I understand that successive politicians throughout the ages will wrap themselves in the mantle of those popular historical figures that came before. Napoleon did it himself with Julius Caesar.
My topic is rather, when did the study of history become a game? An activity of sources and quotations top trumps, with a winner? I’m all for a little intellectual rigour, but at what point to adherence to a single or the repetition of a small group of sources lose a sense of historic enquiry and become dysfunctional argument? What does that mean for not just professional historians but for the hobbyists and enthusiasts they rely on for book sales? Surely ‘newbies’ need to not just be tolerated but welcomed and encouraged for the long-term health of our community?
Clearly, real life abounds with plurality, uncertainty and debate. History is real life, but in retrospect. Beyond that which can be demonstrated scientifically or physically it is unreasonable to expect it to be conclusive or any study of it, however laudable, to be definitive.
The allowance of doubt and the respecting and tolerance of the views of others is axiomatic. Technology promised a bringing together of intellects, the meeting of diverse minds for the benefit of mankind. What we really got was win at all costs, leading to trolls, echo-chambers, intolerance and bullying. Argumentitiveness replaces debate, minds are closed. Experience has shown that people with this mindset are like the cuckoo, throwing talent and insight out to become the dominant DNA on a platform.
i think there is a real danger of the topic we all love sliding into the abyss of intolerance, if we are not careful. What does everyone else think?