Tag Archives: Biased Civil War historians

Academic Gobbledegook

(October 5, 2018) Three left-leaning professors recently exposed widespread sophistry at a number of “respected” academic peer-reviewed journals. They submitted a total of twenty articles, all hoaxes. As of earlier this week when they called a halt because a reader finally challenged one of the articles, seven of the submissions were accepted for publication, seven were still under review and six had  been rejected. Significantly, however, the authors had improved their acceptance rate after learning to use topic-specific jargon and to reach conclusions consistent with prevailing viewpoints of the agenda-driven magazines.

The topics fall under the rubric of “Grievance Studies,” which spans at least fifteen subdomains, including (feminist) gender studies, masculinities studies, queer studies, sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, race theory, whiteness theory, fat studies, sociology, and educational philosophy. The professors tried to make all the articles humorous, at least in small ways and often in big ways.  The research was always shoddy and the conclusions laughable.

The authors selected topics by meeting to ponder ridiculous questions. For example they discussed whether they could get a magazine to publish a feminist rewrite of one chapter from Adolph Hitler’s Mien Kampf. The answer turned out to be “yes,” since the feminist social work journal Affilia recently accepted it. Eventually the authors learned that just about anything could be made to work, so long as it fell within the moral orthodoxy and demonstrated an understanding of the existing literature popular in the applicable field. The Mien Kampf rework, for example, was titled “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism.”

In another case the authors considered whether they could get an article published urging that men be trained as if they were dogs in order to combat rape culture. The resulting, “Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity in Urban Dog Parks in Portland, Oregon” was published in Gender, Place and CultureThe authors claimed that they had inspected the genitals of about 10,000 dogs while questioning their owners about their sexual behavior. The magazine and its reviewers accepted at face value their tongue-in-cheek claim to have observed one dog rape per hour at Portland dog parks. The magazine even commended the article as one of its best submissions of the year.

The professors tell their story in the video below.

Despite the trio’s focus on “Grievance Studies” they overlooked the bias in American history publications concentrating on the Civil War and Reconstruction. Such publications routinely portray white Southerners of the era as demons, Yankees as avenging angles and present-day blacks as a minority with legitimate grievances against white Southerners but none against Northern Republicans of the nineteenth century even though the Yankees abandoned blacks after the Party realized they did not need the freedman’s vote in order to retain political hegemony.

Consider, for example, how modern academic historians induced the federal government to establish a National Reconstruction Memorial in Beaufort, South Carolina that focuses on the black experience but almost totally ignores the challenges faced by Southerners of other races.  In addition to the racial injustices against blacks, the entire post-war South was exploited as an internal colony and forced into peonage for nearly a century after the war. Despite the Beaufort memorial’s focus, poverty among all races in the South was widespread and protracted. As late as 1940 half of the region’s sharecroppers were white and their average earnings $0.15 – $0.25 per day was the same as for blacks.

The teachings of such prejudiced historians is brainwashing, not education. As such, they are largely responsible for the destruction of Confederate monuments, widespread disdain for Southern heritage and a general animus toward present-day Southerners who dare to challenge their propaganda.

Best Topics for New Civil War Books

(May 13, 2018) As the 101-second video below suggests, the best topics for new Civil War books are the realities that politically-correct Civil War historians ignore.

For a more complete explanation after watching the video read my comment by clicking the “Reply” link in the upper left of this post.

Second Coming of the Gag Rule

(May 8, 2017) Among the antebellum congressional measures most vigorously condemned by modern Civil War historians are the “gag” resolutions and rules adopted in the House of Representatives from 1836 to 1844. Abolitionists triggered them by flooding the House with numerous petitions to abolish slavery. Some petitioned Congress to free specifically named slaves who they had never met that lived in Southern states were slavery was legal. Most congressmen objected to the entreaties for two reasons. First, they did not believe Congress had the legal authority to act on them. Second, the numerous petitions impeded legislative attention to matters that could undeniably be addressed legally, which became increasingly important after the onset of the 1837 economic depression.

Despite such objections, Congress was thrown into a quandary because the First Amendment was intended to guarantee American citizens the right to speak their opinions freely and to petition the government. The number of such petitions together with the practice of accepting them regularly in a geographical sequential pattern that started in the Northeast  before proceeding elsewhere, was interpreted by many as abusive. Wrangling over anti-slavery petitions, for example, interfered with the rights of congressmen representing citizens in other parts of the country to submit petitions from their constituents.

President Martin Van Buren suggested that the House form a committee to seek a solution. The resulting committee proposed a resolution stipulating that the House would continue to accept anti-slavery petitions but would also table them without further action. The resolution passed in May 1836 with a 63% “Yea” vote. Since resolutions were required to be adopted annually, similar ones were passed over the next eight years. Opponents labeled them “gag rules” because they had the effect of preventing discussion of the anti-slavery requests on the House floor, 

Former President John Q. Adams, who became a congressman after his executive term, led the fight against the resolutions. By 1844 he convinced most congressmen that the rules interfered too much with First Amendment and they were abolished. When his party gained the majority a couple of years earlier, however, he persuaded the House to adopt a procedure that prevented any petitions  thereafter from being formally presented on the House floor. They would instead go to a clerk. Since his party was then the majority, Adams did not want petitions from the opposing party disrupting the work of Congress, which was basically a reversal of his position when his party was in the minority.

Despite expressing moral outrage against the antebellum gag rules, at least some present academic Civil War historians impose gag rules of their own. In one example a university history professor habitually tells students on the first day that they should leave his class if they don’t believe the war was basically about slavery. Like too many of his contemporaries he assumes that the reasons the Southern states seceded are the same as the reasons the North chose to go to war. If, however, the chief complaint that Northerners had against Southerners was the region’s slavery, why did they not let the South depart peacefully?

Even Dr. Eric Foner, who is often considered the leader of modern Civil War and Reconstruction interpretation, admits he cannot answer the question. Moreover, he erroneously concludes that no historian has ever been able to answer it. That’s because his obsessive focus on race leaves him unable to appreciate the economic consequences to a truncated federal Union that would result from Southern secession as explained in an earlier post. In short, the North chose war in order to avoid those economic consequences.

Unfortunately, the recent Berkeley riots and the silencing of outside speakers at too many other colleges and universities reflect a  tyrannical free speech intolerance on campus. Despite their nearly universal condemnation of the antebellum gag rules, I am unaware of a solitary academic historian that has voiced any opposition to the infringement of free speech on today’s campuses. In point of fact, as noted above, some have adopted gag rules of their own. That’s not a second coming to celebrate.

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