Monday, June 17, 2013

We Are ALL Equal, Just Some More Equal Than Others

In light of all the recent government scandals, the NSA, the IRS, our State Departments cluelessness about overseas affairs, I read that the sales of two books have soared. It goes without question that Huxley's 1984, published in 1932 and set in London in 2450 AD or 634 AF (after Ford, a Hitler?) would be popular. Sales on Amazon have soared 7000% over the past few days. However, I don't think he ever dreamed that "Big Brother" would be watching us with brotherly love quite so soon. 437 years sooner in fact.

The book I find just as fascinating and whose sales have also soared, but not as much, is George Orwell's book, ANIMAL FARM. This, in many ways, is a darker tale that tells of farm animals rebelling against their farmer. Again set in England, early in the book they unite and mount a barn sign that says, "All animals are equal." At the end, after a series of escapades with the powers that be, the sign, on the last page, has changed slightly to read, "Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others."

It appears that Orwell and Huxley were close and the latter let Orwell read both his draft and reviews. Did one influence the other or did events of the day influence them? England in the 1930's was chaotic, as was the rest of the world trying to deal with the great depression. Capitalism had for all intents and purposes collapsed giving Communists an opportunity to try to take over much of Europe. A close inspection of newspapers in the US show that "Reds" or "Commies" were very active in the states as well. The irony is that Hitler, as monstrous as he was, may well have united all the warring sides and by their shared commitment saved themselves and most of Europe from Communism after defeating Hitler.

Santana said also around the same time, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This is merely a restatement of a comment made by Edmund Burke in the late 1700's.

The hardest thing for us, as a republic is deciding just how much coddling we want or need. Do we want our government reading or listening to everything we do in the name of protecting us? Has it ever worked? Did that stop the Soviet Union from collapse?

Anyone that has read extensively of the debates and battles of our founding fathers will discover that they did not agree, but they did learn to talk to and come to some common understandings. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr fought a duel over such differences. As a conservative in some things and progressive on others, I have found that those that think they know the answer don't. I have more faith in those that admit they DON'T know but are willing to find one. We are so polarized into camps where both sides know the answers that we have reached a stalemate that has the public paying the price.

Humans are a fickle bunch and love to talk about this and that. I'm sure I qualify for that as well. However, it cannot be denied that until we truly learn the lessons, dry or as boring as they may be of the past, we ARE condemned to make the same mistakes over and over again until, like that great under appreciated movie, "Groundhog Day," the main character, who repeats the same day over and over until finally begins to understand the meaning of life.

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