Friday, October 07, 2011

Fine Tuning Ignorance

Poet and Philosopher George Santayana is credited with the quotation, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” early in the 20th century. In various forms, it has been repeated since in an effort to warn people to educate themselves in historical matters, one most notably being “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it” in an epigraph by William L. Shirer in his epic book, “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”

Many of us, during our years in school, found history to be a boring subject. It brought little interest and we couldn’t wait to get through the lesson for recess, lunch or something more interesting to us. I know my own interest in the subject didn’t pique until the 10th grade when I had the good fortune of being taught World History by Mrs. Pauline Watkins in her final year of teaching before retirement from South Broward High School in Hollywood, Florida.

Tragically, it was in her class that we saw a sad day in our own history unfold as President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Perhaps that is why seeing the ignorance, the lack of education and paying attention to World History irritates me as it does as once again, we see masses of people taking to the streets and “occupying” parks, centers and even Wall Street with their unrealistic demands, some not even knowing why they are protesting, just going along with the flow.

From New York City to Portland, Oregon and several cities in between, people are marching and chanting slogans they have no idea have been heard before in variations that helped overthrow monarchies and even legitimate capitalist government, to usher in socialism and at times, socialist communism.

None having succeeded in improving the plight of the people escapes today’s protesters as they imagine forgiveness of debt they ran up, or as they demand jobs as a right while chanting capitalism has failed, not realizing having a job is capitalism.

Just as Hitler successfully painted the Jews as the cause of post World War One Germany’s troubles and the Bolsheviks painted the bourgeois as the cause of Russia’s economic plight towards the end of World War One, socialists in America are painting the wealthy and corporations as the cause of today’s economic woes.

“End Corporate Greed” is a common slogan heard from many who haven’t the desire to create their wealth through hard work or who have been misled to think corporations have stolen what is rightfully theirs.

Elected Government officials and wealthy liberals preach “redistribution of wealth,” but somehow don’t offer to redistribute their own.

We hear chants of how the wealthy need to “pay their fair share,” many repeating the chant oblivious to the fact that the top 5% of wage earners pay 70% of the income taxes while 50% of lower income pay no income tax and even receive refunds.

As was found out in the early 1990’s when Democrats led the charge of imposing a “luxury tax” on expensive items, boats, private aircraft and jewelry, the wealthy just don’t buy those items when they are unfairly targeted, putting manufacturers out of business and thrusting middle class workers out of work.

Also ignored is the philanthropy of many in the wealthy class in their ongoing financial support of charitable causes such as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Even as they pay the bulk of income taxes, they fund such causes to benefit those less fortunate and in return, they are targeted by those who desire only to see America brought to its knees and a socialist neo-communist system imposed.

Many are mourning the passing of Steve Jobs, a college drop-out who created an empire in Apple Corporation and brought home computers and many other technological advances to the people of the world. Even the “occupiers” protesting “corporate greed” are seen using those devices to inform the world how they are “bring down the man” in protesting the very “greed” that brought them the devices they use.

Under a socialist neo-communist system many have been convinced is the answer to their own lack of entrepreneurship, innovators like Steve Jobs would never have gotten off the ground, there being no incentive to even start as their dreams would only be taken over by government bureaucrats.

Instead, these “occupiers” listen to the likes of wealthy movie maker Michael Moore as he decries wealth, while filing lawsuits to increase his own. Or people like Roseanne Barr, former comedian who calls for “beheading” those who make over $100 Million and don’t give it up, while she clings to her own $80 Million.

Frances Fox Pivens has even spoken to the “occupiers” egging them on. Pivens sees her and her deceased husband, Richard Cloward dream of causing a collapse of the American system, first published in 1966 and known as the Cloward-Piven Strategy being fulfilled today.

They fall back on cries of wealthy Billionaires like Warren Buffet, who cries he doesn’t pay enough taxes and that he pays less than his secretary; all the while fighting payment of back taxes he never paid on his firm, Berkshire Hathaway. Nor does he pay his secretary more so she too can pay more taxes.

Historic and current examples of where these movements and what harm each has brought to citizens remain ignored or marginalized. The Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Red China, all have oppressed citizens and liberties all for the “common good” they are told.

The Soviet Union collapsed upon itself. North Korea is on the brink of starvation. China, making moves towards capitalism but still mired in communism pays union workers less that $2 an hour. Cubans sit around in poverty worse than they saw before the Castro revolution ousted President Fulgencio Batista.

Our country was founded on the principle of equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

Yes, history is a boring subject to many youths and adults alike. Ignorance of decades of history blinds so many to where they are really headed.

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