RIP John McCain

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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-05 10:38pm

houser2112 wrote:
2018-09-05 08:18am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-04 09:09pm
And because it is being done in the context of the funeral of a respected American war hero, any attempt to retaliate or respond by Trump will simply appear petty and inappropriate, and reflect more negatively on him. I've heard the McCain funeral described as the largest resistance meeting yet, and there's some truth to that.
If only "appearing petty and inappropriate" was an effective bulwark against Trump being Trump.
Nothing will change Trump. What matters is uniting as much of the country, and the world, as possible in opposition to him.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Gandalf » 2018-09-06 05:32pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-05 10:37pm
Bush unfortunately already has been to some extent, if only because almost anyone looks good next to Donald. Trump... I don't know. Maybe history will whitewash him, and it wouldn't be the first time a horrible President was remembered fondly by posterity (see Woodrow Wilson, for example). But the thing is... most horrible Presidents still had some genuinely good accomplishments they could point to. What has Trump got that isn't a dumpster fire? A good economy (at least if you're a rich man), for now? The stains on his legacy already rival or surpass those of Richard Nixon, who is generally remembered even now as a bad person and a bad President. And the story of the investigation is not over.
Think of the death toll and ramifications of the invasion of Iraq. Really go over it. Trump has to go pretty far to be that bad, and that's not the only horrible thing Bush II did.
Maybe if Trump succeeds in stealing reelection and rewriting the history books he'll be remembered fondly. But if that happens, the ultimate history will likely be written by whoever wins the Second American Civil War.
That's not how history works.
However much you hate John McCain, that isn't fair. To my knowledge, John McCain never betrayed his country, or made a concerted effort to destroy the institutional checks and balances and the free press which keeps America from becoming an autocracy.
Really? You should look at his voting record on things like the NDAA which allows for (among other things) imprisoning reporters. Also, the Patriot Act.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-06 05:54pm

Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-06 05:32pm
Think of the death toll and ramifications of the invasion of Iraq. Really go over it. Trump has to go pretty far to be that bad, and that's not the only horrible thing Bush II did.
I'm aware. But that's only one measure- a very important one, certainly, but not the only one. What Trump has done, among other things, has fundamentally undermined American institutions and credibility and destabilize international politics to a degree that even George W. Bush never did, which will potentially open the door to many more Iraqs in the future.

Intent also matters, in my opinion, when judging a person's moral standing- Trump's intentions are undoubtably more malevolent than W's. And if you don't believe me, remember that after 9/11, when nearly the entire country was caught up in nationalistic rage and fear and would have backed almost any action by the President in the name of national security, George W Bush said that America was not at war with Islam. Tell me, honestly: Can you imagine for one second that Donald Trump would have done the same, as opposed to opening internment camps and instituting travel bans (you know, the stuff he's done without a 9/11 to try to excuse it)?

This is not to say W was a good President, or that he should be remembered fondly. He wasn't, and he shouldn't be. But if you can stop viewing everything in terms of just "America is evil", with no ability to see any nuance or distinctions between different individuals, you must admit that Bush at least did not conduct a more or less overt campaign to make America a neo-fascist autocracy. And that does make some people view him more kindly in comparison. They shouldn't- his record is what it is, regardless of weather someone else is worse, and I hope you realize that I am merely describing the reaction I see in others and why I believe it exists, not my own views of George W Bush. But I get why people would feel that way.
That's not how history works.
Don't be absurd. When we are discussing how someone will be perceived in the future (as opposed to what the actual facts are), "The winner tends to write the history books" is a valid point.
Really? You should look at his voting record on things like the NDAA which allows for (among other things) imprisoning reporters. Also, the Patriot Act.
All awful, all pale compared to Trump's continuous attacks, both in rhetoric and in actual policy, on the very concepts of a free press, a fair vote, or questioning the President under any circumstances.

