"Revisionist History"-Not just a lefty thing....

I thought this story worthy of discussion especially after all the accusations of “trying to erase history” that came in the wake of the Confederate statues controversy.


Not just a lefty thing? When is it ever?

Erasing history is not possible. Taking down statues, yeah, that’s totally possible. “Revisionist History” is a bullshit term with respect to racist hero monuments and their removal.
Lying to schoolchildren about history? Totally possible. If anything, the left is willing to look at, admit, and try to repair all of the shit warts involved in America’s history.

In what way is this “revisionist” history? The recommendation of the study group to the Board was that students not be required to focus on so many people in history. Notice that the “article” linked doesn’t even bother to list any other people currently required to be discussed being dropped. It’s laughably limited in information.

Here’s a link to a somewhat better article discussing the changes. Notice that Barry Goldwater is being dropped for the same reason Hillary Clinton is, and that there are many other people being dropped who are not specifically listed.

This sort of headline bait is exactly what makes people who are supporters of President Trump believe that the “media” are biased for “Liberals.”

Can’t teach everything. Where would you find the time?

That article is not available in Europe (big shocker), but if we were looking for evidence of right-wing bias in the assessment, dropping Barry Goldwater, a famously racist republican who got his ass kicked, is not exactly a knock-down argument.

Every day, I keep wondering what the latest round of idiocy from the red states will be. I remember studying Tilden vs Hayes twice in high school Once, in American History as the end of reconstruction and a small bit about the electoral college. Then, in American Government, we studied Tilden vs Hayes again to go into more detail about the popular vote versus the electoral college.

Since then, twice the winner of the popular vote has lost the presidency. In 2016, there was an effort, however futile, to see if the electoral college would work as originally intended and make their own independent judgement if Donald Trump was suitable to serve as president.

Even if you’re a die hard Republican, I can’t see any argument against studying Bush vs Gore and the 2016 election. They are important in American history.

If the school board had decided they weren’t going to include Reagan vs Mondale, Bush vs Dukakis, or Bill Clinton vs Dole, then I’d be fine with that. I agree you can’t cover everything.

Cite for Goldwater being a racist?

This seems to be a fairly balance approach from the Washington Post (I hope you can see it if you are in Europe):

This is based on his vote against the Civil Rights Act, which although misguided was based on principles of small government rather than on any wish of harm or negative consequences to any person of color.

My reasons for making this distinction include a desire for precision in public discourse, and a conviction that there are, in fact, useful principles to glean from a small government approach. Often those principles are outweighed by social concerns, but not always. This does not mean that I am either in favor of or opposed to having school children study Goldwater as part of their history lessons.

There’s a lot to disagree with Barry Goldwater with, but I don’t think he was a racist. He was well known for his photography of Native Americans.

Revisionist is not a dirty word and I wish people would stop treating it like it is. Nor does it have any political implications whatsoever taken in isolation.

If you are not willing to revise your understanding of history as new facts come to light, you’re an idiot and a shit historian. The last major Carolingian, Charles III ‘the Fat’, was probably not a lethargic incompetent as usually branded by pre-21rst century historians. He just got unlucky in terms of succession and the most focused on records to survive from his realm were written by politically hostile commentators. Those records were then filtered through the lens of historians looking for someone to blame for the Carolingian collapse.

History is theoretically fixed, Doctor Who not withstanding. Our understanding of it is not.

This story just kind of caught my eye because there are similar efforts underway in Michigan. One instance was the intended purging of the term “democratic values”, because, despite their denials, it reminds folks of that political party. No word if the terms “community” and “society” were under consideration for banning due to similar concerns.

That’s an unusual definition of racism.

When Goldwater had to make a choice between supporting racists and supporting black people, he chose to side with the racists. I don’t know if Goldwater chose this because he was a racist, because he sympathized with racists, or because he figured he’d get more votes from racists. But it was an immoral choice.

Or, Goldwater “sided with the racists” because he thought there was some other important principle at stake: IIRC, he disagreed with at least some federal civil rights legislation on federalism grounds, and also on libertarian opposition to government interference with the decisions of private business owners to end segregation (as opposed to the government itself either racially discriminating, or interfering with the decisions of private business owners by legally mandating segregation, both of which libertarians would rightly oppose).

I think Goldwater was wrong about that; racial segregation in a large part of America was all-pervasive, and had clearly been sustained and perpetuated as part of a society-wide racist system, which very much included racial discrimination by the state itself, as well as state-mandated racial discrimination by private enterprise (various Jim Crow laws requiring segregation in assorted public accommodations). To just say “OK, from now on, there won’t be any more state-sanctioned or mandatory racism–other than that, y’all are on your own” was inadequate in the face of this history.

But I don’t think it’s fair to just say Goldwater was a racist. I strongly support free speech, for example, even when that means “supporting racists”, but that’s not because I’m a racist, or because I sympathize with racists; it’s because I believe free speech is very important (and “hate speech” laws in practice are very often used to repress powerless minorities rather than to protect them).

Goldwater later said he was wrong to oppose civil rights legislation. I think that admission is as likely as anything (along with his landslide defeat) to be the reason Texas educators want to banish him from history.

Cite: John Wayne in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”: Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.

To actually address the topic of the thread: I’m sure determining exactly which historical figures and events should go in a grade school history curriculum is a difficult and complicated task. After all, there’s a lot of history, and only so many hours in the school day or school days in the year.

That the Texas Board of Education voted to keep the alleged influence of Moses on our nation’s founding documents tells me all I need to know about their fitness for that task. :smack:

Impressive. A new twist on an old revelation: “I can’t be racist, i photograph *many people’s/I] black friends.”

I understand the point you’re making. But I feel that the people who were invoking states rights in defense of racism didn’t really give a damn about states rights; they just wanted to defend racism. It’s like the people who want to say they are pro-life but support capital punishment; if you’re opposed to abortion just say that. Don’t try to invoke a higher-sounding principle if you’re only applying it to the cause you actually care about.

As for Goldwater, when he was running for President one of the main themes of his campaign was his opposition to the Soviet Union. He said it wasn’t enough for us to just achieve peaceful co-existence with the Soviets. He said America should actively work on undermining the Soviet government and his justification for this was the fate of all of the people who lived in the Soviet Union and were being oppressed by their government.

Now by itself, that might be a good principle. But why didn’t Goldwater apply the same standard domestically? Why did he feel an obligation to help Russians who were being oppressed that he didn’t feel for Americans who were being oppressed? As a Presidential candidate, didn’t he owe Americans at least as much support as he was claiming was owed to Russians?

I think Goldwater just had a blindspot that was typical for white Americans of his generation; when he thought of Americans, he thought of white people. He was aware of black people but he just didn’t see them as real Americans in the same way. So he saw civil rights as a difficult burden that was being placed on Americans; he didn’t see it as an effort to help Americans.

I believe my mistake was mixing up Goldwater and George Wallace. My bad.

According to CBS:

So replacing real history with fantasy. Lovely.

All history is, to some extent, a constant process of revision: it is not the imposition of final revealed truth.

Is that the truth?