Much logic in your post Dan and some real possibilities. Good for discussion but as stated, much is supposition.
This is usually where internet arguments begin. The "no starters" wrongly use the dogmatic "there were none" instead of "current research does not reveal". The other side of the fence is loaded with supposition and no documentation in what appears as an attempt to convince the opposing mindset. The "no starters" are naturally in a historical mindset. In truth the POSSIBILITY of such items cannot be denied when discussing but it is "silly" to assume the woulda, coulda, shoulda to be implemented in historical interpretation.
So in other words, "the mind, so indoctrinated with official re-enactor dogma" cannot "go there" because they assume, by the way it is presented that others are trying to convince them that it is OK to allow such things in educational interpretation based on supposition. The firm stance is perhaps more solid on the internet because of all the false information that seems to reproduce itself, thus confusing the masses. Most, in face to face conversation would agree of the POSSIBILITY with no problem.
I have had re-enactors attempt to refute statements from the mid-18th century by stating that they knew more what the writer was thinking or trying to say than the writer in the 1760s did. Must be through use of a Ouija Board... But of course the 18th century writer was putting forth ideas the moderns did not want in "their" 18th century.
The "well this is what he REALLY meant" attitude is laughable but it crops up with surprising frequency. But people use it to justify what THEY want. As a result it's apparently critical to many re-enactors in maintaining their persona since many might have to change their other self and apparently this would make some uncomfortable.
How about the "new improved haversack" (or whatever) that was described and patterned in a 1775 VA Gazette (or other Colonial Newspaper) but the re-enactors thought it was not HC because they had not seen one in any museum collection that was made at the time. So "nobody used them" is the dogma.
In reading on one re-enactor site its possible to find a lot of really ridiculous statements that are considered fact by the posters that are COMPLETE SUPPOSITION. But the supposition agrees with what THEY want THEIR 18th century to look like so its "approved" supposition, I guess.
For example if we were to believe some of the things I have read we would have to assume that discharged soldiers would throw away their "issue" knapsack (or whatever) immediately on discharge and then roll his personal belongings in his blanket for the trip home since this expert re-enactor could find no documentation for civilians ever using such a thing. I'm not making this up...
I have seen some pretty virulent statements made regarding other peoples careful research because it refuted the "dogma". A great many people simply will not accept that which disagrees with their ideas of what the past is supposed
to be. This closed mindedness then actually makes it more difficult to find anything that approaches the real 18th century. Who knows what they have ignored, discounted or overlooked in THEIR research? Do they "cherry pick" their facts?
Frankly we know almost nothing about everyday life or the minutia of the time.
When I was 18 we all "knew" the Rev-War era rifles were 54 caliber or even larger. But this is completely false.
The surviving WRITINGS of the time refute this. In reality they were likely 44 to 50 caliber as a norm. But some re-enactor (one of the ones who will actually admit there were significant numbers of rifles in Colonial America) with a 58 caliber early Kentucky will resist the idea that the rifle he has is in all likelyhood NOT HISTORICALLY CORRECT except at the very outer fringes of 18th century rifle making in America. After all HE has one so it must be right. Well it is HC of course (can't prove its not) but its not TYPICAL either. Something else that is important it seems. Conformity.
Then we have those who wail that some "personas" are over represented at re-enactments. But then I guess most people don't want to be a pig farmer.
I also often to wonder how many items that people use as historical documentation for the items they use with their "persona" were faked in 1876 or 1965 or 1985. I personally know people made fakes by the pickup load (apparently in some cases) and sold them. So people should be careful about the "corn boilers", for example, they copy.... Museums were buying fake Rev-War and F&I horns for display in the early 20th century....
The fakes need not be HC they simply need to be what some "expert" EXPECTS HC to be and they are now "documentation".
I understand the need for documentation if trying the teach people about the 18th century. But cherry picking information or ignoring what was written in the past to maintain a particular vision of the past is neither "research" or "documentation".