Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Obligatory Juan Cole Post

Due to my tendency to browse the internet from right to left (i.e. starting with blogs like Captain's Quarters, LGF, Protein Wisdom etc.. and occasionally wandering over to KOS, DU (to seen what the inmates are up to) or more usually a less virulent left leaning blog) I've managed to make it this long without reading too much of Juan Cole's work, but earlier this week I broke down and took a peek at some of his writings posted all over the internet. So, consider this my obligatory 'Juan Cole is an Idiot' post (every right wing blog should have at least one).

Let me first state that for a History Professor at the University of Michigan he really seems to have a problem with timelines. Not that that is a big surprise, most academics that are to the far left of the political spectrum don't seem to feel the need to let facts get in their way of making their cases against President Bush or the War in Iraq, but in this case he is so far off it's not even funny.

As Martin Kramer points out in his must read post, Making Cole-slaw of history, Cole has a problem even keeping relatively recent events in the proper order, citing as causes things that happened after the fact. He also has that nasty leftist habit of 'reading between the lines' to discern 'facts' that were never stated, and in some cases directly contradicted by the sources he cites (but as a well educated member of the left, apparently he knows what they really meant to say).

What's especially telling of Cole's argument style is his editorial policy, as pointed out by Kramer in the above post. It is Cole's contention that the first couple of days of any of his posts are to be considered the 'rough drafts' and therefore, should he decide to totally change it (such as remove claims that have been so thoroughly disproven as to be embarrassing) he should not feel obligated to in any way make reference to that fact and should be free to simply edit the post to remove the offending statements. While technically, as the post belongs to him, that is true and there is nothing that anyone can do or say to change that, but from a moral standpoint, it is simply a weasely way to get out from admitting your mistakes. That's what UPDATES are for; they're a simple thing to do. Simply edit your original post but state why in an UPDATE notification at the bottom. I personally feel guilty editing my post after putting them up for more than 5 minutes without a formal UPDATE notice (even though with my readership the odds of anyone besides me reading it in that time are slim to none and none just left town).

The saddest thing is that Cole, despite the many obvious faults in his logic, is seen as one of the great voices on the left and is often referenced to help prove points. He's one of those academics that is seen as 'speaking truth to power' (what I consider one of the dumbest slogans to come out of the left for quite some time). It's just funny to read his defenders trying to blame those on the right for attacking him while totally ignoring Cole's shoddy work or out right lies.

While we in the general public can choose to ignore Cole's crazy conspiracies, I just feel sorry for his students, as well as the students of like minded teachers, who have to be forced to sit in his classroom. Of course there is a small chance that he keeps his politics out of the classroom (very unlikely considering his obvious level of disgust for the current administration) or that he actually teaches history better than he publicly writes about it.

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