Historians Against the War: Only Progressives Need Apply?

At Liberty & Power, University of Alabama historian (and Reason contributor) David Beito challenges the group Historians Against the War (HAW) to come clean about its attempts to purge libertarian and conservative members, including Beito himself. As he writes:

The shift to the new HAW began in March when the leadership purged non-progressives from the blog, including yours truly and Thaddeus Russell, a historian of the left who has libertarian sympathies and is critical of the moral universalism and imperialism of the progressive tradition. The major complaints against us were that we were devoting too much space to pushing a "libertarian agenda," (others did not hesitate to blog on progressive proposals that had nothing to do with foreign policy) "bashing Obama" and his foreign policy, and criticizing the HAW leadership for its silence on the new administration.

The blog purge was only a prelude. Soon after it took place, HAW scuttled its generally welcoming and ecumenical original statement of purpose in favor of a leftist critique of "global capitalism" that seemed almost calculated to spurn potential libertarian or conservative recruits.

As Beito goes on to note, the latest example of the group’s leftward descent appears in the advertisement for HAW’s upcoming event, “Obama’s Troubling First Year,” which asks, “what can progressive historians & historically minded activists do to positively influence political events?”

What indeed. Apparently it’s too much for them to forge a left-right alliance aimed at achieving a common goal.

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  • hmm||

    Isn't it historically prudent to control the media in a revolution?

  • ¢||

    No common goal exists, and the "left" knows it. First-against-the-wall libertarianism doesn't pay.

    Stop being suckers.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    Progressivism was born in militarism:

    In addition to Prohibition and segregation, the Progressives' anti-individualist idealism found yet another manifestation -- militarism. Under the Roosevelt Administration, the "spirit of imperialism was an exaltation of duty above rights, of collective welfare above individual self-interest ... [of] the heroic values as opposed to materialism, action instead of logic, the natural impulse rather than the pallid intellect" (Osgood) -- in short, an exaltation of every tenet of Progressive ideology above Enlightenment liberalism. This manifestation tumefied with the outbreak of war in Europe, with the Progressives clamoring for U.S. entry ... War opponent Randolph Bourne denounced Dewey and the other Progressives for allying themselves with the "least democratic forces in American life." He openly mused that there "seems to have been a peculiar congeniality between the war and these men. It is as if the war and they had been waiting for each other." It is possible to suggest that there was nothing at all "peculiar" about the congeniality between the war and the ideas these men held.

  • Paul||

    Barry,

    Good post... but there are many here that already know.

    Progressivism is about putting institutions ahead of people. Period.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    "Paul's Law" — you named it!

  • ||

    Being right for the wrong reason is fascist.

  • ||

    Apparently it’s too much for them to forge a left-right alliance aimed at achieving a common goal.

    Ending the war was never their goal. For many progressives, the unpopular Iraq War was little more a convenient stick to beat Republicans with.

  • hmm||

    It's no longer a war. It is a freedom mission.

  • Kroneborge||

    +1

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Which war(s) are they against?

  • ||

    “what can progressive historians & historically minded activists do to positively influence political events?”

    Maybe historians should concentrate on researching and producing accurate historical accounts, rather than trying to bend the will of the masses to their liking?

  • ||

    Accurate historical accounts? Dude, that's never what writing history was about.

  • ||

    Dude, "History" is progressing inexporably towards a final Socialist state. haven't you learned anything.

    The historian's job is to document the inevitable progress of the Vanguard of the Revolution. If it doesn't seem to be happening fast enough, it is to figure out what evil capitalist schemes are causing the delay.

  • ||

    If you can warp common conceptions about history, why you can argue anything. Look, the U.S.S.R. was a success!

  • ||

    I'm expecting that in 2000 years or so, Marxists will still be wandering the streets, shouting gibberish and wearing signs reading "The Revolution is Near!"

  • ||

    Communism: This time we'll get it right!

