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.