28 November 2013

How Canting Ideologues Of The Institutionalized Left Use History

I came across a fascinating and inspiring article this morning. Here are a couple of the quotes which jumped out and grabbed my attention:
For Jews it is a reminder that the Jewish heritage is worth defending. It’s a memorial to the conviction that God directs history, which implies at times it is right to organize and resist tyrannous governments that undermine freedom.
For decades, the Institutional Left has invested its resources in seizing the initiative to narrate American history in order to frame it according to their ideological presuppositions . . . The Institutional Left understands the importance of a shared cultural history, which is why it invests so much energy in repeating the narrative that the founders were racists and oppressors. The founders must be made into villains in order to undermine their position of authority, a significant pillar undergirding the authority of our founding document, the Constitution. (Emphasis mine.)
This is why self-proclaimed "activist historians" and "enemies of American Exceptionalism" do what they do. There is an end-game.

The article the above quote comes from will dovetail nicely with another post I'm writing about popular history and why writers like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and David McCullough (as diverse as there are), are popular and why they are having an impact, despite academia's disdain for their perspectives. 

The writer from the quoted piece also asks some very simple, but profound questions in regards to our history and they are particularly appropriate to consider as we gather with family and friends to give thanks to Almighty God for our blessings:
A people need more than the news. They need a shared, documented, cultural history . . . What is the history of our people? Will we protect that history? Will we celebrate it? Where do we start?
I can tell you one thing for sure, activist historians of the institutionalized left and enemies of American Exceptionalism will not protect; nor celebrate our history. Those of us who understand why they don't should; and without apology.

Happy Thanksgiving.

More of this interesting article here.

27 November 2013

Are Academics Narrow Minded?

“Okay. So just so you know, this is a university professor that is surprised because we’re all [supposed to be ] rubes. We’re all idiots. We’re all stupid,” Glenn said. “We’ve never read a book before in our life and we certainly would much rather look for miracles that have nothing to do with the miracle of science. We just believe that only our magic sky god can do anything. And medicine should all be chased out because it’s witchcraft.”
But then, there was this revelation moment from a Yale professor:
. . . I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico). I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view. 
What was it the Yale professor was embarrassed about?
Dan Kahn, a professor of law at Yale Law School, recently released data on the relationship between “science comprehension” and political outlooks. And, much to Kahn’s surprise, the data found a strong correlation between science comprehension and self-identified TEA Party members.
Notice that the Professor confessed that he essentially lives in an intellectual bubble - something academics often accuse those on the right of. He confesses he does not expose his mind to diverse opinions and points of view. As I've said many, many times - they're simply projecting when making these accusations of those on the right. It is rather entertaining to watch these folks have head on collisions with reality.

There are good reasons for the studies conclusion. Fundamentally, modern liberalism is based on emotion and looking inward while conservatism is based on logic and reason and looking outward. There's much more to the differences, but these are some of the primary differences.

More here.

26 November 2013

Who Wrote Dixie?

From the University of Illinois Press's website:
Who really wrote the classic song “Dixie”? A white musician, or an African American family of musicians and performers?
This book traces the lives of the Snowdens, an African American family of musicians and farmers living in rural Knox County, Ohio. Howard L. Sacks and Judith Rose Sacks examine the Snowdens' musical and social exchanges with rural whites from the 1850s through the early 1920s and provide a detailed exploration of the claim that the Snowden family taught the song "Dixie" to Dan Emmett--the white musician and blackface minstrel credited with writing the song. This edition features a new introduction in which the authors discuss the public response to this controversial claim, and present new information on the Snowdens' musical and social experiences.

