E-newsletter no 16, 7 July 2014

ISSN:2202-5561 © Honest History Inc. 2014

Not only a newsletter but also a website … with these new items

Centenary Watch

  • Commonwealth: Honest History notes the latest moves (including new appointments to the Australian War Memorial Council, Anzac grants for the arts, and veterans’ mental health initiatives) and analyses the first 212 Anzac Centenary Local Grants
  • ABC: ten hours and ten questions about World War I; audios online

And elsewhere


  • History and economics. ‘To put it bluntly, the discipline of economics has yet to get over its childish passion for mathematics and for purely theoretical and often highly ideological speculation, at the expense of historical research and collaboration with the other social sciences.’ (Thomas Piketty, Capital, Introduction)
  • Wealth of our nation. Recent reports and retorts on inequality come from Oxfam, Christopher Sheil (with links to discussion of Piketty and Evatt Foundation’s work on inequality), Advance Australia Fair? (Canberra Roundtable), Joseph Stiglitz, John Menadue. and Alan Austin and commenters. Cliches about the rich getting richer apply in ‘The Lucky Country’ as well as elsewhere. Stigltiz says we are ranked fifth among advanced countries in inequaliity. Not cliches at all, actually.
  • Needful things. ‘[P]eople value honest, fearless, and above all independent news coverage that challenges the consensus. There is an inescapable conclusion that we must reach if we are to have a better society. The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit.’ (James Murdoch, 2009) On profits at The Australian.
  • Lessons of history. The US Department of the Army has just issued a new edition of Military History Operations, which appears to be a manual for how to write history in combat situations. We will reproduce highlights if their disclosure does not threaten the US-Australian alliance. We will also try to establish if there is an Australian equivalent.
  • General racket. An exotic in the US Army was Major General Smedley Butler, who served in the Marines from 1898 to 1931 and was highly decorated. Having retired, he described his service as being ‘a gangster for capitalism’, wrote a book called War is a Racket, became a sought-after speaker for liberal causes and opposed US involvement in World War II.
  • Naming names. Discovered for HH by fellow Tweep AB, a wonderful poem by E, entitled ‘Gentlemen’s names‘ from the Melbourne Argus in 1852. Interesting for the names that were in vogue then, the feelings they evoked and for comparison with Patrick Cook’s classic 1980s volumes of ‘favourite names for boys and girls’.
  • Tolerance. ‘The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum … (Noam Chomsky, The Common Good, 2002); ‘We will tolerate dissent as long as it is ineffective.’ (John Gorton, Australian prime minister, c. 1970)
  • Lone Star history. Texas has endured a continuing battle over ‘textbook censorship’. One side accuses the other of wanting to change school textbooks to get rid of the separation of Church and State. The other side retorts that their opponents refuse to label Hezbollah and Hamas as terrorist organisations. Later on this subject (7 September 2014).
  • Changed by war. Showing on the ABC next month is The War That Changed Us, a four-part dramatised historical series about the Great War. Written by Clare Wright (Stella Prize winner) and Don Featherstone. Minister Ronaldson gave a preview to MPs and Senators last month.

Coming up

** Two events:Labour History Society

Tell us about events.


‘ from the Melbourne