Posts Tagged ‘History’

Inconvenient History

March 22, 2010

Last night’s vote was historic.  That’s what they kept telling us.  With universal healthcare enacted into law, a sweeping transformation of one-sixth of our nation’s economy and, therefore too our society and culture, would ensue.  Historic indeed!  Together with the vast network of medical bureaucracies and numerous apparatchiks that will inevitably be created in order to bring this monstrosity to life, casual decisions by government regulators and mini-health czars will bring about life-altering consequences for ordinary Americans.  Moreover, fundamental controls, previously reserved for the legislative branch will be transferred over to the executive branch giving it the authority to fashion new policy and reshape the healthcare system as it sees fit.  Thus all this will enable and invest the executive branch, under President Obama, with the authority to exercise virtually boundless powers in healthcare and other areas. 

Aaaaaa-Hahahahahaha... Aaaaaa-Hahahahahaha!!

In such circumstances, it will be allowed that Nancy Pelosi, by going to the great lengths she has to bring this all about, has become the President’s great enabler; she and the so-called pro-life Democrats led by Bart Stupak, who at the eleventh hour cut a deal with the President by accepting the latter’s pledge in the form of an Executive Order prohibiting federal funding for abortions.

Well, history has a way of repeating itself.

On March, 23, 1933, almost 77 years to the day, Adolf Hitler passed his own Enabling Act.  Before the Reichstag (the German legislature) Hitler made a speech wherein he pledged that “the government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures … The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one.” 

As the new law would alter the German constitution, a two-thirds majority was required which meant that Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to get it passed.  He got those votes from the German centrist party after making a false promise to restore certain rights previously taken away by decree.  By this vote, Germany’s elected officials paved the way for the end of democratic government in Germany and the establishment, legally, of the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. 

The rest, as they say, is history.

For more on this topic, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/inconvenient-history/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/america-r-i-p/

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Fortune Favors the Brave

March 18, 2010

There is a phrase in Latin that the ancient Romans were fond of saying: Aduentes Fortuna Juvat.  Roughly translated, it means “fortune favors the brave.” 

Earlier this week, as a part of his final push for universal healthcare and the fundamental transformation of American culture and society, President Barrack Obama staged a rally in Ohio attended by scores of his hardcore supporters and, notably, Congressman Dennis Kucinich.  Obama concluded his speech by saying, “We need courage, that’s what we need…  I want some courage!”  He then jetted back to Washington, D.C.  The next day, Congressman Kucinich, who had been treated by the President to a ride on Air Force One, announced he was changing his “No” vote on healthcare to “Yes.”  In a speech Kucinich declared, among other things, that healthcare is a “basic right.”  Time will tell whether or not fortune smiles upon Mr. Kucinich.

Well, with all this talk by politicians about being courageous, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to look at an American leader with real courage: George Washington.  Now, I am quite sure most of us all know at least a few generalities about the following story from our high school history.  Unless of course you are a student in high school today, in which case you are busy learning about much more important things like: The Influence of Hip-Hop on American Culture; The Proper Way to Use a Condom; and Why You Don’t Need a Daddy to Have a Family.  But be that as it may, here goes…

It was winter of the year 1776.  The new American nation had declared its independence from Great Britain the previous July and all-out war with the British was underway.  The American Continental Army, led by General George Washington, had been beaten and chased out of New York by the British forces and was in a desperate retreat.  British General Lord Cornwallis had pursued Washington’s diminishing army through New Jersey, until the Americans withdrew across the Delaware River and took refuge in Pennsylvania in early December.  Although General Washington’s skillful retreat had prevented the British from completely crushing the dwindling American force, the outlook for the Continental Army, and American prospects for winning the war, was very bleak indeed. 

