Historians: Do Your Duty!
by Armando Simón (June 2022)
Young Hunter Hearing the Call to Arms, Marsden Hartley, 1939
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. —George Orwell, 1984
“When the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock, the first thing they did was sign a compact. In the compact, they all pledged to form a colony that would dedicate itself to white supremacy. Soon after landing and establishing a settlement, to the Puritans’ horror they found that noble, peaceful, Native Americans were present and were one with Nature. At that point, the Puritans set out to exterminate them. Towards this end, they employed grenades, AR-15s, mortars, napalm, and even engaged in bacteriological warfare. They succeeded in killing them all, and in the years to come, they further expanded their settlements, butchering the noble, peaceful, Native Americans who were at one with Nature and, in the process, befouled the environment. Once the area had been ‘pacified,’ the Puritans began to bring over and enslave the noble, peaceful, Africans who had been at one with Nature. In the process, they wiped out the Africans’ civilization, destroying their universities, their centers of learning and research, their hospitals and their skyscrapers, leaving them ruins, eventually to be taken over later by the evil, rapacious, white devils from Europe.”
By now it should be obvious to anyone but the most obtuse that we are in the midst of a totalitarian movement. This movement is characterized, as is the case with all totalitarian movements, by dogmatic fanaticism, by censorship, by the indoctrination of children, by promoting ideologies, by persecution of dissidents, by the politicization of law enforcement and the military, by the mutilation of the language, by the degradation of science and art, and, relevant for this essay, by the falsification of history.
The above pseudo-historical narration on the Pilgrims is what one can expect being taught in schools in the not too distant future, once leftists finish consolidating their power over society. We are halfway there, if some of the stuff that is being taught in classes, from pre-K to high school to universities, is any indication. Meanwhile, the dullard conservatives and libertarians simply look on, waiting as usual for a savior who will do what they themselves should be doing.
In Looking Back on the Spanish War (an essay that should be mandatory reading for every scholar), Orwell wrote, “I remember saying once to Arthur Koestler, ‘History stopped in 1936,’ at which he nodded in immediate understanding. We were both thinking of totalitarianism in general, but more particularly of the Spanish Civil War.”
Although the totalitarian fanatics have targeted the other various disciplines (music, mathematics, art, literature), I wish to focus here on history. In order to understand the totalitarian method, it is important to understand that the ideology fueling their falsification of history is based on their obsession with what they call “racism.” Being obsessed with “racism” to the point of paranoia, they will look for racists and racism everywhere. However, the basis for their ideology is a Marxist one, but what is unique is that their Marxism is based on race instead of class. According to their worldview, People of Color, and above all blacks are the proletariat. As with class-Marxism, in race-Marxism all goodness comes from the (black) proletariat and all evil comes from the (white) capitalist exploiters. The Marxist goal is to replace the whites—or “whiteness” —with blacks through extermination. Supposedly, the proletariat and the capitalist have an instinctive hatred for each other, be it in class-Marxism or in race-Marxism, which must end in the destruction of one.
Which is one reason why Black History Month lasts all year.
Those who have deeply studied the history of Marxist regimes will remember that every single facet of their societies, no matter how seemingly unrelated to politics, were nevertheless saturated with Marxist overtones, including history. We see this manifestation in our society as the totalitarians make bigger and bigger inroads and one should note that, throughout the falsification of facts and their mutilated viewpoint of history, there is intense hatred.
It is true that falsifying historical facts in the West by Marxists has been going on for decades. Only recently has the amount and intensity of historical mutilation exploded. They make the mutilations convincing, almost rational, through what Thomas Sowell referred to in his (oh so delicious phrase!) “verbal virtuosity,” so that their intellectual vandalism almost seems reasonable. Worse, they saturate the culture with the falsified history. And, it is important to emphasize that we are not fulminating against expressing a viewpoint or interpretation of historical events but, rather, the outright falsification of historical events and their details, i.e., of facts, carried out for totalitarian goals.
