(March 24, 2018) In Yuval Harari’s Sapiens (humans) the author explains how humans are organized to rule the world and subsets of sapiens are organized to rule mankind. By implication, he shows how distorted anti-Southern narratives have come to dominate the interpretations of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
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Sapiens rule the world, because we are the only animal that can cooperate flexibly in large numbers. We can create mass cooperation networks, in which thousands and millions of complete strangers work together towards common goals. . . Any attempt to understand our unique role in the world by studying our brains, our bodies, or our family relations, is doomed to failure. The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mysterious glue that enables millions of humans to cooperate effectively.
This mysterious glue is made of stories, not genes. We cooperate effectively with strangers because we believe in things like gods, nations, money and human rights. Yet none of these things exists outside the stories that people invent and tell one another. There are no gods in the universe, no nations, no money and no human rights—except in the common imagination of human beings. You can never convince a chimpanzee to give you a banana by promising him that after he dies, he will get limitless bananas in chimpanzee Heaven. Only Sapiens can believe such stories. This is why we rule the world, and chimpanzees are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.
The chief cause of the unrestrained anti-Southern bias of American history is that many historians came of age during, or after, the 1960s civil rights movement. Men like James McPherson correctly raised the profile of race and slavery in the story but eventually he—and especially his acolytes—went too far. Presently, the academy is dominated by Pious Cause Mythologists whose historical revisionism is based upon the metaphor of the Evil Twin. It explains the Civil War and Reconstruction as a contest between twins in which the North is the “good” twin and the South is the “evil” twin.
They equate the causes of secession with the causes of the war thereby ignoring the fact that the North could have let the South secede in peace. When pressed, they claim that the North chose to fight to prevent secession for the noble-sounding cause of “preserving the Union” as an abstract concept. In reality Northerners wanted to avoid the economic consequences to themselves that would result from disunion. The Pious Cause Mythologist’s most wicked sin, however, is censorship. They forbid any narrative that fails to conform to the Evil Twin metaphor. If the academy had been equally closed-minded when men like McPherson and Blight came of age, Battle Cry of Freedom and Race and Reunion might never have seen the light of day.
Combating Pious Cause Mythology requires that a valid contrary narrative be authored, distributed and discussed. Unfortunately, academic presses will not publish such manuscripts because colleges and universities have come to be dominated by professors who subscribe to the Evil Twin interpretation. Moreover, they generally only permit students with similar beliefs to be awarded PhD’s. They also have the advantage of tenured positions with generous salaries, which enables them to crank-out more of their distorted histories like the Lord makes poor folks—one right after another.
But authors of contrary narratives must normally rely upon book sales to provide the income required to keep publishing. Thus, readers can combat the Evil Twin interpretation by buying, reading, sharing, and discussing such books.