Tailoring to Size

I suggested in a recent posting that history cannot be tailored to fit an idea, in specific David Barton’s attempts to prove that America was founded as a Christian nation. In another posting, I suggested that every problem, particularly social problems, needed to be assessed on a case by case basis, in other words tailoring a solution from the specifics of the situation. Am I contradicting myself here?

The interpretation of history certainly changes. When I took American history, the Civil War was said to be about states’ rights, not about slavery. In fact, the war was about the right of the slave owners to have runaway slaves returned to them from anti-slavery states. Slavery was the fundamental issue therefore. Mr. Barton is searching hard for clues from the founders that they intended for America to be Christian. As far as I can see, if they had wanted that, it would have been put into the Constitution. There is nothing more to be said on the subject.

Social problems are intrinsically difficult. For example, it was long thought that poor academic performance was entirely IQ related. However, it is much clearer today that economic factors play a very big part in how a student performs. And yet agreeing on this principle will not diminish the argument since it is a nuanced position. Some poor people will do well academically and some will not. The truth is that academic success is based on a number of things, few of which are easily analyzed, particularly on a quantitative basis.

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