He said that there are two problems with the resolution. First, he said, “it seems to me that people join the AHA with certain expectations, and the fact that the association will take political positions is not one of them. In a way, you are violating the conditions of membership, and I suspect a few people will leave.”Then again, I don't think the average person gives a crap about what the AHA has to say about Iraq. And I guess I don't either.
Second, he said it was important for the association to take political stands on issues “narrowly concerned with the interests of scholars in general and historians in particular.” So he said it was important for the AHA to speak out as it does against visa denials to foreign scholars or restrictions on access to presidential records. “But by taking more general stands, we weaken our moral authority and we become identified with partisan positions,” he said. “There is only a certain amount of moral capital that we have.”
My only decision is whether or not such an organization deserves my dues.