The persistent influence of bad ideas

August 10, 2015 1:20pm CST
Sometimes books and the ideas they contain, have a more lasting impact than anyone would expect. Long after the book itself have been forgotten and have remained unread, stacked in inventories of libraries or in bookstores shelves, there preached the ideas continue to influence people and how they see and understand the world and the events of today. In such cases, the effect on the thinking of the people is deeper because the ideals are not associated with an author or a particular view. Instead, they reached the glorious status of "common sense" or things that everyone knows to be right - even when they are not. One of the most important functions of the historian is to discover such hidden influences and often show how they may be incorrect. The bad ideas have a long life and it is common to be perpetuated beyond the life of its creators.
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2 responses
@Marcyaz (36126)
• United States
10 Aug 15
I have found that a lot of our history is inaccurate such as the Native Americans were perceived as savages yet they had their God and followed his ways. I believe they were not the savages and so much about what has been written is incorrect, for example look at General Custer and what a savage he was yet people still think of him as a kind of hero.
• Lakewood, Colorado
10 Aug 15
Yes there is a difference between actual facts of history, and legends, rumors, or myths. Sometimes though, I enjoy the legends to read. It is hard for the ordinary person to decipher which is which though. We must rely on historians.