With the radical Left trying to destroy history in various ways, this series of questions and answers from 2012 is more timely than ever.
The Big Question | What’s the Future of History?
…“When I tell people about how we could revive an interest in history … [I say] bring back the dinner-table conversation. [Growing up,] every night we all sat down together and every night we talked … My grandmother and my father differed greatly in their opinions about FDR. He felt he was the worst thing that ever happened to this country. And my grandmother’s view … [was that] except for Jesus Christ, no more miraculous mortal had ever walked the earth. Their dialogue was memorable, particularly because they were both hard of hearing, so the decibel level got pretty high. But we learned a lot about the New Deal and politics.
How many families actually sit down for dinner together – even a nuclear family? And note something that is getting rarer – grandparents as well. That oral history, that shared history, is being ghosted.
“I think human beings need stories. It’s built into us. It’s why we’ve survived as a species. When you think that [for] nine-tenths of all our time on earth, all information essential to survival was passed on by word of mouth … It’s why we watch the stupid television. It’s why we watch stupid commercials … It’s like food, air, salt–we need it. And the problem with how we teach history [is that] the people who write textbooks and the people who sometimes have control in the classroom have never figured that out.”
The Right is behind in creating and distributing engaging stories that connect timeless traditional American values with the events of the Day. We do facts – the Left does emotions which more easily lends itself to creating stories. We are like college lecturers while the opposition are the singing storytellers – which would you rather listen to?
“I’m very interested in accomplishment, whether it’s the accomplishment of the Brooklyn Bridge or the Panama Canal. Or the accomplishment of a life, out of what seemed to be modest clay, of someone like Harry Truman … I’m also interested in people who had to overcome some real problem … when people suddenly have a moment and see where they’re headed or what they need to do.”
Hard work, ingenuity, innovation – skills and attributes that we see the Left denigrating by calling them classness and racist. But again, the ability to be able to look backwards at our history to see how to handle (or not) the present and then to the future.
“I think history gives an aid to balancing life. It’s an aid to navigating turbulent times, turbulent waters. It’s an antidote to self-pity and an antidote to excessive hedonism, and the excessive and grossly mistaken view that our time and all of us are the most important thing that ever happened … You see these adolescent clowns in public office in Washington and you think of people like John Adams and Jefferson and Franklin and Hamilton coming out of a population of about two million people. And this is the best we can do? It’s heartbreaking. It’s depressing, and it’s also going to stir us into action, I think. I hope so.”
And you have to have your history in order to balance the present. And yes, compared to our Founding Fathers, many in office and many doing the current agitating are buffoons and miscreants. The latter are actively seeking to destroy that “balancing life” aspect that history gives. And yes, that should be both heartbreaking and depressing and serving as a call to action.
“If you could build up any muscle to be a historian or biographer, I’d say it’s the empathy muscle. Go out and do empathy exercises. Put yourself in their place. I get very impatient with historians who say, ‘Well, they should have realized how risky that was.’ Or ‘Why didn’t they do [this or that] given the situation.’ Excuse me? They weren’t up on the mountaintop, surveying the whole thing 150 years later the way you are. They were down in the thick of it. They didn’t know what was going to happen next. They didn’t know what was happening a mile away.”
THIS is how the Left’s “present” is treating the past in apply today’s knowledge and [lack of] morality to history – it doesn’t work and certainly is divisive. They have little idea of history in the first place and then they muck it up even more with that “overlay” of nonsense (e.g., the 1619 project from the NYT whose purpose is admittedly to change the history to change the present culture – hatred of a faux history (the US was built completely on racism) is destroying the present and will heap ashes upon the future.
“[Technology has] been very good in many ways. The fact is that the papers of most of the Founding Fathers are now online, [and] it won’t be too long before incredible amounts of material that are available only in rare collections and libraries and archives will be available online … I think where history is going to suffer is that nobody writes letters anymore. And nobody keeps diaries anymore. Certainly nobody in public life keeps a diary anymore. They don’t dare; they can be subpoenaed and used in court against them. So I don’t know how future historians are going to write about us … I wouldn’t be all that surprised if future historians don’t have much about us to go on.”
Diaries? He missed this part of technology – blogs. Capturing the present and yesterday’s history. Cumulatively a new way of research IF the Cancel Movement (that he alludes to with subpoenaes and lawfare) allows them to exist. After all, if you are engaged in sweeping history away, you aren’t going to stop there.
(H/T: Yankee Magazine via NHNative)