Tim Blair


New Criterion



Saturday, February 15, 2003

Here is Orwell in 1942, in "Looking Back on the Spanish War," reflecting on the lies of wartime:

This kind of thing is frightening to me, because it often gives me the feeling that the very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. ... I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously colored what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case they believed that 'the facts' existed and were more or less discoverable.

Here is an Australian historian in 2003 justifying histories which use sheer fabrication, exaggeration, myth and hyper-interpretation that serve the cause of historical justice, as he sees it
Historians must embrace new ways of understanding the past and exercise historical imagination.