  • ||

    In Soviet Russia, history makes you!

  • ||

    The funny thing is that it's always the intellectuals who are the first to be purged - bring on the purges!

  • ||

    Of course, that depends on your definition of "intellectual."

  • Serfdom Illustrated||

    6. Planners hate to force agreement. Most planners are well meaning idealists, who balk at any use of force. They hope for some miracle of public agreement as to their patchwork plan.

    7. They try to sell the plan to all...in an unsuccessful effort to "educate" the people to uniform views, planners establish a giant propaganda machine -- which coming dictator will find handy.

    8. The gullible do find agreement. Meanwhile, growing national confusion leads to protest meetings. The least educated -- thrilled and convinced by fiery oratory -- form a party.

    9. Confidence in planners fades. The more that the planners "improvise", the greater the disturbance to normal business. Everybody suffers. People now feel -- rightly -- that the planners can't get things done.

    10. The Strong Man is given power. In desperation, the planners authorize the new party leader to hammer out a plan and force its obedience. Later, they'll dispense with him -- or so they think...

  • ||

    Point #7 is generally lost on the progressives. The belief that only the ignorant, stupid, or evil could disagree with them leads them into these massive "educational" efforts that inevitably get twisted and twisted into the service of less and less certain "truths".

  • ||

    Ironically, the original Illustrated Road To Serfdom pamphlets, warning of the disastrous effects of government takeover of industry, were funded by General Motors.

  • ||

    I learned from the English release of the movie "The Little Prince" you become a historian in order to change history. Or something like that - it's been a while.

  • hmm||

    After reading the first line on the site I'm not too surprised by this turn of events.

    As historically minded activists, scholars, students, and teachers...

    You can transplant this line into Brooks article with no effort.

  • ||

    Historians Against the War (HAW) ...

    Stock and trade of the progressive playbook.

    Start with an appeal to authority in the name, add the modifier for/against and finish with some grand topic to create a name that no sensible person could disagree with, without being labeled a kook. Oh, and don't forget the call for social justice.

    "What? You take issue with 'Mothers Against Cannibalism and Sexual Predators' and their call for universal day care? What kind of sick and twisted pervert are you? You probably eat your own young after depriving them of rich and fulfilling formative years."

  • Ska||

    You probably eat your own young after depriving them of rich and fulfilling formative years.

    You forgot the molestation aperitif.

  • eb||

    speaking of which whoever was the one who brough the term "progressive" back is a genious... as if anyone who opposes them is against progress.

  • ||

    I like the reemergence of the word progressive, since it means I can call myself a liberal without having to add the modifier "classical".

  • Hobo Chang Ba||

    The funny thing is most "progressive" policies hurt the poor because they are based in emotional reaction rather than economics. I consider myself a "progressive" because I believe the ideal government would attempt to burden the poor the least, thus allowing the poor to keep more of their own money and provide for themselves instead of having the government provide everything for them. But at the same time, most of my policy beliefs (other than maybe public education) jive very closely with libertarianism, because I believe classical liberalism could be the most progressive philosophy if coupled with an anti-corporation-as-government-created-entity stance and framed correctly based in economics.

  • Rimfax||

    I prefer the term "Levelers", but I have to explain it every time I use it.

  • TickleStick||

    You probably eat your own young after depriving them of rich and fulfilling formative years their rectums with rosemary infused creme fresh."

  • Attorney||

    Pre-cisely.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    They want to create the "history" that they, and only they, object to being lied to about WMD.

  • ||

    Congratualtions on being used as tools by a bunch of leftists, folks.

    They kept the libertarians on board just long enough for Bush to leave power, and then dumped them as soon as they weren't helpful to the true "cause".

    The goal, in other words, was never ending the wars, it was ending capitalism.

  • ||

    Capitalism. What has it ever done for us?

  • Suki||

    It made old people eat cat food when it took away their welfare.

