Lesson #4 – Keep a concerned eye on the lessons of history


Call it what you will, but I believe this sums up the feelings of a lot of us who have at least a bit of knowledge of history and, apparently, those who are experts in history—read it, digest it, and you decide—-but ignore the lessons of history and evil at your own peril, not to mention the risk placed on the future of your children, your grandchildren and your country.  (H/T: Atlas Shrugs):

UPDATE 10/13/08:  My husband told me today that he thought htis particular post may come off as leaning a bit toward insinuating Obama is Hitler and America is Germany of the 1930’s.  The words below I retrieved from another blogger and they came from a commenter there…so heaven knows who really wrote it.
In re-reading this and also reading the great comments below, the post does seem to lean a little in that direction and it appears many of the historical facts are just not that accurate. I agree that Obama is not Hitler and America is not Germany. 
What I would like the objective of this post to be is a lesson in detecting the early signs of that type of evil and tyranny.  Again, we certainly don’t have the conditions of 1930’s Germany (mostly), but I think it prudent that we be cautious in watching our President-Elect and what we do know about him as well as the Far Left leaders we have leading Congress.  While we don’t have a full equation yet, and I hope we don’t get there, we can still continue to start adding 2+2 if pertinent in effort to thwart a changing of America like we’ve never seen….I think Obama’s plans, his words, his associations and the little he has done so far as President Elect leave plenty for us to scrutinize, object to and be concerned about…now read on:

I am a student of history. Professionally. I have written 15 books in six languages, and have studied it all my life. I think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is just a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus.

Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten – fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back? Why?

We learn just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has “loaned” two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money. Yours and mine. And that is three times the 700B we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money? Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of “we the people,” who loaned our powers to our elected leaders. Apparently not.

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy. Why?

We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity. Why?

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election (now violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it wants marriage to remain between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?). We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic. To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, social security is nearly bankrupt, as is medicare and our entire government, our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and know precisely what I am talking about)–the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth. It is potentially 1929 x ten. And we are at war with an enemy we cannot name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

And now we have elected a man no one knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla, Alaska. All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin’s pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe is more imporant.)

Mr. Obama’s winning platform can be boiled down to one word: change.

Why?

I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.

This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning.

And I thought I would never be able to experience what the ordinary, moral German felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the savior was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they did know was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory and promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and waved a lot. And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his “brown shirts” would bully them into submission. And then, he was duly elected to office, a full-throttled economic crisis at hand [the Great Depression]. Slowly but surely he seized the controls of government power, department by department, person by person, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The kids joined a Youth Movement in his name, where they were taught what to think. How did he get the people on his side? He did it promising jobs to the jobless, money to the moneyless, and goodies for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all, better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe, and across the world.

He did it with a compliant media–did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and . . . change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

(Look it up if you think I am exaggerating.)

Read your history books. Many people objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and made fun of. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker. He was right, though.

Don’t forget that Germany was the most educated, cultured country in Europe. It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And in less than six years–a shorter time span than just two terms of the U. S. presidency–it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors. All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me.

Some people scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. Perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe–and why I believe it.

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am.

I believe that at the very least a major change unlike America has ever seen is headed our way–actually is in progress–and it is not a good change.  The worst?  I don’t like to think about.

What I do want to know is where are the defenders of this country?  I have not heard much of anything from the America-respecting side of the aisle…I am talking about leaders…Republicans….Southern Democrats….where are the voices of the capitalists in the midst of our treasury handing out money to God knows whom and our government taking stakes in our industries? Where are the leaders who are students of history?  Why aren’t they speaking out against Congressional leaders who have nothing but disdain for our military, our capitalist system, and our moral traditions?

I am afraid, it is time that we, the citizens, may be all we have left.

8 Responses

  1. First off, anonymous comments posted on another website don’t qualify as authoritative comment. There are some things that stood out about this person’s analysis…

    “We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back?”

    I know of no law that required mortgage brokers and/or banks to offer no-doc loans with artificially low “teaser” rates on inflated valuations to people that couldn’t qualify. They did that on their own. Although the policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac enabled this process, the global demand for US mortgage debt, poor risk management, and the use of unregulated derivates on the part of the banking and finance sectors contributed just as much.

    “We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy.”

    While much manufacturing has gone overseas, to say we have “de-industrialized” our economy is a gross exaggeration. It is true that we no longer produce most consumer electronics, clothing, toys, or rubber dog pooh. However, the US is a net exporter in areas such as aircraft and aerospace technology, metals, agriculture, and scientific instruments. We are also the world’s largest producer and exporter of military equipment and technology. With the probable exception of this year, US industrial production grows every year. Even though we only have 5% of the world’s population, we produced 15% of the worlds automobiles and 25% of WORLDS GDP.

    “We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents, why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity.”

    From an national perspective, our educational system does indeed appear broken. However, the actual process of education is local and this VERY broad statement does NOT apply to all students, parents, or school systems. You can find good and bad examples of everything depending on where you look. The other day, my 7 year old brought home a pocket copy of the Constitution that was handed out in class. She can also name the three branches of government. All is not lost.

