“The victors invariably write the history to their own advantage.”
Variations on this slogan are fashionable among leftwing college profs. It has also been applied to the Bible by conspiracy theorists like Dan Brown and Bart Erhman.
What are we to make of this slogan?
Well, for one thing, the Bible is a poor candidate to apply this slogan to. In OT times, the winners were the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Egyptians, not the Israelites. In what sense are Jewish slaves and exiles the winners rather than the losers?
Likewise, the winners in NT times were the Romans, not the Christians.
So, if we did apply this slogan to the Bible, then conspiracy theorists like Ehrman and Brown ought to regard the Bible as a reliable source of history–since it was written by the losers, not the winners.
But let’s also consider the slogan on its own terms. Is it true? Why don’t we test this slogan against a contemporary example which we’re all familiar with: how have the winners covered the war on terror?
To begin with, who are the winners and losers in the war on terror? Well, the winners would be the Americans, Brits, and Aussies. And the losers would be the jihadis and counterinsurgents. The underdogs.
So how have the winners covered the war effort? Have the New York Times, BBC, and CNN covered the war effort in a way that portrayed the military and intelligence agencies of the US and the UK in the best possible light?
Or consider the spate of movies and TV shows which came out in the aftermath of 9/11–movies and TV shows which either directly or allegorically depicted the war effort, viz. Rendition, Redacted, Syriana, Jarhead, Traveler, Battlestar Galactica, Stop-Loss, The Kingdom, Fahrenheit 9/11, Lions for Lambs, Home of the Brave, In the Valley of Elah, &c.
The directors, producers, and screenwriters represent the winners, not the losers–right? Jihadis and counterinsurgents didn’t make these movies and TV shows, did they?
Are these Hollywood productions distinguished by their chauvinistic, jingoistic support for the foreign policies of the US and the UK?