A Question of Purpose: What Do the Classics Mean in Today's Political Climate?
I guess there is a theme to my blog posts this week. Over on Live Science there is an interesting article on the cultural debate that arose after the BBC aired a documentary alleging that the terra cotta warriors unearthed near the tomb of China’s first emperor were the work of a Greek artisan, or produced under the influence of Greek sculpture. One of the archaeologists involved, Li Xiuzhen immediately backtracked in the face of criticism, distancing herself from art historian Luckas Nickel, who made the claim that the sculptures were directly created by Greek artisans or by Chinese workers under a Greek supervisor. Li alleged that the BBC had misrepresented her and made her out to be a believer in the Greek origin of Chinese sculpture. “The terracotta warriors may be inspired by Western culture, but were uniquely made by the Chinese,” she said. Other Chinese scholars were even more dismissive, with the official in charge of the emperor’s tomb, Zhang Weixing, bluntly stating that there was no evidence for contact with Greece at all.
There is, so far as I know, no archaeological evidence to connect the terra cotta warriors with Greek sculptors, and the argument is, so far, entirely stylistic, and, to my mind, not terribly convincing. However, because the sculptures show similarity to the Greco-Buddhist art of the Hellenistic Greek kingdoms of India, it is a possibility, though how direct the influence was, if there was any, is eminently debatable in the absence of evidence. What is interesting, though, is that the debate over the claim has focused far more on cultural tensions between East and West than about facts and evidence.
The authors of the Live Science article (which first ran in The Conversation), Johanna Hanink and Felipe Rojas Silva, provided an overview of the Western tendency to attribute all non-Western culture to white people from Europe or the lands of the Bible. They cited examples like Great Zimbabwe, which was wrongly declared to be the work of the Queen of Sheba, or Phoenicians, or a lost white race, right down to the fall of the white minority government of Rhodesia in 1981. And then they say this:
Art historian Michael Falser has recently shown how the concept of Greco-Buddhist art, or Buddhist art with a Greek "essence," is really a colonial notion that originated during British rule in India. In the West, examples of this art (represented largely by sculptures of Buddha), have since been largely interpreted as the result of Greek influence – and thus, implicitly, as an early example of successful European attempts to civilize the East.
Falser’s paper from last December is interesting, but it represents one of the problems with the extreme ends of historical scholarship, namely that the urge to use history for political and social ends tends to prioritize the feelings of modern populations. In this case, Falser has minimized the impact of Greek art on the subcontinent (and thus the areas influenced by it) by prioritizing scholarly engagement with early Buddhist art over the art itself. For him, Greco-Buddhist art is simply too rich a phenomenon to tease out its distinctively Greek component. He calls it “a discursive hybrid with local, regional, national, international, and global components alike.” In this reading, our understanding of art is really only engagement with the politics of the art historians: if early scholars were Eurocentric racists, then their conclusions must be the product of imperialist and colonialist attitudes and can be rejected. Similarly, he says modern critics are “politically correct” in using art to craft a narrative of cooperation and peace. To what degree, then, does our frame of reference govern our very ability to perceive historical facts?
This logic is a little too postmodern for my taste, though, because Graeco-Buddhist art is not solely a fantasy imagined by colonial Europeans in India, no matter their reason for promoting its relative importance. The fact of the matter is that there was a Greek kingdom in India, and it produced art, and others took influence from that style. It’s difficult to argue that a Buddhist monument containing a Greek-style sculpture of Atlas holding up the heavens was made through sheer coincidence, or that the Corinthian capitals on the columns at Gandhara emerged in a vacuum. Surely, the early exponents of Greco-Buddhist art were racists who overemphasized its power and prevalence, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It would be like trying to deny (as Eurocentric historians tried in the past—and even in recent times) to deny the influence of Mesopotamian, Levantine, and Egyptian art and literature on that of early Greece. As recently as twenty years ago, it was still controversial to suggest that Homer’s Odyssey contained Mesopotamian motifs and influence.
As with all things, when the pendulum swings, it tends to overcorrect. Where past generations wanted to subsume the world beneath Western civilization, today many scholars are too quick to dismiss Western civilization altogether in their race to empower historically disadvantaged groups. This is one reason that I found an argument made this week about white nationalism and the Classics to be simultaneously enlightening and frustrating.
