Ken Burns’ series, The Vietnam War is possibly one of the best, and most important, documentaries I have seen.
Knowing our history — and I repeat myself — is critical in one’s understanding of the world they live in. The Weight of Memory left to us by our collective past teaches, guides, and warns us.
Nearly fifty years have passed since the end of the Vietnam War. Sadly, those who have been born since really don’t know as much about that era as they think, and this is a danger.
“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?
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.
Watch this video by British military historian Peter Caddick-Adams on the day that changed history 75 years ago:
Then read the recollections of one of the few remaining survivors of D-Day.
They fought so we wouldn’t have to.
From Director Peter Jackson comes the stunning documentary on World War I, They Shall Not Grow Old, using 100-year-old film that has been restored like never before. If you want to know what it’s like to travel back through time, check this out. Trailer:
Here’s a pair of books on four men of the 20th Century that still speak to us today: Churchill and Orwell and A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War. Not one of them was a talking head or armchair expert. Each was a veteran of one or more of the century’s — and mankind’s — worst wars.
Winston Churchill warned there was no appeasing totalitarian governments. Evil regimes only ceased their scourge when facing a people who refused to surrender. Churchill’s prophetic voice was nearly ignored in this, and of what the world was to become in the Cold War. Flaws and all, he reached a level few “leaders” today can approach.
George Orwell experienced in the Spanish Civil War that all totalitarian governments were indistinguishable — whether fascist or communist — in their aims and results. His politics were polar opposite of Churchill’s, but they arrived at the same truths through life, not hypothetical debate. His books Animal Farm and 1984 emerged from those experiences, becoming timeless warnings that wherever power existed, abuse of that power would occur.
After surviving the trenches of World War I, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien became academic scholars. While their contemporaries were writing dismal books on the dark future of humanity, Lewis and Tolkien refused to give in to such defeatism. They eschewed the materialistic and naturalistic philosophies that had brought the world to its knees, and were also being used to paint a future of darkness for humanity. Their fantasy novels were more than fairy tales — they unveiled the hope and the Story that had been gifted to men and women — and that Evil could be crushed.
Out of a dark age came these bright lights. We would be dangerously amiss to snuff them out.
Categories: Books, History, Modern History
Tags: 1984, animal farm, C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia, George Orwell, J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Loconte, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Thomas E. Ricks, totalitarism, Winston Churchill, World War I, World War II
Lauren Southern, Canadian journalist, author and political activist, has made quite a name for herself in recent years. No doubt her work is loved by some, and ruffled the ire of others, but hopefully none of this will discourage people from watching her documentary, Farmlands.
The film is troubling and eye-opening. Southern has exposed the myth of a post-apartheid South Africa where everyone supposedly lives hand-in-hand, in beautiful bliss. Rather, the country may soon be another lost Third World nation where chaos, war, and death, are all that its people will know. Watch Farmlands now, and don’t let the world forget South Africa and allow it to crumble into ruin.
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.
“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.
“Orwell feared we would become a captive audience. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
“Orwell feared that we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.
“As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny ‘failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.’ In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.” – Neil Postman