Cronon: The Odd Case of Historian Bashing

March 26, 2011

Yesterday was among the craziest of my entire life. The story traced in this blog of the Republican Party’s Open Records Law request for access to my emails has in the past twenty-four hours gone viral in a very big way so that this blog has received more than 2 million hits in the past 24 hours…attention on a scale I could never have imagined for the strange circumstances in which I find myself.

I’m posting this latest entry because I’ve just learned that the New York Times will run an editorial on Monday morning (March 28) making an eloquent case for defending academic freedom against intrusions of the kind that the Wisconsin Republican Party has launched against me. Those who know me will know that this is not a battle I would ever have chosen for myself, but I do want to say how grateful I am for the support I’ve received from SO many people over the past 24 hours…not just from the New York Times and the other newspapers and blogs that have paid attention to this story, but from the many colleagues, students, friends, and total strangers who see in this episode a threat to liberties that most Americans hold dear as our national birthright.

In my heart of hearts, I keep hoping that even Republicans who learn about my situation will respond by saying to themselves that this is not what their party should stand for.  Indeed, in my own understanding of the history of the GOP, leaving aside dangerous aberrations like Joseph McCarthy, what I am experiencing is not what the Republican Party claims to stand for. It is time at last for “the angels of our better nature,” in the words of another great Republican, Abraham Lincoln, to reassert themselves.

The New York Times editorial is accessible at



About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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