Donna Zuckerberg, the editor of Eidolon and a Classicist, decried the use of the Classics among white nationalists, the so-called alt-right, to give a gloss of intellectual respectability to their prejudices. She rightly noted that those who use the Classics uncritically fail to understand that the literature we inherited from Greece and Rome is not a fair representation of the entirety of Classical culture, but rather a representation of the viewpoints and disagreements of elite men. She also worries that the enthusiasm of white nationalists will lead to a renaissance of Classical studies for the wrong reasons, much as fascist support of Classicism perverted Classical Studies in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. There is, after all, a reason that both Mussolini and Hitler built oversized Neoclassical buildings as a way to resurrect their countries’ past glories in the face of “decadent” modernism.
Zuckerberg notes that alt-right proponents of the Classics make extreme forms of two key arguments for the study of the Classics: First, that the Classics are the foundation of Western civilization, and second, that understanding Classical Antiquity can help to prevent repetition of ancient political and military mistakes. She then makes an excellent point that it is the duty of those who actually know things about Classical Antiquity to point out when racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and general-issue hate-mongers misuse history for political ends:
It is time for Classics as a discipline to say to these men: we will not give you more fodder for your ludicrous theory that white men are morally and intellectually superior to all other races and genders. We do not support your myopic vision of “Western Civilization.” Your version of antiquity is shallow, poorly contextualized, and unnuanced. When you use the classics to support your hateful ideas, we will push back by exposing just how weak your understanding is, how much you have invested in something about which you know so little.
But then Zuckerberg tries to stake out a different claim for the Classics, mainly that they should be decoupled from Western civilization and that the foundations on which the West was formed should be undone in service of modern political concerns about race, class, and gender. She proposes an action plan for Classicists that would see them actively reject those who wish to understand Western civilization through the story of Greece and Rome:
When you hear someone —be they a student, a colleague, or an amateur — say that they are interested in Classics because of “the Greek miracle” or because Classics is “the foundation of Western civilization and culture,” challenge that viewpoint respectfully but forcefully. Engage them on their assumed definitions of “foundation,” “Western,” “civilization,” and “culture.” Point out that such ideas are a slippery slope to white supremacy. Seek better reasons for studying Classics.
She added that Classicists should avoid research into “elite white men” and privilege research into race, class, and gender issues over those of politics, international relations, or military history. To that end, she is starting a project to document alt-right use of the Classics and is publishing a book next year called Not All Dead White Men to explore diversity in the Classics.
Here is where her argument rubs me the wrong way. I think that in her right and righteous zeal to ensure that the Classics do not become the handmaiden of hate, as the Nazis happily used Tacitus’ Germania, Zuckerberg has let the pendulum swing too far in the direction of denying what the Classics actually are. Greece and Rome are the foundation of Western civilization, whether one likes that fact or not, and whether one supports that legacy or wishes to change it. Our political institutions, religious institutions, language, science, history, and culture are an outgrowth of the structures that built, sustained, and destroyed Rome. It is not much of a stretch to see the formational period of modern Western civilization in the Middle Ages as an argument between those who looked back to Rome and those who wanted to transform that inherited legacy into something new. Every European monarch for a thousand years aped the style of the Roman emperors, and less than 100 years ago there were still two monarchs in Europe—the Czar of Russia and the Austrian Kaiser—who traced not just their Caesarian titles but their imperial authority back to Rome, the Czar in what was allegedly a transmission of Eastern Roman authority to the Third Rome in Moscow, and the Kaiser through inheriting the power and glory of the defunct Holy Roman Empire in a transmission of the last vestiges of Roman glory. The Founders of the United States explicitly cited Roman precedent in establishing the Constitution, and when Napoleon promulgated his famous legal code, the basis for modern European jurisprudence, it took its form and inspiration from Justinian’s codification of Roman law.
It does not diminish the struggles of race, class, or gender to recognize the debt that the West owes to the elites who reigned in Greece and Rome, nor to acknowledge that not everyone wants to devote his or her life to social justice issues. Some people are genuinely interested in issues of power and privilege, of military campaigns and political disputes. These should not be delegitimized in a rush to man the barricades against rightwing extremists. Indeed, it plays right into their hands.
It is not possible to understand the political and even social history of Europe and therefore America without understanding the long shadow of Rome. (A recent history of the Dark Ages was even entitled The inheritance of Rome!) But understanding is not endorsement, and as Zuckerberg correctly notes, no one who loves the Classics should hesitate from acknowledging their biases, omissions, and failures. Yet to pretend they should speak primarily to the social justice issues of modern America is to make these texts into the same kind of political football that alt-right propagandists wish to do from the opposite direction.