  • I'll stop now||

    Funny you should mention this, but I was just thinking about something similar this afternoon.

    When a student from Iran, who became a family friend, moved to the US he unkowingly ate catfood because it was cheap and he liked the cat picture on the label.

    True story.

  • I'll stop now||

    This was twenty-five years ago.

  • I'll stop now||

    Actually, it was longer ago than that as the Shah was still in power.

    Time flies!

  • ||

    I had a roommate in college who regularly blew most of his money on liquid bread. As a result, when we'd go to the grocery store (he lived on canned baked beans and rice), I'd regularly suggest that he buy a giant bag of Gravy Train. 'Cause he could eat it dry or make gravy by adding water!

  • ||

    Damn and here i was thinking i was the 1st person to call beer "liquid bread".

  • ||

    Well, that's what it is.

  • zoltan||

    Me too. I've been taken down a level.

  • dfd||

    Strange, that story really strikes me as very familiar. I am pretty sure I heard one very similar about someone I know. I'll have to check with the person I heard it from (a relative of his) to recall the exact details, but everything seems to fit. Out of curiosity, without naming him, could you tell me roughly where in the US this happened?

  • MJ||

    If bought it because he liked the picture of the cat on the label, what, exactly did he think he was eating?

  • Jigga Wha?||

    The aqueducts?

  • ||

    What?

  • PFJ||

    And the sanitation.

  • ||

    And the roads...

    Public baths!

  • hmm||

    I wouldn't fault someone for trying. Intentions change and it often takes time to recognize the change.

  • Nobody special||

    This whole progressive movement is on it's last legs. Most kids under 30 I know think it's all a scam.

    As soon as the boomers hit an average age of 65 it's done.

    Along with jazz......

  • The Man||

    Nobody, you need some historical perspective. The babyboomers' grandparents and great grandparents were deeply involved in that archetypal progressive movement known as eugenics. Progressives are everywhere. Some identify themselves as progressives, some as leftists, or socialists, or democratic socialists or even communists. 80 years ago they would identify themselves as fascists, but Hitler ruined that game for them.

    Whatever they call themselves, *they* are the enemies of libertarians. They are not fellow travellers struggling against the forces of government oppression, they *are* the forces of government oppression. That's why I wonder about David Beito and his political orientation. To amplify my comment below, maybe he is surprised.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Some identify themselves as progressives, some as leftists, or socialists, or democratic socialists or even communists.

    Personally, I identify them as "an appropriate receptacle for a large, hairy fist".

  • ||

    I always KNEW jazz was a scam.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Except for Kenny G, of course.

  • Louis Armstrong||

    I'm gonna dig myself outta the grave, smoke some muggles and kick yo' ass.

  • ||

    Is it a crime to lynch a zombie?

    /racist

  • Silentz||

    Only the slow ones. It's not sporting.

  • Syd Henderson||

    No, but it's kind of pointless.

  • ||

    We can save the future by pointing out to the young that computer games are a product of the free market. They'll rise in libertarian revolution then.

  • ||

    If the world had become a socialist paradise 50yrs ago, i bet we'd still be using vacuum tubes in computers.

  • ||

    What? Vacuum tubes hurt the working class!

  • ||

    But how else will we calculate trajectories for the Glorious Missiles that Protect the Working Class.

  • ||

    One thousand people with slide rules. Before you ask, the missiles will be piloted by three guys with maps and slide rules.

  • ||

    Thx for anticipating my follow-up, saved some time there.

  • ||

    A recent episode of "Better off Ted" riffed on this theme, where machines were being replaced by humans. (An excellent show BTW--if you see this episode, be sure to look at all the machines in the electronic pasture scene)

    They went from a hazardous spill clean up robot, to a hazardous spill clean guy. With a mop.

  • ||

    "He peed coffee in my face from his mouth!"

  • ||

    I should do all of my comments that way--make an assertion, then preemptively reply to all possible questions and criticisms. Beats dealing with threaded comments.

