Should We Trust the State?
comments powered by Disqus
Jonathan Dresner - 8/1/2004
Professional history descends from the work of Ranke, who took government documents as a 'gold standard' of transparency. We know that's not true anymore, but they still, generally, hold up ok. At least they used to.
Before we dismiss a text as biased, generally we need to have: some evidence that there is an error or distortion; some sense of why the bias exists; a belief, rooted in other sources, that the bias/distortion/error is sufficiently great that it obviates the use of that source as evidence of anything except bias.
As Richman points out, bipartisanship mitigates against the likelihood of directly blaming any party figures, but that leaves a great deal of information in the report that is sound, sourced, and critical of governmental systems and functionaries.
That said, the disjunction between the information gathered by the government and the information released by the government has never, in my opinion, been greater than it is now.
- Alabama governor signs law giving thousands of felons their right to vote back
- Jerusalem Post recalls history of the Six-Day War
- Smithsonian launches campaign to raise $10 million for women’s history initiative
- Trump Was Not Always So Linguistically Challenged
- 75th anniversary of the World War 2 black uprising that the American public never heard about
- Jill Lepore: Americans Aren't Just Divided Politically, They're Divided Over History Too
- AHA joins protest of Trump’s plan for drastic cuts to the NEH
- Diane Ravitch says the Democrats paved the way for the education secretary's efforts to privatize our public schools
- Mark Moyar explains why he came to believe the Vietnam War was winnable
- How should Texas high schoolers learn history?