George Washington had fewer than 5,000 men in his army, whose morale was now at its lowest.  The Congress, ever pessimistic, had turned tail from Philadelphia and fled to Baltimore.  There was no money left to finance the army.  Provisions were scarce and Washington’s men were starving and cold.  “These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine, who was actually with the army at the time.  Virtually everyone considered the American cause lost.  That is, everyone except George Washington.  At this dire hour, faced with these demoralizing circumstances, George Washington, a man of deep faith and courage, decided to go on the offensive.  He knew that, despite the forces arrayed against him, he had two things in his favor. First, the popular mood among the people against the British remained strong, and, second, he had the element of surprise on his side.  So rallying his men before dawn on December 26th, he secretly led them back across the Delaware River, over land to Trenton, New Jersey where a force of some one thousand Hessian troops (German mercenaries engaged by the British) were quartered. Washington and his men took the Hessians by complete surprise and, after a brief engagement, defeated the entire force with negligible losses to their own side.  So overconfident were the Hessians that they were caught sleeping off the effects of their Christmas revelry from the night before.  As the story goes, after the battle the Hessian Colonel was found dead with a dispatch letter in his coat pocket warning him of the American sneak attack.  The letter was unopened.

Aduentes Fortuna Juvat!

After this victory, the American war effort was galvanized, the Congress found renewed confidence in General Washington, and enlistments in the Continental Army increased dramatically.  Eventually, the British were forced to retreat to their base in New York City.  Many consider this battle to be the turning point in the American Revolutionary War.  In later years, George Washington himself became convinced that America was guided by Divine Providence.  Fortune favors the brave.

In this the current battle over universal healthcare, we all of us are called once more unto the breach to defend what George Washington and his brave men risked so much to obtain.  On one side are the Republicans in Congress, some Democrats, and the vast majority of the American people whose mood against the proposed legislation remains strong.  On the other side are Mr. Obama and most Congressional Democrats.  In this process, we have seen secret deals made and Senators bribed, all manner of legislative chicanery used, deception and outright lies told by politicians at the highest levels, and a President who on the one hand expresses his ambivalence as to how his legislation is passed into law — as long as it is passed into law — while on the other hand talks about courage.  Courage?  Just what sort of courage do you mean Mr. President?

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For more on the healthcare debate, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

Inconvenient History

March 8, 2010

Recently, a piece of tripe appeared on the New York Times editorial page (shocking!) about what wonderful shape the United States is in.  It was written by some English wanker by the name of Piers Brendon who fancies himself a student of history.

Anyway, I won’t dwell on the turgid prose of Mr. Brendon other than to say that the article attempts to debunk comparisons between the decline of ancient Rome and the precarious position that America finds itself in today.  In support of his argument, Brendon actually cites that great intellectual luminary and current Vice-President, Joe Biden!  If you’re still intrigued, you can link to the article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/opinion/25brendon.html?pagewanted=1

Whether or not there are any parallels between ancient Rome and present day America, may be a matter of wide open debate.  But one thing is for sure, the New York Times has written enough Pollyanna pieces on the present state of American culture and global standing under the rule of Obama to make even Neville Chamberlain look like an alarmist.  Of course, I wouldn’t describe anything in the New York Times as fit to print, whether it be news or the Sunday Style Section.  But when it comes to philosophizing about history, the old Grey Lady is begging to be ridiculed.  At any rate, I would much rather trust a real historian:

The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see: and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.  I hope my passion for [my country’s] past has not impaired my judgment; for I do honestly believe that no country has ever been greater and purer than ours or richer in good citizens and noble deeds; none has been free for so many generations from the vices of avarice and luxury; nowhere have thrift and plain living been for so long held in such esteem.  Indeed, poverty with us went hand in hand with contentment.  Of late years wealth has made us greedy, and self-indulgence has brought us, through every form of sensual excess, to be, if I may so put it, in love with death both individual and collective.

– Titus Livius “Livy” (59 BC – AD 17), The Early History of Rome (Emphasis added.)

The Course of Empire: Destruction, by Thomas Cole (1836)