Reflection on Conservative Readings

The political split in the class already seems to be causing some problems so rather than argue the individual points of each article and how they do or do not relate to the larger conservative worldview, I am going to keep my post to what I see to be the main issue…balance.

This week’s readings provided a nice counterbalance to what we’ve already read. I think it is somewhat disingenuous to assume, however, that the views and opinions expressed in a few blog posts are representative of the entirety of conservative thoughts and beliefs. In much the same manner, it would be wrong to extrapolate the liberal viewpoint by merely reading postings by Chauncey DeVega.

Several people mentioned the issue of sources in connection with this week’s readings. I think there is a general problem regarding sources with history posted on the internet…anything that appears “too academic” or complicated is going to be glossed over or ignored. The problem is not limited to this week’s readings, either. Despite his repeated claims of “empirical” evidence, Chauncey DeVega did not provide much in the way of substantiation for his arguments. I think that is a problem that public historians have to look for ways to address…how can we produce good history that is accessible to the public yet still meets the basic standards we should all ascribe to in terms of sources and an accurate, balanced presentation?

Finally, the “humor” article by Jack Hitt was a hit piece. There are more than enough stupid quotes that can be taken out of context on the liberal side to provide just as ridiculous a timeline. To try and pass misstatements and isolated quotes off as something representative of the larger conservative viewpoint does nothing to engender consensus and cooperation.

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