Contemporary Biases of History

Every culture must have a history to support it, or it is unsustainable. This is the great American, and even pan-Western problem of the moment. We no longer believe in a history which supports who we are. Is this because we are bad, or is it because we are starting with the wrong end point and writing out the truth? This means we are destined to become something else. We are unsustainable. Contemporary American historians are obsessed with our sins. Across the West historians are obsessed with the evils of colonialism, imperialism, and most of all the supposed evil of Christianity. More than anything else, a broad swath of elites would like to write a new post-Christian chapter, but Christianity just won’t go away! The unique feature of Christian civilization is that we feel guilty and say we’re sorry about the past. This makes us particularly vulnerable to other civilizations who have no such difficulties with guilt. Moreover, we believe at some fundamental level in telling the truth, which again is not a problem that has historically encumbered other civilizations. Therefore, when someone wants to tell the evils of our history, we acknowledge rather than obfuscate. On the other hand, when a Westerner wants to tell the dark side of someone else’s history, we can’t make any traction — foremost because too often those in the West writing the story would prefer we were something other than we are.

These biases ultimately make their way in our textbooks, our media and our public consciousness. Gone are the days when children thought and were taught that being American was something special. Here are the days when we agree with those who hate us that we deserve to be subjugated. There are several major themes of bias that you need to be aware of when you read or listen to anything from the Western intellectual establishment. These are the things that you cannot say. And remember, anything that is proscribed in public culture is likely proscribed because it is true. Dare to Discover.

 

Pro-Communist Bias. The pro-communist bias is very strong throughout all textbooks. It would take multiple posts to even scratch the surface of the mistelling of history on this account. Of course it does not show up by making Stalin out to be a wonderful man — because that would be indefensible. It shows up at every other point. First, keep in mind that the total body count of Communism in the 20th century staggers anything in history: 100 million dead. It was not a Stalin problem. It was a problem with the entire system. Wherever it went it brought poverty and murder. Few textbooks will highlight the famine that occurred in the first years of Lenin’s reign, much less how Herbert Hoover saved millions of them from starvation. Most perpetuate the myth of “good Lenin” and “bad Stalin.” In fact, both have their body counts. Lenin was a revolutionary without any scruple for human life who wanted Communist revolution to dominate the world. The entire story of the 20th century after WWI should be told in light of this Communist desire to take over the world. If you take this orienting view it all makes perfect sense. Instead we are treated to “home-grown” revolutions in places like Cuba and Algeria, which were really fomented by the Soviet Union. We are lacerated about Vietnam and the “domino theory” but not told that after we pulled out, the result was the Cambodian “killing fields.” We are told that McCarthy was a terrible demagogue, but not that he was actually trying to stop real Communists who had infiltrated the very highest levels of government. If any of this is news to you, the whole truth might make you hate your education. The “Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” is the backup for the real scholars story about Communism, the one you’re not allowed to tell. You can also try Richard Pipes’ Communism: A History for a quick introduction.

 

Pro-Islamic bias. It is hard to believe that is actually possible, but yes, the pro-Islamic bias in our texts is even worse the the pro-Communist bias. This may be because there are actually knowledgeable vested parties who were witness to the 20th century and so you at least have to mitigate the story somewhat. It is not the case with Islamic bias. I recently have reviewed several major world and western civilization textbooks. They were all revised post-911 by Islamic scholars with a clear agenda of making Islam look good, to the point where it would almost be humorous. In one, it is emphasized what a good family man Mohammad was because he stayed with his first wife until her death. Of course they neglect to mention all of those other wives and concubines. In all of them, there is barely even any discussion of the Muslim conquest. It is almost as if Islam just shows up and everyone is thrilled to convert. Then we are told things like the defeat of the Moors at Tours by Charles “The Hammer” was really just a “seasonal raiding party” not intended on conquest. I’m sure even the Muslims are at home laughing at that one. We are told of the foibles of the crusades but never told that they were in large part a defensive enterprise against jihad intended to conquer all of Europe. Does this excuse the mistakes? No, but we are never even told of things like the Muslim practice of taking Christian children from their parents and forcing them to convert and serve in the army. You’ll find a completely unbalanced portrayal complete with stories of advanced Muslim culture, kindness to Jews and Christian, and singing Kum Ba Yah. It’s really more befitting a religious history than a secular history, but try any random Western book on Islam and it’s all there. Paul Fregosi’s “Jihad in the West”, and anything by Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or are strong scholarly treatments, while Robert Spencer’s books are a nice treatment for laymen.

 

Pro-Native bias is another major “anti-Western” theme. Under this bias, you will be treated to the “noble savages” who all around the world were much better off before encountering the West. Instead of a story about about how the Spanish ended the Aztec civilization which ripped the still beating hearts out of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in gruesome orgies of human sacrifice, you will learn about what a bad guy Cortez was. It seems almost unconscionable. You will not be told about the practice of slavery among the Northwest Indian tribes, and if you are, they will go to great lengths to convince you it was a much better practice in some way that slavery in the south. In general you will not be told that slavery is a near universal human institution, which was generally only abolished by the rise of Christianity. In general, as wave after wave of barbarians invade civilization, you will not be given a real portrait of how pagan these guys are, and how much Christianity did to civilize them.  The Vikings did, after all, stop their practice of impaling babies on their swords for sport. By not telling us how different they were from us we fail to learn how much Christian though did to civilize the world. Try and find a chapter on Chinese foot binding or Indian funeral pyres, or on the role played by missionaries in establishing most of the world’s written languages. Try and find anything about how un-Civilized even the civilized Romans and Greeks were. You will not be told much about the horrors of the Coliseum and the gladiators, the extensive practice of chattel slavery, or their sexual mores. I highly recommend Discovering God: The Origins of the Great Religions and the Evolution of Belief by Rodney Stark to get you started decoding this mess.

What is the unifying theme in all of these stories? Revulsion for the Christian foundation of the West and the desire to prop up anything that makes it look bad. Whatever your religious background, once you see this theme, it jumps out easily because the dots are too easy to connect. Dare to Discover.

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