From: "Gabriel Ash" <Gabriel.Ash.1@xxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 96 00:51:05
On Sat, 27 Apr 1996 10:45:44 -0700 (PDT), Malcolm Dunnachie Thompson wrote:
>Also, I never said that history was little more than a dominant group's
>attempts to shore up its power. Quite the contrary, actually. I said that
>competing forms of history, in the process of their discursive
>elaboration, come to function as tactics within political struggles. Now,
>a political struggle implies at least two sides, and either side will
>have its form of history. Only certain histories function as attempts to
>shore up dominant regimes (and this very notion has certain problems) -
>other histories have liberatory aims and effects. And this is the
>criteria I think one should use to decide between histories - not their
>more or less skillful use of a certain set of historiographic criteria -
>since every such set is already irretrievably ideologically laden.
Despite my symphaty to what you want to claim, I would like to insist on what seems to me problematic. You
say that a history that has is authority in a set of historiographical criteria is bad, because it is ideological,
but a history that has its authority in its political plan is good. Do you mean therefore that the latter type of
history is not ideological? And do you mean that when you chose between two histories according to their
political aims, you are not aplying a set of historiographical criteria?
>Finally, why do you need an "objective" reason to care more about
>yourself than about obscure 19th century European sex-guys? Of course you
>don't have an "objective" reason - but you don't need one. You don't have
>an objective reason to do anything, but that doesn't stop you.
Perhaps objective was a bad choice of word. Basically, I was trying to say that the idea that
one "really" cares about oneself, and only indirectly, through socialization or whatever, about others, is at
best an ideological position. it is in itself a certain form of socialization.
You seem to imply that people naturally care about themselves, hence they don't need a reason to do it, and
I disagree with this position. And also, it seems to me that political struggle, whether opressive or
emancipatrory, implies a certain "care for the other", or perhaps a more neutral term, an investment in the
other. This is not necessarily a garantee of "goodness", it can be an investment in the future of "white
supremacy", which is just as much an investment in others as caring for abused children.