1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9892/american-history-is-not-what-they-say/

American History Is Not What They Say

May 4, 2009 by

What Americans know and understand about the history of the society in which they live will determine the degree of their willingness to honor and preserve its ideals and traditions. More than that: it will determine what they regard as the ideals and traditions of their society. It will determine nothing less than the kind of society they will seek to strengthen and perpetuate. FULL ARTICLE

{ 15 comments }

Barry Loberfeld May 4, 2009 at 8:14 am

But one example of how our history has been perverted:

What enables the Anti-Religious Left to use public education as a political weapon in the culture wars? The pretense that they are fighting only to maintain the “wall of separation between Church and State.” And what makes that pretense possible is a contemporary “liberal” interpretation of Jefferson’s metaphor — and thus Madison’s amendment — that is actually a misrepresentation on almost every point, i.e., an approach that can only topple that wall. The Founders’ “Church” is not a synonym for Christianity or even supernaturalism. It stands for the religious convictions of American citizens — whatever they might be. That’s why the First Amendment guarantees freedom of “religion” to the atheist as well as to every kind of theist. Quoting Jefferson: “[I]t does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god.” And the “State” does not mean government in any form. It stands for the limited state, the federal government established by the Constitution. It is by limiting itself to an area of specific functions (Article I, Section 8) that the “State” separates itself from those areas then left to the “Church,” that is, the various private (i.e., consensual) institutions formed by a free people wherein to practice their diverse beliefs. (With the Fourteenth Amendment, the “State” came to subsume also the state governments. See Michael Kent Curtis’ No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights.)

Regrettably, most of this is lost on today’s self-designated “civil libertarians,” who have instead distilled the metaphor — and thus the amendment — to mean: “Where the State is, the Church cannot be.” But here the “State” is the interventionist state. As this government bursts its original boundaries and expands into previously separated areas, their native institutions must be purged of all expressions of religious conviction. It is ultimately a theory of, not classical liberal Church-State separation, but state imperialism — i.e., not secularism, but socialism. And if you’ve never seen it stated quite so explicitly, we’ve all witnessed it being implemented publicly for decades.

From “Knocking OVER the Wall: The Suppression of Church by State.”

fundamentalist May 4, 2009 at 8:50 am

I think the best description of the US is that of a society made up of typical humans. We have high ideals in print (the Constitution and Declaration of Independence) but our actions fall far short of those ideals. Human nature cannot live up to them.

Michael A. Clem May 4, 2009 at 9:49 am

The more I think about it, the more important our understanding of history seems to be. What if America wasn’t founded on high ideals, but on other, lower, human aspirations, and those high ideals were just the propaganda of their time that has become our nation’s “history’? A realistic look at our own history might help overcome the “state worship” that so many people are enamored with, and give us a better perspective on the true nature of government.

Curt Howland May 4, 2009 at 9:56 am

Michael, that is exactly what “Hamilton’s Curse” provides.

Human nature, foibles, base motivations, even hypocrisy and deliberate misdirection.

As if those are modern inventions!

Tim Kern May 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

“This alternative vision sees America’s past as a series of betrayals by political leaders of all major parties, in which the liberal ideals on which this country was founded have been gradually abandoned and replaced by precisely the sorts of illiberal ideals that America officially deplores. In effect, say Howard Zinn and a growing chorus of others, we have become the people our founding fathers warned us (and tried to protect us) against. ”

Well, on the one hand, it’s important to know that politicians are interested in their personal power and status to the expense of everything else, and that a democracy is perfectly set up for them to achieve those goals.

On the other hand, it’s important to see that the Founders wrote a Constitution that formed a republic, designed specifically to thwart those natural instincts of politicians. Rather than present America’s history as a series of malevolent or perfidious acts, it might be better to present it as the constant battle between what America stood for (embodied in the Constitution) and what the politicians in all three branches of federal government have continuously tried to make it.

When students realize that the battles are not about which “side” (right or left, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat) is worse for freedom but that all politicians work against individual freedom, we might see the trials, hangings, and revolution we need to protect the individuals’ freedoms against the assault of the political (ruling) class.

I sure miss the Constitution, and I consider it a shame when protecting it is seen as treasonous or revolutionary.

