PostHeaderIcon Understanding History

Blogging about the Federal Reserve and its manifold crimes against the American People makes my blood run so hot that I thought to change the subject, if only for a moment.

All of my adult life, I have been an amateur historian. Like most of you, I found high school history boring beyond words. But, once I was free to focus on the elements of history that interested me (something other than the exact date when A shot B), then I found it to be a total delight.

However, I have learned some valuable lessons from the study of history – lessons not part of the history in question but about the very nature of history.

Allow me to set the tone for what follows with my favorite quote from the late Will Rogers: ”things ain’t like they used to be and probably never were”.

On the surface, this is cute, possibly even funny. But, beneath that lies a philosophical insight of the type Mr. Rogers was justly famous for. That is, that much of what we think remember is fable that we have spun around a nugget of fact. If we are honest about it, we can each look into our own personal histories and admit that, in retelling events from that history, at times we added a little “seasoning” to our tale to make it easier to consume.

Usually, this was not done out of any malicious intent. It could be that we honestly could not remember all the details so we filled in the blanks with bits that made the whole sound right. Perhaps the actual details, as we remember them, made an event that was important to ourselves, not very interesting to people we relate it to. So, in goes a dash of this, a few drops of that and, voila, a well seasoned tale, palatable to some if not all. And, the more we retell the well-seasoned tale, the more it assumes the aura of absolute fact in our own memories.

The same is true when we try to pass along the tales of others. As many of us experienced in that old childhood game, by the time a tale runs full circle around a bunch of children, what emerges at the end usually has little resemblance to what was started at the beginning.

Why am I bringing up childhood games and our own tendencies to season the events of our past? Simply because historians, however hard they try to try to stick to pure research, do the same thing. They either inject a bit of seasoning themselves or they unwittingly pass along the work of others without noticing the spice.

Said another way, all history is suspect and should be treated accordingly. (I would say that it should be taken with a “grain of salt” except that salt is itself a seasoning.)

I do not mean that we should discard all history out-of-hand. Instead, I mean that we should understand the “seasoning effect” and keep it in mind while trying to learn what we can from history.

I find this especially true when dealing with ancient history. It must be a fact that, the longer the interval between and event and our hearing of it, the more often it has been passed one to another and the more likely seasoning has been added along the way.

Then there is the darker fact that some history has been intentionally distorted, usually in an attempt to acquire or maintain power over the thoughts of others. As if the inadvertent seasoning were not enough! I find this especially true of all tales related to religious belief.

Yet many among us are unable to detect the seasoning and the intentional distortions, so we accept the tales as absolute fact, whether those tales be religious or political in nature. In doing so, we fill our minds with what I call “false knowledge”. This leads, in turn, to confusion and poor decision making. For instance, politically oriented “false knowledge” helped lead to the national tragedy that is the Obama Administration.

In this blog, we have a lot of discussion threads that speak to elements of our Constitution and the true intent of the Founders of our Republic. In this, we are very lucky in that:

→ The events in question are not that far removed from us in time. I personally, have been a citizen of this Republic for about 31% of its existence (counting from the ratification of the Constitution).

→ Our Founders left behind a treasure chest of notes, letters, articles, etc. written in their own hand and available to us in virtually unedited form.

This is a rare gift that is not true of most of the history we depend upon to try to navigate the present and prepare ourselves for the future.

My point in writing this (aside from giving my brain a rest from the FED) is to advise all of us, me included, to keep a healthy skepticism regarding anything we read or are told. Use Mr. Reagan’s suggestion to “trust but verify”. In addition, pass everything through you own reasoning process. Give it the “smell test”. And understand that we will ALL lie to you. Some of us inadvertently, others with malice.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

19 Responses to “Understanding History”

  • ◄Dave► says:

    What a buzz-kill, Troy. Here I am, gleefully enjoying myself, in the midst of defining some terms for a meaningful discussion of economics. Then you have to come along to remind me of all the lies screwed into my mind, by parents, teachers, and preachers, before I was old (and mentally capable) enough to develop some serviceable BS filters. Once programmed by trusted adults, it can be a devil of a task to purge one’s mind of all remnants of the fairy tales and dogma, one once believed to be true. I suppose I am still working at it. It really ought to be a capital crime to lie to a child; it turns them into distrustful cynics. Perhaps this why I have not deliberately lied to anyone about anything, other than in self-defense (e.g. to a coercive government agent such as a tax-collector), for over 30 years. ◄Dave►

  • Greg says:

    One of the greatest “spins” on history takes place in our very high schools, elementary schools, and middle schools–and sometimes even in college! Despite what you may have been taught, America is a Republic, not some “Representative Democracy.” In fact, the term itself seems to be a contradiction in terms; in a true Democracy, there are NO representatives; each man has its own vote. Thus the very premise of us being a “true” Democracy is flawed by the very nature of our government.

