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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

The repetition of history, part two

I've been reading a book called "The Twenty Year Crisis 1919-1939" by Edward Hallett Carr. I ordered it in my attempt to collect post-WWI history, but soon found it to be mainly an econ text and set it aside for like six months. I cracked it open last week. Now the gentlemen on the back cover (a prof. W.P.Maddox and former harvard president A. W. Griswold) descibe it as "...sane and detached... utterly devoid of national bias..." (Maddox), and "...an admirable introductory text for any college course in diplomatic history or international relations..." (Griswold). My first thoughts were, "Is this guy a communist?" (Martin). Sure enough, when I looked up Prof. Carr, I found that after this book was first printed (1939, just before the second war broke out), he began to drift more and more into sympathy with the Soviet Government, especially after Stalin passed the scene.
While not suprised that this book, which leans well left of "sane and detached" to me, was recommended college reading, I found holes in his theory, which basically goes like this: prior to his time, government and economics were fueled by two things: power- military or economic-, and morality or ethics, which morphed into "whatever the powerful do is the right thing to do" as the industrial revolution evolved into mass production. He critisizes governments for believing that a laisse-faire mode of business will give freedom for the powerful to "do the right thing" for everyone. Carr believed that this mythical "harmony of Interests" could only be achieved when "interests must be artificially harmonized by state action... it is clearly the business of the state to create harmony if no natural harmony exists." (Page 51) He believed " ..as Marx said,...'and therefore the higher development of the individual can only be secured through the historical process, in which individuals are sacrificed.' " (Page 50, from Marx, "Theorein uber den Mehrwert") So, you have to force people to do right, and a government must do that- even though he alwready postulated that the governments of his day were incompetant to do that. Then he quotes an interesting line from Lord Balfour: "... a complete harmony between 'egoism' and 'altruism', between the pursuit of the highest happiness for oneself and the highest happiness for other people, can never be accomplished by a creed which refuses to admit that the deeds done and the character established in this life can flow over into another, and there permit a reconcilliation and an adjustment between the conflicting principles which are not always possible here." (Balfour, "Foundations of Belief") Another words, You cannot seek harmony on earth without a belief in heaven and hell- a wise statement which Carr discounts as basically a belief in illusion, or worse. Later on he quotes the deacon of St. Paul's in a 1937 article in the London Times, "The principles of the Sermon on the Mount " would mean "Sudden death to civillized society."
So where am I going with that? Recently, I had opportunity to look over the career of one Alexander Dubcek. He was the head of the Communist party in Czechoslovakia during the "Prague Spring" of 1968. He began with a trickle what threatened to become a torrent of reform in eastern Europe by trying to build what he called "Communism with a human face". Of course, the Soviets knew where this would lead, and so they invaded Czechoslovakia from every direction, overthrowing Dubcek and exiling him for 21 years. Where it would have lead is wher it did lead for Mikhail Gorbachev two decades later- to the fall of Soviet Communism. Because Balfour was right; and you cannot put a human face on a doctrine that requires atheism without it collapsing under its own illusions. The Soviet system decayed from within, and that decay started with the removal of God from the government. It didn't require, and neither did Parthia, help from the terrorists to crumble. And what have we tried to do since 1948? And why is it Cuba and China are constantly under attack on human rights abuses? Because they know- Communism given a human face and faith in God will put them right with the USSR, Parthia, and the dinosaurs.
Also, as some of you know, I had a blog for fanstasy football on CBSSports.com, but since I'm here anyway... With our season over, I decided just for fun to see how much our teams can score the last week of the season and through the playoffs. The standings after the last game of the season are: KCAs, 67; Ragin' Rhinos, 62; B2s, 59; SVA, 57; State Ducks, 43; Arden's Angels and Buzz Lightyears, 40; Sunset Rangers, 37; Fiery Beagles, 36; T-Cubs and Clock BBQs, 29: and Elks, 20. By team owner, that's Chris with 169; Shenan with 148; KC with 106; and Laurie with 90.

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