Liberal History Lessons

I couldn’t decide which I wanted to post more about, so I’m writing about both (and neglecting other important tasks at the moment).

I had a very interesting conversation with a liberal who thinks I have lost my mind. She is one of the many who can’t understand why I’d be conservative when so many liberals believe that all conservatives are anti-gay hatemongers. If that were the case then Ann Coulter would have refused to appear at Homocon last week. But, I digress.

Republican Congressional candidate Rich Iott was recently snapped with friends wearing a Waffen SS uniform. Several liberal outlets immediately jumped on it, and liberal commenters went completely monkeynuts over the photo. They screamed bloody murder about how he’s a racist and his opponent, incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur, has seized on the story. Nobody noticed the friend standing right next to him in a Scottish military uniform from WWII – and liberals refused to believe the truth. Iott was, for several years, involved in several organizations that re-enact historic battles from all of the wars that the US has been involved in. Iott has uniforms from both sides of nearly every war.

The liberal I was talking to said, “I don’t see why people don’t choose wars that aren’t over racist, ethnocentric issues. Why not do reinactments of World War I, where it was more of a war just to demonstrate all their cool new weapons.” (BTW, all comments from this person are cut and pasted directly from the conversation itself.)

I couldn’t understand the shallowness of the comment, and I let it be known. She told me I was rude and said, “I was in AP European and U.S. History. Yes, I’ve learned it. Considering the fact that all Arizona high schools require you to take both World and American history in order to graduate, you should know t…his. Unless, of course, you grew up in the stone age. I’m quite aware of why the Civil War was started. I don’t agree with any war re-inactments. See, in World War II, 12 million people died who weren’t actually a part of the war. That includes, 6 million of my ancestorage. Have you ever noticed that most people who engage in re-inactments are white people, usually not of a minority religion or ethnicity? Before WWI everyone had come up with nuclear weapons and “fun” new machinery. They were waiting for any excuse to go to war. Then Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated, who incidentally, most of the Austrian nobility didn’t want in power, it was an excuse to go to war. Some experts theorize that assassination was organized by the Austrian government, but I’m assuming you know that, since apparently you think you know everything. You seem to think I’m unaware of the connection with WWII. You do realize that anything that occurs has an effect, right?”

Okay…did you catch that? First she was upset because she felt Iott needed to find another war to do re-enactments of – one that was supposedly less “racist.” Then, she changed her tune and said battle re-enactments should NEVER be done. THEN, she says that BEFORE WWI, “everyone had come up with nuclear weapons and ‘fun’ new machinery.”

If this is what’s being taught in AP History in Arizona, then I have one more reason to move back to Texas.

The Civil War was, if nothing else, based entirely on racism. It was fought because the belief that blacks should remain slaves was so strong among some and the belief that they should be treated as humans was so strong in others that half the states tried to cede from the nation to defend what they felt was their right to keep slaves. When has there ever been a war fought that wasn’t based on some form of ethnocentricity? Even WWI was.

Then comes the remark about nuclear weapons. This is what much of her case is built on. I wrote a paper once about the use of nuclear weapons, so it’s a subject I know something about. I spent days poring over books on the subject. Here’s the basic history: radioactive elements were first discovered by Pierre Curie in 1898. Different parts of atoms were not discovered and laid out until 1911. In 1932, for the very first time, American physicists split an atom. The notion of an atom bomb was not considered until 1934, when Leo Szilard discovered the ability to cause a chain reaction while splitting atoms, though he hadn’t discovered how to actually do it yet. In 1939, nuclear fission was successfully discovered – that was the key to weaponizing the atom.

It wasn’t until July 1945 that a nuclear weapon was successfully detonated. One month later, two were actually used. The problem with her argument is that WWI ran from 1914 – 1918…long before nuclear weapons were even tested.

She’s not the only one who needs a history lesson. Just a couple of days ago, Sarah Palin warned her Tea Party supporters that the election isn’t over – “don’t party like it’s 1773” until the District is owned by conservatives, she warned. Within minutes (I’m pretty sure you can set your watch by the liberal responses to Sarah at this point), the liberals were guffawing joyously. DailyKOS writer Markos Moulitsas, former State Department employee Matt Ortega, PBS airhead Gwen Ifill and wine critic Steve Paulo all piped up on Twitter to mock Palin’s remark. They forgot their history, too – Paulo even said, “WTF happened in 1773?!”

Well, on December 16, 1773, colonists angry about taxation without representation boarded ships in Boston Harbor and dumped entire crates of tea overboard. She was referencing the original Tea Party – at a Tea Party Express tour stop. Oops.

There’s more to the Tea Party than liberals like to acknowledge, too. In 1698, British parliament gave the East India Company a near-complete monopoly on importing tea. Several foreign companies sold it in the American Colonies; but in 1721, the British crown passed a law requiring the Colonies to ONLY import tea from Britain. With the EIC paying a 25% tax to the crown on all imported tea, smuggling tea from Holland became popular – it provided much lower prices for tea lovers. In 1767, parliament passed the Indemnity Act, refunding that 25% tax to the EIC to drive prices down on tea sales in Britain; at the same time, they enacted the Townshend Revenue Act, which imposed greater taxes on several goods in the American Colonies. This went well for some time, providing competition for the tea smugglers. Then, in 1772, the Indemnity Act expired. Parliament brought back a lower tax against EIC, a 10% tax – but EIC passed this rise on to the consumers, and with the rise in price tea sales took a stiff nose-dive. The EIC didn’t stop importing the stuff, though, and ended up with a massive surplus of tea that nobody had the money to buy; this caused a crisis of mass proportions for the EIC. They were arguably Britain’s most important company; the country depended heavily on the East India Company (are we seeing the parallel yet?).

The EIC tried to have both the new post-Indemnity Act taxes and the Townshend Act taxes repealed, but parliament believed it would be viewed as a weakness and refused. After several possibilities were eliminated, the EIC managed to worm a different deal out. Parliament passed the Tea Act, which stopped the 10% tax entirely. It also allowed the EIC to directly import tea to the Colonies (previously they had been required to sell tea at wholesale only in Britain, where other companies shipped it to the Colonies, creating higher costs for the EIC). Parliament also kicked up the tax on this surplus tea, a tax to be paid by individual colonists rather than merchants. As the Townshend tax was meant to allow parliament to pay colonial governors and judges in an effort to keep them loyal to Britain rather than accountable to colonists, parliament refused to back down. The Boston Tea Party was considered the shudder that started the avalanche. Sound familiar?

I certainly hope we all have a better understanding of history now.