How History Shapes Our Philosophy

This will be a sort of follow up to another post called “Factualizing History”.  In that article I laid out a handful of historical topics that people often get wrong.  Well, here I want to delve into this idea even more. I don’t remember the exact quote or where he said this, but Frederick Hayek explained that a person’s philosophy is strongly shaped by history, or how they think things happened in the past.  In other words, with various snippets of history, some right, some wrong, those bits of knowledge end up integrating into our minds to form how we think and how we view the world around us.

This will be a prequel to some other articles I plan on writing on the general process of perceiving things, integrating knowledge, and developing a non-contradictory system of thought within our minds.  History especially, can play a part in this process, since history acts as the evidence that we use to test the validity of ideas in the real world.

Various groups have their certain ideologies; socialists, progressives, neocons, religious fundamentalists, objectivists, libertarians, etc.  We like to think that people are entirely based on ideas, philosophy, concepts, etc. – but it’s important to see that these ideas that make up our personal philosophies are not possible without the millions of data points within our minds concerning what has happened in the past.  We have a certain set of knowledge about historical events, ranging from full and accurate, to lacking and false. Along with ideas, theories, and other data points – our brains will attempt to integrate it all together to form a non-contradictory way of seeing the world.  So, these ideas can then end up contributing to people’s overall economic or geopolitical philosophies.  Systems of thought don’t merely arise out of nowhere through either consistent or faulty thinking or because of what we read in theoretical philosophy. People think they know a certain version of history and those “facts” contribute to create their philosophy, and back up preconceived ideas, each potentially building on the last.  So, someone could rationally integrate those certain “facts” to mold into a philosophy, even if they are untrue. If they’re basing that process off of historical knowledge that is flawed or incomplete, they will end up with the wrong conclusions about the present world.  In fact, when someone has come to a faulty or immoral idea or philosophical outlook, I would argue it is very much due to having bad historical data points, not merely irrational thinking.  Its as if that statist liberal is only such because their ideas are hanging by the tiny thread of some past supposed beneficial government action.  And that warmongering neocon is only such because of a false perception of some foreign event.   We all seek to integrate what we think we know into an overall mindset that does not contradict itself.  Contradiction turns into turmoil and trouble within the mind, as consistency turns into peace and health, thus consistency is sought after, regardless of the accuracy of the person’s particular historical knowledge. So if you’re learning the wrong facts, you’re developing the wrong philosophy.

 Mythologies:

Let’s start with a simple example to make sure we’re on the same page.  Let’s imagine that school children are taught that in the past the evil Ruritania had attacked their home country of Walldavia.  They would naturally come to certain fond nationalistic conclusions of their own country, Walldavia, and sinister conclusions of Ruritania, and thus other foreign countries, and develop an overall mindset of fear of the outside and faith in their homeland.  But what if their historical education was incorrect.  What if they had been told told from an authority figure certain facts,  so as to integrate this as part of their whole “truth” of the world?  If given no other facts which might contradict that one, it can be said they are consistently processing what they think they know.

But for example, what if the government of their country Walldavia, had actually attacked Ruritania first, or manipulated Ruritanian society, or had provoked the attack, or had been saying one thing and doing another, or had been supporting another government hostile to Ruritania, or that the attack on Walldavia was hyped up, overblown…or even completely falsified.  Well learning these things would start to throw a wrench in the Walldavian peoples’ political and global ideas.  “If they were lying about that what else were they lying about?  Is my government really the good one, and that other one, the bad one?  If they’ve possibly hyped up or even made up entirely the things we’re suppose to be scared of, maybe the world isn’t such a bad place?  What is my government even doing?  If their most important role is suppose to be that of security, and this is what they’re doing in that position, do we even need them?  Could we voluntarily, as free, independent, rational people solve our own problems, and get along peacefully?  I love my land, and the people here are wonderful, but maybe the Walldavian government is up to no good.  Maybe it actually isn’t there to serve me, protect my rights and property, but in fact to grow and enlarge itself.” (Further Reading: “Anatomy of the State” by Murray Rothbard)

