Curtis Dahlgren
This land is God's land; on a summit or a precipice?
By Curtis Dahlgren
December 29, 2016

"It is a great mistake to learn from history. There is nothing to learn from history." – Shimon Peres (5-23-96)

"It is not my place as an historian to play the part of a prophet. Nevertheless . . ." – Dr. Arthur Voobus (Estonian Theological Society in Exile)

"History is past politics, and politics is present history." -Sir John Seeley (1834-95)

JANUARY: The month with the two faces, one looking back and one looking forward to future history! If there were no reason to study history other than memorizing names and dates, I wouldn't study it either. The further one looks into the past, it's said, the more clearly one can see the future, but in 2016 our political pundits apparently had blinders on ("if their prophecies fail, don't listen to them anymore").

January can be a dangerous month for incoming Presidents. Lincoln's election was taken as a declaration of war by hotheads in the South, and they seized Union outposts before he was even inaugurated. Five hundred thousand deaths later, they finally realized that they weren't as smart as advertised. Does our age have its own hotheads?

Someone said that "the only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you." Envy is a 4-letter word. Is that why the Hillary people hate us deplorables? Why losers in general hate winners? Why Sunnis hate Shiites and Shiites hate Sunnis, and both hate Jews? Why the United Nations hates the Jews unanimously? What happened to NEVER AGAIN?

There were 61 shootings in Chicago over the weekend and the President is worried about Jerusalem? About 60 peace officers have been shot dead in 2016 – more than one a week -and the Secretary of State is worried about ISRAEL? I suppose he wants a Nobel Peace prize too! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when they were learning history.

Etymologically "history" comes from the root histor, which simply meant "learned man." It is becoming increasingly rare for higher education to offer history courses, but one can get a degree in Futurism (not to mention women's studies, which I would flunk). But even futurists understand the value of history. The winter 2007 issue of ON WISCONSIN, regarding futurism, wrote:

"In a time of tumultuous change, when we can't possibly keep up, David Zach advises that we have to 'figure out the things that don't change – and when you find those – it gives you a place to stand'. . . He believes we need to pay more attention to history, community, and families.

"He describes his favorite futurist as G.K. Chesterton, because he embodies something that we are short of in our modern era: the willingness to learn from the past. 'The more things change, the more we must learn from the past. We live in an age where anything is possible, but that's scary, because not all things should be possible.' Chesterton advocated 'giving votes to our ancestors.'"

An excerpt, from my book "Massey-Harris 101; a letter to generations X, Y, and Z":

"Pop culture, academia, the media, and the State have become incestuous. PC bullying, by trying to force Group Think, is an attempt to control the past and the future by controlling the present, as Orwell predicted. Their agenda is 'set' – thought to be inevitable – [which is why 2016 was such a shock to them]. A traditionalist doesn't have much chance of breaking into 'the loop' normally, but sometimes an outsider has a secret advantage. Michael Savage said, 'I can think outside the box because I'm not IN the box.'"

"Retiring" talk host Charles Sykes, way back in the '90s, talked about the "New Thought" agenda back in the "Gay 1890s." An excerpt from "A Nation of Victims":

"The results were not what the prophets of liberation had envisioned . . Instead of being freed from the oppressive bonds of the past, [man] found himself alone in a world without mooring, norms sense of direction, or purpose."

Black writer Thomas Sowell is retiring, but here's the last two paragraphs of his last column:

"When I was growing up, we were taught the stories of people whose inventions and scientific discoveries had expanded the lives of millions of other people. Today, students are taught to admire those who complain, denounce, and demand. The first column I ever wrote, 39 years ago, was titled 'The Profits of Doom.' This was long before Al Gore made millions promoting global warming hysteria. Back in 1970, the prevailing hysteria was the threat of a new ice age . . . "

This too is part of learning from history. False prophets don't all come from religion. The outgoing President is still complaining about and denouncing "colonialism." America never had colonies; is he talking about England, with Israel-as-colony? Where'd he hear that?

That reminds me; I've been reading about Secretary of State John Quincy Adams in "From Sea to Shining Sea" by Peter Marshall, Jr. and David Manuel. It was Adams who negotiated the END of European colonialism in Central and South America (the Monroe Doctrine). He also negotiated the end of the War of 1812, which set our northern border and extended the territories to the Pacific, Oregon and Washington. Also he negotiated the deal with Spain that brought Florida into our fold and ended Indian raids on southern Georgia (the white man's arrival ended a LOT of wars – between the Indians).

Anyway, it was no surprise to many of us that an "outsider" – thinking outside the box – was elected President. God willing, maybe he can be the best negotiator America has had since John Quincy Adams.

PPS: Adams was the type of man who wasn't affected by conventional wisdom. In fact, he was often a lone holdout in the cabinet, or on a team of diplomats, on his position. And he didn't budge. He never "sweetened the deal" for foreign countries. And he didn't say we live in a border-less world.

God grant that our leaders should be so smart. And learn from history.

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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