  • ||

    Indeed, vacuum tubes destroy jobs. Slide rules create them.

    It's the socialist's goal to find employment for everyone. You can't put people out of work by introducing work-destroying innovations like vacuum tubes.

  • ||

    Exactly. And the guys who turn the propellers on the missiles--don't forget them!

  • ||

    on a side note, watching Andrew Zimmern on the travel channel. He's in Cuba....

    Few minutes ago, they showed a spot on the highway where the military stops cars with extra seats and compels the drivers to take on extra passengers. "Those aren't hitchhikers!", he narrates very enthusiastically.

    Socialism-tastic!

  • FrenchHash||

    LOL, 3rd amendment-ish fail!

  • Suki||

    We can save the future by pointing out to the young that computer games are a product of the free market.

    Not exactly in the beginning from what I saw on some show. A bunch of contractors with idle time and idle equipment created pong on an oscilloscope (a really fancy nuclear research one, when they were supposed to be working) and created Atari.

    Did that count as rent seeking or just theft?

  • ||

    It's not like they hauled off that scope and sold it as their 1st unit. They learned what they needed to know for games by working for military goals, like most of our technology.

    I guess it's not exactly a true free market conception, but since there's never been a minimalist govt in existence, nothing can be completely free of gov't influence/money.

    Its like the same argument used in the healthcare debate on how the free market has failed to provide cheap care. "WHAT FREE MARKET?!"

  • ||

    That argument's already been anticipated in Marxism. According to the dialectic, capitalism was not completely worthless; it provided the necessary raw material for the post-revolution workers paradise. So arguing that some great thing was produced by capitalism doesn't prove Marxism wrong.

  • zoltan||

    Computer games like Bioshock, which give the young a bit of Ayn Rand (though the man espousing it and the city he builds falls into ruin, not due to free market forces, but tyranny).

  • The Man||

    Is Beito surprised? If he is, he's an idiot. If he isn't and he was prepared to dump the progressives when it became expedient to do so, then he has no complaint. If he was not prepared to dump the progressives when their goals diverged from his, then is he really a libertarian? This is just politics---and not very evil politics at that---the coalition fell apart when the majority didn't need the minority anymore.

  • zoltan||

    Beito probably realized (as a libertarian and individualist) that not all who hold similar political beliefs act in the same manner. Though I'd say his wealth of trust is misplaced. Not sure if I'd call it idiotic, especially if he's surprised. To have a rapport with a group of individuals about a shared cause does not prepare one for being purged from that group, regardless of political ideology.

  • ||

    Progressives are exactly like conservatives, in that they are without redeeming characteristics. When the other side is in power, they say things against tyranny, but they are lying. This becomes evident the moment their ass hits the throne.

  • ||

    Amen

  • LibertyBill||

    This is why I believe that the Ron Paul Tea Party movement will be hijacked by neocons.

  • Seer||

    Are you suggesting it hasn't?

  • The Man||

    This is altogether too 2-dimensional to qualify as reasoned discourse. The world is a complicated place and there are few political notions that are "without redeeming characteristics." If an idea has any political traction then a sizable number of people think that it does have redeeming characteristics, too many to just dismiss them so easily. And if we cannot accommodate divergent views then, logically, we must exist in a perpetual war of extermination.

  • ||

    I would counter that there are few political notions that HAVE "redeeming characteristics."

  • The Man||

    Well, obviously, the vast majority of people disagree with you. By taking this sort of position you prevent any debate and marginalize your views. Libertarians never succeed in affecting the discussion by suggesting that different views are without redeeming characteristics (there are too few of us). And the wise libertarian is prepared to lose his political virginity and engage the forces of evil. Who knows, maybe they get a good idea from time to time.

