We've always been at war with Eastasia...

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
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OBJECTIVE reality
Not satisfied with U.S. history, some conservatives are rewriting it

By Steven Thomma | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The right is rewriting history.

The most ballyhooed effort is under way in Texas, where conservatives have pushed the state school board to rewrite guidelines, downplaying Thomas Jefferson in one high school course, playing up such conservatives as Phyllis Schlafly and the Heritage Foundation and challenging the idea that the Founding Fathers wanted to separate church and state.

The effort reaches far beyond one state, however.

In articles and speeches, on radio and TV, conservatives are working to redefine major turning points and influential figures in American history, often to slam liberals, promote Republicans and reinforce their positions in today's politics....

"We are adding balance," Texas school board member Don McLeroy said. "History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left."...

Here are five recent examples of new conservative versions of history:

JAMESTOWN

Reaching for an example of how bad socialism can be, former House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said recently that the people who settled Jamestown, Va., in 1607 were socialists and that their ideology doomed them.

"Jamestown colony, when it was first founded as a socialist venture, dang near failed with everybody dead and dying in the snow," he said in a speech March 15 at the National Press Club.

It was a good, strong story, helping Armey, a former economics professor, illustrate the dangers of socialism, the same ideology that he and other conservatives say is at the core of Obama's agenda.

It was not, however, true.

The Jamestown settlement was a capitalist venture financed by the Virginia Company of London — a joint stock corporation — to make a profit. The colony nearly foundered owing to a harsh winter, brackish water and lack of food, but reinforcements enabled it to survive. It was never socialistic. In fact, in 1619, Jamestown planters imported the first African slaves to the 13 colonies that later formed the United States.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON

At the same event, Armey urged people to read the Federalist Papers as a guide to the sentiments of the tea party movement.

"The small-government conservative movement, which includes people who call themselves the tea party patriots and so forth, is about the principles of liberty as embodied in the Constitution, the understanding of which is fleshed out if you read things like the Federalist Papers," Armey said.

Others such as Democrats and the news media, "people here who do not cherish America the way we do," don't understand because "they did not read the Federalist Papers," he said.

A member of the audience asked Armey how the Federalist Papers could be such a tea party manifesto when they were written largely by Alexander Hamilton, who the questioner said "was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government."

Armey ridiculed the very suggestion.

"Widely regarded by whom?" he asked. "Today's modern, ill-informed political science professors? . . . I just doubt that was the case, in fact, about Hamilton."

Hamilton, however, was an unapologetic advocate of a strong central government, one that plays an active role in the economy and is led by a president named for life and thus beyond the emotions of the people. Hamilton also pushed for excise taxes and customs duties to pay down federal debt.

In fact, Ian Finseth said in a history written for the University of Virginia, others at the constitutional convention "thought his proposals went too far in strengthening the central government."...

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

It's long been debated how well Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal government programs countered the Great Depression, but now a prominent conservative has introduced the idea that Roosevelt CAUSED the Depression.

"FDR took office in the midst of a recession," Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. "He decided to choose massive government spending and the creation of monstrous bureaucracies. Do we detect a Democrat pattern here in all of this? He took what was a manageable recession and turned it into a 10-year depression."

A year before, Bachmann went to the House floor to blame FDR and what she called the "Hoot-Smalley" tariffs for creating the Depression.

"The recession that FDR had to deal with wasn't as bad as the recession (President Calvin) Coolidge had to deal with in the early '20s," she said.

Coolidge cut taxes and created the roaring '20s, Bachmann said.

"FDR applied just the opposite formula: the Hoot-Smalley act, which was a tremendous burden on tariff restrictions. And of course trade barriers and the regulatory burden and of course tax barriers.

"That's what we saw happen under FDR. That took a recession and blew it into a full-scale depression. The American people suffered for almost 10 years under that kind of thinking."

The truth? Historians agree that tariffs hurt trade and worsened the depression.

However, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act — not Hoot-Smalley — was proposed by two Republicans, Sen. Reed Smoot of Utah and Rep. Willis Hawley of Oregon. A Republican House and a Republican Senate approved it. President Herbert Hoover, a Republican, signed it into law.

The facts also show that the country was in something far worse than a "manageable recession" in March 1933 when Roosevelt took office.

Stocks had lost 90 percent of their value since the crash of 1929. Thousands of banks had failed. Unemployment reached an all-time high of 24.9 percent just before Roosevelt was inaugurated.

JOE MCCARTHY

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., burst onto the national stage in the early 1950s with accusations that he had a list of names of known Communists in the federal government. He didn't name them, was censured by the Senate eventually and his name became synonymous with witch hunts — McCarthyism.

Now, the end of the Cold War has opened up spy files and identified many Communist spies who operated inside the government during the era. Some conservatives argue that this proves not only that McCarthy was right, but also that he was a hero and that he was smeared by liberals, the news media and historians.

"Almost everything about McCarthy in current history books is a lie and will have to be revised," conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly said.

"Liberals had to destroy McCarthy because he exposed the entire liberal establishment as having sheltered Soviet spies," conservative commentator Ann Coulter said in one interview.

"The myth of 'McCarthyism' is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times," she said in another. "Liberals are fanatical liars, then as now. The portrayal of Senator Joe McCarthy as a wild-eyed demagogue destroying innocent lives is sheer liberal hobgoblinism. ... If the Internet, talk radio and Fox News had been around in McCarthy's day, my book wouldn't be the first time most people would be hearing the truth about 'McCarthyism.' "

Yet even some prominent conservatives say that McCarthy's defenders go too far, and that even from a conservative perspective, McCarthy was no hero and damaged the country.

"A dangerous movement has been growing among conservative writers to vindicate the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy and his campaign to expose Soviet spies in the U.S. government," Ronald Kessler wrote for the conservative Web site Newsmax.com.

"The FBI agents who were actually chasing those spies have told me that McCarthy hurt their efforts because he trumped up charges, unfairly besmirched honorable Americans and gave hunting spies a bad name."...
And you thought this could only happen in 1940s Germany or 1960s Russia.

Obviously these people saw 1984 as an instruction book, not a warning.
 

thejadedmonkey

macrumors 604
May 28, 2005
7,985
533
Pennsylvania
Well sh**...

That's perhaps the scariest thing I've ever read, next to this

Furthermore, Texas has particular power when it comes to high school textbooks, because California adopts statewide only for textbooks for grades K-8, while the Lone Star State's adoption process applies to textbooks through to 12th grade.
assessment
Credit: Monte Wolverton

If you're creating a new textbook, therefore, you start by scrutinizing "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" (TEKS). This document is drawn up by a group of curriculum experts, teachers, and political insiders appointed by the 15 members of the Texas Board of Education, currently five Democrats and ten Republicans, about half of whom have a background in education. TEKS describes what Texas wants and what the entire nation will therefore get.

Texas is truly the tail that wags the dog. There is, however, a tail that wags this mighty tail. Every adoption state allows private citizens to review textbooks and raise objections. Publishers must respond to these objections at open hearings.

In the late '60s, a Texas couple, Mel and Norma Gabler, figured out how to use their state's adoption hearings to put pressure on textbook publishers. The Gablers had no academic credentials or teaching background, but they knew what they wanted taught -- phonics, sexual abstinence, free enterprise, creationism, and the primacy of Judeo-Christian values -- and considered themselves in a battle against a "politically correct degradation of academics."

Expert organizers, the Gablers possessed a flair for constructing arguments out of the language of official curriculum guidelines. The nonprofit corporation they founded 43 years ago, Educational Research Analysts [4], continues to review textbooks and lobby against liberal content in them.

The Gablers no longer appear in person at adoption hearings, but through workshops, books, and how-to manuals, they trained a whole generation of conservative Christian activists to carry on their work.
 

