Skip to comments.Quick, Hide the Past
Posted on 07/23/2014 6:23:42 AM PDT by Kaslin
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."
--Party slogan, "1984"
It is an essential part of the totalitarian mentality -- excuse me, not mentality, but to use today's neo-non-word, mindset. As if approved ideas could simply be poured into the mind to set, the way concrete is. And any trace of what was once there will be covered, effaced, smoothed over. For the past must not only be hidden but, to the well-trained mindset, it never existed at all.
It's an approach as old as the French Revolution, which was not only going to create a new socio-economic system but a New Man -- just as the Bolshevik Revolution set out to do the same. And would end in the same result: total dictatorship. Bonaparte was the natural result of one revolution, Stalin of the other.
Some things never change, except maybe the name of the dictator. The Reign of Terror became the Great Purge became Mao's Cultural Revolution as one revolution followed another, each bloodier and more terrible than the last.
It's not just results that some revolutions seek to impose but finality. For there must never be any going back to the old order, the ancien regime. Louis XVI and his queen had to be guillotined, and the Tsar's family stood against a wall and mowed down. Lest any trace of the past survive to return. Or even be remembered. Except in the caricature of history the New Order would authorize.
It's not just totalitarian regimes that insist on a kind of historical amnesia: "College to remove Lee Chapel's flags" --Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 10, 2014. It seems Washington and Lee University is removing the Confederate flags from the place they occupied in the chapel, where one of its namesakes lies buried. A group of law students at the university objected to the flags' being displayed there, and so they had to be moved.
To quote the university's president, slavery was a "regrettable chapter of our history, and we must confront and try to understand this chapter."
President Kenneth Ruscio's language is itself worth confronting and trying to understand. Let's see: Slavery was "regrettable" -- like a social engagement one cannot attend, as in Mrs. and Mrs. John Doe regret they will not be able to attend high tea next Sunday a week. And we must confront human slavery, the South's "peculiar institution," to use the euphemism of an earlier time, by moving, not confronting, those Confederate flags. Quick, hide them away somewhere. Quick, before the children see.
But why remove only the flags? What about the general? Why even keep Lee's name as part of the university's? Not to mention Washington's. Weren't they both not just planters and generals but slaveholders?
No need to go into detail about how they both came to oppose slavery and eventually provided for the emancipation of their own slaves, which both of them had acquired largely through inheritance or marriage. That would mean going into history, which can be messy. Unlike ideology, which can be as superficial as President Ruscio's explanation for why the flags are being removed, which was as lengthy as it was superficial. Just forget all those bothersome historical details, along with slavery, the Confederacy and anything else in the past that might disturb our equilibrium -- or educate us.
Yes, the flags had to go. To quote the law students' letter of protest, they felt "alienation and discomfort" whenever they saw those banners. Their tender sensibilities should not have to be subjected to such a sight. It's enough to make you wonder how these law students will face up to some of the characters they may run across when they become lawyers, civil or criminal: murderers, rapists, serial killers, abortionists, chiselers small-time and big, gangsters, pimps....
Maybe these future lawyers could be given what today are called trigger-warnings, formal notices now issued by some of our more prestigious universities so their students can be forewarned, and won't risk being shocked on opening any book that deals with history, that record of mankind's follies, crimes and atrocities.
So, yes, hide those old Confederate flags away, maybe in the kind of dusty display cases museums use. Or at least call them something else, like Historical Artifacts. The way the signage for Confederate Boulevard here in Little Rock was changed to some less historically charged name.
Yes, that's the ticket. Change the name, change the past. Just as Constantinople became Istanbul, Saigon is now Ho Chi Minh City, and St. Petersburg became Petrograd, then Leningrad, and now is St. Petersburg again. What's in a name? Sometimes a whole history.
No, we wouldn't want the past to live, or even be remembered. Lest it disturb our innocence, which is not always easy to distinguish these days from what used to be recognized as just plain ignorance.
“College to remove Lee Chapel’s flags”
A tragedy and a travesty.
Was in Lexington VA a few years back and walked right past the chapel.
Didn’t go in because I didn’t feel I was well enough dressed to do honor to America’s greatest general.
Now, I wish I had.
I would love to get my hands on elementary school social studies books.
Party ownership of the print media
made it easy to manipulate public opinion,
and the film and radio carried the process further.
The Ministry of Truth, Winston's place of work, contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below.
The Ministry of Truth concerned itself with Lies. Party ownership of the print media made it easy to manipulate public opinion, and the film and radio carried the process further.
The primary job of the Ministry of Truth was to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programmes, plays, novels - with every conceivable kind of information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child's spelling-book to a Newspeak dictionary.
Winston worked in the RECORDS DEPARTMENT (a single branch of the Ministry of Truth) editing and writing for The Times. He dictated into a machine called a speakwrite. Winston would receive articles or news-items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, in Newspeak, rectify. If, for example, the Ministry of Plenty forecast a surplus, and in reality the result was grossly less, Winston's job was to change previous versions so the old version would agree with the new one. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs - to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.
When his day's work started, Winston pulled the speakwrite towards him, blew the dust from its mouthpiece, and put on his spectacles. He dialed 'back numbers' on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of The Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes' delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news-items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to rectify.
In the walls of the cubicle there were three orifices. To the right of the speakwrite, a small pneumatic tube for written messages; to the left, a larger one for newspapers; and on the side wall, within easy reach of Winston's arm, a large oblong slit protected by a wire grating. This last was for the disposal of waste paper. Similar slits existed in thousands or tens of thousands throughout the building, not only in every room but at short intervals in every corridor. For some reason they were nicknamed memory holes. When one knew that any document was due for destruction, or even when one saw a scrap of waste paper lying about, it was an automatic action to lift the flap of the nearest memory hole and drop it in, whereupon it would be whirled away on a current of warm air to the enormous furnaces which were hidden somewhere in the recesses of the building.
As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames.
What happened in the unseen labyrinth to which the tubes led, he did not know in detail, but he did know in general terms. As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead.
In the cubicle next to him the little woman with sandy hair toiled day in day out, simply at tracking down and deleting from the Press the names of people who had been vaporized and were therefore considered never to have existed. And this hall, with its fifty workers or thereabouts, was only one-sub-section, a single cell, as it were, in the huge complexity of the Records Department. Beyond, above, below, were other swarms of workers engaged in an unimaginable multitude of jobs.
There were huge printing-shops and their sub editors, their typography experts, and their elaborately equipped studios for the faking of photographs. There was the tele-programmes section with its engineers, its producers and its teams of actors specially chosen for their skill in imitating voices; clerks whose job was simply to draw up lists of books and periodicals which were due for recall; vast repositories where the corrected documents were stored; and the hidden furnaces where the original copies were destroyed.
And somewhere or other, quite anonymous, there were the directing brains who co-ordinated the whole effort and laid down the lines of policy which made it necessary that this fragment of the past should be preserved, that one falsified, and the other rubbed out of existence.
The university twelve miles from my home in South Carolina and about sixty miles from the site of the first secession meeting here in the “Cradle of the Confederacy” is turning out graduates who major in history and cannot name the only president of the CSA! This I know from conversations with some of them. They do not recognize the Battle of Hastings, have never heard of the Magna Charta, cannot name the YEAR the American civil war began and have trouble naming the century, cannot tell you anything worth knowing about WWI, WWII, the Korean war and on and on. They literally would have no hope of passing my eighth grade, public school history final to ENTER public high school in the fifties but they have a bachelor degree in history!
The worst part to me is that most of what they don’t know could be picked up by just paying a little attention and showing some interest to what is shown on television. Apparently they have a degree in history but absolutely no real interest in the subject. One even told me that he studied history because he thought he needed to have a degree of some kind and history was the easiest subject. Judging from his ignorance of history it surely must have been. Twenty years ago I was told that the only reason to have a history degree is if you intended to TEACH history. How can you teach it when you don’t even have what used to be an eighth grade knowledge level of the subject? I suppose the answer is that you teach the politically correct version and ignore reality.
I would be curious as to what they do know. Historical patterns would be fun. Like one major question I have is how every civilization that practiced human sacrifice came to an end. (should that be a question? sleep deprived)
Love the Library of Congress, by the way. If I wasn’t online so much for these rampant current events i would be reading all the works of George Washington, John Adams, etc. Sigh.