Speaking of, you know that anonymous OP-ED that just came out in the NYT, ostensibly from someone in the Trump administration, claiming that they and others within the administration were working to thwart parts of Trump's agenda? Trump responded by suggesting that the person who wrote that was guilty of treason. That's right- Trump believes its a death penalty offense to be a conscientious objector or whistleblower.

So please, spare me yet another refrain of the pat, cynical, intellectually lazy and dishonest "They're all just as bad" narrative. Because that attitude above all else is how we got in this fucking mess- because people like you say that a John McCain (or a Hillary Clinton) is "no different" than a man who boasts about committing rape, is endorsed by the Klan, openly incites violence at his campaign rallies and pursues a policy that amounts to the ethnic cleansing of the United States. And other people hear that and think "Maybe Trump isn't so bad then"- or at least "If they're all corrupt, might as well stay home and not vote".

Edit: I'm not even saying that you have to, or should, like John McCain. But there are degrees of bad, and there are different kinds of bad, and if you can't recognize those nuances, then you are unable to participate in a factual, useful way in political discourse. Because you will inevitably end up substituting sweeping generalizations for actual meaningful criticisms, which muddies the waters and gives an opening to the very worst players in our politics.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2018-09-07 02:21am

Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-05 05:08pm
Yeah, it doesn't matter whether or not McCain had any part of choosing Palin. He had every opportunity to either leave the ticket, publically disagree, or whatever other options are available when the top/bottom half of a ticket clash. Instead he sat back, tacitly endorsing her actions while she riled up the angry white base and gave him a vague shot at winning.
I don't disagree, I'm just saying there's plenty of blame to go around regarding the clusterfuck started in '08.

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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by LaCroix » 2018-09-07 05:20am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-06 05:54pm

Don't be absurd. When we are discussing how someone will be perceived in the future (as opposed to what the actual facts are), "The winner tends to write the history books" is a valid point.
It was when all history was localized and we only knew about things in the very few books that were written about it, mostly by the victors. And even then, we usually have enough other sources and evidence that we can figure out the truth to most historic events.

But right now, the whole world is watching and writing things down, along with video and picture archives. Only true Trumpists will believe the versions (plural, because he usually has 2 or 3 versions of any event he recalls) of history he promotes. Everyone else (8 billion non-americans, for example) will record the actual history.

That old proverb is no longer valid.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-09-07 04:39pm

It's still valid; that technology has given us more access to information doesn't really have much impact on the ability of the powerful to shape cultural narratives (and, by definition, the winners will be powerful). The fact is that the vast majority of people do NOT spend the time to go looking for all of the records, documentation, video, etc. that serves as hard evidence, they tend to rely instead on a combination of fallible human memory and social/cultural narratives, neither of which tends to be precise. I mean, look at the presidency of George W. Bush. The Obama-era decision not to prosecute them, or otherwise sent a firm rebuke for their policies through other official action, had the de facto effect of normalizing those policies. And the rise of Trumpism has made many people look on Bush with a far rosier lens than might otherwise be the case. For another example, look at how much hard, documented evidence there is of the causes of the American Civil War being about slavery and how many people reject that evidence in favor of the "state's rights" narrative (and it isn't even just the far right, KKK types who do this, it is pretty common even among many liberals who haven't properly educated themselves on the subject, it is a pretty deeply ingrained brain-bug in American culture).*

* One might say this still disproves the proverb, because the South didn't "win" the Civil War. However, I think this is a pretty narrow-minded view, to the point it is essentially misrepresenting the proverb. Remember, all the proverb is really saying is that the most powerful forces in society will shape the historical narrative in their favor, it isn't actually tied to any notions of battlefield success. "Winner" is meant more metaphorically than that.