Schtumple

macrumors 601
Jun 13, 2007
4,904
131
benkadams.com
Christ, this really is 1984 huh? Only a matter of time before a 2nd civil war I guess :rolleyes:

History is written by the winners. But I guess given enough time (and lunacy) anything can be "edited". Doubleplus good.

Can't wait for ITN to get in on this. Come on, make Big Brother proud!
 

IntheNet

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2009
190
0
Thomas mocks the Texas School Board for trying to regain balance in education and Texas educators are starting with the textbooks that are clearly biased. Not at all difficult to see McClatchy Newspaper's <Truth To Power> and liberal's rant here; easier still to shoot it down for the fiction it is.

"We are adding balance," Texas school board member Don McLeroy said. "History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left."
Balance is sorely needed. Texas school board member Don McLeroy is correct. Many have established the prevalence of educators to be skewed too far to the left. I have posted herein link after link showing secondary and collegiate educators far too invested in progressive causes; their politics strongly to the left. Balance is needed. Not at all surprising that Thomas misses this. Thus the need for textbook balance.

"Reaching for an example of how bad socialism can be, former House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, said recently that the people who settled Jamestown, Va., in 1607 were socialists and that their ideology doomed them... It was not, however, true.... The Jamestown settlement was a capitalist venture financed by the Virginia Company of London — a joint stock corporation — to make a profit.
Balance is sorely needed. Former Rep. Dick Armey is correct. In his 'History of Plymouth Plantation,' the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported "...that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with "corruption," and with "confusion and discontent." The crops were small because "much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable."After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, "they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop." They began to question their form of economic organization. This had required that "all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means" were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, "all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock." A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed. This "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that "young men that are most able and fit for labor and service" complained about being forced to "spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children." Also, "the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak." So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate." Socialism. Their ideology doomed them. So said the governor of the colony, William Bradford. Confirming Rep. Armey's statment. Thus the need for textbook balance.

"At the same event, Armey urged people to read the Federalist Papers as a guide to the sentiments of the tea party movement... A member of the audience asked Armey how the Federalist Papers could be such a tea party manifesto when they were written largely by Alexander Hamilton, who the questioner said "was widely regarded then and now as an advocate of a strong central government."
Balance is sorely needed. Former Rep. Dick Armey is correct. The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 articles or essays advocating the ratification of the United States Constitution, are a good resource for every American, not just the Tea Party movement. While the distraction here asked by the anonymous "member of the audience" (as reported) on Hamilton's "strong central government" stance a distraction that takes nothing away from the importance of The Federalist Papers as a gauge of Founding Father's sentiment behind the U.S. Constitution, it should be known that James Madison, John Jay, and others also contributed to the value and authorship of The Federalist Papers, a fact that Rep. Dick Armey knows well. Confirming Rep. Armey's statment. Thus the need for textbook balance.

I'm not willing to proceed further into this biased, error-filled McClatchy Newspaper hit piece that Thomas cited; it ignores the balance the Texas School Board is trying to bring and ignores reality. Not surprising that Thomas blindly followed it. Also not surprising that Thomas blindly follows the teacher unions as represented by the NEA that desperately want to stop these Texas School Board educators from bringing balance to textbooks; they wouldn't want children receiving a balanced education would they?
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
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ITN, we happen to have a thread going regarding the Federalist papers. How come you haven't joined in on that discussion?

You might be surprised by some of the things James Madison wrote.

Oh... well... maybe THAT'S why you've stayed away.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
Me, I'm more anti-Federalist, myself. Bill of Rights and all that. :)

Balance? Sure. Many texts went too far left.

That doesn't mean that an effort to sanctify McCarthy is justifed, however. He was correct as to the idea that there were anti-American Stalinists in high places and in Hollywood. But he went way overboard in his willingness to believe any allegation, no matter how foolish.

Example: My mother was on the campus of the University of Texas in the 1930s. First to finish her degree in history, then to begin work on her doctorate in psychology. She often spoke of the political activities of those years. Sure, there were a fair number of people on campus who went to Communist Party meetings; some joined the party. Why? Simple. Many thought that the US system had failed, and there was a search for alternatives.

