the bridge of louis philippe, things not to discuss in washington, the conservative history industry

  the bridge of louis philippe

  the bridge of louis philippe, 1875, by   Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin. Oil on canvas.

Six Things You Can’t Talk About in Washington. You cannot say that Wall Street recovered from the 2008 meltdown within a year. You cannot say corporate profits are great, but we probably will not fully recover the jobs lost in 2008, perhaps as late as 2018. But if we do what conservative governors are doing and cut corporate taxes while raising taxes on the working poor ( mostly via regressive sales taxes) business will be motivated to start hiring. If tax cuts equaled jobs we would have recovered those jobs four years ago. You can’t talk about more stimulus spending, even though the first wave that Democrats passed in 2009 is what kept the U.S. from going through a European style austerity induced slump, from which they do not seem to be able to recover. Absolutely do much make any obvious observations like conservatives warning America not to slip into having a European style economy, but they are modeling their austerity plans on Europe. You cannot speak of how wages are at an all-time low in comparison to corporate executive wages. America’s elite are special, that is all anyone needs to know. Workers should be on their knees showing gratitude, rather than asking for fair compensation for their work. Do not mention that the U.S. health care system is not constrained by free market pressure on pricing, thus most Americans are either going without some medical care to save money, or doing without medical care altogether. It may seem obvious, but do not mention how dishonest and hypocritical conservative leadership is about balanced budgets.

When one lives in a bubble of disinformation, life is not easy. Reality presents constant challenges. So conservatives have created an entire industry of reality denial. One of the biggest growth sectors in the reality denial industry is historical revisionism. Like any industry, like Apple to tech, you have your industrial leaders, The Terrible Truth About the Republicans’ Favorite Historian

What does it say about Britain that today we merrily laud a historian who celebrates the most murderous acts of the British Empire — and even says women and children who died in our concentration camps were killed by their own stupidity? What does it say about the Republican Party that their most senior leaders — from George W. Bush to Dick Cheney to Karl Rove to Fred Thompson — fawn over this man?

Andrew Roberts is routinely described in the British press, and the likes of the National Review, as a talented historian with a penchant for partying.

[  ]…How should this empire exercise its power? One useful tactic, Roberts appears to believe, is massacring civilians. The Amritsar massacre is one of the ugliest episodes in the history of the British Raj. In 1919, Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer opened fire on 10,000 unarmed men, women, and children who were peacefully protesting, and about 400 died. Dyer was even repudiated by the British government. As Patrick French, an award-winning historian of the period, explains: “The biographies of Dyer show that he was clearly mentally abnormal, and there was no way he should have been in charge of troops.”

Yet Dyer has, at last, found a defender — Andrew Roberts. In his book A History Of The English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900, he says that after Dyer shot down the peaceful crowd, “[i]t was not necessary for another shot to be fired throughout the entire region.” He later comments: “Today’s reactions to Dyer’s deed are of course uniformly damning … but if the Amritsar district, Punjab region or southern India generally had carried on in revolt, many more than 379 people would have lost their lives.”

It is an extraordinary rationalisation for killing women and children in cold blood, and rejected by virtually all other historians. It was only after I exposed this passage that Roberts finally said: “I have never approved of massacring civilians.”

I tend to have a high regard for British pop music, movies from the 1960-70s and 19th century literature. The National Review is fond of and finds inspiration with British historians with sociopath tendencies. To each their own.

Advertisements