Examples of Fake History
To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots. —Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The following are a tiny sample of the many lies which have permeated the culture:
- blankets infected with smallpox were often given to Indians by the U.S. Cavalry,
- America lost the Vietnam War, the first time it lost any war,
- politically, the Nazis were right-wing,
- Nelson Mandela ended apartheid and everybody has lived happily ever after in South Africa,
- the blacklisted Hollywood 10 were heroic, innocent, and admirable, even when they supported the Nazis at the orders of the Communist Party,
- Cuba became a paradise under Fidel Castro’s dictatorship,
- the trials resulting from the Haymarket Riots were a miscarriage of justice,
- prior to Donald Trump, Richard Nixon was the personification of evil,
- slavery was created by the white man and only the white man practiced slavery,
- Columbus was sadistic, carrying out genocide in North and South America,
- the Rosenberg spies were innocent, victims of McCarthyism hysteria,
- the Spanish Civil War has been covered in layers of propaganda that persist to this day,
- the Democratic Party had no role in the KKK, slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynchings, or the American Civil War, and
- American Communism has been portrayed in a positive light whereas anti-Communism has been demonized and caricatured.
But, of course, the current poster child for historical ignorance and falsification is Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project, which replaces the Communist historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (notice the ever-present Marxist term, “People’s”). The falsification of historical facts in both books is unending, which has been pointed out by bona fide historians. Such is her overall ignorance that she got the year wrong for the start of the American Civil War, that Europe is not a continent, that thanks to Communism there is no racial discrimination in Cuba, that the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima because a lot of money had been spent on it and so had to be used, and that parents should have no say so in what is being taught in schools so the children can be more easily indoctrinated into hating America and hating white people.
One would think that any rational person, any scholar with even a scintilla of integrity, would have nothing to do with such a person or her book, but like Zinn’s book, Jones’ book is being used in schools for indoctrination by Marxist school administrators and teachers, and, it is welcomed by the race hustlers. In fact, Jones was offered a tenured position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by the leftist administrators that have that university in a stranglehold. There was some uncharacteristic pushback and Jones left in a huff for another university which also welcomed her with open arms.
There is one more point and it is in regards to two of the tactics employed by the present-day totalitarians that makes them so powerful and so dangerous. One is that they zero in and systematically worm themselves into positions of power within different institutions. The second is that, once in power, they give all sorts of unmerited awards to fellow totalitarians in order to legitimize them (and, in the process, nullify the worth of the awards). Case in point, again, is Jones. Such a person who has displayed her deep ignorance again and again has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Genius Award (another recipient was a bat-shit crazy feminist who claimed that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was about rape), a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, the National Magazine Award, and the John Chancellor Award for Distinguished Journalism. Truly an intellectual giant, according to these accolades.
The Schopenhauer Outlook
The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history. —Orwell
If you led the most unrepentant optimist through the hospitals, military wards, and surgical theatres, through the prisons, torture chambers and slave stalls, through battlefields and places of judgment, and then open for him all the dark dwellings of misery that hide from cold curiosity, then he too would surely come to see the nature of this best of all possible worlds.
Imagine! He says ignore beautiful scenery. Ignore good food and drink. Ignore good company. Ignore beautiful people. Ignore beautiful architecture, music, sports, and literature. Focus only on disease, swamps, gruel, boorish people, shacks, rap, and books written by Stephen King. That is what life is really all about.
Leftists look at the history of the great men of America, universally admired except by them. They ignore all of the wonderful achievements of Jefferson, Washington, etc. because they owned slaves. Like just about everyone else in the entire world. Including their precious Africans and Native Americans. Simply put, the good that these men did far outweigh any bad that they may have done. If they failed to live up to their ideals in every moment and every aspect of their lives, leftists say we should cancel their existence.
Additionally, we are supposed to believe—this is implied—that they were the only people who owned slaves, and, that they did nothing else of consequence.
Hence, the vandalized and toppled statues of these, and other, great men.
