Skip to comments.Fall from Grace: Arming America and the Bellesiles Scandal
Posted on 08/27/2002 12:05:50 PM PDT by ArcLight
Since the books publication, scholars who have checked the books claims against its sources have uncovered an almost unprecedented number of discrepancies, errors, and omissions...Arming America is changing the way that some historians think about their own profession and how some scholars in fields allied to history regard historical research and publishing. Understanding this book and the scandal it generated is important for scholars and teachers across the social sciences, humanities, and law. Any graduate or professional student who aspires to be an academic might profit by exploring the twists and turns of the Bellesiles scandal.
(Excerpt) Read more at instapundit.com ...
Not being so constrained by diplomacy, I can call Bellesiles lame effort at reinventing history for what it is: a blatant fraud.
The Common denominator is that all citizens in NE and the South were milita members and required by law to keep 100 rounds and a firelock and to train periodicly. The third oldest unit in the US Army is the Essex Regement, 101 Infantry, Mass National Guard, 1680.
I noticed that, as well. Why is the word "Liar" so taboo nowadays?
It is testimony to the political correctness that reigns on university campuses that this fraud hasn't been ridden out on a rail clad in tar and feathers.
However, some good may come of Bellesisles' writing - an honest debate on axe control. On the one hand, we'll have the pro-axe rights group claiming that "Axes don't kill people - people kill people." On the axe-control side, we'll have the gnashing of teeth about the need for axe control, for the children, of course, and about the deadly, semi-automatic form of the axe, the chainsaw.
Now, now. If we used the word "liar" everytime it was deserved, people would start to think that Democrats and Academics were incapable of ever telling the truth. We can't have that!
The poor b@stard who wrote it felt compelled to give his gun grabbin' bona fides at the start. I guess he didn't want to be called a "foaming at the mouth, racist, intolerant, homophobic, insensitive, gun loving, right wing, extremist conservative".
With scholars, there is a tradition of courtesy, which Lindgren avoids breaking by just setting out his facts. Notice how Lindgren tried to approach Belleisles and was repeatedly rebuffed (and insulted). He carefully recounts all this.
When I first began trying cases, I was told by older lawyers NEVER to call a witness a liar in front of a jury. They think you're mean if you do that. Just get the facts out, and let the JURY decide he's a liar . . . they like it better if it's THEIR decision. I think Lindgren wants his reader to make the final call. It's a slam dunk, anyhow.
To my added shame, not only am I a lawyer (albeit an honest one . . . they do exist) but I graduated from Emory University. I have already written the chairman of the History department, but received no reply. If we don't keep the heat on Emory they will whitewash this whole thing . . . .
The NY Times in response has said nothing. Columbia University, which awarded Bellesiles the Bancroft Prize has made him Dean of the History department. /sarcasm
This is the fruit of 30 years of Howard Zinn and his ilk, placing ideology over accuracy.
Don't minimize the problem! A chainsaw is a full-auto!
My undergraduate years were in the early 70s, when the older professors were still what I call "classical liberals" - or liberals with honor, if you will. My concentration was in military history, but I did a lot of classics as well. No professor in either the History or Classics department would tolerate fudging or hiding the ball . . . and CERTAINLY not when every "error" was in favor of the student's thesis, as in Belleisles's case.
Those old guys are now retired or deceased (I read with sorrow that the wonderful Dean of the Chapel at my college, Ernest Gordon, recently passed away) and the young Turks are unabashed polemicists for whom truth is secondary to ideological purity.
The fact that Emory is stalling this debate and trying to whitewash even so blatant a cheat and fraud as this horrendous book, instead of debating whether to drop Belleisles off the top of Woodruff Library or tie him to the Seaboard tracks down at the railroad depot, is proof enough for me. :-D
Reviewers can't anticipate that somebody would engage in wholesale alteration and even manufacture of "data". I agree that the liberal gun control mavens (and I include Wills in that bunch - like the ACLU, he only supports the parts of the Bill of Rights he agrees with) jumped all over this book with way too much glee. They were so anxious to believe that it clouded their judgment. But, on the other hand, unlike scholars in the field, they had no way to check Belleisles's falsified data.