The future of history

Robin Montgomery

An emerging approach to the analysis of US History centers on the alleged racism of the Founding Fathers. The approach reflects the recent directive of civic leaders of Seattle demanding white city employees repent for embracing classical Christian-based reasoning common to the founders. Classical reasoning, it is argued, perpetuates white subjugation of the African American race. Included in its critique, the new interpretation challenges the Christian view of human nature which underpins traditional historical analysis. Beginning with the traditional, let’s compare the two approaches to historical analysis.

Foundational to the traditional perspective on human nature, as seen in early text books, et al, is the concept of original sin in the Biblical Garden of Eden. As a consequence, human nature is characterized by a tendency toward evil which can be tempered only by an individual’s embrace of Jesus via the Holy Spirit. It was this which led James Madison to take the lead in fashioning a US Political System centered on checks and balances. Christianity also places emphasis on the individual as its centerpiece.

Furthermore, Christianity pays obeisance to the Transcendent God as the standard or reference point by which to mark the truth of an issue. This reference to reason in terms of antithesis conditioned the study of US history to feature reverence for the founding fathers in terms of their Christian faith. Witness the classic painting of George Washington on his knees in prayer during the American Revolution.

Thus, the drive to delegitimize Christianity’s framework of propositional truth is a pivotal step toward instigating a new socio-political system. Fundamental to this new interpretation is the belief in the goodness of human nature. If the roots of traditional Christian reason can be de mystified, so the thinking goes, man’s “true” nature could rise to its natural goodness. Indeed, this belief constitutes the end level of Marxist theory with totalitarian politics ushering in a perceived utopia with no need for a government.

As with Marxism, to reach that “blessed” utopian condition, architects of the new history must first mold an elite with understanding of these matters. Ironically, at the time the Christian theme of “all are created equal” became finally crystallized into law, with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, evolution- based thinking was already in a position to stymie the positive results of that 188- year battle from 1776 to 1964.

Evolution had by the sixties dug deep roots, leading to the view of man’s nature being subject to change over time; this meant that little could be learned from history in terms of a model of how to address various situations. The distant subjects of history had a different nature than those of the present, it came to be believed. Furthermore, by the sixties the view was emerging that the study of man should focus on the genetic aspect, one’s race, sex, and the like rather than the individual of whatever genetic make- up. In the process, the emphasis on the individual fell captive to the focus on the group.

The group focus plays to pluralism which centers on policy and values flowing from the interaction of groups, with the group most committed to a position being presumed correct. Currently, African-Americans constitute the favored group.

History, therefore, is being maneuvered, as seen in Project 1619, to feature the clash of races rather than togetherness, with the villain of that battle the faith of our white Christian founders. This means that separatism rather than togetherness mark the new path of US Culture. Along the way, the foundation for our cherished checks and balances and unalienable individual rights is weighed in the balance.