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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Batman » 2018-09-07 07:22pm

Also just because more accurate information on past happenings is available elsewhere doesn't automatically mean you will have access to it. Even in the digital age, censorship is still a thing. Future Europe still having records about how the Trump Dictatorship really was is no use to future americans that can't get at them
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-07 09:31pm

LaCroix wrote:
2018-09-07 05:20am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-06 05:54pm

Don't be absurd. When we are discussing how someone will be perceived in the future (as opposed to what the actual facts are), "The winner tends to write the history books" is a valid point.
It was when all history was localized and we only knew about things in the very few books that were written about it, mostly by the victors. And even then, we usually have enough other sources and evidence that we can figure out the truth to most historic events.

But right now, the whole world is watching and writing things down, along with video and picture archives. Only true Trumpists will believe the versions (plural, because he usually has 2 or 3 versions of any event he recalls) of history he promotes. Everyone else (8 billion non-americans, for example) will record the actual history.

That old proverb is no longer valid.
I'd like to believe that, but not everyone is going to go out and research all that information. Most people are going to believe the first version they hear, or the one they hear most often, or the one that best fits their desires/preconceptions. And the Alt. Reich is very good at identify wedge issues and exploiting them, at dangling distractions and bait in front of their opponents, and at turning the Left's rhetoric against itself, coopting movements like the anti-war movement (which becomes "the Western military/intelligence community is evil, Russia is against them, therefore Russia is good), or frustration with corporate/political corruption (which becomes "there's a deep state out to get Trump") or frustration with weak-willed Centrist Democrats (which becomes "Both sides are just as bad, so why not vote for Trump, or at least stay home?). The Kremlin propagandists are even better at this game- probably the best in the world.

Remember: Donald Trump is in many ways a moron, but he has one true skill- playing the media and public perception. It is unwise to underestimate him in that arena.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Gandalf » 2018-09-08 10:04am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-09-06 05:54pm
I'm aware. But that's only one measure- a very important one, certainly, but not the only one. What Trump has done, among other things, has fundamentally undermined American institutions and credibility and destabilize international politics to a degree that even George W. Bush never did, which will potentially open the door to many more Iraqs in the future.
You know what made more Iraq's possible? Bush II (and his supporters) doing it the first time and nobody holding them accountable. Over a million dead. Millions displaced. All because apparently some deity told Bush to invade some place he already didn't like. Now there's a precedent!
Intent also matters, in my opinion, when judging a person's moral standing- Trump's intentions are undoubtably more malevolent than W's. And if you don't believe me, remember that after 9/11, when nearly the entire country was caught up in nationalistic rage and fear and would have backed almost any action by the President in the name of national security, George W Bush said that America was not at war with Islam. Tell me, honestly: Can you imagine for one second that Donald Trump would have done the same, as opposed to opening internment camps and instituting travel bans (you know, the stuff he's done without a 9/11 to try to excuse it)?
In that same time period, Bush also invoked the idea of a fucking crusade. Then he backed up the bluster with poorly thought out military adventurism apparently guided by some divine intervention. Kinda negates his whole point. Evidently the big difference is that Trump doesn't try to hide his nature.
This is not to say W was a good President, or that he should be remembered fondly. He wasn't, and he shouldn't be. But if you can stop viewing everything in terms of just "America is evil", with no ability to see any nuance or distinctions between different individuals, you must admit that Bush at least did not conduct a more or less overt campaign to make America a neo-fascist autocracy. And that does make some people view him more kindly in comparison. They shouldn't- his record is what it is, regardless of weather someone else is worse, and I hope you realize that I am merely describing the reaction I see in others and why I believe it exists, not my own views of George W Bush. But I get why people would feel that way.
For me, Trump is what happens when Bush's crimes are glossed over. The next guy gets away with more. It's why Obama could drone strike his way around and lock up whistleblowers. Now Trump has sixteen years of sweet precedent.
Don't be absurd. When we are discussing how someone will be perceived in the future (as opposed to what the actual facts are), "The winner tends to write the history books" is a valid point.
You seem to be working under the idea that there is only one history. Simply put; how in your weird little model do you account for revisionist histories? "The victors write history" is just lazy and ridiculous. The Allies won WWII, but neo-Nazi wehraboos write their histories too. Same thing for the American Civil War, Vietnam, and so on. Also, post-colonial histories; my people got absolutely reamed by the British Empire, but now we write our own histories.
All awful, all pale compared to Trump's continuous attacks, both in rhetoric and in actual policy, on the very concepts of a free press, a fair vote, or questioning the President under any circumstances.