    “And then, he (Hitler) was duly elected to office, a full-throttled economic crisis at hand [the Great Depression]. Slowly but surely he seized the controls of government power, department by department, person by person, bureaucracy by bureaucracy.”

    I also consider myself a “student of history”. The US isn’t Weimar Germany. By coincidence, I’m currently working on a bit of light reading called “The Third Reich in Power”.

    True, there was a world-wide depression when Hitler came to power, but the Weimar Republic was barely 15 years old in 1933. To say it was unstable would be an understatement. Germany didn’t have ANY democratic tradition prior to 1918 and the government structure was weak and without proper checks and balances. Even before the Great Depression, Germany was economically wrecked by WWI and the onerous war reparations required by the Treaty of Versailles. Political violence was common in Germany throughout the 1920s. For many, the Nazi’s offered order, security, and the promise of a resurgent Germany. Even though the Nazi Brown Shirts (aka the “SA”) were a very effective tool in silencing domestic opposition, the ONLY way Hitler was able to maintain his authority was through the continued support of the armed forces, who had been marginalized by Germany’s defeat in 1918, and were no fans of the Weimar Government.

    It is a common misconception that Hitler was “elected”. It’s a long story, but, in short, Hitler lost the 1932 presidential election to Hindenburg, and the Nazi’s couldn’t win a majority in Parliament. Hitler used back-channel political maneuvering to persuade Hindenburg to appoint him Chancellor (a cabinet position similar to Prime Minister) in January 1933. Hitler used a fake crisis (the Reichstag fire) as a pretext to suppress all opposition, particularly from the labor unions and communists, but STILL could not obtain a parliamentary majority for the Nazi Party in the elections of 1933 (they established a loose coalition with the Nationalists) . After the death of Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler further used intimidation, threats, and even assassination to silence his critics and ramrod legislation effectively eliminating the Presidency and giving the him, as Chancellor, effective control of the entire government, including position as Head of State and control of the armed forces. A sham plebiscite was held shortly thereafter, where an ~85% “ja” vote was recorded, effectively eliminating any possibility of legal challenge to his authority. If this means Hitler was “duly elected” and the person who wrote this is a college professor, then our education system is REALLY in trouble.

    Bottom Line:

    President Obama is possibly the least vetted man to ever win the White House and I have serious reservations. However, we do ourselves no favors throwing around factual errors, inaccurate or exaggerated historical comparisons, and opinions based on nothing more than our own anxiety. When the guy takes power, he definitely bears watching and we should oppose anything that deserves to be opposed. Until we see something that really deserves our attention, maybe we should tone down the “America is doomed” diatribes.

  2. GBS-
    Well said….while I am not a ‘Student of History”, I have those around me who are. :)

    I think you are correct to help us all to remember not to go too far overboard on the doomsday scenarios.

    Having said that, while not everyone feels this way, there are a great many of us who do fear for this country. I can personally say that two years ago I never thought of America’s future the way I do now….the actions of our government give me pause and I worry for our freedoms and liberty in the future….especially for my children.

    Whether it mirrors Hitler or not, we do have a liberally-controlled government openly, and sometimes by stealth, trying to chip away pieces of our economy/industry and move it under the “ownership”/control of the government.

    At the same time, we do have a President-Elect who has advocated a Civilian National Security Force that should be EQUAL to our military.

    We just finished an election that was wrought with fraud in voting and donations by the winning candidate(s) – (some fraud is still be perpetrated in state races)

    As you stated, we have a virtually unknown that will be in the White House. What we do know is the following:

    * He doesn’t know show an understanding of America’s exceptionalism. That is likely because of the beliefs of those who raised him and the friends he has kept since. I would venture to say he is more on the other side of the scale…somewhere between a “recognition of the opportunity he has had here” and “America the racist, bitter clingers, who push down the poor needs a total remake in MY image.”

    *In addition, while it doesn’t disqualify anyone from the Presidency, he never even set foot on the mainland of this country until he was a young man. The cultures, traditions and beliefs of this country, I’m afraid, are lost on this man. I liken it to a Midwest born and bred, God-fearing, applie-pie lovin’, gun-totin’ American moving to France at the age of 18 and trying to lead the French people before he’s 50.
    There is an understanding you have when you sleep, eat and breathe the culture of your own country in your formative years.

    *Obama’s friends and mentors are radicals…many have openly said they hate America.

    *Obama has no executive experience and little of any other pertinent experience required to be leader of the free world.

    *Obama’s ties are long and deep to the thug, mob-connected political machine in Chicago. Why would we expect his tactics or leadership to be any different than that?

    I could go on and on….bottom line….it is too early for doomsday, but just the right time to scrutinize anything about Obama or his adminstration that doesn’t pass tthe sniff test of democracy, liberty, freedom, capitalism, the Constitution, and the American Way.

  3. I believe the law referred to would be the Community Reinvestment Act first passed by congress and signed into law in 1977. It had a noble mission, that was, to stop racial bias in the banking industry and to encourage loans to lower income people for business and housing. It was revised a couple of times through the ensuing years and then under Clinton was revised again. He admitted in a tv interview that they pressured the banks. I am doing some study of it since it is being blamed for the current financial crisis. There are allegations that certain groups intimidated and coerced banks with the charge of racism if they did not make loans to them. Google it, there is plenty of info out there, on Wikipedia, etc. It does seem to make sense that these government mandates on the banking industry are what has caused the current crisis, not to mention the unbelievable debt that the government accrues as well as the average American. I guess it had to end somewhere. I concur that the conditions are pretty scary as to our new president-elect. I too have been studying a book about how Hitler came to power and the conditions in Germany that ushered him in. During the campaign here, I never dreamed that our country would elect someone with the friends he has. I always counted on our people having real conservative common sense. I was wrong. I am weary of “feeding the beast” which I call our federal government. I wish they (congress and the supreme court) would take a year off and leave us alone. It makes one’s head spin to hear all the things they are doing right now.

  4. Correction: I don’t believe the Community Reinvestment Act required what the writer claims, but he could have been referring to that act in an exaggerated and sarcastic manner.

  5. kathy,

    I’m sure he is trying to reference the CRA, but he grossly overstates what the CRA required and oversimplifies the problem. I’m sure that government pressure to lend to minorities who might not have normally qualified for a loan played a role in our current problems, but there are far broader issues in play. For one thing, the failure in many regional housing markets began with inflated home values in high priced areas in Florida and California.

    When I bought my first home in 1989, if I didn’t put down 20%, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) would be REQUIRED…no discussion. I even had to document where the downpayment came from and prove that I didn’t borrow it somewhere else. Over the last few years, mortgage brokers and lenders have allowed homebuyers to “piggyback” their 80% 1st mortgage with a 20% 2nd to avoid the PMI. Some lenders even allowed people to draw up to 120% of the home’s equity.

    This had the effect of eliminating many homebuyers (not just minorities) personal ownership stake in their house. This has exacerbated the housing sector problems because as homeprices decline and put more recent homebuyers “underwater” (mortgages are more than home value), many choose to walk away and rent at cheaper rates. In most cases, they see no immediate financial consequence as these “nonrecourse loans” cannot do anything more than recover the collateral (the property).

    Add to that the inordinate risk that MANY (not just minority) home purchasers assumed when they took on an adjustable rate loan with an artificially low rate in order to afford a home that would have been otherwise out of reach. For many, there was never a “plan B” if interests rates rose or their home value fell.

    Add to that the appetite for mortgage-backed securities that were believed (or ASSumed) to be backed / guaranteed by the Feds and / or backed by unregulated corporate (non-PMI) insurance agreements, and you have the recipie for disaster as normal market forces worked in the housing market.

    There is enough blame for this economic crisis to spread around to politicians, investment bankers, commerical lenders, regulators, mortgage brokers, and consumers. It is ridiculously simplistic to say, as the author above, that “we demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know they can never pay back”.

  6. Once again, Its key to comprehend economics. The fallout in the housing market was a direct result of repackaged, collateralized debt. In this case, investment banks basically sold mortgage securities futures. There were hundreds of these investment schemes setup, sold, and re-sold to other banks nationally and internationally. We’re talking TRILLIONS of dollars worth of unsold, future debt.

    All it took was a whiff of foreclosure and these futures became worthless and banks began losing billions of dollars. Had we been facing a foreclosure crisis alone, the crisis wouldn’t be as severe if these banks had not invested in said futures.

    Secondly, the default of home loans isn’t- as suggested an isolated result of minorities defaulting. Some of the highest foreclosure areas are areas where speculators bought spec homes in vast quantities. Places like Phoenix,AZ, Miami, FL, Las Vegas Nevada, and the suburbs of Detroit, MI are some of the areas that have been hit the hardest, and of these, the majority are white, middle class investors who were/are defaulting. Sure- minorities are defaulting… right along with everyone else.

    That brings me to my last point. The economic crisis was brought on not only by the greed and mismanagement of the banking system, but by the greed and stupidity of the avg US consumer. The blame game goes around, but there’s plenty top spread around to all parties and individuals involved.

    Lastly… again- what in the hell does Hitler have to do with anything? If you a statement such as:

    “I agree that Obama is not Hitler and America is not Germany. ”

    Then why even mention it? Again- totally irresponsible political ignorance.

  7. Yes, modconservative, we had to put a down payment and buy mortgage insurance too. I guess these safeguards all went by the wayside. And yes, I agree that greed is probably at the bottom of all of this.

    Lastly, ed, I am wondering if it is possible to have a rational discussion without the insults? Is anyone on this forum insulting you?

  8. Ed,
    Read the entire post and comments before you spout off about political ignorance and why Hitler was mentioned.

    kathy—-thanks!

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