Monday, October 5, 2009

Some excellent comments regarding the "illusive truth"

This is too much good stuff to leave it buried in the guest book where folks don't always check. It is the type of thoughtful and intelligent exchange that I encourage and enjoy receiving. Challenges the thinking a bit. You may want to go check the previous guest book comments. is signed C.D. The first person that makes me think of is Clarence Darrow. Clarence, you out there? Hopefully C.D. and I can connect up more directly sometime. Thank you for you comments. I will probably have more to say later. John

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sign My Guestbook".

Let me first state unequivocally: I admire your extensive desire to apprehend the illusive truth presented to us through historical documentation and to present your findings in an apparently professional, unbiased fashion. You do credit to Idaho, historians everywhere and your felled ancestor.

Now, in regards to your post, I must admit a bit of confusion on my part when you state explicitly that you try and “focus on factual information as much as possible and pay particular attention to the source material of articles, books and periodicals from that period (my emphasis).” Yet only a few lines later you apparently refute your own statement when you write that “while viewing” such source material, you do so with “great skepticism (regarding) the various accounts that have been written by those with an ax to grind, a political agenda or a particular view” and that the information from such material may “not necessarily” be “factual.”

Job Harriman of course was a prominent leftist activist who even ran as a Vice Presidential candidate for the Socialist ticket and the “Criminal record of the Western Federation of Miners, Coeur d’Alene to Cripple Creek” was compiled under the vigilant gaze of the Mine owners Association of Colorado, so I agree that at least those two sources are bound to be slanted. Grover and Lukas share your intense desire to be professional as good historians are, passing as little judgment as possible on events seen as long since settled.

Yet here I find myself asking you- are they settled? If regular American citizens were more informed about the events which led up to the “bull pens,” if they were educated more completely about the Colorado labor wars in the 1880s and 90s and especially about Ludlow, how would that change current dialogues about labor and management? If high school reading included titles such as Germinal or The Harbor (or The land of Plenty) and not Animal Farm, 1984 or the incomplete reading of The Jungle, would the public hold different opinions? Most of the resources available that you rely upon from the time period were unabashedly supportive of the Capitalist Class, which directly controlled such entities as the “mainstream” press and publishing agencies, the National Guard, Federal troops, the Courts and the police and private investigation agencies.

What am I saying to you? Do I think your blog is pushing an agenda? No. Are you impartial? Yes. Will anything which transpires between you and I through this blog change one iota of what people think and do in the future? Maybe. And that’s why I’m interested in your work. You have a great deal of dedication to your craft and that is commendable, but remember that just because there are (at least) two sides to every argument, it doesn’t mean that both have equal merit. What happened in that Court room in 1907 has been going on for centuries, right up to the current Supreme Court case: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The powerful must continually extend their influence or risk stagnation and death, while the weak must struggle to maintain their rights to freedom from fear and want, and even, as the mothers and children in Ludlow discovered, simply to stay alive.

At the end of the day, I think your research is interesting and view you as a colleague despite anything else. All the best in your future work.


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