History is fake.

Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#91
Fake? Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The discipline of history is like the curate's egg; parts of it are excellent.

The history I studied at high school left a great deal to be desired, largely because each year we had just one textbook; the idea of reading other books on the same topic didn't occur.

I discovered at university that there is no such thing as an 'objective' historian. Each has their own bias, it's a matter of degree. It's therefore necesary to doa lot of reading arounda topic if you hope to get even a broad idea of what probably happened and why.

Ancient chroniclers were not historians in the sense we use today; according to Egyptian chroniclers, the Battle Of Kadesh was a massive victory for Ramses 11. The Anatolians claimed they won. Egypt lost territory, so hard to claim victory, but they did. History and archaeology go together; it seems new evidence is being found every year about ancient Egypt. Eg in the last 20 years it has been claimed for example that the exodus of the Jews from Egypt never happened, that it'smyth, as is the Davidic empire.-------Last couple of years evidence that the tomb of Tutankhamun actually belonged to Ay. That at least one of the sarcophagi, parts of the fabulous gold mask, and many of the tomb goods are 'second hand' having perhaps belonged to Nefertiti or Akhnaten-

---------Go forward to the Romans; Caesars writings can best be described as propaganda-------most other Roman 'historians' tended to write propaganda. I can think of two reasonable examples off hand; the Jewish Roman apologist Yosef ben Matityahu (Tiitus Flavius Josephus)---and Suetonius, upon whom everyone seems to rely to learn about Caligula at least one modern historian I've read see him as 'scurillous. I read somewhere that one emperor actually executed people for reading Suetonius 'Life Of Caligula'. That is not to say 'The Twelve Caesars' are not worth reading,,only that looking at other sources is a good idea.

The point I'm trying to make is that the discipline of history as we know it simply did not exist before the eighteenth century , when Edward Gibbon produced 'The History Of The Decline and Fall Of The Roman Empire'

Now for the excellent part: As a study, the history of the Holocaust ,from 1935 t0 1945 is unequaled in terms of available evidence. I am unable to think of any other period in history which has been better documented than WW2 generally, and the Holocaust specifically.

YES, I believe it's unlikely that every piece of evidence would stand up to scrutiny. However, there is no doubt in my mind that overall claims made about the Holocaust and its perpetrators and fellow travellers, is generally true.

I've been reading history as a interest for over 40 years. I don't ask for and do not expect truth statements. my approach is to discover an area of interest, then to read a prime source. If I keep my interest, I then read around the topic. I hope to end up with a good broad idea about specific times and places. There are simply too many variables to ever hope for a clear, solid understanding of the past---and of course history is a living discipline, so new evidence is being found all the time..

Hence, to call the discipline of history 'fake' is simplistic. I would also like to see the evidence for such a sweeping assertion.
 
Aug 2010
16,205
Welsh Marches
#92
There is no such thing as "history", in the sense of a generally accepted orthodoxy about anything, there is historical discourse and there are historians of worse or better quality. One almost always finds that people who condemn all 'history' as being fake or mendacious are doing so because their own pet ideas, usually of a cranky nature, aren't widely accepted.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
26,829
Italy, Lago Maggiore
#93
There is no such thing as "history", in the sense of a generally accepted orthodoxy about anything, there is historical discourse and there are historians of worse or better quality. One almost always finds that people who condemn all 'history' as being fake or mendacious are doing so because their own pet ideas, usually of a cranky nature, aren't widely accepted.
This is really true and probably it's why on the net alternative history forums are generally more active than history forums ...

The point with history is not so difficult to grasp: historians read the past and as any reader [we could mention semiotics here] they give to what they read their own meaning. The real ability of a historian is to try and keep the meaning they give to what they read as near as possible to the original reality. Sometime this is easy, sometime it's difficul and it requires a wide work of confrontation among not a few scholars and researchers and usually at the end they will reach a kind of consensus about an accptable version.

I have just had occasion to discuss for a long time the possible historical reality of the so called Amarna Period, finding out, not rarely, that what can look certain is just an educated supposition. But this doesn't mean that I am more entitled to suggest a different interpretation considering it more valid [this is usually the basic mistake of who criticizes the "official" history].
 
Nov 2018
105
Idaho
#94
I think you should basically mistrust anything anyone tells you, especially if they have a motive. However this universal criticism and the misanthropy it inspires is emotionally uncomfortable and intellectually too difficult for most normies who, because of evolutionary social traits and limited mental capacities, rely on obedience and conformity to survive and prosper.

Most history is ideologically motivated, and even the stuff that isn't written with that axe to grind is usually relying uncritically on axe-grinding sources. Even aside from motives there is also very little evidence at all for ancient history, and almost all the written stuff is highly questionable. Which means the answer to a lot of questions is 'we don't really know', from the phalanx formation to the crime rates in Rome. But since popular history can not sell ambiguities and complex facts they dumb it down and basically lie about what they know, in order to make the narrative easier to understand and more satisfying for the plebs that read it.

The closer you get to modern history the less of an obstacle this is: there is so much routine bureaucratic and commercial data that you can actually get a fairly good picture of what happened when. But you still must not take the conclusions of historians for granted. We may know a great deal about the mechanics of tanks and the maneuvers of the Russian army but what historians draw from these facts is often extremely dubious, or even absurd. It survives unchallenged because most people want to believe.

For normal people history has nothing to do with facts about the past. It is a stage upon which they can project their personal fixations, current day political and religious issues, and make use of unusual costumes. That's why most written history is full of suspect notions and fact-free claims (repeated endlessly by plagiarizing second-handers) and why normal people still read/watch it anyway. It's about Good Guys and Bad Guys and Grand Narratives. The reality that history is an unfathomably complex concatenation of events with no teleology is not only foreign and useless to most people, it is offensive to how the average human's mind operates (people see purpose and intent in everything, even though it is absent from everything but animals). Human psychology is really shitty at scientific and critical analysis, especially where their own emotions and beliefs are touched upon.
 
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