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On Historie and of that ilk

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Historians use the word presentism to describe the tendency to judge historical figures by contemporary standards. As much as we all despise and sexism, these isms have been considered moral turpitudes, and thus condemning Thomas Jefferson for keeping slaves or Sigmund Freud for patronizing women is a bit like arresting someone today for having driven without a seat belt in 1923. And yet, the temptation to view the past through the lens of the present is nothing short of overwhelming.
Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness, (2005)(I think we need Poor Richard’s Bacchus Room here eventually. I know poor Mary is worked to the bone with all the changes to sites, forums, newsletters, et al. I don’t know where to post this on our new site, as it does not directly depose on Scottish and Thompson things.)
Presentism is a far better word than revisionism. Revisionism and its Marxist and Soviet connotations is the mental disorder of progressive liberals today. The most recent example of this is Barak Hussein Obama’s spiritual and Christian advisor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. rant about “rich, white folks” bringing down 9/11 on America for our bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki and  so on ad naseaum. I would like to know what is “reverend” and “Christian” about him spewing this hate.
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye,” Wright says. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back in our own front yards.”  
In a later sermon, Wright revisits the theme, declaring: “No, no, no, not God bless America — God damn America!”  From MSNBC 15 March 2008.
This is typical mindless leftist rhetoric. I am sad to say this is typical of what comes from the Black pulpit. Anyone who has studied history in depth would know why the Nips were bombed. It saved Japanese lives, American and Allied Lives. I don’t remember Americans, Australians, Canadians or Brits suppressing South Africans.I know we put serious sanctions on them. I am digressing and I was making a point about  “presentism”. I do have to add that I wasn’t born with a silver rattle in my Angus.
How does this relate to the History of the British and Irish Isles? It is not a modern conceit. Here is an example from a C.R.L. Fletcher’s History of England from 1911:
It was, however, a misfortune for Britain that Rome never conquered the whole island. The great warrior Agricola did penetrate far into Scotland but he could leave no trace of civilization behind him, and Ireland he never touched at all. So Ireland never went to school, and has been a spoilt child ever since.
Since when was Britain a separate island? There was neither a Scotland nor an Ireland then as we know it today. There was no England either in this time period! Did anyone see Simon Schama’s A History of Britain? It was on the History Channel in the US and the BBC in Britain. He is a master of “presentism”. He glosses over the ancient history of the aboriginal Britains and the Celts. He quickly jumps to the Romans and then to the Anglo-Saxon, and then to the Normans. As if the Anglo-Saxons were a monolithic and hegemonic force that took the Isles in force and then the Normans came in. And then he goes on for half a show on how the Jews were kicked out of Britain under King Eduard “Long Shanks”. I am not a anti-Semite and they were small fry in the history of that time. We also have contemporary Celtic historians who rail about the Saxon Sledgehammer that was trying to snuff out Celtic culture. The Isles were more like the Wild West with Celtic Cowboys in Dal Riada, Welsh Raiders all over the map, Angles, Jutes, half-Danes, Fresians, former slaves from the Roman Empire, Gauls , Belges, and so on. They were like the North American tribes; fighting against each other, plotting against each other, or making treaties with each other. It is the classic human condition, pure rat-bastard Shakespeare. Yeah that bastard suffered from presentism for his time. Look at his treatment of MacBeth.
I posted a question on here yesterday about were did the ancient Thom(p)sons come  from. The answer was on my bookshelf. It is called The Isles, A History, by Norman Davies. (Oxford, 1999.) That is another post. This book is so comprehensive. I most post this before I see the leper ceann Stephen. Yes that is a play on words.
Aye yours,
Rabbie O’Tammais

Great post Rob and yes we do need Richard on here.  Where are you Richard?  Rob, I can't wait to read about where the Thom(p)sons came from.

Would you believe two of my neighbors are descendants of Agricola?  There use to be three but one died a couple of years ago. Their family tree goes back to Luther, as told to my daughter.  My daughter and the lady have a great friendship and were discussing family history one day and the lady told my daughter that there was a famous General in her line that they were not very proud of because he lost a war or something in Scotland, she couldn't remember all the details.  As my daughter knew her maiden name was Agricola she told the lady that was the General that we Scots beat the s**t out of.  ;D  They had a great discussion about ancestors. 


Barbara LOL,
You got me for a few minutes! LOL! Darlin' I got Cash in my genes! This is true. Barbara, you are a sweetie. I think Agricola was the father of Coca Cola. I think everyone should have a NFL name.

Rob, I was serious.  Our neighbors are descendants of Agricola and they can prove it, their ancestry tree is posted in their church in Long Island, New York.  They are transplanted Yankees, been in this neighborhood for over 25 years but make frequent trips back home.

I think you may have some Cash in your background if you like a dram or two or three.... ;D


I apologize. My posting was not about Agricola but about presentism. I just used a quote from “The History of England” to make a point. I don’t really know anything about Agricola as my interest lies in the time that the Romans left Britain to deal with the deteriorating situation in the eastern provinces to about the time of Eduard “Long Shanks” the First. I am interested in how the clans as we know them today formed. I am interested where the Thom(p)sons came from.
Where were your neighbors from? 


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