  • ||

    The problem with this (as Warren is pointing out in his original comment) is that the progressive/conservative camp operates on the principle that there ought to be a strong central government that can do whatever its current possessors wish to do. As a libertarian that is not a principle that I can accept. When the progressives and conservatives are arguing over the best way to steal my liberty, I'm not going to jump up and say "hey guys, here's an even better way to do that!".

  • ||

    The difference of view for a libertarian in most situations centers around not wanting a gov't action to occur. Which does marginalize us pretty well, since everyone else WANTS some sort of gov't action.

    The catch-22 of a limited gov't ideology in a world of "Won't the Gov't Protect My Children" Cheerleaders.

  • ||

    damn, what Sandwich said (since he said it way better)

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    They should change their name to Progressives Supposed Historians Against War. PSHAW.

  • ||

    But, it's Historians against THE War."

    I just want to know which war? Viet Nam? Mexican-American?

  • ||

    I think they mean the Austrailian War.

  • ||

    And they are surprised by this?

  • Progresive Historian||

    War is uncontrolled oppression. We don't want that.

  • zoltan||

    This is awesome.

  • Progresive Historian||

    And if we cannot accommodate divergent views then, logically, we must exist in a perpetual war of extermination.

    Now you've got it!

  • The Man||

    Don't jump to conclusions. I come from a long line of imperialist warmongers (both Prussian and British), it's in my blood. Maybe I think that accommodation is over-rated and war more desirable.

  • zoltan||

    Considering the genetics, you're probably just unintelligent. (I'm Scottish-Italian)

  • Shotgun||

    The Divine Right of Intellectuals

    With his new work, Intellectuals and Society, Sowell has finally made good on his 20-year-old promise to write about intellectuals. He has also made good on his threat. Sowell takes aim at the class of people who influence our public debate, institutions, and policy. Few of Sowell’s targets are left standing at the end, and those who are stagger back to their corner, bloody and bruised.

    Sowell defines intellectuals as an occupation, as people whose “work begins and ends with ideas.” This includes academics, especially those in the humanities and social sciences, policy wonks, and, to a certain extent, journalists. This distinguishes them from occupations in which the work begins with ideas and ends with the application of ideas. Physicians or engineers usually start with ideas about how to approach their work, but eventually they have to put them into practice by treating patients or constructing bridges.

    As a result, intellectuals are free from one of the most rigorous constraints facing other occupations: external standards. An engineer will ultimately be judged on whether the structures he designs hold up, a businessman on whether he makes money, and so on. By contrast, the ultimate test of an intellectual’s ideas is whether other intellectuals “find those ideas interesting, original, persuasive, elegant, or ingenious. There is no external test.” If the intellectuals are like-minded, as they often are, then the validity of an idea depends on what those intellectuals already believe. This means that an intellectual’s ideas are tested only by internal criteria and “become sealed off from feedback from the external world of reality.”

    http://article.nationalreview......amp;w=MA==

  • I'll stop now||

    Sowell’s book serves not only as a history of intellectuals but also as a guide to what is currently unfolding in the United States. A constant theme in Intellectuals and Society is the intellectual as a “surrogate decision-maker” who thinks his preferences should override those of the parties directly involved in a decision. For example, Sowell notes that intellectuals often complain that they do not understand why corporate executives are paid such high salaries, “as if there is any inherent reason why third parties should be expected to understand, or why their understanding and acquiescence should be necessary, in order for those who are directly involved in hiring and paying corporate executives to proceed on the basis of their own knowledge and experience, in a matter in which they have a stake and intellectuals do not.” However, companies that received TARP money do need the acquiescence of White House pay czar Kenneth Feinberg, who recently decreed that the top executives at these companies could not earn more than $500,000 annually. That Feinberg has no experience at running a company, and that it will be the employees and stockholders of those companies, and not Feinberg, who will suffer the consequences of that decision, is consistent with an administration culled from the anointed.

  • ||

    That was an interesting review, although I have to disagree with the reviewer where he took Sowell to task for not including celebrities who spout their ignorance. The book, after all, is about intellectuals; leftist actors and musicians don't qualify (even though they're moved by essentially the same impulse). I see them more as cheerleaders than as intellectuals.

  • Jerry||

    The Divine Right of Bono

  • ||

    As a former rent boy with a GED who plays a president on television I demand to be taken seriously.

  • Hobo Chang Ba||

    A little bit confused - I love Thomas Sowell a great deal but does he not attach the disclaimer that he himself is an intellectual trying to influence the public policy debate via history, economics and policy opinions? Or is he just targeting leftist intellectuals?

  • ||

    Sorry for the threadjack. But the following is the best takedown of Avatar I have read. And it is on ESPN.com of all places.

    Outer-Space Cartoon Says Americans Are the Bad Guys: "Millions for defense, not a sixpence for tribute," Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, once a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, said in 1796. "Millions for special effects, not a Starbucks gift card for writing," might be the motto of modern Hollywood, at least if "Avatar" is the exemplar. "Avatar" should have been marketed as a cartoon and best animated feature of 2009. The special effects were great -- though yours truly increasingly finds computer-drawn special effects boring, since they are so obviously fake. The script was as dull and predictable as the special effects were flashy. Maybe the dialogue sounded better in Na'vi.


    Hardly anything was explained -- so let's start with why the whole plot was set in motion in the first place. Sinister humans are bent on removing peace-loving blue aliens from a point on Pandora above some minerals the sinister humans want to strip-mine; the peace-loving natives won't move because the place is sacred ground. Reader Bryan Law of Independence, Ohio, notes: "Even today, horizontal drilling means you don't have to destroy the surface above a resource to obtain it. So why wasn't the problem on Pandora solved by horizontal drilling? Don't tell me that 150 years from now, humanity has become capable of interstellar travel, yet forgotten a basic mining technique."


    The mineral is an anti-gravity substance that floats. Midway through the movie, we learn there are entire mountains of it floating above Pandora. So why not mine the floating mountains, where no Pandorans live, rather than go to war with the natives? The clichéd super-heartless corporation that wants the mineral is depicted as obsessed by profit. War is a lot more expensive than mining! If profit is what motivates the corporation, war is the last thing it would want.


    [+] EnlargeMPI/Getty Images
    Charles Cotesworth Pinckney had more clever lines than the entire "Avatar" script.Because hardly anything in the movie is explained, we never find out what nation or organization has built a huge base on Pandora, then brought along an armada of combat aircraft. The Earth characters all look, act and talk like Americans -- in fact, slang hasn't changed in 150 years! But does this project have some kind of government approval, or is it an interplanetary criminal enterprise? It's hard to believe that 150 years from now, humanity's first interaction with another sentient species would be conducted without any public officials present, but that's what is depicted.


    And who are the gun-toting fatigue-clad personnel commanded by the ultra-evil Colonel Quaritch -- are they regular military, mercenaries, private security contractors? Audiences never find out. They're just a bunch of trigger-happy killers who want to slaughter intelligent beings, and all of them but one do exactly what Colonel Quaritch says, even once it's clear Quaritch is insane. The colonel must work for somebody -- for the Pentagon, some government agency, for the corporation. So why isn't he subject to supervision? No organization would entrust a project costing trillions of dollars -- a town-sized facility has been built five light-years away -- to a single individual with unchecked power. You'd worry that the single individual would commit some huge blunder that wiped out your trillion-dollar investment, which ends up being exactly what happens. I found the colonel with absolute authority a lot more unrealistic than the floating mountains.


