roughly 60%. I’m not trying to make a statement on the quality of our political parties (as a libertarian I support neither party) but on the fact people like to craft history to their needs.

When you get into an argument with somebody it makes sense to have Google at hand to fact check their statements. People love to lie and sometimes they really don’t know that they’re lying (in other words somebody told them something and they couldn’t be bothered to do a fucking fact check).

Likewise watch out for people who try to revise history. A classic example of revisionist history is the idea that Abraham Lincoln went into the Civil War to free the slaves. That’s completely false as Lincoln stated several times he didn’t care whether or not the slaves were freed, he wanted to preserve the union (an easy read on the subject would be Lincoln Unmasked). A more recent example would be statements made by Supreme Court Justice Beyer on the Second Amendment.

Allowing revisionist history to go unchallenged does nothing positive and destroys any lessons that could have been learned from the actual events that unfolded.

3 thoughts on “Revisionist History”

  1. It is a hopeless task, I am afraid. How do they ignore Martin Luther King being a Republican or the KKK being mostly Democrat. Anyone who does any simple investigation knows that the Hope and Change candidate had no experience and no qualifications except his party label. I remember having a long discussion with a class of students, mainly Latino, who did not like George Bush because he wanted to close the borders. I convinced none of them.

    I accept your statement that Lincoln was more consumed for the Union than slavery but it might be a little strong to say “he didn’t care whether or not the slaves were freed.”

    As George Putnam said every night, “Here to a better, stronger America.”

    1. A direct quote from Lincoln stated, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

      He used slavery as an issue more or less so he could keep the Union in place. I’m not going to downplay the accomplishment of abolishing slavery but it certainly wasn’t a primary concern for our president.

      1. I am familiar with the quote. It may be that when I was in school everything was painted with a broad brush to lift up our leaders at the sacrifice of absolute truth. That is one of the problems of history. Things are never really simple, even if we want them to be.


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