[Vision2020] Proposed debate
Mon, 01 Dec 2003 16:07:45 -0800
In my newspaper column a week or so ago, I concluded by inviting Drs.
Quinlan and Ramsey to debate. Not hearing anything back from them, I
emailed them privately last week to reiterate the offer. After making that
second offer I have not heard back either.
I must now take an interesting (and perhaps courageous) step. At the top of
their paper is the most interesting copyright notice I have ever seen.
After the normal copyright dealies, it says, "Please do not cite, quote,
summarize, or otherwise reproduce without permission of the authors." Not
being a professional historian myself, I am unfamiliar with this kind of
restriction. I was somewhat surprised that they did not also include "or
refer to the existence of" as one of the restrictions.
Here is the courageous step. I am now going to quote from their paper, and
I did not get permission. On the second page, the writers say that it "is
imperative, therefore, that real historical scrutiny be focused on this
unusual performance." I agree! Well, here is a golden opportunity for
professional historians to focus some more real historical scrutiny on my
little putt-putt scholarship.
This being the case, why the silence? Perhaps there is an explanation to be
found in Ambrose Bierce's incomparable Devil's Dictionary.
Valor, n. A soldierly compound of vanity, duty and the gambler's hope.
"Why have you halted?" roared the commander of a division at Chickamauga,
who had ordered a charge; "move forward, sir, at once."
"General," said the commander of the delinquent brigade, "I am persuaded
that any further display of valor by my troops will bring them into
collision with the enemy."
P.S. Chickamauga was a battle in the War of the Roses, although
professional historians take a different view.