In August, I posted a long thread on Twitter regarding the problem of bad-faith distortions of history. It was set off by an especially egregious statement by Dinesh D’Souza, the poster child for making absurd arguments supposedly underpinned by historical fact. He likened the program of the modern Democratic Party to that of the Nazi Party in Weimar Germany. I countered with a primary source analysis of the NSDAP program, pointing out why his take was patently preposterous.
If you follow Twitter, you may have seen D’Souza tangle with a number of actual historians, most prominently Kevin M. Kruse, Heather Cox Richardson, Kevin Gannon, and Eric Rauchway – all great follows, if you’re looking to add some more historical voices to your Twitter feed.
The thread – see below – became quite popular, according to Twitter it was seen by at least 500,000 people (the original tweet) and as many as 1.4 million (the parts of the thread taken together). This has given me some hope, that we can reach people outside of academica by highlighting how to think historically, and what it means to anaylze, criticize, and contextualize sources.
The problem with D'Souza is not just that he is bad at history. He is actively attacking the fundaments of what it means to research, interpret, write, and understand history while laying claim to the term. His method would be sophistry, if it were in any way subtle. 1/28 https://t.co/FMUAbwicLA
— Torsten Kathke (@torstenkathke) August 5, 2018
You can follow me on Twitter for future threads, occasional snark, and general history geekery. I’d be happy to see you there!
There’s also an unrolled (that is, all tweets combined into one webpage) version of the original thread here: