Scott Wolter Says Only People with "Proper Character" and "Ethics" Can Review His Research Documents
If you’ve been following the discussion on Scott Wolter’s blog the past few days, you will have seen some interesting disagreement between Wolter and some of the posters who have offered up comments. Among the more interesting was the question of whether Wolter planned to make available his research reports and documentation for the investigations he has conducted. Wolter replied that such reports were already available “with footnotes,” and then added this regarding the Kensington Rune Stone:
Release all documents? First, all of my scientific reports and related research is already published with citations and footnotes. Second, other supporting documents, samples, test reports, written peer reviews, notes, site visits, interviews, etc,. will be given to the proper institution in the near future. I am currently working with the Ohman Family and an institution right now in fact, to ensure security and proper succession of the documents, research and artifacts.
That second paragraph is really something else. “Proper character”? I would be very interested to know what kind of institution would require a character test to allow access to research papers. What might that entail?
Wolter also said that he’s considering a registration policy to post on his blog due to comments from critics that he considers extreme and distasteful, particularly one from an anonymous poster who linked America Unearthed to white supremacy in an apparently unpublished post in a discussion with a school teacher who said that she informs her students about Wolter’s theories as part of her discussions of American history, though without endorsing them per se.
This discussion was rather interesting in that the critic asked the teacher whether she would also “acknowledge” and “explain” Holocaust denial, for which there is just about the same amount of evidence as Wolter’s Templar fantasies. The teacher took grave offense to this, and her reasoning was interesting; she explained that she valued the firsthand testimony of people known to her, the grandparents and great-grandparents of her students and her friends, which is why she believes the Holocaust happened, although she did not witness it herself. By contrast, Wolter’s assertions are about some unknowable time from which there is no firsthand testimony still available from living people, so any argument is possible:
Surely you're not equating Scott's assertions that some, perhaps many people visited/explored North America prior to Columbus is the same as an unapologetic antisemite disavowing the actual experiences of thousands upon thousands of soldiers, camp survivors, and even the testemony (sic) of the perpetrators themselves?
The trouble, of course, is that Wolter’s ideas involve “disavowing the actual experiences” and testimony of virtually everyone who has ever participated in or studied trans-oceanic contact before Columbus, or Jesus conspiracies, except for a handful of modern conspiracy theorists and Victorian racists. But somehow, when the testimony comes from people who are now dead, it is seemingly subject to a different standard of credibility than tales told by those still living, or who were alive within living memory. Coming from a teacher that is quite sad, but worse since it contradicts Wolter’s own message, which is that selective reading of nineteenth century conspiracy literature is a reliable way to interpret the past. Nevertheless, her view and Wolter’s are of a piece: They both place their trust in people known to them and value what friends tell them over the historical record.
Perhaps this tendency to value the personal over larger theoretical frameworks explains why Wolter has a difficult time seeing the connection between his ideas and traditional white supremacist ideology. It’s not unlike the debate that occurred over the Army of Northern Virginia battle flag, commonly called the Confederate battle flag, which South Carolina removed from its statehouse grounds today. Wolter knows that he is not a racist, and his other fringe friends are not racists, so by placing people over ideas, he concludes that there is no racial component to the theoretical framework he has chosen to adopt, even though those Victorian ideas were specifically advocated by people who explicitly explained that they served to promote white Anglo-Saxon Protestants over non-whites, Jews, Catholics, etc.
I can’t help but see a parallel to the supporters of the Confederate battle flag, who believe that they are not themselves racists and the Confederacy’s symbols are a noble marker of heritage, but are blind to the fact that the designer of the second Confederate national flag declared it the “white man’s flag” representing the “supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race,” while the vice president of the Confederacy declared that his country’s “foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man…”
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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