Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Revisionism...

To the victors go the spoils - Proverb of War

History is written by the victors - Winston Churchill

But there is a problem, something that is slightly out of joint with people today, that quote, that proverb are no longer really true are they?

Over the last several decades we have encountered something called historical revisionism.  What is revisionism?  It is the reinvention of long standing theories (not a bad thing), view (also a good thing), motives (not always a bad thing), evidence (sometimes a bad thing), and events (never a good thing).

Sure, if something is wrong with history (Columbus discovering America), it needs to be corrected.  Sure he discovered some of America, specifically South America.  I am not entirely sure how the rumor of Columbus discovering "America" started, but we now know it is mostly untrue.  It was the Vikings (I want to say Eric the Red, but I do not recall).  Look as new information comes to light, we revise our standing.  Its really the way of life, but there is a dark side to revisionism.  Some who seek to rewrite history, not so we have a better understanding of what happened, not so we we can pass forth knowledge of events that have occurred, but those who rewrite history to suit their own demented ideas.

Was America founded as a Christian nation?  Well, certainly many of the first immigrants to the US were some denomination of Christian.  I placed first immigrants in bold, because the people who were already here were not Christian, and really they founded this nation.  But lets set that aside.  I will first point out that the majority of our "Founding Fathers" were not Christian.  They were deists.  Basically, there is a God, but he isn't here, he is not in control.  The likes of Thomas Paine, the father of the American revolution.  Jefferson, who rewrote the bible to exclude all miracles attributed to Jesus.  Washington, Franklin, Allen, Monroe, and Madison were all deists.  Some might argue that Paine was actually an atheist, but we cannot call these people to verify, and their written work is open to some degree of interpretation.  Some leaving fewer doubts than others.
"To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise"  Thomas Jefferson 1820
That is just an example of how the founding fathers thought.  Now, we constantly hear in some circles "America, the Christian nation".  Not so much, it was a nation founded on religious freedom, not a specific religion.  The people who came here sought to escape from the other religions they disliked.  But if you do not believe me, that is one aspect of history that has mountains of written works both primary (first person) and secondary (modern references).

There are others, but one that really gets me are those who revise WWII, specifically the Shoah, otherwise known as the Holocaust.  There are people who proudly proclaim that it never happened, while others want to try and ride the fence by proclaiming that "it wasn't that bad."  This has grown to such an extent that a student received an "A" for an extra credit assignment writing about what a hoax it was.  Now as someone who had family who survived that (if you could call the remains of their lives survival) I do take great exception to it.

So, I know this "essay" was written for high school, so the standards are not going to be as strict as the work I had to do in college.  But to me it does show just how bad our educational system is.  I do feel that most people should be highly educated, sure, it might just be a trade skill, but people need to have a strong grasp of history, math, reading, writing, and the like.  They should be able to properly research a subject they are not knowledgeable about, no, that does not mean using any website you find, or watching a movie (unless the subject is the works of Harold Ramis or Stanley Kubrick... maybe who is this celebrate?)  But here we go, and I am not going to rebut this kids essay word for word, it is not worth the effort.  I read it once, and it was bad.  I have high standards, but I also do my damnedest to live up to them as well.

What I will do is say, the essay is crap.  It reflects the general trend of what I have observed in attitude towards Jewish people as a religion, and race as declared by the SCotUS.  I might not agree with many of their findings, but we are kind of forced into accepting it.  In a bit of irony, Muslims are trying to use that to declare themselves a race of people.  Again not something I really want to get into.  The Jewish race was declared in order to protect Jewish people from hate crimes, something that was needed, and still is to this very day.  But more on this so called essay...

In this "essay", she claims that there is no evidence Jews were murdered in gas chambers.  I can tell you parts of the story I was told by my Great-Grandmother, how she watched some of her children walk into those chambers, while she was forced to play music to calm the people.  But, that will not hold up as valid evidence.  What do we have?  We have tons of primary written evidence, we have the chambers themselves, we have countless witness testimony, negative evidence (you know people we know existed before, and those who remained afterwards), and we have pictures.  So, she has nothing to verify that cited.  She did cite Urban Dictionary, something that even Wikipedia is more upstanding than.

She then insults every survivor Jewish or otherwise by stating that "faulty survivors." Apparently her math skills are really substandard...  I mean they make me look like a genius with the subject, and mine are pretty lousy.  So before the Holocaust began there were over 9 million Jewish people in Europe with a total world wide of just over 15 million.  After WWII 3.5 million in Europe and somewhere around 11 million.  Now keep in mind after seeing the majority of your friends and family murdered for your race/religion, you might not be so honest about it afterwards.  But lets be honest, most came to the Americas, and were left in peace, what little peace they could find.  And lets keep in mind that record keeping at that time was fairly lax.  I mean at that time, someone could enter the country with several children, claim they were the parents, and then vanish.  We cannot do that these days, pity we could not do those things then, it certainly would answer the questions of many.  She also neglects to think for herself and understand that people convert, they change religion.  It was not that uncommon for two people to fall in love and the wife or husband, with children to convert to a different faith.

She then practically pirates an entire blog entry about it.  I mean really, if I were to do that, even in high school, I would have been brow beat by every teacher I ever had.  Now I know some teachers can be lax about checking sources, but outright rubber stamp it?  I doubt it.  But just the same, yeah, I cannot comment on that blog, outside of it is the ramblings of someone who is mentally ill.

The last two sources she used.  Yeah, I think we can say biased.  It is no stretch of the imagination there.   One is what appears to be a Christian website with historical documents.  The other appears to be a xenophobic, antisemitic, and possibly homophobic website, and guess what the director of said site where the gathered the information is a member of a white supremacist group.  Yeah, she went to the dark side of the internet.  A very deep dark hole in logic, reasoning and intelligence.  The place where the really bad people hang out.  So, it has been nearly a year since her "essay", I certainly hope that "Jazzy" has learned some things.  First how to properly research, and cite an essay or a paper.  That would be a wonderful first step for her.  Second, I hope that some people with real knowledge of the events reached out and showed her the truth of it.  The brutal ugly truth of what so many people endured.  How they attempted to rebuild.


What brings it up nearly a year later?  After what happened the other day, what I listened to today I am both tired, and enraged.  There is a monster in the closet.  The parents are standing there staring at it in horror themselves.  The very essay she wrote, from the drudges of the internet, shows us that racism and antisemitism is real.  It is still lurking in the shadows.  From time, usually this time of year, it creeps out of the closet in the still of the night, it shows a few unfortunate souls it is still here, it frightens us, and it is gone again.  We saw it the other day.  A former grand master of the kkk kills three people at two Jewish fatalities.  But many do not believe in the monster in the closet.  Sadly my Great-Grandmother did, she died fearing that creature in the closet, and if a quarter of what I was told by her was true, I cannot blame her.  I do not know which is worse; the fact that people like her lived with that constant fear, or that after everything I have seen and experienced in life, I am starting to justify that fear, just like many others.  She was right in a way.  That monster from Germany all those decades ago never did die.  It just changed its form, it put on a mask like we all do, and it lurks.  Waiting.  Hungering for the day that it can once again roam the Earth in the light of day.  And it was her fear, and it is becoming mine, that the time is coming.