Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, March 03, 2014

History's Expiration Date

With the recent protests in Ukraine resulting in the replacement of the government, and then the Russian incursion into Crimea, there's naturally been a fair amount of effort on the part of American news organs and news readers to understand the situation. One sentiment that particularly struck me was when I saw an interchange that went roughly as follows.
Commentator 1: It's natural the Ukrainians would have strong feelings about perceived domination by Russia. After all, Russia was responsible for intentionally starving to death 3+ million Ukrainians in a semi-genocide under Stalin, and the reason why Crimea is so heavily Russian is because of Soviet ethnic cleansing.

Commentator 2: Those events are 80 years ago, and Stalin is long dead. Isn't it time we recognized history has an expiration date and stopped basing our reactions to current events on that kind of thing? That would be like Americans complaining about George III.
It's not infrequent to hear people wonder aloud why others can't simply get over history. In the US context, people wonder why Blacks and American Indians can't "get over" their history. Others wonder why the South doesn't get over the Civil War. And when we deal with an older part of the world, we wonder why Jews and Arabs can't get over their history, or why the Balkans seem to be perpetually embroiled in old disputes.

Does history have an expiration date? Should it?

To a great extent, the answer has to do with whether people feel secure from current troubles which they associate with historical ones. You won't hear many Americans worrying about oppression by the UK and pointing to depredations under George III because the US isn't worried about getting kicked around by the UK. If we were embroiled in some crisis in which we perceived ourselves oppressed by the UK, you can bet that Revolutionary Era grievances would come bubbling up very quickly. And in turn, the reason why slavery and Jim Crow remain history with power to move people in the US is because Black Americans still feel themselves excluded or disadvantaged in ways that tie into that history.

This makes it clear why the history of Russian oppression in Ukraine is not going to be forgotten at this particular moment: Because there happen to be Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms on Ukrainian soil and Russian tanks and APCs mustering at the border. That's not the kind of thing that's going to make you forget the bad things done to you in the past.

In this regard, history's expiration date is when people no longer feel it breathing down upon them.


Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

You are exactly right.

When a teen I defended Catholic Irish who were accused of being sore loosers since still not "past" the grievance of the Battle of the Boyne.

Now, I am attacked for not having forgotten the grievances in the schools that oppressed me as a teen.

But Irish in the times of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey* were being still harrassed by Ulster Scots and Brits. And I am still harrassed by Freemasons, Socialists, Jews-and-Jew-friends and Eurabians.

* Before she was McAliskey.

Darwin said...

And I am still harrassed by Freemasons, Socialists, Jews-and-Jew-friends and Eurabians.

Allow me to take this juncture to say, just as a warning, that if at some point I think comments being posted here are anti-Semitic, I will delete them and potentially ban the author.

HGL said...

In other words, if Jews harrass someone he cannot complain.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

And if Jews suggest something on theology ... Is it Antisemitic to Point Out that Stephen Jay Gould was No Christian?

Darwin said...

Stephen Jay Gould wasn't a Jew in any meaningful sense either, he was an atheist.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Nevertheless he was a proponent of Non-Overlapping Magisteria.

And since Judaism is as much national loyalty and communal traits, yes, it is meaningful to call him a Jew. Exactly as with Chomsky.

Your take would leave perhaps a minority of Jews left in that community, since being Jewish and being Atheist are really compatible. Even more so being Jewish and being Spinoza style Pantheist.

What do you think the Sadducees were?

If you consider the Pharisees are the sole origin of Judaism as we know it, look at Baruch 3 and at Daniel 3.

For Baruch 3 you can see some Antichristian motive to remove all of the book jst because the last verses speak of the Incarnation of God (and are used Holy Saturday in the Catholic Church).

But you can also imagine how they would like to put forward some other motive, and here some Sadducee light might have come in handy. That would in turn have been a motive for removing the Chant of the Three Young Men in the Furnace.

If you study that one, you will see some broad hints that God created nothing as merely physical except if He also added a spirit to guide it. And it is we Christians (except the poor Protestants) who keep that one.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Posting a quote and a link separately, in case you want to delete the link as "Antisemitic".

Here is the quote from it:

The article then goes on to enumerate who many of these Jews (most with Gentile Russian names) actually were. Here we find most of the giants of Soviet communism, names we have memorized in college history courses as the kingpins of the Revolution, without dreaming they were Jews. But making sure of their Jewish identity is very important to the editors of the Encyclopedia Judaica, which is not addressed to Gentiles. It is clear that the editors want Jewish youth today to be aware of their communist heritage. To this end, they not only never criticize anything having to do with communism but always describe it as a sincere and timely experiment with the greatest social advantages to Jews in Russia. Many Jewish Bolsheviks, persons who helped make possible the bloodiest regime in the history of the world, are dignified with a separate article.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Darwin said...

