15 January 2011

Academic Snobs & The Tea Party


Fellow history blogger, Chris Wehner, beat me to the punch on a post about how some historians and those on the left are either intentionally misleading others about the Tea Party movement or, are embarrassingly ignorant about this political phenomenon. Chris takes his cue from historian Gordon S. Wood's review of Jill Lepore’s The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History:

It is very easy for academic historians to mock this special need, and Harvard historian Jill Lepore, as a staff writer for The New Yorker, is an expert at mocking. Her new book, which mingles discussions of the present-day Tea Party movement with scattershot accounts of the Revolution, makes fun of the Tea Party people who are trying to use the history of the Revolution to promote their political cause. From her point of view, “What would the founders do?” is an “ill-considered” and “pointless” question. ~ Professor Gordon Wood

Whoa. That sounds like something I would have written. As I commented on Chris's blog . . . "I already had something in the works along this same line. Not a review specifically of LePore's book (I would not waste my Amazon gift card on that), but some observations on how many on the left (and in the history related blogosphere) are either woefully ignorant of the TP movement or, more likely, intentionally slandering it. I have to admit, I'm a bit taken aback at the intensity and tone of Wood's criticism, but nonetheless find it quite refreshing!"

I love this comment by Wood and his words should be reflected upon by other historians and bloggers who've made similar inaccurate and slanderous comments about the TP'rs:

The Tea Partiers are certainly not scholars, but their emotional instincts about the Revolution they are trying to remember on behalf of their cause may be more accurate than Lepore is willing to grant. (Emphasis mine)

A breath of fresh air. Nor does Professor Wood appear to think too much of the cute little phrase "historical fundamentalism" used by LePore - a phrase other academic snobs have also used in an attempt to marginalize historians and others who take a more traditional view of our Nation's history. Chris closes his own post with this rhetorical question:

. . . perhaps, for Academic snobs such as Lepore the only good movement is a Liberal movement?
Stay tuned, I'll be adding my thoughts in a more detailed post soon. I think I'll title it: Historical Progressivism.

1 comment:

Lindsay Horne said...

GREAT post, with some "right-on" points.