Initially, liberals said they were toppling Confederate statues, snarling as they did so, because they represented—what else? —racism. Except … it did not stop there. And now we see their real motivation, for they have either vandalized or toppled or mutilated the great men and women of history—including those who opposed slavery: Thomas Jefferson, Raoul Wallenberg, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Julius Caesar, Earl Grey, Robert the Bruce, Caesar Rodney, George Washington, General Kosciuszko, Abigail Adams, Calvin Griffith, Charles Dickens, Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus, Frederick Douglass, Joan of Arc, Louis XVI , Ulysses Grant, Jesus, Mary, Theodore Roosevelt, St. Junípero Serra, Andrew Jackson, Miguel de Cervantes, William McKinley, Hans Christian Heg, Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln have also been vandalized by other like-minded leftists here and abroad (Earl Grey, Ulysses Grant, and Abraham Lincoln, if you did not know, both abolished slavery while Abigail Adams was an abolitionist). In Boston, the resident Red Guards also vandalized the Glory monument of the Civil War’s African-American 54th Regiment, along with the Holocaust Memorial.
When one destroys the statue of someone famous one is destroying a part of history. That is what other totalitarians—China’s Red Guards and Islam’s ISIS—attempted, and now American leftists are trying. And, whereas anyone opposing the vandalism of ISIS and the Red Guards would have been met by deadly violence, nowadays anyone opposing our totalitarians is met by … Twitter?
Yes, no one physically opposes them.
In contrast, at present we see the Ukrainian people fighting like lions to protect their country. Which doesn’t say much for Americans.
Or the British.
Cultural Appropriation and Historical Appropriation
The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster. —Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
The term “cultural appropriation” (i.e., theft) originated by the totalitarians about five years back to condemn white people for appreciating other cultures. Accusations were leveled against whites playing jazz music, practiced yoga, celebrating Cinco de Mayo, performing The Mikado, displaying kimonos (incidentally, Japanese have no objections to Americans wearing or displaying kimonos, on the contrary), cooking or eating Mexican food, cooking or eating Chinese food, and so on.
Needless to say, that the accusation of cultural appropriation has been used in trying to eradicate yet another American holiday, Halloween, along with Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Christmas (Gonzaga University’s (or is it Gonzo) Queer Student Union President Jeffrey Goong suggested that people would commit suicide in seeing Halloween costumes that were instances of cultural appropriation). It should be emphasized that most of the outrage concerning instances of this “crime” are not the natives of the culture in question but, rather, the Liberal White Saviors.
However, like the term “hate crimes” that originated as simply virtue signaling to be attached to (already) illegal crimes and thought to apply only to white offenders is now also being used against black offenders, so is the idea of cultural appropriation, except that in cultural appropriation by whites occurred as appreciation of other cultures, cultural appropriation of white culture by blacks is actual theft—historical theft.
Ramses the Great, a redhead, has been referred to as being black. The Greek hero Achilles is now being portrayed as black. Beethoven is being portrayed as black. The Norwegian ruler, Jarl Haakon, is being portrayed as a black … woman. Anne Boleyn is being portrayed as black. Joan of Arc is being portrayed as black. In the video game Dominations, Hannibal is portrayed as black. David Copperfield is being portrayed as Indian. Robin Hood’s right hand man has twice been cast in films as being black. And several of Jane Austen’s characters are black. Barnes & Nobel, in honor of Black History Month Which Lasts All Year, offered literary classics like Moby Dick, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Emma, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the characters on the book cover being black. The same can be said of comic book characters.
The theft of white history (and literature) by blacks and/or Liberal White Saviors is not new. An equally laughable attempt was made decades ago and went nowhere. Notice, though, that the same type of individuals who became outraged at cultural appreciation by whites see nothing wrong with historical appropriation by blacks.
The Present as History
We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying. —Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Since current events will automatically become history, it is understandable why there is currently a censorship being enforced, and why there is falsification of details of current events. What happens today in the public arena will inevitably become history. I will not dwell on this too long, sufficing to systematize the falsification of present history into two tactics: (1) fake news, that is, when outright lies are being fed to the public, thereby becoming official “facts” and (2) news blackout, which is the deliberate suppression of important contemporary facts in the not unreasonable expectation that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, the tree’s fall has not made a noise. The falsification of present history is successful only because they are almost unopposed by dullard conservatives and libertarians and not because of any validity in the mendacity. Worse, as I have noted elsewhere, such falsification of present history becomes stubbornly persistent if strong emotions accompany the presentation of these falsehoods. Instances of the falsification of today’s news/tomorrow’s history is not only found in books or television, but also in the internet in sites like Wikipedia which poses as impartial source, yet on certain topics the information is warped beyond reality.
