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.
In the earlier colonial period, Gloria Main and Anna Hawley both found more guns than tables or chairs or stools. When men could afford to buy a gun, they did. This suggests either that they were very useful tools or that they had an important social meaning (for example, to reinforce their owners masculinity or provide peace of mind) or both.
I note here that the author's antigun bias lingers; the idea that reinforcing one's masculinity ranks in importance with keeping one's scalp attached is a little arch for my taste. We get a repetition of this every time an anti-gun zealot suggests that gun ownership is compensation for some deep underlying psychological pathology - it's so deeply ingrained in their concept of firearms ownership that they never question it.
This is one of the final paragraphs of the article, and I pass it along without comment because none is needed:
The book and the scandal it generated are hard to understand. How could Bellesiles count guns in about a hundred Providence wills that never existed, count guns in San Francisco County inventories that were apparently destroyed in 1906, report national means that are mathematically impossible, change the condition of guns in a way that fits his thesis, misreport the counts of guns in censuses or militia reports, have over a 60% error rate in finding guns in Vermont estates, and have a 100% error rate in finding homicide cases in the Plymouth records he cites? We may never know the truth of why or how Arming America made such basic errors, but make them it did.
I have always said, "Lawyers are like guns, you can get rid of all of them, just take mine last."
TS: I have always said, "Lawyers are like guns, you can get rid of all of them, just take mine last."
Lawyers are like handguns -- everyone claims to hate them, until they suddenly need one!"
Do you remember that really good article that was on FR about a year ago? The author told the anti to take his gun. Don't send someone else to do it. The anti should do it. He should have the courage of his convictions. Don't send a police officer or soldier. If the anti-gun person has the stupidity that he thinks that guns in the hands of lawabiding citizens are the problem then he should be the one having the courage to go door to door. Don't send someone to support his beliefs.
It was a great article. I don't know who wrote it.
You forgot "hater", as in "he's a hater", or "he's a hater from way back."
Does the leadership at Emory actually think they can drag this out so long that the gun nuts like me would actually forget about it?
The longer the "review" committe takes, the more the personal stench from Belleisles starts to linger on the Emory faculty.
Guess I'll have to write the History chairman again. You'd think he'd take SOME notice of an alumna, wouldn't you? Maybe he's getting a large volume of mail, or maybe he's just too embarassed to write back.
When you need a lawyer, all them lawyer jokes ain't so funny no more . . . :-D
Unfortunately, the rotten, greedy, & incompetent lawyers seem to get all the press. Nobody ever says anything about the foot soldiers who do just ordinary garden variety legal work, represent their clients well, and don't get paid a whole lot of money. No excitement in that, I guess. And of course the decent lawyers suffer the most from the jack-legs, 'cause we have to deal with them every day and they annoy us as much as they annoy everybody else. Plus we get tarred with their brush to boot!
When you write the History chairman, you may want to cc the Alumni Department, you know the ones that are always begging for money. They won't ignore you.
I say CC the local newspaper and let the bright light of publicity shine where the sun don't.
The rag is almost uniformly liberal (the owner is a raving nutter leftie) and rabidly anti-gun. The editors don't think the 2nd Amendment applies to anything but the National Guard (but just in case it does, they want it repealed.) They don't even think people should "have guns for hunting". As though the Second Amendment had anything to do with hunting.
Only if you hang with PBS viewers.
Bumpo to expose these left wing history revisionists, like Doris Kearns Goodwin.