November 6, 2010
Ripping the USA: Revising History DismallyBy Gary Larson
It happened in July. A group of 25 selected professor historians met in Hawaii at a workshop sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). They were to present and hear scholarly papers on the history of these United States in World War II. It was to be a high-level intellectual rendering of that war receding now into history.
It turned out to be a largely left-liberal diatribe about our nation's sinful past. It was partisan as hell and, worst of all, an awkward attempt to rewrite history to make America out to be the world's worst villain and all-around Bad Guy. Some speaker/presenters, presumably sticklers for historical accuracy, even made the USA out to be the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Yes, you read that correctly.
The workshop was at the East-West Center at University of Hawaii. Its title sounded noble enough, and honest -- "History and Commemoration: The Legacies of the Pacific War." Content, much of it at least, was neither noble nor honest, nor exclusively about the Pacific War. The scholars' gathering became a platform for anti-American, anti-military rants by suspect historians who should have known better.
One of the 25 scholars invited was Professor Penelope A. Blake of Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Daughter of two World War II veterans, she had looked forward to this conference owing to her deep interest and scholarship in World War II history. Instead, she left the scholars' conference incensed, ready to "do something" to remedy its patently absurd wrongs done to American history.
Instead of honest, fact-based analyses, Dr. Blake found a partisan howling, an agenda "driven by overt political bias and a blatant anti-American agenda," reports Scott Johnson of Powerline, the award-winning blog. Johnson shared with Powerline readers Blake's letter, dated September 12, to Rep. Donald Manzullo (R-IL), her northern Illinois congressman. Her letter recounts and documents God-forsaken misrepresentations of fact and crude misstatements of historical motives voiced by several speakers at the conference.
To Congressman Manzullo she wrote,
What erupted in the scholars' workshop, she averred, was swaggering left-liberal, elitist revisionist history by some histrionic, far-out historians. Blake, a thirty-year college professor of history and the humanities, summed up her deeply-held discontent in this paragraph:
Blake found the "overriding messages" of the workshop a sort of slam-bang America-hate-fest from the blame-America-first crowd. Verbatim excerpts of her letter to the congressman appear below. Read them and weep:
Get it? It gets sillier. Professor Blake writes:
This revisionist historian is teaching our young? Pity them. Pity the truth.
Professor Blake came away "ashamed of my profession and my government for sponsoring this travesty."
She is "no blind patriot," she adds, but as a student and teacher of history, she knows:
She points out that the NEH is requesting an operating budget of $161 million in taxpayer dollars for 2011, including $71 million to support conferences such as this travesty of historical injustice. She asks to delay such funding until " ... NEH reviews workshop proposals and supporting materials to eliminate any overt political agenda."
Fat chance? Maybe. An even longer shot, perhaps impossible considering pedagogic solidarity and its partisan bureaucratic political nature. She asks for the NEH to "commit itself to a fair and balanced view of our nation's history and humanities, acknowledging its mistakes but also honoring its achievements." (A bridge too far?)
Speaking for her veteran parents and the Greatest Generation that won World War II, including an uncle she lost, Professor Blake writes, "I simply will not stand by and allow their history to be usurped and corrupted by a revisionist and iconoclastic political agenda within academe."
Well said! Readers would do a service to our nation and to unvarnished, non-PC historical truths by communicating with Congress and others in the bureaucracy about the sickening, cheap-shot revisionist history being pedaled at such taxpayer-sponsored events. Clearly, indisputably, such over-the-top slants about our nation's history are false, even hateful, demeaning our nation and our military. Will truth survive falsely speaking academicians' attacks? Let us devoutly hope so.
Gary Larson is a retired newspaper and business magazine editor in Minnesota. He is not the cartoonist of the same name.