by Charles Gruenwald
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
If there is a word to describe individuals who claim to speak for humanity as a whole at this present time, it could very well be “isolated.” Perhaps every generation has had its share of self-appointed representatives who believe that they are at a point in time where technology has advanced as far as it could go, where intellect has fully evolved, where the mistakes of the past cannot return, and that they believe they know their place with future historians. The problem with these folks is that since they believe that they are more advanced than previous generations, they believe that there is nothing to learn from them.
There are several variations of this story, but the first time I’d heard it was during the coverage of the death of former President Ronald Reagan: while visiting a school, President Reagan had been confronted by a student who supposedly said, “you have nothing in common with this generation. We have things you didn’t.” To which Mr. Reagan replied, “you’re right, we didn’t have those things, we had to invent them for you.”
There is an obvious arrogance — a break in logic, when an individual believes that the present was somehow formed without the help of the past; and also just as arrogant, but also dangerous, is to believe that the events that were covered in history classes had never happened. There are points in history that are difficult to comprehend as actually happening, without actually living through them.
Every time the Holocaust is the subject of a documentary or memorial, there is usually the mention of the words “never again.” The hope by many of those who say these words, is that the governments of the world will act as the protectors who will prevent another Holocaust. Sadly, “never again” has happened several times since the end of World War II. And just like the Holocaust, these brutal acts have happened as a result of governments that have reached the most corrupt level – where the will of the politicians has been placed above the lives and the rights of the citizens.
From the Soviet Union, Maoist China, Viet Nam, and Cambodia, to present-day China, Cuba, North Korea – and even the Shining Path in Peru, at least one-hundred million men, women, and children have been murdered in the name of communism.
Since their barbaric methods of retaining power tend to create hostility, communist leaders are paranoid. As a result of this paranoia, just about any action by a citizen under communist rule could be perceived as a threat. Therefore, the natural urges to ask questions, learn about the unknown, and even better ones’ self must be suppressed. In fact, it is a safe assumption that if not for the technological advancements in the rest of the world – especially the United States, and a few “borrowed” German scientists after World War II, Soviet Russia never would have advanced past 1917 technologically.
Here in Chicago, we have what is called the Maxwell Street flea market. And just like a typical flea market, there are many places to buy counterfeit items. From Levi’s jeans to Zippo lighters, anything that could be copied has a chance of turning up here. Communist countries are very similar.
While in Afghanistan, I had an opportunity to see several Soviet-era aircraft. Thanks to industrial plagiarism, the common theme that they all have is that they closely resemble American aircraft. For example, the Antonov AN-12 is almost a dead ringer for a Lockheed Martin C-130.
This plagiarism did not end with the fall of the Soviet Union – I had seen Chinese-made imitations of Chevrolet Trailblazers and Kia Sedonas. The Chinese do not try to hide the fact that counterfeit automobiles are being produced in China; in February, 2012, Chinese auto manufacturer Jianghuai Automobile Company (JAC) announced plans to build a clone of the Ford F-150. In fact, JAC had built the Chevrolet and Kia knock-offs that I had seen in Afghanistan.
The Occupy Wall Street crowd has a dilemma: it wants to live in a Soviet-type workers’ paradise, but its members also enjoy their Apple products — as well as many other neat things that are a product of a free market. Under communist rule, the iPhone and everything else that Apple sells never would have been invented – unless they were invented somewhere else, and then their clones were sold on Maxwell Street over here.
Compared to brutal treatment of its citizens, building counterfeit goods is an insignificant infraction. Unfortunately, many Americans – thanks to a corrupted education system and/or denial — refuse to accept the fact that primitive abuse of human beings actually occurs in a civilized world. It is ironic that people who pride themselves on a self-perception that they are deep thinkers, who claim to have open minds, also refuse to think about the evil realities of the type of government that they wish to live under.
If humanity has reached the peak of civility and intellect, as the most arrogant of pseudo-intellectuals among us claim, why do people continue to post videos on YouTube in which at least one person says “hold my beer and watch this” – seconds before someone has to call 911? These same people are also arrogant enough to believe that future generations will think of them the same way that they think of themselves. Hopefully, there will be future generations that will be allowed to learn from the past, and not isolate itself from it.
Image: Uploaded by russavia; author: edwin.11; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
Born in Chicago and raised in northwest suburban Cook County, Chuck Gruenwald developed an unfavorable opinion of machine politics quite early in life. In addition to cars, electronics, law enforcement, and politics, Chuck enjoys writing, and is also a horse racing fan. He has recently written op-eds for uncommonshow.com