Facts, or what people think are facts, have an impact just as much as ideas do on how our thinking and beliefs develop.  This is all about assimilating new knowledge, and going through the process of developing our values, principles, and overall philosophy to live by. Our brains will not fully believe or accept a new principle or idea without there being a non-contradiction of facts.  If we think something isn’t consistent with what we already know, or think we know, we won’t begin to integrate it.  Every person’s brain seeks to weed out contradiction.  It’s the basic mental dichotomy – between consistency and contradiction.  The more things sort of make sense and match up in our minds – the clearer our thinking, the more mentally healthy we are, the more “at peace” we are with things and the better the conclusions we can come to.  Contradictions can arise in many ways.  Think about when you were a kid.  You learn that only the square block fits in the square hole.  The triangle does not fit.  As we start to learn we develop a framework, of say, square holes, and our bits of knowledge are square blocks.  When encountering new information, particularly ideas of the philosophical, moral, political, or economic flavor, our brains test these ideas against our system of square blocks and if we cannot fit what we “know” about the past and what is going on in the world, we’ll end up rejecting the new idea.

This process is compounded by there being an infinite number of historical facts and events that have occurred in human history, and with every passing day, yesterday becomes another piece of history.  So to have a better world filled with better ideas and ways of living, it really is very important to learn and teach the most accurate history possible. And sometimes that means practicing well researched revisionism.  As I explained in my article, “Factualizing History”, “revisionism” really isn’t a dirty word.  It has just been made to be dirty by the “court historians”, the sanctioned, approved story-tellers of history who tell it to fit an agenda, not to tell the truth.   As conscious, investigating humans, we’re always figuring new things out; revising old health advice, revising the facts of an old murder case, and revising what we thought about science or religion.  Well, the history of man is no different.  Sometimes they got it wrong in the first place- so it needs some revising.

(See…Why Historical Revisionism MattersThe Case For Revisionism, The Story of American RevisionismA Renegade History Course, or American History F’d for more information on the concept of historical revisionism.

Some real world examples will follow.  We want to explain how revisionism works, by looking back at history and re-examining well known events to get a better picture of what really happened.  And second, I hope to give the reader a taste for the power of history, and how with a fresh look at something, your whole mindset could start to change, and you could become open to a philosophy that you thought you were diametrically opposed to.

Economics:

Let’s imagine the socialist/liberal/Keynesian/statist view of economics – that government intervention is needed, wealth redistribution is necessary and moral, unions are desirable, economic stimulus is helpful, taxes on the wealthy lead to more for all of us, we have to have someone “managing” the money, etc.   It would be downright impossible to convince them of free market economics, laissez faire capitalism, etc. – IF we’re using theoretical, philosophical, logical, or moral arguments alone.  In other words I can tell them all I want how something could work, how it makes sense, and how I think it is the moral way to think – and that will not get through; because they have certain bits of information of what they think is supporting evidence about unions, depressions, panics, “robber barons”, exploitation, laws, etc. – that act as a roadblock in their minds to considering a new viewpoint.  They’ll end up saying something like…”Okay, I see how that sort of makes sense theoretically, but we all know how Hoover did nothing during the depression, and Roosevelt’s new deal brought us back from catastrophe.”  So with that “fact” lodged in their head, it does not matter how well I describe to them the efficiency of markets and how the government causes more problems than they solve.

It can be scary for a person to consider new information.  If you have what you think is a total philosophy, and if you find that even one part of it was incorrect, it starts to shatter your comfortable understanding of things.  Most people won’t admit it, but this leads to a sort of conservative thinking.  They’ve worked for years psychologically becoming okay with seeing the world in a certain way.  It would be very uncomfortable to upset that.

Let’s say that mainstream thinking liberal or conservative starts to learn how Hoover, the Republican, did not just sit around and do nothing as it is taught in school, but actually started many stimulus and emergency measures himself, and was a complete interventionist into the economy; and that Roosevelt, promising change, mostly took what Hoover had already started, made it bigger, and branded it as a “new deal”; then you keep digging and see none of that even helped the economy, but just made things worse, with deeper misallocations of resources and artificial manipulations of what would have otherwise been the spontaneous re-ordering of the market.  All those facts are out there to be found – and that’s just a start. There would be much more to uncover about that episode alone.  My point here is not to elucidate fully on every historical event.  But, just to give you an intro into a few, and to say that with new historical data, the roadblock in the brain can start to move aside for the formulation of more accurate information and better philosophy.