"An intriguing and textured portrait of a black family in the nineteenth-century North. . . . Arguing that those who have searched for black influences on minstrelsy have exclusively and mistakenly focused on the South, the authors seek to demonstrate the closely intertwined traditions of black and white music above the Mason-Dixon line. . . . Not only has blackface minstrelsy exerted ‘a pervasive impact on American music' . . . it has also served as both symbol and metaphoric expression of the complexities of American racial identity."--Drew Gilpin Faust, New York Times
Yes, the book has been out a while, but some historians are apparently unaware of this side of the story. I actually have the book in my library somewhere, though I've only skimmed it. 

Metal Detecting Post #108 - Boots On - I Was Born Too Late

Four of my very dearest treasures are shown near the end of the video. A blessed Thanksgiving to all.

24 November 2013

Metal Detecting Post #107 - The Over-Educated & Grave Robbers Working Together

UPDATE: Within hours after posting this, I received an email from Matt Reeves with a link to the latest news on this topic. Very interesting! Read here
(End of update.)

On two recent occasions, I've had the opportunity to participate in artifact recoveries at James Madison's Montpelier. Unfortunately for me, circumstances would not allow me to do so. Maybe next year. These are supervised relic hunts where metal detectorists work alongside archeologists to locate, recover and preserve artifacts which otherwise might not ever be recovered. I came across this news article about recent recovery efforts. Here's a few excerpts from the article:
“There’s always been kind of a disparity. They think we’re grave robbers, we think they’re overeducated,” said 52-year-old Ron Guinazzo, a firefighter from Chicago who has been metal-detecting for 30 years. “But to learn we have the same love of history and to find a common ground where we can work to try and retrieve the artifacts from the ground and put them where they belong, that’s the big thing.”
Here's the money quote:
The use of metal detectors has assisted in uncovering several historic sites at the plantation, including elusive slave quarters, Civil War camps, a blacksmith’s workshop and old tobacco barns, often found faster than traditional archaeological methods. For example, identifying the area used to cure tobacco would’ve normally taken three years. It took three months using metal detectors.
Now I don't want to disparage anyone here, but I find it intriguing that the "over-educated" take more than 3 times as long to accomplish one of their primary tasks than do the "under-educated." There's a lesson there to educate us all. Working together is just part of that lesson.

Dr. Matt Reeves, who runs the program at Montpelier, is using his expertise and training, along with common sense, to preserve our nation's history and he's doing a fantastic job. 

Full story here.

I may have posted this video before, but if the subject matter interests you, it's worth watching. It's a great example how professionals involved in preserving our nation's history can work together with "amateurs" toward that same goal.

23 November 2013

Thanksgiving Southern Style With The Robertsons

A Southern gospel story. Worth your time to watch and listen, if you'd like to understand a slice of Southern culture and, more importantly, the Christian faith. A truly, truly wonderful and inspiring story. I absolutely loved watching this. "The infinite power of story."

More inspiring stories here, from all walks of life.

I Want One For Christmas - Fetch Boy, Fetch

22 November 2013

How Historians Distort The Past

As we remember John F. Kennedy today, let us remember him honestly.
Both Sorensen and Schlesinger, while quoting extensively from the American University speech in their books, entirely excised its two most hawkish lines, the ones about how “As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity,” and, “The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today.”
And . . . 
. . . Jacqueline Kennedy, in September 1966, was reportedly “deeply critical of all books about her husband, even Schlesinger’s A Thousand Days.” They portrayed him, inaccurately, as more left-wing than he really was.
My father believed JFK was the greatest man of his day. In many ways he was; if for no other reason than the responsibilities upon his shoulders during the Cold War and the events which Providence handed him. While JFK has been embraced as an icon of the left, many of his actions and words tell a completely different story. The best way to honor his memory is to remember him honestly.

More here.

21 November 2013

Lincoln Was A Democrat

Wow, you learn something every day. Shouldn't there be an accompanying interpretive plaque, or maybe this should be taken down and placed in a museum so it could be "properly interpreted in context" by experts. More here.

20 November 2013

College Students & The Gettysburg Address - It Ain't Pretty

On the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s reading of the Gettysburg Address, Dan Joseph of the Media Research Center interviewed college students at George Mason University to see how much they know about arguably one of the most famous speeches ever given. The short answer? It’s not pretty.

