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Historiography and Destiny

Written by Gary North on October 22, 2016

“History is written by the victors.”

You probably have read this statement. It’s true as far as it goes. But it misses the point. What is the point? The final victor. Who will be the final victor?

This is the issue of eschatology: the doctrine of the last things. Everyone has an eschatology, but most people don’t give it much thought.

Cosmic evolutionists have an eschatology: the heat death of the universe. In one phrase: “Eventually, everything will run out of gas.” Entropy is a one-way street to oblivion. The triumph of absolute zero will kill all life.

Then who will write history? No one. There will be no further history to write.

Then what is the meaning of life? There is none.

If you want more on this, read Chapter 2 of my book, Is the World Running Down? You can download the PDF for free here.

Conclusion: your concept of destiny shapes your concept of history: past, present, and future. Secondary conclusion: a society’s concept of destiny shapes its view of history: past, present, and future.

Reasonable so far? Let us continue.


At the end of the Civil War, a handful of Southerners began writing histories of the war, which they re-named. It was sometimes called the war between the states. Others called it the war of southern secession. Others called it the war of northern aggression. But the term “Civil War” stuck. There were too many rival names. The winners got to name the war. They also got to write the textbooks. Most important, they imposed the public school system on the South so that they could make sure that their textbooks would get read by future generations in the South.

Today, Southerners who know nothing about the history of the South cheer for football teams of tax-funded state universities where running backs and 300-lb lineman are the heirs of slaves. There is probably a white quarterback whose ancestor may have been a draftee into the Confederate Army. (Draftee, as in “forced by the central government to fight.”) Or he may be the heir of a Northern steel worker in Pennsylvania whose ancestor voted for Thaddeus Stephens. It all depends on his throwing arm, not his ancestry. Nobody asked Joe Namath about his ancestry. He was a Yankee who threw for Alabama.

The narrative of the post-war monographs written by defeated Southerners did not penetrate the textbooks. There are updated monographs written by the spiritual heirs of Southerners. Their ideas still do not penetrate the textbooks.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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