[internetworkers] response to question of rights
michael at czeiszperger.org
Tue Nov 9 21:48:05 EST 2004
On Nov 9, 2004, at 9:16 PM, James Dasher wrote:
>> I don't think the modern terms "Republican" and "religious" and
>> "right-wing" as we know it apply to a totally different time period
>> and culture. History can only be understood in its own context, not
>> as cardboard cutout stand-ins.
> I agree with the last half of your second sentence. But I'm not sure
> what you mean by the rest of it.
Put another way, I like to study history by understanding individuals,
not movements. The more history gets away from individuals the less
accurate it becomes. The minute you stop thinking of someone as an
individual and substitute a shorthand label you lose the ability to
truly understand that person. Books that examine movements invariably
try to fit people into cookie-cutter patterns to fit a preconceived
notion that a concerted movement even existed and what it stood for,
when in reality things are rarely that straightforward.
There is a further problem of applying modern labels to historical
fitures in that the labels are totally out of context of the times, and
hence meaningless. For example, answering the question "was Lincoln
conservative or liberal" would be impossible.
michael at czeiszperger dot org
Chapel Hill, NC
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