It is not often that we hear good news in the fight against bad ideas. Junk science, sloppy criticism, and worst of all false history are all used to foster anti-American public opinion and mis-direct policy decisions. Bad ideas are all but untouchable when they are given the stamp of "scholarship" and find a safe haven in the American university. Truth will out, but it requires rigor, and diligence.
Michael Bellesiles, author of the award winning Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, has known all about getting away with bad scholarship until recently. Bellesiles seems to have overestimated how far the bounds of truth can be stretched for the sake of debunking the importance of the Second Amendment and its relation to the principles of the American Founding. His assertions led to a serious review of his sources, his resignation from Emory University in October, and, finally, the revoking of his awards.
Claremont Institute Lincoln fellow Melissa Seckora was the first to bring the Bellesiles story to the attention of a non-scholarly audience in the pages of National Review. Her tenacious reporting helped advance the investigation that led ultimately to Bellesiles's undoing. Her latest report on National Review Online discusses the revoking of Bellesiles's Bancroft Prize. Seckora has helped win a great victory over the forces of nonsense.