On the Uses of History
WILLIS A. CARTO
(Presented at the 1981 Revisionist Conference)
I suppose that one can become rather pessimistic and discouraged. at the way the objective truth is distorted and hidden for the purposes of political and economic interests, but there is a Profound lesson to be learned from the fact that it is, and there is no reason for discouragement if we learn from the muse of History how she has been persecuted and kicked around during her eternal life.
Distortion of history, when taken in a historical context, is certainly not a new or even a recent phenomenon; it is as old as language itself. As Spengler and Yockey and many others make very clear, there is no definite border and never has been between history-as-fact and history-as-myth. Indeed, where one stops and the other begins is quite impossible to determine. in most cases.
Today, it is easy for us to believe, as 20th Century Americans, that the islands of Japan were not really formed by drops from the sword of the sun god, but note this: we are far more likely to reject this belief not because it is inherently preposterous but because it is Japanese and we are not.
In other words, it is our culture which conditions our minds to accept or reject facts as either history or as myth, and for the most part not the objective facts themselves, and if you have any difficulty with this concept think on the discovery of the golden tablets by Joseph Smith, the miracle of Fatima. or even the virgin birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. As Christians, we have our share of historical facts which are open to doubt by a hers.
In the light of the needs of culture, we can plainly see that history-as-myth is not necessarily an evil in itself. The historical purpose of culture is to provide unity to a people, for with unity comes stability, order and perhaps progress. It is essential for a people to agree on an interpretation of the past, and the interpretation obviously must denote them as admirable, not despicable; superior, not inferior; noble and courageous, not ignoble and cowardly. History must be the mirror image of oneself. When it is not, it has been distorted. Thus, from the twin needs of having a history and making it a good one, myths are born. It is a process as ancient as language itself.
So we can see that historical distortion grows out of the needs of culture itself. We can perhaps excuse the Japanese myth of the origin of Japan as a harmless tale and one which - in conjunction with a whole panopoly of other myths - formed the basis for the development of the Japanese people and the flowering of one of the world's magnificent cultures. For better or worse, Japanese historical myths helped create Japan, just as Christian and Jewish myths helped create the Europe and the America we know. The point is, we must judge historical myth by judging its historical products, not by its content of objective fact. Which is another way of saying that historical lies are the norm.
Now that we have made that point, please note that we have not said, and we do not say that lies in themselves are all that is found in history. What we find is a mixture of lie and fact. For example, we know the objective fact that Abraham Lincoln is dead. To look a little closer we have reason to believe that he was shot at close range in Ford's Theatre on the night of April 14,1865 by John Wilkes Booth. This much we know. We think.
It is what we don't know that concerns revisionist scholars. The orthodox interpretation of this event is that Booth was an unreconstructed Southerner who avenged the defeat of the Confederacy. Perhaps this is so, but there has been a century of speculation as to who else may have been involved and-most important of all-what the real motive may have been, if indeed there was another motive other than Booth's uncomplicated hatred.
For the purpose of democracy, it is well that Booth remain a "lone assassin" -and you have heard that phrase before. Thus, a more pointed interpretation of the, deed does not excite much interest in the Establishment, other than permitting idle speculation that Booth was not killed by his pursuers but lived out his life robbing trains under the pseudonym of Jesse James.
Now it is not really significant to our destiny whether Jesse James was or was not John Wilkes Booth. Such trivia makes good books and movies and story-telling because it is meant to amuse rather than instruct. The question enters into the mythical, and on the harmless side of the ledger, for myths may be either harmful or harmless or even beneficial. The question of Booth's true identity is the sort of specious issue useful to amuse Hollywood producers, cartoonists and Establishment historians but it is totally without significance when we consider the more weighty motives which may have figured in the event.
It has been whispered for many years that the Lincoln assassination resulted in profits of billions to bankers who were determined that Lincoln's wartime issuance of Greenbacks - paper money issued by the government at the cost of no interest to the taxpayers rather than banknotes issued by private banks at interest - be not made into a national habit-a habit which would have cost the bankers not only in terms of monetary profit but their control of government economic and political policy. I say "whispered" because the quantity of books which ask questions like these, in comparison to the volume of books which fail to ask such questions, thanks to establishment prejudice, is infinitesimal.
Now here is the point to all this. An interpretation of history which gives proper weight to the sub-rosa role of the bankers in public affairs is completely incompatible with our present so-called "democratic" system, which is, in its essence, simply the rule of a consensus of minority, special-interest pressure groups, certainly not rule of the people, by the people and for the people, and the bankers play a central role in this coalition. Thus, the "lone assassin" myth fits democracy and the "conspiracy" or "banker" myth fits populism, but we may never know which interpretation is the objective truth, or if there is some other interpretation which is the objective truth. For example, in the eyes of abolitionist, or "liberal" Republicans, Lincoln was an obstacle to Reconstruction. In the eyes of communists, the assassination of Lincoln was perhaps he work of Northern industrialists who saw Lincoln as an obstacle to their plan of lowering the wages of the workers. The uses of history are endless.
The most pervasive and harmful myth today, of course, is that of the so-called "Holocaust," and all of its attendant fables. Thanks to the research of a small number of very courageous men who have literally risked their careers and their fives to document the truth, our insight not merely into World War II, its causes, its events and its outcome has been enhanced but more: our weltanschauung of today stands in stark variance to the world view of others not so enlightened as we. The Holocaust Myth has benefited its propagators as has few lies in history. We taxpayers in Western nations have shipped untold billions to Israel because of this myth. The myth-makers have profited but not those who have been and are being victimized by it. Aside from the monetary burden, an even more important problem is
the pervasive danger of nuclear war, because we are militarily involved in the Mideast only to protect Israel. Perhaps in this illustration we can see how lies cause war, because the guilt for a nuclear conflict in the Mideast will fall exclusively on those who are at this time profiting from their lie of the "Holocaust."
How does the Institute for Historical Review fit into this scenario? Our place is certain. There is a vacuum in historical scholarship which needs to be filled and this is what we are doing. We see history as part of our Western culture, not as a political weapon for minority zealots, not as a rallying cry for ambitious politicians, armament manufacturers and warmongers, nor from an ivory tower- a segregated, disjointed compartment of arcane knowledge. We are here to see that those who wish to use history to serve their own selfish ends are put down by scholarly research, for we believe that the best, the most useful and most permanent historical myths are founded on facts, not lies.
As Revisionists, we clearly perceive how our work is of absolutely fundamental importance. The lies of the past are rapidly turning our world into a jungle, even as our scientists and technicians are opening up an infinitely expanded world of possibility. The gulf between our corrupt and putrefying Establishment and our physical science now measures in light years, and the speed they are receding from each other is increasing. But it is this which gives us the promise and the certainty that the future holds unconditional victory for us, because in the war between a corrupt and dying social system and technology, technology must inevitably win. The dying of diseased and retarded social systems are the very stuff of history; it has happened a thousand times; whereas the momentum of technological progress is now so powerful, so irresistible that nothing can contain it.
In this sense, we Revisionists are doing far more than merely "setting the past aright," as they say; we are doing more than serving as straight men for the media; more than physically defending the First Amendment with our bodies; more than educating the educationists; even more than just telling the truth. We are literally building a foundation of fact for the future-a future which will be based on constructive, not destructive myths; on a body of morality and social mores and constraints based on what is good for the people of the West rather than what is good for minority pressure groups, bankers, distortionist ideologies or alien interests.
The uses of history are many and various. Our job, as I understand it, is to see that it is used responsibly and constructively.
Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 27-30.
Published with permission of and courtesy to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).
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