11/23/2016 09:48:24 am
I wonder if ms zukerberg could go back to Rome and have a conversation with Cicero if he would have any idea what she was talking about and visa versa. Such ideas as the rule of law, inalienable rights, public virtue and duty and private property are not solely from western civ but western civ led to their almost universal adoption around the planet. Sometimes the elites even in their own time interprete history to create a narrative that isn't quite right. I seem to remember reading an interview with a 90 year old revolutionary war soldier around 1840. He was asked if he took up arms against intolerable oppressions or the stamp act or tea tax or was it reading John Locke and he said no to all of them.. He fought because we had always governed ourselves and they didn't mean we should.
11/23/2016 10:41:33 am
Please clarify your last sentence.
11/23/2016 11:52:38 am
Regarding the last sentence, I interpret it as meaning He (the revolutionary war soldier) fought because we (American colonists) had always governed ourselves and they (the British government) didn't mean we should (continue governing ourselves).
Titus pullo retuns
11/23/2016 12:52:05 pm
in 1842 91 year old captain Preston a veteran of the battle of concord was asked why he fought. Did you take up arms against intolerable oppression? Preston said he never felt any oppressions. Was it the stamp act? No he never saw one of those stamps. Was it the tea tax? No. Were you reading Jon Locke? No he only read the bible, the catechism, psalms, hymns, and the almanac. Why did you fight? Young man we meant in going for those redcoats was this, we always had governed ourselves and we always meant to. They, the redcoats didn't mean we should.
11/23/2016 02:20:28 pm
Okay, so I got it right. I agree with you. Titus, it is an odd way of phrasing his reason for fighting.
11/23/2016 03:59:58 pm
Thanks. I kinda thought that but I wasn't sure.
11/29/2016 11:33:52 pm
The language has changed since then. The old man's meaning was probably clear to people reading the article at that time.
11/23/2016 09:51:33 am
Great post by the way Jason! All week you have been hitting them out of the park. Happy thanks give to all. This is one of my favorite sites! I learn quite a bit from this blog.
11/23/2016 10:01:39 am
I, too, quirked my eyebrow at Zuckerberg's goal.
11/23/2016 10:47:20 am
This is not a case of the swinging of the historical pendelum this is revisionist history and no more defensible than the rightist rubbish in the Barnes Review. Whilst pretending an intellectual argument it merely reveals deep seated prejudices.
11/23/2016 11:47:53 am
>>>traced not just their Caesarian titles but their imperial authority back to Rome<<<
11/23/2016 12:17:17 pm
"The Founders of the United States explicitly cited Roman precedent in establishing the Constitution..."
11/23/2016 01:38:45 pm
The founders of the United States rejected Christianity
11/23/2016 12:33:44 pm
of course there was outside influence in creating the terracotta warriors. How else could you explain why realistic depictions of people actually look like real people?
11/23/2016 12:39:44 pm
It appears Donna Zuckerberg wants to PC the Classics.
11/23/2016 02:17:45 pm
I have a rather unusual view about the classics. It is generally accepted by historians and classicists that the fall of the Ronan Empire was what caused the Dark ages. I disagree, and think, to the contrary, that it was the rise of Rome that brought about the Dark Age. I think the Roman civilization was just a pale shadow of the glory of Greece, and that were it by for the rise of Rome, the so-called Dark age either would have never happened, or would have been much shorter. It was the Romans who first burned down the library of Alexander, violently persecuted and then blindly accepted the new religion of Christianity, practiced barbaric customs such as gladiatorial combat (which really is a form of human sacrifice). Roman civilization was, ultimately, in my view, a dead end, and an unworthy inheritor to the legacy of Greece. Of course, this view is extremely controversial, and would require an entire book to defend.
11/23/2016 02:19:36 pm
Sorry for the typos.
11/23/2016 03:08:20 pm
There is something in what you say, the Empire stripped Europe of most of its accumulated wealth and easily available resources, then packed up and moved East to concentrate on its major tax base the long established cities of Greece, Asia, and Egypt, leaving Europe to the foderati and rapid decline.
11/23/2016 03:06:39 pm
But Roman civilisation was a very very big shadow of the glory of Greece, which didn't immediately fall apart like Alexander's empire did. I think you're right that Rome caused the Dark Age, but it also made very large-scale social structures work for centuries, while allowing more social variation than the contemporary civilisation in China.
