History Is 10 To 20 Percent Science, Mostly Dates, And The Rest Is Our Interpretation
In the September 24th Herald, John Nelson finds History neglected. Mr Nelson begins with fear, paragraph after paragraph, which can certainly affect a view of history.
Much of his fear is a very real and personal opinion and should be respected as such. But History, as much as it is a science, should be dispassionate
History is maybe, 10-20 percent science, mostly dates. The rest is interpretation or an art. What happened on before and after those dates slides into opinion and 360 degrees of fact and should be taken with a grain of salt or as in my case a big bowl of popcorn.
So salt and butter to grease the skids for those parts I won’t like.
Since we are left to swallow whole hog or sample the whole buffet of history, we should examine the source of our personal tastes; the tables we grew up at, the cooks and servers that kept us fed and comforted. But these lovingly fostered tastes might limit us to the Cracker Barrel view for our whole lives.
I agree that our educational standards are crap, but feel that this has been the standard for a very long time. But I am most comfortable addressing the study of History.
We certainly should not assume that since modern studies are deficient that previous texts are any better. We are not going to find a perfect text. Because History is too multi faceted to be corralled into one source. After all the cross referencing, various eye witnessing from either end of a whip, interpreters centuries after the fact and ultimately the preferences of whoever is paying for the book to be published.
Mr Nelson is concerned that a singular viewpoint is being promoted but would seem to want it to be replaced by another singular viewpoint. One may see the same history as a love of land while another remembers being chained to that land. Both emotions and facts are true yet rise in conflict. This happens time and again throughout history.
Before the left wing prominence he suggests in Academia, an equally myopic view of our history was promoted and enshrined. I imagine this prior acceptance of simplicity opened the door for subsequent and opposed ideologies to eventually return that door to a mere ajar.
So here we are expecting gospel in history, an all too human discipline. An example of simplistic history coming to conflict: Mr Nelson reminds us that Marxism is an utter failure and yet the Chinese appear to own half of America. So while Marxism is a failure,
Marxists own us. Or half of us. I find that complicated.
Ultimately it is up to the individual to determine their own historical perspective and current biases. It is the job of education to provide the individuals with as much information as they can stomach.