Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Who Writes The History
I have heard it said many times in recent years that history is written by the winners of wars. At times I have simply passed the phrase over, knowing that there is a certain truth. But I have started to re-examine the saying since the evolving meaning has come to mean that there is no lessons we can draw from history since it is just propaganda. There are many examples of history not being written by winners of some battle. Josephus was an ancient Jewish historian who was defeated by the Romans. He does seem to have written in a way that would be pleasing to the Romans. But he did not win those wars. After the U.S. Civil War there was plenty of people writing who were not on the side of the North. We could go on and on for examples. This phrase is one of those sayings that has an element of truth but when often repeated is a disaster. It makes people want to discount all history. There are no legitimate lessons from history for modern living. There is no need to study it if it is mere propaganda. Any argument using history is trumped by the phrase. Sounds like someone ought to write a book about it.