Further Reading and Watching:

War:

“War, and the threat of war, are big government’s best friends.” – Tom Woods

Let us now move to war and international affairs –  If children are taught a certain version of history that tells them as fact, from an authority figure, that America is the “indispensable nation”, that the US has saved the world from numerous disasters, is always the “good” guy, and always does what is “right” (whatever they think that is, as it tends to keep changing) – those children will end up with a predictable view of America today and of its foreign policy in the past, present, and future.  The first item here before we get started is to dispel the “we” myth.  We are not the government.  I am not the government.  You are not your government.  It is a great propaganda tool of modern governments to conflate modern nation states WITH the ruled citizens, as being one in the same – to keep people complacent, and believing that “we all have a say in things” and that anything involving our government becomes a collective thing – “we did that” or that “happened to us”.  Not too long ago, kings, governments, rulers, etc. were very much different creatures from their subjects or “citizens”.  I have not instituted disastrous controlling top down commands, slowly ruining the economy.  I have not bombed civilians or started wars on false pretenses. The problem has become so widespread, when anyone says America did such and such – it has come to mean the people, the economy, the culture, the government – we all did that thing.  Things in the world need to be separated and treated as the individual entities that they are.  There is the land, the geographic regions of North America.  There are the various peoples that inhabit those geographic regions.  There are the various businesses that do business there.  And there is the government, the self serving, monopoly entity which attempts to control the economy, favors its friends, brings war to the world, controls the media, etc.  So for this point onward, lets understand when I say “the US” or “America” I am referencing the federal government of the United States, which is a separate, self serving entity, apart from you and I, or the general population.

I could attempt to tell someone that a non-interventionist foreign policy would be best, that governments generally create terrorism, and that the best way to protect freedom would be to stop antagonizing the rest of the world.  They would disagree, and probably become outraged, because they are so propagandized into the war machine, would assume (because of the “we” mythology) that I am directly offending their grandfather, cousins, or friends involved in the military.  I’ve seen the responses like “my grandfather was at (xyz battle), you try telling him that!”.   In reality, when we re-evaluate world events, there is no offense to the individual participants, and certainly we’re not saying they knew what was going on.  That’s the whole point, I wish your family members didn’t have to be involved, and that I wish to dig deep into these historical events, to better understand them, and hopefully change the philosophy of the people, and the evil policies of governments, so these tragic events do not keep happening forever.  For example, I’m sorry for all the individual human beings who were at Pearl Harbor, and for their families back home; but that buying into the “surprise” mythology does no good, and only exonerates those partially responsible.  Its worth finding out who is and was really responsible for the ills of the world.  And yes, it might take courage to question what we think we know, and to face what we are uncomfortable with.

For many people, they have a set of “facts” that they’ve integrated together to form a non-contradictory view of the world. Their minds will not want to breach the idea that what they or their families have been supporting has possibly been incorrect and based on false pretenses.  People do not like to be wrong, or to realize they’ve been duped.  It is easier to accept what they are told by the media, schools, and government spokespeople, than to throw out preconceptions and re-evaluate their biases.  Its also a lot easier to buy into the sort of nationalism that the “we” mindset creates, believing your country, and everything about it, including its government, to be superior to the rest of the world; and thus, to much more easily believe that the bad guy and the blame is always elsewhere; that it couldn’t possibly be my government; they wrote the declaration and the constitution! (as if “they” is the same “they” still to this day).  When repeating these myths, people would essentially be saying – “We couldn’t do such and such because of the such and such threat, and we all know how that turned out in the past; thus I will support anything our government does, and I will be irrationally pro war and pro police state because I have this set of false historical data blocking me from considering any other ideas; I’m too scared to consider the fact that my own government might have been partly responsible for my relative’s horrible experience.  So my own philosophy will never change or improve, and this stuff will just keep happening to the world.  I will claim I’m for limited government and the free market – but live a huge contradiction through my support of global military government”  But,  simply by replacing some myths with real facts, they can start to form a new and correct non-contradictory way of thinking and viewing the world.