However, while present history’s revelation is being fought over and is, anyway, not really the venue of the professional historian, it is past history that should concern historians. Even though today’s news is tomorrow’s history, other than noting the phenomena of fake news and news blackout, historians should not be sidetracked.
Before I leave this section there are three historical events that have been successfully relegated to oblivion through news suppression. One, the overwhelming electoral victory in 1972 was the result of when Marxists took over the Democrat Party, and the rank and file, alarmed and in disgust swarmed to the local Republican Parties to help defeat McGovern (I met quite a few of them). Two, when Ronald Reagan had just been elected, all the news network talking heads kept repeating for days the bizarre statement that presidents elected in years ending in 0 had died in office. This was constantly repeated. The message subliminally may have been picked up by a mental defective who attempted to kill Reagan. Three, a relatively minor event today but important then occurred in New York City. A group of Marxists with anti-American and pro-Viet Cong slogans began marching through an area where there were construction workers. The latter became infuriated and in a matter of seconds pummeled the Marxists into grape jelly, something that many people had wanted to do but, just like today, had been inhibited because “violence solves nothing.” It did demonstrate, however, how quickly and easily the Marxist threat could be met. Of course, many people nowadays will find such an observation to be in bad taste. “Toxic masculinity,” you see.
I will leave this section with one final thought: in a democracy, whoever controls the media controls the country. I suspect that someone realized this long ago.
Historians, to arms!
But mostly it was because in a situation like this people never cooperate. They always think they can buy peace for themselves when the time comes, and so they get picked off one by one. —V. S. Maipaul. Guerrillas
Professional historians should be up in arms over what is happening to their profession and to their subject matter. Understandably, there is a toxic atmosphere of censorship and intimidation in universities fostered by totalitarian administrators, some faculty and students. However, it is important to understand that their primary weapon is, indeed, intimidation. Once one understands that, and takes the necessary precautions, the history scholar can fight back with integrity. Things have not gotten to the point—yet—of dragging dissidents out of their offices and having them jailed and shot in the back of the neck. And, in the end, that is what we are trying to avert.
Just read history.
Except … as Bismarck observed, “What we learn from history is that no one learns from history.”
There is a cherished myth among intellectuals, which they hold dear to their hearts. It is that intellectuals are courageous individuals who will defy authority for the sake of The Truth and for Humanitarianism and for Intellect and for Compassion, etc., and that they will do so regardless of the punitive consequences and, if necessary, will die for that idealism.
It is, indeed, a myth. If one has ever been around intellectuals for very long, one will realize that the vast majority of them are cowards when confronted by authority, or by thugs. Men like Solzhenitsyn, Socrates, Sakharov and Thomas More are the exception to the rule. Most are groveling cowards.
Nowhere does one see this truth of their being cowards better than in today’s universities, where a faculty member will be reduced to a trembling, terrified puddle—not by beatings, not by attempted murder, not by torture, not by imprisonment—but simply because of a group of students are throwing a temper tantrum, or because of anonymous insults and insinuations via Twitter, or by statements of disapproval from the hierarchy and demands for either an apology or resignation.
To be sure, in a society where a position in a university is the goal, the be-all, of intellectuals, and said position is lusted after (sometimes for years) by at least 5,000 equally qualified persons with glazed looks in their eyes, the threat of losing that coveted position is nothing to be minimized. This terror of losing that job in a university only to start looking for another one—in the meantime working in “undignified” jobs until something better comes along, if it ever does again—is greatly magnified if one has a wife and/or a family to support. In such a scenario, the usual response from a wife is to urge the husband not to make waves and to let someone else do what is right. Aside from freezing rain, there is nothing than can be more demoralizing than having a wife who undermines one’s determination. Being a bachelor does give that person a bit more courage.
Worse, college administrators have realized that it is better to employ a mass of cheap adjuncts than to pay for full time faculty, and, indeed 65% of the nation’s undergraduate faculty consists of adjuncts (perhaps they should unionize). The big six figure salaries are reserved for the administrators themselves, i.e., the deadwood.
