Wednesday, August 31, 2011

History, Lies And The Attacks Upon Science: Where Is This Leading?


Long before I knew anything about municipal bonds, the Fed or the capital markets, I was interested in world history. For some reason, I was curious about the past. When I was only 8 or 9 years old, I would ask my father questions about the history of humankind. Perhaps some of my interest may have been sparked by the adventure movies I would see on Saturday afternoons at the Forest Theater. By June 1950, the United States was involved in a war on the Korean peninsula. I knew from the bubble gum cards that I bought and LIFE magazine's photographs that the United States was not the only country fighting against the North Koreans and the Chinese. I didn't understand why it was not called World War III as so many other countries were helping us battle the enemy. Years later, I was stationed in Korea and had the opportunity to see where we were fighting and learn more about what became known as the Korean War or Korean Conflict.

But today, 45 years later, from the time I left Korea, American history and the facts of American history are under attack. I am not talking about the interpretation of the facts. Simple things like dates and places are being misrepresented on the national stage. But, why? When a historian assembles facts such as dates, locations and documents, both primary and secondary sources of information, and then gives an interpretation to those facts, there is room for more than one interpretation. Each historian may weigh the facts differently, but at least they will, in the case of American history, agree on dates and places.

The recent trend on the national political stage with regards to misrepresenting the essential facts of American history, I find very troublesome. To make such claims as the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery in the United States is just plain wrong. But why would some one say such a thing on the National stage? If lies can be told about the reasons behind the Civil War that was fought in the United States in the mid 19th century, what other lies can be told to the American people?

I am very concerned about the attacks on historical truths as I am very concerned about the attacks on science, the scientific method and scientists. Countries that have rounded up their intellectuals to silence them, or have quietly executed them, has never spoken well for the liberty and freedom of their people. These attacks against hard facts, primary sources of history and science and scientists can have no good ending, in my opinion.

Have we Americans been so dumbed down that we don't care about these attacks? I wish I knew where this was headed.

Stay tuned.

3 comments:

LceeL said...

It's up to all of us to know the truth - to find the truth - to tell the truth when faced with lies and disinformation. That said, we have, since childhood, been fed the "America is the greatest country in the world" thing. As for as Ideals go, that may be true - but as for execution and perpetration? We are no better or no worse than any other country in the world. We TALK a good game, but we don't play the game by the rules we would profess. Stand up and shout, Fred. It is your Right. It is your obligation.

winslow said...

Lying and deceiving has become an artform. In fact, PR firms (including those with political motives) now employ research in medical research and brain function.

With the use of high speed computers today, misinformation can be spread rapidly....and on purpose.

This really gathered my attention during the Bush vs Kerry campaign. The Republicans, guided by Karl Rove, distorted facts for their benefit.

moneythoughts said...

Winslow,

First, I didn't think Kerry was that good a candidate, though I voted for him.

But the way made Kerry out to be this coward that did 2 tours of duty in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy in the "Swift Boat" ads, was just amazing! It so reminded me of the Big Lie strategy, that if you tell people a story frequently enough, that some will come to believe the Big Lie.

Personally, it is my opinion that disinformation is a huge threat to our democracy in an era of mass media. Where selling of a product or service at any cost to the public is placed before the common good. Look what mortgaged-backed bonds did to our economy and the financial crisis it spawned.