World War I:

The participants of that regional war had fought each other to a stalemate and would have quickly come to peace, if it weren’t for the US government entering the war, and destroying their tired opponents.  The American government had no reason to enter the war, so as usual, they had to create one (since war is the primary health of the state). The public school story is that the evil Germans sank the poor Lusitania, full of innocent travelers, and heroic America went into action.  Well, in fact, all parties involved knew that ship was full of both people and arms headed to Britain.  Germany didn’t want their enemies reinforced with fresh weapons from America, so they planned to sink the ship, which is perfectly justified in a time of war if that ship is full of weapons. They went so far as to take out a large newspaper ad in New York City warning Americans not to get on the ship.  But, the US government downplayed it and assured everyone it was okay.  Its also important to note, payment for the war would not have been so easy were it not for the instituting of the Federal Reserve just 4 years earlier.  As we start here, let this be a great example, to always dig deeper, because each event has a cause.  And as we understand each event better, we understand the overall progression of cause and effect better as well.  So when you hear someone explain “war x started because of y, which happened because of z” – know that explanation is not the whole story.  Its worth peeling back all the layers instead of just willfully believing propaganda.

Let us also pause to consider the “why”.  Why would all this be the case?  Why would governments act like this.  Why would we be told one thing, while something else is going on?  At first it might not make sense, but when we continue to reconsider the old Randolph Bourne quip, “war is the health of the state” it starts to make more sense.  I will be writing in depth on this in the future, but for now understand this;  There is a sort of cycle of cause and effect, and history does repeat itself.  Governments are self serving organizations, not the common good servants we are taught they are.  War isn’t the only outlet for their mischief either.  It comes down to a twisted philosophy, something akin to keynesianism – that spending money, counterfeiting money, and pumping it all over the place is how to “grow” economies.  They genuinely think destruction leads to prosperity.   But, take it up a notch and combine that idea with that of “cui bono”, or who gains?  In the ups and downs of the world, there are always those who gain.  We all gain in the good times, but in the bad times, those within the inner circle of world leaders, and crony capitalists gain even more. During economic downturns, it is the banking cartels and central banks who are doing just fine.  During some supposed international threat, we are never really in imminent danger, but the contractors, the military, and certain government and business interests around the world have much to take advantage of.  In addition crises, domestic or international, real or imagined, always creates the excuse for more laws, more controls, more centralization, more power, and more taxes.  Just remember this.  There is always a “why”. Don’t dismiss a theory because you don’t yet have the knowledge.  Dig in and you will find the who, what, and why, and start to piece it all together to see the larger modus operandi of governments.

World War II:

Once World War I was over, brutal terms were placed upon Germany, causing massive problems and resentment within the country, leading to a collapse of their economy, hyperinflation, and a disgruntled population ready to have a national cause to rally behind, setting the stage for Hitler’s rise, and a redo 20 years later.  Also, very significantly, when the US entered WWI, Germany knew they were in a tight spot.  They could not fight a war on two fronts, the US in the west and Russia to the east.  So rather than try to fight both, they focused their efforts on the Americans – and recruited, funded, and sent Vladimir Lenin to Russia to spread communism and incite revolution – hampering Russia’s strength in the war – and setting the stage for decades of misery and hundreds of millions dead around the world.  There is always cause and effect – and propaganda.  People don’t just slaughter people for no reason whatsoever.

In World War 2, Germany was never a direct threat to the US.  And if the US government hadn’t stormed the beaches at Normandy and dropped nuclear weapons on civilians – we would not all be “speaking German or Japanese” right now. Germany had no real chance of holding on to Europe.  Russia had already wiped out most of their army, and they would have quickly succumbed to overextension and rebellion in their occupied territories, as all empires do.  For all the propaganda about Hitler and the holocaust – the US government wasn’t particularly interested in simply putting an end to his regime.  There was a strong, organized, and covert resistance to Hitler within his territories, but the US government was not interested in assisting.  Governments aren’t interested in peace, or doing the right thing.  The US government wanted to definitively win, to triumph, to be the victor, to appear like the heroic savior of the world – and come out so on top, that they could shape the rest of the 20th century.

The Japanese were even less of a threat to the US.  They (and the Germans) wanted nothing to do with America.  The US government repeatedly goaded them on, antagonized them, sanctioned, and embargoed them purposefully into war.  The government was fully aware of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor, but of course, again, wasn’t interested in doing the right thing by simply preventing it.  Governments are entities which act to serve their own growth.  They needed an excuse to rile the American people up into supporting a full-fledged war.  Later, the Japanese realized their defeat, and were attempting to surrender through Russia.  The American government of course was aware of this, but yet again, wasn’t interested in simply achieving peace.  They needed to show off their newest tools of destruction to the rest of the world.  So, you have the needless killing of hundreds of thousands (as they also did in Dresden) to make a point.

