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Won't Bellesiles ever give up?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by jsalcedo, Feb 6, 2004.

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  1. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Michael Bellesiles' book, "Arming America" is being re-published - unchanged
    from the original. Included with the book is a 59-page pamphlet by
    Bellesiles in which he responds to his critics.

    As the Wall Street Journal says of the booklet:

    "Much of the booklet is a repeat of the professor's creative excuses and
    dissembling. He explains again about the flood [where his research notes
    were destroyed] and helpfully assures us that he is not an agent of the
    Zionist Occupational Government (though surely that is why the Bancroft
    panel took away his prize, right?).

    "But the most amusing parts of the pamphlet are those meant to support our
    scholar's belief that he is up against a stubborn world that refuses to open
    its mind to the truth. And his sense of persecution and righteousness is
    very much on display. The very title of his book is taken from Job: 'Let me
    be weighed in an even balance, that God may known mine integrity.' "

    Story at:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/kstrassel/?id=110004653
     
  2. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Bellesiles Misfires
    An antigun "scholar" as today's Galileo? Oh please, just shoot me.

    BY KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
    Friday, February 6, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

    History has its fair share of persecuted geniuses, men who were ahead of their time and made to pay for it. There's the hemlocked Socrates, the house-arrested Galileo, the exiled Rousseau. And to this list of giants it seems that we are now expected to add the name of Michael Bellesiles.

    Mr. Bellesiles is the former Emory professor who shook the scholarly world in 2000 with his book "Arming America." An academic bombshell, the tome went against long-held beliefs by claiming that few colonial Americans actually owned guns. This set off a riotous public debate over whether the Second Amendment was designed to protect individual gun rights. Mr. Bellesiles was showered with prizes and media praise, becoming an instant academic star.

    That is, until his peers started looking into that little thing called research. Reputable scholars in the ensuing months tore apart his work on probate and military records, travel narratives, and other documents. Mr. Bellesiles, when asked to explain, provided ever-more outlandish excuses: that his notes had been lost in a flood, that his Web site had been hacked, that he couldn't remember where he'd found certain documents. The officials of the prestigious Bancroft Prize stripped him of his award, he left Emory and Knopf chose to stop publishing his book. Most of us sighed happily and figured that was the end of that academic scandal.

    But oh, no. It turns out that Mr. Bellesiles is still riding his dead horse, his nonexistent guns still blazing. Soft Skull Press (which takes pride in putting out books that other publishers avoid like ricin) has not only agreed to reissue "Arming America" but has decided to release Mr. Bellesiles's latest response to his critics. This 59-page pamphlet, "Weighed in an Even Balance," is a spirited attempt by Mr. Bellesiles to turn himself into the world's latest misunderstood genius. As such, it's worth reading for pure entertainment value.





    Much of the booklet is a repeat of the professor's creative excuses and dissembling. He explains again about the flood and helpfully assures us that he is not an agent of the Zionist Occupational Government (though surely that is why the Bancroft panel took away his prize, right?). He does acknowledge a few errors, but only after pointing out that "even the finest scholars . . . make mistakes." As proof, he cites one blooper in esteemed historian David McCullough's 1,120-page biography of Harry Truman.
    But the most amusing parts of the pamphlet are those meant to support our scholar's belief that he is up against a stubborn world that refuses to open its mind to the truth. And his sense of persecution and righteousness is very much on display. The very title of his book is taken from Job: "Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may known mine integrity."

    And that's just for starters. The pamphlet is sprinkled with quotations from thoughtful men, all meant to back up Mr. Bellesiles's argument that he is fighting the good fight. We hear from Isaiah Berlin: "Few things have done more harm than the belief on the part of individuals or groups . . . that he or she or they are in sole possession of the truth." One epigraph recounts that in the 16th century, Oxford used to fine any student who diverged from the teachings of Aristotle. We are clearly meant to envision a fiesty Mr. Bellesiles handing over his shillings to the dons.

