And now, for something scholarly-ish
Ok, this is a discussion I find annoying. And I'm not sure exactly why, except that I think that none of these guys are working from premises that active historians of the here and now would agree with. They seem to hint at that, in the historians say X kind of way, but then they just say, "but the historians are wrong." At least, that's what my little pea brain is getting from this. Basically, I think I'm looking at a bunch of circular (and the uncharitable part of me says 'circle-jerk,' and I know that's gendering the discussion) arguments built upon straw men. Moreover, these arguments reflect a fairly high level of ignorance as to what historians do, since frankly, we don't all do the same thing. Our fields often help to determine our approach, and it's ridiculous to think that, for example, a modern Russian specialist is going to teach the Greek polis the way an Ancient person would. Or that I would teach modern the way a modernist would -- just today I had to tell my class that my approach was different, since most of the modernists I know are somewhat Hegelian (we were talking Romanticism) in their approach, while I reject the idea that humans are progressing towards anything.
And I think that's just fine. Because I've explained different approaches, and they know that they should look for them and consider them when making their own assessments of the events and themes we're studying. Because there does not have to be one right answer. Comments? Because frankly, this discussion just annoys me no end, but I'd almost like to have somebody who can explain it in terms a medievalist would understand prove me wrong.