Monday, June 13, 2016

Professor Bruce Thornton: The Middle East and Orwellian Historical Arguments

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When lies are the foundation of policies.

Bruce Thornton
Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


Many of our policy debates and conflicts both domestic and foreign call on history to validate their positions. At home, crimes from the past like slavery and legal segregation are used to justify present policies ranging from racial set asides to housing regulations long after those institutions have been dismantled. Abroad, our jihadist enemies continually evoke the Crusades, “colonialism,” and “imperialism” as justifications for their violence. Yet the “history” used in such fashion is usually one-sided, simplistic, or downright false. Nor is the reason hard to find: as we read in1984, “Who controls the past . . . controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” Bad history is a powerful instrument for gaining political power.
Nowhere is the abuse of history more rampant than in the Middle East. Since World War II all the problems whose origins lie in dysfunctional tribal and religious beliefs and behaviors have been laid at the feet of “colonialism” and “imperialism.” Western leftists––besotted both by a marxiste hatred of liberal democracy, and by juvenile noble-savage Third-Worldism–– have legitimized this specious pretext, which now for many has become historical fact.