A few weeks ago I thought to try to open up a dialogue with a Baltimore Pundit, whose name escapes me but who is a doctrinaire conservative. I shared an article on the extended Lincoln/Douglas debates that won him the Presidency in 1860, and he rejected my argument as "revisionist." I would have laughed but he was serious. His comment made me realize that when dealing with Cons, I mean conservatives, one is dealing with iron clad myths. It really doesn't matter whether they are objectively true or not, once they become dogma, revision of one's opinions, understanding, even appreciation of facts, is "revisionism." That ancient conflation of the hebrew Herem (proscribed) with the greek Heresis (choice), that gave us the word Heresy, is a gift that keeps on giving. One can't argue with facts, I thought.
As long as "revisionism" is a slur, and revising one's theories is anathema. Then science is in trouble and the world will continue to be in trouble. Science doesn't move through merely "new discoveries" but through verification and validation. A Scientist is simply an honest person. One doesn't take an a-priori dogma and look for facts to justify it, if one is an honest person. But if one has dogma or an a-priori belief, one does just that. Revisionism becomes heresy. Choice becomes a crime. And facts are decided by what authorities say the facts are. Thus the ancient roots of fascism are found in dogmatic belief.
I'm proud to be a revisionist. I'll be revising my own ideas til the day I die. If I'm lucky I'll see the gates of heaven and St. Peter will tell me I was wrong on a few things. But I'd rather be wrong based on facts, than assert I'm right based on dogma. Dogmas are often lies and delusions so old, they are asserted as doctrine and forced into belief systems despite the dysfunctional consequences. You'd think people would learn from experience. But dogmatic people don't.
- Further Reading:
- Cooper Union Address: https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/aboutcooper.htm
*** since this is the park service and the GOP revanchists will probably take these pages down at some point. I saved copies