    We are treated to lecturing tracts about the benefits of scholarly disagreement, the complex nature of historical research and the need for academic exploration. And finally, in case readers still aren't getting his drift, Mr. Bellesiles sums it all up in his conclusion: "There are those who rest their very identity on the notion of a certain, unchanging past. The vision that society is unalterable is not just incorrect, it is dangerously undemocratic, and as such should be of concern to every modern historian."





    In fact, the academic world is hardly a monolothic creature that resists all change. If it were, we'd still be trying to explain how the sun moves around the Earth. Most historians and scientists are wise enough to realize that new discoveries or interpretations hold out opportunity. But before they completely cast aside mountains of research, they usually demand some proof. Mr. Bellesiles's problem isn't that he's misunderstood; it's that he still hasn't given them any.
    Or as the old saying goes: "To be a persecuted genius, you not only have to be persecuted; you also have to be right."
     
  3. Tempest

    Tempest member

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    The guy is so desperate it's actually pathetic. If he thinks he's going to somehow repaint himself as Galileo or Columbus, he's either delusional or desperate for attention - any kind of attention, including the negative kind.

    BAH! When I interviewed Clayton Cramer about Bellesiles last year, he said he found hundreds of "errors" and intentional misrepresentation, as well as source misrepresentation that couldn't be anything but deliberate. Puhleeze!

    Here's the piece I did after my interview with Mr. Cramer

     
  4. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    Bellesiles is referenced extensively in Sugarmann's horrible book, "Every Handgun is Aimed at You." Lies, bigger lies, and the lying liars who tell them...

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=62473&highlight=josh+sugarmann+every+handgun

    This is the guy people like Sugarmann and Feinswine love - rewriting history to fit their agenda. Definitely related to the smearing of the FF as slave-owners and to the smearing of TJ as an adulterer - sure, it might be true, but it doesn't diminish the men or their accomplishments/ideals.
     
  5. Bill Hook

    Bill Hook member

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    Do you think anyone is actually buying his book in any quantity?
     
  6. Travis McGee

    Travis McGee Member

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    Most mainstream academic historians didn't CARE that the book was one giant fraud and lie. They agreed with his anti-gun agenda, so the fact that his book was one long lie never mattered to them, and it still doesn't matter. That's why they're angry at Cramer for revealing the lie to the gullible public.
     
  7. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    "He does acknowledge a few errors, but only after pointing out that "even the finest scholars . . . make mistakes." As proof, he cites one blooper in esteemed historian David McCullough's 1,120-page biography of Harry Truman."

    There's a big difference...

    True scholars don't base their entire body of work on severely flawed research tactics, misrepresentations, and falsehoods.

    McCullough's book on Truman may have contained a "blooper," but Arming America contains more "bloopers" than facts.

    Pretty incredible column from a very respected member of the press.
     
  8. Moondancer

    Moondancer Member

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    It just irks me no end when I talk to (primarily Democrats) people who use this as reason to downplay the FF's accomplishments BUT WHO SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH BILL CLINTON'S INFIDELITIES! "But he was such a GOOD president! Why look at JFK, even he had his little pecadillos! You can't hold their little escapades against them, not when you look at the big picture! Come on, get over it! Everybody does it!"

    Idiots!
     
  9. TallPine

    TallPine Member

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    How come all these guys are named "Michael"

    as in ...

    Michael Moron
    Michael Bullsh...

    :confused:
     
  10. agricola

    agricola Member

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    surely an overreaction?
     
  11. tyme

    tyme Member

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    [blockquote]Do you think anyone is actually buying his book in any quantity?[/blockquote]
    Nope. Thankfully.

    Amazon.com sales rank: 809024 (that's pretty terrible for a book, except for limited-audience academic-type books)
    Amazon.com rating: 1.5/5 stars

    Boo hoo.
     
  12. Malone LaVeigh

    Malone LaVeigh Member

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    Not when your universe revolves around one issue. (Not picking on anyone in particular here... I didn't even read all of the posts enough to know who's being quoted.)
     
