(The historical question to which is the answer is: What could possibly be worse than Saddam Hussein? It also led American soldiers to commit war crimes, almost all left unpunished, of a kind that it still shrivels the heart to read about.)Another, domestic example of historical blindness is the current cult of the political hypersagacity of Lyndon B. Johnson did many good things, but to use him as a positive counterexample of leadership to Barack Obama or anyone else is marginally insane.
(The historical question to which is the answer is: What could possibly be worse than Saddam Hussein? It also led American soldiers to commit war crimes, almost all left unpunished, of a kind that it still shrivels the heart to read about.)Another, domestic example of historical blindness is the current cult of the political hypersagacity of Lyndon B. Johnson did many good things, but to use him as a positive counterexample of leadership to Barack Obama or anyone else is marginally insane.Tags: Thinking Critically By John ChaffeeBuilding Automation ThesisMaster Thesis OpponentOpening Paragraph For Research PaperSocial Work Research Paper TopicsResearch Paper Detailed OutlineCollege Feedback Improve Thesis Writing
(The history of medicine is that no matter how many interventions are badly made, the experts who intervene make more: the sixteenth-century doctors who bled and cupped their patients and watched them die just bled and cupped others more.) What history actually shows is that nothing works out as planned, and that everything has unintentional consequences.
History doesn’t show that we should never go to war—sometimes there’s no better alternative.
Those of us who obsess, for instance, particularly in this centennial year, on the tragedy of August, 1914—on how an optimistic and largely prosperous civilization could commit suicide—don’t believe that the trouble then was that nobody read history.
The trouble was that they were reading the wrong history, a make-believe history of grand designs and chess-master-like wisdom.
Roger Cohen, for instance, wrote on Wednesday about all the mistakes that the United States is supposed to have made in the Middle East over the past decade, with the implicit notion that there are two histories: one recent, in which everything that the United States has done has been ill-timed and disastrous; and then some other, superior, alternate history, in which imperial Western powers sagaciously, indeed, surgically, intervened in the region, wisely picking the right sides and thoughtful leaders, promoting militants without aiding fanaticism, and generally aiding the cause of peace and prosperity. As the Libyan intervention demonstrates, the best will in the world—and, seemingly, the best candidates for our support—can’t cure broken polities quickly.
What “history” shows is that the same forces that led to the Mahdi’s rebellion in Sudan more than a century ago—rage at the presence of a colonial master; a mad turn towards an imaginary past as a means to equal the score—keep coming back and remain just as resistant to management, close up or at a distance, as they did before.Studying history doesn’t argue for nothing-ism, but it makes a very good case for minimalism: for doing the least violent thing possible that might help prevent more violence from happening.The real sin that the absence of a historical sense encourages is presentism, in the sense of exaggerating our present problems out of all proportion to those that have previously existed.It isn’t productive in a tangible sense; it’s productive in a human sense.The action, whether rewarded or not, really is its own reward. It might be worth asking similar questions about the value of studying, or at least, reading, history these days, since it is a subject that comes to mind many mornings on the op-ed page.is a horrible group doing horrible things, and there are many factors behind its rise. was indeed a ruthless political operator and, when he had big majorities, got big bills passed—the Civil Rights Act, for one.But they came to be a threat and a power less because of all we didn’t do than because of certain things we did do—foremost among them that massive, forward intervention, the Iraq War. He also engineered, and masterfully bullied through Congress, the Vietnam War, a moral and strategic catastrophe that ripped the United States apart and, more important, visited a kind of hell on the Vietnamese.But it does show that the results are entirely uncontrollable, and that we are far more likely to be made by history than to make it.History is past, and singular, and the same year never comes round twice. The first reason is because we will learn from the mistakes people made in the past and try not to repeat them.The third reason is to learn about what causes conflicts and wars so we can help identify when they may be occurring.