Subject:      scholars and the propagandists
From:         "Yuri Kuchinsky" 
Date:         1997/10/11
Message-ID:   <01bcd615$98de6420$59825ad1@yuku.trends.ca>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology,sci.anthropology


The scholars and the propagandists.

There's a big difference between a scholar and a propagandist. The scholar
cares about the historical truth. The scholar wants to know how people
lived in ancient past, and what they did, about their ancient cultures.
S/he knows that in the area of ancient history, the hard truths are usually
hard to locate. Usually the scholar has to work with probabilities and
possibilities. Certainties are few. When trying to reconstruct distant
events, mistakes can occur. So the scholar should know when to admit s/he
may be wrong.

The propagandist, OTOH,  has an Agenda. For the propagandist, his/her
cherished Agenda is more important that the historical truth. Often, the
propagandist is trying to prove that something _did not happen_. What
actually _did happen_ in the past is no big deal for the propagandist.

Part of the job of the propagandist is to try to find mistakes in other
people's work. It is very important for the propagandist to determine that
some researcher is wrong about some things. It is part of the agenda to
discredit researchers who threaten the all important Agenda, the
preconceived ideas of the propagandist.

So the propagandist will read a book in need of blacklisting and will focus
on marginal issues, on the peripherals. When some mistake is found in the
target research that needs to be discredited, these mistakes will be blown
up out of proportion and beyond all recognition.

The propagandist, the apologist of the received dogmas, never allows any
doubt to emerge about his/her apologies. Building a balanced case? Forget
it. "Everything I say is the only way it can be". "OTOH, my opponent can
never be trusted about anything at all!" "Those *big mistakes* I found in
there disqualify my opponent totally from serious consideration!" "Beware,
everyone!"

The propagandist positively revels in the footnotes and in obscure
terminology. S/he can drag any kind of an exciting historical problem into
the drudgery of classifications, labels, and nomenclature. This is the
happy hunting ground for an apologist who needs to do the job s/he's
supposed to do.

The propagandist leaves intellectual poverty in his/her wake. Intellectual
poverty is the true product of the propagandist. The propagandist will read
a book full of magnificent insights and historical revelations, and will
come up with 1% in it that may be wrong. This is a good day's work for the
propagandist. The 99% valid material will completely escape the attention
of this determined critic. How can such poverty emerge out of such wealth?
Only the propagandist would know how...

Of course the propagandist can also be a scholar, well-trained in how to
conduct research. This is not so unusual. Even among the "Creationists" and
other such apologists of various tired dogmas there are some adequately
qualified scholars sporting all kinds of learned degrees. But a true
scholar can never be a propagandist.

Yuri.

Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- [22]http://www.io.org/~yuku

Reality is that which, when you stop believing
in it, doesn't go away -=O=- Philip K. Dick
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