“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
– Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, from “The Gulag Archipelago”
Today, again, we stand on the brink of global war. Its spectre is never far from us; for all that our nations are inextricably intertwined by the bonds of commerce, natural resources never increase, and there will always be a country that wants what another has. There will always come a generation that doesn’t remember how terrible war can be, and that dreams of glory.
Memes like these speak truth by means of well-spun lies that invoke passion. That’s the lure of these; they’re evocative. It’s also their weakness, and a grave flaw it is too. Read on and I’ll explain.(more…)
“I don’t know who would learn history from monuments. We have history books for that!“
People in general don’t read. This is nothing new; literacy has traditionally only ever been for the elite, not the general masses that make up the work force. Very few have ever learned anything from dry histories anyway. History books and facts as names and numbers and dates — that’s why we fell asleep in class.
But spend a day with me at Gettysburg and I can show you what it meant to fight there. I can take you to the spot where the future was created, tell you the tale of the lost shoes, show you where Reynolds fell and why it mattered, where the 20th Maine made their stand and how, and let you see the terrible beauty of Pickett’s Charge. (more…)
In Easton, Pennsylvania stands a massive monument to the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. There’s a central column seventy-five feet high surmounted by a statue of a bugler. Around the base are granite statues, plaques, plinths, and a fountained moat. It is massive, ugly, surprisingly tasteless, and dedicated to the honored dead.
And nobody is agitating to have it pulled down.
From Baltimore to Texas, all across the South, monuments to the soldiers (more…)
Slavery is not why most men fought in the Civil War.
I’m going to explain this in a moment, but stop a moment and observe: The first reaction of many people to my initial statement is one of instant and violent rejection. In these emotionally charged times, fully half of my readers will refuse to go on from here; many more will fail to understand their meaning in the light of their preconceptions. Some will doubtless accuse me of lying or of deliberately being hateful.
And so let me hasten to clarify: Slavery was one of the great horrors of history, a crime against (more…)
Look, it’s not complicated. The headlines are there to catch your eye; the articles are the part that you read to figure out what’s being said. And that’s not just with me; it’s with everyone — every news source, every pundit, everything.