Is History Even a Thing?

While watching Oliver Stone’s untold history of the United States, I started thinking – Is History Even a Thing?

Okay, so yes, the easy answer is that the key to that sentence is Oliver Stone.   Stone is yet another millionaire socialist, so this series is, um, skewed… But it is what got me started thinking:

History is not a “real” science.

History is not math. There is no opinion ( well not for a long time ) in math.  History is nothing but.

Take Columbus for example.  Is he a hero, discoverer of America, and name sake of an influential Catholic-based Fraternal Organization? Or is he a mass murderer?

Spoiler alert: When I was a kid in government school they taught me the former and the “truth”, it seems, is closer to the latter. Einstein supposedly said something like what we study is shaped by who is doing the studying. And he’s not wrong, but that is a little un-original for such a brilliant man.

I am sure you’ve heard history is written by the victors. I would suggest that history is written by the survivors. Human beings ( who each have perspective, agenda’s, ego’s, prejudices, etc. ) that lived through or after recorded events.

The difference is small, but telling. In that who ever is telling you the history cannot help but tell you their prejudices as well. Their pre-judgments color their re-telling of events.

Stone described OSUHotUS as “the most ambitious thing I’ve ever done. Certainly in documentary form, and perhaps in fiction, feature form.” Stone spent $1 million of his own money on the film as the budget ballooned. While the series is ostensibly closer to the truth than JFK for example, it is full of propaganda and prejudice.

I much prefer Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History.


  1. Of course history is a thing – I had to take it year after year in school! I think that there are certain agreed upon events, it’s just that people dispute the details and more importantly the narrative.

  2. I just came across this article, I had never thought about it like that. I am firing up the Oliver Stone on Netflix right now.

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