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 03:52:36 pm
Because of course there was a unified "Greek" civilization, as opposed to "various local flavors of Hellenism." And because of course Alexander's empire survived him. And because of course a one-generation empire is superior to one that lasts long enough to establish trade routes from York to Baghdad. Because of course the Greeks didn't ever do anything like sack Ctesiphon or Babylon on their way east.
11/23/2016 06:16:02 pm
Sure, the Romans built a great civilization which lasted far longer than the empire of Alexander, or the Athenian Empire. But how many great Roman thinkers were there? What did Rome do with the scientific and philosophical legacy it received from Greece? Few would argue that it improved upon what the Greeks had achieved. In the end, Rome was just a powerful empire that imposed its language, culture, and ideas on its neighbors by force, and really did very little to advance human civilization, except in the practical spheres of human life, such as government, the military arts, and engineering. If the Greeks were conquered by the Persian Empire in the early 5th century BC, the world would have lost an immeasurably great legacy. Western civilization as we know it would be radically different, and culturally, spiritually, and morally impoverished. But if the Romans had been conquered by Alexander the Great, and the Empire had continued for as long as the Roman Empire did, Western civilization as we know it would not have lost very much, save for Christianity. Would a non-Christian west have advanced further and faster than a Christian one? I believe so. I believe that the Greeks, were they allowed to develop their civilization independently of the Romans, would have created a modern and industrialized civilization by AD 0. Something amazing was happening in the Greek world, and in my view, the Roman way of life squelched it before it could develop into its full potential and glory.
11/23/2016 07:06:33 pm
What I've read so far is, "Greek good. Roman bad." This is an overly simplistic view of Classical history.
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 07:10:02 pm
Now I'm just a dumb gun bunny stick jockey, but it sounds to me like you're claiming that Cicero didn't exist, that Hero of Alexandria didn't benefit from the Pax Romana, and that the "Athenian Empire," properly called the Delian League, which was a strictly regional power over a very limited region and lasted from Themistocles to Alcibiades, couldn't even survive a war with even smaller regional powers, and was undone by wars with literally all of its neighbors (how do you think Alcibiades wound up in Syracuse?) was more important than a culture that made it possible to walk from one end of Europe to the other without fear of robbery, made it possible for those same Greek thinkers to be understood throughout the Mediterranean, and made sure a pound and a foot were a pound and a foot in London and Alexandria both?
11/23/2016 07:13:43 pm
>>>Now, I'm just a dumb grunt<<<
11/23/2016 07:15:02 pm
>>>Sure, the Romans built a great civilization which lasted far longer than the empire of Alexander, or the Athenian Empire.<<<
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 07:31:04 pm
Really? That feeble attempt at insult is the best you can do? I'm not terribly surprised, given that your religious ideas are par for the course for a high-school stoner, your political ideas consist of "WAAAH! MAGGIE RESCUE ME, MEAN PAKI TOOK MY JOB!," and your ideas about countries other than yours come from books with cardboard pages.
11/23/2016 07:35:00 pm
How do you know that UK Asians are not on the receiving-end of Eastern European immigrants being used to dilute the working classes and that they did not vote for Brexit?
11/23/2016 07:39:24 pm
In case you haven't worked it out -- the attempt by the UK High Court to scupper Brexit is done in order to maintain the rulership of politicians and company bosses to keep grinding the working classes down in order to dilute the UK working classes on the shop floor in factories and production lines.
11/23/2016 07:49:52 pm
"But how many great Roman thinkers were there?"
11/23/2016 07:53:31 pm
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 07:55:09 pm
I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the whining and fear over losing your specialness.
11/23/2016 08:00:37 pm
Citizens belonging to the countries of the British Commonwealth (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc) cannot come to live in the UK automatically - those who want to move to the UK must go through rigid vetting procedures and not everyone is accepted.
11/23/2016 08:05:19 pm
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 08:09:36 pm
See, I'd buy that argument a lot more if Brits didn't take advantage of Schengen when it benefited them, individually and severally, then retreat behind "this sceptered isle" as soon as there was the slightest chance of threat, if Pakistan and India hadn't, of their own accord, left the Commonwealth, if you hadn't bleated about the superiority of western culture at every opportunity, and if I gave a damn about your verbal diarrhea.
11/23/2016 08:12:54 pm
That doesn't address any of the issues raised,
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 08:18:27 pm
Why would I bother engaging you in debate? Mou just change the subject and move the goalposts, then retreat into your ignorance, bleat about your chosen two or three topics, and declare how much smarter you are than everyone else in the room. Even now all you do is talk about how those mean old Poles are stealing all the jobs of British workers, never mind that twenty years ago it was, as I've said, mean old Paki with his curry shops and his funny habits. You're a grade-A hypocrite, you don't provide more than anecdote, and when you're challenged it universally turns out the best you can do is insult. I'm skipping straight to the insult.
11/23/2016 08:21:58 pm
Absolute rubbish because what was happening 30-40 years ago (when there was no freedom of movement, no weapon against the working classes) cannot be compared with what's happening today (unlimited freedom of movement from Eastern Europe, used as a weapon against working classes).
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 08:32:51 pm
You're right. Twenty years ago race-baiting xenophobes didn't pop on down to the Pakistani embassy and ask about citizenship. Other than that, race-baiting xenophobes are race-baiting xenophobes. But by all means dress your fear up in "protect the working class."
11/23/2016 08:32:53 pm
To Over-Educated Grunt:
11/23/2016 08:38:12 pm
I'm not "dressing anything up"
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 08:40:08 pm
Sure, except for, off top of my head, the invention of concrete, the steam engine, the sewer system, the aqueduct, mass production, standardized weights and measures, increased literacy around the Mediterranean... Other than that, you're absolutely right, the Romans certainly didn't do anything in terms of science.
11/23/2016 08:44:26 pm
Let's get one thing straight once and for all - I am not against people going to other countries to find work. I am not against that in principle.
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 08:45:57 pm
How convenient, Brother Time Machine. You're a coward as well, since you're free with your opinions but you didn't commit to them to a vote. Meantime you've opened your face plenty of times about how "the world" is under threat while showing that "the world" stops at the Channel far as you're concerned. After all, according to you, all Christians are Catholics, the Vatican is a conspiracy, and western culture is inherently better just because.
11/23/2016 08:48:53 pm
Since I have presented my arguments transparently it is your agenda to sabotage what I have presented by giving a misleading description of them.
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 08:56:19 pm
You started with insult, then talk about how I'm trying to sabotage you. Behold the poor pitiful Little Englander! He's so so wronged!
11/23/2016 08:59:32 pm
>>scurry on back to cladding the Masons rule France<<
11/24/2016 07:36:12 pm
"Citizens belonging to the countries of the British Commonwealth (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc) cannot come to live in the UK automatically - those who want to move to the UK must go through rigid vetting procedures and not everyone is accepted."
11/23/2016 04:30:27 pm
I think you are idealizing 'Greek culture'. No culture is perfect. It was the Greeks who burned down the cultural/political center of Persepolis, oppressed and persecuted Judaism, and glorified the barbaric practice of human sacrifice (Iphigenia). Plus the intense misogyny of the Greeks, and general condensation towards non-Greeks. Furthermore, I could argue that Greek civilization was just a pale shadow of Mesopotamia, which was the root of Greek culture. If it weren't for the rise of Greece/Macedonia then the Dark Age might have been much shorter.
11/23/2016 04:39:29 pm
"general condensation towards non-Greeks"
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 05:00:25 pm
So you're saying the Greeks put a damper on other cultures?
11/23/2016 05:21:39 pm
Back in those days a little dampness could kill. Those cruel but patient Greeks. Almost as bad as typing on a phone.
11/23/2016 06:43:25 pm
This discriminating taste, this insistence on excellence, and intolerance of what did not meet that standard of excellence is precisely what I admire about the Greeks!
An Over-Educated Grunt
11/23/2016 07:11:43 pm
Ah yes, you admire discrimination against foreigners but we shouldn't confuse you with a white supremacist.
11/23/2016 07:17:38 pm
>>>Greek civilization was just a pale shadow of Mesopotamia<<<
11/23/2016 07:22:59 pm
Koine Greek was also the language of the Septuagint, and of most early Christian theological writing by the Church Fathers
11/23/2016 11:26:51 pm
Holy shit, Time Machine, even I, who has NEVER been a Christian, knows that the New Testament was written in at least three different languages--Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. You know, because the AUDIENCE to whom these books were written were largely Hebrew, Greek, and Roman.