This state of affairs brings to mind Max Planck. When Planck was asked by another scientist to gather others to protest the treatment of Jewish professors by the Nazis, he responded, “If you’re able to gather today 30 such gentlemen, then tomorrow another 150 others will come and speak against it because they are eager to take over the positions of the others.”
So the failure to be courageous, to stand for one’s principles is understandable—cowardly to be sure—but understandable.
As a result, we see the vast majority of intellectuals in universities keep their heads down as the administrators persecute this or that faculty member or student, picking them off one by one, or keep quiet while totalitarian jackasses institute a “decolonization” of literature, of history and of science from libraries and departments as they elevate mediocrities and promote pseudoscience, or they sit with gritted teeth through another indoctrination session by someone from Diversity Inclusiveness and Equity (DIE) promoting racism against white people and against “whiteness.”
All the while they silently hope that someone else will speak up and fight back.
And then, of course, there are the opportunists who will go along with the totalitarian movement in order to get advancement. But they really should first read Faust.
American revisionists seem to think people should forfeit their history, customs, heroes, and freedoms to a self-appointed elite. I say screw you, you’re not worth a bucket of warm spit, and like the communist in disguise that you are, you will end up in the rubbish heap of history. —Taki
Nonetheless, you can and should fight back against the totalitarians, that is, if you honor your profession and your country. And yourself.
Mind you, I fully acknowledge that there are many persons, both in and out of academia, who are not the least bit combative, that they would much rather be left alone. But reality is knocking at the door. Except that it is actually crashing through it and must be faced.
What you can do in regards to instances of historical (and for that matter literary and scientific) falsification, whether they are on the internet, on hardcopy, or verbally in the media, is to respond forcefully with facts, followed up by scorn or sarcasm. Write papers, conferences, popular articles on the subject, either on specific instances, or in general. Since the totalitarians get angry when their narrative is challenged, or worse laughed at, they will respond, and deep down being NPCs, they will always respond in predictable ways.
As I stated above, the main weapon of the totalitarians at this stage is intimidation. Once that is realized, their power is halved (recently, a bigshot Democrat bewailed the fact that people have stopped being afraid). Practical preparations also strengthens one’s position. Towards this end, establish a network of colleagues who are also upset about the degradation of academic standards. It has been my observation that the totalitarians’ attacks almost disappear when their victim is not alone, but has backers (however, keep in mind that some of your colleagues will wimp out rather than back you up when the dirt hits the fan, or will urge “compromise”).
Nonetheless, be prepared for temper tantrums, drive by comments on the hall, and always have a response in mind. If possible, record all encounters. Report in writing any hostile encounter you may experience, not just to your superior but to campus security and/or the regular police. Document everything and keep copies. If you get inundated by the Twitterati mob, you may simply consider dropping Twitter.
If the college bureaucracy gets involved, record everything, surreptiously if need be, of every meeting, every encounter with administrators.
Do not apologize if asked to.
Do not resign if asked to.
Whether the administrators will threaten you with dismissal or they sweet talk you into resigning/apologizing, do not comply (and post these recorded meetings in social media; they hate the light of day). In writing, prior to a meeting, insist on having legal representation with you if you anticipate a hostile administrative consultation; this will usually make them drop the subject. Complain in writing of a hostile work environment and who is causing it. Name names.
Because almost all universities get government funding and/or are state agencies, you have iron clad freedom of speech and press. There have been dozens of cases where faculty took their university administrators to court and won hands down and they laughed all the way to the bank while retaining their positions (if you are threatened with dismissal, if they cancel your classes, if they bar you from campus, there is such a thing as an injunction). Be aware that the public is aware of the situation nationwide and is practically salivating at the prospect of putting down the totalitarian fanatics.
In short, in reality, they are not as powerful as they think they are. And, like all bullies, they back off when confronted with stubborn, uncompromising resistance.
Years from now, when your child looks at you and asks you what did you do to stop them, what will you say?
Armando Simón has degrees in history and psychology and is the author of When Evolution Stops, The Book of Many Books, A Cuban from Kansas and The U.
Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast