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Monday, December 12, 2011

History Can Help

Everything seems to come in cycles.  Well, in this case, it's a cycle with one enormous perturbation.  Today's Tea Party Republicans may seem to be revanching the traditional American values of hard work, technology and advancement, the ideals of freedom, free-trade, etc.  However, these ideals have always proven illusory or loosely idealistic.  They can be used to support almost anything.  They seldom take everything into account, allowing conservatives to focus upon specific aspects of life that are conducive to the production of profit while they leave behind essential aspects of life that build a future for the entire culture as a whole.  Yes, this sounds socialist, but hasn't it always been so?  Socialist ideas are not filthy.  You have them all around you… the postal service, Medicare, Social Security, veteran's health care… we've found it better to construct social programs to provide for when we can no longer fight the battles that American life demands of us.  We do not wish to be gunned down by the younger, faster, more agile gunfighter or its cousin, the corporation.  We want security as we grow older and have learned to depend on social programs to help us in these twilight years.  We desire comfort after our travails.  

Furthermore, we need social services everyday... the post office is not run for profit and it runs pretty smoothly.   Education and Health care could also run smoothly without profit.  Conservatives would have us believe that only private enterprise can do this for us, but history proves them wrong.  More regulation/laws/legislation, not less, protects us from them.  And, we need it because we do not have the money to stop them from taking advantage of us otherwise.  The corporate world WILL do this and we all know it... even though we claim in public that God won't let them.  We're afraid of being wrong and the illusion of our defense has never worked.  It only made us feel better in the short term.  History tells us that this has happened before the Great Depression... but, were we alive then?  How could we know that it happened?  That's right... history books.  They might have told us, but they usually didn't.  They were dumbed down.  Corporate publishers didn't want it widely known.  Scholars have always fought with publishers about what they were able to print... what was truth and what was... sort of the truth... revised and edited. But, you know, we've always suspected the truth... and we ignored history in school because it just didn't fit the corporate "version" that claimed capitalism to be the Almighty.  We were afraid to find out otherwise.  James Loewen tells how his was dumbed down by the corporate world and how socialist ideas have always been with us in his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me.  This is very interesting reading!

Businessmen of the past often began their lives in a supercapitalist fashion of fast cars, fast women, fast money, paying low wages, trimming employee benefits, and undercutting competition -- similar to Newt Gingrich.  lol  Rich guys horde their cash... they don't put it back into the economy where it actually would stimulate it.  They keep it in bank accounts and pay 15% taxes on capital gains, which also doesn't help our economy.  Rich people today are our economy's worst nightmare!  You've heard much about the Koch brothers' takeover of the political process.  They would have us return to the days of Calvin Coolidge, the roaring 20s, when children worked in factories and many died as a result of neglect and disdain.  That generation learned a lesson... but they died.  History could have told us that corporate policies were like this, but we weren't listening... 

History was considered useless, although studying real history could have informed these capitalists of the moral pitfalls that they were approaching in their gold-plated world of greed.  Mike Wallace, in Mickey Mouse History, believed that there were two versions of history that confused the average American's understanding.  There was the stale, boring history that was taught in school and the version that invigorated daily experience, enhanced our every activity, and, most importantly, warned us of the dangers ahead (corporate incentives versus our own).  Most people thought of the stale stuff as "History" and the exciting or more useful part was just incidental information that you picked up on the fly, "common sense" we call it… actually, that was history, too.  It just isn't taught to us that way in school because of publishers favoring the capitalist view... the one that downplays reason and constructive criticism in favor of willing, malleable puppets.  I know this seems harsh toward the corporate world, but really?  What do we have in common?  I don't fly in private jets or cruise on my own yacht... neither do you.  You and I struggle every day.  That's not the corporate life and believe me... they live in an alien world and they see us as alien creatures as well.  We have absolutely nothing in common with corporate "people," so please don't tell me that they're patriotic or have our best interests at heart... at the first sign of an organized popular revolution like Occupy Wall Street winning, they'd hop their private jets and head for their private compounds in South America and eat at their private restaurants.  To them, education, especially history education is dangerous to corporate needs because it feeds popular reaction.  Educated people prefer democracies over oligarchies.  Shame on us, huh?

Wasn't it ONLY the sciences that Tea Party (Koch puppets) Gov. Rick Scott of Florida desires?  The corporate needs only... forget the Liberal Arts... like Anthropology, Literature,... HISTORY! 

