The Past as Future Guide

We are being frequently reminded of Santayana’s warning that “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” by those who would use scapegoating and fear-mongering to explain why our sorry economic state exist as it does today.  There is no evidence that shows a connection between a rising multi-cultural society and the hardships most of us face economically.  It does however serve as a platform for those seeking election who use it to conceal what lies at the root of our problems – crony capitalism.


Cultural diversities can create logistical problems for some businesses, local governments and social relationships but any notion that such diversities are responsible for what ails us as a nation is simply baseless on the surface and has other underlying considerations by those people who make such claims.  Many are religious extremists, zealots of laissez-faire economics, super patriots or a combination of all three.

Post-WWI Europe was struggling to recover from the damaging aftereffects of a devastating war and never fully recovered before the markets began to crash in the late 1920’s.  The sense of helplessness and hopelessness helped set the stage for political charismatics like Hitler and Mussolini to rise in power by motivating crowds to see that “foreigners” and ethnically diverse populations within their culture were the source of their despair.

This capitulation by the public to allow their anxieties about their future to override any clear thinking ultimately led to one of the worst episodes of genocide in human history.  Likely few if any citizens of the German Reich would have considered that their failure to challenge the fear-mongering raised by the Brown Shirts who supported cleansing their culture of Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and all others not of the superior Arian race they exalted would have led to the annihilation of millions of innocent men, women and children


Those who should have been the most vocal opposing Hitler’s racism often capitulated to his policies

In his insightful essay, Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer, draws the parallels between the rise of today’s neo-nazi and modern fascist groups and similar actions in post-WWI Europe.  The same crowd mentality that helped put sociopaths into power in the 1930’s European theater is evolving again today in our own backyard

“ …malignant racism combined with a bad economy can still foment social poison. Hatred seeks power and power seeks hatred, and they sometimes find each other.”  – Robert C. Koehler, “As the Global Economy Continues to Crumble, Old Fascism Finds a New Voice”


An American Brown Shirt

Jody Hice, the candidate running to replace uber-conservative Congressman Paul Broun in Georgia fits the mold of someone whose hate for people different from him satisfies his rationale of why America is in decline.  Like those who share Hice’s distaste for anyone who isn’t a “traditional” American (white Western European) Hice is emblematic of Sinclair Lewis’s stark warning back in the 1930’s.

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”


Like the man who he seeks to replace, Hice is homophobic, Islamaphobic and someone who believes that the 10th amendment to our Constitution overrides everything that precedes it.  His concentration on these limited issues blocks out the immense wisdom that debunks and deplores them and yet Hice is a man driven and will take anyone down with him who gets drawn in to his over-the-top assumptions on what ails us as a nation.

Tim Murphy’s article article in Mother Jones tells us how Hice “asserts that supporters of abortion rights are worse than Hitler … compares gay relationships to bestiality and incest [and] proposes that Muslims be stripped of their First Amendment rights” (an extreme right view advocated here).   Hice also labels police who arrest angry anti-gay protestors as “the gestapo” without being aware that police brutality towards people he condemns also exists.  Hice would likely condone such gestapo-style tactics however for those who are not part of his xenophobic purging efforts.  He makes comparisons of how same-sex marriage will affect traditional marriages in much the same way a “trashy neighborhood” affects all residents even as statistics show that there is a divorce every 36 seconds in this country and you can bet that nearly all of those are from heterosexual marriages.

What’s most striking about candidate Hice, a pastor and talk radio host, is how he bizarrely sees love’s part in the marriage equation.  You get the feeling that he doesn’t understand the variations of love that make up family and other social arrangements.

“The concept of ‘love’ is not the issue when it comes to marriage!” he writes. “People love all kinds of other people and things, but that does not grant permission for marriage. It is illegal to marry a child or a sibling. It is illegal to marry a pet, which many people love dearly.”    SOURCE

How does someone convince voters (Hice is the leading vote-getter in the first round of balloting) that he understands complex issues rationally when a basic understanding of the differences of love seems to elude him.  For someone who champions Christian values as a religious leader Hice seems to relegate love to a lower plateau than the apostle Paul did.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge ; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  1 Cor.:1-3

Between the emotional strengths of faith, hope and love Paul confirmed that “the greatest of these is love.”

I suspect Hice actually understands the different ways in which people express love for spouses, children and their pets but this is the twisted process he uses to conceal his own fear and contempt for something he can’t wrap his small brain around.

He inflames listeners who themselves struggle with the cultural changes of today using biblical verses that are more ambivalent than sustainable in how we should treat decent people who happen to be homosexual or don’t share predominantly Christian beliefs.   Hice and his ilk must convince themselves that homosexuality and the non-Christian are evil and beastly.  Hating the sin but not the sinner just won’t suffice to battle their perceived demons.  Hate is a prime motivator of human action and when concealed with red, white and blue hallelujahs it becomes a lynch party out to right some convoluted wrong.

It is this inimical aspect of Hice and his contemporaries that ought to raise serious red flags with people but it apparently gets lost when it is wrapped in a context that attempts to explain a thinly defined concept of “what is ailing America” .  An economically depressed society is less willing to scrutinize the motives of people seeking public office, becoming easy prey for those who would exploit an emotional issue to promote their own agenda.  Too many either lack the critical thinking skills required to read the small print of political promises or simply avoid it because the pain from being economically depressed already weighs too heavy on them.

We’ve been here before as a nation.  The road signs are in full display.  Let’s hope the keepers of our past are not silent or worse, drowned out by the fear and loathing that get noticed from the Jody Hice’s of this world.



10 responses to “The Past as Future Guide

  1. The economically depressed and ignorant – it’s a powerful combination that allows them to be pulled along by people like Hice. It’s human nature to want to find something or someone to blame for our woes and this is what the extremists capitalize on. It is so damn dangerous a coupling. Our “freedom of speech” sure does permit a lot of pernicious evils. These lunatics are preaching hate speech, however, and I can’t understand why they get away with it. And if any of them tells me they don’t hate the sinner, but hate the sin, I just might vomit. How utterly disingenuous. I pray that we elect a Democrat as President, and take over the House. It is only through showing that the Dems can bring this economy around and create jobs that will stop this flood of insanity from the right.

    • “I pray that we elect a Democrat as President, and take over the House. I”

      And if I still prayed i would pray that those Democrats are not tied at the hip to corporate America. This is an exclusive arrangement within the GOP but there are those in the Democratic Party that are sadly kindred spirits to this arrangement

  2. These people have at best a childishly wishful knowledge of history to start with, married to a feeling that they are not making it in America, supported by a Fox-led explanation that it’s “their fault”. Just add a couple of charismatic mouths to the mix and you are ripe for the demagogue to emerge. And of course since it sounds like patriotism, it works…Woe to us who see it coming do nothing…although what can be done is a good question.

    • “And of course since it sounds like patriotism…”

      I suspect it does Sherry but only to those white male extremist who still mistake the Articles of Confederation for the Constitution. 😉

  3. love that video….. I guess, though, that if Gay Marriage were allowed ….would all Americans be forced to drink ‘light’ beer and eat only Brie cheese. I think that is a legit concern.

    • This is a vicious rumor being spread by cheddar cheese processors and third rate beer companies like Blatz, ABC and Ballantine breweries.

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