What Does History ‘Prove’?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
By Paul Martin

by Butler Shaffer
LewRockwell.com

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
~ Albert Einstein

We drive into the future using only our rearview mirror.
~ Marshall McLuhan

As popular respect for political systems continues to erode, you may have noticed the statists frantically trying to deflate emerging inquiries and debates on the topic of secession. Their principal argument has been the non sequitur “the American Civil War answered that question.” Such a response presumes that history expresses immutable principles that transcend time, a proposition that would at once be seen for its inherent absurdity were it applied to scientific understanding. Who was Copernicus to suggest that we live in a heliocentric universe after Ptolemy informed us of the geocentric nature of our world? Furthermore, the American Revolutionary War was premised on the right of people to secede from existing political systems; and yet the statists are not to be heard using that period as precedent for condemning Lincoln’s suppression of that principle.

If history is to be the standard for propriety in our world, would we not have to defend the principle of slavery, given that the 1857 U.S. Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford upheld the legality of the practice? And wouldn’t the fate of Joan of Arc have “answered the question” that political dissenters could be burned at the stake? Or are we, like lawyers, entitled to pick and choose the precedents that serve our particular cause, while carefully “distinguishing” other instances that don’t serve our purposes?

The Rest…HERE

Leave a Reply