Fred May 4, 2009 at 10:57 am

Thes book with the title beginning “Ten Thousand Commandments …”, about anti-trust laws is well worth reading as well.

prettyskin May 4, 2009 at 11:45 am

**Yet these injustices had been corrected in time, and the formerly mistreated groups had been integrated into full citizenship and full participation in the liberty, prosperity, and peace that were the birthright of every American…**

Wow, still perpetuating! Non-white people have learned to live in a nation that does not fully accept them. It is this adjustment that is being used to justify ill behaviors as “corrected in time”. The offenders taking full credit because the outcome can be twisted into their own benefit.

Arrogance and delusion are the fabrics of the American history. The Founders justified their actions by seeking out men who read and write that sided with their views and published those views as the Gospel. History is written by the winners, never the losers.

America is a nation governed by constitutional laws. The constitution is the law of the land. It was written and influenced by white supreme thinkers. No where was it intended for non-white people. Today, this constitution is in placed and is honored by ‘implied’ powers.”Alexander Hamilton invented the idea of “implied powers” of the Constitution.

Therefore, this is a nation with mythological history.

billwald May 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm

>How can we account for this? Why, suddenly, is there a substantial market for a version of American history quite unlike anything most Americans had ever encountered?

1. “The side that wins the war writes the history.” We just had a war.

2. “Follow the money.”

Either the people who wrote the Constitution wanted a country of big businesses refereed by the Supreme Court or they were sloppy writers. The complaints in and regarding the essay were about a historical development that logically followed the Constitution.

Fred May 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I think the internet has a lot to do with an increase in the alternative history. The Mises Institute web site is an excellent example. Prior to the internet, access to information was significantly more limited and more expensive. Consider the availability of excellent information on economics available from this web site. (I for one, would never have become aware of Austrian Economics, the only economics which I managed to understand.) Add to economic material, the “old” books by Flynn, Chodrov, Rothbard, Garret and others and the questioning, open mind has plenty of fodder.

thomerr May 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm

The founders failed to protect us from the political class by instituting term limits on the triad of the federal government. The Supreme Court even has life terms which is antithetical to avoiding the power grabbing Mr. Kern discusses above.

The founders went to great lengths to protect us from the mob (democracy) but failed to foresee the problem with the power hungry political class. I can only believe that the founders either wanted to “keep” the power they personally held themselves from the beginning, or it was truly an oversight. Unfortunately, I believe it was the former.

Compounding the failure of the founders, I believe they should have identified minimum qualifications for voting (i.e., land owners over age 25 and military persons/veterans over 18). These people have the real stake in the actions of the government (paying taxes and going to war). The mob (democracy) can not be trusted as they will ALWAYS vote for the most largesse they can obtain “for nothing”. Of course, this means taking something from those that “have” and giving it to those that “don’t have”.

I truly believe we need to correct this wrong by adding term limits to the Constitution and, further, repeal the 17th and 26th Amendments, allowing Senators to be elected by popular vote and moving the voting age to 25 (18 for military and veterans).

Fred May 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm

I think the internet has a lot to do with an increased interest in the alternative history. The Mises Institute web site is an excellent example. Prior to the internet, access to information was significantly more limited and more expensive. Consider the availability of excellent information on economics available from this web site. (I for one, would never have become aware of Austrian Economics, the only economics which I managed to understand.) Add to economic material, the “old” books by Flynn, Chodrov, Rothbard, Garret and others and the questioning, open mind has plenty of fodder.

filc May 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm

“The constitution is the law of the land.” “No where was it intended for non-white people. ”

Seems to me to be the opposite. The constitution is a document protecting minorities as it does not differentiate or recognize different “peoples”. Only the common man.

It seems to me that the constitution is the single biggest obstacles for all modern politician’s or “white men” as you call it. No where near the Law of the Land as you have labeled it. Had that been so I think our history would have been quiet different. So your argument really makes no sense.

Why any minority would support our current practice of stifling civil liberties is far beyond me.

prettyskin May 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

@ filc

Ahhh, Who were the “common man” during the construction of the Constitution?
You must be referring to the U.S. mythological history and its writers of delusion of grandeur.

N. Joseph Potts June 11, 2009 at 12:38 pm

I think “Holocaust Remembrances” qualify as “hate speech” (against Germans, of course).

Not that I approve of “hate speech” laws, of course – they are just commonly used by Holocaust affirmers against those who dare to express any doubt about anything they affirm.

newson December 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

look where the above-mentioned manichean reasoning can lead:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpPABLW6F_A&feature=related

in a similar way, you believe us or you hate us. horrible.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: