While I am relieved that the Alt-Right is taking a sudden interest in history whenever they open their mouths they are repeating some howlers and clearly history is new to them. Here are several which crossed my news feed this week.
1. Hitler was not a socialist… sure his party was called “national socialist” but names mean very little in that way. Hitler did not, as all socialists did, nationalise property. Stalin who was a socialist did nationalise property. National socialism was German fascism.
2. The Great Pyramids were not built by slave labour (other than in Hollywood movies) They were built by skilled labourers in the off-season. Not only where they paid, but they also had a comprehensive medical scheme which would be the envy of many modern Americans. All this has been found by the recent archaeology of the labour “camp” for the pyramids which was actually a temporary town.
3. While there were other reasons for going to war, The American Civil war was mostly about the right to keep other human beings as property – something which was outlawed in the rest of the civilised world. This view was laid out by confederate politicians at the time.,
4. Most confederate statues in the South were not built to commemorate the Civil War but were a statement by Southern Whites against Blacks. The first wave went up It was not until the turn of the century, as southern states began to enact so-called Jim Crow laws designed to deprive recently freed slaves of equal rights. The second wave were built as a reaction against the growing Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. As such they are not “historical” but are tools of oppression and incitement against blacks. This is not true in all cases. Some statues were set up as tools of reconciliation, but these are much rarer.
5. While some of the founding fathers including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington did keep slaves, it was not part of their movement. By 1781, however, Franklin had divested himself of slaves, and shortly thereafter he became the president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society. George Washington, freed as many of his slaves as he could saying he wanted a world where blacks and whites lived together as equals. Jefferson, rejected this vision. He acknowledged that slavery violated the natural rights of slaves he was worried that conflicts over slavery might one day lead to the dissolution of the union. The founding fathers succeeded in gradually abolishing slavery in the Northern states and Northwestern territories but permitted its rapid expansion in the South and Southwest. It is important to realise that this was many decades before the Civil War and attitudes had changed considerably.
6. U.S. General John J. Pershing never ended a wave of Muslim terrorism in the Philippines by executing prisoners with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood. It was about the only thing he did not do. Pershing’s slaughter of civilians and fighters at Bud Bagsak that all but ended the Moro Rebellion. It was a trick he learnt in the Indian wars… you don’t have a rebellion if your enemy is all dead.
7. George Soros was never a member of the SS. A picture which claimed to be Soros in a Nazi uniform was released Soros was born in 1930, thus, making him only nine years old when World War II began and 15 when it ended in 1945. Therefore, he could not have been that man nor have joined the SS, whose minimum age requirement was 17, even if he had wanted to. Moreover, Soros would have failed the SS requirement for pure “Aryan” heritage. Rather, Soros was a persecuted Jew in Nazi-occupied Budapest. The bloke in the photo was a death camp soldier Oskar Groening, a Nazi who served at Auschwitz from 1942 through the end of World War II. Ironically Alt-right hates Soros because he finances left wing causes.
8. Counter-reformation Spain did not benefit from expelling is Jewish and Muslim population. I was told that moves to expel the Muslims from Spain made the country a world superpower. While it was a popular move, Spain’s glory days were coming to an end and this “white supremacist” move destroyed the Spanish economy. The move boosted the legitimacy of the Spanish Inquisition, whose stifling effect would be felt by the society until the 19th century. It also stripped 2% of Spain’s most urbane, educated and affluent inhabitants. At a time when Europe’s economy was shifting from agrarian to industrial economies, Spain could not afford this loss. The Spanish Inquisition managed to have 300,000 Muslims expelled a century later. The Jews went to more secularist, and tolerant London and Amsterdam where they established financial houses, and insurance companies… and made the countries into economic powerhouses. The expulsion of the Muslims or those who were forced to convert to Christianity was a crippling blow to the economies of Aragon and Valencia where there were not enough Christian workers. Spain collapsed into an economic rump state in Europe and a text book case as to why immigration is vital to the evolution of state.