History, Revolution, Eugen Rosenstock and SNAFU …

downloadLooking for parallels in history is a fool’s game; one can find in history nearly anything imaginable. Nevertheless, many fools play this game with themselves or with others in the hope of finding some light in history’s dark glass. We, no less foolish, noticed some parallels the other night as the soap rinsed off in the shower. (A time in which there is absolutely nothing else to do, but think.) We were contemplating the Great Depression (1929 – 1941) in comparison to today. The first thing we noted was that back then, there was a world war, followed by a decade of economic prosperity and cultural license that came to be called the “Roaring Twenties.” Then, the stock market collapse of late 1929 and the ensuing depression. Interestingly, in much of the United States, there came with that depression, a reversal of the previous license and corruption that manifested, at least in California, in years of decent government upon the ouster of venal political machines. And with that, rather decent behavior in much of society, too. At least, it was a notable contrast to the attitudes in place before the crash. Today we have come off WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, etc. and accompanying prosperity through the licentious latter half of the 20th century into today’s post-Christian, corrupt and economically and we think, politically, declining era. Our stock market seems again to be searching for an excuse to crash while our government is, with most others, unarguably unable to manage its finances and our voters are unarguably unable to elect responsible politicians. Long time social bindings seem to be loosening everywhere and nasty things are escaping into freedom while personal responsibility seems to be receding. Is this the Roaring Twenties/Great Depression/WWII writ large? If so, may it be followed by a return to rectitude and reason? Hell, how would we know? Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy wrote: “Out of Revolution” near a hundred years ago; his thesis was that all of man’s major progress required first, a massive political revolution before it could come to pass. Most revolutions were simply a change in who the boss was, but there were these special cases that brought real change and without which, the change was impossible. He made a fascinating case. Professor Rosenstock wrote: “Part One, From Lenin to Luther: The Secular Revolution,” and “Part Two, From the Roman Empire to America: The Church Revolution.” He laid out the antecedents of Western Civilization as a series of awful struggles interspersed with periods of rest and germination. If he was correct, our present apparent gallop over the economic and political cliff on the back of high technology may be an opening door into a future we cannot see but one that will lift our descendants as much above us as we have found ourselves above our progenitors. “Above” in some senses of the word, but little better in others. Of course, maybe not; we will not be here to see; these things have always taken time. Meantime, we have Mr. Putin, channeling Adolf Hitler’s bad behavior, Militant Islam, anxious to return us to the 7th century under its thumb, declining world trade, overly indebted, spendthrift governments and in general, conditions described by a WWII term popular with U.S. troops: “Snafu!” That was an acronym for: “Situation Normal; All Fxxxxd Up!” That is admittedly and even unarguably, a parallel with history.  We must be on the right track! German ‘Dr. Death’ opens corpse museum in Berlin.  Paris Sex Clubs hip.

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
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17 Responses to History, Revolution, Eugen Rosenstock and SNAFU …

  1. Not all events are meaningless. Society does exist (despite the pronouncement of a former great British philosopher Prime Ministress) a collection of individuals. And the individuals at the top in most places and through all of history have shown great competence at staying head of the queue for everything good and last in the queue for everything bad. I think two things are happening. One is the worlds elites are desperate the rest of us don’t discover just how they manage to remain head of the queue. The more worrying is the Utopian gibbering about world peace, which we could all have if we all just settled for borderless countries, forgot democracy and submitted unquestioningly to the rule of our betters. I translate this to mean the worlds elites have unified to combine all their winning techniques against the rest of us. Peace in our time – oh hell!

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Not sure hell is really needed when we have genus homo on hand. “The fault lies not in our stars …” Kinda wish old Will were available now; I’d love to hear his take on what we’ve made ot things!

  2. Cometh the hour, cometh the …puppet. you have Homer (Simpson). Sadly we lost The Spitting Image somewhere along the way. perhaps the Great Lady wanted to keep them as a momento..

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Certainly a starring turn for Thatcher! (I’ve no idea what she thought of such japery) but she was larger than life; an irresistible target … “Comes the hour” is all very well when the program is a positive outcome; I wonder whether that is presently the case? Rosenstock thought it all has to come down before anything new can be really improved; politicians and voters both are status quo to the death, precluding major progress?

  3. re Rosenstock – When it comes to that collective leap of desperation there are two alternatives. We reach the other side with a new set of parameters or end up at the bottom the cliff. I suspect the human race has run out of last chances. We can fool ourselves but not Mother Nature.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      You compel my agreement. Even so, I see us more as Wiley E. Coyote from the old Roadrunner cartoons, if you are familiar with them. We never fail to run off the cliff but somehow, survive the awful splat in order to repeat the procedure. I surmise that ur antics entertain an audience somewhere …

  4. Roadrunner is an old favourite but I hope you are not fulfilling the prediction from long ago that children raised on cartoons would think life was like that. Roadrunner bounced when he hit the bottom of the cliff, human beings reliably don’t.

  5. I first heard it on the radio and was delighted with the BBC production, which are available on DVD. Douglas Adams anticipation of ipads at a time when computers were the size of wardrobes and chiefly found in University basements is amazing. Sad he died so young.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      I guess that our Creator prefers the company of His better creations, leaving us the rejects!

      Alexis de Toqueville (in “Domocracy in America,”) predicted exactly our present government, in 1835 or so. In considerable detail, too.

      But we never listen to our prophets, any more than did the Israelites …

      • Thanks for the Toqueville tip – will follow it up.
        The ancient Greeks had a more jaundiced view I suspect about only the good, beautiful and talented dying young. Handmaid/cupbearer to the gods? Let’s not go there.

  6. PS Shows how smart the Ancient Greeks were. Everybody died young. how did they figure it out?

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