Speaking of, you know that anonymous OP-ED that just came out in the NYT, ostensibly from someone in the Trump administration, claiming that they and others within the administration were working to thwart parts of Trump's agenda? Trump responded by suggesting that the person who wrote that was guilty of treason. That's right- Trump believes its a death penalty offense to be a conscientious objector or whistleblower.
Fascinating, what are these policies against which the NDAA and Patriot Act pale?
So please, spare me yet another refrain of the pat, cynical, intellectually lazy and dishonest "They're all just as bad" narrative. Because that attitude above all else is how we got in this fucking mess- because people like you say that a John McCain (or a Hillary Clinton) is "no different" than a man who boasts about committing rape, is endorsed by the Klan, openly incites violence at his campaign rallies and pursues a policy that amounts to the ethnic cleansing of the United States. And other people hear that and think "Maybe Trump isn't so bad then"- or at least "If they're all corrupt, might as well stay home and not vote".

Edit: I'm not even saying that you have to, or should, like John McCain. But there are degrees of bad, and there are different kinds of bad, and if you can't recognize those nuances, then you are unable to participate in a factual, useful way in political discourse. Because you will inevitably end up substituting sweeping generalizations for actual meaningful criticisms, which muddies the waters and gives an opening to the very worst players in our politics.
I'm not saying that everyone's horrible, but Trump, Bush and McCain are fucking monsters.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Gandalf » 2018-09-08 10:05am

SolarpunkFan wrote:
2018-09-07 02:21am
Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-05 05:08pm
Yeah, it doesn't matter whether or not McCain had any part of choosing Palin. He had every opportunity to either leave the ticket, publically disagree, or whatever other options are available when the top/bottom half of a ticket clash. Instead he sat back, tacitly endorsing her actions while she riled up the angry white base and gave him a vague shot at winning.
I don't disagree, I'm just saying there's plenty of blame to go around regarding the clusterfuck started in '08.
And he had every chance not to partake in it.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-09-08 11:07am

Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-08 10:04am
You seem to be working under the idea that there is only one history. Simply put; how in your weird little model do you account for revisionist histories? "The victors write history" is just lazy and ridiculous. The Allies won WWII, but neo-Nazi wehraboos write their histories too. Same thing for the American Civil War, Vietnam, and so on. Also, post-colonial histories; my people got absolutely reamed by the British Empire, but now we write our own histories.
I don't think this quite proves the point you think it does? As I said in my previous post, the proverb is less about specific, military victories, and more about the general idea that influential and powerful voices within a society can shape cultural narratives of history. The South suffered a military defeat in the Civil War; however, due in part to the policies of Restoration, the elite of the South remained influential and powerful voices within American politics, and so were able to shape the cultural narrative. Post-colonial narratives are primarily shaped by whichever force in that colonial society succeeded in filling the power vacuum left when colonial structures dissipated, which is why you see some countries that have narratives that paint the colonial powers in more forgiving/positive lights than other countries in which the attitudes are more militant.

The entire point TRR is making is that Trump, and the far right populist movement he represents (which includes as a subset those "neo-Nazi wehraboos" who you admit are writing their own histories), are currently a very powerful force in American culture (one, I might add, that won't disappear overnight when Trump is no longer president), and are thus in a position to have a profound impact on the way our cultural narrative write the history of this time period. I'm not sure why you think that pointing out the existence of revisionist history is in any way a refute to an argument about someone trying to create a revisionist history.

