Why Study History

Throughout history governments and individuals either succeed or fail due to how well or how poorly they manage the levels of power between them. So the smart student who does not want a pile of work studies history because it continues to repeat itself. They need only memorize the names of the leaders and their various nations and data which changes from decade to decade. Some smart math student could create an algorithm to show at what point this never ending conflict will move in a different direction. History does not know the word status quo.

Governments limit individuals, and individuals seek more liberty.

This is the conflict in a nutshell, balancing the strength of the individual and the long arm of the government. When there is no balance, the nation is out of whack. Every bureaucracy withdraws some liberty from the individual which does not make it wrong, unless it is too much liberty being given up or it was confiscated. The arguments against socialism include this quote from Ben Franklin,  “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Liberty lost is very hard to regain.

Every political contest involves these two elements

History shows this clearly. The lone cave dwelling human and his family is a government at the lowest level, but for any progress to be maintained, warfare against a predatory neighbor requires that these family units gather together to form a mutually advantageous group. To do this requires that each person give up to the group some authority, power, and of course money and resources. It requires a leadership team as well. If the team or the leader becomes too strong the society stagnates; if the enemies gain ascendancy, the society breaks up. So the larger the governmental unit, or the more prosperous in the case of the USA, the stronger that group is.

A closed society stays that way

For smaller societies constant mismanagement of resources and unrest keep it in failure mode. Afghanistan has been involved in war for 60 years and is going nowhere. They cannot or will not negotiate a balance between the bureaucracy and the individuals in spite of considerable involvement from other nations, both for good and for ill. It was illegal to teach women for example. The USA forces repeated efforts to stop that and start schools for girls met with guns and knives. This is in spite of well-documented proof that children raised by educated women are more successful than those who are not. But then today’s men would need to be educated before they would know that wouldn’t they? So a closed society stays that way, forever in poverty, isolated and legitimately afraid of their neighbors.

Participatory democracy balances interests

Governments that function best keep this in mind which is why participatory democracy works so much better. When people take part in their government they can cut it down when it gets out of hand. That explains the election President Trump and Boris Johnson.

Today institutions are under fire

Other nations are also seeing their citizens rebel against bureaucratic intrusion. The European Union might be blaming other nations for their inertia but their own institutional bias caused these problems. Some economic prophets say the EU will eventually end, or there will be European anarchy. It all depends on whether leadership comes to the fore to negotiate a peace. Today, 2019, across the planet citizens are increasingly resisting government intrusion and laws.

People locked into institutional mindsets scoff at the “populists” and right wing labels for everything they do not like but when you scrape away the paint, you find it is the age-old conflict between individuals and institutions. In Venezuela the bureaucracy and the army stayed put, and the population left. They became refugees to other nations. In Syria, the government simply bombed the citizens who questioned its behavior. The nation is a pile of rubble today. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are in a standoff but both nations thought they could embrace and calcify the past. Can’t be done. Time marches on with or without you.

Literature confirms history

This is not new. The Greek drama Antigone (circa 440 B.C.E.) covers the same turf. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet shows how private lives were damaged by cultural considerations, which describes much of European history. The USA has managed to keep individualism front and center even though is has gone to extremes. For example, there is no scientific basis for gender reassignment and this will eventually collapse. It is individualism run amok. When individualism gets out of hand it is called anarchy which degenerates into civil war.

Imperialism is a form of war

Roman Imperialism, British Imperialism, Soviet Imperialism and now Chinese Imperialism all began as economic adventures and developed into chattel societies. All but the Chinese variety is gone, and even that is being tested.

The Pacific Rim is tired of being used; Vietnam was the first communist government to resist the long arm of Chinese presumption. Now Hong Kong is conducting its own, largely successful protest. Of course there are thugs and hooligans involved in all these conflicts because those loners just love a fight, but underneath there is real angst which must be corrected. The individual has suffered too long. The pendulum will swing back but today it is all about war against institutions.


Why History is superior

In my experience there is nothing scientific about Political Science. Politics is often called an art because the individuals must balance the competing interests of diverse and often intractable participants. The Bureaucracy Loving among us do not realize how difficult this is because they conceive as governments having always the bayonet to make their word stick. Individuals have no weapons but they have a voice. The Baltic States won their freedom in the 1990s by singing! They sang in unison and the Soviet masters were too cowed to take them on in spite of their tanks, guns and bayonets.

Investigations of corruption

Currently in the United States the hubris of the Washington Bureaucracy is increasingly under investigation – the CIA, the FBI and the DOJ all involved in an attempt to overthrow the presidency of Donald Trump. The evidence is mounting. Nervous journalists are wondering whether they can personally afford to touch this. Will it mean an end to their career? They could be too close to the bureaucracy and endanger their jobs.

You see how this works. The Deep State is an example of how institutions become enemies of their own governments and people. Many nations do not have corrective options in place. Because of American diversity and freedoms we can handle this kind of corruption, in spite of it taking a great deal of time.

The Prince of Peace

Finally, this blog is about the Mind of God. The Greek plays predate Christianity, so it is not a religious issue, unless you believe the government is God, and some do; or perhaps you believe each individual is god, and that happens as well.

The Bible clears this conflict up for the individual. In the world of the God directed person, God is the government. He makes the decisions based on an omniscient mind and directs the person in the way he or she should go. It is a tricky little dance to keep oneself in the will of God and skirt or affect as the case may be the world and its Institutional vs. Individual war. It means living in the multiverse of the spiritual about which I will have much to say in the future.

#studyofhistory

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