I recently came across this absolutely wonderful lecture by Michael Parenti:
The Struggle For History
He kicks off with a great quotation from Winston Churchill:
Gentlemen, history will be kind to us because I plan to write it.
There follows a wide-ranging survey of facts that have been airbrushed out of history. Did you know, for example, that documents relating to the
Lincoln assassination are still classified
? Let alone huge swathes of stuff from more recent history, whether it's the murkiness of Watergate
or the most recent presidency, the most secretive so far, which went so far as to re
classify many documents.
He also makes the telling point that although the case is closed on the JFK assassination, you still can't look up Lee Harvey Oswald's tax returns.
Who he worked for and when is still a secret.
Sounds like he'd fit right in here on ATS.
The overall message of the lecture is that history is written by the dominant class and the people who suck up to them. Moreover, contemporary
accounts have the same weakness.
But a real lightbulb moment came for me about 35 minutes in, where he mentions Alvin Gouldner
From the Wiki page:
Referencing Gouldner, Michael Parenti said, "Our tendency to accept a datum or argument as true or not depends less on the content and substance
of it, than it does on how congruent it is with the background assumptions we already have. But those background assumptions are of course
established by the whole climate of opinion, the whole universe of communication that we are immersed in constantly here, which is why dissidents
learn the discipline of fighting and developing their arguments from evidence, while those who work within the safe mainstream work a whole
lifetime with unexamined assumptions and presumptions."
I think the best of us on here will know what I mean when I say I had a lightbulb moment at this point. Having spent so much time on here trying to
argue cases against skeptical opponents who were unwilling to question their background assumptions, I took time off and had some fun being a skeptic
myself for a change on this thread.
It's a lot easier being a skeptic, I can tell you. As the skeptics themselves found out, hee hee.
But all this made me realise: we are dissidents
. Every time you make an argument that goes against the grain, you're being a dissident.
And there's nothing wrong with it.
I put this in this forum because it's the most general one I could find, but this could apply to any of the forums in here. And it tells us why the
skeptics can be so lazy. They don't have to do any work!
If you want to advance an argument, you have to go against the grain, against
all the background assumptions that people take for granted.