Any wonder why homeschooling has become so popular?

19 November 2013

Rush Revere Rides! (And Glenn Beck Is Close Behind)

Critics are offended the Pilgrims are portrayed as heroic and courageous, not as murdering, evil invaders. [No doubt to the consternation of the academic grudge-holding crowd.] Limbaugh believes kids are getting such a distorted and negative view of the nation’s founders and that’s why he wrote the book.

Turns out it is a darned good story, [Imagine that!!] remarkably popular, [Like I said . . .] and more Rush Revere adventures from American history seem sure to come. Horrifying, eh? (Bracketed comments mine.)
More of the review here

And another conservative talk radio host is running rings around historians. Glenn Beck's Miracles and Massacres is also near the top of the Amazon charts:
History is about so much more than memorizing facts. It is, as more than half of the word suggests, about the story. And, told in the right way, it is the greatest one ever written: Good and evil, triumph and tragedy, despicable acts of barbarism and courageous acts of heroism.

The things you’ve never learned about our past will shock you. The reason why gun control is so important to government elites can be found in a story about Athens that no one dares teach. Not the city in ancient Greece, but the one in 1946 Tennessee.
More here. And you can watch an interview about Beck and his book on the Today Show below. When it comes to American history, who is really reaching the masses? The answer to that question has to be driving the elites mad.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Some might be surprised to hear Beck state that "We [America] did a lot wrong." Of course, he puts it all in context and is not agreeing with progressive historians who take that part of our history and gallop to a "let's transform America into a socialist state while we trash our traditions" perspective. And there's a very fundamental reason for that which escapes most progressives.

Yet there are some of the inner circle who are aware of the "reaching the masses" problem, even if they don't quite understand all the reasons it exists:
"The problem with academic historians is they are not reaching a wide popular audience," *Shoaf said. He said there is a need for factual, well-researched historical articles that are moderately priced and appeal to the masses. Shoaf said that in his business, people often are reluctant to read social history because they think it is boring. (Source.) *Dana Shoaf was (maybe still is) editor of the Civil War Times.
It's much more than just "boring", though that is a major problem. If you doubt me, read their books and blogs. People are also reluctant to read "social history" because they are sick and tired of being preached to by moralists who want to use their platform as an America bash-fest. Until they admit that and change, they'll never reach a wide popular audience. And that's a good thing.

18 November 2013

The Absurd Belief

A trillion dollars in student loans. Record high unemployment. Three million good jobs that no one seems to want. The goal of Profoundly Disconnected is to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success.
Nothing really new, you just have to get above all the noise and propaganda to see all the other paths - and there are many. I took one of them. More here.

16 November 2013

If Jesse James Knows This - He's Smiling

Over a century after the death of notorious Wild West outlaw Jesse James, the gunslinger’s Colt .45 revolver is going up for auction and is expected to sell for more than $1.6 million.
Story here.

15 November 2013

Conservatives Write The Most Popular History Books

From the Drudge Report 11/15/13:
Maybe more conservatives actually read. Or, maybe, the great unwashed in between the airports simply reject the grudge-holder perspective. 

Metal Detecting Post #106 - Recent Civil War Recoveries

The piece on the left is a shell fragment. The round brass piece is the center part of a fuse from a Schenkl Shell. Here's what it would have looked like in the shell.
From ShilohRelics.com

The whitish lead piece is a finial from a percussion cap box - most likely Confederate. It was also likely carved by a soldier from a bullet. The dark part on the finial is actually some remaining leather from the cap box - still there after 150 years. I recovered all of these items recently on private property here in the Shenandoah Valley - with permission from the landowner, of course. Stonewall Jackson was on this field.