Henry Ford himself, the great inventor of the assembly line, once said "History is Bunk!" and rejected any notion that the past was useful.  Ford was a good man, a pacifist who believed that war never helped anyone, either for their lives or profit.  The inveterate capitalist could have been nicer to his workers, however.  It's human to want to take advantage.  Nobody's perfect.  But, World War I changed Ford's perspective and he began to understand the usefulness of history, his own idea of American heritage… he then saw history as a living thing worth preserving.  He founded Greenfield Village in the 1920s to preserve every facet of man's inventiveness and culture.  Slave cabins and churches were dragged to Greenfield Village, amassing acres of the common man's world.  There were tractors and cars and buildings of all kinds.  He even invited his friend Thomas Edison to move his workshop to GV and work there… to be a living exhibit.

You see?  Ford recognized that his stringent commercial ways destroyed man's cultural process and legacy.  Ford tried to save it for us... perhaps out of guilt.  History's lessons can only be learned when listened to and you only listen to them if you haven't been trained to think that they suck!  However, the lessons of history tell a dark tale in regards to stringent capitalism… capitalism with no restraints.  "Free-trade" they call it, as though it must necessarily be allowed to flow unimpeded ("regulation" is a dirty word to these guys).  I, for one, am justifiably worried about them having no rules to go by.  After all, it's human to take advantage... to capitalize.  Regulation is absolutely necessary if we want to avoid the horrors of the 1920s.  Here's my bow to Occupy Wall Street... "Free-trade" has historically done a great deal of damage... yes, it makes profit for a few... on the backs of the many... us.  

Is it any wonder that no one pays attention to those history lessons?  Is it surprising that these lessons have been shunned and treated as "bunk" by those who still believe in the failed system?  If your idea of economics fails, threatens your national pride, your bank account… why would you want to believe the failure is true?  "History must lie," you offer!  It cannot be telling the truth when that truth means the failure of everything you know. Well, we made that lie a reality... we gave it life, like a Frankenstein monster.

History textbooks no longer tell tales that we want to hear.  As far as we're concerned, they must be lying to us.  But, they're not always... they've gotten better.  Some of the fault is our own.  No matter how much you might deny the evidence before you, things like global warming, the oil running out, black men winning the office of president... it seems too unreal to be true.  You fight the truth!  Unless something changes, it will only get worse...

Understand this:  there are those in power who make a lot of money from our ignorance.  The more we believe that the truth is a lie, the more they can manufacture money from this machine.  The more they grow richer and you, poorer.  You don't have to take my word for it.  Just open your eyes to the conservative machine falling apart today, the popular revolution of OWS and how the corporate media tries desperately to ignore it.  This is yet another clue.  The lies and corruption have eaten the political system alive.  Still, corporate players remain alive and well.  They live apart from the political world because they know it will fail and have cushioned themselves from the disaster (remember the private world in another country?)... they can handle recession or depression.  Can you?  This is the moment to take advantage of, to capitalize on... they see this as the golden opportunity to fleece the flock before the bomb goes off... no matter that it makes the bomb tick a little faster.  And, so what if it does?  They'll be safe. 

This has happened before... many times.  But, it gets worse and worse... until, finally, it becomes irreparable for us.  It is here now.  Still, the fear need not cripple us.  This can stop, but it means that we have to actually see reality... see who benefits and who does not.  Look upon our failed system with open eyes and ready minds to begin the process of finding the solution.  Don't just follow every FOX huckster that claims to have a solution: Tea Party, GOP candidate, ANY candidate that smiles too much and offers just enough to get elected.  This is unfettered capitalism.  It takes advantage of our democracy to profit on us.  We've seen this cycle go round a few times now and the result is always the same:  Short-term prosperity and then the economy dives and we have a depression while only the rich get richer.  The cycle benefits the few, it generates corporate revenues.  We are little better than serfs or slaves in this high class economic system.  It does not work... for us anyway.  It tanks every time.  We need another way.  I don't claim to have the solution and I don't want the job of president.  No, I'm not running for office... I'm not crazy!  I just want a decent life.  So, let's be a real part of the solution... to make sure it's real and tangible.  Analyze it, criticize it, question it... use the brains that you have.  I'm sure that you're capable if you try.  History can really help.  FOX NEWS most certainly, cannot!  So, let's study with open eyes how this has happened before... look beyond the average textbooks for a solution.  Educate yourself, take charge!  We can find it.

One thing I do know... politics as usual will never find the solution... just more hucksters looking for money and power. It's got to be up to us.

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