Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Reagan Test

Larry Schweikart, author of A Patriot's History of the United States, ought to know something about political bias in the representation of history. He has recently phoned in an opinion to Fox News about the perennial debate over the content of history textbooks, arguing for the usefulness of his Reagan Test.

As the Texas textbook battle continues to simmer, Schweikart says the first thing he does to determine whether a book is politically slanted is to go to any section discussing President Ronald Reagan. What you'll find there, he says, will tell you everything you need to know, he says.

Schweikart first advocated this "pregnancy test" for political distortion in his book 48 Liberal Lies About American History. He can be seen advocating it in 2008 on, yes, Fox News here. As ever, Reagan is offered as a great national figure of American history, but maintained as a touchstone of partisan discord. Conservatives: if you love someone, set them free.

Points must be given for Schwiekart's inspiring historical method: "I lived through the Reagan years, I remember."

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