13 November 2013

Reflections On The Sesquicentennial

Publisher Stephen Sylvia penned some insightful thoughts in the last issue of North South Trader's Civil War. Here's an excerpt:
Steve Sylvia
When I was a youngster during the Centennial, much of Kantor's vision eluded me, but given the sense of nationalism that pervaded in the Centennial era, I recall being somewhat conflicted about his conclusion about a peaceful postwar disunion. I just couldn't imagine the North and the South being two separate nations. As one nation, we had saved the world---twice. We were united by a new highway system that made nationwide travel accessible and appealing. Television was making us all laugh and cry and applaud the same things from Maine to southern California. We were about to conquer space. America ruled the universe and everyone knew it.

Fifty years later I find myself utterly amazed that the cohesiveness and national pride of that era is gone. A half century of assaults, both within and without, by those seeking a bigger slice of the pie for themselves or someone they believed deserved it has brought us to our knees.

Unlike the schism of 1860, today's isn't a geographic separation but wholly ideological ones. America today seems as divided as it was in 1860---or worse. At least in 1860, Americans were united by a common sense of national pride, an adherence to traditional values, and a common moral compass. We were separated primarily by politics and the economies of different geographic areas. Today, it seems we have less in common than we did 150 years ago. (Emphasis mine.)
Question: Why is the national pride of that era gone? Could it possibly have anything to do with what I posted the other day? I recommend the whole piece here.

11 November 2013

Veterans Day 2013

This is an old photograph of my grandfather, *Frank McKinley Coffey. During WWI, he served in the 35th Division, 128th Field Artillery and fought in the Battle of Argonne Forest. A native of Love, Nelson County, he was born July 9, 1895 a son of Nicholas Anderson and Violet Matilda Coffey. In early life he was engaged in farming and for a number of years was employed by DuPont. He also operated a mercantile business at Mint Spring and was last employed at DeJarnette State Sanatorium until he retired. He died in 1967 when I was 9 years old.

He was also the grandson of Morris P. Coffey, a Confederate Veteran who was twice wounded while serving with the 51st Virginia Infantry. Morris Coffey was also a POW at Point Lookout, Maryland.

Thanks to all our patriotic veterans who serve to protect our freedom.

*Some information copied from Find a Grave.

09 November 2013

Historical "Memory" Is All The Rage These Days

Yet few who claim to be experts in it, truly understand it. And their rage is the cause of the rage or, maybe it's the other way around. This really struck me when I heard the following statement while listening to the radio one morning last week. Think about the following statement:
". . . awareness of the present and future aren't the most important predictors of a satisfying, meaningful life. Instead, extensive studies show that our most important orientation toward time is a positive appreciation of the past. The more we savor memories of relationships and let go of grudges ... the more we connect to our roots and let go of our forebears' failings ... the more we treasure their legacy and let go of the myth that we are self-made: the stronger our sense of a positive past, the better grounded and centered we will be. In fact, the more crazy and stressful our circumstances, the more the past helps us navigate our way. ~ Dr. Christine Chakoian
This is so blatantly obvious and simple that I think many tend to overlook and forget it. While it is simple and obvious, it is still quite profound. Doesn't this explain a lot of what professional and academic historians are writing these days? Doesn't this explain why so many vocal "activist historians" are anything but "centered"? There seems to be a rather conformist, consistent, canned and constant "beating up" of our past in America by many professional historians. National Review editor, Andrew McCarty hit the nail on the head when addressing this obsession academia has with its holding a grudge against America's past:
What most frustrates Americans is that we are a happy, optimistic, can-do people ceaselessly harangued by media solons, delusional academics, post-sovereign Eurocrats, and the Democrats who love them. While we free and feed the world, they can’t tell us enough that we’re racist, imperialist, torturing louts. We know it’s a libel, an endless stream of slander. But we also know it’s an absurd libel. We’re tired of hearing it, but taking it too seriously would give it power it doesn’t deserve. ~ Andrew McCarthy (Emphasis mine.)
Progressive historians hold grudges. Just peruse some of the more popular "memory" blogs and writers who focus on American history. The vast majority of their writings, posts, comments are about America's faults and national sins: in their world racism, sexism, imperialism, etc. They are absolutely obsessed with it. Bitter and angry, every post is little more than a platform and another opportunity to launch into negative comments and complaints about America's evil founding and history and to attack traditionalists who revere and respect our history, as imperfect as it is.

