2008-11-20 / Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Looking back on the good old days
By Sam Bari

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Last week we talked about the many flaws in recorded history. The operative word in that sentence being "recorded." The parts that we recognize as flaws were not always actual mistakes; they were events as told through opinionated eyes.

Often, the people recording historical events had agendas. By writing about events from their perspective, and publishing information the way they wanted it to be remembered in perpetuity in history books, readers, who were usually students, accepted the skewed views as fact.

For instance, let's take a look at the way the Civil War was remembered in many history books. The War Between the States, the Civil War was re-membered in many history books. The War Between the States, the Civil War (not much about it was civil), the war between the North and South, or whatever you want to call it, raged for fi ve years from 1861 to 1865.Approximately 3,000,000 peo-ple fought, and 620,000 soldiers, as well as an undetermined num-ber of civilians, paid the ultimate price for their involvement. It was the deadliest war in American his-tory.

Those facts are true.Fundamentally, the war was fought between the slave owners in the Confederate States of the agricultural south who wanted to secede from the Union and be in-dependent, and the idealists of the industrial north, who controlled the government and wanted to abolish slavery and keep the coun-try together.The northern states, or the Union, quoted Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “All men are cre-ated equal.” Consequently, ac-cording to the U. S. Constitution, slavery is illegal in this country. That was the interpretation of the constitution by the Union govern-ment. And, according to the north-ern historians, that is why the Civil War was fought - over that point.That part is only partially true unless you accept the account-ings in the history books that were written by historians who were all northerners.

Remember, the South lost, so their accounting of anything was not given a great deal of credibility when documenting wartime events after the war was over.Also, keep in mind that Thomas Jefferson coined the “all men were created equal” phrase in the Decla-ration of Independence as a rebut-tal to the accepted political theory of the day, “The Divine Right of Kings.” That part was rarely men-tioned, especially by the north.“The Divine Right of Kings” was a political and religious doc-trine of royal absolutism. It as-serted that a monarch was subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. The king was thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including the church.

Using the Thomas Jefferson quote as a political platform saying that all men are created equal, in-cluding slaves, was actually quite opposite its original intent. “The Divine right of Kings” did not dispute the equality of common-ers; it was designed to uphold the privileged status of royalty. Con-sequently, Jefferson was equating royalty to the common man, not the other way around.

In other words, the “all men are created equal” quote was not a po-litical positioning statement for the U. S. of A. It was a denouncement of British doctrine. The disagree-ment over this issue reduced the reasons for going to war to an ar-gument over semantics. Hmmm . . sound familiar?Suddenly, the noble intent of fi ghting for the dignity of mankind took a plunge to mob mentality that resulted in a fi ve-year brawl between two parties who basically said, “If you don’t agree with me, I’m gonna kick your butt.” Ameri-can ideology and wartime policy was again put to work in its best light. To make the war seem more civilized, both sides added a few debatable issues to the mix, like state autonomy, foreign economic policy, and disputes about tariffs.  This way the war would not be perceived as being fought solely as a disagreement concerning a moral issue.

Both sides avoided addressing legislating morality and separation of church and state as if they were incurable plagues that should not under any circumstances even be discussed.The point is, and you knew we’d get there if we waited long enough, “the good ol’ days” were not any better then, than they are now. It was not a more innocent time when ideals were high and people were morally responsible. It was a time of no accountabil-ity and survival of the most well-funded, well armed, and strongly supported. It was a period of mob rule when inaccurate accounting of events as they happened was the norm, not the exception.As the country spent its fi rst century defi ning itself, American citizens had no idea that their ma-nipulation of historical facts was creating a system we can’t understand.

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