Time went on, we recovered and most people fell away from the whole Communist shtick.

So here comes McCarthy with his, "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" And so somebody who as a kid of eighteen or so joined the Party and fell away, has to answer, "Yes, I was, but..." and gets hammered for life.

The endeavor to find the facts as to who was aiding the USSR was worthwhile, but the Senate put the wrong clown in charge. The "Have you no shame?" speech is worth hunting up...
 

hulugu

macrumors 68000
Aug 13, 2003
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quae tangit perit Trump
As usual in an attempt to create "balance" there's a conservative movement to misrepresent history and facts towards a framing that fits their political ideology. Oh joy.

And a quick note about socialism in Jamestown. Although a loose definition of socialism would lead one to believe that Jamestown was operating under a kind of socialism—note this was far before Henri de Saint-Simon—there's a subtle difference between classic socialism and the mistakes at Jamestown. Note, the colony was owned by a multinational company that hired workers as indentured servants, who refused to work because the fruits of their labor went directly to the company. The new governor changed the system by giving three acres of land to each servant and the requirement that each man had only to work for the colony for one month per year, i.e. a tax.

Essentially, the Jamestown colony moved from a nearly corporatist socialism to a social democracy.
It's also worth noting that the growth of the Jamestown colony after 1619 was because of imported slave labor, putting Africans to work in the first tobacco fields.

A good history class would review the episode at Jamestown not only as the "first European English" colony, but in how the colony used slave labor, overtook Native American land, and created the first elements of the United States, without bias towards one economic structure or particular group.

Conservative "balance" is about changing the story of the Civil War from slavery to 'state's rights' fighting ideological frameworks rather than just stating facts and letting students be critical thinkers.
 

IntheNet

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2009
190
0
As usual in an attempt to create "balance" there's a conservative movement to misrepresent history and facts towards a framing that fits their political ideology. Oh joy.
It is certainly easy for you to enter the keystrokes for "misrepresent" herein but proving it seems beyond your capability; I showed above the clear misunderstanding Thomas had and I would happy to set you on the veritas path as well. The balance being sought here by Texas School Board within the educational tomes endowed to our youth is key; know that.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
I think I'm going to start boycotting Texas. No visiting it for vacation, no driving through it en route to somewhere else, and no connecting flights in it. I don't want any of my money, whether it's from sales tax or airport landing fees, going to that back-asswards extremist government. Tuck Fexas.
 

Desertrat

macrumors newbie
Jul 4, 2003
2
706
Terlingua, Texas
yg17, my sincerest thanks. Rest assured, we do indeed hope you keep your promise.

I've always found it interesting that when the Rust Belt began and the economies of many northern states declined in dramatic fashion, those who could read and write came to Texas, thereby moving our political spectrum toward a more conservative bent.
 

mcrain

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2002
1,768
11
Illinois
It is certainly easy for you to enter the keystrokes for "misrepresent" herein but proving it seems beyond your capability; I showed above the clear misunderstanding Thomas had and I would happy to set you on the veritas path as well. The balance being sought here by Texas School Board within the educational tomes endowed to our youth is key; know that.
Herein, I shall respond. You suffer an intellectual verberantia, so you throw out a latin verbum or two. Vere, you merely show your lack of vercundus and verecundia when you vereor the veritas. Vero, veritas is not versus your verto. You verto the verum which is not verus.

(edit) Nice V paragraph Teh Don Ditty - Did you come up with that?
 

Teh Don Ditty

macrumors G4
Jan 15, 2007
11,308
5
Maryland
Herein, I shall respond. You suffer an intellectual verberantia, so you throw out a latin verbum or two. Vere, you merely show your lack of vercundus and verecundia when you vereor the veritas. Vero, veritas is not versus your verto. You verto the verum which is not verus.
So...

"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."
 

