History Denialism

Ta-Nehisi Coates reminds us today that denialism is not restricted to science. Ron Paul has (apparently) been engaging in some history denialism, and Ta-Nehisi turns it into a learning/teaching exercise.

Reading through, it’s clear that Ta-Nehisi facing the same issues that confront other debunkers of denialism:

The problem debating this sort of thing is the side of dishonesty and intellectual laziness is at an advantage. It will likely take more effort for me to compose this post, then it took for Ron Paul to stand before the Confederate Flag and offer his thin gruel of history.

As the Mad Biologist tells us, some things can only be understood in the light of creationism. Denial runs deep and wide. Is there any example of established knowledge that doesn’t have its deniers? (I’m not going to apply that question to philosophy today, for a variety of reasons, but you should feel free.)

One other point to to highlight from Ta-Nehisi’s piece:

All this fueled by the fact that there are real viruses, that we are often lied to. The government didn’t invent HIV, but Tuskegee happened.

Conspiracy theories are usually crazy, but there are real conspiracies out there. It’s important to recognize when there’s legitimate reason to be concerned, and when it irrational.

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