And historians' obsession with "holding a grudge" against America's past is unhealthy - both figuratively and literally. I think they might need some anger-management sessions.

05 November 2013

How Does The Fruit Of Canting Ideologues Taste?

The video features Mr. Barron, who has long taken exception to the lack of diversity in the art of the City Council’s ornate chamber, excitedly pointing to clear plastic bags installed to cover a statue of Thomas Jefferson and a portrait of George Washington.

“I finally did it. I bagged Thomas Jefferson,” the term-limited Mr. Barron declares, calling Mr. Jefferson a “slaveholding pedophile.”
Story here.
. . . in these dreariest of days in Academia . . . American history has largely become a plaything for canting ideologues . . . our times call for a correct ideological line, which at its increasingly popular extreme regards the Old South as a rehearsal for Nazi Germany and calls for the eradication of all traces of the conservative voices that have loomed so large in southern history . . . [There is a] step-by-step domination of departments of history in our southern as well as northern universities by those who regard what Richard Weaver aptly called the Southern Tradition and all its works as an evil past to be exorcised by all means, fair and foul. ~ Eugene D. Genovese (The Southern Front - History and Politics in the Cultural War, page 25.)

Leftists Are Anti-Science

Ninety-percent of the time, "Morning Joe" is predominantly a rich, white, smug panel of elites who not only agree that government is good and conservatives are evil, but also agree that one another are wonderful. It is a velvet bubble within a bubbled bubble wrapped in satin. [Kinda like academia.] Every once in a while, though, a free-thinker gets through, which is what happened Thursday when the Washington Times' senior editor Emily Miller showed up to debate gun control.
You will want to pay special attention to 4:05 - 5:20 where Miller's calm, cool command of the facts makes Time's Mark Halperin look ridiculous:
Making Mark Halperin look ridiculous is not difficult, though Ms. Miller did do it with great skill. This is a clear illustration that the vast majority of those advocating more gun control have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. Utterly and embarrassingly stupid. The left's arguments (in just about every policy area) are, 99% of the time, based on emotion and not on reason, facts and logic.
. . . as Miller shows here, their arguments were and are anti-science, not based on facts, and cannot hold up to someone who knows what she is talking about. 

Video and quotes come from Breitbart.com.

02 November 2013

Recently Discovered Civil War Rosters

Click on image to enlarge
The Waynesboro Heritage Foundation has just launched its new website. Though it is still being tweaked and some bugs being worked out, it is very well done and professional looking. As a member of WHF and as one of the members of the Battle of Waynesboro Commemoration Committee, I am really excited about all the local history being posted on the WHF website. A very important and recent discovery was made regarding Civil War roster and the story was posted on the WHF website here.
More light has been thankfully shed with the recent discovery of seven pages of records for D Company, 25th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Virginia Volunteers, in the Army of the Confederate States. The unit was largely made up of local volunteers from Waynesboro, Staunton, Churchville, Fishersville, Greensville [sic], and Stuarts Draft amongst other nearby localities. After years of being lost and neglected, the papers were finally found at the Waynesboro Public Library and rescued. Now they have been preserved and are being kept at the Library of Virginia. Even though the documents are no longer kept in Waynesboro for viewing, the Library of Virginia has made exceptionally high quality digital copies of the documents and has given a set to the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation for research.

The Staunton (VA) News Leader also reported on the discovery. I am friends with the "mystery donor."

Also, a piece I wrote several years ago about the Battle of Waynesboro is posted on the WHF website here.