11/24/2016 02:44:00 am
V did not understand that the New Testament was ORIGINALLY written in Koine Greek
11/23/2016 07:11:53 pm
>>>blindly accepted the new religion of Christianity
11/23/2016 11:22:47 pm
See, I think you're wrong, and it's because you're misunderstanding what's meant by "Dark Ages." They're not called the "Dark Ages" because they were universally horrifying. In fact, there was a great deal of cultural and technological growth during those times, along with some pretty significant wars. They're called the "Dark Ages" because record-keeping slowed to a near-halt.
3/7/2018 05:06:56 pm
I always harbored an instinctive disgust for the Roman Empire which I could never explain. I remember being in Rome, seeing the arch of Titus, and flicking my cigarette at it in disrespect. And then going to the Coliseum and finding I couldn't bring myself to enter. It's ridiculous - most ancient empires were brutal, as are the modern ones. Why Rome?
11/23/2016 11:35:05 pm
The only problem I have with "Grecoroman societies were THE foundation of Western society!" is how completely it ignores significant contributions on the part of the Germanic tribes, which also includes the "Vikings" (or rather, the Scandinavian peoples who, you know, came to be known as the Normans, the Anglo-Saxons, etc.), and the Celts, not to mention the Egyptians and the Arabic/Moorish peoples. Western society as it is now wouldn't exist without ALL of them.
just some guy, you know?
11/24/2016 02:18:31 am
The Greek city-states and the Roman empire as political entities were, in fact, the foundation of Western culture; later states made up of the peoples you mentioned were as bricks on that foundation. Recall that the Roman Empire contained within its borders all of those groups (except the Scandinavians, who are not in fact the predecessors to the Germans as you seem to imply).
just some guy, you know?
11/24/2016 02:20:15 am
I should add that those peoples' contributions were not insignificant in the least, just that they did not form the foundation of Western society.
11/24/2016 02:46:01 am
See, even those commentators on this Blog that think they know more than V are as equally bad and culpable
11/24/2016 03:25:29 am
Falser & Zuckerberg are following the current mantra of the modern progressive movement "This offends me, make it go away". I can remember thoughts similar to this popping into my head around the time of the first flush of 'Political Correctness' back in 1990s when I was reading a history of Britain's Colonial Wars and it began with an apology for including unedited excerpts of period texts that included actual sentiments of the time that would now be considered racist.
11/24/2016 08:26:39 am
Take care. There is a huge difference between "peoples of the past" and "people of the past". "Peoples" are largely cultural groupings, which are quite capable of developing, over time, an acceptance of concepts like slavery if they are the beneficiaries of such concepts. "People" as individuals were just as capable of thinking "slavery is bad" and setting out arguments for why it's bad, as they are now- but changing a culture in ways which are not beneficial to the dominant factions of that culture is more difficult than changing it in the opposite direction.
11/24/2016 07:50:05 pm
The problem is that (a.) the progressives are not making that distinction and (b.) thanks to the spread of post-modernism beyond literary criticism (which is where it started...) a significant portion of the population believes that the facts and evidence are inferior to opinions and that what feels right must be right.
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
11/24/2016 03:12:28 pm
The problem is that Facebook is being used to disseminate outright partisan lies, on both the right and the left. There's a growing industry in manufacturing that kind of stuff and spreading it online. That doesn't mean that Facebook is doing the right thing in combating the misinformation—the details about what they're doing are complicated—but the proliferation of online falsehoods is worrisome.
7/27/2017 10:02:02 pm
The progressives can be history distorters but conservatives can be just as bad or even worse with twisting history. Since the 70's at least the Christian Right has become almost inseparable with conservatism which has led pseudohistorical topics like the Christian founding of America and a more literal interpretation of the bible as history. That's just to scratch the surface of pseudoscience in politics both left and right. I mention republicans because it's politicians are very explicit about banning or demonising Evolution and pushing other pseudoscience and pseudohistory.
11/24/2016 03:05:35 pm
Very true indeed. I very much like this differentiated neither-nor view point.
11/25/2016 04:32:29 am
TIME MACHINE IS AN ASS. I think everyone is getting very far afield and departing from the truly important topic, TIME MACHINE IS AN ASS. i suggest all posts be started with those words in all caps.
11/26/2016 06:25:25 pm
I have not been looking at this site for quite some time and I agree with you. Time Machine seems to have high jacked this blog to promote his own agenda and Jason Colavito seems to have no interest in even attempting to stop him.
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