The Progressive Reality Distortion Toolkit

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The Progressive Reality Distortion Toolkit

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.

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.