- Writing history is about critical assessment, not the imposition of a political agenda
- Critical Race Theory is a dangerously simplistic way of explaining both the past and the present
- CRT is lightweight, imprecise and totally unconcerned with an authoritative account of the past
In 1984 George Orwell wrote, ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’ The idea of controlling the past can be traced back long before the emergence of Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. It is the backdrop to boastful inscriptions on the walls of ancient Egyptian temples at Luxor.
Today this idea has taken a new form. A way of reading the past is being imposed in universities, schools and wider society that is justified not by its historical accuracy but by its political message. The adherents of so-called Critical Race Theory (CRT) have no sense that the task of the historian is to expound the evidence, rather than to indulge in moralising jargon. They have no sense that it is important to engage in argument, rather than to impose one’s views. They have no sense that the dogma they are spreading is not taken seriously by very many historians. Or rather, it does need to be taken seriously by its opponents, for it is a dangerously simplistic way of explaining both the past and the present.
History Reclaimed is a new website that challenges the increasingly dominant dogma of the Theorists, and demands proper debate about the distorted view of history that lies at the heart of the new thinking. History Reclaimed supports the art of writing history as it has been written ever since the time of Herodotus in ancient Greece: collecting the evidence and assessing it before spinning any general theories about the nature of human development.
Interestingly, Karl Marx understood perfectly well the need to accumulate large amounts of data before moulding the arguments of Das Kapital. The days he spent in the imposing Reading Room of the British Museum were given over to serious study, as even those of us who reject his conclusions have to concede. By comparison, CRT is lightweight, imprecise in its use of terms such as ‘capitalism’, ‘imperialism’ and ‘colonialism’, and much more concerned with righting supposed wrongs in the past than in writing authoritatively about the experience of our ancestors. ... Continue reading >>>