Recurring Lessons or Hollow Fears?
It’s been an old-style human lifetime since a well-known but somehow forgotten series of unfortunate events occurred – calamities that everyone who lives at the dawn of this new millennium probably needs to remember. It’s a well-known common truism that those who forget the lessons of history are oft condemned to repeat them.
A lifetime is considered by many to be a long time, so it’s understandable that people could forget events that culminated in the slaughter of scores of millions. The cycle began with a great economic downturn that split societies asunder, created great inequities between the rich and poor - and prepared populations to accept the words and ideas of hypnotic orators who promised simple solutions for their artfully engineered problems.
While gleeful warsmiths readied hoards of weaponry and munitions the world stood by and hoped that the obvious outcome of all this lethal production wouldn’t materialise. When people saw well-drilled troops goose-stepping around parade grounds with robotic clone-like precision they tried to convince themselves that the evidence of their senses must be faulty and that they were merely witnessing well choreographed pageantry.
The generations who were born after World War Two wondered how their forebears could possibly have allowed the twin evil empires of Hitler’s false socialism and Stalin’s false communism to grow and flourish until they became all but insurmountable. They wondered how a second mad megalomaniacal corporal in as many centuries had been allowed to attempt to become dictator of the world. They wondered how their parents and grandparents could have turned a blind eye to the plight of the Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other minorities that were slaughtered and exterminated in an unopposed blizzard of genocide - cultural and literal.
Many in the growing post-war boom times were puzzled by the way the intelligent German people had allowed themselves to be eagerly coopted into the machinery of totalitarianism. From the perspective of abundant peace, it’s hard to realise how easy it is for a ruthlessly corrupt yet utterly efficient regime to mesmerise a terrified and starving population, which is ready to grasp at any straw man’s hope that’s offered them.
It’s easier to understand if one realises that many other empires have done very well for themselves by promising happiness after this life - while the Nazis offered not pie in the sky but redemption in one’s own lifetime. They offered the smashed people of Germany a wicked dream – the ideal of an immortally resurrected world-spanning nation of ruling supermen, lording it over the enslaved and sterilised serfs of all other races (and their adoring Aryan breeder women).
A desperate nation that had been decimated by its own historical mistakes had little choice but to accept the lies of right-wing militant thugs who’d hijacked their country. The Nazis took power in a coup that followed the burning of the World Trade, er, I mean the Reichstag (the German Parliament), an act which was falsely blamed on a person of Middle Eastern extraction. Most of the German people lapped it all up and fell for the ruse like unbalanced ninepins - such was the hypnotic power of propaganda even before the invention of television, more advanced psy-ops and today’s range of highly developed technologies specifically designed to alter the human mind and brainwave patterns. People love to be told what they want to believe.
When an ideologically-veiled group of xenophobic, paranoid and racist gangsters managed to harness the greatest economic and industrial power on the Earth the rest of the world stood back in stunned awe. Many praised the industriousness of a people who had recently risen from the destruction and turmoil of war-torn centuries, and it soon became obvious that no-one could or would stand against the wishes or whims of the resurgently great world power.
The proto-superpower that had so recently ruled the waves of all the seven seas was a swiftly diminishing global empire, and its colonies and allies swiftly deserted the no longer so great Britain as the economies of nations shifted and jostled for supremacy. The coming war was foreseen by almost everyone, and was carefully prepared for by nations who claimed it couldn’t happen. The Western powers helped to force their enemies into belligerence through ineffective sanctions; they inspired the hatred of already suppressed nationalistic populations, who were easily convinced by their clever leaders to direct their antipathy at other nations instead of their gangster rulers.
The Nazis turned the Olympic Games into a showcase for the triumph of their will, and in the name of so-called sportsmanship the rest of the world turned a wilfully blind eye to all the atrocities and inhuman acts committed by a totalitarian regime.
Many cried “Keep politics out of the Olympics,” and decried all attempts to criticise the undemocratically installed regime. Many thought the much-vaunted ‘Olympic Spirit’ would soften the harsh edges of the inherently cruel rule of an autocratic mob of gangsters and their industrialist cronies (Mind you, most of the world was run in precisely the same fashion at the time, if a little more subtly and fairly). Many sports fans couldn’t care less; sport is usually the major entertainment of the thoughtless, and many praised the extraordinary pretty and dramatic pageantry that was made possible by a Romanesque culture built on slavery and serfdom.
The Western Powers practices appeasement and proclaimed ‘peace in our time’ even as the militant juggernaut marshalled its troops at the borders of its ancestral enemies and rivals. When the Nazis invaded the first of the hapless satellite nations that encircled its terrain, many career diplomats and politicians with fascist leanings bleated that the usurper was justified due to age-old territorial grievances. They claimed that the predatory nation was more efficient than those it consumed, and deserved room to expand by right of inherently superior might.
All of Christendom had historically definitive excuses to hate Moslems, and their religion appeared to make it mandatory to despise the so-called Christ-killing Jews. Most Western powers looked on the slant-eyed mixed-race Slavic peoples with hostility and suspicion, and quietly applauded when the Nazis swept other races from their streets and locked them into ghettoes and work camps.
The old lockstep alliances that had led to the mutually assured destruction of the First World War – ‘the war to end all wars’, as it was known for an all too little while – had collapsed in its wake and the new masters of the Middle Earth of old Europe knew that none would stand against them when they took the first chesspieces in their bloody game.
The other, supposedly kindlier and more compassionate world powers sacrificed millions among these ‘lesser’ races of geopolitical pawns, to appease the insatiable appetite of a regimented people who had been mesmerised to believe they needed – and deserved - more ‘living room’ and resources. The appeasers concentrated on doing business and making money with the Nazis, while their media tycoons claimed the totalitarian regime was justified in redressing the imbalances created by earlier wars in which it had fared badly.
The space invaders of the Thousand Year Reich had certainly given the world enough warning of their true nature and intentions. A well known truism existed even then which held that a people could be best judged by the way they treated their weakest and most powerless citizens. The Nazis started their thousand year spree with a bold decree that eugenics and rigorous discipline would save Humanity and transform human nature. They practiced animal husbandry on humans in attempts to breed an Aryan super-race. They conducted unethical and often lethal medical experiments on helpless prisoners, infirm psychiatric patients and political rivals. They sterilised the feeble-minded, deformed, homosexuals, members of proscribed religions and those of with despised ethnic lineages. They set up concentration camps, military tribunals and kangaroo courts to give their hideous oppressions a veneer of propriety and justice.
Not even their immense military expenditure set enough alarms ringing to wake up the sleeping paper tigers of the world’s fading empires. The Nazis sequestered a free work force with the simple expedient of enslaving all those they didn’t like. They tolerated no dissent and ran their society like a military encampment, starting the indoctrination of their trapped populace as young as possible, with specially devised militarily-minded mass youth groups, and cadet-oriented secret societies for the children of the master race elite. Like almost all rulers, they sought to create a millennial dynasty that would promulgate their primitive will to dominate through the war-sundered corridors of time.
No free press or media were allowed by the regime and the State controlled all access to information. They controlled all movements within their borders and monitored all activity with a parallel series of beurocratic agencies and secret police forces; today’s surveillance technologies would have made the Nazi propaganda ministry and Gestapo drool with anticipation.
The totalitarian rulers were unaccountable to the people, only obeying the dictates of a wolf-pack ethic in which the strongest and most ruthless killer was supreme. They banned all other political parties, rounded up the intelligentsia, politicians and despised minorities. They turned easily targeted ethnic groups into scapegoats, claiming they were cultists and terrorists and officially removing their claims to humanity. They took away their property, human rights, freedom and ultimately their lives while the world looked on in praise of the German peoples’ industrious might and sensible ant-like efficiency.
Death sentences were mandatory for many offences and arbitrary detention was widespread. Torture of ‘enemies of the State’ became commonplace and people regularly disappeared overnight; their families had no way to discover what had happened to them, and ultimately millions of people disappeared into ‘work camps’ and extermination pits, and were never seen or heard from again. Enemies of the state furnished the Nazis with gold teeth, ground-down fertiliser and even tanned human skin bearing beautifully wrought tattoos – which were spread across lampshades in burgeoning work camp cottage industries.
