If You Would Understand Today, You Must First Understand the Past

I recently had a commenter on another blog tell me that the past – history – doesn’t matter. I told this commenter that everything that happens today is driven by the past, and if we forget the past, or we accept a distorted understanding of the past, then we cannot understand what happens today or why. His reply was that he didn’t care about ‘tradition,’ the only things that matter to him is what we ‘do’ today. The discussion then devolved into a debate over our inability to ever know the ‘truth’ about the past because we all have our own opinions about what truth is in relation to what the past means to us today. Upon thinking back on this exchange, I thought I would share a little history with you and show you why understanding the past is essential to controlling what happens in the present.

From the 1930’s and 40’s, FDR’s 1944 State of the Union address:

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all – regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these are:

 The right to a useful and remunerative job…
 The right to a good education.
 The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies…

 The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.
 The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.
 The right of every family to a decent home.
 The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.


From the 1960’s radicals:

‘Wage Slavery’: Piven Calls Working for ‘Livelihood’ Not ‘Appropriate’ – Better to Be ‘Active’ in ‘Community’

• Self-service industry is bad because it kills jobs
• Wonders why people have to work for a livelihood: not “appropriate”
• Low-income jobs are “wage slavery”
• Laments jobs at Walmart
• Being a “participant in their community” is a good alternative to working
• Reagan “steamrolled” the poor by eliminating the ideals of guaranteed income, right to welfare and the right to support


And from the current OWS movement:

Blaze Magazine Special Report: Occupy the Great Depression

Editor’s note: In “Occupy the Great Depression,” found only in the newest issue of The Blaze Magazine, Natasha Pascetta takes a look at the Occupy Wall Street movement and exposes that their efforts are nothing new. Young socialist activists demanding money, jobs, and education from the government have been with us for a long, long time.
The radical activists “occupying” everything and touting the benefits of socialism and communism these days aren’t new. FDR had to face a movement that embraced the efforts of the Soviet Union—and backed Hitler’s Germany.


This last story connects us back to FDR’s call for a 2nd Bill of Rights. But FDR was not the start of those demands. He was reacting to the movement within America that wanted to embrace what was happening in Germany and Russia prior to the start of WW II. This desire to incorporate the ideas of socialism formed the foundation of what became known as the American Progressive movement. But it also connects American politics to the struggle between the Fascist and Communist versions of socialism, which then brings us to this story:


Shock Vid: Greek Neo-Nazi Party Official Beats Female Communist Repeatedly on Live TV

ATHENS, Greece (The Blaze/AP) – Tensions are running high in Greece, but the video you’re about to see is unbelievable. In it, the spokesman for Greece’s extremist, far-right, Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party can be seen causing an uproar after he physically assaulted two left-wing deputies on live television during a Thursday morning political show. A public prosecutor ordered his immediate arrest.
[NOTE: when you are dealing with the left/right between communism/fascism, you are NOT dealing with the same idea of left/right in regards to the American liberal/conservative opposition. In the case of communism/fascism, you are talking about left/right within the general socialist movement – as both ideologies are socialist in nature.  The reason so many Americans actually think that fascism/NAZI’s are ‘right-wing’ in the same sense as American conservatives is actually an illustration of what this post is all about.]


Which then brings up an old quote by a man who wrote a book to warn the world about how the control of language and history would be used to control the way the masses think for the purpose of controlling the masses – period:


“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
–George Orwell


Hopefully, if you allow yourself to think about all of this, you can see why I told the commenter on that other blog that everything happening today is driven by what happened yesterday. If you think about it a bit more, you might also understand the connection between the desire to control the past in order to control the present to the need to control our schools and media.

16 thoughts on “If You Would Understand Today, You Must First Understand the Past

  1. May I add? The marxists changed the political language by purposely using terms that are descriptively inaccurate. MISNOMERS. The Marxists understood that whoever controls the language and argument would be victorious in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the public. Afterall, how could anyone be against progress? Marxism was “dead on arrival” at the time because our public understood the history of our nation. Instead of accurately describing themselves as marxists (as the policies they advocate are a blend of socialism, communism, & fascism), they named themselves “progressive”. Then the Progressives named their opponent “the conservative-right” to give them the bad connotation of the “right wing fascism of marxism”. Modern day conservatives are at a disadvantage everytime that allow the Marxists to call them “right wing conservative”. It is amazing what happens to a discussion, when you start by defining the terms. Suddenly the “marxist” who calls himself a liberal, cant resort to name calling. Calling you a “right wing conservative, which many view at “heartless”…
    The Marxist will avoid debate in the crowd after that. Education with accurate terms is “light”.

    • I want to emphasize this concept;

      Marxism was “dead on arrival” a century ago, because the American people understood the HISTORY of our nation.

      • Respectfully, you might want to go back and re-read your history of American politics from the late part of the 19th to the early part of the 20th Century. I think you may find you have asserted a falsehood here.

          • A large part of the American population embraced the ideals of the general European socialist movements. John Dewey gushed over the education system in Russia and FDR drooled over the public works programs in Germany and Italy. This was the culmination of a movement that started in the late 1800’s and led directly to Teddy Roosevelt starting the Progressive movement. We should remember that Wilson was the one who admitted the Communist/Fascist system was antithetical to the American ideal and would have to be “Americanized” in order to get America to accept them.

            Consequently, when the Democrat forces who sided with Wilson wrested control of the movement from Teddy and the Republicans, they chose the word ‘progressive’ because they believed an affinity for ‘progress’ was an American ideal. They also thought the things that were happening in Europe and Russia represented progress because they were supposedly ‘scientifically driven’ as the result of the gains in sociology and economics. This is a large part of the thinking behind the American eugenics movement, which was the true origin of Hitler’s ‘final solution.’

            As I said, we have forgotten our history. 🙂

  2. My description above is my own interpretation of what happened. We are discussing in order to learn. I welcome any “light” that can be shown on my mis-understandings, and always reserve the option to change my understanding based on newly learned facts.


  3. “Americanized”

    Am I incorrect in my description that the American Progressive movement is more accurately called Marxist, as it “uses” communist, socialist, and fascist forms or principles to implement their “Americanized” version?

    • B:
      Am I incorrect in my generalized description of Marxism and its implementation?, or
      Am I incorrect in the “motive” I assigned to the terms our modern day “left” uses?, or
      I believe that assigning the term “Progress” assigns an incorrect “value” to the “Americanized” version. And therefor is misleading to the populace at large. Are you saying their intentions were good? I believe their intentions were not “good” in that they misrepresented what the “progressive” movement was about, by intentionally mis-labeling. In “Big Picture” terms, I don’t see any difference between the European societies attempts at implementing “marxism” and the Americanized version (which you say Wilson admitted was anti- “American ideal”.

    • This is a difficult question for me to answer. Someone else may be of more help. For me, I tend to see the Marxist and Fascist as nothing more than different members of the Socialist family. They all have the same goals, they differ mostly in how they go about trying to achieve them in the real world. (the term Statist might serve better) But, yes, Wilson said the European obsession with socialism/statism was anti-American (because they were based on Hobbes and America is based on Locke), but Wilson also said that Europe had the answer and our founders ideas had become antiquated. Wilson was all about ‘administration’ of society. He tried to argue it was a science best left to ‘experts’ (himself being among these ‘experts’).

      In this sense, American Progressivism is a blend of Communism and Fascism. Their own ideological writings would serve to confirm this.

      Also, they deliberately chose the word ‘progressive’ to make their ideology sound more acceptable/appealing to America. When they were later discredited in the eyes of America, they changed their name to ‘liberal’ to deliberately co-opt the general good will America had for Jeffersonian Liberalism (i.e. Classic Liberal). Progressives play games with words because they genuinely believe words control our thinking. They do not understand that thoughts and ideas control words. they need but look to the way their ‘nicer sounding’ terms for handicapped now mean handicapped. People are not the fools progressives believe them to be and though they may be too busy living to direct a great deal of concentrated thought to these issues very often, by-in-large, they have a general sense of the deception involved. Being a generally trusting people, it just tends to take Americans longer to catch on to the fact they are being deliberately deceived.

      I hope this helps. I’m not sure I understand the general thrust of your question, so I threw some spaghetti at the wall for you. Let me know if any of it stcuk.

  4. “STATIST” most accurately describes the goals and objectives. Control. Deleting freedom and liberty by controlling individuals’ lives.

    I presume “deceit” on behalf of the statists, because the terms the statists use are labels which are NOT accurate or descriptive of the respective groups; and which by their very nature impart good or bad. Why does one use deceit to sell something?

    I observe our society regressing. I say regress since we have fewer freedoms and liberties. Every “problem” I encounter is caused by some law or regulation which prohibits taking action to correct the problem….

    Instead of “Judging every man(& woman) by the content of their character, not the color of their skin (or race or creed)” the statists are busy dividing everyone into groups based on their race, color, creed, financial circumstances, etc….. The statists say they want a “colorblind” society, but their actions buttress the opposite. The statists divide people into groups and merely grouping individuals pits one against another. Grouping leads to “multiple standards of fair” for different groups of Americans. Division weakens individuals by setting them apart and creating discord among them.

  5. B,
    We are recognizing the same thing. You know more of the history and the reasons the statists claim for their motives.
    I look at the actions the statists take, ignoring their explanations. It is promising to me, to understand that the American People were not Stupid, they have been, and are being deceived. There is hope for our nation with learning and actual understanding.

    • Education – real education – does solve a lot of the problems brought about by misinformation. This is why so many countries have started trying to control the internet and other social media and why ours is starting to look at doing the same: to control our ability to educate each other in the face of deceptive govt. propaganda.

  6. Just read your 180 degree rule:

    I attempt to look at what is actually happening. Not listening to what I’m being told is happening.

    I learned my method at the school of “hard knocks” getting my arse handed to me, by “old hands”. I learned when the opposition begins to attack me personally and emotionally, I’m gonna win. I have the facts and the arguments on my side. Then I ignore the other side completely, wait for my turn, explain and prevail.

    “Most people do not observe the world as it is, they see the world as they are.” Anais Nin (I think)

    What a sad way to exist…..No enlightenment…. then what is there to look forward in life?

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