    Also, the history teaching in that department is very contradictory. They say it’s a “Representative Democracy,” yet in the books there is (Was?) a quote that has Ben Franklin himself answering the question of “What have you wrought?” With “A republic, if you can keep it.” If you have half a mind like I did, you’d either assume Ben Franklin is wrong (my original assumption, being naive and all), or, on second examination with the help of college and political philosophy, realize your grade school teachers are simply spinning, much like pundits.

    Additionally, my grade school teachers did that to me again on tax policy: “Taxes are good because they provide services,” they would say. That, in basis in fact, is true. However, they fail to then explain the nuances of “well, if taxes go up, that’s a problem if you can’t pay them and it wrecks the economy.” Nor do they explain the logical paradox of cutting taxes and raising spending, if one is to cut the deficit.

    (This might be better sui)ted in your response to my socialized education thread, but I’ll keep it here as it related.

    I am slowly coming around to your idea of homeschooling/private/charter schools. The question is, during that transition, is there anything that can be done, period, to fix public education, or, for that matter, undo the damage of spinning history?

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Greg, perhaps it is time for you to begin your real education. One of the most important and profound books I have ever read, was John Taylor Gatto’s, “Underground History of American Education.” A daunting 700+ page tome, it will not only inform you of the entire history and agenda of the Progressive movement, more perhaps than even Jonah Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism,” but should convince you that you were deliberately dumbed-down for a nefarious purpose. Not just your generation, but mine too! It still pisses me off when I think about it, and wonder what I might have been capable of, had the bastards not deliberately retarded my mind.

      I know that you personally eschew violence; but were they not already dead, if I could get my hands on the necks of any of the arrogant educators who deliberately did this to me, I would throttle them mercilessly. You can read the book online at the above link, which points to the prologue. Might I suggest that before you get started, you read the section in Chapter Two entitled, “Extending Childhood,” just to peak your interest, and help you to begin to understand the insidious nature of Public Schooling.

      In the meantime, I will start a new post about the book, as a repository of any discussion we may wish to have of it, as you and perhaps others work your way through it over time. I turned Troy onto it several years ago; but I do not recall if he ever finished it. ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      Greg,
      One of the things you must have learned by now is that if a given idea gets repeated often enough, it begins to take on the patina of truth despite the lingering aroma of bovine excrement.

      The progressives know this very well and it may well be their best weapon.

      Several of the Founders, in their writings, had very harsh things to say about true democracy, calling it “a form of mob rule”, “two wolves and a lamb deciding what’s for dinner”, etc.

      We do practice a sort of “representative democracy” to the extent that our supposed “representatives” in the national legislature are selected by a process that is made to seem somewhat “democratic”, and it is this that the progressives latch on to as the basis for the “democracy” spin. Many progressives wish we were a true democracy because, as such, it would be easy for them to delude a simple majority into any manner of mischief they choose, just as they did to get Obama elected.

      The beauty of a Republic is that the somewhat democratic processes can work but only if the outcomes stay within the bounds set by some ironclad rules (that is, by our Constitution). The very existence of these rules aggravate progressives to no end. And, the fact that the Founders made those rules VERY difficult to change aggravates them even further.

      The real tragedy we now face is that, for the last 100+ years, we the people have allowed successive administrations get by with simply ignoring the rules. And, each successive administration has tended to get bolder than their predecessors until we now stand on the brink of dictatorship, with no rules whatever to protect us.

      The further tragedy is that the average American seems to think the fight for liberty was a one-time event, performed by some long-ago folk who talked and dressed funny, rather than understanding that the demand for liberty is an ongoing process, one that requires our direct and constant participation.

      “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Thomas Jefferson

      I stand in awe of the fact that those people (the Founders) not only told us how a government could and should work, they also told us, in advance, exactly how we would screw up the gift they left with us.

      While it pains me to say so, we have proven ourselves unworthy of that gift and now we are about to get what we have asked for.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        Well said. Time to pay the piper… Greg is rather quiet today. Either he has a job, or he enthralled with Gatto’s book, I reread Chapter One myself last night. Good stuff! Excellent history lessons regarding the Founders, too. Did you ever read it? ◄Dave►

        • Greg says:

          Nope, no job. Just been out and about today 🙂

          I was wondering, would you like to sort of have a blogging “book club” between the two of us? I’ll read, say, the Preface, and then we’ll both discuss it through our blogs. Would this be good? I want to try to read 1 chapter a week. Massive job hunt going on now. Just quit my job on Thursday.