I think the author of that piece (which as you guessed I'd rather not have linked to here) is mistaken in the basic purpose of the Encyclopedia Judaica. It is not necessarily to applaud the people referenced therein, but simply to provide information about Jewish people and events. Since it uses the ethnic rather than the religious definition of "Jewish", this means covering the biographies of people of Jewish descent, which includes a number of the early Communist leaders.

So I think it's inaccurate to see a biography of a communist leader in an encyclopedia as some sort of institutional endorsement.

Further, I think the question of whether key communist leaders were of Jewish ancestry is only relevant to Jews as a whole if one has a racist/prejudiced way of understanding the world.

In the early Soviet era, Jews were disproportionately represented among communist leadership -- as in, the percentage of Jews among communist leaders was, from what I've read, higher than the percentage of Jews in the Russian population as s whole. (This ended by the end of Stalin's reign, as Stalin made a point of purging Jews and other racial minorities and making the communist leadership disproportionately Russian, to the exclusion of the empire's many ethnic minorities.)

However, only a very tiny percentage of Jews were involved in the communist party, and to somehow blame the whole ethnic group or the whole religion for the actions of a very small number of atheistic ethnic Jews is as perverse as the anti-Catholics who thrive on pointing out that Hitler and several other key Nazi leaders came from a Catholic background.

The nature of prejudice is to take the misdeeds or defects of some members of a group and to apply the guild for those to the entire group.

You're certainly entitled to disagree with Gould's concept of Non Overlapping Magisteria (though I myself think it's mostly a very worthy approach, and certainly far superior to the attitude of the "new atheists" such as Dawkins who strongly disagree with the idea) but to feel that it somehow makes the indictment of the NOMA idea more damning to point out that Gould was Jewish would be a sign of prejudice, not an argument.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

You missed the fact that he, belonging to the Jewish rather than the Christian community, was missing parts of the New Testament that damn his reading of iôm in those places.

So, no, it is not racist or antisemitic in any way other than what is right for a Christian to point out he was a Jew.

If him being a Jew does not damn your endorsement of his idea as apostasy to Judaism, why should Kent Hovind being a Protestant and erroneously believing Sola Scriptura (while factually defending on certain points Tota Scriptura, rather than Sola) damn my endorsement of his view of Dinosaurs as Protestantism or as partaking of the Sola Scriptura error, damned by Trent?

HGL said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Your removal of my previous post reminds me of the honesty or lack thereof shown by Cambridge:

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Honesty of Numberphile / Cambridge University, Mathematics

What you are basically saying is that if anyone complains about Jews or - as in my case - "Jews and Jew-friends", you can be very conscious of which community is being "attacked". But if someone has a cause to complain against it, he must above all not have any consciousness of what community is attacking him.

If you will take such a measure as hiding or deleting comments as an attack.

On a writer, on someone who has declared his intention to live off writing, I think it is.

You have not shown me evidence that the collusion of Jews and their friends "within the Catholic Church" have ceased their attempts to teach me a lesson.

So, on your terms, the history I have with them - including you - has not reached its expiration date.

Darwin said...

I removed your post, Hans-Georg, because I considered the bizarre rant which you linked, about "Illuminati Jew bankers" allegedly being behind the Russian Revolution and preparing to institute a new reign of terror via FEMA concentration camps, to be false and offensive. Given that God is Truth, and that this is a web of the most appalling lies, it is arguably blasphemous and offense against God Himself.

If your beef is with "Jews and Jew friends", then consider me a "Jew friend". The Jews are God's first children, our older brothers in faith. Those Jews who failed to accept Christ, and thus remained in possession only of the Old Covenant, of a part of the truth but not it's fulfillment, do not have the fullness of truth. But they remain God's people in a special sense and as the Lord said to Abraham in today's reading:

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.”

This post dealt with history and the way that it continues to live on is us and our reactions to things today. The history that lives on to me in this regard is that of the rightfully despised Third Reich and it's attempt to wipe out the whole of the Jewish people. If you choose to post strange conspiracy theories about "Jews and Jew Friends" here, it is the Nazis I will associate you with, and I will delete you.

Not only is this kind of trash offensively anti-Semitic, it is also offensive in that it ignores the real incalculable evil which was Russian communism by turning it into some Nazi fantasy.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hans-Georg Lundahl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.