Don’t know much about history

Bloodthirsty historian Victor Davis Hanson might be familiar to some who read this blog. It turns out that in addition to being a rather sloppy thinker, he’s also a downright crappy historian. What makes a good historian? Mastery of facts.

For instance:

>Because this is my wrap-up essay, I must apologize for the disjointed nature of some of the material I am bringing up now. We have already noted how, when writing about his own period of specialization, the Classicist Victor Davis Hanson is both sloppy and inconsistent. (Mixing up, for example, the Eastern Roman Emperor Valens, who died at Adrianople in 378 AD, with Emperor Valerian, who was captured by the Sassanids in 260 AD. This is akin to confusing the current conflict we are in with the Spanish-American war because, you know, they’re pretty close in time.) But mistakes like these do not really annoy me as much as another problem, the lack of documentation in Carnage and Culture.

The whole thing, as well as previous installments, is well worth the read. Makes one wonder whether we ought to have a special category for Hoover Institution Scholars.

4 thoughts on “Don’t know much about history”

  1. This comment is off topic, except to second the notion of categorizing by “Institute”.
    Did you happen to catch this week’s Nature documentary on the Dover Intelligent Design case? The dissection of Behe’s testimony seemed like red meat for this blog. Amazing the Discovery Institute is still out there, plotting to overthrow evolution…

    A quick wikipedia search indicates Edwin Meese is a member of both the Hoover Institution and the Discovery Institute, and the Heritage Foundation as well…maybe all this bad reasoning is tied together after all!

  2. In grad school we founded an “institute.” That would make me a senior fellow in the “Fleischmann Institute.” These institutes are hilarious–they seem singularly designed to give some kind of scholarly credibility to people who have an strongly ideological agenda. I don’t know why they can’t just get a job as a scholar the old fashioned way: convince people by the weight of their evidence that they’re right.

  3. Hmmmm. Do I sense a series coming? Please tell me the next post will about Behe and you’ll call it “Don’t Know Much Biology”

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