IntheNet

macrumors regular
Oct 6, 2009
190
0
Desertrat said:
I've always found it interesting that when the Rust Belt began and the economies of many northern states declined in dramatic fashion, those who could read and write came to Texas, thereby moving our political spectrum toward a more conservative bent.
While I could never abandon my home here in the Old Dominion and owe Virginia my eternal allegiance I have always fancied the Texas star independence and admired the state its brave citizens. Had I been more a follower of the Turner thesis Texas would surely have been my shield.

Herein, I shall respond. You suffer an intellectual verberantia, so you throw out a...
The definitive flogging you depict here in your post is wrongly chosen; even a rookie Cicero would have advanced better chosen prose yet I am not altogether unsympathetic to your student appeal herein. Color me only slightly impressed.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
The definitive flogging you depict here in your post is wrongly chosen; even a rookie Cicero would have advanced better chosen prose yet I am not altogether unsympathetic to your student appeal herein. Color me only slightly impressed.
Do you pick random words out of an SAT study guide and put them together to form your posts?
 

mcrain

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2002
1,768
11
Illinois
The definitive flogging you depict here in your post is wrongly chosen; even a rookie Cicero would have advanced better chosen prose yet I am not altogether unsympathetic to your student appeal herein. Color me only slightly impressed.
A rookie Cicero, cute. But, alas, neither of us speaks Latin, and thanks for pointing out that we shouldn't try. My point being made quite well, if I say so myself.

Student appeal? Speaking of education, are you willing to answer my questions yet?

(edit) YG17, either he is trying to sound as though he were litteratus, or he is a sycophanta.

Ok, I'm sorry, no more Latin.
 

Jaffa Cake

macrumors Core
Aug 1, 2004
19,801
6
The City of Culture, Englandshire
Do you pick random words out of an SAT study guide and put them together to form your posts?
David Bowie has just been on the radio and I was reminded that he famously uses the 'cut up' technique to write some of his songs, resulting in some bizarre and surreal lyrics.

However, it's an interesting and innovative step for folk to write PRSI posts using this technique. As such, I think IntheNet should be applauded for his forward thinking. Bravo!
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
You guys know that kindness I extended to ItN in the Easter morning thread?

Y'all have my permission to slap me if I do it again.
Can I just slap you now? ;)

I cannot believe this foolishness. Something has to be done to stop these people right now. They have gone way too far. They do not have the right to mess with and rewrite history to fit their agenda. This has gone far beyond the point of mere opinion and is becoming dangerous.
 

mcrain

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2002
1,768
11
Illinois
The facts have a liberal bias!
Facts are facts. There is NOTHING wrong with people wanting to include a conservative opinion regarding those facts in textbooks. I think textbooks should give students both sides and allow the students an opportunity to think critically and to discuss the various opinions.

What is NOT ok is picking and choosing the facts to try to give a false impression of what happened.

Even textbooks with a 'liberal bias' have the facts, with liberal opinions. Why not just add a conservative opinion/counterpoint? It will only harm students to give them only some of the facts.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
Facts are facts. There is NOTHING wrong with people wanting to include a conservative opinion regarding those facts in textbooks. I think textbooks should give students both sides and allow the students an opportunity to think critically and to discuss the various opinions.

What is NOT ok is picking and choosing the facts to try to give a false impression of what happened.

Even textbooks with a 'liberal bias' have the facts, with liberal opinions. Why not just add a conservative opinion/counterpoint? It will only harm students to give them only some of the facts.
Did you read the article? This isn't opinion they are putting in textbooks, it's flat out lies.
 

mcrain

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2002
1,768
11
Illinois
Did you read the article? This isn't opinion they are putting in textbooks, it's flat out lies.
Yes, and I know. But, if conservatives want to "fix" a perceived bias, what I suggested would be the way to go about doing it, not by picking and choosing facts or inserting lies.

What the Texas Board of Education did was incredibly wrong in many ways. The sentiment, however, I understand. They want a conservative view to counter what they perceived was a liberal bias. Fine, include one, but DON'T change or edit the facts.