    Then there's director James Cameron's view of military personnel. If I were a military man or woman, I would find "Avatar" insulting. With one exception, the helicopter pilot played by Michelle Rodriguez -- her character is twice referred to as a Marine, suggesting the military personnel are regular military, not mercenaries -- all the people in fatigues are brainless sadists. They want to kill, kill, kill the innocent. They can't wait to begin the next atrocity. It's true that the U.S. military has conducted atrocities, in Vietnam and during the Plains Indians wars. But slaughter of the innocent is rare in U.S. military annals. In "Avatar," it's the norm. The bloodthirsty military personnel readily comply with the colonel's orders to gun down natives. No one questions him -- though in martial law, a soldier not only may but must refuse an illegal order. Plus the military personnel are depicted as such utter morons -- not a brain in any of their heads -- that none notice the TOTALLY OBVIOUS detail that Pandora's unusual biology will be worth more than its minerals. Yes, movies traffic in absurd super-simplifications. But we're supposed to accept that of the deployment of several hundred, every soldier save one is a low-IQ cold-blooded murderer.


    [+] EnlargeTwentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
    A mysterious organization spends a trillion dollars to build a base in another star system -- then puts an obvious lunatic in complete command. What does "Avatar" build up to? Watching the invading soldiers -- most of whom happen to be former American military personnel -- die is the big cathartic ending of the flick. Extended sequences show Americans being graphically slaughtered in the natives' counterattack. The deaths of aliens are depicted as heartbreaking tragedies, while the deaths of American security forces are depicted as a whooping good time. In Cameron's "Aliens," "The Abyss" and his television show "Dark Angel," U.S. military personnel are either the bad guys or complete idiots, often shown graphically slaughtered. Cameron is hardly the only commercial-film director to present watching evil U.S. soldiers slaughtered as popcorn-chomping suburban shopping mall fun: in the second "X-Men" flick, U.S. soldiers are the bad guys and graphically killed off. Films that criticize the military for its faults are one thing: When did watching depictions of U.S. soldiers dying become a form of fun?

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=nfl

  • I'll stop now||

    I know for a fact that the 14-year-olds love it.

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    So maybe it was written from an American Bison's (Buffalo's) perspective?

  • ||

    They lulled us into complacency with that "roaming the plains" act. Now they're getting their revenge, muwahahAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • ||

    Tom Maguire over at Just One Minute* has a great review of the film snarkuing that it is pro-capitalist and pro-colonialist.

    *browser acting up, so no linkee.

  • ||

    Okay, I have seen Avatar, and I enjoyed it in 3D, but I have to say the plot is so blatantly formulaic that I'm surprised ANYONE would take it seriously as some sort of enviro-socialist-pacifist critique.

    Personally, I thought that the much more *interesting* aspect of the film (if you feel like taking anything in the narrative seriously), was the way it played on intersecting fantasy realities. The evil-American-space-militarists were more or less a rip on the Terrans in StarCraft. The blue-native-american-gaians were like something lifted directly from a fantasy role-playing game.

    The whole thing isn't really about some trite environmentalist harmony-with-the-planet crap. It was about displacing your personality into alternate realities through immersive gaming. That's why it's called 'Avatar' you dumb shits.

  • zoltan||

    I really enjoyed the movie. The critiques were far too childish and, as you said, formulaic to be of any insult to me. I'm usually bothered my anti-military sentiment, but saw this as an anti-private security (Blackwater) matter. The movie was far too beautiful and the two main characters too engaging for me to remember anything that was supposed to be important (plot, villain, message).

    I think most people who end up liking this movie aren't liking it for the message. Hell, my favorite Disney movie is Pocahontas, even with its "evil white man" stuff, which Avatar clearly mirrors.

  • Suki||


    The shift to the new HAW began in March when the leadership purged non-progressives from the blog, including yours truly and Thaddeus Russell, a historian of the left who has libertarian sympathies and is critical of the moral universalism and imperialism of the progressive tradition.

    The objection is to your strange names. Pick new, green names and they will let you play again.

  • I'll stop now||

    "When did watching depictions of U.S. soldiers dying become a form of fun?"

    When they started making films for a global market.

  • Colin||

    The lesson to be learned is that both the left and the right will use us when it serves their purposes and drop us when it doesn't.

  • ed||

    I've never heard of Historians Against the War (HAW). They are but one voice in a cacophony of millions. Why fret over it?

  • ||

    Had a thought mixed in from the no-fatties dating site, since HAW is purging people too.

    To make this incident even more fun, I'd like for wikipedia to purge user accounts belonging to anyone from HAW.

  • Fluffy||

    It may well be that the entire enterprise was cynically conceived and undertaken, and that you guys were played for suckers as soon as you participated.

    But you know what? It may also be that the reason left and right can't cooperate even when they share a common goal is that we fundamentally hate each other and there's nothing we can do about that.

    I know a lot of progressives. And let me tell you one thing: it doesn't require dishonesty on their part for an alliance of this kind to fail. It's not necessary for them to be scheming about how to take advantage of libertarians for something like this to fail. It just takes human nature. Because the average progressive would rather let Mike Huckabee and George Bush inherit the Earth then refrain from spitting in the face of someone who doesn't think the state is entitled to assrape whoever it wants to help "the poor" or "consumers". They just can't stop themselves, and no issue is big enough to guarantee their continued cooperation.

    The ugly truth is this: to progressives, torture is negotiable; the first amendment is negotiable; hell, a theocracy like the one in The Handmaid's Tale is negotiable. But OSHA and the FTC and the EPA are not. If you want to torture Muslims to death daily to try to find terrorists, they maybe can find a way to coexist with you, if it means that they might get their health plan passed. But if you think that local zoning should not exist you're an extremist monster who is beyond the pale, and like the scorpion in the Frog and Scorpion parable they will stab you in the end.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    good one man.

  • Paul||

    “Obama’s Troubling First Year,” which asks, “what can progressive historians & historically minded activists do to positively influence political events?”

    Hey, I know, maybe you could get a progressive president elected, then get progressive party leadership in both houses.

    Oh wait...

  • Tim Starr||

    A better headline: "Libertarian Idiots Complain Their Idiocy No Longer Useful to Commies"

  • The Man||

    Well said.

  • Federal Dog||

    "what can progressive historians & historically minded activists do to positively influence political events?”

    For starters, shut the fuck up, you self-absorbed twits.

  • ||

    Pro Libertate|1.5.10 @ 12:54PM|#
    Capitalism. What has it ever done for us?

    reply to this
    Suki|1.5.10 @ 2:31PM|#
    It made old people eat cat food when it took away their welfare.

    Capatilism has never made anyone do anything, as it is the FREE exchange of one asset for another (asset being anything from money to time to effort etc...)and this is the lie of the left, (their hatred of the greatest tool for wealth generation to date: capatilism), as it is only government that can MAKE someone DO something (or prohibit for that matter). And it is becoming more obvious every day which side of the political spectrum loves their government and all it's smothering of liberty in the pursuit of power over others, for the common 'good' of course.

  • ||

    pssst. Turn on your sarcasm detector.

  • ||

    Indeed. As far back as my freshman year in college, I was called "Mr. Arch-Capitalist" in a Political Philosophy class (waste o' time) by someone who thought Libya was a human paradise.

  • ||

    I heard that Historians Against the War is merging with the Hegemony of Environmentalist Economists to form HEE-HAW.

  • ||

    Funny.

  • ||

    People looking for an endless war are drawn to leftist politics. We usually call them "activists". Can somebody explain why this is so? I feel no great urge to join a cause and don't understand people who do.

  • MJ||

    "Apparently it’s too much for them to forge a left-right alliance aimed at achieving a common goal."

    Perhaps the progressives goal was already acheived and having rightists in the group no longer serve their future goals? That's the problem with a marraige of convenience, you get dumped on your hindquarters when you are no longer convenient.

  • Mike||

    The Left is not "against" any war. They are simply against a Republican gaining accolades for one.

  • ||

    Idiots.

  • ||

    Not a complete sentence.

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