Thoughts

As a history buff I think a lot about the human past. Lately I’ve been reading a book entitled the Politically Incorrect Guide to the American Revolution by Larry Schweikart and Dave Dougherty. One thing I’ve discovered is that I may be more interested in European history than in American history. Of course I’m aware that its important to have historians interested in American history, (especially considering the ridiculous idea that its okay to tear down a historical monument just because you think it stands for something that you don’t like.) Personally, I despise Vladimir Lenin, the “hero” of the Russian Revolution. I think he was a scumbag, (excuse my language!) Honestly I wouldn’t be all that upset if every monument to him in Russia was destroyed. But that’s not my call. So it is also with monuments to the Confederacy. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like it. That doesn’t give anyone the right to, not only demolish, but desecrate, (spit on, kick, etc.) that monument. But, honestly, I still believe I’m more interested in European history.

I believe that European history teaches Americans what not to do. Take this into account: Europe had run with blood in the years between 1803 and 1815, (the Napoleonic Wars,) and continued to do so in the years following the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, with such events as the revolutions of 1830, the revolutions and counter-revolutions of 1848-1849, and the Crimean War of 1853-1856, (to name just a few.) Unfortunately it seems that in the 19th century Americans saw European culture as something to be emulated. Consider, for example, the whole situation in the 1994 movie Little Women (based on Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel of the same name,) that saw Amy March taken to Europe by her aunt. It is quite possible that she is taken to absorb the “glorious” culture of 19th century Europe. Americans today are still very interested in European culture. In the 1800s, I imagine, Americans pointed to all of the wonderful literature that was coming out of Europe at the time. Wonderful it certainly was, but one thing Americans need to consider is this: many of the best European novelists of the mid to late-19th century, such as Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson in Britain, Victor Hugo in France, and Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Russia, were actually condemning the cultural and political climate of Europe in that time period. And so we come to today. We are still glorifying Europe and wishing to emulate it and its culture. We wish we could be as “humanitarian” as they are, letting people into this country illegally, and, just as they seem to be doing, dispensing with proper vetting processes. But in order to assess the situation, not just with love, but with wisdom, we must look to God and the events of the past. We must ask ourselves, “Have people done this before, and, if so, what were the results?”

In order to attain this wisdom, as I said, we must look, for one thing, to the past. The scary thing is that there appear to be a lot of people in America who aren’t all that interested in history. That is, they aren’t interested until it comes to an event that they don’t agree with, (and most likely don’t have much more than a textbook knowledge about.) Then, if their views are challenged, they immediately get angry. A wiser course of action would be for the people to research those events for themselves, reading books on them and coming to their own conclusions. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming interest in the events of the past among younger people. I’m reminded of when my mom,  took me to see the new Gary Oldman movie Darkest Hours, a movie concerning the struggles of Winston Churchill during the Second World War. She noticed something very disturbing: most of the people who went to see that movie at the same time as we did were older people. There weren’t very many younger people in the theatre. That disturbed us. The way my mom and I thought about that situation and its meaning was this: there must not be very many younger people who are interested in the past. Of course, it could just be that people from the WWII generation will naturally be more interested in a movie about that time than people in their late teens to early 20s. But I still believe that situation reveals an alarming lack of interest in the past among young people.   

 

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