In last Saturday’s print edition of The Economist magazine (left), staff writers attempted to compare today’s Internet with the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517. Claiming that by nailing his complaints onto a bulletin board, Luther started the Reformation. This was done, according to The Economist’s rewriting of history, “when Martin Luther and his allies took the new media of their day — pamphlets, ballads and woodcuts — and circulated them through social networks to promote their message of religious reform.” From there the article concentrates on the alleged “social network” that Luther had to promote his views, rather than on the message — the information — contained in those views:
The Cato Institute’s newspaper ad reminding citizens that December 15th was Bill of Rights Day summarized the desperate shape those first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States is in, thanks to an overweening government and an uninformed citizenry. Reviewing each of the amendments, Cato pointed to specific infringements of each of them, concluding that “It’s a disturbing picture, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” [to totalitarian government].
Since the early days of this Republic, various of our Founding Fathers were accused of being irreligious, impious, and even atheist. Those accusations are unsupportable lies told by those whose own “tolerance” of the faithful informs not only their personal agendas, but taints and twists their biographical descriptions of the Founders, as well.
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.”
Moderns 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.”
Rev. Mark Collins (left) of Yorktown, Texas, enjoys a national reputation as a portrayer of George Washington. Since July 4, 2002, Rev. Collins has formally played the role of George Washington at numerous historical re-enactments for churches, the military, schools, rallies, political parties, parades, and “home schooling” events (such as “Frontier Days”). Among his film credits, Rev. Collins portrayed George Washington in The Revolution, a 13-hour mini-series for the History Channel in 2006. He has also been cast as George Washington in a soon-to-be released DVD of the documentary entitled “Behold a Pale Horse,” which includes frank assessments of the direction and future of our Republic from several prominent leaders in the “freedom movement.”
The social and economic upheavals caused by environmental subsidies, as seen in the demise of Solyndra and other energy companies, are devastating but not unpredictable after-effects. Over decades, and even centuries, the U.S. government has indulged in a myriad of legislative actions to funnel taxpayer money into projects of its choosing — and generally speaking, no good has come from them. In fact, history shows that government interference has only hampered the natural flow of markets and depressed the innovative practices of countless American entrepreneurs.
It is a classic story of Americana, with all the excitement, dreams, struggle, disappointment, ingenuity, resilience, triumph, love, loss, and enduring lessons common to the most memorable of such tales. Also common to such sagas — particularly those of the Christian sort — the most enduring impact is still uncoiling with the long passage of years and the generations.