Reflections at the Birth of another New Year
New years, for no tangible reasons other than perhaps those involving psychology and tradition, seem useful for retrospection, for reevaluating our past in light of the closer realities of our present, for delving into the history we’ve been taught in contrast to the daily realities we ourselves perceive. That exercise may reveal a bit more of the truth we require in order to nudge our world towards a more just and more equitable reality, perhaps even towards a fair world, one where truth rather than propaganda and manipulation shape our decisions.
A starting point for me, at least today, involves reevaluation of what we’ve been taught about the Second World War, its purported causes, its villains and its heroes, an exercise which is anathema to its victors, and based on such reevaluation, to analyze the institutions they created, something which on a limited basis historian John Toland did in his seminal work, The Rising Sun, with respect to the great conflict in the Pacific. But that part of the war was the little brother, with roots and branches and even twigs and leaves very much more limited than the macro political and economic waves that twisted society and its history into the conflict that made us who we’ve become.
Looking at the war’s resulting “bastions of liberty and democracy” for what they are, I have to ask myself if that’s what they’ve always been, callous frauds with little interest in humanity, democracy or liberty, with a determined drive to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a very limited few; or, if they’ve just been corrupted along the way, and if so, why and when.
Few modern students are taught the original German perspectives on World War II, even their study being somewhat less than legal in France and Germany. Not surprising as the major blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the greedy victors of the First World War. Not facing those facts comfortably permits perpetuation of the same strategies and tactics with reference to today’s conflicts where, following tradition, we obfuscate real causes with slogans and propaganda making true and honest reflection and debate, … well, … “unpatriotic”. I first faced that phenomena when as a very young instructor of American History, it struck me to wonder at what the English perspective on the causes of the American Revolution might be, … with very surprising results, … my personal epiphany.
An analysis of the political (United Nations) and economic institutions (Bretton Woods International Monetary Fund and World Bank) created after the Second World War, not by all the victors but principally by the United States, United Kingdom, and perhaps, France, may well provide critical clues as to the real causes of that terrible war. In every case they have led to an oligarchic structure designed for world conquest, the same desire for conquest attributed to the war’s vanquished “villains”. When initially considering the issue several New Years ago I focused on what appeared a small matter: why was the League of Nations eliminated rather than reformed? After some study the answer appeared to be: because it had no veto wielding permanent members of an all-powerful security council, and thus, the United Nations was “spontaneously” created, its Charter with a Preamble comparable to that of the United States Declaration of Independence, and just as hypocritical. Not just in hindsight as becomes obvious when the Charter and its structures and numerous loopholes are carefully and objectively examined (an exercise performed by a class I taught in International Law last year) but as a cynical exercise in foresight.
As to the economic aspects, it seems that institutions were required to place economic control in the hands of financiers, not just as had already occurred in the United States in 1913, but everywhere if possible, safely divorced from governments (other than the oligarchic powers) and any semblance of democracy.
As to Human Rights? The war’s propaganda required that the issue be forcefully addressed and it was, … with lip service carefully structured to avoid any enforcement mechanisms, but even that lip service was immediately sacrificed in favor of creation of the State of Israel (an abomination with respect to the right of popular self-determination, international law, human rights and liberal Jewish philosophy).
So, what to do on this beautiful bright day in the Colombian Andes where, unfortunately, all the snow seems to have disappeared from our formerly pristine glaciers turning them, at least for today, into ironic celestial desserts? Seemingly, my only option is to reflect and share my reflections among my friends, many of whom will not agree with them. Ahhh, the joys of political masochism, also known as progressivism.
And to what purpose?
Perhaps to share a perspective that most of us can agree with: that if we are to improve we need to look at mirrors showing us who we are and how we evolved rather than to gaze at attractive portraits of how we would like to appear. Of course, that’s only a starting point but starting points matter.
On every journey to a defined location two coordinates are essential, where we are and where we’d like to go. Honest reflections are at least as important as beautiful aspirations to those who care for truth and justice.
For the others, … the few and powerful, … well, … apparently, … the world is just fine.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2015; all rights reserved