Academic Collectivism relies on the claims of “experts” rather than original documents as the standard for truth.
~ David Barton
The fifth and final sophism by the left that undermines realism, truth and historical accuracy, or what David Barton in his new book on Jefferson calls “the five malpractices of modern history,” is Academic Collectivism, “whereby writers and scholars quote each other and those from their peer group rather than consult original sources. This destructive and harmful tendency now dominates the modern academic world, with a heavy reliance on peer review as the almost exclusive standard for historical truth.”
I am presently working on a law review article on Oliver Wendell Holmes’ famous 1918 Harvard Law Review article titled “Natural Law.” This work, along with perhaps his 1886 book, “The Common Law” and a handful of dissenting opinions he wrote in the late 1920s and early 1930s as a justice on the Supreme Court, are what we now view as Holmes’ most significant works. Nevertheless, his “Natural Law” article has zero footnotes even though it was published in the venerated Harvard Law Review.
Why? I theorize that Holmes had such contempt for America’s Judeo-Christian worldview and Natural Law, which integrated legality and morality in addition to being the primary legal philosophy of America’s constitutional framers, that he felt it beneath his vaunted and legendary intellect to deign any respect to this subject by citing original sources. In other words, the entire law review article is Holmes merely ranting and raving against America’s Judeo-Christian origins, making his “Natural Law” a most cynical, unremarkable and despicable treatment of the subject matter.
Barton offers an engaging but chilling case of this historical malpractice, citing a 2005 book called “The Godless Constitution.” In that work, Cornell professors Isaac Kramnick and Laurence Moore present the popular academic sophism that the Founding Fathers were nothing but a bunch of atheists, agnostics and deists who knowingly constructed a secular government, a democracy based on humanism. This phony theme has become a staple in most colleges and universities throughout America; law reviews, law journals, courts and other professors reflexively refer to this work as a trustworthy source to “prove” the Founding Fathers’ deficit of religious principle. After presenting such a radical view of history, one would expect to see numerous footnotes at the end of the book, but like my example of Holmes’ “Nature Law,” Kramnick and Moore arrogantly acknowledge that “we have dispensed with the usual scholarly apparatus of footnotes.”
This is an incredible admission by two so-called legal scholars with Ph.D.s! They offer not the slightest support defending their sweeping generalizations and radical claims regarding an alleged lack of faith among the framers of the Constitution, and like sock puppets their peers in academia seemingly in unison deem this book a grand scholarly triumph.
These are some of the great scams of what I call the Progressive Revolution taking over the public schools founded by the Puritans with William Penn as America’s first superintendent. Since the 1870s, progressives have gradually taken over the Christian academy where 187 of the first 200 colleges in America were Christian, Bible-teaching institutions. Entrance to Harvard, Yale and Princeton required strong knowledge of the Bible. In 2012 the academy is essentially a pseudo-academic progressive propaganda mill.
The effects since the late 19th century? Barton writes: “This type of ‘peer review’ is incestuous, with one scholar quoting another, each recirculating the other’s views, but with none of them consulting sources or ideas outside his or her own academic gene pool. The presence of a Ph.D. after one’s name today somehow suggests academic infallibility – but this view must change if truth, accuracy, and objectivity are ever again to govern the presentation of history and historical figures. Primary source documents and historical evidence are the proper standard for historical truth, not professors’ opinions.”
Academic Collectivism relies on the claims of “experts” rather than original documents as the standard for truth, Barton writes. It promotes an adulterous, complex bureaucratic system of peer review scholarship as the sole measurement for determining whether a historical fact is correct or false. However, think about this question: If a liar with a Ph.D. validates another liar with a PhD, isn’t the entire affair one, giant, colossal lie?
This is the state of Academic Collectivism in 2012!
In conclusion, Barton offers these important words to combat liberal bias in the academy, or what Barton calls Academic Collectivism:
The solution for Academic Collectivism is to personally investigate, study, and search out information rather than just accept what the “experts” claim. Become like a jury member of old; get all the evidence, listen to both sides, and reach an independent conclusion warranted by the facts. By practicing these remedies, the five traps of modern historical malpractice can be avoided. Learning accurate history should be our objective.
By the way, history was defined in America’s original dictionary (1828) as “an account of facts” and “a narration of events in the order in which they happened, with their causes and effect.” All five modern historical devices fail to meet important parts of this definition.
Deconstructionists avoid telling about “events” in the way “they happened,” preferring instead to selectively pick out a few things in order to construct a negative image. Poststructuralists avoid “an account of facts,” believing instead that history is subjective and must therefore be individually interpreted based on the way one feels about what happened. Modernists and Minimalists both sidestep “causes and effects,” one by avoiding context and the other by dismissing because examining them “causes and effects” would make things too complicated. And Academic Collectivists avoid “a narration of events,” preferring instead to narrate only what other so-called “experts” has said about those events.
God, realism, truth and history should always be our guide, not the biased rantings of an agenda-driven gang of liberals, progressives and Marxist academics whose pseudo-scholarly aim is to deconstruct everything righteous, good and exceptional about America while rewriting the history of great but flawed men (like all of us), in their own perverted, Marxist, ahistorical image.
President Obama, the Democratic Socialist Party and the liberal academy have all allowed Academic Collectivism to thrive to the detriment of government, culture and society.