A Case for History

Writing for McClatchy newspapers, Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies Magda Teter takes Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to task for his inaccurate representation of history in his fight to defund the Affordable Care Act. Cruz’s comparison of inaction against “Obamacare” to Britain’s response to Nazi Germany in the 1940s was not only “outrageous” but “inaccurate,” writes Teter. As a second example of the danger of historical ignorance, she points to AIG CEO Robert Benmosche’s statements comparing the 2008 public uproar against bonuses for financial services executives to lynchings in the South.

Both statements “demonstrate clearly that knowledge of history and the perspective of the humanities should be essential elements of good citizenship. Citizens knowledgeable about history would not only find such comments distasteful; they would be able to marginalize people who utter them, instead of lionizing them for their courage to speak ‘until (they) can’t stand anymore.'”

Teter is also professor of history, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and professor of medieval studies.