  13. Stand_Watie

    Stand_Watie Member

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    I blame Bellesisles for bringing Clayton Cramer's work to my attention, so he has accomplished something good:D
     
  14. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    Bellesissy had done a lot for our cause with his careless and blatant
    fraud because the liberals ate up his book and acted like Moses himself brought it down from the ivy tower.

    When exposed, the anti gun ninny establishment went fleeing like the filthy, diseased cockroaches that they are.
     
  15. Jim March

    Jim March Member

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    Agricola, it's NOT an over-reaction. "Fraud" hardly encompasses the degree of male bovine droppings we're dealing with here.

    Here's a link to Clayton's SHORT overview of problems found:

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/TheImportanceOfFootnotes.PDF

    He has a whole collection of stuff on this, including links to a series of newspaper articles, at:

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/unpublished.htm (check the "Arming America" section).

    A late-2002 court decision by a 3-judge panel of the 9th Federal Circuit had to be recalled and the Bell-liar references pulled after the scandal came completely unglued (Reinhardt's decision in Silveira vs. Lockyer).
     
  16. BowStreetRunner

    BowStreetRunner Member

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    how this guy even convinced any historian that these ideas were true is beyond me
    all you would have to do is haul out the militia acts of pretty much every state during the revolution which said that all able bodied men needed a firelock, bayonet, cartridge box and cartridges, sword, hangar, hatchet, etc........
    some people just need to believe that our national gun culture is an aberration and a cyst upon the land
    BSR
     
  17. Malone LaVeigh

    Malone LaVeigh Member

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    I think he was responding to "one of history's biggest".
     
  18. HunterGatherer

    HunterGatherer member

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    Darn those folks who focus on truth. :rolleyes:
    When one considers that the "professor" lost his job (virtually unheard of) at Emory, his Bancroft prize (totally unprecedented), and that his publisher dropped him like a hot rock, I'd say there is no exageration.
     
  19. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Bellesiles is the one leftist extremist academic in a thousand who's been caught trying to pass off socialist fraud as history. The other 999 are still getting away with it.
     
  20. publius

    publius Member

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    Enjoying your classical history lesson over in another thread, farmer. Why no details here? Maybe you could provide us with a short list of historians who have made a similarly big splash, and been similarly disgraced?
     
  21. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Well perhaps if the author intended to write "one of the biggest frauds in all of human history." I suspect the meaning was more along the lines of "one of the biggest frauds in the history of the study of history." And that it is. Retracting the Bancroft Prize is pretty amazing. He duped a lot of very Ph.D.'s, and I can't think of anyone who was able to wow so many scholars so quickly, only to fall from grace just as quickly.
     
  22. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Cramer doesn't have a PhD in history, does he? If he doesn't, academians aren't likely to take his work seriously even though his work is correct. It's the elitist mindset of academia.

    BTW, I've read Cramer's book By the Dim and Flaring Lamps: The Civil War Diary of Samuel McIlvaine and enjoyed it.
     
  23. Tempest

    Tempest member

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    Amazing, isn't it? Someone who DOES have a PhD in history perpetrates one of academia's biggest frauds, and he's still defended by a few elitist ignoramuses in the field, likely because he's one of their own.

    Meanwhile, Cramer, who doesn't have the three little letters after his name, who is an incredible historian anyway, gets the shaft from these losers.
     
  24. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    Well, technically speaking EVERYTHING qualifies as ONE OF histories biggest. It's just a matter of how far down the list it is :neener:
     
  25. Jeff Thomas

    Jeff Thomas Member

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    Oh, this is amusing ... thanks for the laugh.

    I pray that Mr. Bellesiles continues on so for a long, long time. He is definitely one of the best examples of the "intellectual" anti-self defense lobby. This is why they are losing ... they are intellectually bankrupt, and their arguments are based upon emotion and propaganda, without logic or honest historical perspective.

    And, using "Soft Skull Press" no less ... and some people wonder if there is a God? ;) [It is for real ... soft skull press ... look about 3/4 of the way down the page.]

    Regards from TX
     
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