Communism:

Next we have communism.  Sure, a horrible and immoral system, that lead to the deaths of millions, but the communist nations’ governments were never much of a threat to the people of the United States.  Good research now shows Russia was never interested in any kind of global domination as we are told, nor were they capable of any such thing with a centrally controlled economic system.  It turns out; Russia was actually rather conservative in their territorial ambition.  They gained a great deal of land, most of it ethnically Slavic, and mainly wanted to merely hold on to it.  Even if they had wanted to, again, they would not have been able to do any more.  The rule of bigness, if you want to call it that, stops large entities (the Roman Empire, British Empire, Russian Empire, US Empire, over-sized global corporations) from being very efficient or succeeding for very long.  The best example of Russian non-interest in domination is their adventure into Finland.  There was a war between Russia and Finland.  The American narrative would tell us Russia would have surely smashed Finland, and made them a soviet satellite.  But, in reality, giant Russia merely wanted to regain the ethnically Russian part of Finland that they had previously lost; and they let Finland be beyond that (thus why we don’t hear much about this in the US).

In regards to other “dangerous” communist nations, the threat was also entirely fabricated.  Since then, declassified documents let us know definitively that the US government made up most of the events surrounding Cuba – including planning to have friendly agents make attacks, and have people blow up planes and sink ships (as they had done in the1890s, sinking their own ship, the USS Maine – to pin the attack on the Spanish).  It is the modus operandi of US foreign policy.  With Vietnam, declassified documents have also shown the US government orchestrated the  “Gulf of Tonkin incident”.

Islam:

Then of course there is the newest useful bogeyman, Islamic terrorism, and all the wars, attacks, counterattacks, and propaganda that have come along with it.  There was a time when we didn’t have this threat of terrorism.  That time was a time before the western world began to meddle, occupy, colonize, and make war upon all corners of the globe.  This legacy has had consequences that we see around the world today.  Of course most people still prefer the corporate/state sponsored cable tv version of what is happening.  The common idea there is that people just got the idea one day that they “hate our freedoms” and decided to drop their lives, start a worldwide terror campaign and go kill themselves for 70 years.  There is always cause and effect and this is no exception.  When you really dig into things, we see it wasn’t only unintended blowback – but in many instances, intended chaos to create the world the establishment can then save us from.

Governments always need a threat to use as an excuse, and those threats come and go, as they do in Orwell’s 1984 with the ever shifting “wars” with the same “enemies”.  The western world timed their Muslim antagonism just right, so as soon as communism started to crumble, there was a new bad guy to fight.  Following World War II, the victors forcibly created the Jewish state of Israel, displacing people hundreds of thousands, who had lived there for hundreds of years, and thousands of others under the rule of a new theocratic, socialist Israeli government.  Countries around the world offered up land to give to the Jewish people to come and live – but that wasn’t good enough.  We, as rational thinking people, are supposed to think it’s okay to forcibly destroy a people’s land to install the “rightful”, “chosen” citizens of that “holy” land, according to some 3000 year old superstitions.  And ever since then “we” keep supporting this socialist, theocratic state, as it struggles to cling on to this patch of worthless land – because they’re our “greatest ally in the region”, and because they have “Judeo-Christian values”, etc.

In 1953 the Iranian government was negotiating with a British oil company on the terms of their contract in that country.  They couldn’t come to an agreement, so the oil company was essentially kicked out, and the oil industry nationalized.  That of course isn’t the best choice philosophically or economically – but it should be no one else’s business what a geographic region does with their resources.  But the western governments make everything their business.  Later on the western governments would relentlessly antagonize, occupy, and control countries whose populations are mostly Muslim, setting the stage for “Islamic terrorism”.

Saddam Hussein was “our friend”, and then he was our enemy.  Muammar Gaddafi was our friend, then our enemy (interestingly only after he proposed a non-dollar, gold currency for Africa)   Osama Bin Laden was our friend.  The CIA armed and trained him.  Then, magically one day he became our “enemy” – and we could keep going with even more obscure boogie men.  It’s funny that all the biggest middle eastern boogie-men; they all got their start as American puppets.  People babble on about peace in the middle east, and wonder why these darn Muslims don’t just stop killing folks – while disregarding the fact that most of the weapons, funding, and training come from western countries.  The propagandized will say “how can you think to defend a terrorist”.  Well I’m not defending terrorism, or any kind of war.  The definition of terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims”.  If we take off our brainwash glasses, we realize thats exactly what every government does domestically and internationally to achieve “order”, “peace”, and “victory”.

