Tuesday, April 27, 2010

History Schmistory

My wife and I were in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee this weekend and it seemed to me that at least half the basic cable package in the lodge where we stayed consisted of religious programs.  One that I watched for a few minutes was Truths that Transform from Coral Ridge Ministries which ran a segment on The Rise of Socialism in the 20th Century showing the clear connection between Lenin, Hitler, and Obama. 

Luckily, the weather was pretty good so I wasn't forced to spend a lot of time indoors.  Moreover, when the weather was inclement, I had a good book to read, George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter.  It is the story of three mediocre monarchs, an English King, a Russian Tsar, and a German Kaiser, who led their countries at the beginning of the twentieth century and the havoc they managed to wreak in direct proportion to the power they wielded.

Not surprisingly, none of the wingnuts on Truths that Transform mentioned the political and religious systems that set the stage for Lenin and Hitler.  There was no mention of the autocratic Tsar who wielded absolute power while most of his subjects lived in abject poverty.  There was no mention of the repression, the pogroms, the disastrous wars that bankrupted Russia, the famines that resulted when wheat was exported to obtain foreign capital, or the Russian Orthodox Church that made support for the monarchy a religious obligation.  There was no mention of the arch-conservative aristocracy in Germany that fomented World War I and the post-war upheaval that opened the door for the Nazis.

I certainly do not mean to suggest that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were anything other than horrific failures, however, both systems were the products of failed systems in which conservative governments served only the needs of a wealthy and powerful minority while resisting any calls for reform.

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