Monday, September 22, 2008

We The People, pt. 2, 455 words

Just as you might expect, Jefferson unwraps the thing as soon as he gets inside, and under the paper is a copper plate with the Great Seal engraved on it. Nobody is more baffled than Jefferson, but he just passes it on.

No consultant, no engraver, it just gets dropped in their lap, and they use it. Of course, the official history says otherwise, but who can tell? Nobody alive was around then -- or, at least, nobody alive as we reckon it. We have physical evidence, letters and such, but even the accounts of that evidence's reliability often relies on experts who can't really be held accountable.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having experts -- God knows I'd rather trust someone with an M.D. from a prestigious university before some quack peddling homeopathy who paid a few hundred dollars to a diploma mill, and I'd listen to Darwin or Dawkins or Gould before I'd refer to Genesis. Doctors, well, you can see and live the results of their training, and biologists and physicists can show you the maths and logic chains behind their work. But history... The official story. Stories are mutable. Stories can be rewritten to fit an agenda. Stories lie.

People don't know a tenth of one percentage of what actually goes on because of what's done to history, and it's just getting worse. I know people, not much younger than me, who know nothing about the Know-Nothing Party of the United States anymore. It took a long time for the Armenian Genocide to be recognized for what it was (not that Turkey admits to it, still), and barely anyone knows a damn thing about that. Most people still accept that George Washington took axe to tree and then declared "I cannot tell a lie." That last one's particularly insidious, a lie about honesty. It turns kids who learn the truth just that much more cynical, which is probably the point.

That's the problem with history. Most of it, it's all lies. The evidence used to back it up derives its legitimacy from other evidence, which derives its legitimacy from the first round of evidence. It's so circular it could make a person sick in the head just to try to comprehend it all. Hell, modern politics is that same kind of history-making in action, as politicians and news anchors all tell the same lie over and over until the public believes it, like mass belief makes it into fact. Goebbels would orgasm out of excitement over what passes for news these days, jerking himself off daily with a fresh copy of the New York Times like it was an Aryan supermodel. Even the paper cuts would feel good.

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