“Washington doesn’t represent the American people anymore, because the bureaucrats and elected officials in Washington pursue their own self-serving agendas rather than doing what is objectively right for the country…Congress [has] only one problem that they’re serious about solving — and that’s getting reelected.”
Those are strong words from Congressman Ken Buck. In his book Drain the Swamp, he gives an insider’s look into the rampant corruption in Congress. From outright ignoring the Constitution, to dead laws that never die, passing laws through intimidation, to purposefully creating problems so they can cash in.
It’s troubling how easily people are distracted by the smoke and mirrors, the staged drama, and the promise of money, from our government. If only more would look behind the curtain. Buck writes:
“The federal government is supposed to be small. Its power is supposed to limited. The United States is supposed to be a union of largely sovereign states…Our founder’s default position was to keep power as far from Washington as possible.”
The scary truth is that they don’t want you to know this. Why? Then they lose the power they gave themselves. The power we turned a blind eye to.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” Ronald Reagan warned. “We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”
What will you choose to do?
How do civilizations collapse? Congressman Ken Buck explains in Drain the Swamp what lessons history has left for us:
- They spend too much. Budget crises have always been early warning signs of the collapse of an empire or regime, and the bigger the government, the harder it falls.
- Their people stop producing. Civilizations grow when their people are hard-working, self-sacrificing, and entrepreneurial — and they collapse when the become lazy and self-centered and dependent on the state.
- They become corrupt. As the power of the state grows, so does official corruption, which people are expected to overlook.
- They lose their why. Eventually, civilizations lose sight of why they came to exist in the first place — their identity, their purpose. When a nation loses its sense of shared identity, the end is near, because no one is all that interested in fighting or sacrificing for a cause or an identity long forgotten.
Sound familiar? Will we listen to our ancestors? Or will make the same mistakes?
Tell your story. Tell that of others. Don’t be a writer. Be a Storyteller.
Consider a tombstone — a monument to one’s life…the inscription typically focuses on the years when a person was born and subsequently passed away, a person’s life is actually represented by the ‘dash’ in between (i.e., 1964-2042).
This dash represents the essence of our lives — the succession of joys, sorrows, successes, failures…If you could write the story of your dash, how would it read? Would it be full of regrets for the things you did or didn’t do? Or would it be a tribute to all that you attempted to do, be, and accomplish while you were alive?
– Anthony Paustian, writing in A Quarter Million Steps.
Find Your Purpose. Find Your Story.
History is not dry or boring. No, it rivals the best novels. Take Lars Brownworth’s Lost to the West, the rest of the story of the Roman Empire.
The empire didn’t end with the collapse of Rome, but endured for centuries in the East, centered in Constantinople. That’s no idle fact for impressing your friends. Without the Byzantine Empire, the West would have become a very different place, and no doubt unrecognizable to this day.
In spite of all the setbacks brought by war, plague, and tyranny, the West emerged while much of the world receded. Perhaps we should pay closer attention to their stories. Where would we be if there hadn’t been constant restarts of civilization? Yet, in darkness, people still triumphed. There are lessons in both for us to learn.
At the end of World War II, the Allies picked and chose which Nazis would prosecuted, and which would have their pasts scrubbed so their knowledge could be used in the coming Cold War.
And one of the most notorious Nazis vanished; his name virtually erased from history.
Hans Kammler was the personification of evil, having overseen the Final Solution. He also held the keys to every advanced technology program the Nazis had. The conflicting stories of his death never sounded credible. Even Martin Borman had been tried in absentia, but Kammler was forgotten.
After decades of investigation, Dean Reuter and his co-researchers have uncovered evidence that will have to be answered to. Yet, if I were to guess, The Hidden Nazi has only scratched the surface of what all has been hidden from us.
“Columbus has been alternately venerated and vilified…he became a lightning rod for controversy…[some] saw him as the visionary that led the way [to the Americas]. Others, preferring to believe that Columbus’s discoveries begat genocide against the New Worlds peaceful indigenous people, uniformly vilify him — as if he had orchestrated the atrocities himself or as if the indigenous tribes hadn’t already been waging war on one another…Still others invest themselves in the pointless argument that Columbus was not the New World’s discoverer…Columbus’s claim to fame isn’t that he got there first, it’s that he stayed.
“…History does not know what to make of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea without passions of one kind or another intruding. The explorer will always remain something of an enigma…He was a man of great charisma whose passion sometimes turned others against him…His advocates marveled at his daring and tenaciousness…His detractors thought him brutal and weak. The only certainty about Columbus is that, for better or worse, he chose to live a bold life rather than settle for mediocrity.” – Martin Dugard writing in The Last Voyage of Columbus.
Every Columbus Day people come out of the woodwork to correct what we were taught about Columbus. Then people correct them, and others correct them. It’s clear few of them have bothered to study the history of they day in any depth. So the quote above is meant to impart that actual history is far too complex to be learned from drive-by memes, or history lessons given by people with agendas.
If you want to speak about a person from our past, you should actually step into his world and follow him around. That’s why the study of history is like time travel. Step on in and give it a try.
Fan of the show The Curse of Oak Island? Randall Sullivan has released the definitive history of the island spanning from the original discovery of the “Money Pit,” to the latest efforts on the television show. Even if you watch the show, you know only a fraction of the island’s history. Sullivan explores the decades of digs, and the endless theories of who visited the island, including many fanciful tales whipped up in fertile imaginations. However, the island sits at a crossroads of the old seafarers, and many unexplained artifacts have been found. Who would go to such effort, and why, to hide something presumably a great value? Would gold warrant elaborate traps and tunnels? Was it already found or perhaps never there?
Maybe it will remain an unsolved mystery, or perhaps someday history will be changed.
One of my maxims is:
If you cannot defend the right of free speech for the person you disagree with the most, you don’t believe in free speech.
As this article from The Economist relates, free speech is under attack around the world. It’s not surprising to see this in dictatorial countries, but suppression of free speech is alive and well in democracies. Most disturbing is how it is tolerated — encouraged even — in the American university. The purpose of universities is twofold: Preserve and pass on knowledge and history to one generation to the next; and promote the free exchange of ideas and foster new knowledge. Instead:
Free speech is hard won and easily lost…[even] in mature democracies, support for free speech is ebbing, especially among the young, and outright hostility to it is growing. Nowhere is this more striking than in universities in the United States…and an incredible 10% approved of using violence to silence [speech].
I have been following the Death of the University, which itself is a sad situation of this great institution of western culture. Just as bad is the trend of silencing speech — often by the very people who claim to be for it.
This trend must be stopped dead in its tracks.
“It takes more than developing and deploying human enhancement technology to alleviate pain and suffering…We need the wisdom to know how to properly implement these technologies so humanity truly benefits…the wisdom we need must emerge out of a robust ethical framework that provides motivation to spur on advances…[while guarding] against injustices and human exploitation.” – Fazale Rana and Kenneth Samples
Emerging biotech such as gene editing and stem cell therapies show a lot of promise to alleviate and eliminate many medical conditions. As with all technologies, there can be a dark side, particularly when people with power take control.
A movement known as transhumanism wants to go beyond simply helping humanity, and seeks to transform us into a new species entirely. The road to such a future is paved with potholes such as eugenics and countless ethical issues.
No longer is any of this science-fiction. Nor can we look on in passive agreement at endless futuristic films that fail to deeply examine what they portray as an inevitable future.
The new book Humans 2.0 is a needed deep, intellectual discussion on this emerging reality of bioengineering and transhumanism. You will get a crash course on state-of-the-art molecular biology, and then authors look at the various philosophical streams vying to be the foundation of our bioethics: Which lead to a world where the value of human life is upheld, and which can lead to a reemergence to eugenics?