It has been apparent to me for some time that progressives, along with the rest of the political left, have a view of United State that is drastically different from the true nature of this most remarkable nation. This distorted view of America took form in Colleges and Universities back in the 1960s, and has been spread by those institutions of higher learning, the news media, Hollywood, and a great many history authors. This distorted view of the United States is almost universally negative. The true nature of the history of the United States is not perfect, far from it at times; however, it is far more positive than negative.
American history is a subject I am passionate about and I constantly feed that passion by reading books on the subject. There is a clear divide between history books written before the 1960s, and those after. It is not a universal divide, but, one that is very prevalent and very noticeable. Those written prior to the 1960s are more positive, accurate, and rely more on original source material. The same divide is noticeable when college course descriptions and course material are examined.
A careful examination of the distortions will reveal five common themes, almost like a universal playbook, that is used by academia. I noticed themes and common practices, but did not investigate enough to come up with formal definitions for what I noticed. The author and historian David Barton did take the time to study these themes and practices, and assemble them into definitions. He included them in the introduction of Jefferson Lies. Here are his definitions, word for word:
Deconstructionism – is a steady flow of belittling and negative portrayals of Western heroes, beliefs, and institutions. Deconstructionalists make their living by telling only parts of the story and spinning it negatively, manipulating others into supporting their views and agenda.
Post structuralism – device for attacking and pulling down what is traditionally honored…ignores traditional national unifying structures, values, and institutions and instead substitutes personally constructed ones
Modernism – examines historical events and persons as if they occurred and lived today rather than in the past. It severs history from its context and setting, misrepresenting historical beliefs and events
Minimalism – an unreasonable insistence on over simplification – on reducing everything to monolithic causes and linear effects,
Academic collectivism – writers and scholars quote each other and those from their peer groups rather than consult original sources. This destructive and harmful tendency now dominates the modern academic world, with a heavy reliance on peer review as the almost exclusive standard for historical truth.
The use of these progressive reality distortion techniques is not limited to academia and history books. Many of those who were educated at an American college in the past couple of decades now use them when engaging in debating on social media. I’ve encountered this all too often.
A thorough understanding of these reality distortion techniques and a thorough understanding of true history should be enough to counter this avalanche of misinformation that academia has buried us in. We need to educate ourselves and spread the truth.
If you have a favorite history book or author that is historically accurate, please share it as a comment.