The Nazis were indomitable and extraordinarily efficient warrior-killers. They almost enslaved the entire world before they were bested by the combined might of many countries. Only one nation had an equivalently huge, modern and diverse economy and a flexible and great enough military-industrial regime to challenge the Third Reich.
The New World Order of the USA - happily ensconced within its ocean-moated fastnesses - didn’t enter the war until the ignominy of Pearl Harbour tipped public opinion in the direction of revenge and retribution. Its free-minded people still remembered what had happened in the war to end all wars and justifiably loathed the notion of once more intervening in the Old World’s endless familial feuding - and appeasement was easy and profitable.
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Totalitarianism, warlike brinksmanship and imperialist expansion are practiced by many nations, and by almost all great world powers. Very few have had the courage to dismantle their empires and allow their vassal states to have autonomy and freedom; but ultimately that’s what always happens to thousand year Reichs and dynasties that intend to rule for ten thousand years. The conqueror is subsumed and absorbed by the swelling enslaved populations of the conquered, as the rulers try to maintain ‘racial purity’ amid a sea of often superior diversity. Evolution is revolution writ slow. All empires fall, all flesh goes down, but an eternity of freedom remains.
Most Western nations have given up on the outdated idea of colonisation – except for the ever-aspiring colonialists of envious sidelined France and the narrow-minded religious imperialists of Islam, almost all the old empires have become confederations of relatively free independent nations. The variously subtle and obvious iniquities of late-coming empires like Indonesia, the United States, Russia and China will surely take the same route if they wish to ultimately survive and prosper; communism, slavery, colonialism and serfdom are simply too inefficient - no match for the dog-eat-dog dynamic of the so-called free market – but something fundamentally new is required if we’re to enter a truly new Age.
The time of warfare and imperialistic ideas of territorial expansion has well and truly run its course – but it will only end if we all decide to finish it by dropping our petty prejudices, racist ideologies, dogmatic fable-ridden religions and foolish cultural intolerances. The strife of the world is the pain in our individual hearts and our entrained blindnesses writ large on the palimpsest of history; the tree of life is scarred with the blade-writ graffiti of our passions.
Many obvious injustices cry out to be recognised and remedied by those with ears to hear in a self-blinded world whose people are concerned with things they believe should be theirs by birthright. Almost everyone nurses ancient grievances and remembers lives and land stolen from their ancestors by warrior thugs who still hold the wealth of the world in their slimy wrinkled tentacular fingers.
The topic that’s being broached with these paragraphs is so obvious it seems trite to spell out the apparent convergences of history. Yet the plight of the unpopulous people of Tibet - a handful of millions swamped by a nation of over a billion – is agonisingly apparent to those with eyes to see. The facts surrounding the fate of the peaceable meditators of Falun Gong are becoming well known, whether the wider world wants to face it or not. Their chi-healed organs are so healthfully superior that the adherents of this yogic practice are deemed terrorist cultists, and have become the unwilling transplant donors of choice to a ruthless regime that’s only interested in its own longevity, not that of individually enlightened and empowered humans.
The same can be said for many victims of totalitarianism, including the struggle of those victimised millions who were dominated and controlled by the Soviets for almost a century, the satellite serf nations usurped by Indonesia and the United States, many racist sexist countries in Africa and the Middle East - and the lowest rungs of the utterly trapped wage slaves and virtually exterminated free native peoples of the world. They all cry out for a solution to their dilemmas – as do the occupying nations and piratical elites themselves, whether they realise it or not.
Dear friends and strangers – let’s remember what our grandparents experienced and learn from their egregious mistakes. There are no final solutions – only workable routes to a summit of understanding from which the nature of our situations will become blindingly obvious to all – and easy to transform into something closer to the ideal we know we’re actually capable of. The jig is up, the fat lady is about to sing and the water is drying up, folks. The Titanic is heading for an iceberg and we have to change or fundamental course, not simply change our light bulbs.