          • ◄Dave► says:

            Good luck on your job search. What is your profession? In this economy, I sure hope you had good reason to quit one job. before having a replacement one lined up waiting for you. 😐 ◄Dave►

        • ◄Dave► says:

          Probably not, Greg; at least not in the way I suspect you would envision a ‘book club’ discussion. When I offered the book as a means for you to begin your ‘real’ education, it was not meant in the same way one would suggest a classic or philosophy treatise, which could be analyzed and critiqued in comparison with those of alternative thinkers.

          Gatto, a 30 year veteran NYC public school teacher, indicts the whole notion of public schooling. Any fair reading of his magnum opus, would lead a rational mind to conclude that the public schooling concept itself is a profound evil, which deliberately retards maturity and mental acuity, for the nefarious purpose of squelching individuality. It’s primary goal is creating conforming automatons, obedient to authority, and suitable as complaisant employees.

          His well-researched book is an excellent history primer, which traces the entire Progressive movement, and how this alien Prussian educational system reached and developed on our shores. It is an amazing, and profoundly disturbing story, well told. Not only does it indict the utopian dreamers and academics who spawned and promoted it; but the industrialists who willingly financed it, because the product served both their interests.

          There very well may be a disputable premise or conjecture here or there within it; but I am uninterested in getting dragged into the weeds, in a discussion of minor details. It is the big picture that I hoped would capture your inquisitive mind, and lead you to a higher order of thinking, beyond that which you have heretofore been exposed. I will be more than happy to discuss the book from the overall perspective; but this should be a discussion beyond Socratic questions and amusing mind games.

          This is serious stuff. I am far more interested in discussing ways we could somehow abolish public schooling entirely; or at least wakeup any parents who actually care about their children’s minds. I have said repeatedly that sending a child to a public school is a particularly egregious form of child abuse. Those parents capable of understanding why, need a chance to learn it, so they can take immediate action to save their own children. How can we do that effectively? ◄Dave►

        • Greg says:

          I was sort of forced out of my job 😐

          Anyways, back to you: Would it be a “problem” for you if I wrote a reaction paper to this on my blog, full of questions, reactions, outrage, quibbles, and so forth? I usually write a reaction paper to any and all books that I read, as you can probably see on my blog, to keep my writing skills up-to-date, especially now that I do not have a job 🙂 . It would not be treated as a “do I agree or disagree” (though that would be part of it), but more of a “what is the larger picture here?” If not, no harm, no foul; I can find a different one to write about. 🙂

          Oh, wait, I just saw you mentioned it is more of a history book than a politics book. Hmm… an idea springs to mind about reading a few other books and trying to come up with a “history of education and where we went wrong” paper. 🙂 I will also maybe try to come up with ways we can fix the system, or get rid of it– but making sure there is a way to ensure that whatever system comes next, it is also not contaminated 😐

          Speaking of not learning, if you want to see a perfect example of cognitive dissonance, I would recommend the book, “The Bridge” (about Obama’s election). Pay careful attention to the first few chapters when they speak of him being a community organizer and his background there. You will find he does the exact same things, makes similar mistakes, then as he does now. Guess what? The second time around, it STILL does not work.

          Also, I have a question: If I click the “notify me of new posts by email,” does that apply to just this thread? If so, is there a larger way to subscribe to your whole blog? 🙂

          • ◄Dave► says:

            You didn’t say your profession. I am curious. Back when I was an electronics whiz kid, I had to change jobs pretty often (avg. about 18 mo.); but I was always ‘stolen’ by a competitor. I found I could only get about a 10% raise per year, because the ‘human resources’ departments couldn’t get their head around the fact that I never went to college. A competitor needing my rather well-known talent and skills, would offer me a 30% – 40% salary increase to defect, so I’d give my notice, change jobs, and start the cycle over again. It is always easier to get a new job when one doesn’t need one. 🙂

            How could I possibly object to anything you write on your own blog? I’ll probably even comment on it… just read the damn book; it will change your life, or at least your outlook on it. Then, if you need to make a scholarly project out of having done so, knock yourself out. 😀

            I’d say Obama is being very successful at his true agenda. Have you ever heard of the Cloward-Piven Strategy?

            The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

            Note the date on the article, and this one. Some of us have been paying attention and on to him for a long time. 😉

            The easiest way to subscribe to the whole blog is to do it through the two RSS feeds in the ‘Meta’ widget in the right column. If you don’t use an RSS reader, choose the e-mail option, and you will get an e-mail for every post and/or comment. ◄Dave►

  • Troy says:

    I will also maybe try to come up with ways we can fix the system, or get rid of it– but making sure there is a way to ensure that whatever system comes next, it is also not contaminated

    I maintain that all “systems” devised and operated by humans will eventually become contaminated if for no other reason due to the fact that “systems” created by organisms are themselves organic in nature. And, all things organic eventually become corrupted.

    Rather than trying to devise the “magic” system that can somehow remain corruption free, it seems to me far more rational to devise systems that have the same life cycles as any other organism – birth — life — death. Most of the systems we devise are born and live but we forget to include the death part. Death should be built in to every system in a way that is virtually irrevocable.

    Troy

    • ◄Dave► says:

      We don’t need no stinkin’ system! That is our damn problem. Each of us learns and organizes our minds in unique ways. Give a learner a little nudge in the right direction occasionally, and then get the hell out of his way and let him learn. ◄Dave►

  • Greg says:

    if I understand the above correctly, there should be some sort of mechanism that, when it reaches the equivalent of a “critical mass,” should be triggered and cause the system to die. At which point, everyone sits down and starts the system all over again. Is this correct?

    • Troy says:

      More or less. One might hope that rational humans, knowing the death of the old system was imminent, might start on the new one BEFORE the old one collapses.

      My main goal is ongoing renewal as an alternative to stagnation and corruption.

      For instance, what if the government authorized by our Constitution had a maximum life of 100 years. So, every 100 years, all the agencies, all the departments, all the bureaucrats, all the politicians (perhaps even all the amendments after the initial 10) go away. Then, we start again with a clean slate.

      One might imagine massive chaos and dislocation but, if we knew that this absolutely WOULD happen, appropriate measures would be taken.

      Troy

      • Troy says:

        You may have noticed that in many of my flights of fancy concerning our Constitution, I suggest wiping away all amendments EXCEPT the original 10 — the so-called Bill of Rights. I take this position because these 10 were essentially part of the original Constitution. I say this because they were promised as a way to convince the “doubting Thomas” States to ratify. In all likelihood, ratification would never have happened the assurance that these would follow immediately after ratification. I also fervently with the Founders had used the term “Bill of Limitations” to describe them.

        Troy

    • ◄Dave► says:

      It is called a ‘sunset’ provision, which every Congressional act should have. ◄Dave►

      • Troy says:

        Indeed it is and what I suggested was a required “sunset” provision for everything done under the authority of the Constitution including the very establishment of the Federal Government. Although, what I really want (and lack the words to describe) is more than a simple “sunset” and more the equivalent of actual biological death.

        To my knowledge, the olive tree is about the only thing in nature that will continue to produce “true” over an extended lifetime. Everything else needs to eventually die — by external means if not naturally.

        We know that in nature, the life/death cycle is what allows evolution to work its “magic”.

        This already happens in the business world and is called “creative destruction”. Political systems lack the mechanisms that cause this to happen in business so I want us to find some synthetic alternative.

        Troy

        Troy

        • Troy says:

          The poor wording in the above, plus the duplicate signature, really illustrate the effect of my pain medicine. I sense that the stuff I write soon after ingesting this poison lacks much of the “crispness” of my work when not under the influence.

          This may sound odd, but the pain, however excruciating it can become, somehow seems to enhance my thought processes. Although, let me assure all of you, whatever advantage might be gained is in no way worth it.

          If we old farts have anything actually worth passing on to the young, it is to take care of yourselves while everything is still in top working order.

          All it takes is a single stupid act (like using a chainsaw while precariously perched atop a ladder) to change things forever.

          Troy

          • ◄Dave► says:

            Sorry to hear about your back again, Troy; or is it ‘still?’ Please give Saint J9 my sympathy. 😉

            Agreed. When I was in my 30s and folks fussed at me for smoking, I would say, “Who wants to die old and decrepit in a wheel chair? I want to check out at 55 after having enjoyed life to the fullest.” Well, I just turned 67 two weeks ago, and had I had any idea I was going to live this long, I would have taken much better care of myself.

            I also might have considered making myself a little easier to put up with by some female Saint, so one might have stuck around with me into my dotage. 😉 ◄Dave►

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