Friday, November 7, 2014

Podcast of the very lively debate with Peter Boyles



For the interview which went 45 minutes, listen here. The address is http://peterboyles.podbean.com. I was on in the 7-8 hour and that is the second segment down from the top on today's (November 7th's) show.

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For the DU Report on Sand Creek, see here. For the committee's recommendations about what to do about it, see here.

This Report and the recommendations are far more important to discuss than today's show, which began there and continued perhaps divertingly, but strongly into Peter's political concerns.

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Peter directs conversations on his shows in a strong, often interesting (for instance, he challenged the next interviewee's espousal of American empire) but sometimes obscure way. He started out with some eccentric material about the Discovery Channel and an Anaconda eating a man and suggested it was always so - Barnum and Bailey - down through history. And that seems to have been one take he had on Sand Creek ("we all do such things" so why not continue to celebrate Evans?). Peter was especially interested in the issue of renaming the Evans professors, Mount Evans and so forth with the thought that Sand Creek was a horror (since he interviewed me for 45 minutes, we did talk about it). He thought any such naming must involve anachronism - imposing, arbitrarily and ignorantly, today's standards on the past; our Report attended to the many voices from 1865, including Silas Soule and three government commissions which condemned Sand Creek and forced Evans to resign. The Report is explicitly and carefully written accurately historically, by the standards of the time. Peter did push what became a heated discussion about political correctness.

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I said that after serious discussion in the DU community, I would like the Evans professors renamed - and repeatedly emphasized the wisdom of Cheyenne and Arapaho descendants who do not want the historic names changed if it means the history will be erased and that after some discussion, there will be another amnesia to restore what I call the abject Founding Amnesia with which we are all familiar.

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Peter likes to read (calls himself a "history geek") and often has interesting views about what he has read. He was trying to protest censorship - "political correctness" - except that he endorses censorship if it is done by the Jeffco School Board. He can't have it both ways (to be a libertarian and a McCarthyite censor). His heart is libertarian but looking down "snootily" (his word) on JeffCO students on behalf of the 3 ignorant censors is not libertarian and is anti-democratic and, for Peter, degrading (he repeated this in answer to a right-wing caller - it is a "Republican" fundamentalist station - about "political correctness" in the segment after I was on. I was pointing out that participant (the Cheyennes and Arapahos) non-victors and historians do often actually know something about history, and it is not up to school boards relying on a particular author of an AP text favored by "American exceptionalists," to rewrite curriculum. Democracies sometimes make mistakes (and in the case of genocide against native americans, often do things far worse). Peter's vehement line of argument is mutually contradictory.

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