We have to overcome our addictions and put away the outdated tinker-toy technologies, confabulated beliefs and failed methods that are destroying the planet and keeping us enslaved. Better alternatives are waiting to be grasped, emerging from the infinite realms of alternative possibilities; we can all make it if we want to, and if we put our time, effort and energies into the directions where our best hopes lead.
All it will take to set things right in the world of human societies is for citizens and elites to realise that governments have certain rights and responsibilities that they owe to their citizens. No government worth its salt (salary) should be allowed to perpetuate itself if it can’t provide the basics required by its population. These start with free access to clean food and water, dignified, non-toxic and sturdy shelter for all citizens, free universal health care and education at all levels, free access to basic utilities and transport - and no regressive (unfairly distributed) taxes or charges. Unless and until a society can provide these things for its citizens it doesn’t deserve the title ‘advanced’.
You may well believe these things to be economically or politically impossible, but they’re not – if we stop making guns, bullets, missiles and bombs and learn to live together. The rarely read UN International Bill of Rights has proclaimed these and many other already agreed upon guiding principles and socio-political benisons for half a century, and has already been signed and ratified by most nations – probably including yours. Read it if you dare. Utopian as these ideas may seem, some nations already afford their citizens these or equivalent rights; some prosperous peoples are even more thoughtful and generous to themselves and their grandchildren.
Access to truly clean and free energy will make the house of cards that is the current global power superstructure shift with tectonically calamitous disturbances, that will ultimately result in freedom for all in a paradise on Earth – if we only stop watching television, get of our arses and seize the day. We can do it. The choice is up to us. What kind of world do you want to live in?
It would be easy to redistribute the burgeoning wealth of the world and ensure that the wealthy remain supremely comfortable and confidently powerful; and realistically, this is what it will take to lift the world out of poverty - material, intellectual and spiritual poverty. If we introduce a universal guaranteed wage to all citizens of the world’s nations, poverty will disappear overnight. Mechanisms have already been devised to peg these universal benefits to the relatively differing economies of varying nations and in many places equivalent systems have already been installed. After all, ‘welfare’ is actually a very positive word and noble concept, like those embodied by the phrases ‘common wealth’ and ‘precautionary principle’.
All truly flourishing cultures containing the relatively free peoples of Earth are already socialist democracies, and afford their citizens the protections they rightfully deserve – not merely militant guardianship and protectionism at the point of a spear or nuclear missile.
We’ve outgrown the infancy of fundamentally feudal civilizations run by heartless self-styled royals and inbred power-hungry dynasties, and we don’t need sadistic puppetmasters to oversee our every step any more. Our chains are the fetters of our ingrained mental slavery – and as the great bard sang, ‘none but ourselves can free our minds’. We don’t need to believe the lie that we must work hard to simply live, any more than we have to live for our work; each of us is more than the sum of our abilities, talents and utility and some of us are looking at the stars.
The immaterial has become material and new ideas have become things of substance for a species that needs more diversity of all kinds – biological, ideological, educational, ethical, scientific and imaginatively creative diversity – if we’re to survive the consequences of our ancestor’s actions and heal the scars wrought by their inattentive struggles.
We all live together in a little rowboat floating on a perpetually unruly infinite sea of possibility, and we must learn to enjoy each other’s company if we’re to have a good time. If we’re all very wise, careful and fortunate we can turn a repeating cycle that’s held Humanity in its thrall for millennia into an ascending spiral of new possibilities. We can leave the fears of our damaged ancestors behind by living out our true roles as wise weavers of probability and become compassionate global governors, in an era of fresh hopes and new lessons that will keep us passionately engaged in pleasantly intriguing pastimes.
Or we can have another war to end all wars. It’s that simple.
I’m going off-screen now, to plant more trees and pick fruit in a paradisaical place where the true indigenous nomadic ‘owners’ - and other beleaguered lifeforms who’ve dwelled here for millions of years - know they’re still very welcome...
What are you going to do with the rest of your day?
- R. Ayana
P.S. – Sport is war by other means. Make love not war.
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