Most shifts in history do not come with easy-to-remember dates associated with them. I could not tell you exactly when the U.S. war with Mexico began, though that war gave flesh and blood and considerable real estate to the U.S. claim that our "Manifest Destiny" was to push on through our western frontier “from sea to shining sea” and eventually become a power in the Pacific, where we would come into conflict with imperial Japan at a place called Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Cato Institute senior fellow Jim Powell wrote in Forbes magazine about the inevitable and predictable decline of rich nations that debauched their currencies in order to pay their bills. Powell said that politicians’ urge to promise and then to spend is almost overwhelming, calling it “a visceral urge to spend money they don’t have. They can’t control themselves. They’ll weasel their way around any efforts to put the lid on the cookie jar.”

Nazi and Japanese flagsModerns who rely upon conventional history have been spoon-fed many historical myths, which are indispensable to the perpetuation of statist collectivism and all the organs of totalitarianism in education, government, and culture. One great myth is that Nazis, Fascists, and Japanese imperialists once dwelt on the opposite end of the political spectrum (the far right) than that occupied by Bolsheviks, Maoists, and other spawn of Marx’s theories lived (the far left).

Niall Ferguson (left), professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: "I really don’t believe the United States ... is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline.... in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons.... History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff."

If Robert Taft had been a baseball player instead of a United States Senator, he might have led the league in left-handed compliments. As it was, he was often “damned with faint praise” by people who, while paying tribute to the power of his intellect, quite often suggested both the man and the mind had come of age in the wrong century. The Ohio lawmaker would hear himself praised as one possessing “the best eighteenth-century mind in America” by people who obviously considered an 18th-century mind ill-suited to mid-20th-century politics. Others, frustrated by the Senator’s stubborn insistence on examining the facts of any controversy before deciding whether to go with or against the prevailing political winds, were fond of saying, “Taft has the best mind in the Senate — until he makes it up.”

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