I’m simply pointing out cause and effect in global affairs.  You cannot escape it.  Further, the west is definitely winning the killing contest – making continued antagonism against the United States government and its employees even more understandable.  We’re outraged when even a couple Americans are killed – but over the decades the west has been responsible for killing or starving millions in other countries; helping put Mao in power, helping put the Bolsheviks in power, supporting Pol Pot, mass slaughter during African colonization, Gulf War sanctions killing half a million Iraqis; drones bombing little boys and entire wedding parties; thriving cities turned into violent hell-holes within a few years of American intervention or “aid”.

By the 2000s, the propaganda was in full force.  Again, from declassified documents and leaked sources, it has come to light that many failed “attacks” were in fact setup, staged events – for instance the “underwear” bomber.  In many cases, it has been uncovered that FBI agents, purposefully radicalized young men, gave them the means and the plan for an “attack”, then “prevented” that attack, claiming to be protecting us from terrorism.  The point of all this is to realize, “Muslim terrorists” want to kill us a lot less than most people think they do – and your government, as all states have always done, uses the fear to grow itself at your expense.  In fact, rest assured, stop watching cable “news”, and sleep easy – because the evidence shows us there is actually far less to be worried about in the world.

Today we have ISIS.  No surprise they came out of no where, are well funded, and have leaders who have magically died and been reborn in the headlines over the years.  Certain interests want Assad gone from Syria.  Last year the outright attempt to intervene in Syria failed when there was massive public opposition to the adventure.  They even tried a false flag gas attack.  But, the global planners won’t be stopped.  They always have a plan B (maybe a Gladio Plan B).  So less than a year later, a new worse than Al Qaeda terrorist group pops up.  They control parts of Syria (since they’re really the same thing as the “moderate” rebels), and now parts of Iraq, since the Iraqi army apparently just ran away, even though they outnumber and outgun the Toyota driving jihadis.  The media starts drumming up the hysteria, some British guy puts out some staged beheading videos, and that’s all you need.  They have their way, and their excuse to continue making war on the middle east, and specifically a reason to attack Syria – sold to us as ridding the region of ISIS – the threat they created in the first place.  (See below for further reading – and stay tuned for an entire article on recent international events)  Meanwhile, while we’re distracted by Ferguson, ISIS, etc. – US troops are heading back to…Afghanistan…again.

The Civil War:

The civil war should not be called a civil war at all.  It was a war by the Federal Government upon its own citizens.  Two factions were not fighting for control of a central government, as with a real civil war.  It was not fought over slavery either.  It was fought because the Federal Government was willing to kill 800,000 people in order to “preserve the union”.  The south wanted to peacefully become their own country, which should not be a problem.  Throughout human history, governments and nations have combined and split apart thousands of times.  It is not an unbreakable law that the “United States”, or any other country must be a certain number of states and a certain size, then or now.  Lincoln was not a great humanitarian emancipator.  He is directly quoted being a complete racist, and he never had any personal interest in making slaves free.  He even recommended shipping them back to Africa – to in essence rid the nation of blacks.  Here is Lincoln on race, ”I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.”  The civil war was simply the great excuse for the federal government to begin down its road to totalitarianism and for the presidency to being to shape into a dictatorship.  They create the immutable idea and precedent that we are all supposed to think now – that it is good and fine for nations and governments to grow in size and power – but to get smaller, relinquish power, decentralize – is tantamount to insanity, chaos, racism – and must be stopped at all costs, including total war.   It was during this time they began to silence newspapers, jail dissenters, and generally act with authoritarian impunity.

The north changed their tune part way through the war to curry favor. The war was unpopular because most people did not think it justified for a government to wage war on a geographic region, simply because they wanted to be their own country.  It was vitally important for the government to keep the southern states, because that was where much of the tax revenue came from.  They needed the agricultural exports and shipping centers of the south.

The “southerners” are credited so strongly with their relationship with slavery, but slavery has existed in human history for thousands of years.  They didn’t invent it.  Just decades prior, the north was full of slaves too.  The trend was on the way out.  It would have peacefully stopped in the south as well, through a change in the moral attitudes and economic realities very quickly, even if the south had become their own country.  It just happens that it is a much better way for an economy to function if market forces can regulate, if all people can be consumers and can freely sell their labor to the highest bidders.  Very few people owned slaves in the south, and to that vast majority who didn’t, it was a really bad system to try to work and make your own life under.  Further, slavery was not solely kept alive by the south. The Federal government was absolutely complicit in keeping it going as long as it did, through creation and enforcement of laws that helped keep slaves slaves.   And finally it was not as if northerners were not racist.  Again, in the north it was not a popular war.  It was a war waged by the government to maintain power and taxation capability.  The population on the whole were not heavily invested in the slavery issue.  And many were plenty racist, towards blacks, native americans, Irish and so many others (even to this day). In other words, it was not like the whole of the north were staunch moral abolitionists, and the whole of the south were backwards racists.

So, I hope it’s clear, slavery was a horrible thing, would have naturally come to an end in America, and was not the cause of the civil war.  Our whole modern perception of that era is mostly wrong.  And this is a great example of how historical facts shape peoples’ current ideas.  For example, utilizing the mainstream civil war narrative, these “facts” they think they know, feed in (along with others) to help them come to some incorrect conclusions today.  They think that only through big government interventions can problems be solved.  They associate anything decentralized in the political realm, like state’s rights, with racism.  They associate the idea of secession in general with racism.  They’ve become desensitized to civilian killings here and around the world, since government is always doing right when it burns cities to the ground.  They must be doing right in their minds, if its their government doing it.  We can see how with a correction of historical facts on even just one episode in history, a person’s ideas can start to change. That shattering of preconceived notions can begin, and they will be open to new ideas of philosophy without being inhibited by bad history.

Conclusion:

Given what we’ve briefly covered here, we see how a poor understanding of the past can be replaced with a better one, with an outcome of clearer thinking.  So when I attempt to tell someone that markets operate best without intervention, that the interventions they think are protecting them are really favoring vested interests, that government spending is never a gain, that rational self-interest is actually moral, that the spontaneous order of the market really is the ideal moral process, and is the one that ends up benefitting everyone the most – well their mind can potentially be unblocked enough to start to consider these ideas.

Or suppose a person is equipped with a more correct narrative of war history, they can begin to reprocess what they think they know.  If I tell that person that a philosophy of non-interventionism is moral and preferred, that if it weren’t for governments meddling in each other’s business, seeking to grow themselves, there would be very few “threats” in the world, that the whole system of the CIA, State Dept., foreign aid, USAID “charity”, defense contracts, etc. – actually creates and perpetuates the problems we think we need those institutions for.

Since revised and correct facts about history are now within their minds, a new non-contradictory process can take shape, allowing the individual to come to the best conclusions on their own.  Giving someone the conclusions first never works (telling them what and how to think).  They merely need the truth, and the freedom to think things out on their own.  Our minds naturally want the truth, and want non-contradiction.  We will work things out if we have decent information and the freedom to do so.

We could sum this up to say – whenever a person has logical fallacies in their thinking – they probably have some incorrect facts about what happened in the past.  The more correct the historical knowledge, the clearer the thinking.  To the average person, an event, a cold hard fact of evidence has a much larger influence than someone explaining a principle to them.  Once we get to that principled point of thinking though, where we understand principles and ideas are more important, then it starts to go the other way, and with improved philosophy and methods of thinking we can forever perceive current and past events with more clarity – then our ability to gain knowledge and wisdom becomes infinitely compounded.

Other Historical, War, and Foreign Policy Topics of Interest:

History Today:

All of this is important to me, because I have seen and experienced the effects of history on my thinking.  I had gotten heavily into economics and philosophy, and thought myself pretty knowledgeable.  But, then I discovered what history could do for my thinking.  Before, I didn’t understand the importance – and used to think it was just a dry, non-applicable academic discipline (which I think it still is in many settings; when people “study” history in an isolated way, and can recount what happened, but little work is done to venture into the implications and how it relates to all areas of life.)  For years, I have frequented Mises.org – the hub of the Austrian School of Economics online.  I soaked up the economic and political ideas.  On the site I noticed a great deal of historical content, books, articles, speeches, audio – and in my naivety, dismissed this as more like a side discipline, like a sort of hobby if you just happen to be interested.  But then I tried it out.  And it began to blow my mind.  I realized what I was learning was the fuel to back up what I already knew to be right – but more importantly, it was also the wrecking ball to tear down what I still *thought* to be right.  I found good historical knowledge serves a vital role in the formation of non-contradictory thinking.  History is anything from yesterday to the beginning of time – and by knowing more about what happened yesterday, I started to weed out bad or faulty ideas or conclusions; to form a better way of seeing today.  I started to see that some of the economic and political conclusions of even consistent, rational philosophies didn’t fully hold up with better historical data.

