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View Diary: History for Kossacks: Martin Van Buren - Before the Presidency (108 comments)

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  •  Don't confine yourself to liberal writers (1+ / 0-)
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    ParkRanger

    Not all conservatives are idiots, liars and creeps. You have to go a ways back to find the worthwhile ones, though. I'm no expert, but I've heard that Whittaker Chambers wrote some good things after he finally saw modern conservatism for the lunacy that it was. Also, even ones like Buckley are worth an occasional read just to keep one on one's toes. Adversaries like Palin make us mentally lazy.

    One of these days I'm going to read Burke, Hume and Smith. I read bits of them in college but it's been ages and I never really read them at any length.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:33:36 PM PST

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    •  I'll keep those names in mind, kovie. I picked (1+ / 0-)
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      kovie

      up Hofstadter's book, The American Political Tradition, at the library today.  It's been so very, very long since I read history and right now I want authors who cover a long time period like this book does: Founding Fathers to FDR, so that I can have a frame work in my mind.  I didn't know he was known as a liberal historian until I looked him up.  I was just glad to find a book that I wanted at my small town library.

      They do have a lot of the new conservative books -- Glenn Beck and others and I wouldn't touch those books with a 10 foot pole.  But a conservative that wrote earlier I would try.  

      Trivia note: Many years ago I worked in the Philosophy Dept. at the University of Illinois where George Will's father was a faculty member -- he was very proud of his son and talked about him often.

      Burke, Hume and Smith are ringing bells.  That information is far back in my memory banks and I'm getting a feeling it's as much for economics as history -- I just have fuzzy feelings so I'll have to look them up because now you've got me curious!  I'll add their names to my list.

      Whitaker Chambers the spy?  I'll definitely have to look that up.  He's connected with Nixon in my mind.  I was born in 1948 when he testified in congress.  I can remember watching Ed Murrow when I was a kid.  Uncle Walter Cronkite when I was a little older. But I didn't have a perspective of living in the midst of history then that would help me absorb and understand.  I deleted a diary I wrote a couple of days ago where I talked about some of the history I've seen -- I can pull up the link from my own comments.  If you're interested, I think this will work. I'd be very interested in hearing the history you've seen.

      Looking back: Political history we've seen

      The book I read on John Adams and heirs was so interesting and sparked my interest in the Founding Fathers and history up to the Civil War hence Hofstadter.  Now I want to read about Truman and Nixon and Whitaker Chambers! I'm thinking I might start a blog just to have a place to talk about interesting things I run across.  It would be so much fun to have history buffs like you make comments.

      I've really enjoyed talking to you, Kovie. Thanks for the tips.

      •  You're welcome (0+ / 0-)

        I make no claims to be an expert. I just pass on what I've learned and others can benefit from it somehow. But it's clear that to understand the present, one has to understand the past that led to it. With all the conservative drivel about the founders and their intent, I figured I had to educate myself about what really happened back then. As I expected, they're almost entirely wrong about almost everything.

        Also, Hofstadter is most famous for his essay on the paranoid aspect of American history, written around the time that the Birchers were starting to become known. The more we progress, the more some are convinced it's some plot to destroy the US, because change freaks them out and they assume it's diabolical. E.g. flouride in the water, or death panels. There's always some nuts in every society.

        "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

        by kovie on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 07:27:03 PM PST

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