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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Gandalf » 2018-09-08 12:10pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2018-09-08 11:07am
I don't think this quite proves the point you think it does? As I said in my previous post, the proverb is less about specific, military victories, and more about the general idea that influential and powerful voices within a society can shape cultural narratives of history. The South suffered a military defeat in the Civil War; however, due in part to the policies of Restoration, the elite of the South remained influential and powerful voices within American politics, and so were able to shape the cultural narrative. Post-colonial narratives are primarily shaped by whichever force in that colonial society succeeded in filling the power vacuum left when colonial structures dissipated, which is why you see some countries that have narratives that paint the colonial powers in more forgiving/positive lights than other countries in which the attitudes are more militant.

The entire point TRR is making is that Trump, and the far right populist movement he represents (which includes as a subset those "neo-Nazi wehraboos" who you admit are writing their own histories), are currently a very powerful force in American culture (one, I might add, that won't disappear overnight when Trump is no longer president), and are thus in a position to have a profound impact on the way our cultural narrative write the history of this time period. I'm not sure why you think that pointing out the existence of revisionist history is in any way a refute to an argument about someone trying to create a revisionist history.
The two of you both seem to operate under the idea that there is a singular history, as you yourself make reference to "the historical narrative." Not creating an historical narrative, but somehow creating the historical narrative. I'm not sure how you do that without going full Oceania.

Just for reference, I used the war/conquest examples because they tend to get the best responses, especially ones with a makeup like this site. Though I'll gladly substitute in the French Annales School works, or even Thompson's social history work. Much like with Australia's post-colonial histories, these grow and develop alongside the more dominant schools of historical thought. Look at it this way; everyone write their own histories, and some even get published.
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Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-09-10 01:27pm

Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-08 10:04am
You know what made more Iraq's possible? Bush II (and his supporters) doing it the first time and nobody holding them accountable. Over a million dead. Millions displaced. All because apparently some deity told Bush to invade some place he already didn't like. Now there's a precedent!
Of course Trump did not cause the Iraq War, it happened without his Presidency, but at the same time, I don't think you can honestly deny that Trump has taken actions which greatly increase the likelihood of future such conflicts. His belligerent approach to diplomacy by Twitter edict, his open embrace of Islamophobia, his dismantling of America's alliances and destruction of our soft power, and above all his demands for absolute personal loyalty from the intelligence community. Much of the causes of Iraq boil down to the intelligence community giving the Bush administration what it wanted to hear, rather than the truth. What do you think will happen now that we have a President who makes it clear that members of the intelligence community are libel to lose their jobs and security clearance (at best) if they are not loyal to him personally?

Hell, he very nearly got us into a war with a nuclear power (North Korea), and is openly contemplating a war of aggression with Venezuela.

Make no mistake- Bush was bad. Trump has made things far worse.
In that same time period, Bush also invoked the idea of a fucking crusade. Then he backed up the bluster with poorly thought out military adventurism apparently guided by some divine intervention. Kinda negates his whole point. Evidently the big difference is that Trump doesn't try to hide his nature.
One of many differences. But this over-simplistic cliché- that (insert name) is just as bad, except Trump is more "honest" about showing it- is a huge part of how he became President, in my opinion. Because cynical people could say "well, they're all corrupt, but at least Trump tells it like it is." So that in a perverse way, he turned being an utter dishonest scumbag into a form of credibility, and rampantly lying and being an asshole is actually a political asset, not a liability.

When people echo these sorts of narratives, whatever their intention, the effect in my opinion is that you are doing the work of Trump's propagandists for them.
For me, Trump is what happens when Bush's crimes are glossed over. The next guy gets away with more. It's why Obama could drone strike his way around and lock up whistleblowers. Now Trump has sixteen years of sweet precedent.
You're not wrong, and I think one of Obama's biggest mistakes is that he didn't prosecute members of the Bush administration. I get why he didn't, but the law must be upheld, or it ceases to have meaning. Obama's great error was in thinking he could achieve bi-partisan consensus by being conciliatory to a party of people who considered him a secret Muslim Nazi Communist.

That said, I think a more significant precedent was set much earlier, when Ford pardoned Nixon for Watergate. Some of Trump's crowd (ie Roger Stone) got their start in politics in Watergate, where the precedent was set that a President can break the law and then walk away without being charged or serving a day in jail, even if he gets caught. And Trump's administration is very much the culmination of the decline of the Republican Party set in motion by the Nixon administration (ie the Southern Policy, embracing corruption, obstruction of justice, and even treason to take and maintain power, etc.).

Its why I'm so determined that Trump MUST go to prison before this is over. Because we need to make an example of him, to show that even the President is accountable to the law. Otherwise, there will just be another, probably worse Trump in ten or twenty or fifty years.
You seem to be working under the idea that there is only one history. Simply put; how in your weird little model do you account for revisionist histories? "The victors write history" is just lazy and ridiculous. The Allies won WWII, but neo-Nazi wehraboos write their histories too. Same thing for the American Civil War, Vietnam, and so on. Also, post-colonial histories; my people got absolutely reamed by the British Empire, but now we write our own histories.
Of course, different people push different accounts. At the same time, there is often a prevailing narrative, and its usually (at least for a time) one that favors the victors.

A notable exception being the Confederates in the US Civil War, who dominated the histories of the conflict for many decades in the late 19th. and 20th. centuries, to the great detriment of the country. Indeed, Trump's election, and his Charlottsville comments, could be seen partly as a culmination of their 150-year campaign of historical revisionism, as well.
Fascinating, what are these policies against which the NDAA and Patriot Act pale?
-The Muslim Ban.

-Family Separation and locking children in cages as standard practice at the boarder.

-Seizing passports from (predominantly Latino) citizens near the boarder and deporting them, on unproven suspicion of their birth certificates being fraudulent.

-The revoking of DACA (which I regard by itself as border-line ethnic cleansing- add in the other stuff above, and it ceases to be "borderline").

-Revoking security clearances of/firing officials in the intelligence community and Justice Department who fail to show him personal loyalty.

-Advocating tightening libel laws against the press to silence their criticism of him.

-Openly inciting violence at campaign rallies.

-Praising and making sweeping concessions to Kim Jong Un while pissing all over Canada.

Would you like me to go on?
I'm not saying that everyone's horrible, but Trump, Bush and McCain are fucking monsters.
Fair enough. But even then, there are distinctions between them which are, to my mind, significant. Its not enough to condemn someone, in my view- one needs to understand why they do what they do, what their limits are, and how they differ from other sorts of monsters, if one is to combat any of them effectively. A McCain is very different from a Bush, and both are very different from a Trump. The key difference being that, so far as I can tell, Trump has basically no principles, no standards, to which he holds. This makes him more erratic, more difficult to predict (and thus counter), and also means that even things that were safe from mistakes of a McCain or Bush are not safe from Trump.
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Re: RIP John McCain

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-09-10 04:59pm

Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-08 12:10pm
The two of you both seem to operate under the idea that there is a singular history, as you yourself make reference to "the historical narrative." Not creating an historical narrative, but somehow creating the historical narrative. I'm not sure how you do that without going full Oceania.
I think that's a rather absurd and pedantic misrepresentation of my argument. To the point I am not even 100% sure what part of my post you are focusing on, or why you have chosen to ignore everything else I said. Like, I'm honestly flabbergasted that you would somehow get from my post the notion that I am arguing that there is in anyway a single historical narrative given the entire post was me talking about the fact that historical narratives are a function of cultural perspective.
Gandalf wrote:
2018-09-08 12:10pm
Just for reference, I used the war/conquest examples because they tend to get the best responses, especially ones with a makeup like this site. Though I'll gladly substitute in the French Annales School works, or even Thompson's social history work. Much like with Australia's post-colonial histories, these grow and develop alongside the more dominant schools of historical thought. Look at it this way; everyone write their own histories, and some even get published.
Um ... which is, kind of exactly my point? I honestly am not sure what it is you think my point is. My entire point is that "dominant schools of historical thought" are a function of cultural context.

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