My favorite people to learn from tend to be great historians – because these people, with their breadth of knowledge; come to consistent, logical conclusions, and are able to back it up with both theory and evidence.  People like Brett Vennoite, Stefan Molyneux or (Youtube), Tom Woods, Tom DiLorenzo, Isabel Paterson (and her book God of the Machine), Ralph Raico, and Hans Herman Hoppe.  But, most of all, Murray Rothbard fits this description.  Rothbard wrote prolific volumes of well researched entertaining history.  He had a thirst for knowledge, and that showed through in his own output as a writer and a thinker.  His work is so clear, rigorously logical, and thoroughly backed up.  He didn’t just come up with great theoretical ideas, then assume he had it all figured out.  He gave us the information to come to the same conclusions ourselves.

Personally, I feel this is my greatest intellectual asset now; to have a good understanding and appreciation for learning history.  It can be applied in so many ways including mental and physical health, the environment, economics, and others.  One of the richest areas for learning is that of war.  We can see why they start, who benefits, and understand the repercussions from one conflict to the next.  Global events are always tied to one another.  These things you see in the news are not mysterious out of the blue occurrences.  It is important to know that mainstream history, or court historian history, is told by those in power, by those who run the schools, by those who win and conquer; and their ideas are not always good, and their history not always correct.  Events are passed down and recorded in ways to stick to a narrative, to justify actions, to give after-the-fact reasons, and to glorify.  The more we learn, the more we are inspired and encouraged to keep learning and questioning everything we see – and we end up able to personally analyze anything in the world, without having to be told  everything that “happened” by a “news” source.

By properly educating ourselves on wars and global events of the past, we can form a better story of how governments grow, and how we got to where we are today.  Because again, if educated with a better picture of the past, you’ll see most of the ills of the world are caused by governments, both the so called “good” ones, and the “bad” ones.  Through protectionism, favoritism, regulation, inside deals, revolving doors, war, and propaganda – governments, all of them, by their nature, facilitate the evils of the world.  Some are obvious and direct, while others, particularly in the economic realm could seem counterintuitive.  But really, most wrongdoings of business would not exist if not for governments creating problems, or granting privileges to those businesses in the first place, and then legislating a framework to keep the whole thing going.

When we suggest a non-interventionist foreign policy we’re called naïve.  Well, it’s not that we’re naïve; it’s that we’re more informed.  I have a clearer idea of what goes on in the world, that leads me to the conclusion that governments need to stop meddling with other governments – because it’s that meddling that causes blowback, “terrorism”, sanctions, death, and destruction.  Others are lacking crucial bits of knowledge that hold their minds back from coming to better conclusions.

Or when we suggest an explanation of a big event counter to the government narrative, we’re told – “but who would want to do that?” or “that doesn’t make any sense; why would they do that?” Well dig into history and you’ll see there is plenty of reason.  Of course we, individual people who live in certain geographic regions do not want to go slaughter people in other geographic regions, and have nothing to gain from doing so.  But, governments, their connected corporations, their lenders, defense contractors, financial backers, etc. – certainly have plenty of reasons to setup events that lead to war.

In other words governments have been creating domestic and international problems, forcibly “providing” you monopolistic “services” to fix those problems, all while creating more problems to justify their existence to you.  Bottom line is anything in the world can be done without the use of a coercive violent monopoly in charge – and learning more about what they have been up to in the past makes it a little easier to break the myths and imagine a better world.  We can begin to question the entire existence of governments, and with better ideas, better philosophy, and a better understanding of the past – can start to move to a moral, accountable, market based world.

Please feel free to comment or ask a question.  And as always, if you find this content valuable, please share it, like it, follow us on Facebook, subscribe on WordPress.

Also, if these topics interest you, and whether you agree with me right away or not, visit some of the links I’ve included throughout the article.  I include so many links, so that you don’t have to just take my word, you can click right away and browse through the information to make up your own mind.

9,511 total views, 1 views today

%d bloggers like this: